Thursday, November 20, 2008

Which MMO is the right one then?

I would probably say....none.

I can see based on various opinions that if anything is proven to me, the MMO is just the wrong genre.

With so many MMO's to choose from, yet so many being either a clone or just boring or not quite ready, it seems to me that maybe I should not write about them, and discuss them anymore.

The downhill movement of the genre over the last year proves that until some company is able to break the "WoW factor", that the MMO will continue to be stale and derivative.

Over the last month I have discussed the issues with MMO's, and how things from group vs solo, bugs or plain missing content equals a game that just seems never ready to be played.

Yet...

Over the last month I have enjoyed single player games. The polish of these titles has really opened my eyes and shown me the avenue to take.

My moratorium I guess ...looks to be permanent...

I am on Chapter 4 of Witcher and still enjoying myself, and almost ready for Chapter 5, the final showdown. If anything, I have found nothing wrong with the game. I keep wanting to go back to that world, and my wife sits on the couch and watches me play...and helps me figure out puzzles, find clues to progress...and asks me to play instead of picking up the controller herself.

Same with Fable 2. I am almost ready to go back and start an evil character.

So, now maybe I need to go back to looking at Console or PC single player titles. Let me find my next game within that genre instead.

Maybe this IS the Dichotomy of the Gamer.

4 comments:

Lars said...

You know what makes an MMO game fun and not a grind? The people you play with. Find an MMO where there are people in it that you would enjoy playing a game (ANY game) with.

All MMOs have pretty lame gameplay compared to a good single player RPG if you play by yourself.

But here's some good, recent console/single player games:

Adventure Game
Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People
Sam and Max

RTS
Sins of a Solar Empire

Console (PS3)
LittleBigPlanet

Brendan said...

I've come the conclusion, more or less, that Lars has.

SP games offer far more compelling solo gameplay. This is because they *can* do so in ways that MMOs cannot. MMOs generally have to have either an instanced world which changes based on player actions (which is possible because instances are basically a small carve-out from the massively multiplayer world, for either one player as in AoC, or a small or medium sized group) or the massively populated, yet essentially static, world. WoW has introduced, on a limited basis, a type of "phasing" technology in its new expansion which kind of gets around this in some instances, but it's still mostly a massively multiplayer static world, for the most part.

A SP game has the full canvas to work on -- it is not limited in the ways that an MMO is limited. In light of that, why play an MMO?

The answer I have come up with is twofold. The first part is that MMOs offer (at their very best) compelling multiplayer experiences -- either collaborative, competitive, or both -- in ways that SP games, even ones that offer a multiplayer mode, cannot do as effectively. So, for example, raid instances, WAR's keep sieges, EVE's fleet wars and POS assaults, etc. These kinds of massively multiplayer experiences are limited to MMOs, and aren't really available in the multiplayer mode of SP games for the most part.

The second reason is the social factor. It's been remarked by others than for many, MMORPGs offer the experience of "playing alone together". We all know that the most common playstyle, even in an MMO, is to solo. So why play an MMO if you want to solo and do not generally partake in the massively multiplayer aspects? The answer, I think, is that quite a few people enjoy having the "background" of other people to chat with or talk on vent with, even if they are, in effect, playing the game solo. It's the social element -- another apsect that is made possible by the massively multiplayer aspect of the MMO.

So, I think the games are different, and offer different experiences, but I'd very much agree that in terms of gameplay itself from the solo player perspective, a game like The Witcher offers a much more compelling gameplay experience than the typical solo quest experience even in a well-done MMORPG.

Tesh said...

I've written before that I'd happily buy and play a single player offline WoW. The variety of character classes and things to see maket he Explorer in me happy, and while it will never have the story depth of something like Valkyrie Profile, it's still a fun world to play in. I wouldn't put it on the same pedestal as Chrono Trigger or Kingdom Hearts, but neither is it intended to be the same experience. It is what it is, and it's enjoyable enough for that.

That said, I absolutely will not pay a subscription to play it, and the multiplayer aspect of the game adds almost nothing that I'm interested in. Admittedly, that might mean that my hypothetical offline solo version would need some dungeon retuning to make them soloable... but isn't there already call for that on the WoW forums for the online game?

I'm interested in the world, the lore (such as it is), the game mechanics and the experience of wandering the world at my own pace. If there were a single player offline WoW, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Openedge1 said...

@Tesh

I am with you 100%. I liked WoW, yet, felt there was not enough there to keep paying for.
Also, the amount of idiots in that game was phenomenal.
Guess that 11 million ratio adds up fast.
When I played on free servers, besides the buggy issues, the game was actually fun.

May have to look into that with the new WoTLK...

Solo fun indeed!