Massively OP Podcast Episode 34: Rollbacks and breakups

It was a largely upbeat week for the MMO industry, and the Massively OP podcasting team is back to bring you the good word. New games? More content? Massive rollbacks? Studio independence? We have it all this week!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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8 Comments on "Massively OP Podcast Episode 34: Rollbacks and breakups"

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plynky12
Guest
plynky12

Just wanted to say the podcast is my favourite thing you do on Massively, and I always find myself really looking forward to it coming out. Thanks, guys.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Serrenity breetoplay Truthfully, I don't think I'd have ever gone down the living story route. I think they got stuck in it and it didn't work and spent the last year scrambling to reorient. I would probably never permanently blow up beloved cities or areas or quests. I'd focus on adding classes and skills and new land areas -- and dungeons. A new dungeon or map every two months would have suited me much more. I wouldn't abandon dungeons in favor of hardcore raids in a genre that doesn't seem to want raids, either. And yeah, I'd add Cantha and Elona and the Crystal Desert.
Pipe dreams, ofc, since I have no idea what kind of budget they work with. But with an unlimited budget? Yeah, I'd try to be more like GW1 than WoW, period.

Serrenity
Guest
Serrenity

breetoplay just curious - what would you have done differently to grow the game?

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Siphaed Yeah, I don't mean everything really, truly, sucks in an unplayable, I'd-rather-be-doing-laundry way. (Some of them, though!) Usually MMOs are just a bit of an unfinished mess for that early period -- though sometimes the community makes up for it, like UO/SWG. I do agree that GW2's peak was much earlier on than most MMOs because it launched uncharacteristically solid. And I really don't agree with a lot of the changes made since. :/

spoilofthelamb
Guest
spoilofthelamb

I think AOEO was the closest I've had to a fully horizontal experience, which was maybe easier as an MMO-RTS. After a single-player tutorial, everything was unlocked and there was full access to PVE defense missions and PVP maps on equal footing. Skills could be earned and slotted that altered units' stats (sometimes with drawbacks), but starting players were provided with a set of them that was balanced well against the others so that they weren't at a disadvantage. There were some PVE benefits for crafters that could add units for your team in co-operative instances, but they were disabled in PVP. Engame rewards were cosmetic upgrades to cities (statues that you could place in your town-base in the social map) and the aformentioned alternative skillsets (advantages for disadvantages). 

Unfortunately it's demise could be attributed to the lack of vertical progression, unsustainable business model (FTP civilizations, with optional BTP alternatives that were equally balanced), extensive use of an unpopular chat client for grouping purposes that forced developers to either shut down with it or face a too-expensive revamp (Games for Windows Live), and the expectations of RTS players and fans of the brand to have offline play.

I have yet to find an alternative, but am hopeful we can look to future MMO-RTS games to offer horizontal-based design. I have a hard time imagining RTS players accepting vertical progression in the sense of a traditional MMO. Managing power-level upgrades with resource allocation and cost is where the fun and skill of playing an RTS match comes from, and it would be hard to keep it fun without that.

DOTA II is another decent example, though that's less of an MMO than AOEO was (no levels/crafting/AH/PVE)

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

Bree you should try console Diablo 3 it works extremely well using a controller.  The Van Helising series of arpg on pc isn't quite as smooth but is still pretty decent controller wise.  
Most games can work well with controllers you just have to make the effort to design the ui to suit them.  However most companies create a one size fits all ui and mash  keyboard and mouse / controller users into it, which is no good for either and compromises the play experience for everyone.   It does save development time and money but only at the expense of the players experience. 
Hopefully Gazillion have gone the dedicated controller ui route for Marvel Heroes.  If they have I see no reason why it can't work for the folks who wish to use a controller.

Siphaed
Guest
Siphaed

First part of the first question was a bit wrong.  WoW's expansions have never included 30-days subscription, not a one of them. WoD cost $50 and still required a player to pay the $15 month to get it (glad that Bree caught that near the end of the answer).    So to just play the first month of WoD at its launch, a player would have coughed up $65! And that is only for that one month with a continued requirement of $15 each month afterwards. Ouch!

Guild Wars 2 was $60 for the core game that has provided tons of entertaining content for 3 years!  Not a single dime more need be invested.    So with $50 for the expansion to also not include a dime more for at least a year [before the next expansion] or so more of content is not bad at all!  In fact, that is a HUGE value for the player.

[Comment to Bree:  GW2 didn't "suck for at least 2 years".  This past year of nearly entirely lacking content between January and now -no,I don't count the reintroduced LA that was sitting destroyed a year after Scarlett blue it up, or the Chinese rehash, I mean "New Years", or the kinda bad Mordrem invasion thingy as 'content'- has been the biggest suck for Guild Wars 2 since launch.  Those first 2 years of the game with the Living Stories, the events, and just everything was just so enjoyable. I can only hope that post-HoT recreates that same magic.]

Justin's imitation of Ash just wasn't very 'groovy'....

TomTurtle
Guest
TomTurtle

In regard to the second e-mail question, I like how you two were fine with not quite knowing any good answer and were open to learning by asking for input from the commenters. A willing to learn. More people could stand to have such a mentality.
Also, I appreciate accessible games like Trove. It's nice to turn to something simple to jump in and out of for fun and not worry about any significant progression grind. (I'm aware Trove doesn't escape that problem, but my experience with the game was some casual gameplay.)

I'm going to guess someone ran over a person costumed as a deer or they intentionally shot them thinking they were a deer? Hmm. I could go darker but I won't. Just make sure you have some bright neon light to signify that you're actually just a person and you should be fine. :P

What won't Blizzard change about WoW these days? It's like a rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs in design. That's not to say they don't make good changes in there, but they sure aren't afraid of instability that's for sure.

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