So the blogosphere has been ablaze.

And strangely enough everyone is talking about something that applies to what I do. Although I'm probably a bit late to the party, sorry for taking the time to get my thoughts in order.

Echoes of Nonsense - Circle Strafe the Moon by Ardua brings up something that really has me piqued. Of course it's not that it's said once, it's that Tobold and a few others seem to be bent on repeating it. Actually now that I think about it, perhaps Sid67 at Serial Ganker said it first.

What they've said is this, "Brent [et all] don't want to play an MMORPG". I'd like to say something along the lines of 'no offense but you're wrong', but instead every time I hear it I want to reach through the internet and slap someone. You see, none of us, Brent, Darren, Adam, I or any of those of our general opinion have any problem with MMOs, we don't even have any problem with MMORPGs. What we have a problem with is MMO dungeon crawls.

There is absolutely nothing revolutionary about creating RPGs that aren't dungeon crawls. Ever heard of the Storytelling Adventure System? Trollbabe? Call of Cthulu?

We've built a whole generation who only knows online multiplayer RPGs as being dungeon crawls. I tend to side with one of Jonathan Blow's recent talks on how games are conflicted when it comes to MMOs. We've built every inch of the gameplay dynamics around one thing, killing foozles to collect xp and loot. Why on Earth SHOULD anyone pay any attention to quest text when we literally reward players for getting through them as fast as possible. There is almost no reward for taking the time to smell the roses as it were, and only the players innate ability to find their own reward in activities seems to propell them towards actually doing anything even remotely resembling role playing.

All of this doesn't add up to make WoW or WAR or any of them bad games... but lets be perfectly honest, we've been dungeon crawling for almost 30 years now. Don't some people have every right to be bored out of their freaking minds.

Rant out of the way, I'm going back to the work I started with the Multiverse engine tonight and tomorrow. Someone clued me in to a great way to implement airships for an idea I was toying around with, so that may be the project I work on while I'm still teamless. All of this discussion has convinced me of one thing though, this project will not have any combat. NONE! We have spent so long developing combat as we move through these dungeon crawls, even if I'm not working on something that will be particularly succesful, I do want to focus on the creation and implementation of the non-combat aspects for a change.

And maybe... I just miss the real magic.


  1. Hmm, seems to be you're hung up on terminology. Since you label this style of game a "MMO Dungeon Crawl", re-read the posts you reference (and you don't read my blog, but I had one that ran along similar lines), mentally substituting in "MMO Dungeon Crawl" for MMO or MMORPG.

    The point (as I saw it, anyway, and none of this is written in absolutes) was that Mythic built a game of GENRE X (call it whatever you like) and never claimed it was anything but GENRE X (that I've ever read), and Brent's knock on it was basically "This game is GENRE X and I don't want to play GENRE X anymore, I want to play something new. Ergo, Warhammer is not fun." There's nothing in the world wrong with the first part of that, but to fault a company for producing exactly what it said it would produce seems odd. It's like lambasting Madden 09 because it still has running and passing and touchdowns in it.

    Some folks don't *need* things to change in order to be happy. People have been playing Chess, Bridge and Poker for an awfully long time.

    And you might not read the quest text because there's no reward in it, but I do. For me, reading good quest lore is a reward in itself. I like new worlds with new quest texts and new lore. I'm more interested in the fiction of the universe and the players I'm rubbing shoulders with than I am in the game mechanics. Every new Fantasy-themed MMO is a new interactive fantasy novel to me. Mechanics are trivial and unimportant to me as long as they get the job done.

    All of that aside, I think Brent drew a lot of ire because he did speak in absolutes. He didn't say "I didn't find WAR fun because its based on the same old tried and true game mechanics." He said "Warhammer isn't fun." That's really just slightly above saying "War sucks" on the flame-bait scale.

    /end counter rant. :)

    Have you tried A Tale in the Desert, btw? No combat in there.

  2. I think every single MMO player has sat down one day and said to themselves "Damn, these games could be SO much more!".

    I was right where Brent was with Lord of the Rings Online. They had the IP to really break the mold. Turbine really proved me wrong and I have not really cared about future games breaking the mold since.

    I think Brent's mistake was being snide about the whole situation. For all the talking he has done in regards to it, he just needed to come out and say what he meant. He didn't. He hid behind bad quotes, bad analogies, and snarky remarks.

    Nothing wrong with that. We all do it from time to time. Its part of blogging. Brent just can't expect people to go 'thats nice Brent, you have an opinion'.

    Of course people will react and Brent admitted he wrote it for that effect. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to agree that his bad analogies were used for shock value. Doesn't really add up, just as most of his argument.

    I don't hate Brent. Just disagree. Brent doesn't like that, so I am a lightning rod for his new found propensity to say "fuck".

  3. I don't speak for Brent, and I don't feel any need to defend him. He has his own blog on which to deal with all that rot.

    On the other hand, it isn't anything new to hear people saying "WAR isn't different enough for me to find it interesting and/or fun." Hell I've been saying it for at least five months. So why is everyone suddenly so sore that we are saying exactly what we always said, it's too much of the same to be our cup of tea? Some folks don't need change, but others do. And for those that do WAR isn't going to be fun because of anything Mythic does.
    (Just now read Heartless_ comment, thanks for giving an answer before the question was even asked.)

    As to quest texts, I'm not speaking as a player but as a designer. Any number of players may find the lore rewarding, but the fundamental game design does not reward you at all. A quest is a trigger that opens a greater reward, the faster you can press those triggers the greater the reward. Now the triggers are given extraneous detail that takes extra time to appreciate. Some may well appreciate it, but the design of the game is fundamentally counter to stopping and appreciating it.

    I hadn't tried A Tale in the Desert, but I am now.

  4. >>"WAR isn't different enough for me to find it interesting and/or fun." Hell I've been saying it for at least five months. So why is everyone suddenly so sore that we are saying exactly what we always said <<

    That's a perfectly valid thing to say and anyone who is sore at you for saying that is being pretty immature.

    Brent didn't say anything remotely like that. And he started out antagonistically at the title ("jumps the shark") and continued with that tone. He invited argument.

    Now, that was the first post of Brent's I've ever read. Maybe that's just his nature, I dunno. I don't really care. He came off as arrogant, lecturing, and baiting. So he got what (it seems to me) he was looking for.

    Anyway I don't want to argue with you on your blog, particularly arguing with you about some other blogger, so I'll bow out now.

    And I do hope you find a game you enjoy. I assume you've played UO? If somehow you missed it, it's another game that isn't as dungeon-crawler-esque as the Diku/EQ model.