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News: Celebrating 30 years of Star Control 2 - The Ur-Quan Masters

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1  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 29, 2010, 04:59:53 am
I had a very long post composed here, and then my browser decided to make all that typing void by closing itself. Suffice to say, I'm sick of this topic again, and so additional commentary will not be terribly verbose until someone new joins the discussion.

I hate it when that happens.  As such, I've taken to saving really long posts in temporary text files.

Also, I stopped using IE.  That piece of shit crashes on every other website.

Let me just say this, though: If you have a subscription model, your game may have fewer griefers and other trouble, but it will be prohibitively expensive. If you have a microtransaction model, the game is essentially free to play and you're opening the floodgates. You can't argue it both ways, because that's not how it works.

That's only the core of the argument.  Different games have different target audiences.  Who do you think are the biggest griefers and tards in MMOs?  They're kids, not adults like you and I.  If you play an MMO aimed at little children, you shouldn't complain that you get griefed.  Look at EVE Online - it's a subscription based MMO, but the culture of the game is very cut throat.  This is done on purpose as the devs are catering to a more "hardcore" gaming crowd than MMOs like WoW, which caters to a very different crowd than MMOs like Maple Story.

So the business model will make a difference on what types of gamers the MMO attract, but it won't make ALL the difference.

Also, Mad Cat, you wasted $75 not playing WoW for the last 5 months, which hurts my brain just to think about. I value my money far too much to do something like that.

I did no such thing.  Over the past 5 months I paid $0 on my subscription and likewise played 0 hours of WoW.

My gym membership, on the other hand... Sad

Additionally, your walking analogy is a failure, as Zeratul stated. See my above remark about subscription vs. free-to-play.

Simply stating "your analogy is a failure" doesn't make it such, and is often the sign of someone who either doesn't understand the point being made or doesn't want to understand the point being made.  Or doesn't care.

The point of my walking analogy was that you cannot fault the act of walking just because you got robbed.  You didn't robbed because you were walking, you got robbed because you went walking in a bad neighbourhood.

Likewise, you had a bad experience with MMOs not because MMOs are crap and are full of griefers and tards, but because you played the ones that were full of griefers and tards.

If you go walking in the nice neighbourhood, you're less likely to get robbed.  If you play (free-to-play) MMOs that don't cater to greifers and such, like DDO or LotRO, you're less likely to have to deal with them.
2  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 28, 2010, 12:37:23 pm
You might be surprised at how much damage just a few individuals can inflict upon a community. Some of them are very persistent. As always, one's experience will vary. Human interaction is a chaotic and unpredictable thing. It is therefore impractical to gauge the amount of BS you'll receive.

Human interaction is only chaotic in mental hospitals and certain parts of the Internet.

I am an advocate for free softwares. Sure, there are a few botched jobs here and there, but there is a treasure to be had in many of them. You cannot possibly tell me that there aren't just as many mess-ups and low quality junk among the commercial brands. Price does not reflect value.

No, but the money to support the features and services that are available in MMOs come from somewhere, and it's not from the sale of the original product.

You miss the point. Not only that, but you sound like a complete dolt while doing so.

Since I made the analogy I'm quite sure I got the point.  But if you feel otherwise, do tell.  Or did you think throwing insults my way would somehow enlighten me?

Personally, I prefer to have the game environment all to myself. I dislike sharing.

Well, at least you're honest...
3  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 28, 2010, 08:01:54 am
Yes there would. The subscription model is the one that can consistently earn the most money, and this would be an Activision game. It's foregone conclusion; they won't mess around with a less profitable formula.

Even if you had a time machine and travelled to the future to find out and tell us that, it's still not a forgone conclusion.  DDO went from being the 7th or 10th most popular MMO to the 3rd most popular after it went to a microstransaction system.  Companies would be stupid not to explore this as a possibility. Real Time Worlds, the studio that made the APB MMO, went bankrupt in less than 90 days because their subscription-based MMO was competing against dozens of free-to-play online shooter games.

If you are a company looking at making an MMO, especially one as successful as Activision, you're going to look at how other MMOs and their business models are doing so that you can make a successful business model for themselves.

I think (and this is going to make me seem really old, which is not entirely untrue) this may be something of a generation gap thing. I grew up gaming, but until the mid 90's or so, multiplayer consisted of me and a bunch of friends crowded around the TV or PC monitor, passing around controllers or trying to cram our hands onto a single keyboard. And it was great fun. Even once LAN gaming started to get popular with Doom and the like, the internet connections weren't fast enough to support online gaming terribly well, and lugging desktop setups around to each others' houses was a rare occurrance because it was a major pain, and required lots of setup to get working correctly. By the time internet gaming really took off, I had already graduated from college. So when I think of awesome multiplayer experiences, I'm thinking of round-robin SC2 super melee on my old 486, or vs. mode on Street Fighter 2 on my friend's Genesis, or a bunch of us gathered around the N64 for some Goldeneye or Perfect Dark. Basically, it's a face-to-face experience for me, and so dealing with the faceless masses of GIFs is something that compares unfavorably.

It's not a generation gap thing.  I'm probably roughly your age, as are many people I know who play WoW; some are definitely older than you.

That being said, playing an MMO is a vastly different experience than playing a DOOM deathmatch on LAN or Hyper Melee on one keyboard.

The main problem is how this ties into issue #1. My tolerance for that same BS drops right through the floor and starts heading for the Earth's core if I know I'm paying real life money for the privledge of playing the game. If I've paid, let's say, $15 for that month, and I spend that month getting griefed or berated about my character build or harassed by goldfarmers, I don't consider that money well spent somehow.

I understand, and I'm positive the devs agree with you.  Remember, they want you to keep playing the game.  If some people are ruining the gaming experience for large amounts of others, they will do something about it, as it's ultimately in their best interest.

That being said, I cannot imagine anyone paying $15 a month just to troll and grief others, especially when the threat of being banned from the game is real.  That's a far bigger waste of $15 than you'll probably ever experience while playing nice with others.

That's what I've been saying this whole thread, and yet people are still arguing with me for some reason. Wink

Because you are taking a handful of very small incidents and blowing them up into this big problem.  Again, I've play WoW for several years, as well as other MMOs sporadically, and I VERY RARELY encounter griefers and SHFGs.  But you make it sound like 98% of the playerbase of a StarCon MMO will be griefers and SHFGs.

And yet, still wouldn't be half as awesome. We're talking about my #1 game of all time here; all the logic in the world isn't going to change that. Tongue

Well, no, but so what?  NO game is ever going to bump your #1 favourite of all time from the #1 spot.

That being said, quantifying it as "half" as awesome is supposition; you won't really know until you see and play it.

Yes, it is. You've played WoW for 2400 hours. Think about that a second; that is a tremedous amount of time. If I had played any of the games I mentioned for that long, my cost per hour would be miniscule.

But you'd have only a fraction of the content.  Remember, I only have ONE max level character, so it's not like I kept constantly replaying the same content over and over again.  Over the years a lot of new additions and changes have been made to the game.  If there hadn't, I wouldn't play.  For example, I got bored of WoW back in April and haven't played it since.  And I probably won't go back to it for several more months, especially not until the new expansion is released, as I ran out of stuff to do.  Believe it or not, I have NOT experienced all the content that is offered in WoW.  I've probably experienced only about half of it.  So just keep that in mind next time you read that I spent 2400 hours playing the game.

It's 2 cents for Super Metroid, and less than 1 cent for the others. Besides, unless you sink even more time into it in a given month (is there any time left?) your figures only get worse, and mine only get better. Subscription fees are a money pit no matter how you try to spin them.

Er, huh?  I had 9 hours a week coming out to about 50 cents a day.  That's just a bit more than an hour a day average.  If you cannot make time to spend an hour day average on your hobby then your life must really suck.

If I had $600 to burn, would I find something worthwhile to do with it? Most definitely, and it sure wouldn't be sunk into a single game.

It doesn't work like that.  You pay as much or as little as you want for as much or as little time as you want (with some restrictions, of course, since it's monthly).  This is especially true if the MMO is microtransaction based.  If Blizzard said playing WoW for 3 years straight will cost you $600, no one would play it.

And yet, you're never really alone, are you? If I want to play a game solo, why bother with the other people at all? And yet they're inescapable (until you hit an instanced dungeon, anyway).

Playing solo and playing alone are not necessarily the same thing.  And I don't know why anyone would bother playing an MMO solo; to me it defeats the purpose, but apparently, there are an awful lot of people like this.

Hey, does everyone know what the second most popular MMO in the world is? Final Fantasy 11. How much solo content does that game have? ZERO.

How popular is it in North America?

See discussion above about my tolerance for BS.

See my earlier point about your assumption that there will be a significant amount of BS, even by your standards.

This is the worst argument I've ever seen. Sorry, simple statement of fact; please read it again and revise. I would much rather play a game like this with friends I already have than all alone or with random Internet People, that's a no brainer. At least I know I can trust my friends and they have my back.

It's a statement of fact that I've had problems because I played WoW with friends.  One of two scenarios kept cropping up: either they weren't online and I couldn't play my main else I'd outlevel them, or I was content playing an alt and they hopped online to play with my main when I wasn't in the mood to play my main.  "My time" ended up becoming "our time" and it put a strain on the fun at times.

As someone who claims to value their free time, I don't understand how you cannot understand this point.

Psh. You're nuts, even the spambots on this board sometimes advertise WoW gold. Don't even try to tell me they don't exist.

 Huh How does "barely" translate to "they don't exist"?

You said your tolerance for BS was low, but I think you grossly underestimate just how low it is if very rare occurrences of trolls and spambots are enough to send you into a rage.  If that is really the case, I think you're more in danger of being "nuts" than I am.

Maybe so. Then again, I've been MUDding and playing BBS games since the early '90s, and the same issues were concerns back then as well. Why would I have any reason to believe that things have changed?

If you've been playing multiplayer games as long as you have, it should come as no surprise that unmoderate or loosely moderated, free-to-play multiplayer games attract trolls.  Although I cannot say for certain, I'm pretty sure there is some correlation between the cost of a game and the amount of anonymity it offers and the number of griefers it has.

Remember, I'm talking about setting up a triple-A StarCon MMO with full features and support, not a SC2 re-skin of Maple Story.

It means "Why think of fresh and innovative ideas for our new MMO, when we could just reskin and make some minor variations on well established concepts from an existing game? We'll still make money either way, but it'll take a lot less time and money if we make a clone." Programmers may not (always) think like this, but executives almost always do.

In that case they are idiots who deserve to fail.  See my earlier point about the collapse of Real Time Worlds because of their APB MMO.  As I pointed out several weeks ago when this discussion started, it is increasingly becoming clear that reskinning tired ideas from other MMOs is a recipe for disaster and ultimately financial ruin.

Runescape is the most popular free-to-play MMO in the world, so despite your personal opinion of it, that means something. Maple Story is, well, different from the norm, which is exactly why I wanted to try it; it's time I can never get back, and also taught me a lot about how little admins and moderators on a free-to-play game actually care about your concerns if you haven't shelled out real money for them.

Like I said: you get what you pay for.

They're my two worst experiences, but both are extremely popular despite that. They're both also perfect examples of the kind of playerbase you can expect if you use a payment model other than subscriptions.

They are popular and full of tards because they are free.

Hey, if my options are go for a walk and get mugged, or pay $15 a month to walk in a special park where I may still get mugged but it's less likely, I'll just stay home.

OR, you could go for a walk, for free, in a nice neighbourhood. Smiley

Like I said above, I've been MUDding for a long time, and I've sampled a few other MMOs even more obscure than RS and Maple. These issues are as old as online gaming is, and try as you might, you can't excise them from the experience.

And you didn't think that maybe, just maybe, the reason those MMOs were so obscure was because no one played them due to the amount of griefers in those games?

Yeah, it is. I place a certain value on my time and relationships with others, even though it's not strictly monetary. For example, my marriage is worth more to me than any game, and so I spend a significantly greater amount of time with my wife than I do in front of the PC. An MMO subscription puts a real monetary value on my time, which gets devalued the less I play, hence my feeling of obligation. But am I willing to strain my relationships for the sake of a game? Hell no.

Fair enough, I understand where you are coming from.  I never said MMOs are for everyone and I'd never advocate that anyone choose anything, video games or otherwise, over their family and friends.  Video games (MMOs or otherwise) are supposed to be a fun pass time that you do to relax and have fun.  If it's not fun, don't play it.  My only argument is, if you think it might be something you are interested in, don't prejudge it before you actually see the product.  But I think in your case you wouldn't be interested, so it's a moot point.
4  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 27, 2010, 02:41:06 am
1. Guild Wars is a relatively big player in the industry. It is already well-known and thus profits from a larger player base. A sequel to Star Control will not have this advantage. Even if this idea makes its way off the ground (so to speak), funding still has to come from somewhere.

I really don't understand your argument here.  Star Control has a small cult following of interested players.  That's more than what could have been said for when Guild Wars when it was first starting out.  It seems to me that StarCon would have the edge here, but you seem to think otherwise for some strange reason...

Runscape and Maple Story are the two biggest offenders I've bothered with, though it's not limited to those.

Runescape and Maple Story are probably two of the worst examples you could come up with to argue that MMOs suck.  For one, neither is a triple-A title; I wouldn't even call them B-grade titles.  I'm not trying to advocate a free-to-play StarCon MMO designed for 10-year olds here.  I'm advocating for a mature, triple-A StarCon MMO with full features and support.

Does it matter? Your opinion is as concrete as mine, I'm sure.

It does matter.  What you're essentially doing is arguing that going for walks is bad because on two different occassions, while walking in two different 'hoods, you were robbed each time.

However, you did mention your issues with Runescape and Maple Story are not limited to those.  Which others are you referring to then?
5  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 27, 2010, 02:18:55 am
All right, we've veered pretty far off topic for a bit, so back to business.

I wouldn't want a Star Control MMO for 3 reasons:

1. I do not want to pay a monthly fee.
2. I do not want to deal with griefers and SHFGs.
3. I do not think that we're ever going to see a sequel to whatever SC game comes out next, assuming that game comes out at all. Thus, I don't want the final SC game to be one that I wouldn't play.

Simple and to the point. Attempt "MMOs are the future and awesome" arguments all you want, but you cannot topple these 3 pillars of my position.

No one here has made any "MMOs are the future and awesome" arguments here.  In fact, I believe I said the oppposite: that MMOs aren't necessarily for everyone and won't work for most IPs.  As I already stated, I wouldn't be advocating a Star Control MMO if I didn't think it had merit.  You'll never see me advocate a Mass Effect MMO because, as good as Mass Effect is, an MMO of it would never work.

That being said:

1.  There won't necessarily be a monthly fee.  A StarCon MMO could potentially operate on microtransactions much like Dungons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online.  Of course, at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

That being said, I do appreciate that having a monthly fee can be a stickler for some people, if not because of the amount of money, but because, well, you paid for your time, you might as well use it, else you've just wasted your monthly fee.  But if you know you're just going to play the game anyway, it's not an issue.

2.  Is this honestly your reason, or is it just that you do not want to play in a shared universe?  I've played other MMOs besides WoW and I cannot remember any of them having many, if any, griefers or whatever "SHFGs" is supposed to be.  Assuming you are speaking from experience, is it possible that you're experience with those types of players is a function of the games you played and not the genre itself?

Furthermore, there's no shame in saying you'd prefer a single-player game over an MMO.  There are pros and cons of both and we could discuss them, but then just say so.  Saying "I don't want to play with griefers and SHFGs" just makes you sound bitter and / or anti-social, and I know you're not the latter, else you wouldn't be here talking to us. Smiley

3.  This is dependent on 1. and 2. above.  If 1. and 2. are invalidate, so is this, so, I wouldn't call this a "pillar" of your position; it's more of a consequent.

Nonsense. I have got more value out of 90% of the games I've bought because I don't have to pay by the month. For example:

Final Fantasy Tactics: 3 full playthroughs at 100+ hous per playthrough (probably a lot more, but the game timer breaks itself at 99:99:99). I'll assume 100 hours per play. I paid $20 for the Greatest Hits release. 20 / 300 = ~7 cents per hour.

Super Metroid: I must have played through the game at least 50 times. Full playthroughs run anywhere from 2 - 10 hours each (I'll call the average time 4 hours, since I got faster as I got better). I paid full retail price for the SNES version, and bought the game again for the Virtual Console, so $58 total. 58 / 200 = 29 cents per hour; pretty close to your WoW cost, can only go down from there, and is my favorite game of all time anyway.

Dragon Quest 9: My one and only playthrough just tipped the scale at ~150 hours, and I'm still playing. I paid $20 for the game net cost ($35 at release day, offset by the game coming with a $15 giftcard). 20 / 150 = 13 cents per hour. Also includes free multiplayer co-op (local only, which suits me just fine), and new quests and events are added every Friday.

I could cite more examples, and do bear in mind that I've used some quite conservative figures; actual cost per hour is likely significantly less for all cited games.

So, at worst, an MMO with a monthly subscription would cost you roughly the same amount as playing Super Metroid.  Except it would have better graphics.  And more content.  And content updates.

Either way, I brought up the money issue to point out to people that it really is not as expensive as people think it is.

Let's not forget that for $600, I could easily purchase a new console and a selection of games, or 30 games at my $20 price point, or 60 (or more!) Virtual Console games for my Wii, or the upgrades I would need to get back into the PC gaming scene, or a myriad of other things not gaming related. I can think of way better ways to spend that rather significant amount of money, and it breaks my brain that someone would spend that kind of money on a single game. No game is that good.

Well, you're obviously wrong on the last point, as many players have sunk way more money into WoW than I have.  And yes, you could purchase 30 or so games at the $20 price point, but, are there honestly 30 games out there that you really want to buy and spend time playing?  If a game you don't care about goes on sale for $5, would you buy it?

Not particularly. As I mentioned before, I feel like if I'm paying a monthly fee for something, I ought to be using it. And so I feel a personal obligation to play the MMO, since I'm paying for it by the month and am wasting money if I'm not playing. Already I've been "enslaved" by the fee system.

Yes, as I've said before, I appreciate that this can be a problem.  But, again, if you're really excited about the game and want to spend lots of time playing it, it's not an issue.

And again, this is only an issue if the MMO is subscription based.

And as much as I might like to play the game solo, it's simply not possible; the other players are there, and most MMO are in fact not designed to have solo content (or much solo content, anyway), because then it's pretty tough to sell the game as multiplayer (or at least, disappointingly easy for those who play it in large groups).

Actually, the GOOD MMOs have TONS of solo content.  I know several people who absolutely LOVE WoW but who almost never group with others.  Remember, the company wants you to keep playing the game.  If you like to do so solo, then it's in their best interest to provide solo friendly content.

Since I don't have any friends who play these games, I am then forced to try to group with random Internet People to make the most of the content provided.

So?  I don't have any friends who play MMOs either.  Just make new friends in the MMO.  In fact, playing with friends is probably worse; if you and your friends cannot find times to play together, you end up not playing as much and may lose interest in the game.  On the other hand, if you like the game with or without your friends, then when they are online they will encroach on your free time by wanting to play with you when perhaps you'd rather just play solo.

And so, my chat channels are assaulted by goldfarmers

Barely.  If the MMO is a triple-A title that the devs make money off of, then they do not want other third-party businesses coming in and making money off their IP.  That's copyright infringement, and they will work hard to shut them down.  It's in the company's best interest to keep you happy so you keep playing, as well as in their best interest that others aren't mooching off their product illegally.

my loot is ninja'd, my noob ass is ganked, I am kicked from parties by the SHFGs, and I quit with extreme predjudice and weep for my wasted money. With the exception of the wasted money part, this has all happened to me before, so why would any other MMO b the exception? And even if it is, that still makes it the EXCEPTION.

Well, all I can say is that I've played WoW extensively as well as several other MMOs and your described situations are the exception rather than the rule.  If your experience is the complete opposite, it's either because of the game in particular you are playing or you are doing something to elicit those reactions.  I'm betting it's the former.

You are correct. However, it is much easier to make a clone and some quick cash than spend the time and effort required for a truly unique and high-quality product. Don't forget that we're talking about a game that would be produced by Activision.

Which means what exactly?
6  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 19, 2010, 05:15:26 am
As for which side of the Ur-Quan war won, IIRC, it was never actually resolved, but it's been a while since I've played the game.

Oh, that!  Yeah, I remember having that happen when I was just fooling around with some of my game choices.  Usually I'd get to the Sa-Mattra before the war concluded.

I thought Zeratul was referring to what happens to the war if you destroy the Sa-Mattra BEFORE the war concludes; again, IIRC, it's never actually revealed what the outcome is.  I don't even think there is an indication in Star Control 3 as to what happened, but, again, it's been a while since I played SC3 (and then, only once, 'cause it was so mediocre).
7  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 18, 2010, 07:25:04 pm
This is called "humor"; you missed  that entirely. I suggest you lighten up and stop taking everything I post so seriously, because until then I have nothing more to discuss.

Then I apologize.  It seemed like your attempt at humour was more of an attempt to paint MMOs in a negative light then to make a point about different gamers liking different types of game genres.
8  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 18, 2010, 09:51:15 am
I will admit that, despite my otherwise positive attitudes, I tend to exaggerate over issues dealing with groups of people, especially large groups who communicate directly over the internet (I am an unusual combination of optimist and cynic). However, my point does not rely on that assumption. Rather, I suggest you consider the possible ramifications posed by fanbase friction resulting from the introduction of MMO-goers in their many, often aggravating forms.

If assholes and retards do show up to ruin the experience it will have unnecessarily damaged the confidence of many sane-minded players in the game's ability to give them quality entertainment. Even if they do not show up in droves, keep in mind that it takes fewer rotten apples among small groups to sour the unique and interesting gameplay that could have had potential had it been made single-player.

I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here.  It seems like your argument is that a Star Control MMO would be bad because you don't want to play with other people; you just want another single-player Star Control game.  That's fine if that is what you would like, and it's fine if you just don't like socializing with other players when you play a game, but I don't see how that in and of itself is any argument as to why a Star Control MMO would be bad.

At most, you could argue that with an MMO the chances of getting a single player Star Control game are then non-existent (e.g. see what happened to Knights of the Old Republic), but that's about it.  If you don't like MMOs, that's fine.  The genre is not for everyone, but then, no genre is.  And I'm not the kind of person who thinks any cool idea is made better by being an MMO.  I wouldn't say a Star Control MMO might be worth a look if I didn't think the idea had merit.

I am not trying to point fingers at people nor say which philosophy is ultimately correct, but we have already seen first hand how different the ways that the WOW-goers (most likely Angelfish) and "old-school" gamers (definitely Draxas) like to enjoy a video game. Choosing one over the other as objectively correct is comparable to attempting to settle the matter of which strategy of proactive defense against slavery is better -- Kzer-Za's imperial Path of Now and Forever or Kohr-Ah's genocidal yet much simpler Eternal Doctrine.
That is a perfect analogy, actually. Angelfish's doctrine consists of building a hierarchy of enslaved species (players in the online experience) who choose to either be encased in an impenetrable slave shield (try to do their own thing and ignore the idiots) or become battle thralls (people who war other "guilds" in an attempt to subjugate additional following) and help others to see the boon of slavery (the dynamics of online play). On the other hand, Draxas's doctrine is to be the last remaining (only) player in the game. He cleanses his destiny, and so he must annihilate the filth (other players) to prevent them from ever subjugating (annoying) his species again. Of course, unlike the pro-MMO side, Draxas is backed by statistical proof. In the Star Control II story, guess which side won?  Grin

I don't see how that analogy works at all.  No one is forcing you to play an MMO.  Furthermore, no one is forcing you to play with others if you do play an MMO, as most of the good MMOs allow you to play the game solo.  And even if you do play with others, I don't see how the teamwork required to do group content is akin to "slavery".  That's rather over-the-top, don't you think?

Furthermore, I don't see what this "statistical proof" is, where you got it from, or how it proves anything you said above.

As for which side of the Ur-Quan war won, IIRC, it was never actually resolved, but it's been a while since I've played the game.
9  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 18, 2010, 03:03:47 am
What indeed is the point of the MMO storytelling method if new players know nothing about Star Control (and most of them won't) ?

To explore the Star Control universe?  Why do you assume previous knowledge of the franchise is required to play an MMO?  Do you think all 12 million WoW players played Warcraft 3?

Quote from: Draxas
When you're trying to figure out the story of Thrall, while 40 other people are trying to kill him, it tends to lessen the effect and cheapen the world as a whole. And he's one that actually takes a lot of people to kill off, never mind the less protected NPCs.

What do you mean by "trying to figure out the story of Thrall"?  And how does a PvP raid on Thrall (which is actually very rare) affect this?

Quote from: Draxas
Tangentially, if WoW is so great at world building, how do you reconcile that with the mess its made of its own canon?

This is mostly the fault of the writers and to some extent the gameplay designers.  No one at Blizzard predicted, or could have predicted, that WoW would become so popular and that certain parts of the lore might have to be fudged to get a better player experience.

However, this is a pretty minor issue, to be honest, and has little relevance to MMOs as a genre.

Quote from: Admiral Zeratul
You made this statistic up. Not every game is the same, MMO or otherwise.

Then why assume that a Star Control MMO will be full of assholes and retards?

Quote from: Admiral Zeratul
I have played MMO's before.

Which ones?  Because, as you said, different games attract different types of players, so you're experience with those MMOs may be atypical.

Quote from: Admiral Zeratul
At the time I still played MMO's, my gaming sessions were very extensive, which means this finding cannot just be a coincidence.

Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.  But still, I wouldn't mind if you could elaborate, given I've apparently had vastly different experiences from yours.
10  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 18, 2010, 01:25:28 am
I've been thinking for the last little while that a Star Control MMO would be an awesome idea, provided it was done right.  And by "done right" I mean that it would not be the usual re-skin of WoW that so many MMOs are nowadays.  It would have to have many innovate features in it that currently do not exist in any game I've played so far.

Such as?

Such as having both ship combat and ground combat with an "away team" if you will.  I know Star Trek Online has this, but it doesn't seem very well implemented.  They seem to have taken a Mass Effect style approach to the combat.  But what if you had a more RTS style combat system with your away team?

Either way, with an away team, allied AI would have to be considerably better than what exists today.

The reason most MMOs are just like WoW is because WoW is phenomenally successful, and the "follow the leader" mentality is a time-honored tradition in every type of media humanity has ever produced. Your desired features would have to be pretty amazing to justify breaking the quick-buck mold that many companies fit their MMO games into.

I think the fact that pretty much every WoW-clone has failed in some sense would be a wake up call to the industry that you CANNOT compete with WoW, and therefore, should not.  If an MMO feels like WoW with a different skin, players will not play that game for one of two reasons:
a) they hate WoW and therefore hate the MMO copying it
b) they like WoW and see no reason to play another WoW-clone when they could just go play WoW, especially when the number of players is greater and the game polish is better in WoW.

But I'm curious as to why people think a Star Control MMO would be a bad idea.  More often than not the complaint I see against an MMO idea is that people are allergic to paying $15 a month to play a game (though few are allergic to paying $15 to watch a dumb two-hour 3D movie), or that they automatically assume that the worst parts of the MMO genre will be the main features of the game (ok, this is slightly understandable given history,but still...).

That latter point is a major sore spot for me. As I've mentioned, I don't have scores of friends who are into online gaming (in fact, I don't have any friends who are into online gaming, really), so I would be going it alone both with and against the teeming hordes from the Intarwebz. I play games to relax and entertain myself, not deal with GIFs, and I don't want to be forced to do so.

I only have a couple friends who play games (and then, mostly very casually) as well, and like you, I play games to relax and have fun.  I don't see why not having friends who play games you play should be an obstacle.  At the very least, if you like playing games with other (like-minded) people, then you will have the opportunity to meet said people in MMOs.

That monthly payment is also a major sticking point for me as well. I buy games to own them, not rent them by the month.

I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding here about how MMOs and other game genres work.  MMOs are not like other games that you buy and throw away when you are done with them.  They are more like a service you pay for.  The good ones like WoW, at least, are constantly being updated with fixes and content patches.  There is also stuff like server maintenance, technical support, customer support, et al in addition to all the content patches, game changes, and bug fixes.  The money to pay for all that has to come from somewhere.

I also tend to pick up most titles after they've been greatly reduced in price (my typical price point for most games is $20 or less).

That's fine.  I paid $20 for my copy of WoW.

Paying $15 a month for the priveledge of playing an MMO is like rebuying the game every month, as far as I'm concerned. Not to mention the fact that if I'm continuously spending money in order to play a game, I feel like that money is wasted whenever I decide not to play. Guilt-based gaming is not something that appeals to me either.

Well, it depends on how much time you spend on a game.  Over a three year period I have roughly paid for 30 months of game time at $15 per month.  Plus the initial $20 I paid for WoW, and the roughly $130 for the two expansion packs (I bought one of the collector's editions), this comes out to roughly $600 over three years.

This seems like an excessive amount of money.  However, I have about 100 days played on all my characters in WoW (NOTE: I have only ONE max-level character, on whom I spent 95+ days; the other 5 days were spent on very low level characters I experimented with for a little while, so it's not like I have an army of high-level alts - far from it, actually).  The gametime played per character is tracked in game, so the 100 days (and that's whole, 24-hour days) is NOT an estimate.  Over 32 months (the extra two months are for the first free month, two 10-day trials and some bonus days for downtime), that comes out to roughly 2.5 hours of gameplay per day.  Not exactly a hardcore number of hours, is it?

Now let's put them together:  $600 total paid / 2400 hours of gameplay = $0.25 / hour of game play.  And please remember this is NOT an estimate - all the money and gametime you spent in game is tracked and available for you to see in your account management page.  You can use this to calculate your own numbers if you wish.  So, if, say, you only play half as often as me (so about 1.25 hours per day, or 9 hours per week), you'd pay twice as much, which is still only 50 cents / hour.

With that being said, find me a game or other form of entertainment that comes out to be as cheap.  I doubt you will find many.  (And I say "many" only because I paid $10 for Star Control 2 and got many hours of fun out of it Smiley

Incidentally, I don't got to the movies very often since I feel like the ticket prices are exorbitant. However, paying $15 for a movie ticket vs. $15 a month for an MMO subscription is hardly a valid comparison. You pay once to see a film, and that's it, film's over. There's nothing forcing you to continue paying, for example, an additional $5 every half hour in order to keep watching or the screen shuts down... Not to mention that you can make a one-time purchase of the DVD and then watch the movie as many times as you like with no additional fees.

$15 ticket / 2 hour movie = $7.5 / hour.  $7.5 / $0.25 = 30.  Thus, a movie costs roughly 30 times more than playing an MMO (15 times more if you play half as often as I do).

It's not surprising you don't want to pay to go to the movies, but I don't see your argument that movie prices are somehow better.

There is also another concern: I don't think an MMO would be able to tell the kind of story we have come to expect from Star Control.

That's one of the challenges / innovations I mentioned earlier.  At some point, someone will have to do something different.

One of the most well-loved aspects of SC2 is the story, and that is also one of the things that the average MMO either glosses over or doesn't even bother with at all, because it's very difficult to tell a cohesive story in an environment where thousands of players exist simultaneously, and all are at different points in that story. It's also tends not to be a worthwhile effort, since about half or more of them couldn't care less about the story, and are just there to grind levels/run raids/gank noobs.

Well, that is true to some extent.  I do think devs care about the story in an MMO, though.  If the story sucked, few people would not like it, as it is the story and setting that ultimately give the MMO it's flavour and atmosphere.

However, you are correct that the type of story and it's delivery is different in an MMO than in a single-player game.  But then, I'd say that's one of the strengths of the MMO genre.  

Instead of being limited to one storyline throughout the game, you can take part in multiple ongoing storylines throughout the galaxy.
Instead of being the godlike figure who gets everything done, you are part of a team or larger organization of people who help make things better (or worse) in the galaxy.

It's a different kind of story and a different kind of storytelling, but I don't see how this is a bad thing.  And given the disappointing mediocrity of Star Control 3, I don't think there are many out there who wouldn't want to give something new a try.
11  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 11, 2010, 05:41:55 am
No, It's that I don't think that it would be a bad idea. I think that it would take to long to set up which I think could be used to do more valuable things. But if you're not gonna do anything else, then you can do it.

I'm not sure I understand.  If the game is popular enough for whoever develops it to make money on it, then surely it was worth the time spent making it, no?

And just for the record, an MMO does not need millions of players to be profitable.  Unless you do like NC Soft did with Tabula Rasa and overspend such that nothing short of WoW-level subscriptions would get you back in the black.
12  The Ur-Quan Masters Re-Release / General UQM Discussion / Re: Star Control MMO: Good idea or bad? on: September 11, 2010, 12:34:24 am
I've been thinking for the last little while that a Star Control MMO would be an awesome idea, provided it was done right.  And by "done right" I mean that it would not be the usual re-skin of WoW that so many MMOs are nowadays.  It would have to have many innovate features in it that currently do not exist in any game I've played so far.

But I'm curious as to why people think a Star Control MMO would be a bad idea.  More often than not the complaint I see against an MMO idea is that people are allergic to paying $15 a month to play a game (though few are allergic to paying $15 to watch a dumb two-hour 3D movie), or that they automatically assume that the worst parts of the MMO genre will be the main features of the game (ok, this is slightly understandable given history,but still...).

So, can anyone be more specific on why they wouldn't like a Star Control MMO?  Are there certain aspects of MMOs (aside from the fees, monthly or otherwise) that you don't like and why?
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