Korovev wrote:There are some good reasons why the “regular MMO grind/recycle crap” is still the most successful formula, though. For non-combat, level-free MMOs, one could look at Second Life, Kitely or OSGrid, but those too haven’t been hugely successful either.
Personally I dislike most forms of grind; I'd rather be forced out of the game because of lack of content than inside due to artificial barriers. I'm also not really fond of the kind of petty rewards MMOs like to give you, and I'd rather use my free time to do my real-life chores.
But still, you have a point. Grinding is essential for the developers, and I can see why some players might enjoy it too provided they enjoy MMO gameplay in general. Heck, I guess I wouldn't mind farming Yeesha Pages if there was such a thing in Uru.
Korovev wrote:This is why I like how only one spakly per month appears on Gehn
I'm in favor of this too. But that might also be because they only take 5 minutes to collect each month
If they required a whole week of farming, that would be a different story.
Korovev wrote:Take the Pod Ages: when they came out, it must have been a fantastic experience, trying to figure out how it worked.
Yeah, same goes with Ahnonay and the Watcher's pub (although that was offline). Usual puzzles involve some sort of combination you have to guess by finding journals and notes (especially in Myst 3 to 5 and ABM), but in those particular Uru Ages, puzzles were really simpler yet tougher by contrast.
But then as you said, once you know the solution no puzzle is really replayable since they don't offer any other challenge.
Lehnah wrote:If the original plan of constant new content being added was met would it have been an issue?
Depends of the size of the studio. A small game company with few employees could survive on an MMO like Uru assuming they could push content that
regularly... but then they wouldn't sleep much
A bigger studio could create this much content without any problem, but then you would have to pay a lot more people, which wouldn't be profitable.
This is probably comparable to the situation Telltale Games was in: they tried to create a lot of episodic content quickly, and it seems that was really difficult (probably why they are currently going under).
Then you have other problems: releasing things fast
means you have less time to bugtest (what if one particular bug corrupts player saves ?), and mean you sometime have to release half-finished content ("sorry, you opened that door, but there is nothing behind it yet").
Grind is a good solution to this problem: let players do the same thing over and over, in the meantime you can create quality content without time limits. This is why lots of MMOs create buyable DLCs that add new content every 4 to 12 months.
On the other end, trying to create content too quickly means you end up creating less content. The Pods, Jalak, Tsogal and Delin are good example. They have nice mechanics, but ultimately these Ages are super small and really side content more than anything.
sarpedon2 wrote:Had creating and dropping pellets into the lake actually produced some guaranteed changes (even if subtle at first), it might have encouraged players to take part in the 'restoration', bringing the city back to life. [...] Sirius post a couple pages back that demonstrated how he changed the lighting of Canyon mall and other city structures got me thinking. Ages like Dahtamnay produced fire-marbles. If players wanted to make the city less gloomy and more alive, they could have helped the DRC mine fire marbles on Dahtamnay, which would contribute to the city feeling more alive.
Actually at some point I did something similar and managed to link the number of pellets dropped to how bright Ae'gura was (by changing fog values from black to a more orange tone). This never ended on any Shard though AFAIK.
Problem is, it's a lot of grind for a very little change. I prefer my idea of having a few Ages entirely player-made and let people build their own environments within the game (although this comes with its own share of problem, obviously...).
sarpedon2 wrote:When you have a game world that is populated by 1000s of players at a time, player interaction with NPCs like Yeesha, the DRC and the Bahro become pointless, because nearly every player is doing the same thing, and thus the players do not experience any sense of consequence of their actions.
On a smaller scale, I always hated MMOs because they always want you to be the ultimate-hero-of-the-prophecy, yet you still had to wait in queue to talk to NPCs. That, and ignore half-naked avatars jumping on tables and messing things up. But it's a problem with storytelling in multiplayer games in general... Never bothered me much in Uru, but then I started playing it when the main storyline was stopped, so...
Guilds and neighborhoods are pretty good solutions to scale down multiplayer to a more manageable level, though.