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Labyrrinth
09-07-2006, 03:53 PM
1233Rob Pardo, VP of Design at Blizzard, gave a very interesting and informative keynote speech at the Austin Games Conference detailing how Blizzardís game philosophy transfers into game content when designing World of Warcraft.

It all starts with a donut. Allan Adham (original designer & founder at Blizzard) would draw a donut to explain what Blizzard is about. The middle of the donut is the core market. The casual market is the rest. We see Blizzard as being about both, and that the casual market grows faster than the core

A chief way of doing this is through system requirements.
Easy to Learn, difficult to master is the first Law. Design in the depth first, the accessibility later. A lot of folks seem to approach this the other way ó when we first develop our games, we first try to come up with the really cool things that add year sof replayability. Then we start talking about accessibility afterwards.

Raph Koster attended the AGC and was kind enough to take notes and post a very thorough and detailed synopsis of Robís speech (http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/09/06/agc-rob-pardos-keynote/). Itís a remarkable read that covers everything from the design of the newbie areas to pvp to the end-game content.

Spirit
09-07-2006, 06:06 PM
Kill 10 rats and have the group disband after 10 mins
-or-
Camp 1 room with the same people for an hour

Don't be fooled by people telling you the second option is the least interesting. It's very much the opposite.

In WoW, everyone slavishly played as directed by their quest log. I'd love to see a patch that removed it and watch as mass panic gripped the servers. People get so reliant on developers 'being there' to guide and entertain them, that their absence would be unthinkable. We can't be trusted to log on and entertain ourselves, we have to have a 'bible' to show us where to go, what to kill, who to speak to, and in what order.

I agree with what was said about the classes though.. no two classes played similarly out of the ones I played. And the Blizz polish.. also very true.

Navid
09-07-2006, 06:09 PM
uh oh, now they're secrets are out!

Let the creation of the WoW killer comence! muhahhaha

Motvin
09-07-2006, 08:43 PM
I like this part:

Concentrated coolness. What this means is, rather than make variety and lots of things to do, make fewer things really cool.

I can't argue with the guy. WoW has very few really cool things. I guess they exceeded expectations here. Great job!

One thing I do agree with:

So we tried to make the combat classes as unique and different from one another as possible.

Oh Sigil, please give us unique classes.

Otarin
09-07-2006, 09:00 PM
Easy to Learn, difficult to master is the first Law. Design in the depth first, the accessibility later.

I agree with these principles in theory. It's hard for me to see how these apply to WoW however. WoW has the least depth of any MMO I've ever played and was not difficult to master at all, even for people that have never played an MMO before.

galenwolf
09-07-2006, 09:17 PM
I agree with these principles in theory. It's hard for me to see how these apply to WoW however. WoW has the least depth of any MMO I've ever played and was not difficult to master at all, even for people that have never played an MMO before.

They apply quite well actually. Any fool can click away at their spells and abilities but i've seen players who are awful and players know who their class inside out, and funnily enough the ones who are bad players are not always new to MMOs and some are EQ veterns.

For example, i have been in UBRS with warriors who cannot keep aggro. Oh they have a good talent point set up but they waste abilities, are not on the ball went it comes to aggro and dont know what ability is the best choice for any given event.

I on the otherhand -im a priest- have been in UBRS when we have aggroed 3 groups in a row and only lost 2 people, when everyone thought we would wipe, because I know my class. I know how to time heals so i do not overheal, I know how to converse mana, I will let myself get hit if our tanks and DPS have their hands full because I can use my self heal and then fade to dump aggro giving the rest of the group time to get on top of things.

Theres many little things which turn an ok player into someone who will be respected for thier skill.

Labyrrinth
09-07-2006, 10:00 PM
I agree with these principles in theory. It's hard for me to see how these apply to WoW however. WoW has the least depth of any MMO I've ever played and was not difficult to master at all, even for people that have never played an MMO before.

Rob is referring to the design and development, which regardless of "simple" an end user may perceive the game to be, is actually very in-depth and not an easy task by any means.

Otarin
09-08-2006, 12:45 AM
Have to disagree with you Laby. "Easy to learn, difficult to master" is how they often describe the gameplay.

Don't get me wrong. It's a fun game. I just get depressed when I think about how much better it could be, especially given their revenues.

Rulan
09-08-2006, 08:14 AM
WoW was not difficult to master at all. It was fun while it lasted though!

dracoress
09-08-2006, 09:12 AM
I have to say. I don't think you guys are right about WoW.

I haven't never disliked a Blizzard game. Infact Diablo and Starcraft are two of my most loved games

I put off playing WoW after SWG got killed last November (Thanks for the NGE SOE) because of hearing people like you bash WoW.

I played EQ2 for awhile. Just could not get into it. It just seems like to sterile an environment. Rewards weren't good. Expantions were pushed out just like in SWG. Bugs galore. Typical SOE fashion.

I tried NC Softs games. City of Heroes (got old, slow game play)Auto Assualt (Game play fun, but you just do the same missions over and over and the game play got old fast) Guild Wars (Was just missing something, can't put my finger on it)

So I had a free trial from PCGamer and despite some of my friends protests I tried it.

I haven't even looked back.

I finally have a game that can take the place of the old SWG. I can be a creature handler again (Hunter) The world design is HUGE, diverse, and well planed to help you advance. Each class is diferent and special. PVP (what litte I have played) is very fun. All the races get a different starting spot so if you start new toons sometimes it is like starting a new game. I like grouping , but I like soloing alot to. More sometimes. WoW satifies that very well.

And the more I read about Vanguard, the dishartend I become for it. I really don't think it is going to become the game you all want.

I know I'll be bashed for it, but I love WoW, can't wait for the Expantion. And I still won't play Vanguard because SOE is involved. I found a better house now and I like it.

Razorwire
09-08-2006, 10:08 AM
Lots of good stuff in there but I think the true gold of the speach is this paragraph

"Donít ship until itís ready. This matters even more with MMOs. You might hear that itís improved later, but no one actually goes back to try it. You will really cripple yourself, you put at risk the next five years of your product. So hopefully all you publishers will give the developers more time."

MMO publishers and devs need to take the advice of the console game makers, once that game goes gold it will cost you everything to have to recall it as Sony found with SWG.

Giftmacher
09-08-2006, 12:00 PM
Sorry I didn't get past donut... :p

Gift.

Labyrrinth
09-08-2006, 12:49 PM
Have to disagree with you Laby. "Easy to learn, difficult to master" is how they often describe the gameplay.


Apples and oranges.

The speech was talking about *design and development* of WoW, not how *easy* the end user thinks the game is or isn't. Two totally different things

Design and development is not an easy task, especially for a game as large and, believe it or not, in-depth as WoW.

Again, to the end user the game may not appear very in-depth, but try writing down every single aspect of that game and how they relate to each. Then define how you want the developers to code it. For example, in what ways do you want just one specific spell to work. What kind of random number generator are you going to use against someone with resist at 100, at 200, at 25? How do you determine how hard any specific mob is going to hit a PC, how their spells will land or not land, etc? Now code the pathing. Where can someone run, what slows them down, how about collision?


And the stuff above? That's the easy stuff

iluvsony
09-08-2006, 01:57 PM
Now that Vanguard is back with Sony it is going to be the greatest game ever!

Sony knows how to take thier time with games and get everything right the first time.

Just look at thier track record.
Everquest
Star Wars Galaxies
Matrix
Planetside

All great games on the $24.99 Sony station pass.

5 million users on WOW..pfft that nothing.

Just wait. Vanguard will have 10 million easy.

Sony knows how to get a game going. They will roll out an expansion every 6 months for $49.99

Vanguard will be the greatest game ever!

dracoress
09-08-2006, 02:02 PM
Now that Vanguard is back with Sony it is going to be the greatest game ever!

Sony knows how to take thier time with games and get everything right the first time.

Just look at thier track record.
Everquest
Star Wars Galaxies
Matrix
Planetside

All great games on the $24.99 Sony station pass.

5 million users on WOW..pfft that nothing.

Just wait. Vanguard will have 10 million easy.

Sony knows how to get a game going. They will roll out an expansion every 6 months for $49.99

Vanguard will be the greatest game ever!

I think that maybe a bit sarcastic?? LOL

So many things wrong....I can't even begin....

rabb1t
09-08-2006, 05:01 PM
I'll vote WoW as well. In fact, I still say it is the greatest MOG to date (from 1-30, after which point it changes to heavily focus on raid.)

If you really look at what they did, they did everything the article says brilliantly. Everywhere has a very rich and distinct feel. The races and classes are all very different. The stories are great. The NPCs often aren't just 'standing around waiting for you to click them like a signpost with a head', and if they are they are often in an area where it makes sense for them to stand around.

EQ1 hooked me. It was my first MOG and I played for 1.25 years post release. I think I hit over 100 played days on my main character at the time I left.

DAoC, AO, CoH/CoV, FFXi all were a lot of fun. I played 3-6 months post release each, but only logged maybe 25 /played days before leaving. (I've now done 18 MOGs total counting released and beta-ed games)

It wasn't until WoW that I was truly hooked again. I got into the first stress test (there were 2) and I was so hooked I was sleeping less than 6 hours a night so I could max my playtime. I got into the final beta phase (right after their 2nd server came on) and was still totally hooked (got to ~43 in beta) despite the missing talents.

World of Warcraft is an extremely accurate name, and something I really haven't seen in any other MOGs to date. It is a living breathing world. You get a cultural sense of the people when you are in their areas/cities, every critter you find has a quest to kill them or seek them out. Say what you will about instancing, but it allows the depth and richness of single player games in an online environment - every dungeon in WoW is great, and many have cool things which interact with the players.

The only reason I left WoW was because I hit max and effectively got bored. I'm not one to enjoy repeatedly doing a fixed instance over and over, so after doing each instance 3 to 5 times I was basically done with nothing else to do. (I'm all for PvP if it has a point - the battlegrounds really don't have points like I thought they would.)


As to people disagreeing with classes - every class is very unique and has a very solid feel. When you are doing a move you are doing it for a specific reason under specific conditions. It isn't just 'spam the ability for the win' like some games *cough*D&DO*cough*. Yes, it is "easy" to get to know classes, but pulling that off those moves at the right time does take "mastery".

I don't know about others, but there are places in WoW that were so cool in terms of being a world that I just hung out there. Anyone who disagrees with me hasn't taken the tram from Stormwind to Ironforge. Me, right after that was put into beta I spent a few hours there now and then just sitting in the middle of the tunnel when I was studying. :D

Me, I'm an adventurer, I never play for levels or loot, so repeatedly doing things for either doesn't interest me all that much. The only thing, IMO, WoW lacked was the same thing just about every other game on the market currently lacks - randomized content. If dungeons were randomized in chunks, or they had particular dungeons that were randomized, I think I would have still been playing to this day. :)


I'd say the only people who don't like WoW are those who don't like theme parks. Of all the MOGs, WoW is most theme park like. Compare it to Disneyland. Think of the instances like rides, and the racial cities/areas like the themed areas. In Disneyland it takes hardly any time at all to get where you want to go, and once you are there you can spend as much time as you want on the ride. The focus is on the atmosphere and the ride itself. Those who don't like WoW probably just don't like that style. There is absolutely nothing wrong with WoW in itself. It's one of the best games I've played, and doubly so if you only compare it to MOGs.

Aradune Mithara
09-08-2006, 10:58 PM
I've known Rob for a long time -- back when I was working on EQ and he on their RTS games. He's one nice guy, and one smart guy.

I enjoyed his speech and found myself in agreement with the vast majority of what he said.

Concentrated Coolness and Content is King is hard. Balancing quality and quantity.

We obviously chose the higher tech route, but I don't think either of us is wrong or right here, especially short term. Although I am confident many WoW players will move to Vanguard, some won't. We will have a harder time in regions of the world where people have lower end machines. But where it will pay off is our tech will keep our game looking good longer. And logevity/retention is also king for us.

And I do have an issue with character advancement being too fast and then people running out of things to do -- just having them role an alt means you are confident that there is no other game out there that might lure your players away.

Soon there will be :)

No, leveling shouldn't be tedious and of course, one of the messages we are concentrating on both in house and in our marketing/PR is that challenge doesn't have to equal tedium. But zipping through to the end game and seeing a dungeon only a couple of times before you outlevel it... I don't buy into that.

Other than that, good stuff, and as I've said many times, WoW has done so much good for this industry, we owe a lot to Pardo and the rest of Blizzard.

*bow*

rabb1t
09-08-2006, 11:05 PM
Here is another 'easy to learn hard to master' (and general) analogy for peeps to think of - consider Mini-Golf. Easy to learn sure, but hard to master both in terms of actually doing it and learning the challenges of the course you are on.

Some peeps, like me, totally love mini-golf. (Esp when ya play all crazy and don't keep score, and alter the rules every couple of holes - like this hole shoot left handed, and this one no letting the ball stop, and this one you line up the shot first but make the shot with your eyes closed, etc. :D )

WoW is like Mini-Golf, while other games are going for the 'real' golf approach. Someone who prefers one style may hate the other style, but that doesn't mean that other style is a 'bad one'. :D

Spirit
09-09-2006, 07:54 AM
The problem is, WoW only becomes 'hard to master' if you're into PvP or raiding. I was into neither, so at 60 I rolled another alt and ran the 'easy to learn' path for another 60 levels. WoW never became a challenge for me because of my playstyle (I guess I could have raided and pvp'ed but if you ain't into it, you ain't into it), but the distinct classes + unique starting areas meant me playing for longer.

I have to give it to Blizzard -- they rule at replayability, something that was lacking in EQ2. Replayability has become one of the most important features I look for in an mmo now.

Otarin
09-09-2006, 12:33 PM
I'd say the only people who don't like WoW are those who don't like theme parks. Of all the MOGs, WoW is most theme park like. Compare it to Disneyland. Think of the instances like rides, and the racial cities/areas like the themed areas. In Disneyland it takes hardly any time at all to get where you want to go, and once you are there you can spend as much time as you want on the ride. The focus is on the atmosphere and the ride itself. Those who don't like WoW probably just don't like that style. There is absolutely nothing wrong with WoW in itself. It's one of the best games I've played, and doubly so if you only compare it to MOGs.
This is a very apt analogy, and part of why I don't find it very deep at all. It doesn't help that after about level 25 or so (about 2 days /played maximum for even the slowest of levelers), the uniqueness disappears as all characters are funneled into the same path of zone progression.

It will be interesting to see how The Burning Crusade turns out. From what I've read, they are going to make WoW even less "world-y" and more "theme park-y." The new PvP arena system does not even have the current Battleground's tenuous lore connection, and the instances will be more Diablo-like where groups can select difficulty modes, increasing mob hp/dps for better loot.

rabb1t
09-09-2006, 05:06 PM
The battlegrounds are what depress me the most about WoW. Where is the 'team a defends the city, while team b trys to destroy it'? Where is the 'defend this point for the longest time'? Where is the 'protect this caravan while it moves from point a to point b'?

They could have done so much with it, but instead it is just 1 or 2 big things that seem to have no real purpose or goal. It is really a shame.

Marissa
09-12-2006, 01:44 PM
And I do have an issue with character advancement being too fast and then people running out of things to do -- just having them role an alt means you are confident that there is no other game out there that might lure your players away.

I can't agree more. I think that this is what depresses me most in WoW. I like character advancement. The characters grow, earn things, make progress, face challenges, advance. It was fun to play my main character till I hit 60. Then I suddenly got this feeling that 'playing this character doesn't make much sense anymore'. There were a few quests left, but personally the 'challenges' stopped for me. Raiding never really attracted me in WoW (this is a personal thing). So sure, I could farm some cash to buy a gear upgrade in the AH, but what for? I didn't have any epic battles or other kind of challenges that I was looking forward to face, so my character just kind of hit the wall right there. I leveled up some alts, but once one got near 60 the feeling of pointlessness stroke down on me and I never managed to grab the willpower to work the character up till the point that it would feel pointless again. Doing quests over and over again... well... The fun does go out of it after a few times and it becomes a repetition. And so, I finally got tired of WoW. Changing to PvP did help a little, but also that got old fast. The battlegrounds also get really repetitious after the so maniest tenth time. Maybe I just need a break. But the point is, I liked the way it was done in EQ1, I didn't run out of goals that fast. Yes, maybe that's how I should put it. Longlivity is certainly a must or it'll be just goodbye after a year of playing. I hope Vanguard will be able to live up to that. :D

PS: Sorry if this was too much to read. I sometimes tend to ramble. :p

Slaade
09-12-2006, 04:21 PM
I had very similar experiences in WOW. I still play it though even after 3 yrs, or however long including beta. I had very similar challenges emotionally when i hit 60, and though I was faced with the fact that I felt lost, and that there was a wall in front of me between the really good gear/goals in RAIDS, or sitting idle in orgrimarr waiting for yet another UBRS, or Scholo, I still managed to always have fun.

I can't stress enough that WoW is not a perfect game however. Blizzard takes the easy street solutions to bandaiding issues almost every week. The battlegrounds were nothing like they had portrayed imho, nor were the results anything more than a "grind" of rep and honor or CP initially.

the most blantant aspect of wow, is their approach to retention on their max leveled players, and how they chose the "time sink" approach in the rep grinds, and rediculous quest chains that are quite deliberately on all the furthest reaches of the continents.

Either way its a great game 0-60 the first time. Kudos to them, i woudl never knock that but the expansion only delays the enevitable, which is the exact issue you all are describing here... what to do at 70?

Knowing wow it will be more rep grinds.

offtopic though, My favorite and most valued MMO was Earth and Beyond. By far the most complete game that I have experienced with a perfect levelling speed for Sigil's "core" gamer, and more than enough to do end game. In all honesty it was harder to leave that game than it was my EQ enchanter... but both had my mind reeling. :D

Aon
09-26-2006, 02:40 AM
I enjoyed WoW when it first came out before I knew viviendi universal bought out the company. It just kind of went downhill from there. Viviendi has been known to suck the life out of companies they assimilate. i.e.: Westwood studios, sierra, dyanmix studios are just among some of them. As soon as AQ came out. I knew something was fishy they went away with storyline and just started introducing content randomly. And don't get me started on their pvp game :P I just can't consider them blizzard anymore, viviendi simply bought the title to hide behind while they ride this cash cow out. :)

But im not bitter :) Iíd like to see some great companies survive right?

Marissa
10-05-2006, 10:38 AM
Don't get me wrong, I am not of the opinion that WoW is a bad game. I have enjoyed playing it for a good 1Ĺ years (includes a few months of beta) and only since a couple of months the 'drag' has just started to kick in. But factually, in general it is a bit 'too easy' for me. That is a purely personal thing of course and not to blame on WoW.

However, this trend seems to continue (and is perhaps only getting stronger as time goes by). What I am specifically now talking about is the battlegrounds, and sorry for going into this but after reading the posts above I just had to.

Because IMHO, in the past few months, Blizzard has killed Alterac Valley.

I can't stress enough that WoW is not a perfect game however. Blizzard takes the easy street solutions to bandaiding issues almost every week. The battlegrounds were nothing like they had portrayed imho, nor were the results anything more than a "grind" of rep and honor or CP initially.

/rant on

In the past I have been playing the 'old' Alterac Valley. On a non-pvp roleplay server (rppvp wasn't even introduced yet). I didn't get in often, heck, it only went off once or twice during the weekend if you were lucky. And then you had to sign in on time, because otherwise it was just full and you would probably not get in. The thing is, that it was great then. There were real bottlenecks, guard-towers etc. that had to be taken down before you could proceed. The battleground was not just a player vs. player test of strength, it involved some strategy and tactics. It could take quite a while before the first target fell (for us usually that wooden tower with artillery on top) and the battleground in itself often took hours. It felt epic. It felt like you were doing something, fighting a fight.

I didn't get into that battleground for a long time since, and when I started a character on a PvP server, together with a friend (still before the BG-servers were merged), I worked my way back up to AV level (lvl 51) looking forward to get back to the exciting epic feeling I had with AV. (By that time WG and AB had started to get so repetitious that I really looked forward to a much better scripted and designed battleground, which AV used to be). Used to be, yes, because along the way I read that they had done some changes to it in a patch, removing some unnecessary NPCs and such. I thought, "alright, no big deal". That changed when I got level 51 and I could once again breathe the cool air of the Alterac Valley.

From a game of strategy and tactics, it had changed into a massive zerg. First tower? Don't make me laugh, they didn't even bother with it, they just ran past it. Back then it was guarded by more NPCs and by the Horde themselves. Quite hard to take. But honestly, now the horde and alliance barely even looked at each other. Instead of 'Player versus Player', it was more like 'Player ignore Player'. "Field of Strife"? Well, no longer. All they do on that 'middle of the battlefield' is litterally running past each other without even wasting time on attacking each other. They all went as fast and straight as they could to the other's base (which generally was left unprotected, because the more at the other end the better). Killed the General, and game over. So basically it had become a game of "who is first at the other's Boss-npc and kills it". Nothing strategy, nothing tactics, nothing pvp (even though some like to just try and make some kills).

Me and my friend tried to do the first quest to capture the flag in the mine (you get a handy teleport-back-to-base item for completing that), and honestly, we almost couldn't finish it before the game was over. Same when we tried to take the mine. Actually someone did conquer the mine and we gathered the needed resourses, but then couldn't turn them in because the Horde was already overtaking our base and they had killed the quest npc to boot. Some quests (like gathering bodyparts) have just completely been taken out. Other quests have become obsolete or at the least unrecommendable. They just take time to complete and in the meantime the opposite faction is going for the win unhindered while you just lose time. Airstrikes and the massive npc that could so much turn a tide have become useless, waste of time and probably resulting in your side losing. No, now it's about who kills the general first and there's practically nothing left in between. And if you don't submit to that solution? Then you lose because the opposite side applies it. Really, for me they killed the fun, and AV used to be fun.

Anyway, I blew off some steam. AV is dead to me. A pity...

/rant off

Zadek
10-06-2006, 01:34 PM
I am not sure this belongs here, as there are some pretty serious gamers posting. I started playing RPGís back in 1978, when I was in college, and it was AD&D. I still remember game sessions from back then because of the camaraderie, and more important the thrill of discovery. It took a long time to get to level 10. I wasnít rich but had sufficient for what I needed. The discovery is what made the game fun. Another feature was the shear ability to branch off into what our imaginations could create. When I started playing EQ after trying some other games on the computer, I thought that it was the best thing you would find on a computer. It was great. WOW is also great, but they both and all MMORPGís have an inherent limitation, programming and size. I donít think in termís of WOW is going to stink just because Vanguard is coming out, because to me I really think they are after different types of gamers. There are common elements in both but they both have leaders with different visions, and neither one can have a 100% monopoly. I have played EQ, EQ2 and WOW with up to 4 of my children and we have had different experiences on each for different reasons. Each game has had something to offer and Vanguard will be no different. One thing I miss in all of them is the ďDiscoveryĒ like in AD&D. BTW thanks for posting the synopsis of Robís speech, definitely opens our eyeís to some of the behind the scenes thought process tha tgoes into one of these games.

Marissa
10-06-2006, 02:13 PM
I am not sure this belongs here, as there are some pretty serious gamers posting.

I don't think you have to worry about that. :) Your opinion counts as much as mine. I understand how you see that with each game there's coming different opinions from each of the family members. It is because everyone is different and has their own experiences and preferences. You can't all equally love the same games and like the other games equally less. You just have to play the game that fits to your liking best for a win-win.

Yikidee
10-26-2006, 02:03 AM
I agree with these principles in theory. It's hard for me to see how these apply to WoW however. WoW has the least depth of any MMO I've ever played and was not difficult to master at all, even for people that have never played an MMO before.

Never played Horizons huh? :)

I do think it is right though. Its very easy to get to 60 by just playing without really understanding how to really play your class.

However the class acts stand out like dogs balls. When your in a group with a priest that is on everything like flies on crap ona hot day, you notice. The really scarey thing is, for a game with som many players, you would expect to see at least a player like this a night, but you don't :(

Zung
12-14-2006, 01:17 AM
I've never really been a donut person.

taurus999s
04-14-2007, 03:11 PM
We obviously chose the higher tech route, but I don't think either of us is wrong or right here, especially short term. Although I am confident many WoW players will move to Vanguard, some won't. We will have a harder time in regions of the world where people have lower end machines. But where it will pay off is our tech will keep our game looking good longer. And logevity/retention is also king for us.

That route also means that you need to put in a LOT more effort to ensure quality of your art matches the tech you have chosen. That also means you need to ensure the game runs reasonably well on lower end graphics and preferable looking decent.

Take this thread (http://www.silkyvenom.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17468) as an example. This really feels like someone just did a mass database update and *cross the finger* and hope it is all fine. No one checked/tested it and ensure it is 'cool' or has at least appropriate coolness for that level/difficulty.

I have just dabbled in LOTRO over the last day or so and the differences in quest quality, polish and art is like night vs day. LOTRO, very obviously, have an inferior engine but it looked like their team worked very hard to ensure it looked good and polished. Vanguard, by contrast, has the better engine hands down but the effort to ensure the world looked good and polish is very inferior i.e. like a rush job.

Another couple of quotes that struck me when I was reading Rob's speech is "When I played Ultima Online I loved that. It was a great feature. But thereís only so much art time you have, and we chose instead to concentrate the coolness on armor from specific rewards instead." These guys sound like they know what their art team can and cannot do within the given budget (both money and time). Vanguard has some nice places but the majority of the world just looked rushed. I am sure the art and development team worked their ass off pulling massive hours but hard work can't replace polish in MMORPG.

Another one was "Donít take small decisions for granted, especially in that newbie experience." I still remember my newbie days with horror when my L11 Kojani Human Tailor was looking for his tier quest trainer. The faction impact on newbie characters from Dark Elves and some of the Kojani races are horrific. Playable Orcs and Goblins are very cool but not if the first few days are struggle just to do things that other races don't even think about e.g. visiting a L11 tier quest trainers. Small little things like faction and trainer position MATTERS especially to newbies.

"The Blizzard polish. ... We do get more time, but we do the polish right from the beginning. Itís a constant effort. You have to have a culture of polish. Everyone has to be bought into it and you have to constantly preach it. if you leave it to the end, itíll be more difficult." This looks like a pitfall I think Vanguard has fallen into. There are so many things that looks incomplete and unpolished. For example, take Qalia's premier town Ahgram. The placements of NPCs are really less than ideal. We have trainers hiding in all sorts of nooks and crannies. Every day i can hear first timers to Ahgram asking where the trainers are after looking for an hours or two. All these are little frustrations that can be avoided. The players should be out there having fun and killing monsters not spend 1 hr looking for their trainer. You know they WILL find it eventually but why put them through the hoops that achieve nothing? Running between bank/broker and mailbox are also less than ideal. Check it out. Small little things like these just drags down Vanguard for almost no gains.

Just my 2 cents. Cheers. Do note that I can really see the team put in some long hours. It is just a pity there are games other there that do small little things so much better and drags away customers that should rightfully belongs to Vanguard.

Calord
04-14-2007, 06:15 PM
Hind sight. It's like Pardo knew what VG was about to do, and Brad for that matter :)

With all the agreement Brad did with Pardo's advice, he didn't heed much of it. VG is miles away from any core concepts discussed in that interview.

Unfortunately, I'm a player who wants to give it a second try (I quite VG a month ago), but I installed the patch and now the client crashes my comp. And no, I don't want to edit VG files just so this ....software, can actually run on my machine. It's just a hassle I don't want to do, and from the looks of these forums, is not worth doing anyway. VG is in the same shape it was when I left it seems.

To future MMOs: follow good design philosophy. No need to reinvent the wheel.

ilnati
04-29-2007, 04:02 AM
We obviously chose the higher tech route, but I don't think either of us is wrong or right here, especially short term.


I wonder if he still feels this way now . . . .


Although I am confident many WoW players will move to Vanguard, some won't.


O RLY?


We will have a harder time in regions of the world where people have lower end machines. But where it will pay off is our tech will keep our game looking good longer. And logevity/retention is also king for us.


ROFL! Oh really Mr. "WoW is a bear-and-peanuts game that won't retain players like VG", how do you feel knowing WoW is closing in on its 3rd year and has 8.5 million subscribers, and rumor has it VG is bleeding subscriptions from its 150K mark steadily?


And I do have an issue with character advancement being too fast and then people running out of things to do -- just having them role an alt means you are confident that there is no other game out there that might lure your players away.

Soon there will be :)


Was he talking about LOTRO? Or was it AoC or WAR?

Reading posts from Brad that he wrote during VG beta is some funny sh*t.

Lord_Phoenix
04-29-2007, 08:43 PM
I have to say, WoW is a good game, probably the pinnacle of the EQ Clones. Very well polished, and fun and you can solo from 1-70. It has it's flaws. It has an extremely shallow, static world, with no real emotional involvement or personal effect on the world. Of course, you can't really design a game with static quests without a static world. It managed to keep my interest for a little under two years, which is an amazing feat for an EQ clone to do.

Compare that to the UO paradigm, which managed to hook me for 9 years, with many many people sticking around for 4 or more years. UO had a recidivism rate of something like 85%, meaning that 85% of the people who quit would come back, most within 6 months of quitting. It, on average, took 4 or more tries to quit for good. It had more properties of crack than Evercrack. It gave people that emotional involvement and the ability to inflict change upon the history of the world which kept people coming back.

The only thing that made EQ the first big MMORPG, and subsequently the model which most companies took up afterwards to create their MMORPGs, was the lack of foresight into what the players would do in UO, and thus the lack of punishments at the beginning to curb playerkilling/stealing, and the poor technical launch of launching the first true MMORPG, such as the flawed ecology system, leading to a world where almost every creature had gone extinct, and releasing with only 3 servers designed to handle a maximum of 30k players, about the most they ever expected to deal with, and having to deal with twice as many or more very soon after release, leading to massive lag and sever instability. This first month would taint the entire history of UO through word of mouth, leading many to not even consider it years after such problems were fixed.

Of course, with the collapse of the volunteer services program, and thus the volunteer events team, and attempts to go more mainstream, UO is but a shadow of it's former self now.

strykr619
05-01-2007, 10:37 AM
I think good ole Brad has had one too many concussions from all the dirt bike riding if he seriously thinks this game is gonna bleed away WoW/LoTro customers. With the system reqs of this game he already PERMANENTLY drove away large amounts of future players, now in the near foreseeable future i can see them doing some more retard game mechanic changes to piss away the rest ( starting with the easy mode travel and the lack luster death penalty) .

Good stuff Brad , what you gonna tell us next?

RaekwonThaChef
05-01-2007, 04:07 PM
i feel Brad had the right idea. But all in all he just cant do it,
Blizzard had a great idea of what they wanted to do, Make a arcad style MMORPG to appeal to everyone and they did and look how sucessful they are at it.

Vangaurd went a route, then a differnt one and didnt keep the same goals in mind all the way through. Before you make a game you should have resources everyone knows that. And thats what this game is lacking. SOE of all people should know if they gave Vanguard some more time some money it woulda took off. but i guess its impossible to learn when every MMORPG under the name SOE went in the gutter.

I have hope for this game like everyone but when i really see the big picture i think theres little hope. Warhammer and AOC and LOTRO are coming out this year LOTRO already out. This will cripple the game cause i know for a fact most players including myself are gonna try either AOC or Warhammer. It sucks but its the dead truth.
all you have to do is take the time and look around the Chunks. Its almost impossible to be just find someone to play with and get stuff done and in turn everyones making solo classes to avoid groups

reading the first post is pretty much everything and explains why WoW has such a good amount of player base

Kriptical
05-02-2007, 03:31 PM
Lots of good stuff in there but I think the true gold of the speach is this paragraph

"Donít ship until itís ready. This matters even more with MMOs. You might hear that itís improved later, but no one actually goes back to try it. You will really cripple yourself, you put at risk the next five years of your product. So hopefully all you publishers will give the developers more time."

MMO publishers and devs need to take the advice of the console game makers, once that game goes gold it will cost you everything to have to recall it as Sony found with SWG.

This is where smedly rolls the dice and wins because of the consortium of games they have amassed under the station pass. I'd be willing to wager he proded vg out of the door early knowing the issues which they would incur...allowing him(soe) to bargain shop it..just another fish in soe's pond now....shame.

Dejia
05-02-2007, 03:51 PM
I don't know why people think WoW is so 'easy'. It's remarkable that these people generally quit after they reached level 60. Because in reality, level 60 (though now level 70) is where the game actually starts! That's where your mastery with the game will be put to the test.

WoW consists of two games. The leveling game and the end-game. They are two distinct way of playing the game. The leveling game is arguably easy. The leveling curve is not steep and indeed gives people the feeling they make progression in a reasonable time, especially to those who have a job, families and such.

But then, the fun begins. Then you have raid dungeons ahead of you. That's where the sheer fun and mastery comes into play with 25 - 40 other people - your team members. This is where everyone must be damn knowing what, how and when they are doing. That's where there's a heavy class interdependance.

But this is the level of game play that is not suited for solo playing - it is entirely geared towards teamplay. To call concrete examples: Raid dungeons like Molten Core and Blackwing Lair require an astounding team effort and practice. One mistake by one team member will potentially screw the entire raid - up to 39 other people's time. This penality is a heavy hitter for most of today's MMO players. Knowing you wasted 25+ other people's time if you **** up.

This game isn't for just anyone. You'll need to have a hardcore attitude. And by this, I don't mean you must have 40+ hours a week to spend, but you must play your character to the best possible in conjunction with a bunch of other people. Attention, control and concentration is required. It takes months for high-end guilds to conquer this content designed for end-game fanatics.

Easy? pfts "you" gave up even before the game really starts!

Even when it comes to storyline and depth, WoW has it even in its end-game. The every reoccurring Neffarian which you meet in the 'easy' dungeon Upper Blackrock Spire for the first time.. Which you will only meet a second time, when you are capable of conquering the Blackwing Lair dungeon. Learning more about the story and background of the Red Dragonflight. From the easy levels to the hard end-game, WoW provides a consistent storyline. But, if you gave up after hitting 60.. how could one know?

Ofcourse to each their own. "Raiding the same dungeon over and over" isn't for eveyone. Untill you've had a taste of it. In well organized guilds, where these kind of dungeon crawls are well scheduled, there is a lot of fun to be had. Comradry, laughter, the sense of accomplishment working as a team. Even so the bad things, aggrevation on wipe gazillion. But, when a boss finally has been downed, the team excitement is unparalled.

Another highlight of these two distinctive games inside WoW is the following to consider. During the leveling game, it is hard to actively socialize with your friends while progressing. More often than not you are not on the same level and quests. This is a caveat with any level based game; due to the statistical differences it's not feasible to group up for extended periods of times.

With the post 60/70 end-game this is totally different. This is where an entire guild will be on the same 'level' of progress, where you will be grouping with your guild's members for hours on end, slowly progressing through the challenges ahead. Where you will be forging close online friendships, learn to adopt to fellow raider's specific playstyles, maximizing the overall raid performance. You're a gear in a much bigger network of gears. This is where the real game begins ^^.

Kriptical
05-02-2007, 04:36 PM
lol....EQ is the predominate raid game, not Vg, nor do I expect, nor want Vg to get deep into raiding for about another 6months at least and closer to a year from now.

Dejia
05-02-2007, 05:12 PM
lol....EQ is the predominate raid game, not Vg, nor do I expect, nor want Vg to get deep into raiding for about another 6months at least and closer to a year from now.

In direct comparisson to the old EQ, spawn camping bosses for days on end is something of the past. Extreme deathpenalties are something of the past. And for the (to quote some people's words) "grown up MMO player" this is only a good thing. We're serious about the gaming time we do spend. In that sense we are hardcore. But the limited time we have we expect that to be quality time. By no means eliminating spawncamping and heavy deathpenalties make the game easier. It simply allows us to have quality time.

But I ask you. What is it that you look for in Vanguard? Just the leveling journey through the beautiful landscape? Will you roll another character when you hit the maximum level? How do you deal with the fact your friends may be well above your level or well below, imposing serious pressure on grouping together for an extended time?

To me the reason I play MMOs are because of that: MMO. My ultimate enjoyment from online games comes from playing with (a lot) of other people in a team formation. Accomplishing whatever goal as a team. Build long term grouping friendships and such.

The grouping during the leveling game isn't much more than a "hey I need whomever to complete this quest so I can well.. continue my leveling progress". We're speaking of the so called "Pick Up Groups" or PUGs for short. Groups with a short term agreement for a short term objective. This by far doesn't forge the long lasting team experience end-game will offer. Or more specifically, the part of the game where you don't gain levels any more, the part of the game that puts a whole slew of people on the same 'level of progress'. This is what fuels player retention.

If it's just to explore the world and see new things.. well once you've seen 'em, you've seen 'em right?

Miff
05-03-2007, 07:02 AM
How the heck did Brad expect to lure players away from WoW?
Vanguard costs more than WoW (both in box price and monthly subscription).
If VG's subscription price was cheaper than WoW then I could probably see some WoW players leaving WoW to play VG just because it's something new and they'd be saving money.
But almost nobody is going to want to leave an established character and friends on an almost bug-free game to PAY MORE for a buggy game.

If VG wants to have any kind of effect on WoW's playerbase they're going to have to reduce their subscription price.

Kriptical
05-03-2007, 07:21 PM
How the heck did Brad expect to lure players away from WoW?
Vanguard costs more than WoW (both in box price and monthly subscription).
If VG's subscription price was cheaper than WoW then I could probably see some WoW players leaving WoW to play VG just because it's something new and they'd be saving money.
But almost nobody is going to want to leave an established character and friends on an almost bug-free game to PAY MORE for a buggy game.

If VG wants to have any kind of effect on WoW's playerbase they're going to have to reduce their subscription price.

I can hear the paperboy from "Better off Dead." "I want my 2$!"

rhagz
05-03-2007, 07:38 PM
Brad and Jeff need to give a keynotes speech. Tell them everything they did when making Vanguard.. then at the end, say 'Don't do any of that'.

/standing ovation

Saerain
05-04-2007, 05:02 PM
I think the masses were overestimated.

Varmint
05-06-2007, 09:14 AM
Lets see.
I played Diablo in various forms for over 5 years, and WoW for 2 +.
I challenge any game company to make a game that will hold my attention that long.
Vanguard gets better by the week, but I have my doubts it will survive 5 years, let alone hook me that long. I never say never, but I highly doubt any game will get me like Diablo did. I played and enjoyed that game long after it was technically outdated, which IMO kinda shoots down Sigils "graphics of the future" design choice......theory.
I guess if your game doesn't have the meat on its bones, you have to be able to claim something.
Blizzard is a great company, and although I too am somewhat disappointed in how TBC turned out, I look forward to and will likely try any games they produce in the future.

Dejia
05-06-2007, 05:30 PM
Lets see.
I played Diablo in various forms for over 5 years, and WoW for 2 +.
I challenge any game company to make a game that will hold my attention that long.
Vanguard gets better by the week, but I have my doubts it will survive 5 years, let alone hook me that long. I never say never, but I highly doubt any game will get me like Diablo did. I played and enjoyed that game long after it was technically outdated, which IMO kinda shoots down Sigils "graphics of the future" design choice......theory.
I guess if your game doesn't have the meat on its bones, you have to be able to claim something.
Blizzard is a great company, and although I too am somewhat disappointed in how TBC turned out, I look forward to and will likely try any games they produce in the future.

I feel the same way about Blizzard. And in that respect, I am very very thankful Blizzard set a new standard in the MMO world. Which is: Deliver something finished and polished. Otherwise go home. Finally MMO customers gets what any other customer/consumer gets: A polished, well working product. It's about time this bar has been raised. Us MMO consumers have had to put up with the "an MMO is never finished so it's allowed to have bugs and unfinished parts" mentality for too long now.

Purty graphix won't do it any more. Empty promises won't do it any more. Go Brad!

Lord_Phoenix
05-07-2007, 08:25 PM
I feel the same way about Blizzard. And in that respect, I am very very thankful Blizzard set a new standard in the MMO world. Which is: Deliver something finished and polished. Otherwise go home. Finally MMO customers gets what any other customer/consumer gets: A polished, well working product. It's about time this bar has been raised. Us MMO consumers have had to put up with the "an MMO is never finished so it's allowed to have bugs and unfinished parts" mentality for too long now.

Purty graphix won't do it any more. Empty promises won't do it any more. Go Brad!

Actually, if you had played WoW at the beginning, you would know that WoW was far from finished at release. Bugs, missing art, missing UI art, etc. It is a pretty well polished product now though. I'd say it took 3 months or so to fill in all the unfinished gaps.

Dejia
05-08-2007, 07:28 AM
Actually, if you had played WoW at the beginning, you would know that WoW was far from finished at release. Bugs, missing art, missing UI art, etc. It is a pretty well polished product now though. I'd say it took 3 months or so to fill in all the unfinished gaps.

I've been in the US beta and been through release. You can say what you want but it was not "far" from finished. The only major launch issue they had was the overwhelming interest of people - more people than alotted server capacity. The first few months after release were mainly dedicated to upgrading the infrastructure asap to be able to handle the huge demand. The game itself already had a feel of being finished. Ofcourse nothing is perfect at release, but they came damn close.

Tanaril
05-08-2007, 12:49 PM
I've been in the US beta and been through release. You can say what you want but it was not "far" from finished. The only major launch issue they had was the overwhelming interest of people - more people than alotted server capacity. The first few months after release were mainly dedicated to upgrading the infrastructure asap to be able to handle the huge demand. The game itself already had a feel of being finished. Ofcourse nothing is perfect at release, but they came damn close.

Um werent all the instances screwed apart Stockades at launch? Also the end game wasnt quite right also, people had issues with MC for nigh on 6 months iirc.

True they had issues with demand (kinda like Rings atm) but it also had content problems too.

Calord
05-08-2007, 03:12 PM
Um werent all the instances screwed apart Stockades at launch? Also the end game wasnt quite right also, people had issues with MC for nigh on 6 months iirc.

True they had issues with demand (kinda like Rings atm) but it also had content problems too.

WoW, imo, had the most flawless MMO release to date. It came with a *few* bugs. By and large the game was a finished and playable game.

The raid game wasn't in, true. But I really commend them on how they execute their design plan: build, fix, and polish the stuff players will see *right now*, and while they're swinging away at that stuff, finish raids.

Unfortunately, their development philosophy has been somewhat derailed post-Naxx.

Bubbels
05-08-2007, 06:38 PM
/snore

ilnati
05-09-2007, 01:46 PM
WoW was by no means 100% bug-free, and I doubt any MMO will ever be bug-free. But if people are trying to compare WoW with VG as far their respective states on release, and attempting to *defend* VG by saying "WoW had bugs too!", the two don't even compare.

Since we all love analogies, this would be like if VG was an Enron executive and was pointing a finger at someone (WoW) and saying "Well, you cheated on a test once when you were a little kid in school so you are dishonest too!" Anyone with half a brain knows that the two cannot be realistically compared.

Varmint
01-26-2008, 08:22 AM
Not to make excuses, but this is the company's first MMORPG. Not bad for their first try, I would say. Now lets see if they can come up with a truly challenging and unique game, like they used to!
They do have a new MMORPG in the works. No, I do not have a WoW subscription anymore:D