[MUD-Dev] Winnable MMO

Diamonds diamonds at unknownplayer.com
Wed Apr 2 14:12:19 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "apollyon" <apo11yon at hotmail.com>

> A friend and I were discussing the non-winnable nature of PvP MMOs
> currently on the market or soon to be released.  DAoC, Shadowbane,
> SWG, they all have a strong PvP element but none are truly
> winnable.  The games are specifically designed such that the
> conflict will continue unendingly until they just fade away into
> obscurity as players abandon them for the next great game.
> Anarchy Online comes close with its prefabricated story spanning a
> discrete timeline at the end of which they will determine who
> wins, but there is no game out there (at least that I've heard of)
> that actually leaves the fate of that game up to the players.

Why does everyone fail to include WWII Online in any reference of
MMOG's short of the category 'bad releases'? I mention this now
because WWII Online is the only main stream MMOG that actually
incorporates 'loosing'. This thread exemplifies how they (including
the players) understand having a win/loose type of game effects the
feel and the playerbase of that game.

My 2 cents is that games with 'winners' and 'loosers' are bad games
to make if you plan on making money. If you want to make the most
niche game possible, have VERY hardcore dedicated players and be the
king of their world (like WWIIOL) then win/loose games are the way
to go. However, they are NOT mainstream material. Simply put, video
games are a form of an escape where the player feels comfortable
knowing that he will not loose. All video games have the, what I
like to call, absolute factor. Meaning that no matter how poorly you
play, given enough time you will win, absolutely.

The types of games that you describe go against this model, and my
feeling is that it will not be welcomed by masses. There are two
examples of this.  First, the closest thing to online 'win/loose'
games available are FPS and RTS type games. They subscribe to the
model that was mentioned, they all have a VERY quick "rapid power
advancement so payers can quickly get back into the swing of things
after a concluded conflict." However, in 'win/loose' MMOG's, such a
model would be hard if not impossible to implement, basically
because MMOG's cannot be played for 10 or 20 minutes, then 'done',
like in FPS or RTS online games. MMOG's all consume large amounts of
time before anything can happen. For instance, a player can log into
a MMORPG world and search for hours trying to find a good group to
go hunting with.

Secondly, MMOG's history have followed the 'only one' at the top
model.  Meaning that they have the tendency for one player, or group
of players to be at the top, and for them to stay there. In the
cause of 'win/loose' MMOG's, this would cause those not on the top
to constantly loose. No one plays games to loose.

In conclusion, people play games to win. Niche community's follow
'win/loose' games. 'Win/Loose' games run the risk of a player base
loosing too much. All these risks are too chancy for most
dev. companies, so I doubt to see any more in the market for a

     Chris "Diamonds" Stewart
     Editor in Something...
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