Explain various MMOs to me.

So I’ve only played Eve Online. I love the game but it’s the only one that ever appealed to me. So I am looking for a compare and contrast between gameplay of various games.

I’ll start with Eve.

What I like about it is that you can setup a corporation, or a large alliance and field whole fleets. The economy is mostly player maintained and a player conceivably can dominate markets. I have done it on a limited capacity with low ticket items in particular regions. The configuration of your ship is very complex, and there are tactical considerations that go into how you organize your fleet. Do you want to run an e-war setup, a shield tanking setup, an armor tanking, do you want your ship to be fast, or are you a logistics cruiser running remote armor reps for the forward battleships? All of this and you ahve to keep in mind your supply chain if you want to field materials. How are you protecting your player owned stations? What systems does your alliance control? Who is sovereign over the system you are flying through? How do you avoid a gate camp? There are just so many different combinations of ways to play.

So explain other MMOs to me. Don’t think it’s too dumbed down, I know almost nothing about WoW, LOTRO, City of Heroes or any other game.

  1. Create a character. This is usually a name, description, and some kind of basic archetype selection: whether you’re a wizard, swashbuckling melee fighter, telekinetic or whatever. Generally you’ll also pick your basic skills as you enter the game.

  2. Grind. This is the vast majority of any MMO. If you disagree you’re either lying or you’ve wasted so much time grinding already that you’re at maximum level. This generally involves transporting yourself somehow to nearby contacts who assign you various tasks. Can you conjure waves of unending fire, a scorching inferno with which to blast your enemies into oblivion? Cool - go pick some pumpkins for me and I’ll give you some Wool Socks. Combat in MMO’s generally involves pressing the number bar at regular intervals. Sometimes you may have to push the number in a slightly different order.

Which brings me to;
3) Phat lewts. With grinding comes items. Many MMO’s have crafting systems by which players can create various items, but usually there’s two basic ways of obtaining said lewt:
-Find it during step 2. The phattest lewts have drop probabilities similiar to quantum tunneling giving me an extra inch or two of my junk. Big, scary monsters tend to produce a phatter quality of lewt. The alternative it…
-Find a bunch of money and shitty lewts. Sell the latter to gain the former and buy phat lewts at massively inflated prices. The rarity of the top-quality PL drives the economies of the game. You will probably also be able to purchase skinnier lewts if so desired.

Repeat step 2) for a few months. Then the game becomes step 3).

I think most MMO’s are an unending deluge of suck and simplistic repetition and Eve has a much richer and deeper complexity. Too bad it sucks as well. :frowning:

City of Heroes is a superhero-themed MMO. The majority of gameplay takes place in a fictional metropolis called Paragon City, which AFAICT takes up just about all of Rhode Island. There are also the Rogue Isles, a Tortuga of sorts where supervillains enjoy roughly free run under the eye of Lord Recluse and his organization Arachnos. Criminal activity happens in Paragon City on all levels, from part-time crooks trying to steal a purse to supervillains attempting to unravel the fabric of time and space, and as you progress in strength you move from the small time to saving the world on multiple occasions.

The biggest difference from other MMOs, mechanics-wise, is that CoH is not gear-based in the traditional sense. You don’t collect armor or weapons or special items. As you level up, you receive new powers, which can be attacks, buffs, debuffs, or whatever. These powers can be amplified in various ways by enhancements, which you do collect in much the same way as loot in other games, but are not necessary to be effective. The market for enhancements winds up being similar to the market for gear in other MMOs, but they don’t affect the appearance of your character or the function of your primary attacks. You can’t swap a fireball for an ice ray, for example.

CoH’s primary claim to fame, however, is the character creator/costume creator. Because your appearance isn’t based on gear that drops, and because it’s a superhero game, aesthetics are big. The character creator is one of the most detailed and customizable engines on any MMO I’ve seen, and I’ve played a few. EVE’s comes close, but all that handles is the face for a portrait. It’s possible to spend untold hours tweaking and fiddling a costume until it looks just right, although it also provides a few shortcuts for people who don’t want to put that much thought into it. It’s immensely satisfying to me, though, and IMO gives you a greater bond with your characters because you can be so thorough in creating them.

I could probably go in depth on the gameplay and such, but I suspect this post is getting longwinded as is and I need to get back to work. I’m sure someone else (there’s plenty of CoH players on the board) can fill in something I missed.

I would call Tubes’ post threadshitting, except it’s mostly accurate, if negatively portrayed. Yes, MMOs have grinding. That’s what makes them attractive. People love to dump on grind, but if there was no grind people wouldn’t play the game. Planetside came the closest to not having a grind, and while fun, it’s totally marginalized if not outright dead today.

I do recommend, however, that this thread not be derailed into a debate on the value or lack thereof of MMOs.

IMO this is overly simplifying a lot of what an MMORPG is about.

Questing is not grinding. Doing quests helps to immerse you in various storylines, and can help you discover new places, new monsters, and to understand the conflicts set up for you to be all heroical about. Questing can be boring, and some quests can be trivial, but generally they lead into bigger and more difficult conflicts, more challenging adversaries, etc.

Grinding is when you go out and kill 65,340,285 Boars to level up instead of questing. And yeah, that is boring.

Do some quests require you to do a “mini-grind” in order to complete them? Sure, but questing and grinding are two very different things, and I thought your explanation pretty much equated them. I hope I was able to clarify a bit.

I played Planetside back when it was relatively new (I quit not long after the expansion with the giant caves, god that sucked). It most definitely had a grind to it. I remember staying in large stalemated battles for hours just so I could get kills and go up in level so I could have more skillsets at the same time. I played as a stealth character, but I wanted advanced hacking and XP was too slow as a stealther, so I respecced in reinforced armor and that triple-barreled shotgun that I forgot the name of, so I could get more kills for a few days until I could get the skills I wanted.

I’ve played a few MMOs, but I usually get bored just as I’m getting into the middle-level range.

Asheron’s Call was my first. I got my main character up to level 24 or so before I got bored. AC was neat in that there was some skill involved in the fighting, and it had a lot of unique things about it, and it probably held my attention longer than the others.

Anarchy Online was a lot of fun, but I got bored at a pretty low level.

I tried Dark Age of Camelot but the grind was WAY too slow, and too much running around to finish quests. I never got into the PVP, which was supposedly the strong point of the game.

I played City of Heroes for a while and got a charcter up to about level 27, then got bored. I did like making new characters and seeing people’s reactions to them - me and a friend would do theme parties (where we would make characters that resembled each other in some way) and/or go harrass the people taking the game seriously.

I never could get into Everquest.

I’ll apologize if my post seemed unnecessarily hostile - it wasn’t my intention to threadshit. Obviously, I’m not a big fan of the MMO genre but I don’t think you can dispute that they’re predominately repetition. The basic gameplay of WoW at level 70 isn’t terribly different than the gameplay at, say, 30.

A fundamental problem is that the “questing” really is grinding. Whether you’re collecting 10 pumpkins or slaying 75 frostbitten yetis to collect their gleaming crystalline essence - it’s still just “contact -> kill -> loot -> return.” Any storyline has to be immediately accessible to any new character, at any time, yet still appeal to the top-tier players who’ve been scarfing down cheetos since open beta. Any quest must, thus, have precisely zero effect on the world or else you’re robbing other players of the same experience.

Again, YMMV. There are some interesting intercharacter dynamics that can arise when you start requiring multiple players for more difficult content - these can be fantastic fun. To me however, the average MMO is stale within weeks and spoiled soon thereafter. The formula that ability should be based on time invested rather than actual skill sits uneasily with me.

On preview: A shameful cracka’s feelings match my own pretty well. They’re just boring. I did enjoy Planetside for some time however.

Oh, I’m not denying that it didn’t have grind. It just had less of one than most. You could get by at level 5 if you were willing to be spartan about your loadout.

I liked the caves, though. I performed well in them, especially as a stealther.

I have to admit that I tend to get bored with MMOs, too. I love the concepts, I love the ideas, I frequently love the gameplay…but without a solid social network, there’s little point to the game itself. The only game where I’ve reached level cap is City of Heroes, and that’s primarily because I was lucky enough to know a friend playing who introduced me to his coalition (a group of supergroups). Having folks to play with makes all the difference in the world.

Well, not quite. There is a fundamental, if sometimes not obvious, difference between solo or near solo play, and doing large group raids.

Group roles come out and become more important at high levels. The roles of “tank”, “healer”, “Buff/de-Buffer”, “DPS”, for example.

The low to mid level quests help you learn the mechanics of the game, but learning the subtle aspects of a particular class came along in the mid to high level range quests.

For example, in WoW, the raid’s “Main Tank” (usually a Warrior) needs to have a grasp of “aggro” management beyond “Me hit mob to make him angry at me”. Stance dancing, and which skills generate the most aggro (which is a “behind the scenes” thing, unlike damage, where you see the hard numbers from your attacks displayed in your log, and on screen) for the most mobs.

I prefer solo and small group stuff, but that is my choice. If I wished to do the end game raids (and most MMO’s have something like them), I would need to learn a slightly different “way to play” my characters, compared to my solo act.

Eh. If you’re soloing at 70, that’s pretty much true, but generally at that point it’s funner to start raiding, which is considerably different as mlees says.

That’s not to say there isn’t still repitition. Playing as a rogue in WoW with a group will generally mean i’m going to have the same tasks during a particular boss fight and in between. But different bosses require different tactics for pretty much everyone. And there’s the added enjoyment of succeeding in a group against a strong enemy by itself, too.

As to the OP; I’m afraid from what you’ve said that i’m not sure how much other MMOs would be of interest. Pretty much all the things you point out and like about it are relatively unique to it; the general, everyday play is pretty much a considerably more drawn out single player RPG with other people running around the place. There isn’t as much ability to affect the game world in most MMOs as there is in EO. I’ve never played Eve but I know a good few people on it, and there seems to be considerably more emphasis and results from PvP stuff, too.

I’ll pop into any thread that mentions Planetside… What an awesome game. Shame its engine is a steaming pile of crap, and its plagued by hacks and performance issues, because NO fps has ever offered what it does. Also a shame that apparently nobody is developing the MMOFPS idea any further, since i would preorder PS2 based on hope alone…

At 70, you’ve got a lot more options than you did at 30. Flying mounts, relatively easy access to gold so you can buy just about anything you want for your character, or help equip your lower level alts. Raiding, heroic dungeons, and my favorite…high level PVP. Killing a computer controlled monster is one thing. Killing another player before he kills you is quite another.

Word. I’ve said many times to my friends that if they used Planetside’s gameplay with a Star Wars setting, it would be the most lucrative game in history. Galaxies was not was I was looking for in a Star Wars game.

Knitting one baby blanket after another, doing one woodworking project after another, building one jigsaw puzzle after another, completing one crossword or sudoku after, reading pulp romanace novel after pulp romance novel, listening to the same album until its burned into your head - a lot of hobbies are grinds - grinds seem to appeal to something in a lot of people’s human nature.

I love Eve because of it’s social dynamics. The social aspect is just necessary. I saw some people playing solo trying to make some runs to make money as noobs and they were doing runs I felt were beneath me. I’ve blown through ridiculous amounts of money, own a fleet of ships and run a lucrative department of a corp with several other dopers. You just can’t play without playing with groups. I’ve also got connections to other corps and know where to go to get some really hot big ticket items. Sure the Missioning can be a grind, without a doubt, but it’s a lot more fun when you go in with a group and fly a mission that would murder you solo, but when you play tactically like four of you can simply mow down the enemies. Then you loot it and suddenly have tons of money afterward, plus materials to build more stuff.

I would love a good FPS MMO. CCP, the makers of Eve bought White Wolf. If they made a WoD shooter, I’d be there.

Lord of the Rings Online is a pretty much casual version of most hardocre MMOs. There’s a large variety of playing style - from the people who just in for the typical ‘RPG experience’, to the player vs. monster players and to large-scale raids like in WoW.

The main selling points for LOTRO, I guess, is Tolkien. They have a series of storyline-based quests which linked into the main storyline (of course, they are not canonical in a sense and the room for creative license is huge, but so far, they haven’t jumped the shark…yet).

Otherwise, it’s like your most other MMOs. You quest, you grind for certain rewards, you take part in large scale raids, and you discuss Tolkien and Middle-Earth.

This is prolly the best rebuttal I have ever read to complaints about “grinding”. Thank you, and grats.

Well, you can, but it’s harder than in most games. And there are aspects of the game that you absolutely need large groups to experience (controlling territory on the edge of the galaxy for instance).

One of the most unusual things about Eve is the character advancement system. Most games are class-based. You decide at the beginning whether you want to be a fighter or a healer or whatever. As you advance you can modify your character a little, but you are always essentially the same type. Eve on the other hand has a skill based system, and a ridiculously deep one at that. Ultima Online was skill based also, but there were only a few dozen or so to learn. Eve has many hundreds of skills, letting you take your character in any direction you want.

Improving skills is unusual also. In most games, you have to do quests or grind to gain experience to level up your character. Eve is strictly time based. You buy the skill book and set it to train, and the skill will be ready after a certain amount of time. It’s a unique system and took me a lot of getting used to, but it’s pretty genius actually. With the traditional advancement method, you are forced to quest or grind to improve your character (although a few very recent MMOs also give experience via PvP). But in Eve, the in-game activities are decoupled from advancement, so you can try out a lot of different things. You can also train a new skill set while still doing your usual activities, without worrying about losing progress. All you need to do is figure out your favorite way to make money to pay for the skillbooks.

Hmm, it occurs I’m going about the topic a bit backwards. I’m explaining how Eve isn’t like other games, rather than how other games are. I’ll sleep on it and come up with a better post tomorrow.

My 2 cents:

I’ll only speak of games that I’ve played. That being said, I think Ciyu of Heroes/Villains is the most user friendly and kind of fun. I get burnt out and may not play for months at a time, but it a good game.

**What I liked : **WoW is just “ok” to me. I have a WoW account mainly because I have a few friends that play it a lot. Still its not bad, . I like Sword and Sorcery games, so thats a plus for it. I like the crafting in the game with the skills you can acquire and the fact that you can play either as an alliance or horde character.
What I don’t like:
1. It will seem funny that I probably have more dislikes about WoW than likes. First of all, WoW seems to me to be all grind. Some of the starting quests are difficult if you solo, and thats not really too bad, but it can be a pain.
2. Basically, if you don’t have friends that play, good luck. The WoW community sucks IMHO. Thats due to the popularity of the game. There are a lot of friendly, helpful players but there a lot of jerkish, immature, assholes too. The assholes seem to be the loudest.
3. Wow’s set up to getting phat lewt. I like to play for the immersion and adventure, but a lt of people only play to get the loot.
**4. **Starting off in WoW can be a huge time sink. Its a big world and you don’t get a mount to ride until much later in the game. When you’re in Westfall and you have to go to Red Ridge or whatever its called you have to run the entire way. Sure you can take the eagle flight but you can’t fly to a place until you’ve been there and talked to the eagle guy in the area. Not to mention you get some quests and they don’t tell you where its at. A newbie without extensive knowledge of the game world can get lost easily. Theres not even an arrow on the mini map to help you out. You can get plug ins to help, but I don’t think I should have to install a plug in to do something like that.
The Games Forums: Are awful. Its nothing but a message board to insult, bitch or belittle other players.
Overall: I enjoy WoW for the DnD like aspects, but thats about it. If I didn’t have friends that played I wouldn’t play. And i don’t play it that much anymore. YMMV, obviously.

Dungeons and Dragons Online: I don’t know if it still even exists. I looked forward to it, mostly because I like DnD type games, but I cancelled my account before my trial period was over.
What I didn’t like:
**1.**The interface. Its the first MMO I’ve played where you can’t direct your character with a mouse. Its rather difficult for me to use the keybpad to do so. That was a huge turnoff.
2. Its set in Eberron instead of Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms. I don’t know much about those worlds. The interface, as I said was a turnoff so I didn’t bother to learn more. Maybe others liked it, I didn’t. I don’t know if the game is even still supported.

Lord of The rings online:
I’ve heard a lot of good things about LOTRO. I tried it, and yes I did enjoy it. They seem to have a more adult base of players. I haven’t played it for wahile because I lost interest, but I may reactivate my account to try again. I can’t say I have any dislikes about it. It seemed like a fun game from the short time I played it.

Age of Conan:
I like Conan stories. I like Conan’s world as a backdrop for adventures. But heres where it went downhill for me.
**1. **You don’t have to play on a PVP server, but I wanted to give it a shot. The starting area however has a limit of I think level 20 or 21. So what happens is you’ll have level 15 or more characters attacking your level 5 character. The last I played there was no penalty for attacking someone many levels lower. A lvl 5 character cannot win against a character of a much higher level. Now I understand the pvp concept, and sure, it can be fun at times. I had a fun time one night ambushing a guy that attacked me in the tombs area. He was only 1 or 2 levels higher, so we had a cat and mouse thing going on while we both tried to complete our quests. Still, I think that a character of a high enough level that your character has no chance of defeating attacking you should have a penalty of some kind. I’d heard they were going to implement something, I don’t know if they did.
2. The AoC community from what I’ve seen is even worse than the WoW community. I don’t like to play with three year old whining little beeyotches.
3. Many players including myself have a severe lag problem that is not on our end. Theres a humongous thread in the AoC forum about it and that thread has been there since July. Funcom ignores the issue. Since I get really bad lag spikes the game is most of the time unplayable. So I quit. Maybe I’ll try again in the future if they’ve tried to fix it, but the fact that Funcom dragged their feet this far, I lost interest.

City of Heroes/ Villains:
If you like superhero based games, you’ll like this one. the CoX community is pretty good. People like to help new players for the most part. The developers listen to the player base. They’ve done an excellent job of stopping in game gold selling spam. They have game wide events which are a hoot. (The Rikti invasion was a blast!) You can play as a hero or villain and it only costs you 15 bucks to have an account on both the villain and hero side. There loot in a way but its not as bad as other games. You don’t “need” it to have an effective character. I usually sell most of my loot at the vendors in game or i’ll give it away to other players. Travel times aren’t bad in the game and you can get a “jet pack” at low levels easily by doing police radio/ newspaper missions and its optional.
What I didn’t like:
1. Its moot, really. I really hated the team invite gui popping up in my face without warning. But the developers added an option to auto turn down invites. I solo a lot, so it really did bother me. Its not an issue anymore, but I mention it because you have to choose the option. If you don’t you might have that GUI obscuring your view which can get you killed in a fight.
2. Again, its not a big deal but I’ll say it…I hate copycat characters. Its illegal in game but every so often you’ll see "xxHulkXX" or "B4tman" clones. The games TOS forbids cloning copyright characters and usually these people get caught fast and the character is forced to change name and appearance, but it frustrates me a little bit. I have a personal policy of not interacting with any “clones” at all. I won’t speak to them in game or team with them. Have an imagination, for petes sake. CoX was sued by Marvel because of this crap. Before they really cracked down I saw about ten variations of Wolverine in one night! You can tribute your favorite hero just don’t copy them.
Overall: CoX is my favorite as you can probably tell. Its a fun game, the folks that play are fun to be with and helpful. I used to be in a super team on one of the servers and it was fantastic. I made some friends on that team and we all had a blast playing together. (I left the group because I had to move and wouldn’t be available to play for a few months…theres a limit on how many members they can have and I didn’t want take a slot if I wasn’t going to be around)

I’ll take a shot at backing up and providing an overview to World of Warcraft.

First of all, it really is three games in one.

Solo WoW is where I often end up because I don’t have a lot of friends that play and my guild isn’t that big. When playing solo, the game is largely about the quests and storylines, and when you reach the level cap, it becomes about “dailies” (quests that you can repeat every day, usually for reputation) or specific goals you define (building skill in a profession, for example).

Group WoW can be played in or out of the organized instances (a.k.a. dungeons or raids). You can put together a group of friends and take on the big bad guys you’ve met while soloing–it feels good to take down that cursed King Mosh, or a fel reaver, or one of the other well-placed mobs that kills you while questing or grinding–but that’s still doing the same content you do while soloing. Group play shines when you get into the 5-man, 10-man, or 25-man structured instances. That’s where you must know your role in the group and play it perfectly to take down the bosses and get the good loot. It’s fun, but personally I don’t like the play being reduced to such a simple formula–many raiders will do the same instance over and over and over, using the same exact sequence of moves, just because some of the loot may only drop once every 50 times.

PVP WoW (player vs. player) pits you against other human players instead of the restricted artificial intelligence and planned encounters of the game. It can be played anywhere, but is most common in special PVP areas with specific objectives.

[li]IT WORKS ON A MACINTOSH! YEAH![/li][li]The game is incredibly deep. I’ve been playing for two years, and I still find little hidden areas, encounters, and quests I didn’t know about. Starting over with a new race/class can be almost like starting a new game.[/li][li]The classes are well done. The “talent tree” structure allows you to create almost a new character by re-speccing. A holy priest, for example, plays very differently from a shadow priest.[/li][li]The game is well-optimized to run over slow connections. I use satellite Internet at home, which gives me lag times upwards of a second, and I can still play PVE (although raiding and PvP are almost impossible)[/li][/ul]

[li]Especially in the beginning, there’s a lot of “wasted” time just running from place to place. If you get together with Alliance friends to run Scarlet Monastery, it can take ten minutes for everyone to get there[/li][li]Graphics in general are good, but they worry more about little cosmetic details than the fundamentals of collisions. Everywhere you look, characters are standing halfway in a wall, dead monsters intersect with the ground, and so forth.[/li][li]There are “dead spots” in the leveling patterns. You can level very quickly in some places (57-60 just flies, for example), while others go VERY slowly. I have 11 hours into level 67 on one of my alts, and I still haven’t hit 68.[/li][li]Players with friends or high-level alts of their own have a TREMENDOUS advantage over new guys.[/li][/ul]

As a final note, Blizzard has put a great deal of effort into creating content that takes you out of the “quest & grind for levels” pattern and lets you just explore the game. Professions are a prime example. You can spend days–or weeks–just working on your tailoring, smithing, mining, or fishing. The economy is fun to play with, too. If you really pay attention, you can make massive amounts of money on the auction house, but you can also lose your shirt trying to control some particular commodity–especially when you “buy low” and then the price crashes on your server.

Overall, it’s a highly absorbing game, and I’m anxiously awaiting the new Wrath of the Lich King update.

I know we’re not polling, but another “vote” for City of Heroes. I’m an older player, and I’ve played WoW and EVE Online for several years, plus a few more for various lengths of time. My assessments:

WoW: I still find it enjoyable, but only if I am playing with friends/guildmates. As a solo game, it’s lost its luster for me.

EVE: I have an active account, but I rarely play; I just keep up with my training. I think I can fly something like 140 different ships. I’ve got a more-or-less solo corp, but have been part of much larger corps and alliances (BRUCE) in 0.0 space. For better or worse, EVE is a good proxy of “real life” in that there are friends, enemies, back-stabbing, changing alliances, made and lost fortunes, etc. People really get into this, and effectively have part-time jobs in EVE. But you know all this, being an EVE veteran.

Tabula Rasa: Fun for a while, a bit different in how it does some things, and fighting off incoming swarms of NPC enemies with an ad-hoc group is exciting. For a while. I got bored in the early 20s and left.

City of Heroes: I’m sure I’ll get burned-out at some point, but I seem to enjoy the modern city settings and missions more than the other MMOs. It’s really just the same questing/grinding with different skins and scenery, but right now it seems novel. I do think they got the loot aspect right: not having to worry about who-gets-what-drop, not having to manage inventory (at least, not too much), and the player bases are all good.

The variety of characters in CoH is really outstanding. In WoW, there are three flavours of Mage, and these differences don’t even begin until level 10+. In CoH, there are, what, 6 or 8 different base kinds of Blasters (times another 6 or 8, based on secondary powers), and they are different from the very beginning - and odds are they look very, very different based on your character design. I think that is one of the key reasons that everyone has “alt-itis”.

On grinding: many games are grinds. Call of Duty or Halo or Battlefield: look for enemy player; shoot them; repeat. For a richer variety of play (IMO), try an offline game like Oblivion or (God forbid) Saints Row or GTA. These are very story-driven, and there is very little repetition.