The Assume Tank: Did Star Wars Galaxies’ NGE poison the MMO improvement properly?
The MMO group’s favourite hyperbole should certainly be “that is such-and-such-a-recreation’s NGE.” Star Wars: The Previous Republic redoes expertise timber? SWTOR’s NGE! Guild Wars 2 revamps its noob recreation? GW2’s NGE! World of Warcraft provides a panda race? WoW’s NGE!
This bugs me for a number of causes. It distorts and devalues the very actual influence the NGE had on Star Wars Galaxies, which if nothing else is annoying from a historic perspective. The NGE was a lot greater than a expertise tree revamp or goofy race, and it additionally modified over time. However extra importantly, lazy use of the time period may make MMO builders change-averse, even when modifications are desperately wanted.
Do individuals overuse the time period? Has there ever been an MMO trainwreck as huge because the NGE? And above all else, did NGE poison the properly — are builders afraid of creating sweeping modifications, nevertheless a lot they’re wanted, lest they be unfavorably in comparison with one of many worst disasters in MMO historical past? These are the questions I requested the Massively staff in at the moment’s Assume Tank.
@ceruleangrey: I feel “X is Y Recreation’s NGE” is only one of at the very least a dozen comparative phrases which are equally ineffective in predicting the result of something. At greatest it is often a shallow comparability with little or no evaluation of the circumstances through which the video games concerned differ; at worst it is a sort of snide wishful considering that really interprets to, “I feel it will have an effect on Y Recreation the best way the NGE affected Star Wars Galaxies, and nothing might make me happier.” If you are going to say this type of factor, at the very least again it up with the whys and hows and make an honest case for it. Until, in fact, you are trolling.
@nbrianna: I have been railing towards the unfair characterization of the NGE for years. It was dangerous the primary yr or so after the NGE. It was a trainwreck of epic proportions, and it triggered the sport to positively bleed subs, although sadly not as many as another video games in so brief a time as in current reminiscence. However SOE spent years undoing LucasArts‘ calls for, and in its previous couple of years of operation, Star Wars Galaxies, although technically nonetheless beneath the banner of the NGE, was truly a a lot deeper recreation with extra and higher techniques than it had in 2003, full cease, and I say this as a die-exhausting fan of basic SWG too. So in the beginning, that mischaracterization of the NGE does annoy me, particularly when it is being abused by individuals who do not actually even perceive what the NGE was and demand on melodramatically evaluating each minute change to it.
However I do assume the business is change-averse, and I feel the NGE is definitely considered one of many causes. It was a critical lesson discovered very publicly by one of many highest-inhabitants pre-WoW MMOs: Do not change so dramatically mid-stream that your core quits! To a lesser extent, it taught everybody a unique lesson: WoW clones do not do very properly so long as WoW continues to be providing WoW. I could not assist however have WildStar in thoughts when scripting this week’s query; it appears to be in precisely that very same place, making an attempt to ape WoW, failing to persuade the market, and being paralyzed by indecision over whether or not to doggedly stick by its small (dwindling?) core or change its dated design philosophy mid-stream for a bigger slice of the proverbial MMO inhabitants pie.
@Eliot_Lefebvre: Throwing across the time period “it is such-and-such recreation’s NGE” is a very dumb means of claiming “I do not like this modification” whereas concurrently lacking out on all the context. Individuals are fast to throw out the NGE time period, however what number of of them keep in mind what the three letters stand for? What number of keep in mind the Fight Improve? How many individuals go on to recall that the NGE was carried out in 2005 and the sport went on to run for an additional six years after that, implementing a variety of the options that folks keep in mind fondly solely after that change? It would be fallacious to argue that it was a excessive-water mark for the sport, however utilizing “NGE” as shorthand for “change that killed the sport” is nearly criminally inaccurate.
Fortuitously and sadly alike, I do not assume most designers are notably deterred by it. Typically this can be a good factor, and typically it leads to one thing like World of Warcraft’s continued drive to repair issues like “courses are sort of totally different from each other.” Change could be harmful, however stagnation is even worse. Contemplating that my present essential recreation obtained shut down and remade virtually utterly, leading to a title that is nonetheless getting essential reward, I feel the success tales of sweeping modifications outweigh the occasions that they turned out to be dangerous concepts and much outweigh the occasions that maintaining every thing precisely the identical perpetually turned out to be the correct name.
@Shaddoe: I’m significantly irritated by players utilizing the time period NGE frivolously. There are two main faults with utilizing the time period NGE the best way that most individuals us it. First, the NGE was an entire overhaul of not solely the fight system but in addition the best way characters progressed within the recreation itself. It took a recreation that was principally a sandbox and added linear content material to it in addition to taking a flip-based mostly fight system and altering it to a clunky, actiony system. Then to prime it off, it took 32 professions and narrowed them right down to 9. Just about the sport that launched was utterly totally different than the sport that existed after the NGE. No different recreation has completed that earlier than or since.
Nevertheless, my largest grievance is individuals utilizing “NGE” to characterize failure. Though the NGE did trigger an enormous variety of individuals to go away the sport early on, the NGE model of the sport lasted three or 4 occasions so long as another model of the sport. Finally, there have been fewer bugs, higher content material, extra strong techniques, and a tremendous playerbase after the NGE hit. As a lot as I disliked the NGE when it launched, I consider remaining product of SWG was higher than it began.
So if by “NGE” individuals imply that it’ll finally be higher off by the intense modifications the sport is making, then I’ll agree. However I extremely doubt anybody means something constructive by stating that a change shall be such-and-such recreation’s NGE.
@MikedotFoster: I do not assume MMO builders have proven any aversion to sweeping modifications. Firefall has strayed tremendous removed from its unique design. Last Fantasy XIV is a unique recreation totally. Main MMO updates regularly change and rebalance established mechanics. The truth that we’re speaking about individuals shouting “NGE!” signifies that these modifications are nonetheless occurring.
Builders and publishers are principally pushed by survival and can do no matter it takes to maintain cash coming in. It is the gamers which are often those complaining; extra particularly, it is often a vocal minority of gamers who’ve grown accustomed to the present energy stability and do not need to see it tinkered with. That is to not say all massive modifications are good or that video games ought to change for change’s sake (NGE appears to be the shining instance of change gone fallacious), however I feel most readers would agree that the modifications we frequently see aren’t almost the sport-ending catastrophes boards make them out to be.
I might in all probability say that communication is the most important lesson discovered. Higher communication makes for higher modifications and a greater group. If nothing else, it softens the blow when modifications are carried out.
What do you get once you throw the Massively writers’ opinions collectively in a single massive pot to stew? You get The Assume Tank, a column devoted to ruminating on the MMO style. We vary from hardcore PvPers to sandbox lovers to probably the most caring of the carebears, so anticipate greater than just a little disagreement! Be a part of Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce and the staff for a brand new version proper right here each Thursday.
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