The Daily Grind: Does ambition make you skeptical of MMO development?

    
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The Daily Grind: Does ambition make you skeptical of MMO development?

I freely admit that I am a bit leery of ambition in game design. Not because it’s an inherently bad thing, mind you, but because it often seems to indicate that the development team for a game is writing checks that it can’t cash. Overreaching ambtion often leads to ideas getting trimmed back, and when the defining element of a title is ambitious design principles, that results in far less of a game than we would have had if the developers had planned more reasonably.

I admire the goals of the team behind Rebel Horizons, for example, but I’m dubious that anyone could pull it off successfully. I admired the design goals behind EverQuest Next, and I see where that ended. The goals behind Ryzom were commendable, but they were trimmed down into the game’s current state, which has very few dedicated adherents.

Of course, saying “ambition is bad” consigns us to a world wherein everything is just slightly iterative improvements on what already exists. But there are certain sorts of ambitions and certain far-reaching plans that do give me pause when considering whether or not a game will launch successfully. What about you, dear readers? Does ambition make you skeptical about an MMO’s development?

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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Zubeneschamali
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Zubeneschamali

Ambition is not bad. Its just developers don’t keep it under their hats until they succeed with their plans and those plans work well with other systems they want to include. They really should just shut up and make their game. If it works out well, yay! If not, at least the players were not expecting a nebula full of stars only to get dud asteroids.

quark1020
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quark1020

I feel like a broken record, but I’ll say it one more time: I’ll buy it based on what I see, not what I’m promised. I “support” ambitions, dreams, great ideas, and all other Disney/Children’s story lessons. Just don’t expect me to toss money at them until AFTER they deliver, or at the very least offer enough of a product to make the cost worth it.

RolanStorm
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RolanStorm

No. All successful MMORPG were ambitious. Whether I trust ambitious declarations and advertising is another matter entirely.

zyrusticae
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zyrusticae

Ket_Viliano Karl_Hungus blackcat7k I would presume the guy who keeps talking about building a wall without any plans for who’s going to build it is the example above.

zyrusticae
Guest
zyrusticae

Peregrine_Falcon To be fair, most pre-release game footage is accompanied by some kind of disclaimer that relieves them from fallibility in that scenario. 
It’s kind of scummy, but they can get away with pretty much saying anything when they say that “game is still in development, features are subject to change” and that sort of thing. Which, naturally, is good reason to be skeptical if their statements seem to be pie-in-the-sky proclamations.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

All good games are alike; each bad game is bad in its own way.

The problem with teams that announce they’re going to turn the whole world on its head is that, without exception, they haven’t any idea how it got the right way up in the first place. It’s not so much “ambition” that is bad as simply ignorance of the prior art in your field. More often than not, all these teams wind up doing is inventing dozens of brand new ways to make the same mistakes all over again.

That doesn’t mean there is room for nothing new in the world, as long as it is new and good. Making it new could mean doing something that nobody ever has tried. Making it good almost always means taking a hard look at how it has been done well before, and then shamelessly doing exactly the same.

dorn2
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dorn2

Ambition in MMO design seems kind of iffy for one reason:  Everything out there is so bad. 

Ever since vanilla WoW has been having huge content droughts.  You think they could do that if they had any real competition?  So I have to wonder why people need to be ambitious.  I think they should aim for not sucking and work their way up.

Imagine if someone in Wildstar had said “Instead of this huge hardcore anit-cupcake campain maybe we should make some decent casual dungeons?”

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

thatchefdude Ket_Viliano  What most of these games ought to do is just make a multiplayer game set in the world of the proposed MMO, and get an initial audience going to build a franchise. Rome, and WoW, and CoD, were not built in a day. By starting with a more limited scope, and getting the gameplay down pat, they would start building up a fanbase to buy the bigger game. Start small, work your way up, etc. But no, everyone wants to shoot for the moon long before they know how to launch a hobby rocket bought from the store.
WoW got big by starting with Diablo as a gameplay base, setting the game in the Warcraft world with three RTS games worth of lore, in an Everquest style game made much more accessible. I have a similar start small and work it up big type plan that am going to follow. These things take years in planning and execution, no reason to announce a project with big dreamy eyes until you have something to show and amaze the audience with.

arktourosx
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arktourosx

Yangers I mean GW2 has always had a ridiculous amount of content and early on easily updated the game twice over with new content to do but made a huge mistake in making all that content temporary which is just silly (why work on something that’s only available once?).

Ket_Viliano
Guest
Ket_Viliano

thatchefdude Ket_Viliano  Yes, that would help, OFC, however it splits the player base. For a game with a zillion players, that might not be a bad idea. For a smaller game, it sux, imho. Darfall was best when everyone was on one server.
This sort of thing is what I mean by a design challenge. How big is the expected player base? Do you want a game like EvE or early Darkfall with everyone in one gameworld? Will there be enough players? Will there be too many players, making a continental or regional split feasible? What kind of game is this to be? Stuff like that.
Anyway, thanks for reading my rant, I really needed to get it off my chest. :)