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Fri, November 26th, 2004   #1
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Sup guys. Do any of you have WoW? I've been playing and having a great time. It's the first time I've been gaming in a few months. It would be fun to play with those of you who have it, so look me up. I only have one char right now, but will probably be adding more soon.

I am on the Durotan server (East) and playing as a Human Rogue named Shandala. Look me up and we'll go questing sometime. And let me know where you are so I can make a character there too.
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Fri, November 26th, 2004   #2
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Sorry for the wierd multiple threads. I got an error everytime I tried last night, and as you can see it didn't even post the message, so I can't delete the threads.
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Fri, November 26th, 2004   #3
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I bet, you just love the attention.
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Fri, November 26th, 2004   #4
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Oh yeah, you know it.

Anybody buy the game? ABF? DJ? Anybody at all?
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Fri, November 26th, 2004   #5
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Sadly I don't have the money for it just yet...

Otherwise you KNOW I'd be playing that game right now, maybe making one of those clan things.
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Sat, November 27th, 2004   #6
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I played the open beta... it's okay. Not going to convince me to pay a monthly fee to play a game, but if it was free (well monthly anyway) I'd get it... but as it is I'll stick with games that don't cost $200 for the first year...
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Sun, November 28th, 2004   #7
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If it was the first year free Id get it , But they charge 60 bucks on retail and then the next month 15 bucks every new month untill you cancel the account.

When I went to Future Shop (owned by best buy) , A mother and father were examining the game and for some strange reason asked me what it said at the bottom of the box , I decided why not and checked and it said first month free and after the words came out of my mouth, They said were not gonna buy a "friggen game that they would have to pay a month bill for". Then they asked why they charged a fee, I explained it was a online MMORPG and they charged a fee to pay a developement crew too add new stuff into the game every month.

They asked me if there was a any games like this that didnt charge a fee, I said I heard about some but wouldnt know the names.

So far the game has only sold 200,000 units , Which is the lowest grossing sale of any blizzard game in history , But I soppose with the monthly fee they might eventually make more money with just a small audience then a huge one on there other none MMORPG games.
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Sun, November 28th, 2004   #8
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200,000, though, is pretty good for a MMORPG... they are not as large a market as the stuff Blizz has made in the past and yes, the sales of this game will reflect that. Looking just at sales numbers, I think Arena.net (the Guild Wars people) have a point... while making multiplayer RPGs without monthly fees isn't a sure success, if it is one it has the potential to be larger than a pay-to-play game for sure, sales-wise.
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Sun, November 28th, 2004   #9
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A muchly reduced fee would be appreciated. Perhaps $50 a year, multiplied by a LOT of people paying that every year, would be able to cover the costs of development? Server costs would need to go down, you know, down to the point where they could actually compress it all down to like 3 servers.
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Sun, November 28th, 2004   #10
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While MMORPGs are definitely a cash generating type of game if they do well, they genuinely do require much more money to run than most games so monthly fees are justified. I just don't want to pay so much to play a game, no matter if it's as good as WoW is (and based on the beta WoW is a pretty good game)...

So as a result while I know it's a very different kind of game for the forseeable future the closest I'll probably get to a MMORPG is Guild Wars.
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Mon, November 29th, 2004   #11
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http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/worl...aft/review.html

Thats probaily the highest rated MMORPG I have seen at gamespot , Now whats interesting is whats next for blizzard , We can expect a WOW exspansion .
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Mon, November 29th, 2004   #12
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I'd say it's rated a bit too highly... but probably it's my dislike for some of the basics of how MMORPGs operate more than anything against Blizzard. For a MMORPG it is definitely a fantastic game. And I'll certainly admit that the game style is fun... but MMORPGs mix so much into it that there are a lot of elements that aren't as fun even in this game. The amount of time you must spend in it is the primary one. The world is big and getting anywhere is a major pain. You walk a lot. And then you die or want to go back to town and have to do another long walk because each area has just one town and graveyard. Fun.

As for quests, they are alright but no amount of good writing (the writing for the quests is much better here than in most MMORPGs and the stories they have behind them are pretty good, considering) and cloaking (occasional other kinds of missions and how varied the things you collect from the corpses are) can hide the nature of them: "get X number of Y's and return them to me for prize Z". Tedious in many cases. This also leads to a lack of player satisfaction... in most games when you do things things change. You feel like your actions are having an impact. But in this... speaking of Northshire Abbey, where Human players start... you get a quest to kill bandits and get their red bandannas and return them for gold. So you go over there and kill some. They respawn constantly. You kill them and then get the other quest and kill their leader (that's a quite annoying thing about WoW: you must have a quest to get the related materials, and often "dungeon" areas have multiple quests -- 'Explore' and then succeed that quest and return and you get 'Kill Boss'. This is very frusterating as you have to redo areas you've already done all the time for these new quests, often to kill monsters you've killed before (but because you didn't have the quest you didn't get the quest reward item(s)). Stupid.). So you do. And what happens? Nothing. They are there forever. It leaves a feeling that you are just doing make-work and not having any impact on the world... it's still fun to kill the goblins infesting the mine, but it's not nearly as satisfying as it is in, say, Icewind Dale II where I can go back there and look at the now clear area and have the feeling that I have had an impact on the world and my character's progress goes beyond just the statistics and items I have accumulated on my person.

This is not to say that the game is bad. It is not. It's actually quite good. I understand that in a MMORPG you cannot have any kind of feeling of your own impact because future players must be able to do that quest as well. And once you get used to the combat and the interface system it works well and is fun so the battles are entertaining enough to make you want to keep playing. It also rewards you well for quests. Between the items you can buy, the ones you get as quest rewards, and what you get from drops you will be fine for the early game. Later on of course the player professions (you can choose two, and they involve either collecting raw materials (hides from dead things, minerals from specific mining points, etc), making things (clothing, armor, etc), fishing, healing, and a few more) and trading will deal with that. For that there's an Auction House system in the towns so that it's really easy to buy and sell items with other players. Also, of course, the artwork is absolutely stunning. Yes, it doesn't have the best engine technically, but you quickly get used to that fact and recognize what a fantastic job they have done with the artwork. Such a huge world and still every area of it I saw (which admittedly wasn't too many of them) was both beautiful and at least in some way unique...
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Mon, November 29th, 2004   #13
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Honestly a system where individual players DO have an impact on world development WOULD be cool, but it's just not possible right now. The closest thing to that would be a system wherein a massive number of servers, like 100, are all in different stages of development, so the new players can always find a "fresh" world to develop on their own.

But in general, you pretty much pointed out exactly the main issue. It's an MMORPG, but rather than feel like you play a part in the development of "the world", the main goal is very self centered, that is, the development of your character and your character alone. Allying is fun and all, but the very design of these games forces that sort of mindset of how this will affect your character, since it certainly won't affect the world. With the bandit example, they explain it in the sense of "you have certainly helped in the constant struggle against their encroachment, now we can hold them off", to sorta explain that. Sure, there is a story that advances, but only you the player is aware of it, and it's the same thing for everyone, in secret. It HAS to be that way until technology can allow for a fully dynamic world, but it still sorta blows...

Still, it was a fun game and of all these sorts of games, it's certainly the best I've played. You make a note about the tedium, but let me say that, and maybe this is just because of the ones I've played before, I didn't feel the tedium. It really felt like it was flowing naturally. I sorta learned in the past to not really take quests one at a time, but all at once as they are thrown at me. In that way, I sorta march along and will complete quests based soley on what objective is closest to me . Travelling, I have found, is still a lot quicker than in other games. Speeding it up would be appreciated. For example, getting horses should be much quicker. Airships are totally free and available to everyone though, unlike any other game I've played, so that's a great start.

I will say the nature of these quests is rather... redundant... While you do move from quest to quest VERY quickly, as in, you don't have to spend literally DAYS levelling up just to be able to go on another quest (instead you get the levels needed to go on a large number of new quests while completing quests you are already on), they are all the same. Yes, kill this, collect a certain number of these, take them back to that.

Now, really I would like to see quests as varied as in normal RPGs. I think that IS doable with current technology. I'd like to see, using the familiar (to everyone here) KOTOR as an example, quests involging negotiating with people, rescuing people from dungeons and escorting them out (actually I believe there are "escort missions", but from that termanology I suspect those will get redundant too), and puzzle solving. I'd like to have to wander into a cave and walk up to a mural with some cryptic comment, examine various strange artifacts through the dungeon, find weird items, and suddenly find out the two relate, but it's something like the colors of the items need to be matched with the mechanism using that cryptic clue as the terms of the match, like which ones are opposites on the "color wheel", or like each color and each device (which suddenly have symbols on them why not) match up with some legendary hero's color and symbol and you need to remember some old diary you read to figure out the matches.

THAT is the kind of stuff I want, not the endless barage of "do this". I will say this though, while the storyline is good, a large number of these quests, as they are now, reduce your LEGENDARY HERO to the role of... delivery peon...

My cool character: "I am the legendary undead warlock Genjos, servent of the Dark Lady, summoner of the fires of HECK themselves. What would you have me do to further the cause of the Forsaken?"

Some Alchemist or whatever: I'm trying to make a legendary elixer that will free the minds of the other undead from Arthas' mental rule. As such, could you fetch me some forest mushrooms?

Me: Indeed that would... wait excuse me what? I'm a frickin' WARRIOR here, and you want some mushrooms?

Guy: Well they ARE guarded by wolves. You would have to fight.

Me: Yeah... but still, shouldn't I be like, on the front lines, or capturing someone, or exploring mysterious catacombs? You know, SOMETHING besides GATHERING FRICKIN' FOREST MUSHROOMS?

Now actually I know many games have these quests, from Zelda to Planescape, but that's not ALL the quests. Zelda puts you in dungeons cooperating with a strange bird girl to unlock various rooms so you can unlock the power of the Master Sword. Planescape sets you out looking for a hard to find man who wrote a frickin' novel on your back, with a knife. MMORPGs LITERALLY send you out into a city to pass out flyers for a store that just opened.
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Mon, November 29th, 2004   #14
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First, I'm going to say that I agree with pretty much everything you said. Oh yeah, and this post is quite long... yeah... took me a solid hour to write, I think... I hope someone actually reads it.

Also, despite how this post may sound I am not suggesting that this genre needs a massive overhaul or that traditional MMORPGs have no place. They do, and they definitely seem like they could be fun. If they didn't have monthly fees I'd certainly have at least one. But with a genre with so much promise comes so many grounds for improvements...

Second, in the beta I played several characters. I played a female Night Elf Druid (on a normal server, got to level 8), a female Human Mage (normal, got to level 8 or 9), and a male Dwarven Paladin (level 4 or 5, RP server). All were fun character and were in very different places... same gameplay, however, of course.
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Honestly a system where individual players DO have an impact on world development WOULD be cool, but it's just not possible right now. The closest thing to that would be a system wherein a massive number of servers, like 100, are all in different stages of development, so the new players can always find a "fresh" world to develop on their own.

You do it by not making your game a MMORPG. I know I'm going to sound like a broken record, but I have to say 'Guild Wars' again... or if you want more cases, how about Diablo II or perhaps Neverwinter Nights? All games that have a community aspect but also a mission progression that gives you a very real and impact-seeming role. How is it done? Instancing. That is, having your missions not all happen in the one world but having it be a specifically crafted mission that just your group goes through. It does not have the 'massively multiplayer' aspect to the missions, but it lets the game designers make missions where you feel like you are really doing things. It also allows much, much more intresting quests. Your fifteenth "collect items from monsters to return to get a prize" quest in WoW will be dull, no matter how interesting the story about wanting to kill a big pig that keeps getting into the farmers' fields is... it is lessened when a minuite later the pig respawns. Yes, it reduces player choice and means that the game is much more a linear title than a big open one so it's a different kind of game, but from the perspective of a specific mission it allows for some much more intersting missions. It also does not preclude standard 'kill things' missions if you also have an "overworld" you can explore with such missions in it...

Diablo's case is very similar to GW but the differences should be mentioned. It doesn't have as interesting or unique missions because of the random design and the focus on killing things. However, it still has focus with the progression style of the levels and how it keeps you moving forward, as opposed to a MMORPG where you can go fifteen directions if you so choose... much closer to GW than WoW. Except perhaps the missions have more replay value because of the random map generation (though I'd argue that they are so similar looking that that element doesn't matter much and the replay value isn't in Diablo because of random map generation). But its style contrasts effectively with a MMORPG in showing how by having instanced missions you can give the player a much greater sense of impact on the world. The fact that (in both Diablo and Guild Wars) you can endlessly replay the missions and do those acts again only minimally lessens that sense of accomplishment and greatly helps the lastability of the game.
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But in general, you pretty much pointed out exactly the main issue. It's an MMORPG, but rather than feel like you play a part in the development of "the world", the main goal is very self centered, that is, the development of your character and your character alone. Allying is fun and all, but the very design of these games forces that sort of mindset of how this will affect your character, since it certainly won't affect the world. With the bandit example, they explain it in the sense of "you have certainly helped in the constant struggle against their encroachment, now we can hold them off", to sorta explain that. Sure, there is a story that advances, but only you the player is aware of it, and it's the same thing for everyone, in secret. It HAS to be that way until technology can allow for a fully dynamic world, but it still sorta blows...

On the topic of accomplishment, I mostly covered that in my last post. It's a pretty much unsolvable issue with MMORPGs that you can't really get around unless you change the game design from being a standard MMORPG to being something else. It's also one of the problems of the genre and one of the factors that leads to so many people playing these games for the sole purpose to make their character better. After all, it's all you really have to play for... to access regions restricted to higher player levels and to make your character more powerful. This limits the kinds of accomplishment you will get from the game and definitely increases the sense in players that they are "grinding" and not playing for fun or for much of any real purpose... I know that in such games having something to have a real purpose ABOUT is quite hard to think of, but I guess I'm saying that it's a fundamental flaw in the genre. Does it make the games not fun? Of course not! WoW is a quite fun game! But when I look at it and think critically, this is definitely an issue that game game cannot solve.

I should talk about the flip side of this coin, however. What you get is a huge and connected world that is nearly seamless. Few load times (in WoW anyway), huge zones, fewer things that break the sense that this is a real world that is different than in most games (that is, warping between missions, etc)... the sense of scale and of the continuity of the world is great. And you eventually just accept that you will not be making a lasting impact on the world and play the game solely for character advancement and perhaps socialization.

This connects to one of my biggest complaints about Diablo -- socialization! That is, in Diablo II you go into the world online and there are some other players there but the game gives you no real incentive to party, no gameplay aspect really benefits from partying very much, etc... you just wander around by yourself in a game that happens to have some other players in it. In my opinion it just does not work. The heart of a RPG is playing a role, and since the beginning of the genre (in pen and paper games) a huge aspect of that has been interacting with others and working as a group. Soloing is all well and good in a computer game, but once it goes multiplayer partying should be a major aspect of the game and should be made simple.

What do I think of WoW? I think it's okay. It's easy to party (and you can set the 'looking for party' flag to make things easier if you want), but finding people to party with is the real question. This is harder. I only really played the open beta four or five days (I had it over a week, but didn't play at all for three or four days in the middle), and only in one of those did I party. That one night was probably the best one of the week. Three of us worked together for some hours until it just got too late (early) to not go to bed... While the game is okay by yourself, a party really does make it more intresting... that is, when you have good companions -- that is, if you are in a party but no one is going to say anything what's the point? But in this kind of game if you're like that you probably aren't going to be asking people to join a party anyway... anyway, the main problem is actually finding people who want to party. Also, in WoW every character is self sufficient. This means that no one actually NEEDS anyone else to survive, like in Diablo II. However, the game design does allow for groups to work together to reasonable degrees of success so if you do it can be fun.

Guild Wars is quite different of course. The overworld part is like WoW except it's all instanced so you only can ask to party in the main town areas and almost no one is. The missions though are instanced to unless you're a solitary type and want to go through them with bots as your party (you can hire henchmen) you'll be partying in the team gathering zones outside each mission... the result is you'll mostly end up in random parties unless you're grouping with friends or your clan. This means a wide variety of companions... but on the whole because if forces you to group (and indeed the game is very strongly designed around the idea that parties are the ideal and that no one should be playing the game alone (many classes have lots of problems being alone and you'll really want henchmen if you have no party)... I really like the system. It wouldn't work for a traditional MMORPG of course, but GW is trying to be different so that's fine... and I'd say that it's a great game. It doesn't have the continuous world of a MMORPG (that is you warp around on the map, have loadtimes, etc) and also doesn't have the potential infinite play (if you want a game you'll be playing many days a week for a year get a MMORPG, not GW), but it doesn't have the monthly fee either so that latter on at least is okay, I'd say.
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Still, it was a fun game and of all these sorts of games, it's certainly the best I've played. You make a note about the tedium, but let me say that, and maybe this is just because of the ones I've played before, I didn't feel the tedium. It really felt like it was flowing naturally. I sorta learned in the past to not really take quests one at a time, but all at once as they are thrown at me. In that way, I sorta march along and will complete quests based soley on what objective is closest to me . Travelling, I have found, is still a lot quicker than in other games. Speeding it up would be appreciated. For example, getting horses should be much quicker. Airships are totally free and available to everyone though, unlike any other game I've played, so that's a great start.

My only other experience in the genre is some pretty limited play in the Ryzom beta, so I have a lot less experience with them so I don't know the conventions as well... as for the tedium, I only played each character for a while so I hadn't really gotten to most of the grind part yet. It's fun in the beginning... it's later, when you're working and working to level up just to level up, that these games get into the territory of grinding, I've definitely heard (and understand the logic behind). Quests in WoW? I got all of the ones I could, of course, but I was saying that sometimes you cannot get both at the same time -- in several quests I'd get the first quest to investigate a cave and would have to go back to get the second one that says 'beat the boss'. Which is really annoying. So even if you work to get all the quests you cannot avoid being forced to repeat areas just to complete quests...

As for travelling, I believe that it is faster, but that says a lot more about the scale and pacing of MMORPGs than it does about the small size of WoW. I know that having to run for a couple of minuites across the forest to get back to my body is a pain, as is every trip back to town... it's a bit better with the NE and their 50% faster wisps, though it still takes some time. (on that note, I left my Druid in the bottom of a very challenging (for an 8th level character) dungeon next to the boss and his four cronies... two tries at getting away and I just gave up and left her there... )

Oh, and I never used any of the other forms of transportation. I also didn't really explore the capitals. It was only a few days, after all, and these games are based around the fundamental priciple of taking many, many days to see much progress... this one is paced faster than others but it still has a strong element of that.
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I will say the nature of these quests is rather... redundant... While you do move from quest to quest VERY quickly, as in, you don't have to spend literally DAYS levelling up just to be able to go on another quest (instead you get the levels needed to go on a large number of new quests while completing quests you are already on), they are all the same. Yes, kill this, collect a certain number of these, take them back to that.

I definitely think now that I should have been level 10 before trying that dungeon with my Druid... Bear Form would have helped so much... but levelling two levels would be a pain so I didn't bother... and it was really hard and I died a bunch and ended up quitting with my corpse right by the (still undefeated by me) boss.
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Now, really I would like to see quests as varied as in normal RPGs. I think that IS doable with current technology. I'd like to see, using the familiar (to everyone here) KOTOR as an example, quests involging negotiating with people, rescuing people from dungeons and escorting them out (actually I believe there are "escort missions", but from that termanology I suspect those will get redundant too), and puzzle solving. I'd like to have to wander into a cave and walk up to a mural with some cryptic comment, examine various strange artifacts through the dungeon, find weird items, and suddenly find out the two relate, but it's something like the colors of the items need to be matched with the mechanism using that cryptic clue as the terms of the match, like which ones are opposites on the "color wheel", or like each color and each device (which suddenly have symbols on them why not) match up with some legendary hero's color and symbol and you need to remember some old diary you read to figure out the matches.

Absolutely. Variation would be awesome. I know that you cannot replicate the variety of the quests in a instanced or single-player game exactly in a MMO title, but you can do something more intersting than THIS. Escort or protection missions would be great. They could be implemented, I'm sure. If there are any they aren't too common for sure... it'd also of course be great to see conversation-based ones. I love the story aspect of RPGs and think that when applied it can be one of their greatest strengths, so missions that involved conversation and wordplay (choosing the right dialogue choices, etc) and entering that as a major aspect of the game would be fantastic. I'm not asking for Torment here, even... even Baldur's Gate would be nice compared to what we've got in this supposedly so story-focused of MMORPGs... dialogue puzzles! Quests solved by words. Some statistic that measures such things. Puzzles (as you say later, they are conspicuously absent in MMORPGs) like Baldur's Gate has where you are given riddles and have to solve them (in the game design sphere it's your choice whether to give them choices or make them type in answers -- the former would be the standard these days, but it'd be neat to see the latter, I think, if frusterating... but it's a MMORPG so you could always just ask for help. ), but if you get them wrong take damage or have to fight something or something.

There also should be as you say more intresting missions. The main problem here is most of the ideas I come up with are hamstrung by the facts of MMORPGs. The constant quotias and 'I must kill two more of these" are stupid but needed because the whole game is open, not instanced. You can't simply say "okay here there are five ogres for the party to face, then here there are four and two Ogre-Mages, and then here is the boss and his three cronies" because you have to hae constant waves of spawning goons to deal with all of the potential players there... it's both interesting on the player's standpoint (being able to help others or get past hard areas by waiting for others to come) and frusterating (waiting in line with others for some monsters you all need to spawn, not having as much stuff to fight when an area is particularly populated). I don't see a way to avoid the quotas given the facts of the genre. This is unfortunate given how tedious they get, though... but then again it's cool to always have other players around... it leaves me conflicted. Both instancing and open world have their own good and bad sides, really... both have fun parts to their approach and problems... which is better? I don't know.

Instancing, however, does definitely allow for more mission variety. I guess the main question is if you think that this gain in mission style and quality is worth the loss in the feeling of it being a "real world" and in the constant sense of a flowing (coming and going) humanity around you.

Anyway, back to the central question here (and in the rest of your post), how to make missions in MMORPGs more interesting. The fact that Blizzard, who is great at such things, ended up with this as their result really is telling. They tried and got not a great variety of mission styles but great writing to back up their missions, lots of missions, and constant sequence that you are always doing some quests while you are playing the game. This suggests that doing something interesting would be hard. Still, I'm sure that they could do some things. One would be the dialogue-as-puzzles option, which I'd LOVE to see in these games. More? Hmm... some/more 'protect', 'guard location X', or 'escort' missions, some instanced dungeons where you can be more specific with enemies and their layout, areas which force cooperation with other players in some fashion or make them work in a team to succeed, and puzzles (that is, not just 'kill' quests but also ones that are genuine puzzles like any single player RPG would have, and now that I think about it something almost totally missing from MMORPGs... and missed, I would say, along with conversations that involve you choosing or making responses and the puzzles and gameplay that that element of any good single player RPG represents -- talking with other humans in a MMORPG is one thing, but not really a replacement for this on gameplay terms as that does not represent much gameplay besides PvP combat, which should be recognized as a major element of most of these games and something that is unique to multiplayer titles like puzzles (in the world or with dialogue) seem to be to single player ones so far. The difference of course is that PvP would never work quite the same in a single player RPG while dialogue could be implemented into an online one...)... that'd be a good start, anyway, and definitely seems possible even given the bounds of the genre. It'd help with the lack of variety and the tedium. I wouldn't fix things totally, but some things cannot be changed in this genre... and Blizz helps a lot with its good writing and constant sequence of missions to attempt.
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Tue, November 30th, 2004   #15
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I'm just not a big MMORPG fan. I like playing online games with a dozen or so of my friends, but a game where the entire world is populated by (mostly stupid) online gamers? Man... that'd be hell. Give me a nice long single-player RPG any day of the week.
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Tue, November 30th, 2004   #16
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That question seems to come up all the time... the answer for WoW is that you don't have to interact much at all with others if you don't want. Ignore the chatbox and do your thing (and don't play in a PvP server) and you can mostly ignore the others. Sure you'll deal with things I described about queues for killing monsters, people being in mines so that you don't always have as hard an experience as it's supposed to be (and don't fight as many enemies), etc, but if you don't want to socialize a game like WoW is quite receptive to it (especially when combined with the auction houses for trading). Diablo II of course is fundamentally a single player game. Guild Wars however is different... most characters really cannot function alone. However, that's where the people who really don't like playing with humans can use the henchmen to fill out a party and do it that way... so even there you aren't required to party if you don't want to... now yes there are problems with trading right now in the game, but it's not out yet so that's okay. I'm sure they'll fix that and implement a good trading system.

Now, there is one exception in GW, that is a game mode where you must play with others... the random-team PvP arena. You could just ignore it of course, but it doesn't really ask for much teamwork or anything because all the teams are random so you don't exactly have the time to form a strong group... this minimizes the impact of any of those team members being idiots. Where it does come up is in the cooperative missions if you're playing with humans instead of computers, but I just take that is one of the possible downsides of playing and will hope for a better group next time I go.
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Tue, November 30th, 2004   #17
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But if you are ignoring everyone, it might as well be a single player RPG, thus, what am I paying this fee for again?

Back to missions, really I can see many ways to incorporate ones like my example. Namely, the key puzzle artifacts hidden in chests respawn. You know they respawned when the open chest closes. The various mechanisms in the cave would be accessible by all. To add to the whole fact that this is multiplayer, having to have people activate them all simultaneously would be nice. Also, to add a sense of control, certain gates must be opened and closed with switches in other areas. Essentially, if you are playing by yourself, you could run to a gate but right then it suddenly closes, while some other gate hidden deep in the cave will suddenly open. Two paths through the expanse, you know, something like that.
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Tue, November 30th, 2004   #18
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But if you are ignoring everyone, it might as well be a single player RPG, thus, what am I paying this fee for again?

Yes, it is self-defeating... but there are very few RPGs that are that big and open that are single player. About as close as it gets is TES... so in some regards it makes sense even if you don't like partying.
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Back to missions, really I can see many ways to incorporate ones like my example. Namely, the key puzzle artifacts hidden in chests respawn. You know they respawned when the open chest closes. The various mechanisms in the cave would be accessible by all. To add to the whole fact that this is multiplayer, having to have people activate them all simultaneously would be nice. Also, to add a sense of control, certain gates must be opened and closed with switches in other areas. Essentially, if you are playing by yourself, you could run to a gate but right then it suddenly closes, while some other gate hidden deep in the cave will suddenly open. Two paths through the expanse, you know, something like that.

Right, it seems like puzzles would be easy to implement. Have the chests with puzzle items respawn, or have it be a word puzzle where everyone can talk to the person or object, or have it with switches... it seems simple, and puzzles are a fact of most RPGs except this kind, and they are missed. I'm not sure why they are so totally gone here. While there are some challenges, it doesn't seem like it's on the level that it necessitates their complete removal from the genre... I love the word puzzles in Baldur's Gate and Torment and the item-based or logic puzzles found in many RPGs and miss them in these games, now that I think about it. It'd also definitely be a way for them to vary the missions up quite a bit... WoW would be perfect for it because the game already has a very strong structure of mission sequence (unlike a lot of MMORPGs), too...

The only issue with gates is that you could just follow other players as they go do the puzzles that open the gates... and I hate to say it but the only way I can see to really avoid that is to make the gates operate by only letting people through with some special item or key. You shouldn't be able to just follow other people past the puzzles. If you're in the same party it should be different, but not for people who just happen to be near eachother... so you get some key from the location, go to the area with the switch, hit it, and then go quickly to the door (on a timer, to make it more challenging (same reason that there is the additional step of going to the switch -- it's like the item gets you through the magic barrier in the doorway, but you need to hit the swithc to open the physical door barring your passage.)), go there and go through to progress...

Areas that require multiple people should be very cautiously implemented. Not everyone likes partying and in higher level areas there will be far fewer random people around. Also, in most of these games (that is not Guild Wars) you cannot have AI teammates so you can't have someone else hit the other switches (you can't in GW either but at least if they wanted to they could probably implement it)... it's a good idea for a game based strongly around team-based play, but WoW is not that game, so I'm hesitant. Have it instead be a case where parties are advantageous because multiple heads thinking together can figure out the puzzles faster than a single one can (which would be especially true for dialogue and logic puzzles).
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Tue, November 30th, 2004   #19
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Indeed. Again, a party in an instanced zone would allow these sorts of cooperative puzzle solvings to be very well done, but then what's the point of the Massive part? Thus, the idea of what the majority of people are doing in that area affecting it so that you have to do different things, depending, would be nice.

What I was thinking of with the gates thing was more along the lines of people entering from two different sides of the vast cave, and one person innocently wandering along sees an open gate, but another person suddenly flips a lever, on their side of the gate, and it closes, but another gate opens. They flipped the lever because... I dunno, some 3rd thing happened they needed.

And yes, the cool part of a lot of RPG side quests is the puzzle aspect of them. For example in Final Fantasy 6 it was fun finding a letter with a hidden cryptic comment about the location of a hidden cave of the phoenix, which you only find when solving that riddle, then when you decend into that place you have to go through the whole thing with 3 parties switching back and forth raising and lowering water/lave/spikes or opening/closing doors and such until at the very end you find a boss and some hidden items you need to be clever to find (using classic 2D "you can walk through this suspicious wall" puzzles there). Or you know, you are wandering around the dream world and only by solving some puzzle can you find a way to get out of an endless loop, or various special items used in weird ways, because it's the dream world. That was a fun game... And then there's text ones, like in FFVIII in the best end dungeon I've played in the series (by my opinion) where you have to keep things in mind like the weight of your characters for what turn out to be scales (another multi party thing), and all sorts of paintings in some room, one without a name, and you need to find the best phrase to name that painting by reading all the other paintings in the room, finding out how the names of those relate to the image, and using all the words you picked up, well a couple of them, to name the nameless painting. And then some sort of clock puzzle, gotta have a clock puzzle. Or maybe like in FFX with spacial logic puzzles where you have like a couple different spheres that do different things and you need to find a way to connect all the weird spiritual circuitry by careful placing of the spheres, which are also needed to unlock others, and you can only carry one at a time.

That's just Final Fantasy, I already gave examples of other types of RPG puzzles, like a weird quiz given by an evil sith teacher who will kill whoever looses, but at the same time you want to find just the right balance of right and wrong to keep both you and the other guy alive, that is assuming you can manage to even give him the answers he wants for his questions (not the "right" answers mind you, the ones he WANTS from you ). Anyway, suffice it to say there are a lot of different kinds of puzzles they should be using in a lot of quests. But, we already said that. I guess I was using this as an excuse to list some of my fave RPG puzzles.
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Thu, December 2nd, 2004   #20
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If you're wondering why I haven't replied, it's because it's a bit boring having a discussion in which the participants disagree about nothing... That said, I should...
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Thu, December 2nd, 2004   #21
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I thought it was a fun conversation, like it was about to break into a brain storm on ways they could fix it. But, if fighitng is all you know...
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Fri, December 3rd, 2004   #22
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There is also the issue that it kind of seems like we've covered it... and the fact that I haven't played any of those FF games so the examples are somewhat distant.
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