The Daily Grind: Would you play an older MMO with completely new graphics?

    
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Butter face.

Gosh, City of Heroes is still a wonderful game… but boy, it really does show its age when I look at it now. The downside of polygon graphics is that they tend to age a fair bit worse than good pixel art, which is why it’s currently a bit hard to look at the mitten hands and flat faces of CoH without being reminded that this is basically a PlayStation game in terms of visual presentation. And darn it, if we could have this game but with the graphical engine of even just Champions Online, no other changes…

It’s really hard to justify building a totally new graphics engine for the same game; I don’t know how much effort it would take to, say, build a version of Guild Wars using the graphical engine of Guild Wars 2, but I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s not worth the effort. And yet for some titles it barely even matters; the graphics are older, but Final Fantasy XI still looks gorgeous and I’ve never found myself thinking that it really needs a whole new graphical engine. So let’s take this into the realm of the hypothetical and ask if you would play a completely older MMO with completely new graphics. Nothing about the actual game will change in the slightest, the systems and balance issues and all remain identical, but the graphics are all new. Would you play one, and which game?

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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Fenrir Wolf

I wouldn’t be interested, graphics don’t do much to improve the experience for me. Hyper-fidelity isn’t something I find much joy in, whereas good aesthetics are timeless (see Okami).

What I’d rather see is developers creating more MMORPGs targeted at niches, properly budgeted to be able to profit off of them. Opting instead for much lower fidelity and odd, unusual gameplay coupled with contemporary QoL design.

I’d love an exploration and crafting game again, like Istaria; where I play a dragon, like Istaria; and where the soul-sucking grind is greatly reduced to reasonable, contemporary levels, unlike Istaria.

There are so many experiences that could be offered to players in games that targeted those niche demographics. You could have races that offer genuinely unique play experiences, even. Such as… What if you had a playable race in an MMO that could move like a xenomorph?

Just consider what that opens up to you, for a moment.

And what about an MMO with a strong focus on parkour and movement, where both stealth and running—rather than fighting—is the key?

And perhaps even more like The Secret World’s puzzle-y, riddle-y, research-y shenanigans; and more like DDO’s riddle-y, puzzle-y, trap-y zaniness. It’s a shame those sorts of games are such a rarity and seen with such disdain.

Gotta make it all about the slaughter to sell to the largest markets!

Really, what I wouldn’t give for more like Istaria and DDO, but modernised. That’s something I’d actually subscribe to, even. There are so many underserved niches out there. I don’t personally think that spending more money on graphics is the right way to go.

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Chosenxeno .

I weould say Vanguard or EQ2 but that’s, basically happening…

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camelotcrusade

I might try if it’s a game I haven’t already left. If it’s one I have left, well, I haven’t left any MMOs due to graphics so I’d have to know what else has been improved before I gave it a try.

VisionsWitch
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VisionsWitch

I would happily trade all of my other MMOs for SWG, but only if it doesn’t include EA.

Hamblepants
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Hamblepants

My favourite games had great art direction, not just in general but specifically for the themes and gameplay of the games.

A graphics update would mean changing the art direction, either slightly or majorly – there’s no way around that, especially if the art/grapics team isnt in close communication with original game designers and gameplay engineers while the update is happening.

I’m thinking things like sloppier hit box accuracy, less telegraphing of which environments are accessible and which aren’t, ease of finding enemies/items in the environment, thematic vividness/appropriateness of characters and environments.

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Hikari Kenzaki

Calling a bit of shenanigans on this one, Eliot. CoH has its issues, but it’s not nearly as dated as you make it out to be.

All the stuff in Praetoria is flat out beautiful and there is enough content that if you were a graphics snob, you could play to 50 barely touching any area released prior to the graphics revamp in 2011.

I think part of the problem might be you need to crank up those settings to use the newer engine they released with Going Rogue. Which pretty much answers your question because they DID update the graphics engine in CoH. Even the old stuff looks pretty darn good, but newer stuff really shines.

There is a big difference between the shot you posted above and the ones below that take advantage of the newest engine. Yeah, mitten hands are still an issue, but I’d take those over CO’s broken backs and uncanny grand canyon eyes/noses any day.

AcidRainbow002.jpg
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jay

EQ1, SWG, DAOC, in a heartbeat

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Toxophile

If someone were to port pre-NGE SWG over to a new game engine, I would be tempted to quit my job, move in with mom, and devote my life to it.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

If it was a game I still wanted to play, maybe. Most of the games I’ve left were because of specific reasons…that even fixing the graphics on them wouldn’t fix.

As an example, the remake of FF7 they made looks like a good upgrade that I’d want to play, not just because of the upgrade to the graphics, but also because they seem to have upgraded some of the other mechanics that probably needed a little adjustment.

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Kody Gloval

Absolutely. I have often wondered about the cost of a new graphics engine on top of existing content, versus a greenfield’s V2 of an MMO. Poor launches are often blamed on a lack of content…I would happily replay content (and you often out level a lot of it anyway) if the graphics were overhauled.

SWG would be my number one pick for this, but if also put a nod in to EverQuest 2.