The Daily Grind: Would you like more MMOs to offer browser-based clients?

There was a time when it seemed like the downloadable client was going to be an inevitable casualty of the march of technology. Games like City of Steam bet themselves entirely on the idea that you could just play a full MMO in your browser, no client download needed. Why waste time with streaming clients like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars 2 when you could just load up your browser?

Except that anyone with memory will realize that’s not even close to what happened. While various games have experimented with lowering the time between “start downloading” and “start playing,” at the end of the day we’re still downloading clients to play. It’s arguable that having more MMO options on central services like Steam has actually done more for availability, as you don’t need to hunt the titles down individually.

But just because there was never a huge sea change that completely rewrote the way we download and play MMOs doesn’t mean that the core idea doesn’t have merits. A browser-based game has a smaller footprint, after all, and it also means you can play from a wider variety of computers. Heck, some games like RuneScape have done quite well while embracing browser clients. So what do you think? Would you like to see more MMOs offer browser-based clients? Or was that a notion that’s really been made obsolete and irrelevant with more mobile gaming options?

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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Alex Malone

No

I am all about trying to create the perfect game. We see game developers making the same mistakes over and over again, struggling to get traction of half-baked ideas or rehashing the same shit over and over and wondering why they aren’t a success.

The MMO space is even worse, we have a very limited selection already and most are shit, repeating the mistakes we’ve known about for 15 years.

Moving them to browser or mobiles is a step in the wrong direction. The reduced performance automatically means it’ll be a worse game and is unlikely to actually be an MMO. So, I fully reject the idea.

That said, I am in favour of having certain features of MMOs be accessible through a browser. I have long thought that MMOs should open up access to guild features through the web, so that we can have things like guild calendars, event signups, DKP/suicide kings, guild applications, notices etc all accessible in game and via the web. Maybe extend this to chat systems too. SW:TOR originally advertised such a feature – we were told we would be able to manage our companions when not in game. That proved to be a lie, but the idea was solid – being able to micromanage our team (crafting) via the web.

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Mimo

I really like the performance gain of dedicated clients.

With that said, I also like the platform independence of browser games. I think it stinks to need Windows, or whatever specific OS the client requires, to play a game. (Tbh, games are the only reason I still use Windows.)

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Reht

GeForce Now (cloud gaming) will provide some alternatives to that – as long as your OS will allow you to run their app, the rest is done on their PCs. It’s currently in beta and am curious at what their pricing structure will be.

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Modrain

In a world where browser didn’t consume lots of extra memory on top of the game, where loadings were as fast as from the web that they are from SSDs, where stability and overall performance were assured when using a browser, sure.

But we’re not in this world. At least not yet.

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peor togs

I’m going to buck the trend.

I’d like more HTML5 games. There is no reason you can’t get wow type graphics on a web browser mmo.

More difficult to hack code. Faster to play. Easier to play on more machines. More accessable when you travel.

What’s not to like? The only thing I can think of is wanting really high end graphics, and that would be a limiting factor.

I did like Earth Eternal while it was up and going. Gameplay is more important than graphics, at least for me.

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Reht

Not really, i tinkered around in BSG online when it came out and performance was meh. The convenience could be nice, but i am a lot more excited about the potential of GeForce Now than i would be about any browser based MMO.

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Pandalulz

As others have said, I can’t trust Chrome or FF to open a web page, the thing it’s designed to open, without taking a crap. I wouldn’t trust it with anything more challenging than that.

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peor togs

You don’t trust Firefox?…

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Paragon Lost

No.

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Loopy

I would have to go with no. The sacrifices in performance are not worth the “convenience”.

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Cosmic Cleric

No. Why handicap your gameplay (stability, fps, GPU effectiveness), if you don’t have to.

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Roger Christie

Nope. Or only in very rare cases.