The Daily Grind: What was a great idea you saw in an otherwise unsuccessful MMO?

    
39
The Daily Grind: What was a great idea you saw in an otherwise unsuccessful MMO?

If you’re familiar with tabletop roleplaying games, you are probably familiar with the concept of the fantasy heartbreaker. To summarize it very quickly for those who aren’t, it’s a game that is clearly trying to copy Dungeons & Dragons… but usually with one or two really neat ideas that don’t matter, because it’s not going to sell much, because it’s a tiny game trying to copy Dungeons & Dragons.

This is not unfamiliar when it comes to MMOs. The ground is littered with the ashes of games that had a few neat ideas – often many neat ideas – that were hamstrung in some crucial way. Gigantic had fun mechanics and great art, but it was married to a MOBA that wasn’t really a smart sell. Warhammer Online had some fun PvP fights that really worked… and a whole lot of everything else that was a pale, buggy imitation of World of Warcraft. You get the idea. So what was a great idea you saw in an otherwise unsuccessful MMO? A mechanic or element that you would have loved to see in a game that had a better shot of success?

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!

No posts to display

39
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Ebrown51
Reader
Ebrown51

The rundown:

Vanguard:
Diplomacy. An in-game, in-depth card game that allowed you to unlock buffs for everyone in cities.

Crafting. My most favorite crafting system ever. It had a lot of depth and took planning and skill to master.

Offensive and defensive targeting system. I’m still not sure why I’ve yet to find another game that had this. Being able to attack/heal/buff without switching targets between a mob and another player was a blessing that doesn’t get enough credit.

Vanguard’s “spheres,” i.e. crafting, adventuring, diplomacy, and (to a lesser extent) harvesting. Each sphere had its own equipment tab and your character would switch gear on the fly depending on what you were doing! Adventuring, Crafting, and Diplomacy had their own levels.

Equipment Expertise. Ok this system was a little wonky, but it was super interesting and I wish it had been iterated on by other games. As your adventuring level increased so did you equipment expertise. Each piece of gear had its own expertise “cost.” This meant you could pass down a sword to an alt that was op for their level. It would take up a huge amount of their EE as a result meaning they might have to have less powerful armor. It was an interesting system.

Warhammer Online

Tome of Knowledge! Waaagh!

Everquest 2

Early crafting required skill and is my second most favorite crafting system in an mmo so far. Inter-profession dependency at the start was a little rough but that was fixed in my opinion with everyone being able to make basic items/subcombines.

Archetype/class/subclass system. I actually like playing a scout/predator/ranger and going through class and subclass quests.

Reader
Radamand

I don’t remember the name of the game, it was a fantasy mmo, but it had an interesting twist on the magic system; The game incentivised mages to not share their spells with others, the more people who were casting a given spell the less damage it would do, and vice versa.

so, if you discovered a new spell, and nobody else knew that spell, it would dominate.

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

If Vanguard counts as unsuccessful..
– Offensive and defensive target in combat,
– moving while casting possible but made spells cast twice as slow during movement.
– Bloodmage and a few other innovative classes
– Diplomacy (well I liked the core idea, but it lacked impact)

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Slowed movement while casting was meh, tbh. Felt really clunky when I played Vanguard classes

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

I think it made perfect sense logically that you cannot parkour and concentrate on a spell at the same time. Something for something, added tactical combat element.
I remember it as the spell also taking longer, not only slowed movement speed.. I am probably wrong, been so many years.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

Id choose fun responsive combat over “realistic” combat any day.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
squid

One thing I liked was if you used a fire spell against a fire-based mob, you healed it—same with other damage types.

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

Almost everything other than combat in Horizons/Istaria. Houses weren’t preset but crafted piece by piece, you could design the look and have other crafters do that for you, there were community projects/quests that unlocked races, flying dragons, regional trade, a pure crafter’s economy that even supported food having value (even the newbie stuff).

Damn shame about the boring combat though. That sadly was the complain most people I knew had about the game.

Reader
Sarah Cushaway

Three things from early EQ2: The transition from archetype (mage, priest, warrior, scout) into your “specialized” class that included a trial and getting your special level 2o-ish armor from difficult quests. The housing system. And the early crafting system, which was challenging and engaging.

Rift’s soul trees were cool, but suffered from a lot of samey-sameness in skills, so everything felt redundant after a while. Still a cool concept, just not executed very well.

Diplomacy in Vanguard, though it was a clunky system–I did like the fact they tried something different for their “rep” grind.

Though it’s relatively successful, I’d also toss BDO’s horse training and breeding system here. If it was less an excuse to open your wallet for the cash shop (but what isn’t in that game?), and had a few more features, it could have been pretty cool. I did like the fact you could go tame your own mount in game, too. That made it a bit special (and reminds me of RDR2 :p which is my fav all-time game).

MilitiaMasterV
Reader
MilitiaMasterV

Well, depends how you define ‘unsuccessful’.

Personally, I loved thieving/sneaking/assassination type mechanics in multiple games, but every iteration of them gets dumbed down so they basically become meaningless.

Runescape is largely ‘successful’ to some people, but I keep wandering away from it even though I’m 99 thieving over there (Hit it last time I was on there.)…so losing my business would effectively mean they were ‘unsuccessful’ would it not?

Same goes for ESO’s ‘Justice’ mechanics/assassination guild…they were good fun, but the over-all way the game is heading is making me not want to stick around paying them money…and once again…a lot of people would still say it’s successful…but if they are also making me not want to pay them more money, was that not a failure and making them unsuccessful?

The biggest problem is that they like to let you do these mechanics, but they realize that ‘stealing’ is a very easy way to break a system, so they do stuff like make it insanely low increments, or make it so you steal mostly junk and have a % chance to find a goodie, or some other nonsense. (In ESO, you’re limited per day to a certain amount you can fence, adjustable by a trait, but still max limited.)

I love being able to ‘pickpocket’ a character and get something off them. (Originally something that came from DnD style characters, which most of these MMO’s have built off of.)

I used to love fiddling with the lock-picking boxes on numerous games(WoW rogue for many years.), training up the skills, to pick a lock and open chests. Or be able to see/spring a trap before others would trigger it. (That’s why they were often sent ahead as scouts/stealthing…you get them to check the box for trap before you open.)

They don’t like assassination moves in most games because they don’t want you to be able to one-shot things in your way…and a lot of games put in NPC’s that can’t be killed, but that will see you if you do kill another NPC…causing you to gain bounty/be chased down by guards…and most of the games make it so guards are invulnerable nowadays…which is ridiculous…since you should be able to pick off a guard or 3..(They should be able to call out and get more to come help…and eventually overwhelm you if you don’t deal with them quickly enough. Making one Uber guard that you just have to run for your life from which makes you probably run into more and die is stupid.)

‘Thief’ on GW2 didn’t exactly deal with thieving so much as just the type of fighting style…’fight dirty’/flying acrobatically over their heads throwing daggers…and while I enjoy the crud out of that style, it wasn’t well done to me either, so I’d consider that unsuccessful also.

Runescape did put in ‘safecracking’ and that was fun, but the way they did it was silly, so you just sit there auto-cracking the safe/getting thieving exp in a steady stream until you busted it open…and they just gave you a bag that filled with a % of ‘valuable goods’, until it was full, and you went to the fence to hock your bag full and they’d pay you a very small fee for the full bag…(Part of them catering to people who like to AFK play…you just have to run around to the various safes in different locales.).

My main issue is that nowadays, games make it seem like you gained nothing from doing this because they don’t want you to learn how lucrative it can be IRL…and don’t want you getting past their roadblocks they put in to thwart your enjoyment….like having to get enough gold to unlock bag space…or making bag space dependent on buying materials to craft better bags…I have the same issue with them making magic unrealistic in this respect…people joke about ‘bags of holding’ and how you could just use magic to make a bag that holds infinite space…

It just leads me to ‘why have game designers forgotten the fun, and turned to these types of you can’t have fun here mechanics’.

I personally have never stolen anything in my life IRL, and enjoy playing a ‘evil’ character who would, because I’m way too much of a goodie-two-shoes to ever do it anywhere BUT in a game…

Reader
lostkoss

Crowfall had a pretty good idea where you were an immortal Crow (Spirit) that would inhabit different Vessels (bodies) to fight wars for the gods over dying worlds.

It’s a shame they ended up with a MMO-Lite Zerg simulator that relegates it’s best feature (The Crow) to a corpse run mechanic.

Reader
Axetwin .

The investigation quests in The Secret World. Not all of them were winners, but the general idea of them are great. They are in my opinion how you do quests without using quest markers.

Reader
Chosenxeno .

Diplomacy in Vanguard was excellent.

Reader
Kevin Smith

As already stated Wildstar housing. Was the best housing of any game I have played. You could actually place things that were interactive and actually gave rewards for doing them. Was so easy to place and remove things. Overall the devs that designed that housing system made a game within the game.