by Cody “Micajah” Bye, Managing Editor
style="font-weight: bold; font-style: italic;">
by Musse Dolk, Author of The MMORPG Gamers Handbook
MMORPG virgins are fairly uncommon in this day and age. With millions
of people playing World of Warcraft alone, a vast percentage of the
population has or continues to play MMOGs of some sort. However, new
MMORPG players still exist and are often ridiculed by those elder
statesmen of the MMOG industry. After seeing this dilemma occur for
years, one particular gamer has gone out of his way to help out players
that haven’t logged days into their favorite games. Musse
Dolk, a Swedish student of game design, has put together style="font-style: italic;">The MMORPG Gamers Handbook
which actively tries to alleviate some of the growing pains many new
players experience. You can download the book from Ten Ton Hammer by
However, to learn the background behind this book, Ten Ton Hammer sat
Musse down for a series of questions concerning his background with
MMORPGs and exactly how he came to the decision to create this piece of
work. This exclusive interview sheds some light on Musse’s
past and exactly how Musse hopes this guide helps new gamers. Enjoy!
Ten Ton Hammer: Why did you decide to make a handbook for MMORPGs? Did
you have any bad experiences as a new player? Why should new players
download this guide?
According to Musse,
new players should download this guide to get a head start on their
Musse Dolk: A few years ago I started to take notice of a
experience between players that played through the first generation
MMORPG’s and the ones that didn’t. A lot of elder
players got annoyed with newer ones; in their eyes they did not cover
basic knowledge of cooperative game play. I started analyzing possible
reasons for this, and came to the conclusion that today
MMORPG’s is a lot more solo-able than they used to be. In
most games you can easily go on your own all the way up to the highest
levels. Thus the experience among many players is very limited when it
comes to cooperative game play.
I think everyone has had bad experiences as new players, but I also
think the reasons for them are a lot different today than they used to
be. It’s also important to remember that you learn from bad
experiences, so there is a positive side to it.
However this guide should give new players a head start and let people
work together a bit more effectively. Even if you are an experienced
player, this guide can still help you to get some insight in roles
other than your own, which in turn helps more than many think when
Worth taking a notice of is that many players’ are so used of
playing without guidelines, that having some forced to them will make
them feel insecure. Changing your ways from “something you
always done” is never easy. Some people will even take
offense if you try to tell them what to do. Especially if they think
you’re out to prove them wrong. Communication is the key here.
Even with all the
guides and spoilers, new players still felt lost in their MMOGs.
Ten Ton Hammer: What sorts of subjects are covered within the handbook?
Since every MMOG is different, what did you discover was the basic
categories that are in every MMOG?
I discovered was that even with all the guides and spoilers
that are focused on one specific game, many players had a lot of the
same kind of problems. Many totally new players feel lost, not knowing
what’s “expected” from them. This guide
should give them some guidelines to follow and at the same time teach
them the basics of teamwork.
When it comes to combat, there are some basics facts that always will
be there to create a challenge. AI in these games works in similar ways
and there are many basic strategies that you can use. Communication is
also something that’s really important no matter which game
you play. By getting to know your team and yourself by heart, you can
adapt and focus better for the really hard, unexpected and unique
situations that may occur.
Covering the basic categories and building stones for that a MMOG may
have is a huge project. Maybe something to take on in my 3rd year here
at Gotland’s university if there is time.
Ten Ton Hammer: How long have you been playing MMORPGs? What's your
favorite game? What game do you think serves as a good starting point
for new players in the genre?
started out with Everquest in December -99, and played text
based MUD’s (multi user dungeons) before that. So I guess
that’s almost 9 years, and I have a bit more than 11000 hours
of playtime over that period of time.
My favorite game through all times will always be style="font-style: italic;">Everquest, like it
was in the good old days, but that’s probably a biased
choice, since you cannot really experience that special
“first time” again.
It’s also not really relevant what I think, when it comes to
someone else. When I recommend new players to games, I really try to
find out their own play style. There won’t be a game that
suits everyone, but I’m pretty sure there is at least one
game for everyone. You just need to find one just right for your own
Vanguard is a
recommended game from Musse who enjoys the social aspects of the title.
Now, I haven’t played every game out there, really wish I had
time to do that. But I can make a few recommendations based on what
I’ve played and studied. I do find good and bad sides in
every game and they all have potentials in different ways for different
people. So please take these with a grain of salt, it’s
really best if you try them out and make your own decisions.
With that being said, these are the top three that gets most of my
recommendations at the moment:
Everquest 2 – for everyone out there who want
combat in their game. The vast amount of varieties on housing,
clothing, trade skills, quests, mounts and such is simply amazing. The
combat system here is also one of the more interesting I’ve
tried. It has special combination attacks between players
that’s really neat.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes – for social and
This game has had my interest a lot lately. It’s very
challenging in many ways and its crafting system is really advanced and
feels even better than the one in Everquest
2. But it’s also
a bit trickier to learn. The market system here is also really
interesting, because you can actually live on being only a crafter.
It’s the first economy that I’ve seen holding up
very well after more than a year of playtime. Special with this game is
also that it has no instancing whatsoever. Physical houses and boats is
a neat feature and you can actually meet other groups hunting in
dungeons. For me as a social gamer, this is a big plus.
World of Warcraft – for people who want fast
It’s easy to level up and getting in to. There is also a lot
of different ways to get some fast PVP (player versus player) action
and compete with others. From what I’ve noticed many that
likes this game comes from a competitive action background like first
person shooter or real time strategy games.