Saturday, October 25, 2008

Star Wars Old Republic - Fixing the MMO

A post over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun discusses how he feels that SWTOR may just be the ticket for a ton of MMO players..

Why?

Because it is not trying to be like MMO's?

"An MMO where you get NPC party members? Good grief, yes. A thousand times yes. I get the extra hands I require to tackle a stronger foe, but without them bitching and whining at me because I didn’t use my double-cloaking no-hit AOE poison buff at exactly the point they would have used it if they were playing on their own. See? SEE? Every single bugger in these games just wants the others in their parties to be the over-qualified AI companions that perform the tasks they don’t have time for. If you don’t play like they would have done it, you’ve failed them, you’ve let them down, you’ve spoiled their game. ... But if my party members are NPCs, they’ll do what they’re programmed to do, or when I tell them to do it. That’s great for any of the above frustrations I might experience. But more importantly, when I don’t do what they might want when they might demand it, they’re not going to storm off in a giant pissy huff and block me on IM."

Of course this has been done in Guild Wars, and Everquest is getting all hyped by the Tipa and Stargrace thanks to their henchman mechanic. And recently DDO has announced a henchman system.

Could it be the time of the MMO going solo?

The biggest argument for some people is "Why play an MMO solo?"...yet, as is explained at RP&S, that we instead get a never ending adventure game, but at the same time, if we wish to socialize...we can.

Let me take the Fable 2 co-op as an example.

I sold the game to my son based on a suggestion from Bildo.

My son has YET to put the game down...

Why?

He is totally playing online at ALL times...

He either joins others as their henchman, OR right now he is playing with one of his friends and they are running around in THEIR own worlds, while chatting to each other, and are located in the same place in THEIR worlds, and getting THEIR own items THEIR own XP and not having some idiot come along and trash their setting (how many times have you yelled at someone for stealing your mob or item for a quest).

This could be THE mechanic that so many others have missed.
Next to WoW, the second largest selling MMO has been Guild Wars with 3 million + boxes sold.

Why is this?

Could it be the control you have to either play with others or play alone..?

I can look back over my post and see all these Why's...but it has purpose.

Maybe this has been a key. Either party with others or party alone...we should have the option.

This may be the ticket to scrips also.

What do you think?

7 comments:

Tipa said...

I should point out that in EQ, Mercenaries were designed to be part of a group, not specifically to let people solo. You can assign group roles in EQ, for instance, make your tank the Main Tank and it will do its best. If you are designated Puller, though, it will let you get back to camp before intercepting the mob, etc.

That said, it DOES let you solo better.

adingworld said...

From a game experience point of view I think many generally consider

bad group < solo < good group

bad and good can mean different things to different people, as it is about their game experience.

I think in general the mechanic is a neat way to either run solo or complement your team with additional roles. If we run some missions with The Noob Club in GW and are not 8 persons, we just fill up the rest with some heroes of suitable professions.

It will be interesting what they will do with the grouping mechanic in general, do the traditional leader-send-invites type, or some different approach? Probably some variant of the invitation only I guess, but remains to be seen.

Openedge1 said...

@Tipa
It is like Guild Wars.
The reason for the henchmen was not to create a solo mechanic, yet so many players turn to this for solo play specifically.

I have to agree with the "bad group" note from adingworld. I even think it is the reason so many go solo.

But, with games like Tabula Rasa, Vanguard and AoC seeing diminishing populations for now (and I feel could each be the perfect solo/duo/friends based game..), and some people who get such an attitude with other players in their groups and should stay solo...
Henchmen could be the best mechanic for MMO's.
Henchmen make perfect "replacements" for when a group cannot get the full holy grail team.
I think the only fix needs to be what EQ and SWTOR is doing...allow only ONE henchman per group or player...or like Guild Wars and their "only 3 heroes" so a player can duo with another player and 3.
Cheers

Copra said...

I myself would hate to see myriad groups of solo-player and henchmen doing the content. It would mean that -being the most effective way to progress and gain gear- it would surpass all the other methods, and it would kill grouping even better than any other means of player guidance.

I'd like to see more incentives for grouping and real reasons to do it. Take the super benefits of soloing off and replace them with increasing rewards for increasing difficulty (outrageous rip-off from Tobold... sorry!)

Lars said...

I loved the Heroes system in Guild Wars and think it would be great. A system that tied them into the storyline so you grew to care about your little AIs would be brilliant, and that's hopefully what they are working on.

Aspendawn said...

I like the idea of henchman. But my beef with a lot of MMO's is requiring a full group to accomplish things. I think if people could tackle dungeons with two or three, they would be more likely to group as it's much easier and quicker to assemble. In my three years playing EQ2 I can count on one hand the number of times I've been in a full group. I just can't be bothered.

Options are good. And the more of them the better.

Andrew said...

I know some people disliked the NPCs in Guild Wars, but personally I thought they were awesome. If you're short on people, you could just always get an NPC to join your party. A very cool feature IMO.