The more-of-the-same train just keeps on rolling

Watching this video of the upcoming MMO Wildstar told me all I needed to know about the game (pass), but I find it interesting that what I see as “yet another WoW-clone” others see it as, well, here is one quote:

Bioware had best start paying attention to what the competition is doing.

While the washed up Austin MMO has been’s try to revive crappy design ideas that from Tabula Rasa and UO and bank on their IP – the competition is moving forward.

Swtor plays like a game that should have been released 5 years ago. However, while WildStar is not my style, its exciting to see some companies trying to do something different. I look forward to seeing more of what WildStar has to offer.

Now maybe it’s just me, but if you removed the graphic style from Wildstart and SW:TOR, and played videos of both side to side, I’m not sure I could tell the two apart.  Now maybe at the end of the day, the two games won’t be anything alike, but just based off video I’d say they are basically identical solo RPGs you play on a server.

It begs the question, if enough people actually see things like this, that dodging an avalanche is some huge leap forward in the genre, maybe what people want is just slight twists on the 2004 formula? If you look at what’s happening right now, with WoW players moving to Rift, it suggests exactly that. My follow-up would then be; is it because these people are new overall to MMOs, or are people really that happy playing the same game year in, year out, so long as the graphics get switched up?

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, MMO design, Rant, Rift, SW:TOR, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to The more-of-the-same train just keeps on rolling

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I’ll hold up my hand. I’m happy to keep playing the same game year in, year out. I don’t even particularly need the graphics switched up. Not everyone has a low boredom threshold and some people just know what they like.

    I was thinking only yesterday that if we still only had the same MMOs now that we had five or ten years ago I’d still be playing them and enjoying them just as much as I ever did. It’s only because new ones are available that I move on. I’m generally happy with what I already have, so the motivation is curiosity, not dissatisfaction.

  2. Dril says:

    Honestly?

    If someone made an MMO with a lot of content, polish, solid themepark combat and a combo of Vanilla WoW to early Wrath design decisions and kept it that way I’d be happy to play it indefinitely.

    The only reason I’m switching games is because none of them have really captured me (due to a variety of reasons.)

    If innovation makes me want to play it for an extended period of time, great. But if a game went back in time I reckon I’d be equally happy.

  3. epic.Ben says:

    I had your reaction as well, but I think the folks at Carbine MIGHT be on to something in breaking out unique playstyles that cater to different people (old Bartle test shit – achievers, explorers, fighters, etc.) At least, that’s my read on what they are doing. And, it could be truly unique.

    The gameplay looks familiar so far but the idea of an actual “explorer” class that can lay beacons and help our their group/faction/etc. with scouting? Kinda’ cool, maybe.

  4. I look at what I have played this year, WoW, EQ, EQ2, and LOTRO, and I am not even sure I need regular graphics updates. A goal is about all I require.

    But I also played the same MUD on and off for a decade, basically until WoW/EQ2 launched, and I still play Civ II regularly, so I might be an aberration. Or that I get invested in games. Take your pick.

    As to your comment, neither video struck me as something new and different. I’ll try SWTOR because it is Star Wars. Wildstar has no pull on me with the little I have seen so far.

  5. Brad$ says:

    I think the simple answer, for a large amount of people, is that WoW was their first MMO. They have only played WoW, or WoW clones, and anything that is different from that is a terrible MMO (in their opinion).

    Bumming around a lot of smaller MMOs trying to find something that piques my interest this is a sentiment I see a lot. “Why doesn’t this quest tell me exactly where to go like WoW? Where’s thott bot?” or “Why do I actually have to be nice to people to find groups, where’s my solo instance (dungeon) finder?” Then in short order most of them quit because the game dared to break away from the WoW clone mold, or in these players eyes the game dared to break away from, what is to them, the “MMO” way of things.

    Obviously this is not the case for everybody, but I think it’s true for a lot of people. The situations described in the above comments seem to me to be more of an exception, rather than the norm.

    • Coeur-de-fer says:

      Which is echoed in another of Bartle’s articles here:

      http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/2157/soapbox_why_virtual_worlds_are_.php

      You see point #3 echoed all the time. Take a look at a given game’s forums, and in any thread discussing any sort of design element, you’re likely to run into “this is an MMORPG. It has to have Feature X” type of arguments, when the feature in question has nothing to do with the game’s status as massively multiplayer, online, or role-playing. Frankly, it’s a rather vague descriptor if you actually take the time to read and parse it, and can be applied appropriately to any number of vastly different games or worlds. But My-First-MMO had Legacy Feature Z; ergo, it’s a defining and necessary element of the genre.

  6. theJexster says:

    This sounds scary, but we have to realize an entire Generation of MMO players started with WOW, ignorance is bliss. I think back to how much more complex and enjoyable mmos were 10 years ago, they will never have that perspective. If anything they probably hate the old mmos for feeling to different from the WOW they have always know and played.

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  8. Maz says:

    You don’t seem too impressed with any MMO that’s on the horizon, how about Guild Wars 2? After reading your old posts you were a bit cynical but I was wondering how you feel now that more information is out? I was lucky enough to play the demo and I’m not one for hyping games, but I immediately fell in love for the first time in years.

    An AAA title that’s actually trying to do something different? Check
    A (somewhat) dynamic combat system? Check
    PVP is a major part of the game (More than people think) and they’re hoping to make it good enough to become an esport? Check

    I knew before Rift came out that it wasn’t going to be great, even before the bad changes happened I wasn’t impressed, I also know that SWTOR is going to be terrible, but Guild Wars? I just don’t see it to be honest.

    As I said I’m not one for getting excited about MMO’s, but I’ve never been more confident about one in my life, ArenaNet gets it.

  9. saucelah says:

    I’ve realized that I just can’t justify paying a sub for theme parks anymore. But that means even if Guild Wars 2 was an exact WoW clone, I’d probably play it.

    Subscriptions make me feel obligated to play a game, and if I play a game too often, even a great one, I burn out. But even if I burn out on GW2, there won’t be a barrier to returning to the game.

    As for Wildstar, I like the cartoon style in a sci-fi setting. Reminds me of the last few Space Quest games. I didn’t see anything that would convince me to pay a sub, but I’ll keep half an eye on it anyway.

  10. Wingpie says:

    I’m not sure whether this “I want more of the same” thing is really is issue (for me anyway). I would play WoW or even WoW TBC my whole life if they kept on the same track for the whole period, and did what they always did (that is continually make vast worlds, continual progression). The original WoW world was so detailed and well designed, they didn’t even NEED instanced raids when the game first came out… People made the fun in the world most of the time.

    Not because they are themeparks, but because they were good games. Just the same, I would play any MMO forever if they kept doing the same thing that originally captured me, whether open-world or themepark. But of course the nature of the genre means that will never happen unless someone completely changes the design of MMORPGs (which hopefully they will) which is based solely on designer updates and designer content creation (hence current MMORPGs are only a ‘service’, sadly all of videogaming is going after this ‘service’ style rather then a full product al a DLC).

    Guild Wars 2 looks interesting after seeing the Gamescon stuff. I’m not a huge fan of the style but in general it looks the most interesting. The fact that all the animations are stuff are smooth and flowing is huge for me since WAR or Rift never had flow like WoW did. But that’ll still be at least another year away before anyone even knows if it is good or not.

  11. Bronte says:

    I think a certain level of comfort has a lot to do with it. I just commented on Greedy Goblin’s post about playing MMOs because of boredom.

    I have played WoW and quit it and resubbed and quit and resubbed and quit since the date the game launched in 2004. In all that time, there have been moments when I have switched to other MMOs (LOTRO, CO, CoH, EQ2, D&D to name a few) and after a few days or weeks, I have reverted to WoW. Not because WoW does it substantially better, or because WoW is the clear winner, but because I was “used to WoW”, and any game with game mechanics that went against WoW mechanics significantly only lost me as a customer sooner or later.

    My point is that maybe a new shine with tried and tested old system isn’t a bad thing?

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