Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fable 2 - Personal and Lonely is good

Continuing the small thread from yesterday about Spellborn, and the "miniature" groupings.
Today an article has appeared in Wired about Personal Gaming (my new phrase of the day!)

Basically the writer comes to a realization...

Playing with yourself feels good...

(/embarassment ensues)

But, the article discusses about his current Fable 2 game time and reflects some of my feelings as well..

"Why do we want to immerse ourselves in a world that emulates all the tropes of a vibrant world like World of Warcraft — but where we are, essentially, alone?

I told my friend he was looking at it all wrong. The reason we single-player fans love world-games like Fable II is precisely because there are no other "real" people around.

Because really, who needs people? People suck. I'm joking, of course — but only a bit. The truth is that, in online multiplayer worlds, dealing with the delightfully unpredictable behavior of "real" people can be an absolute chore. Teammates fail to show up for a raid, or they leave everyone waiting for an hour, or they log out in the middle of battle and leave you gored by a howling mob. Have you ever actually tried to play Age of Conan? It's like the Stanford Prison Experiment in there, my friend."

The writer goes on to state

"Indeed, the dirty secret of online multiplayer worlds like World of Warcaft is that the vast majority of people play solo in them. As Nicholas Ducheneaut discovered, players who are piloting characters below level 40 spend a stunning 70 percent of their time questing alone"

I think this is why Bioware may have something with SWTOR, by not FORCING players into groups. With Spellborn keeping it small, and personable, you can form cliques. DDO even realized the failure of the grouping mechanics, and presented THEIR henchmen system.

Back to Fable 2. It works. In the respect that secretly you CAN be in an online MMO. You can turn on the new "orbs" system. As you run around towns and in the wilderness, you can see others playing. And guess what, you can group...in duos mind you, but think of the many husband wives who play MMO's in Duos? Look at how Guild Wars presented a method in their last expansions to allow Duo play. You can play the whole campaign with just 2 players.

I still remember Diablo 2 and co-op'ing through. Baldurs Gate:Dark Alliance on the PS2. And now Fable 2 (although slightly broken) couch co-op or Marvel Ultimate Alliance (4 player).

We enjoy the thought of other players being online, but the constant need to become social elites (Questionnaires 3 pages long to join Raid Guilds in WoW, limited elite guild rosters like the CoW's in WAR), and being selective about those players (how many REALLY good PuG's compared to bad do you have. I can count on one hand the number of good PuG's)

Overall, we enjoy the "thought" of others online, but do we really care if we group or solo?

I ran into this post on Pumping Irony with his summary of the month... He states..

"I’m curious about Fallout 3, but I have such a horrible track record with single-player games. I am largely unable to stay focused, especially in RPG’s which tend to be slower-paced. I get lonely when I am the only actual person in the world other than the handful of NPC’s that allow limited and shallow interactivity, so I tend to quickly come back to the PC and login to an MMORPG."

What can we garner from such a statement? Do some find a NEED to have the other players exist in that world? What makes the other player on the other end a requirement for enjoyment of a game?

Does this type of player ALWAYS group then? I have seen the poster state the many times doing things solo. So why the NEED to see others?

Maybe in this respect, some may need the online socialization due to complications, like those who cannot do anything but socialize online (cripppled, etc..) (not to say this is Scott's issue, and if it is...no offense.)

But today, casual playstyles and more mature people playing whose times are limited really decreases the overall abundance of players who can play ALL the time for these forced grouping systems.

Fable 2 helped me break out of the habit or need to be online LFG'ing. The game stands well on it's own merits as an RPG (lets not even get started on the broken mechanics of most of the MMO's now which ruins another aspect of being "online"), and down the road, it looks like these games are making an effort to present content in a lightened fashion toward groupings. Or making adjustments to the reasoning to group. (seems LOTRO is making adjustments to all of it's regular content to be solo friendly with the "story" lines being group only..to promote grouping if you want the REAL game...will that work?)

The market will be interesting to watch over the next several years as right now is the time for these games to evolve.

What is YOUR need to be online and not in a single player RPG?


Hudson said...

Don't like single player RPG's anymore.

They end.

What is the point?


Openedge1 said...

Ok...they end...but what if they did not?
Oblivion does not need to end.
Fallout 3 does not need to end.
Fable 2 does not need to end...

What if a single player game came out that you could farm epics, farm reknown?

There are games like that as I mention above (Fable 2 even though you can beat the main quests, keeps existing and keeps going, with Reknown, quests, etc...it NEVER has to end)

Is there any other reason to play online than the need to socialize?

adingworld said...

Socializing is a big part of it. Playing solo in an MMORPG is like going to a movie, restaurant, travelling with public transport and lots of other activities - it is just better with other people around even if you might be "solo" sometimes.

And even better in a "group", as long as they are people you like or get along with.

Melf_Himself said...

Your thoughts about this are mirroring mine at the moment openedge.

The most fun *PvE* online experience I've ever had was in Diablo 2.

Diablo 2 was
a) Solo-able for 100% of the game (but pretty hard to do in hell)
b) Easier and faster the more people you had in the party (but due to monster HP scaling with number of people in game, not too much easier)

Additionally, it went a long way to remove elitism. If someone was in your game the monsters were already harder, so you really may as well group with them if you're trying to fight through something hard.

Also it was deady easy to find people to play with who wanted to do the same thing as you, because
a) Not too many different quests
b) Game descriptions

Finally, it didn't matter much as to your class make-up. There were no healers, and several classes could tank and CC, making the focus mainly on killing stuff before it killed you.

Games need to shift back to an accessible model that focuses on making it easy for players to play together and rewards them for doing so, while still being perfectly ok solo. Yes, this stuff is harder to achieve in a persistent world, but I think that's the challenge the "next gen" MMO's will have to overcome to avoid being WoW 2.0.

Melf_Himself said...

Oh, and @ hudson:

Don't like MMORPG's anymore.

They never end.

What is the point?


Openedge1 said...


haha...Seems a lot of MMO gamers are disgruntled over the tedium.

The single player games offer for the time they last an enjoyable adventure.

Fable 2 as an example, I am STILL playing, and have out more time into within a month than most MMO's I have played for the past year.

But, Fable 2 is unique in offering a way to feel the "gameplay" of the never ending MMO. Yet, you as the player also may CHOOSE to end the main story or not.

Gonna have to write about that...thanks for getting the juices flowing.

Hudson said...

One reason I liked Oblivion was MODS. I created a whole new world with them but was never happy. Then I realized why.

It was empty, and what I was doing didn't count.

I couldnt trade with other players, there was no economy, no random grouping, no just saying hi.


Openedge1 said...

Yet, Fable 2? I can do all those things..

Trade with others, voice chat, team up for quests..

Why...just like an MMO...lol