What is the future for online multiplayer games?

It’s still a good game. I like the latest update too.

Fortnight, sure, I can see calling that massively multiplayer: A match starts with, what, 50 players, all in the same zone, all potentially interacting, right? There may not be a persistent world beyond that zone that you can travel to, but that’s still a lot of people directly interacting with each other.

MOBAs, however, typically have two teams of around five players each. Still firmly in the multiplayer category, but not massive.

And Hearthstone is a two-player game. That’s the default number for a competitive game, and usually not even considered “multi” at all.

Isn’t that sort of the fundamental problem with MMORPGs? They are massive and complex (ergo “expensive to develop”). And they need to be popular to generate the critical mass of players needed to make them popular (iow “profitable”). And you can’t really just casually “play a little bit” of World of Warcraft.

That can also be the appeal though. One game that theoretically provides many, many hours of entertainment without ending, if that particular game is fun to you.

Just throwing this out there: my understanding is the only reason Star Trek Online still exists is they sell expensive cosmetic DLC to a small player base of whales who are die hard trek fans with disposable income which subsidizes the slightly larger F2P population. There are only a handful of franchises that can get away with that.

I tried STO for an hour. It’s about as reminiscent of Star Trek as is “EverQuest.”

I too was a big fan of Star Trek Online and played it for maybe 6 months, until certain aspects of it became boring / grindy, and I took a good look at starship combat and decided it was way too…“arcadey.” Blowing up an enemy ship should be a big deal, maybe occur only once or twice in your life, not dozens of times per (elective) mission.

Even the best MMOs feel like they are laboring to give you a whole second life, and I’m just not able to buy into it. Being a big fan of Skyrim, I wanted so badly to enjoy The Elder Scrolls Online but just couldn’t.

Now, I also play Elite Dangerous. There, you’ve got a very busy singleplayer galaxy, but if you choose, you can play in “open” mode and potentially interact with actual other players. This is where you play when you want to team up with friends but run the risk of being ganked by other players who find this to be the best part of the game. Frontier seems to have found a way to handle an MMO, having it mostly be a single player experience but allowing you to add friends and also human adversaries whenever you want. This feels like a good way to go, if you can keep your funding up.

I won’t lie, I play Star Trek Online probably more than any other game. It’s not extremely faithful to Star Trek but I’m not a purist so whatever. The ship combat is really fun, especially in the end game, and I love the variety of play styles available from the huge number of different ships they have. The ground combat is “meh” but not too bad; what I really like is putting an away team together that works well.

The biggest plus is that they are fantastic about putting out new material. Every few months there is something different to do. The biggest minus is that they are embarrassingly bad at fixing bugs; there are massive, crippling bugs that have been around for years (like a cloaking device that gets your ship stuck in non-combat mode permanently) and never addressed.

I have 4 different captains and I have them set up differently enough that it feels like a different game on each one. I have a Romulan ship that zips around and turns on a dime, and shoots things with cannons. It feels like dogfighting. I have another ship that mostly uses science attacks like gravity attacks and clouds of plasma that fill up the screen with huge areas of damage, sucking in enemy ships. Another one is a slow beast with a bunch of little fighters it deploys and I focus on supporting the fighters while they do the work. Even in ground combat it’s different; one guy is built around shooting stuff and supporting the rest of the crew, another is focused on destroying everything with martial arts.

For a free-to-play game I rarely feel compelled to spend any money on it’s pretty good. Dated, yes, full of pay-to-win, yes, buggy, yes, a shallow portrayal of Star Trek, yes. But it’s fun.

Really glad you enjoy STO!

You’re not wrong, yet another reason for multiplayer is that interactions between players can make up for a lack of content and save you a lot of money. Especially if it’s competitive. No need to build a quest or add a themepark to a game if you can plop two sets of players in an arena to kill each other. And that (theoretically) never gets stale because with the human factor, any session is unpredictable.

That’s the theory at least. I find that kind of play gets boring quick.

I would differentiate “multiplayer” from MMORPGs. Most of the games I play are multiplayer, I even have a couple I host on a rented server. They are multiplayer on a much smaller scale.

The Rock Star games (RDR2 and GTAV) both have online multiplayer. But there is an upper limit to how many are in a single lobby (is it 30?) instead of hundreds. They are also pretty easy to play with your crew.

Generally, I prefer to play multiplayer rather than single player. I have no interest in playing the MMORPGs. In part, because I won’t pay a subscription to play.

I also disagree. Casual MMOs are huge, think of all those *.io games. MapleStory is still going strong, apparently growing 217% worldwide year after year. In 2017 NCSoft released Lineage M, a port of Lineage from 1998. It is currently among the top ten highest grossing mobile games worldwide.

~Max

Huh, it never occurred to me to consider the likes of agar.io or slither.io “massively multiplayer”, but there are indeed dozens of hundreds of people online in the same world in those, interacting via the gameplay mechanics. You could even argue that they have some of the key elements of RPGs (or at least, what gets called RPGs on computers), in that the player avatars become more powerful through gameplay, independently of the skill of the player.

No, I won’t go that far. MMO casual or arcade, not RPG.

~Max