Author Topic: Are MMORPG's games?  (Read 12747 times)

Bear

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2014, 05:32:02 PM »
that ... is annoying.  It isn't supposed to take wordpress credentials; it's running using wordpress software, but I'm not using their hosting service.

Thanks for the headsup; I'd been wondering why so few comments, now I know. 

Krice

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2014, 09:41:58 AM »
Permadeath is alien to players from MMO's, and meaningless in MMO's specifically because there are no win/loss conditions

Winning and losing is different in MMOs, but I would say those conditions still exist.

Bear

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2014, 05:45:31 PM »
Just a side note: I tried to post a comment to your blog (mostly to cheer you on, but also some re: spoilers), but didn't succeed, since I couldn't be bothered to get me some Wordpress credentials.

Can you please clarify this? 

Do you mean that something at my blog wanted you to have credentials managed by  wordpress.org?  Or do you just mean that the blog is a wordpress blog and requires you to create a login to post comments? 


Paul Jeffries

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2014, 09:32:10 PM »
I haven't really played any MMO for longer than about half an hour, so I can't comment with too much authority on whether they have win/loss conditions, although some like EVE seem from what I've heard to have a form of permadeath in the sense that it's possible to permanently lose ships, money, territory etc.

"A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome." -- Salen, Katie; Zimmerman, Eric (2003). Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-262-24045-9.

I don't think you can have a quantifiable outcome without a game-over condition and some way to compare performance. 

I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of this; I don't think that you need to have reached a definite end-state before you can quantify outcomes; you can assess things which are still ongoing.  Decisions in real life can have near-infinite strings of consequences stretching off into the far distant future, but we can still examine the outcomes of those decisions at the current time - we don't need to wait for the heat-death of the universe before we can come to any conclusions about them.

So even if there is no hard 'game-over' state one way or another in an MMORPG there can still be present states which are more or less preferable and which depend on the actions of the player, the same as any other game.  Even if goals are entirely player-set, constantly shifting and difficult to externally quantify those players will still have those goals and act accordingly, so I don't see any real reason why we cannot analyse them in the same way that we would a more prescriptive game (beyond the additional practical difficulty of doing so).

Legend

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2014, 02:37:33 AM »
Personally, I see mmorpg's as more of a type of social media. Just a slightly more interactive kind with eye candy and whistles. Just really a way to kill time, much like windows solitaire, only with a social aspect and no defined win/lose condition.

I've tried a few, but none ever really held my attention or had a real goal or dire consequences for errors to keep me playing.

They really do seem like just big grind-fests to me. But unlike older rpg grind-fests (eastern and western crpg's), there was at least a story to keep you going or an ultimate end goal. 

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2014, 09:34:39 AM »
Just a side note: I tried to post a comment to your blog (mostly to cheer you on, but also some re: spoilers), but didn't succeed, since I couldn't be bothered to get me some Wordpress credentials.
Can you please clarify this?
I had to create a login, getting password mailed to me, etc. Having done so to see how it plays out, the account seems to be managed on your site (though I have practically zero experience with Wordpress from earlier, so don't know the inner workings :-[). Hope that answers your question.

As always,
Minotauros
This matir, as laborintus, Dedalus hous, hath many halkes and hurnes ... wyndynges and wrynkelynges.

darkflagrance

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2014, 01:47:31 AM »
Most MMORPGs have some sort of main story quest, similar to one that might appear in a typical JRPG: do a bunch of tasks, kill bosses, fight the story's end boss. Story-based JRPGs also only fit the definition of game loosely because of how integrated the narrative elements are into the total experience of the player.

Diablo II, an action RPG, resembles a JRPG or MMORPG in its inclusion of a story quest, but in many cases the appeal to players comes not from conquering the story mode but from repeatedly completing certain levels that give good loot. The goal of the player is not to challenge themself by completing particularly difficult content, but rather to swiftly and efficiently clear said content in hopes of getting the rewards that result. This activity could be said to have given rise to the "raid" activity that is common in many MMOs.

I think it is reasonable to constrict the definition of "game" to exclude the above examples of media that are otherwise commonly known as "video games". However, one should be aware that not all "games" are about simply scoring points: they might be about efficient use of time in procuring rather arbitrarily determined rewards. Similarly, while an MMO experience as a whole might not count as a game, the subgames involved in both the genre of MMORPGs and RPGs in general almost certainly merit discussion even in the narrower context of "games" which you prefer.


Eben

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2014, 07:19:51 AM »
I'm not buying the argument about being like tennis.  Tennis is a game;  there are clear rules about what winning and losing mean, and players start each game on even terms.  The fact that you play  tennis more than once in your life doesn't mean it isn't a game.  Playing tennis is a hobby, but a particular game of tennis is a game. 

MMO's are a lot like tabletop paper and pencil roleplaying games -- somewhat open ended, even aimless.  And obviously not a game in the sense of game theory.  I have been in tournaments of tabletop RPG's where teams of players are given identical sets of characters and run in separate sessions in the same prepared scenario, and afterwards scored on 'victory points' for mission goals achieved.  That made them into a game in the classic sense, but it is not the way tabletop RPG's are normally played.  And as far as I know no MMO has ever supported a tournament mode that qualified as a game in the classic sense. 

Anyway, this comes up in the context of roguelike games because we're starting off characters on a more-or-less equal basis (modulo starting equipment and stats) and at some point the game is OVER.  When the game is over we have a 'score' on which games are compared, so we can look at the scoreboard and say, at least roughly, that we were playing better in this game than in that one, or that Alice definitely beat Bob, or that Carol has six of the top ten scores on this server, or whatever.  Game strategies and game balance can then be related to its impact on scores, where we define winning and losing in terms of score. 

But when we look at the mainstream gamers' experience of a computer-mediated roleplaying game, we're talking about MMO's.  And MMO's simply do not have the features of games that allow meaningful measurement of performance and evaluation of strategy in terms of score.  So there's a sort of incomprehension based on inexperience which we as game designers need to overcome, about games being over and about there being a basis for competition on the grounds of score.

You've nailed it exactly here. Just like tennis the MMO as a whole is not a game, but contains many many games. So as in sports you can say "The game of tennis is blah blah" you can say that about an MMO.

Of course you could say that MMOs are games because they do have end conditions. With the exception of a very very small percentage of them, servers shut down at some point and someone the has the best stuff / most money / biggest armor / highest pvp stats and they have won the game.

quixotic

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2014, 06:54:09 AM »
Another MMO to look at might be "Puzzle Pirates"- a series of discrete win/lose puzzle games whose overall effect is to affect ship speed, combat, etc... against other ships or an overall quest. How is this different from interactions in hack and slash RPGs?

Sandbox games are another example; is terraria a game? Tabletop Role Playing Games? Multi User Dungeon? Dwarf Fortress?  Party games? Drinking games? At a certain point semantics will get silly, if we use the "endpoint" and discrete goal state in our definition.

The original criteria that I was taught in school was "Players, Information/Decisions/Actions, Payoffs". It's a very easy bar to meet. The payoff does not need to be in the form of a "score"(and does not have to occur at a discrete endpoint), the decisions do not need to be complicated, and the player do not need to enjoy themselves for something to be a game.

Darren Grey

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Re: Are MMORPG's games?
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2014, 12:21:21 PM »
But then I realized something.  The genre where level-grinding has become most widespread and cancerous - MMORPG's (as far as I know) has no win or loss conditions.  There absolutely is no "Game over, you won," nor even a "Game over, you lost" - there is no winning or losing no matter what you do, in fact.

Does the win condition need to be formalised in the code for it to satisfy this? Most MMO players have clear objectives they are trying to reach, and approach them in exactly the same game-y way they would any other game. In terms of user behaviour they are most certainly playing a game.

Also do remember that the majority of players don't finish the games they play. Is Skyrim less of a game because I stopped playing it after 30 hours?

Someone else mentioned sandboxes - I think this is a whole category of games, and generally a strict end-of-game win condition in them is either optional or even undesirable. This is of course quite different from competition games (win/lose) or completion games (save/restore until you reach the end). All of them still share a vast array of common game design elements.

Besides, when it comes to articles on game design I think the court is completely open on where to take lessons from. There's lots of great info on web-site design for designing interfaces for instance, or from various mobile apps for touchscreen interactions. And gamification is leaking into all sorts of fields. It doesn't need to be a strict game to be worth looking at.