Massively Overthinking: MMOs that need VR


Man, our Kickstarter backers are fixated on virtual reality. It’s almost as if you guys are really tech-savvy and into gaming immersion or something!

Today’s Massively Overthinking question is indeed VR-related and comes to us from donor Dividion:

“Which released, first-person-playable MMO do you feel would benefit the most from implementing VR technology?”

So which MMO really, truly could benefit from VR, right now? Let’s do this!

Brendan Drain (@nyphur): Aside from the obvious applications such as EVE Online’s walking in stations (assuming it’s ever expanded upon) or Star Citizen’s avatar gameplay (which isn’t released), I honestly can’t imagine VR and current MMOs mixing well. Mouse look and keyboard controls are far faster and more intuitive than physically turning your head, and the situational awareness required for action-heavy combat works best in third person with a zoomed out field of view. VR seems like a simple way to increase immersion in a virtual world, but most of the MMOs we have at the moment are pretty awful at being virtual worlds. As it stands, I think VR will be just a gimmick in MMOs for those who want a massive screen in front of their eyes or want to explore the game world more immersively. If VR takes off in gaming, perhaps we’ll see more MMOs in the future pitched as full-fledged virtual worlds and designed specifically around exploration and for the first person perspective. I’d love that to happen, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I think VR would be a huge boon to The Secret World. The game is so atmosphere-driven that VR could only improve on that — plus I think it’d help hide some of the game’s more fugly bits (sorry!). I’m pretty sure TSW with VR would be terrifyingly awesome.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): The funny thing is that having played Elite: Dangerous with a VR headset at PAX East, I saw how much the game benefited from having the headset… and how little that mattered, on a whole. It certainly made the game more immersive at the time, but it didn’t actually improve the gameplay at all. It was just… there. So I don’t think that it would really benefit most games, but I’ll give a nod to Elite for making the most out of the technology in the cockpit.

Jef Reahard (@jefreahard): I’d like to see it in The Elder Scrolls Online, since the world design and the generally high level of immersion are its strengths anyway. If I can cheat and go with a dead MMO, I’d say Star Wars Galaxies and in particular the space game portion of SOE’s sci-fi sandbox. Flying an X-Wing or a YT-2400 in VR would pretty much be the pinnacle of gaming for me.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): I can’t help but think that Guild Wars 2’s gorgeous world would be pretty incredible in first-person VR, especially with some of those vistas! It would be a bear to fight in, however — most action combat would without that over-the-shoulder vision. I wouldn’t mind seeing a virtual Lord of the Rings Online either, especially considering that most people who play do so because they want to be immersed in Middle-earth.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): Well, we have all ready seen Elite: Dangerous work very well with VR. It’s a lot of fun and since your character is immobile, it really immerses you in the game. The only other MMO-style game that might benefit from VR would maybe be PlanetSide 2. Of course, the foot soldier controls might feel funny, but the vehicles would be great.

Tina Lauro (@purpletinabeans): EVE Online’s avatar-based stuff would totally benefit from it, and I reckon it’d make people much more invested in those avatars instead of being heavily invested in the ships that go boom periodically. They already have a room with a big-screen TV, but they’d need to open up stations and expand it considerably.

Your turn!

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