Subscribe to Reloading...

You must be logged in to subscribe. Please Login or Signup for free.

Reloading...

Reloading... The MMORPG Identity Crisis

Posted Thu, Sep 22, 2011 by Ethec

Welcome back to the 83rd edition of Reloading...!

Jeff Woleslagle here, while your favorite Reloading... writer and mine is on business.

Let's start, as usual, with a little bit of YouTube sunshine:





SWTOR began Phase II of its pre-launch guild recruiting program yesterday. Guild leaders will now be able to invite their members via email and, in an interesting twist, set allies and adversary guilds. Doing so will increase the chances that a guild will be placed on the same server as its allied and adversary guilds. This, much like the first phase (guild recruiting), is a step in the right direction. And a step long overdue in MMORPGs.

For years, MMORPGs have been in identity crisis mode, trying to cross-genrefy themselves in a frantic attempt to escape WoW's shadow. We've had action MMOs, MMOBAs, mobile MMOs, MMOFPSs. MMORPGs have copied match play from online shooters with battlegrounds and scenarios, breadcrumbing and "red circles" from single-player RPGs, cutscenes from heavily scripted game-on-a-rail titles, and more. In short, MMOGs have tried to be everything but MMOGs , moving miles away from the promise and potential that could come from scores of gamers interacting in the same virtual world.

Why have an overarching sense of community and large-scale cooperation and competition become relegated to niche games like EVE Online and A Tale in the Desert? There are a bunch of reasons, and not all of them have something to do with Azeroth. For one, it's hard. It's really hard. No one's denying that. To grow a community, any community, you have to have a reasonably stable population, and it's hard to have stability when MMOGs rise and fall in the space of three months. Not only that, but the idea of at-will server transfers, character renames, and other microtransaction marketing-oriented services have given players an easy out, an excuse to prevent players from putting roots down on any given server. And, whether we're talking trees or guilds, roots help you get through the storms, the guild drama and other eventualities of living and gaming with a large number of other people.

Also, the stock of that polarizing phrase, "virtual world," has fallen through the floor in the years since since Second Life had its big media hurrah. Nowadays, evokes hyper-escapist types exploring their deviancy under the umbrella of anonymity, and that's a far cry from the early days of the MMORPG, when it was a thrill to discover you have interests in common with someone across the continent or the globe.

But this isn't yet another cry for the good ol' days of MMORPGs. I wouldn't be writing about MMOGs if I didn't feel like more good days were either here or around the corner. RIFT continued WAR's brilliant innovation of public quests, giving me hope that the dream of large-scale cooperation is far from dead. And SWTOR is on the right track - making community a pre-launch priority. Hopefully, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, and the next wave of MMORPGs will offer scores of guildleader tools, guild achievements, and other greater good gotchas that will make MMORPGs more of a unifying concept than a glorified chat room.

How else can MMOGs improve their sense of community? Feel free to contact me: Until tomorrow,
Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
Latest MMOG Features

Tribes: Ascend First Hands-On (video)

Does Tribes: Ascend live up to its fast-paced, verticality-based legacy? We hoist on a jetpack and fire up the spinfusor to find out in this 10 minute video fresh from beta!

RIFT 1.5: Ashes of History Q&A with Trion Worlds

With the latest major game update just mere days away, we sat down with Scott Hartsman and Hal Hanlin to get all the latest and greatest information.

EVE Online: Life as a Pirate Merchant (Guide)

A lucrative way to earn ISK in EVE Online is to capitalize on the price differences between Jita and null-sec. Space Junkie tells you how in our latest EVE Online guide.
Latest MMOG News


WildStar Wednesdays Begin


This week WildStar developers talks about Nexus, the legendary planet of Eldan in the WildStar universe. Learn more after the jump!

RIFT: Ashes of History Launches Next Week

RIFT 1.5 is set to release next week with the update is the new Planar Attunement system, solo and small group story-driven dungeons, a new warfront, add-ons, Master level dungeons and more.

SWTOR's Pre-Launch Guild Program Phase II Begins


A new guild adversaries and allies system plus a new Guild Leader invite system has been added to SWTOR's already unique community feature set.

World of Tanks M3 Stuart Tank Giveaway

If you've yet to try World of Tanks, the first and only MMOG dedicated to team-based armored warfare, Ten Ton Hammer has a perfect chance for you to command your own authentic tank and immerse yourself in the epic tank battles of World War II.

We've got a limited number of promotion keys to help new players start strong in World of Tanks, and premium members get early access! Claim your key and we'll get you behind the controls of your own M3 Stuart, the first US light tank that saw extensive service in WWII. The M3 Stuart has reasonable armor for its class and the upgraded 37mm guns are fast and accurate. Speed and stealth are the keys to survival for light tanks and the M3 excels in both. As a bonus, you'll also have a premium World of Tanks membership for one day and 300 gold.

Get your World of Tanks promotion key then follow the redemption instructions to create your account and claim your items!

Real World News

Connect with Reloading...

TenTonHammer.com
 
 © 2011 Ten Ton Hammer  

News from around the 'Net