Pantheon hopes to ‘bring back the magic’ of classic MMOs ‘without the tedium’

Gamers Nexus has a timely video interview with Pantheon’s Brad McQuaid that might allay the fears of those watching the development of his old-school MMO.

“The main thing we want to bring back is a social game, a cooperative game, where players need each other, […] have time to make real friendships, [and] can really call the game a home,” McQuaid tells the interviewer, acknowledging the challenge of mixing newer gamers who are interested in co-op PvE play (but unaccustomed to it) and older gamers who miss old-school play but lack time for excesses.

“A lot of the needless repetition, too much grinding, sitting there for hours working on your factions… and we’re trying to keep the sessions shorter,” he explains. “We’re targeting around a two-hour session so that a person can still log on with his friends, play a couple of hours, and have a sense of accomplishment. […] And it doesn’t have to be a six-, eight-, ten-hour crazy session because it’s just not really compatible with people’s lives anymore. […] If we can bring back that magic without the tedium or the excessive time or the excessive grind, I think that’s the way to go.”

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dmdrew
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dmdrew

JulieLalonde dmdrew Oh nice. I was on Terris-Thule. Just reading your comments have brought back so many memories, haha. Boy do I miss that game. Was your main a cleric?

JulieLalonde
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JulieLalonde

dmdrew  I was on Saryrn!

dmdrew
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dmdrew

JulieLalonde disUserNameTake couldn’t agree more, Julie -_-  what EQ server were you on?

OldSchool101
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OldSchool101

Union Jack Great post. Couldn’t agree more

OldSchool101
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OldSchool101

disUserNameTake Wow, just wow, another GW2 post. Do you work for them and troll other games previews to push GW2?

OldSchool101
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OldSchool101

disUserNameTake Every post you make includes a GW2 mention. Fan Boi much? You cant compare every MMO ( I would call GW2 a Massively Single Player Online Game) to GW2.

OldSchool101
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OldSchool101

Denice J Cook U MAD BRO ?

OldSchool101
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OldSchool101

disUserNameTake How old are you? 16? Vocal players? We older crowd haven’t had a chess game of an MMO release for eons! I enjoy thoughtful grouped content. I despise A.D.D. twitch based combat. Call me old fashioned but I am grateful to Brad and team at VR for giving us critical thinker crowd of gamers an MMO to call home.

Hanthos
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Hanthos

GreyHostGC Hanthos Greaterdivinity  Character Stat and Attributes.You had much greater control over how your characters stat’s advanced and you gained level. Points weren’t automatically put in areas like most games are these days. You had a say in the process.

The crafting system. The crafting system was a mini-game that required the player to actually participate in rather than point, click and walk away. Choices had to be made at every step of the process to create an item and added some uniqueness to it. Overall, the crafting system was the most involved that I’ve ever played in an mmo and was quite deep. It was not something that one could master quickly. I would recommend googling Vanguard Crafting and maybe watch one of the fan videos posted.

Diplomacy. Hated by some, loved by many. Diplomacy was a mini-game that played like a CCG that had it’s own series of questlines and rewards. It also allowed you to influence the civics within cities and create crafting buffs for all players that were crafting within that city. In later dungeons, having a higher level Diplomat was a necessity to proceed. It was just another mechanic that tried to allow a themepark to begin bridging the gap to being more sandboxy as there were multiple ways with which to interact with the game world beyond killing mobs.

JulieLalonde
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JulieLalonde

GreyHostGC JulieLalonde disUserNameTake  I remember needing to take shifts to camp for the cleric epic :)  People would go to bed and then wake up and take another shift.  24 hours of camping,  good times :) But that’s cooperation at its finest.   No single person would be able to do a 24 hour camp but when you put a 70+ person guild at their back it’s a party.

oneeyered
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oneeyered

PaganRites disUserNameTake Yea because us old schooler’s (because some of you feel a need to lump us all together) want to camp a spot for 7 days with a group of 30 to get one wizard item drop. You can have EQ back; I grew up and moved on and I don’t have the time or patience for arduous events like that anymore. 

There needs to be progress and balance along with some form of sensibility. Anyone who thinks back to the above quest I am referring to and thinks “yes, so full of awesomeness!” needs a mental examination. There was nothing awesome about it at all…

GreyHostGC
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GreyHostGC

mrnastybutler I think there’s some responsibility on the devs to make putting together groups straight forward but not easy.  Easy is WoWs group finder (which ruined it’s community on the inside of 30 days).  Possibly a list of players that have flagged them selves LFG that you could contact to see about grouping.  I would hesitate to endorse any system that automated any part of the process.

GreyHostGC
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GreyHostGC

Hanthos Greaterdivinity This intrigues me, as someone that never played Vanguard what are some of the key elements that should be included?

GreyHostGC
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GreyHostGC

Tethyss This is a great comment Tethyss and a solid observation.  I think, in the end, we will end up with a game that very closely resembles EQ but formatted in such a way that allows people with more reasonable time frames available to them to feel “immersed” in the world and social atmosphere and attempt to capture that old school EQ feel.

There’s also a bit of a preference divide here as the things you point out that are negatives to you (fizzles, trinity, death penalty and limited travel) make me giddy with excitement.

GreyHostGC
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GreyHostGC

JulieLalonde disUserNameTake I camped the Ghoulbane for 8 hours and had a riot of a time socializing with those helping me and those just online at the time.  While I don’t want 8 hour camping to be necessary for an awesome piece of loot I do want the nicer items in the game to be hard to obtain and take time/effort.  And in most cases I would prefer it includes finding people to help.

GreyHostGC
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GreyHostGC

So many great comments here.  I wanted to respond to many of them but March Madness has dominated my time.  You can really see the division between old school MMO’ers who look at 2hrs/night as standard and modern MMO gamers who look for shorter time frames.  Neither is right or wrong but the former fits this game while the latter could still progress, alebit possibly slower.

After playing BDO, I long for challenge, slow leveling and social interaction.  Can’t do anymore of these fast paced wipe the floor with everything and keep your mouth shut while doing it MMOs.

MarkusTender
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MarkusTender

This is the last hope for old school mmo players :-)

JulieLalonde
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JulieLalonde

CatlinMiller disUserNameTake I totally agree.  In WoW you’d have the best in slot gears,  and you’d have this list “If you were are so and so class,  you want this drop off of this mob in this instance for this slot”.   End result,  a whole bunch of people with the exact same gear and the exact same augments casting the exact same spells because that is what is the most efficient.   In EQ you couldn’t necessarily copy someone else’s gear,  because they came from rare mobs,  were rare drops,  on non instanced content, and that was awesome.

JulieLalonde
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JulieLalonde

disUserNameTake And I really really miss the days where that one piece of gear that I really wanted was a rare drop off a named mob in the bottom of a dungeon. I much prefered that than having random greens and blues and purples just dropping off of trash mobs,  or having a small loot table in an instanced zone so that every single person could have the same gear.  
And I do think that the current crop of games is lacking in a certain type of social interaction, and that’s players having reputations that matter.   You can totally play GW2 or WoW in a bubble,  only ever seeing the same people,  only ever talking to the same people.   I played WoW for a few years,  I only really knew the people in my own guild.  I had absolutely no reason to need to interact with anyone else.   The auction house took care of any selling for me.   The travels were taken care of so I didn’t need to track down ports.  Death was a non issue so I didn’t have to track down rezes.    Tradeskills were easy so you rarely needed to track down someone to do a combine.     Contrast that with EQ,  where (pre-Luclin) I had to advertise my wares by myself.   I had to talk to people in different guilds to get things done.   There was a big incentive to not be a dick because you’d probably need something from that person somewhere down the line.  (NEVER piss off the enchanters!).   Tradeskills were damn difficult and would take a year+ to master,  hundreds of hours of farming.   So not everyone and their twink were tailors or blacksmiths.   You’d ask around and you’d learn who had the skill to do the combines,  and it was really only a handful of people per server.     So I think that was a much more “social” game than WoW.   To me social does not mean “You are able to talk to people”,  but more “You rely on others to get things done”.   A social game is not played in a vacuum and relies on interaction.

CatlinMiller
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CatlinMiller

Tethyss “In the interview he mentions limited quick travel and steep punishment for death (loss of items, potentially, wait till “beta”)
How is any of this any better than EQ was?”
He also mentions that these will have to be tweaked… you’ll get a large amount of feedback just from those alpha players when they get to that point. Those players will be the core system testers and will help with just making the game playable, helping to adjust these systems. Brad and his team have been asking the community for suggestions and what everyone likes… this game is largely driven by the players who have been following it and will continue to be built of the backs of those who are looking forward to this game type. Once you start allowing a wider variety of players in during Beta and Open-Beta then they’ll further adjust some of the those aspects of the game further to appeal to both groups of players without going out of the feel that they were seaking. It’s all just a balancing act.

CatlinMiller
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CatlinMiller

disUserNameTake CatlinMiller I tend to disagree… You can’t get this sense of community from what’s out there. I played Tera and you don’t have to group at all. GW2 you don’t even have to have different classes really… everything feels the same. Even BDO doesn’t require grouping to beat content. There is no requirement to interact with anyone in those games and hardly any requirement for different classes till end game.
Now suppose you have a system like Vanguard’s mob difficulty system though. You’ll have group mobs and solo mobs. Solo mobs will always net you less exp and cause a slow in the leveling, but you can do that grind if you want. Group mobs though will reward those who build those friendships or are involved in the community… having essential classes like D&D style games allows people to feel accomplished in knowing their class and not just spamming buttons like GW2. I’ve noticed in games that have a strong community base that you have less harassment because those people usually don’t progress very far in the game if they can’t get along with others.
Also just because other games have abandoned a mechanic doesn’t mean that it was wise… I tend to like the drops from specific mobs. Tends to make sense to make people use different areas. Theme park style games will use the style you’re suggesting because people will have to move through those areas to progress anyways… it’s no fun forcing people to follow a set path. Sandbox games like EQ, Vanguard, and what Pantheon are will allow players to move around the vast world and find quests/monsters their level and get items that make characters unique(item balancing comes into play here also). These games have also been based in requiring players to learn character stats for strategy and improving their character… not just oh this sword or armor has better overall stats. Having diverse stats on items allows players to converse about drops and tends to push players into areas that they might not have tried to retrieve items to complement their character build. This leads to more community involvement and more utilization of the game world.

se7engames
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se7engames

Must have integrated voice chat to help with that socialness! :)

Tandor Shadewalker
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Tandor Shadewalker

Tethyss “I agree 100% in promoting social activity and bonding.  That makes a game last much longer than if you just solo your way through most of the content.”

I agree with the first sentence, but not automatically with the second. Whether a game lasts longer if you socialise rather than solo is entirely down to the individual. Moreover, without wishing to open the whole Pandora’s Box of Soloing in MMOs, there is the question of whether it is necessary to be forever grouped in combat in order to socialise with other players.

I’m all for this game encouraging and rewarding group play, but if it doesn’t also render solo play viable then it will have only a very limited market appeal in the modern MMO world. There’s no harm in making such a niche product, in much the same way that CU is being developed as a niche RvRvR game with no PvE content, so long as they are not aiming for anything more successful than that.

Damonvile
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Damonvile

Samizdat mrnastybutler City of heroes was always super easy to get a group going. Even with it’s small populations. Mostly because you could make almost any group make up work. It didn’t get rid of the trinity, it just made other tactics viable.

Samizdat
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Samizdat

mrnastybutler It isn’t hard to find groups by definition if there are good LFG tools. What makes grouping hard is when there’s a lot of different things to do and each activity or piece of content has a very narrow range of players its applicable to. Systems like leveling up or down to do content while still receiving rewards, or allowing broad level ranges in groups help significantly.

Mimiros
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Mimiros

I am excited for something that isn’t  only a loot treadmill, I am so sick of modern MMOs.

Belegorm
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Belegorm

Tethyss More of an incremental upgrade (hopefully) over EQ, rather than the post-WoW MMO’s that have kind of thrown that system away.  Those aren’t “grind mechanics,” those are systems that make you actually have to cooperate and rely on your comrades and combine your abilities with theirs to succeed.  It’s the “trinity” (well tank, healing, dps, cc, buffers, debuffers pullers, , etc.), because no MMO has actually figured out how to do good group content beyond the trinity so far.  If you don’t have the trinity (or whatever will replace the trinity in the future), you get the GW2 model:  everyone is now a DPS, you kind of wail on 90% of mobs, and kite everything else to death in dungeons.  You have the ability to link mobs so there is an actual puller role; hopefully yours has a monicum of skill to avoid those links.

I’ve played most of the modern MMO’s and unlimited fast travel and no real death penalty both hurt immersion.  Being able to teleport anywhere at the drop of a hat reduces the world to a bunch of spots you go to do your stuff; no need to explore that mid-level zone once you outlevel it.  Dungeon finds hurt the world identity as well.  Lack of any real death penalty means you can pretty much grind mobs forever with no sense of danger, and go anywhere you want without any sense of danger.

Whether or not it’ll improve on EQ I don’t know, but if I want a real(er), dangerous open world with real cooperative play between me and my party at the moment I really only have EQ1 to play.  Not that I can really because that game is impenetrable to me; I’m a FFXI player, aka “Japanese EQ.”

ammalis
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ammalis

mrnastybutler Rifts auto-grouping was nice idea…

JulieLalonde
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JulieLalonde

disUserNameTake Veldan  I think the big difference is that games like GW2 are more “Bring the player,  not the class”. Meaning that you could probably mash any combination of classes together and have a viable group because each class can do more than one thing.    A game like EQ was VERY much “Bring the class,  not the player”.   The content was tuned for a decently equipped and well balanced group.  You’d need a *cleric* for the rez,  even though other classes could heal somewhat.  In some instances you’d want crowd control,  or a puller.  Some good damage dealers but you probably didn’t want to be TOO dependent on mana because there were no mana drinks to drink between pulls.   There were pros and cons to having a melee heavy or a caster heavy group.   Some classes were less desirable in groups,  like my druid.  To offset,  I was able to solo fairly well,  but all the abilities that made me solo well weren’t all that useful for groups,  so that was the tradeoff.

Tethyss
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Tethyss

I agree 100% in promoting social activity and bonding.  That makes a game last much longer than if you just solo your way through most of the content.
However, in the pre-pre-alpha demo they demonstrated classic EQ grind mechanics such as spell fizzles, forced grouping with holy trinity (tank+heals+dps+cc?), linked mobs, etc.
In the interview he mentions limited quick travel and steep punishment for death (loss of items, potentially, wait till “beta”)
How is any of this any better than EQ was?

mrnastybutler
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mrnastybutler

I can understand his idea.  Though, I always remember back in the days of when this idea of “grouping” was popular in MMO’s I’d sometimes sit around for 30 to 45 minute posting in chat that I was looking for a party before I could actually get to play the game.  I hope they figure out someway of bypassing this annoyance.  I have not idea of how to do it, just hope one is found.

PaganRites
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PaganRites

disUserNameTake Veldan GW2 hybrid classes made them boring as hell.  Many people want the holy trinity in their MMOs.  That is one of the things that appeals to me when it comes to Pantheon.  Distinct class roles and dependency on group to accomplish goals.  So many of today’s MMOs you can solo through cap.  What is the point of an MMO when you can solo to cap?  It’s things like this that have ruined the genre for many people.

PaganRites
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PaganRites

NoctisGray Uh, WoW isn’t considered a golden age MMO.  Dark Age of Camelot, Everquest, UO all preceded WoW and were hugely popular.

PaganRites
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PaganRites

disUserNameTake “I’m not sure this guy understands the mindset of most gamers nowadays”  That’s why Pantheon isn’t geared towards ‘most gamers’.  The game is going to be for a niche audience and has always been designed as such.  There’s nothing about Pantheon’s game design that’s meant to appeal to the mainstream.  It’s a game for classic EQ fans and people who want some old school back in their MMO.

MadMadChuck
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MadMadChuck

Damonvile Not to mention that not many young kids dig MMOs despite free time they may have. 10-15 years ago, that younger generation got into MMOs really hardcore. Those same people still love the genre but have far less time (in most cases).
Kids today enjoy more fast paced games.

disUserNameTake
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disUserNameTake

I’m not sure this guy understands the mindset of most gamers nowadays or what people actually want in gear progression systems.  Most people playing MMOs do not like having to grind specific mobs to try and get a specific rare loot drop, which is why you tend to see other alternative systems in more recent offerings.  The mechanic is fraught with annoyance and boredom, especially outside instanced content, where you then get multiple groups competing for the same mobs/drops (if loot is not instanced to each player).  There is a reason the old system has not been carried into the current generation of MMOs, by and large, and that’s because most people find it frustrating/boring/annoying.  I think a game which reverts to the older mechanic is not going to find much of an enthusiastic reception.

disUserNameTake
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disUserNameTake

CatlinMiller

“the sense of accomplishment of working with others to fulfill some questing and get item drops to progress characters with people who become friends”

And why can’t you get this sense of accomplishment from what’s already out there?  I think it is a fallacy to suppose that a sense of group accomplishment is missing in most of the popular MMOs these days because it isn’t.

“If you have never felt the bond of working for the chance of a drop with a group of friends”

The mechanic of having specific rare drops on a certain mob has mostly been abandoned, because most people do not like it.  They find it frustrating and annoying to grind the same mob over and over again to play the RNG.  That’s why most recent games have moved towards earning currency which you can then spend to buy the items you want.

CatlinMiller
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CatlinMiller

Brad is attempting to build community… this probably won’t be an MMO like others have been used to in the recent years. This isn’t Tera, GW2, or even BDO. This game is being made to appeal to those of us that want the sense of accomplishment of working with others to fulfill some questing and get item drops to progress characters with people who become friends. 
If you have never felt the bond of working for the chance of a drop with a group of friends(like the older D&D tabletop gaming), or the thrill of looking at the experience bar and knowing you did more good than harm that night then you probably won’t get the thrill out of this game that most of us old school gamers are seeking.
What kept people around for EQ and Vanguard was community even when other games were coming out and you capped your characters.

VoySy
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VoySy

melissaheather VoySy Kill 10 rat quests, spawn camping,  dig hundreads/thousands of ore,  script-scaled dungeons, generally all MMO-ey content that is not custom hand made but instead relies of simple repetition of simple tasks.

paul2724
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paul2724

disUserNameTake Veldan I’ll jump in here as I agree with Veldan…  For myself I like the more defined roles in a group – GW2 was too ill defined for my taste and I found the group play terrible.  But each to their own :)  (the world design and insta-teleports every few feet also killed GW2 for me)

disUserNameTake
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disUserNameTake

GreyHostGCDugFromTheEarth How do the proposed systems in Pantheon differ from things like world events and bosses in games such as GW2?  Is the game attempting to bring anything new to the table?  (Honestly wondering.)

disUserNameTake
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disUserNameTake

Veldan Maybe you can enlighten me.  What appeals to you about this game?  What didn’t you like about GW2?  Is Pantheon proposing to do much beyond having monsters in the world that need multiple players to kill or is there more beyond this simple mechanic?

GreyHostGC
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GreyHostGC

ZenDadaist Yeah I get that, while it’s not my playstyle (I am smack dab in the middle of his 2hrs/night group), I think simple things like limited rested xp can help bridge that gap without changing the game much.

GreyHostGC
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GreyHostGC

disUserNameTake DugFromTheEarth It’s worth a deeper look, however if you aren’t fond of social-centered group content w/o instant group finders it may only lead to you continuing to not like it.

Veldan
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Veldan

disUserNameTake Veldan I understand that GW2 is succesful. I’ve played it, and saw that it was. I also disliked it, and would never want mechanics like that. Different games appeal to different people. Pantheon appeals to me, but I can’t imagine it being appealing to anyone who likes the way GW2 did things. Hence my previous comment.

disUserNameTake
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disUserNameTake

DugFromTheEarth Seems like just another fantasy grinder with limited appeal to me, but I’ll admit I haven’t been following this title too closely.

disUserNameTake
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disUserNameTake

Veldan GW2 has done grouping successfully by building an MMO from the ground up with these kinds of considerations in mind, catering to a modern player base.  For instance, aside from Living Story and a few other single player quest lines, the world “heart” quests and events allow people to participate by just showing up.  World bosses are similar, in that you just go to right place at the right time and you have a de facto group.  No need to even look for one in a group finder or social hub.  I just don’t see a return to previous mechanics being all that appealing to those who have experienced something more modern.

But to each his own — perhaps this game will find enough of an audience to sustain itself (doubt it but certainly possible).

JulieLalonde
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JulieLalonde

Exactly,  WoW was a later generation,  it came out at the same time as EQ2.   Many of us consider Everquest to be THE standard.  How much of that is due to it actually being superior and how much is due to rose colored glasses though,  I don’t know.

Veldan
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Veldan

Denice J Cook Vaporware? You must have missed the gameplay video earlier this week.

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