The Daily Grind: Do you think all space MMOs should have spacelegs?

    
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A few of my guildies have been deep into Elite Dangerous lately, and one of them recently pointed me to some of the rumors swirling around the major update we know is coming later this year. Apparently, last year there was a supposed leak of an internal Frontier roadmap that has at least so far been proven accurate. And on that roadmap? Well, there’s a bunch of big things, but the one that has everyone talking and arguing is spacelegs.

Spacelegs, of course, is a blanket term for letting a character properly walk around outside of her ship, and all the different types of gameplay that entails, from combat and shopping to more intricate sandboxy systems, like player housing and planetary surface bases. It’s always been sort of a bugaboo in the space MMO subgenre; surely you remember EVE Online’s now-abandoned plans for “walking in stations.” And yet other space-faring MMORPGs, from Star Wars Galaxies and SWTOR to Star Trek Online and Star Citizen, have embraced that type of “not just a flight sim” content, thereby widening their potential audience to folks who really just want to be more than a spaceship.

Do you think all space MMOs should have spacelegs? And more specifically, is this something you want to see in Elite Dangerous?

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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Castagere Shaikura

My favorite space game Earth & Beyond did. You created your character first then you designed your ship. Heck, some of the space stations had nightclubs. I wish more people would play the EMU though.

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Utakata

As I’ve said and always maintained, as along as they have a comfortable place to slot in the pigtails in my EVA suit, then they can do what they want. <3

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NeoWolf

It is nice when they do so long as their is some point or purpose to it, but I wouldn’t say it is necessary.

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hooby _

I really love the idea of walking around and leaving the ship, and I think it does a lot for immersion.

But to be very honest here – for most games it just might be better to spend the money that developing that would cost into improving it’s space-flight and -combat instead.

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Axetwin .

I would argue that the space combat as NEVER been the sole focus of the Star Wars or Star Trek franchises. So being able to do more than just fly your ship makes the game feel more authentic to the source material.

Phaserlight
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Phaserlight

Ehhhh… yes and no: I love the idea *in theory* but I’ve seen a MMOG I’ve dwelled in for 16 years work really well *in practice* without it.

So, as an armchair game dev: no

As a wide eyed 12 year old child: yes

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Dean Dean

Looks like Frontier is trying to stop Star Citizen from stealing their player base. xD

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Ken from Chicago

“Stealing”? “Their”?

phaedrux
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phaedrux

” “Stealing”?”? ” “Their”? “?

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Ken from Chicago

As if players were somehow “owned” by any particular game or company as property that could be stolen.

I was curious as to the justification of ownership, that some way the players lacked sufficient free will to choose for themselves which game to play.

Or that they might even play … *both*.

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Zero_1_Zerum

I vastly prefer it when I can get up from my pilot’s seat and move around my ship and land, and walk around planets or even EVA.
I always count it against a game when it doesn’t have “spacelegs”.

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Robert Mann

Space legs if you aren’t just focused on ship-ship combat.

If you are focused essentially on ship-ship combat, then you do not need them. Most MMOs at best throw incredibly minimal other stuff than combat in, so space legs is really not needed for most of them.

That said, if you include other activities (and honestly MMOs are missing a lot of interest in those activities as it stands) then space legs are likely a must.

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Oleg Chebeneev

EVE Online showed space MMO doesnt need legs to be great. Alot of classic space sims did the same.
Unless you have budget of Star Citizen, you’ve gotta compromize somewhere. Legs isnt the most important thing in space

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Mark Jacobs

Couldn’t agree more with you if I tried.

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Utakata

At some point, irregardless of budgets, this is likely the next natural evolutionary step in space sims. Hands down.

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BalsBigBrother

Feet down, well you did say step :P

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Schmidt.Capela

I don’t think so. It’s a matter of resource allocation; unless your game is planned from the start to have both ship and on-foot gameplay — and actual gameplay with enough importance to justify the expense in developing it, not some novelty that looks cool but brings nothing important to the table — the resources needed to implement spacelegs in a way that won’t become a butt joke for the industry would be better spent improving or adding systems closer to the core gameplay.

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Utakata

Currently yes, but in the future tech and development will likely not be held down with such constraints. As well, ultimately, the market for a more fully immersive experience will eventually demand it.

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Schmidt.Capela

Sincerely, I find immersion overrated. If whichever “immersion” initiative makes me waste any time that I could instead be spending on the core gameplay then I would rather turn it off, and if I can’t it makes me less likely to bother with that game.

It’s why I find the way Wing Commander Privateer allowed you to “leave” the ship the best compromise. You didn’t really walk outside; instead, you were shown animated screens that conveyed the ambiance of whichever place you were while functionally working like streamlined menus, never wasting the player’s time.

That being said, if you can increase immersion without wasting my time (and without pushing me towards a first person point of view) then I’m all for it.