Monolithic Servers: One Size Fits All MMOs

We’re here. The last day of Blaugust 2016. My goal was a new MMOBro post for every weekday of August and with this special edition topic, that goal will be reached.

At the beginning of Blaugust, Brian “Psychochild” Green and I began discussing a collaborative project. We went back and forth on a number of topics, occasionally getting sidetracked by various design theories. Eventually we settled two opposing views for MMO servers. He’ll be taking the angle that multiple servers are best. I’ll be taking the stance that a single, monolithic server is best. Technically, monolithic servers are actually multiple server machines clustered together. So by monolithic vs. multiple servers, I mean in how it appears to the player. For multiple servers, think World of Warcraft. Each named… Continue reading

5 Worst Things WoW Did for MMORPGs

5 worst things wow did mmorpgs

World of Warcraft is the beast that can’t be beaten. Well over a decade after launch, World of Warcraft has just released their sixth paid expansion pack. People like to point to declining numbers as the game’s demise, but populations naturally ebb and flow. The venerable MMORPG still boasts millions of monthly subscribers, a claim no other game can make. From all accounts, Legion will be the addictive experience people hoped for from Warlords of Draenor.

This massive success has been great for Blizzard but hasn’t been all rosy for the MMORPG landscape. Due to World of Warcraft’s success, certain design elements and player expectations have negatively impacted the genre as a whole… Continue reading

Best PvP Systems for MMORPGs

PvE (Player vs. Environment) systems in MMORPGs are systematically all very similar. Obviously some games deliver more enjoyable challenges from artificial intelligence than others. Yet the core gameplay boils down to the same objective: kill bad guys and take their loot. On the other hand, PvP (Player vs. Player) in MMORPGs vary widely by objective, scope, and type. Which PvP system is the best for MMORPGs? To some extent, this depends on the game. Arena combat is a better fit for World of Warcraft than Eve Online. That doesn’t mean arena combat is better than Eve Online’s free-for-all PvP combat. People seeking a PvP MMO typically come to the table with a vision in mind. To me, the best PvP systems for MMORPGs coincide with the experiences people see… Continue reading

What Top Korean MMOs Say About The West

lineage 2: a top korean mmo

American and Korean made MMORPGs dominate the market, as demonstrated by an earlier infographic on Which Country Makes the Best MMOs. Yet their paths to prominence have led to unique deviations. It’s easy for nationalists to say one is better than the other, but that’s largely subjective. It’s clear though that developers from these countries exhibit very different design decisions.

What appeals to one audience may not appeal to another. In the context of two countries on opposite sides of the world, most of that appeal has to do with the culture itself. This Google translated page of top Korean MMOs tells a different story than does our list of… Continue reading

Why Reputation Grinds Suck and How to Fix Them

Reputation grinds are one of the most common types of MMORPG content — nearly all games have them in some form — and yet also one of the least beloved. They are, almost without exception, tedious chores with few if any fans. They’re something you do because you want the rewards at the end, never because the gameplay is compelling.

Completing the Klaxxi reputation grind in World of Warcraft

It doesn’t seem like it should be such a terrible thing. In theory, currying favor with NPC factions shouldn’t be any worse than any other type of content.

So why do reputation grinds suck so much, and what can be done to fix them?

Concept versus reality:

The… Continue reading

The Evolution of Recruit-A-Friend Programs

You just started playing a new MMO or other online multiplayer game. You’re really excited and get to thinking how cool it would be to play with your friends. So what do you do to sell them on this newfound addiction? Do you tell them how awesome your rewards will be for recruiting them? Or do shower them with details about the game’s most attractive features? Unless you have a weird friend group, it’s probably more of the latter.

recruit a friend program in tera

Until recently, MMOs and MOBAs only incentivized the recruiter and not the recruitee for participating in recruit a friend programs. It made little sense because the recruiter was already incentivized by wanting to play… Continue reading

Frankensteining My Perfect MMORPG

“The perfect MMORPG”. A concept as elusive as the holy grail. We rush from MMORPG release to MMORPG release hoping to be enveloped by the warm embrace of perfection. The truth is that the perfect MMORPG is highly dependent on the user. Perhaps some have already witnessed a virtual nirvana. But most of us can only dream of the possibility. And dreaming is exactly what I intend to do today.

perfect mmorpg is not perfect world

Sadly, the Perfect World doesn’t contribute to my Frankensteined perfect MMORPG.

As a fun exercise, I’ll combine the best features from every MMORPG into one perfect MMORPG. In my opinion, this will capture the best of what every… Continue reading

Terms Only True MMORPG Fans Understand

Every subculture inevitably develops its own lingo, and the MMORPG community is no exception. For a newcomer just joining the genre, it’s almost like learning an entirely new language, and once you’ve mastered the MMO parlance, it almost feels like being admitted to an elite club.

Albeit an elite club that smells strongly of Cheetos and Gatorade.

If you know the meaning behind all the following terms, you’re a true MMO fan, and if not, take the opportunity to learn and join our prestigious (if cheesy) club.

Ninja:

Sneaky ninjas, stealing your loot

When most of the world hears the word “ninja,” they think of an ancient Japanese assassin, darting through the shadows and slinging shuriken… Continue reading

Dungeons, Dungeons, Dungeons

dungeon gamblers den in DDO

I started playing Dungeons and Dragons Online again a couple of weeks ago. The game stays true to its namesake with a plethora of instanced dungeons to explore. Though they come in different shapes and sizes, there’s really nothing else to do. Unlike MMORPGs with open world content, DDO is all about dungeon delving. After a few early levels, all of these are really meant for groups. Players can substitute hirelings in a pinch, but unsurprisingly a true player is almost always preferred. This design choice has created the double edged sword that has largely defined DDO’s existence.

Turbine’s Dungeons and Dragons Online is a lot of fun, but only with a group… Continue reading

Is Augmented Reality the Future of MMOs?

Pokemon Go is a huge hit. There’s no doubt about it. The mobile game sensation earned over $200 million in its first month of operation. Much of the game’s design and locations originate from developer Niantic’s first augmented reality title, Ingress. Real world locations act as key destinations for players to visit and interact with in both games. In Pokemon Go, these are gyms where players fight their Pokemon and Pokestops to collect resources. It seamlessly blends in with the real world and requires only a phone to see the virtual overlay. Pokemon Go boasts many similarities to MMOs so it got me thinking. Is Augmented Reality the Future of MMOs?

augmented reality ingress

Augmented Reality, Present Day

Few… Continue reading