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  #1  
Old 01-24-2010, 11:23 AM
szebus szebus is offline
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Default The Elusive MMORTS

Here is an old but interesting article:

Quote:
Dana Massey Asks Why Not?: The Elusive MMORTS
Like the Yetti and the Loch Ness Monster, a great MMORTS is hard to find. This week, Dana returns to look at an approach that might actually finally bring one into the mainstream.

Column By Dana Massey on September 10, 2009

It's definitely a very attractive market. PC games are notoriously easy to pirate, while MMOs are virtually impossible to steal. If RTS developers can make their games into MMOs, they not only secure new revenue steams, but also some defense against The Pirate Bay.

Nice and orderly, just as I like it.
I like armies. I like the idea of my armies crushing enemies. And even though I’m horrible at them (I tended to play Age of Empires as a city builder, and would have pristine, symmetrical walls ready to be crushed by hordes of rapidly built enemies), I still would love to give it a whirl.
There are four main obstacles that stand in the way of the MMORTS genre:
The first problem is in the mindset of an RTS player. The whole genre is far more like a board game than a video game. MMOs are meant to be long, enduring, near-on endless marathons. RTS games are short and the table is cleared once a winner is crowned. The biggest hurdle for an MMORTS designer is translating a relatively short game into a long one.
The second issue an MMORTS faces is the spoiled nature of the MMORPG audience. You cannot “lose” in most MMOs. Sure you can die, sometimes you even get an XP penalty, but largely these games encourage everyone to win. That’s not necessarily wrong. RPGs wouldn’t be much fun if people couldn’t get to the end. Nonetheless, it’s a different mindset. The bulk of the MMO audience is not used to losing, while RTS games are far more competitive by design.

Starcraft remains king.
The third is the simple fact that an RTS is “real-time.” The core conceit of the genre is that people build permanent structures and either defend them or destroy their enemies. Logging off mid-game ruins that, and being online 24/7 just isn’t practical.
The fourth, and perhaps largest issue, is how to make an online game offer enough added value to justify microtransactions or a monthly fee. Why would someone shell out $14 a month when Starcraft is free?
The solution to all of these problems lies in the first three letters of the acronym. To successfully make an MMORTS, designers must resist the urge to just make it a regular RTS with some persistent elements and call it an MMO. They need to truly make it massive and truly persistent.
And ironically, the key to a truly massive RTS is in my opinion to dial in the focus a bit. Stop letting people build cities and empires, and focus on the very core of what makes RTS players tick: fast-paced, isometric, strategic, group-based combat.
It is necessary to maintain the game’s suspension of disbelief. Sure, you cannot have a Kingdom disappear because Tom wanted to go get a beer, but you can have a roving band of warriors log out. It’s the first step to getting people into it.
My ideal MMORTS, and honestly, I believe the only kind that really can be truly online and justify its fees, would cast each character as the leader of a small war band (think Robin Hood, not Caesar). You’d play that one character for the more RPG like functions, such as going into cities, buying supplies, weapons, etc., but each person would have their own camp. That, likely instanced, would house their militia. I am thinking more like 12 to 50 soldiers.
Within their area, players would be able to farm resources, build structures and even conduct smaller, pure RTS matches. On that hand, players would have access to more traditional RTS style gameplay on demand, but it would only be a small part of the overall game.
Players would need to recruit, maintain and feed their group through their conquests in the shared, MMO world.

Gods & Heroes took some
baby steps in this direction
but that didn't work out.
These militias could easily be taken on quests, band together with others to form larger armies and take on other PC or NPCs in a variety of combat encounters.
One thing the RTS genre doesn’t do terribly well is cooperation. Usually, it’s every army for themselves. In an MMORTS that dialed in the focus a bit, grouping together and linking militias into larger armies could become a huge part of the game. Strategic decisions and the ability for a group to work together would dictate success or failure on the field of battle.
This kind of system would also open up a good, solid way to let people try multiple styles of play in one game. I’d envision the camps as places where all a person’s soldiers lived, but they only take certain ones out into the world. Thus, in larger instanced, traditional fights they have all sorts of options. In the world, they could take a balanced group out for solo play, or specialize as part of larger armies. Imagine a huge RTS battle where one player controlled the archers, another the foot soldiers, and a third the cavalry. It would be intense.
This is just a vague sketch of an idea, to be honest, but with the amount of money made off the RTS genre and the developer need to insulate their sales against piracy through MMOs, it only makes sense for more and more companies to give it a try. The above, I believe, would be the basis for a solid and fun game that provides RTS style mechanics in a package that adds enough value and persistence to justify the tag MMO.

Author: Dana Massey
Created: September 10, 2009
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:29 PM
Supreme Supreme is offline
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Read through it a bit and I have to admit the idea of having me and my 20 warriors in an army of 20+ people going at it versus 20+ other people does attract me.
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Old 01-24-2010, 04:14 PM
welshie welshie is offline
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It doesnt really get my full attention as your at end game from start almost. where as this type of mmorts will bring in things from the mmorpg, where you play and learn your class first 20 levels but once u get to the best stage and decent stuff you can do other things, in a RPG it would be a raid of some sort and in here its seiges against the npc capitols... which means u gotta put that time and effort in early and its not 5 mins could be the best in the world.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:33 PM
Kire Kire is offline
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Nice reading, i agree that mmorts should bring ppl more together. But dont agree on low number of soldiers (20??? =P) and that the city building is not so important but idea of having fewer soldiers + your hero in massive army/castle full of players does looks nice!
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:28 PM
Negthareas Negthareas is offline
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Very interesting article. She brought up some good points about MMORTS. Personally, I love RTS gaming and long action board games like AXIS and ALLIES or RISK. To me, RTS Gaming has kind of always been an instance of a battle, not a war. I don't think I would have too much trouble transitioning. As for starcraft being supreme... I have a lot of problems with starcraft. I don't think her point on cmall groups <50 was good at all. If that was the limit, all you could do was increase the skill and experience of your units. Playing would require massive cooperation between online players, and, I'm sorry, but that cooperation would require a lot of commitment for a game. If 50 is as high as you could get... what is the impetus, the motivation? The game would get older quicker. Still, an interesting article. I think I will go back and read it again. Thanks for putting it up szebus!
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Old 01-24-2010, 11:04 PM
blackfang blackfang is offline
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Well i think using a platoon would be fun But sometimes you just want to bring out the massive army too, so something in the middle where it is possible to raid with smaller groups and gather for giant battles.
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Old 01-27-2010, 09:04 PM
Swift sword Swift sword is offline
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Actually, as someone has pointed out the mix of RTS and RPG that DoF brings is part of what grabs my interest. I'm looking forward to it alot because I'm lacking a good RTS to play right now (darn you beta key holders! ) and this'll be my first ever RTS. I've played like 5-6 MMORPG's though
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:50 PM
Negthareas Negthareas is offline
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[quote=Swift sword] Actually, as someone has pointed out the mix of RTS and RPG that DoF brings is part of what grabs my interest. I'm looking forward to it alot because I'm lacking a good RTS to play right now (darn you beta key holders! ) and this'll be my first ever RTS. I've played like 5-6 MMORPG's though

What does RPG stand for?
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:53 PM
welshie welshie is offline
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[quote=Negthareas;23688]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swift sword
Actually, as someone has pointed out the mix of RTS and RPG that DoF brings is part of what grabs my interest. I'm looking forward to it alot because I'm lacking a good RTS to play right now (darn you beta key holders! ) and this'll be my first ever RTS. I've played like 5-6 MMORPG's though

What does RPG stand for?
Role playing game
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Old 02-04-2010, 05:22 PM
Negthareas Negthareas is offline
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Ah. Thanks.
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