The Daily Grind: Do you think MMO rogue servers could help with MMO identity issues?

    
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So here's the deal.

Here’s what got me thinking about this. At first, I was going to say that I would eagerly play on a WildStar rogue server because of course I would. But then it struck me that just getting the game running as it was wouldn’t fix the issues that the game had where it was 50% a fun sandpark with lots of cool stuff to do and 50% the most hardcore thing you have ever seen, cupcake. A version of the game that focused on housing and customization and eased up on dungeons and raids to be lighter and less punishing content would attract me, but that would be a pretty significant change.

But then again, that’s one of the things that rogue servers actually can do in the first place because the people in control of the rogue servers can decide what they’d like to focus in on and drill down to just that. Heck, you could convincingly argue that there are lots of existing rogue servers already working to do that, like trying to grab the good elements of Star Wars Galaxies separate from the NGE/CU elements people disliked. So do you feel like MMO rogue servers can help with MMO identity issues?

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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rafael12104
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rafael12104

Hmm. So, I must admit, this article and question has been “wrankling” (as my old man used to say) around in my head. And the reason, I think, is because it is part and parcel of something very fundamental in MMOs even found in rouge servers.

MMOs by definition are dynamic. If an MMO becomes static, it’s dead. It is as simple as that. And Rouge servers are the same, in large part.

If a Rogue server remains static, it will not have any staying power. Sure people will come back and have some fun, but it will soon be over if there aren’t any updates that make the game better. I’m talking server mechanics and maintenance and content.

So, can Rogue servers help a games identity? That’s a big fat maybe. Lol! I mean, Rogues are trying to continue living yesteryear. What if this game continued and what if suddenly this crappy thing that everyone hated is fixed? Sure, that could change peoples minds about a game.

BUT, only a small sliver of players partake in Rouge servers. And most of the time, management and development of Rouges does not include the original authors so…

Do Rougue changes really change the overall mind set of what an old no longer sanctioned MMO really was? I’m afraid the answer is no.

NGE will remain NGE for the vast majority of players.

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Sorenthaz

Sure. I’d love to see a Rift rogue server but I doubt that’ll be happening anytime soon.

Zsokorad
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Zsokorad

I would join a Rift rogue server in a heartbeat if it was just vanilla Rift. No expansions, and Hammerknell permanently set as the hardest Raid.

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Sorenthaz

I’d be okay with up to Storm Legion’s 2.1 patch with the Regulos raid or whatever, before they went into F2P crap. Dimensions were amazing and the SL regions were pretty darn good even if things got more grindy. But a Vanilla -> Chocolate (post-Instant Adventures, Conquest, Chronicles, Ember Isle, etc) server would be great to start with.

I did hear a lot of good stuff about the Hammerknell raid though. The guild I was a part of never did manage to get that far before folks started jumping ship due to impatience over raid progression.

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Crowe

Yes, BEFORE the f2p stuff.

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Armsman

Well if you want to kill off a genre of game type you like (IE MMOs) – then yes go ahead and promote ‘rogue servers’
^^^
Why would anyone want to invest in a genre where players steal something that took millions of dollars in years to create?

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Axetwin .

When talking about MMO’s that are still running, I agree with you. But to use the example from the article, Wildstar, that’s a different topic. That game was shutdown. I don’t see the harm in starting up a server for a game that a company has no vested interest in anymore, meaning a game that has been shut down, that is no longer available to play through legit means.

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Anstalt

Short answer: yes

Longer answer – an identity crisis is simply when there are internal inconsistencies, in the example above with Wildstar, this would be the game being half casual, half hardcore, with the two sides not sitting well with one another.

Whilst some MMOs do have such problems, in general MMORPGs are made for a wider audience with multiple playstyles, so whilst you may think of it as an identity crisis, in reality it’s just that the game contains stuff that isn’t necessarily for you.

Rogue servers can certainly help bridge the gap between playstyles, and fix some problems with the original game, but if you go too far from the original game then you cease to attract the original audience and your rogue server will tank anyway.

mosselyn
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mosselyn

I’m dubious. I think people benefit more than they’re aware from breadth of offerings. For example, I don’t raid, so I don’t miss raids when they’re absent, as in the first few years of GW2, but that doesn’t mean the presence of people who like raiding doesn’t enrich my game or community. PvP is similar.

There’s certainly a place for one-dimensional, niche games, but I don’t think I’d enjoy the narrower community as much, personally. There’s plenty of echo chambers on the internet already.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Im not sure what MMO identity issue is, but yes, rogue servers can bring changes that make them better then original game. Project Ascension changed gameplay drastically and its hella fun. And EQ server Shards of Delaya brought main storyline to EQ

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I don’t play on rogue servers, so honestly I can’t claim it really matters to me what they do.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I mean, taking someone else’s work, claiming it, then adjusting it for the better, still is exactly what it sounds like.

Modding someone else’s work, while maybe making things better for (some) people, still isn’t giving them the credit, much less paying them for at least giving you the framework to work with.

Also, a lot of ‘modifications’ are intended to remove things people felt were a barrier, which were often intentionally put in place to give you more of a challenge, and thus more of a ‘reward’ feeling for accomplishing getting past it…so making things ‘easier’ on people is effectively taking away a challenge to overcome. Sure, it makes things ‘easier’ on you, but if everything was easy for you, would you still want to do it?

It’s one reason I’m still ‘iffy’ on the whole concept of mods for games. Yeah, sure, they can be ‘improvements’, or take away some of the things people didn’t like…that devs felt needed to be there for some reason. But is it even still the original work you reference when other people tinker under the hood?

Now, if it ‘went away’, and someone LEGALLY gains rights to it, to continue on where it was left off, then I could maybe see where it’s OK. Or they purposely create it with the intention of allowing modifications and don’t have ‘Don’t reverse engineer our stuff or else’ clauses…

But profiting off something, someone else built? Uh, no. They deserve nothing for it, even if they tweak it ‘for the better’.

For example, Wurm Online created a package where you could ‘buy’ the game (Wurm Unlimited), make your own servers, and run it/with modifications if you want…because you ‘own’ it…but then they created a backdoor where any newer updates to the actual online game don’t always get added to the ‘owned’ version, so all those people who bought it, essentially get left farther and farther behind how things are currently…thus essentially making them beholden to the actual owners…(Also known as a cash grab).

Would those not count as ‘rogue servers’, and give a different impression of the actual online game to people who would maybe play on their friend’s servers? Would that not also give them false impressions of how the actual game really plays?

Yeah, sure, maybe it would give a MMO a different identity, but that would be the identity that was given to it, by the NEW people adjusting things, and they didn’t have a hand in the original, so it’s just a different impression based on what they have done…and not based on the actual MMO’s real identity as portrayed by players of the original…

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Dug From The Earth

Letting the players control what they want in a game?

Better than letting publishers control it, thats for certain.

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Bruno Brito

A version of the game that focused on housing and customization and eased up on dungeons and raids to be lighter and less punishing content would attract me, but that would be a pretty significant change.

Uh…i’m sorry but why are we still perpetuating this?

Wildstar died with extreme focus on casual players. Everything development-related was focused on housing, on easing players into getting in the most “hardcore” parts of the game. Wildstar died with 2 raids, if i well recall, and none of them demanded attunements. Wildstar died with Arcterra, a zone that gave you almost as good gear as raids did. Wildstar died focusing on hoverboard races.

Wildstar “hardcore” focus was completely rethought when F2P hit. It never recovered from the marketing, but the game was NOT hardcore for the last years of it’s life, and it would be nice if people actively realized that.

So, if a Rogue server hits it, with how Wildstar was after it died, just play it.

Aelzen
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Aelzen

Wow. If I knew any of this, I might have gone back to play it after leaving it early on.

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Bruno Brito

You should. The design shift was weird but it wasn’t bad. The F2P model itself was so generous that some players actively thought it hurt the company.

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Dug From The Earth

It did.. .there was no incentive to pay the monthly fee for the game after it went F2P.

while other games like ESO and Swtor gave you free currency each month with your “sub”, Wildstar gave nothing. (at least for the first 1+ year of this system). ESO gave you unlimited material bag space and access to all content… Swtor removed any limitations and gave access to all content as well. Wildstar… gave money and xp buffs…. yay.

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Bruno Brito

Wildstar main issue was giving a great free plan but the sub plan being pretty underwhelming. Bits were so easy to come by that they ended up being superfluous.

That being said, i don’t think there was much of a solution, tho. WS model wasn’t what it was going to save the game. I don’t think it had much salvation, because it never recovered from the marketing and it ended up punishing the rest of it’s life. It actually lasted long enough.

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Dug From The Earth

wildstar did a 180 at some point in its life, as you said, turning to focus on extreme casual players…

which is the core problem… not focusing on casual players, but doing a 180.

Games, at their core, need to be what they were designed around. If what they were designed around is a failure, the game basically needs to shut down, and be remade from the ground up.

That is basically what FF14 did.

A game needs its foundation to be centered around what its trying to be, and Wildstars foundation was NOT centered around casual players.

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Bruno Brito

I’m not disagreeing here. I’m saying the 180 existed and the game wasn’t bad.

But, if you ask me, the way Wildstar was marketed at it’s early stages game the the impression we were going to have a sandpark game, with no class locking ( which if i well recall, came later in development ), and a focus on exploring Nexus, not on raids and dungeons.

And i would honestly prefer if it was that game. Wildstar would be waaaaay better as a SWG-like game, than another World of Warcraft, but with telegraphs.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

The problem is that Wildstar made bad choices. They started out by trying to focus on ultra-hardcore RAIDS with extra HARDCORE. (Not helped by their abrasive and off-putting attempts at “humor,” cupcake.) So the launch version of the game convinced a ton of players that “this game isn’t for you, so get lost.” And they did.

By the time Wildstar tried to change direction it was already too late. The audience they were now aiming for had long ago written the game off as “totally not for them.” All that they succeeded in doing was pissing off the handful of hyperhordecore RAID players who had stuck around, because now the game “was not for them” *either.*

I can’t speak for anyone else. I know I attempted to try Wildstar a couple of times after the first massive server merge that deleted 90% of my characters with basically no notice. For about fifteen minutes at a time. Every time I ended up fighting with the UI just to try to get it to a point where I could even stand to try it, and never succeeded. (Among other things the only way to disable damage floaters was to basically disable *all* floating text, which included NPC names and apparently objective markers. I HATE damage floaters, but they were tied into the UI in a way were removing them basically broke the game.)

But since they did their massive server merge in the middle of the week with no advance notice (or at least not for anyone who didn’t live on the forums) I wasn’t super inclined to give Wildstar much benefit of the doubt. As I remember it, I got an email on a Tuesday saying that on Thursday they’d merge the servers and delete all characters below a certain level and possibly everyone still in the tutorial area on the fleet. I was working out of town at the time, which is why I hadn’t had a ton of time to level up my characters. And because I didn’t even get a single weekend’s notice by the time I could access the game again I had one character left. And yes, I did hold that against them.

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Bruno Brito

I’m not denying any of that. I’m only saying it had changed focus. People have the right to hold anything against Wildstar, god is my witness they deserved it. But the game DID CHANGE FOCUS after F2P.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Bruno said:

But the game DID CHANGE FOCUS after F2P.

Speaking only for myself – It doesn’t matter, and I didn’t care. By the time they even considered that it was too little, too late. They’d already gone out of their way to do pretty much everything they could to prove that they didn’t want me as a player, that it wasn’t the game for me and I wasn’t welcome.

Admittedly, part of it is my own mistake – I fell in love with the initial teaser trailer, and the articles about the Path system, and things like a short dev interview where *someone* in charge had said “Of course we’re going to have some solo content. Our data shows that 60% of players do stuff solo at least sometimes.” (Or so I remember.) I had gotten the one year subscription and collectors edition, but *didn’t* play the beta or camp on the forums. The first time I logged in I found the RP sever and filled my slots with characters that I spent way too long designing. And then I actually logged in to play and swiftly discovered that I’d just purchased a game that was *NOTHING* like what I thought it was.

The fact that they changed direction later on is honestly UTTERLY IRRELEVANT. I wasn’t playing by then, and that’s *completely* because the devs had made it excessively clear that players like me could “shut up and get lost, cupcake.” To use a bad metaphor – I don’t care that the highschool bully turned into a good person doing charity work just before he died. Because I made sure never to go near him again after he shoved my head in the toilet and gave me a swirly.

Bereman
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Bereman

True that it died after refocusing away from hardcore when it went F2P…

But why do you think it went F2P in the first place? It ended up on life support because of it’s focus on the hardcore side of things, along with just weird design elements like the significant XP reduction from quests if the quest was even 1-2 levels below your current level that made leveling a real drag.

Just because it’s death came during a time when it was focusing largely on casuals does not mean it’s earlier strong focus on hardcore was not an important contributing factor to it failing.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

> But why do you think it went F2P in the first place?

Hands down it was Carbine’s management that screwed the pooch. They’re the ones that failed hard to reign in the prima donnas and loose canons. They’re the ones that put somebody significantly incompetent in charge of a key feature. They’re the ones that refused to give the resources to the one or two folks that had a clue how to design not-extreme content.

The UI was a disaster. They let critical regressions get released. Their motto must have been “Release or die!” because their code quality should never have passed the cleaning staff’s muster much less the team lead. No clue what the QA staff was up to.

While Carbine had some super talented people on staff as a studio it was utter crap. That’s why Wildstar died.

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Bruno Brito

Just because it’s death came during a time when it was focusing largely on casuals does not mean it’s earlier strong focus on hardcore was not an important contributing factor to it failing.

And?

Where did i, in any shape or form, deny that?

All i’ve said was: Wildstar DID CHANGE FOCUS and people should stop perpetuating that the game died a hardcore haven. It didn’t. It was literally a casualfest at it’s end.

Why are people here trying to argue with me why Wildstar failed is beyond my grasp. It’s not even relevant to what i was trying to say.

rafael12104
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rafael12104

Yup. Very true. The game never recovered. There was never a reason to stay. Not the IP, the game play, the cool housing, the hover boards… nothing hooked and kept players engaged.

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Bruno Brito

It fell short in too many areas, indeed. The game was a themepark, which i thought it was a bad idea, Nexus was a perfect place for a new Sandboxy tripleA. The housing was great but it was ultimately unimpactiful on the world, the hoverboards were an afterthought, and the combat was exhaustive.