The Daily Grind: Are MMOs becoming outpaced by tech?

    
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Ultima Online

Whenever I talk about Ultima Online to someone who wasn’t there when it was a big thing, I admit to feeling as if I have to justify its existence because of its graphics, which were shallow in 1997, never mind 2015. The game is still amazing, feature for feature, but it’s been eclipsed by the advance of technology.

That’s the topic an anonymous Massively Kickstarter donor wished to bring up for today’s Daily Grind. “Will MMOs keep pace with advancing technology,” he asks, “or wither?”

Personally, I think MMORPGs as a genre have kept up nicely. Look at the gorgeous eyecandy of Black Desert, the rush to adopt VR and voxel tech, the fanning out to mobile and console. “Bleeding edge” we are not, though, and MMOs, especially the indies, are showing a pronounced willingness to embrace the retro trend and fall back on older tech and design (isometric MMORPGs, anyone?) to make the games happen. But hey, at least UO will once again be in good company.

How do you see MMORPGs and tech lining up over the next few years? Are we keeping pace with tech, or are we falling behind?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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LunastariaSpiritDiva
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LunastariaSpiritDiva

ManastuUtakata They shouldn’t need to be. What matters is the fun gameplay systems and the lack of lag. Polished combat is why people play wow, even pvp players prefer wow to most pvp games, because the combat is smooth, even when Blizzard hardly ever adds new pvp content.

LunastariaSpiritDiva
Guest
LunastariaSpiritDiva

ManastuUtakata wolfyseyes Reminds me of Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, the game didn’t run on hardly anyone’s pc and is now cancelled since several years ago. If a game doesn’t get customers, it doesn’t matter how great it is ><.

LunastariaSpiritDiva
Guest
LunastariaSpiritDiva

q945 Yeah, it doesn’t matter millions play world of warcraft, no one really cares about graphics, they usually just want fun. Which means no lag, which means lower graphics to make sure there is no lag. Beautiful worlds that are lagging are just atrociously painful to play in.

LunastariaSpiritDiva
Guest
LunastariaSpiritDiva

MMOs can’t use high tech, because most customers (money source) are on older dated pcs, many people won’t ever upgrade to “gaming rigs” in order to play the new tech.

All they can ever hope for is the best economical graphics that don’t cost a lot of money/computer hardware in order to function. They have to keep in mind factors of lag at all times.

ntellect
Guest
ntellect

I honestly think technology is the wrong focus.  My question is will MMOs embrace the roots they were built on. Give us a quality virtual world to exist in.  This lobby-based instanced fad that is taking over is fun but doesn’t last long.  Its destroying what an MMO is supposed to be.  Diluting the definition in favor of growth.

Star Citizen seems to be the future. player financed titles built on the core tenets of an MMO but advancing them to shift the challenge from time-based achievement to player-created experience.  Whatever technology can implement that would be the direction I would bet on.

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

Azzura https://stratics.com/community/forums/pincos-ui.667/ If anyone wants it — it really does fix a ton of problems in the default and add tons more features. :D I haven’t played without his UI in literally years!

cromahr
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cromahr

Werewolf Finds Dragon A bit of a late reply, and maybe you don’t ever get to read this, but… I agree especially on the “plotlessness” of UO. This, I think, eventually had me lose interest, because no matter how much I loved the Ultima-franchise and UO (back then, it was still so cool to play in a world you knew from other games, but with so many other players, and having a choice to, for example, craft and trade only if you didn’t want to fight monsters 24/7), I always thought that there should be more of a background and story, and when more story was added, eg. in those events they did, it often was rather… childish or bad writing.
In the older Ultima games, there was a bit more story. Sometimes, it was silly or badly-written, but I think it was still ok that way in the 80s. However, things have changed IMO, and so it became more apparent how lackluster the story-telling in UO was.
It’s no wonder either… I recently reread the “Book Of Ultima”, kinda like a biography of Garriott and the Ultima-series, and IIRC, Garriott said he didn’t read books…had maybe read a bit of Tolkien, but most of his ideas were based on movies he had watched. Stuff like Time Bandits and other things from those 80s movies.
And it shows. No matter how much I love Ultima and UO (I still feel for those games, still remember my days in UO fondly), I just longed for more story, and GOOD story. It’s kinda sad that, when I moved on to WOW in 2005, the lore of that game (a mix of many clichés, things taken from other stories, some bad writing and actually some quite nice unique ideas) fascinated and captured me MUCH more than anything in UO had, felt so much deeper and fascinating.
Maybe my tastes have changed, but these days, I care more about good story-telling, or enjoy it when a game makes you feel like there is a deep story in it, or the “Tolkien effect”, where things hint at this incredible ancient background story even in the time you’re in. Like, when LOTR came out, the Silmarillion etc had not been published. People were fascinated that, in LOTR, there were so many hints at older stories and ancient events in Middle-Earth. They weren’t retold (yet) in the book, but feeling that there were these amazing stories in the world’s past made the Middle-Earth of the Third Age more fascinating.
That, I was kinda missing in UO. Unfortunately, it seems as if Shroud Of The Avatar is lacking in the lore/story-department a bit as well, so I don’t lnow how much I will play this game once it’s done (I am a backer and have tried it, but ofc its not done yet).
There is some ancient story in UO, like Zog and the Armageddon spell, Mondain etc, but not much, and the character-names and writing is pretty… 80s fantasy movie quality :/
Once again, Ultima was in  a different era. Things were quirkier, weirder, and most gamers didn’t expect incredibly deep and rich story-telling IMO, but I think that has changed nowadays, when so many games, from Frozen Throne to Oblivion/Morrowind, and many other games have been telling great stories

Cosmic Cleric
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Cosmic Cleric

Craywulf SWG is an old MMO, and it didn’t have levels, not at first, until SOE got the WoW envy religion.

But yeah, give me a rich world, where I can improve my character, without arbitrary leveling mechanics, any day.

Cosmic Cleric
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Cosmic Cleric

scratches16 DPandaren You’re both right and wrong.  Devs do want to cater to the largest audience, hence they target the game to the type of computers that most people own, and just say “its a technology issue.”  But, they’re right too.  Today’s PC’s and video cards don’t have the horsepower to display thousands of characters in the same area at the same time, too many polygons on the screen, and/or bottleneck communications between each client and the server passing information about every other client to each client.

Craywulf
Guest
Craywulf

Yes! MMO games still use tabletop mechanics. Leveling is one the most outdated mechanics in MMOs, because there are plenty of software technologies to advance the way we roleplay. Most people don’t associate leveling as form of roleplay, but character progression is every bit of what it means to act out your character’s story. 

Developers need to look at MMOs as competitive storytelling, as opposed to stat crunchers.