In the last 8 years or so, how many major revoltuionary steps can you think of has the mmorpg design gone through … 3d graphics and instancing springs to mind but really after that nothing else. Sure network architecture has improved allowing improvements in the back end and the availability of high speed internet to the general unwashed masses, but really design of mmorpgs has remained stagnant …
Just look at single player games or online fps games, how many revolutionary steps have they gone through in the last 8 years … a darn sight more than mmorpgs. So what is the issue ?
Is it due to lack of design ingenuity ? or is money the issue ? or is it just the complacancy of the game players themselves not caring enough to effect revolution with there wallets ?
Where have the revoltuionary leaders gone, you know the ones the brought design innovation to the games they designed. Sid Meyer, Chris Roberts, Lord Brisitsh and Warren Spector for example …
One answer to what happened to these big-names is that most of them simply moved on. That they did their time in development and then took higher-paying jobs further up the job ladder. Another reason might be that design is harder to innovate in todays big dollar budget markets ..
I mean design isn’t especially difficult and innovative – revolutionary ideas aren’t hard to come by. Everyone has ideas, just look at the mmorpg blogs to see ideas and innovation that could bring about a revolution to mmorpg games. No, the difficulty is not in design in the least.
Nor is it in programming. again there are many talented artists, programmers, community managers etc out there that could easy implement the revolutionary ideas set out by the designers themselves. So what is the problem folks ?
I think the problem is in the development time required in producing a mmorpg and the impact that money has on investors and the pressure on developers to bring a polished game to the market within x amount of months. Essentailly the bigger the budget the more pressure to compleate deadlines, the more pressure to deliver what you promise, and the more pressure to build a game that the audience is going to buy into.
How does this effect design revolution ? quite simply money is the limiting factor, risk vs reward. Designers do not have the luxury to stretch there innovative design muscles due to design time and budget constraints.
Therefore personally I think we will not see a mmorpg design revolution, but more of a slow mmorpg evolution .
So who can we look to, to incite a revolution? Maybe, just maybe the revolution will come from the independently funded companies, the ones not constrained by budget and development cycles, maybe the way forward for revolution is through them. E.g. Chronicles of Spellborn, Fallen Earth
So welcome to the not so revolutionary revolution …. viva la evolution