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:: RPG Source :: Mailbag

MMORPGs: Good or evil?
Posted on 28/6/2004
Well Ancient's immortal question was pretty much: "What the hell do you think of MMORPGs?" Ancient himself is a big FFXI addict, but his question sure triggered a big response, from several different audiences to when I asked the question in his place. So enjoy all the responses, and my answers. The only thing I regret is that I forgot to ask the loyal Microsoft fans about Xbox live... maybe another mailbag?

Gamecube Audience
These guys have to endure with the most stubborn gaming computer ever: Nintendo. Nintendo insists there is no reason to go online till it is "profitable". Sounds a little too cautious to me. What do the fans think of their online-lacking system?

This is how I feel about *any* online game, not just MMORPGs. I'm not dropping $40+ on a game that I can't play without a monthly fee. Also, in my experience, most people who play games online are either trash-talking jerks, quit when they're about to lose, or cheat (bad flashbacks from PSO). Online, even if it's free, is problematic at best just because of the other folks you have to play with.
- Rev Link

The Mighty One's Response: I agree totally. When I buy a game, I'm expecting full privledges and expecting that I won't have to keep paying after purchase. And yes, you're right, most people online or definitely retards.

They don't seem that interesting to me. I mean, it is probably because I have a slow Internet connection but still, I like playing solo.
- bigoutkastboi

The Mighty One's Response: 56kers unite. Hell, when a game has a free online mode, you'll be sure I'm there. But many people who come to my house notice one thing first about my PC collection: only Real-Time Strategy games. Why? Because my internet connection can't handle the more demanding First-Person Shooters of today. Sure, I may have a decent graphics card and all, but it doesn't matter when it comes to online connection.

i have no real interest in paying for a game($40 - $50) then paying approx. $10 a month just to play it plus the cost of internet...$30 - $40 a month (for a connection worth playing online with). thats $40 - 50 a month plus an initial $40 - 50 just to play a game. i think not. not to mention all the jerks and stupid people that have "fun" ruining your fun. not worth it one bit.
- Renru

The Mighty One's Response: Yeah, just like my first response. But remember, you are allowed to minus the cost of internet. You're on the internet now, aren't you?

I love the idea of multiplayer rpgs but i dont like the paying for it. Mabye they should just add another $10 to the price of the game to cover the charges because it doesnt cost THAT much to keep a server going hell most pc games are completely free to play online.
- blind ninja x

The Mighty One's Response: Yeah, I'd really love to be actively involved in a half-decent MMORPG(death to Tibia). And your point about severs is correct, though many purists argue "The reason some games are free, and others are pay is because the ones that are pay require you to keep information on their server." That's totally, just look at Blizzard's infamous Battle.net. You have to keep your score and ladder ranking on their server, just like you have to keep your level, stats, and equipment on Square-Enix's PlayOnline, right?

I'm just do not have time, I have so many games to go through, and I'm always battling out with my friends and siblings in Multiplayer games. Not including to the trips to the Mall for some old school Arcade action. I'd love to try out a nifty MMORPG, but I wish there more hours in the day to actually do it.
- Goe

The Mighty One's Response: I understand your plight there. It's pretty easy to pop in another controller when your brother or sister is playing, or maybe go hit it to the local arcade when you're at the mall, but to be actively engaged in a computer game is a whole different story. Talking about actively engaged... remember a couple of Korean cases where the man died from too much Everquest?

I play Star wars galaxies and City Of Heroes and they are both $15 a month, but well worth it for the new content that gets added monthly. Console games you pay the $50 and you beat the game, End of story. With these games you get unlimited gameplay for a small monthly fee. It's not for everyone, especially since there will always be people who complain about paying.
- derherher

The Mighty One's Response: Well, you forgot to add an initial 50 dollars for buying the games in the first place. It is understandable that these games bring "unlimited content", but how much can servers keep updating? Maybe they'll add a new question here and there, but nothing that'll revolutionize how the game is played.

Personal Computer Audience
The PC audience practically lives off online games, so naturally they have alot of opinions about them and don't mind the cost, right?

The most important criteria for an MMORPG to me, is that it has no monthly fees. The second most important criteria is that it doesn't suck. I have not found a single MMORPG that meets both criteria.
- The cranky hermit

The Mighty One's Response: The won't ever. Fun comes with the expense of heavy dough.

Playstation 2 Audience
This audience needs no introduction. Pretty much all mainstream gamers here.

I dont like them, they are boring to me.
- Tingle89

The Mighty One's Response: Hey, I like people who are straight to the point. Unlike a certain Kagom I know.

You can't "love" the MMORPG genre as a whole. However I am currently playing the World of Warcraft beta, and so far, it's definitely worth checking out.
- AyeZeeEnSk8erX

The Mighty One's Response: That couldn't be farther from the truth, but you obviously must have opinions on online gaming as a whole. Oh yeah, and as for World of Warcraft, I'm not the least suprised; we're talking Blizzard quality stuff here.

I dont like paying 50 bucks for a game then paying another 10 bucks a month for the rest of the games life. Thats robbery if I ever saw one
- Ziggy128

The Mighty One's Response: Indeed it is, but as some of the pro-pay people have made, it's worth it since the content is always changing (though as I responded not by much).

The only one I have played is runescape and I like a lot. Can't wait for FFXI to come out.
- Doober2

The Mighty One's Response: Whoa... uhm. I don't know how to break this to you... but you've been transported into the future. Welcome to a world of microwavable pizza, smoggy skies, and French women who shave.

[B]Ancient's Rebuttal[/B]

What I think about Online RPGs (And I would fit in the PS2 crowd of systems, since I still play PS2 mainly, although if we dont actually have to OWN the system, I would be an XBOXer):

You pay 50$ for the game, typically. You get a free month, that is a 13$ value. Essentially, you pay 37$ for the game and 13$ for the first month. Most games that you purchase nowadays cost about 50$. And most of those games you won't be playing for more than 2 weeks, let alone a month. Even if you dont play any more than your free month, you are gonna get more game out of it than you will from say, Hitman Contracts.

So right there, a typical MMORPG that can hold your interest for at least a month, is gonna be a better purchase than about 85% of the games you can get on today's market that are at the 50$ price tag. Now, say you actually get into the game, and start enjoyin it. Yes, it is another 13$ per month that you hold the account in your name.

But I will put it into perspective, I have played Final Fantasy XI for 2 months now. I usually buy about 2 games a month. I haven't bought a single game since I bought Final Fantasy XI.

I took a little break and played Thief on the XBOX, rented it, but that was it. Way I see it, I spent 50$ for FFXI + 13 for the extra month I have played = 63$ for 2 months of gaming (unless you wanna add 6$ for the blockbuster rental), vs. about 60$ per month on average I spend on video games (usually one budget title and one newer title a month, on average) which for 2 months =120$.

FFXI has practically saved me half of what I normally would spend in the 2 months, and I have played for more than 180 hours, so approximately 3 hours/$1 for me.

Most games you rent at Blockbuster take about 9/10 hours to beat, which means at that rate it would be worth 3$ but Blockbuster rentals are 6$, so that further proves my point.

Of course, this only works for people with similar spending habits with me, and people that also enjoy MMORPG gaming. Of course, until you try one of these games out, it will be hard to tell if you do fit in this category. But that extra money you save could always be invested in more accounts so you can cheat to win 8=D <--- Seiken's wankin'

Now some of you may think the costs are still not justified. If you still don't think they are, just do a google search for server and bandwidth rates. For a game like Everquest or FFXI, you would need bandwidth in Terabytes, not Gigabytes. Terabytes anything doesn't come cheap, people. Not to mention the leased lines you need for internet, the server equipment, the people that work on the game constantly in different ways, etc.

The reason most online games charge monthly fees is because the games are ever evolving. Now on the other hand, services like Battle.net and MSN Gaming Zone are P2P services basically. The servers used on there are for nothing more than hosting the chatrooms and such for each game and some web content. The game hosting and such itself is done by the players playing the game.

Then there's FPS games like Counterstrike, Halo, UT2K4, etc. they are normally free to play, but most people who play these games regularly online invest in their own servers and such to play, plus usually there isn't more than 16 players in a game at once, so it doesn't drain near as much bandwidth at 5000 players at once. The FFXI server I play on regularly has at least 4000 people on it, during off-peak hours, with little to no connection problems.


and by the way, Doober's probably in Europe somewhere. FFXI isn't out there yet.

Next mailbag is: What do you think of cross-genre RPGs? That is, games that are primarily another genre, but have heavy RPG elements. Think of a game like Deus Ex: Invisible War or Warlords Battlecry. I guess you could consider Zelda this, but Zelda just doesn't have enough RPG elements really, you have almost no control over character development or storyline. mailbag@rpgsource.net

* Shadow_Janus eats Aplus's nuthouse.

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