Game talkWhat are the lessons of MMORPGs today?

 Posted by (Visited 118203 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Feb 242006
 

Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.

People are only good at one thing.

That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.

You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die.

You can be the best in the world at your job.

But so can everyone else.

And you will all do it exactly the same way.

Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their own are generally evil and should be slain.

Many, if not all, wild creatures are highly aggressive and will attack on sight.

Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate.

Killing is the only real way to gain people’s admiration.

Well, you can make stuff too, but you won’t earn the same kind of admiration.

In fact, there are only two kinds of admiration in the world, and they can be quantified.

Having a hobby will probably reduce your admiration.

All that hoorah about endangered species is like, a total exaggeration. There’s plenty of everything.

You not only can’t go home again, you probably don’t have one.

If you do, it’s mostly to store stuff, not to live in.

You never have people over.

Telepathy is normal.

Staring at someone who is talking the politest thing you can do. Because the only other option is to not look at them at all.

Running past or away from people while you are talking to them is also polite.

If you don’t keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you don’t keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either.

There are no children.

Death doesn’t really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.

There is always a demand for couriers and assassins.

Moving frequently is normal, and never going back to your old stomping grounds again is the way of things.

There are no such things as social progress or technological advancement.

In fact, evil will always be lurking at the edge of the village.

On the other hand, it will never invade.

There are no governments. Thus there are no laws. Instead, there are laws of physics.

There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.

Sports are stupid, because everyone’s body is the same.

Charity is not a virtue; in fact, it’s frequently physically impossible.

You should not associate with those of lower social standing than yourself.

You can’t be in two places at once. But places can be in two places at once.

Parallel universes are obvious.

Walking is stupid.

Actually, in general, taking your time is counterproductive.

The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day… before anyone else gets to slay it.

You should probably have entrance and résumé requirements to join your circle of friends.

Hunting is the noblest profession.

I take that back; hunting is only noble until you’re good enough to switch to murder.

Robbing the dead of indigenous cultures is how you make money.

There is no such thing as obesity.

All women are beautiful and all men are either handsome or darkly mysterious.

Somehow, this means that nobody is beautiful and there is no mystery.

There is no need for bras.

People have sex a lot.

People never touch.

Nobody reads.

They’ve never heard a brand new song.

In fact, inventing is either forbidden or impossible. Sometimes both.

Most people don’t have families.

If they do, they probably don’t have mothers and fathers, only brothers and sisters.

Nobody’s really from here, they just live here.

The tide never washes in and out.

The birds never migrate.

Strawberries are never in season.

Night’s really short.

Nothing sleeps.

Nothing dreams.

There is art and beauty in the world, but you can’t be responsible for any of it.

There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up.

Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning.

* * *

I realize this list may seem like a cutesy joke. But it isn’t. Go back, and re-read it. It’s actually a lament.

  428 Responses to “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?”

  1. Everything I need to know I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs . Here are a couple: You can be the best in the world at your job. But so can everyone else. And you will all do it exactly the same way. Intelligent beings who

  2. Everything I need to know I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs . Here are a couple: You can be the best in the world at your job. But so can everyone else. And you will all do it exactly the same way. Intelligent beings who

  3. On a pas fini de parler des jeux massivement multijoueurs onlines… Mais surtout, vivement qu’il y ai du neuf. Parce que là, ça tourne à la blague …[IMG]

  4. . It has photos, diagrams, and fabric swatches from every costume from the six Star Wars movies. It even came with a patch of fabric actually used in Darth Vader’s robe! The thing is hudge, about 20 pounds. Ralph Kostler on The State of MMORPGs today

  5. Why I don’t play MMORPGs I’ve never got into Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs like Ultima Online or Warcraft. Raph Koster’s lament explains why… The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day… before anyone else gets to slay it.

  6. out there: Tokyo Wonderfest Photos via Flickr. [IMG] If u don’t know what this is parady-ing then u aint interweb savy/cool enough. [IMG] Lessons learned from MMORPGs , by Rolph Koster. Well that’s it for today, we’ll see how the new corporate masters* treats the wang in the coming

  7. Welcome to the World of Queuecraft. Thanks Scott. What are the lessons of MMORPGs today ? By Raph Koster. Give A Workout To More Than Just Your Thumbs on Killer Betties.

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  9. mogul sim The Movies. Despite slightly lacklustre sales though, the developer is pushing ahead with its first pla Raph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs t… BRILLIANT! God, why read anyone else? John’s Adventures: John’s Background Switcher Excellent: pull in a flickr feed, and

  10. plus tôt ? Carrément indispensable pour ma part. – Parce que depuis que j’ai arrêté LA drogue, je ne me réjouis toujours de ces petits moments mesquins où je peux rire de mes anciens camarades. Gniarrk. – D’ailleurs, même les professionnels de la profession le disent. Ce jeu c’est

  11. Hikaru doing a cover of Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Cillian Murphy singing. Great listing by Ralph Koster (Star Wars Galaxies creator, Ultima Online lead and generally responsible for getting people addicted to MMORPGs) of the lessons

  12. until they gave up and fell over from exhaustion. I felt empowered–in touch with my ancestry. What a great concept! And now we have games like the World of Warcraft to thank … . I reprinted the list below in case he deletes the list. Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.

  13. 28 2006 @ 02:59 PM EST Contributed by: BM_Broker Views: 1 Ralph Koster posts a very nice list answering the question, “What are the lessons of MMORPGs?” . An MMORPG, for those who don’t know, is a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, the biggest examples being Ultima Online and

  14. Of course, that was before the advent of computerized role-playing games. At first, people could play against the computer, but things changed once these games became networked and people started playing against each other. World of Warcraft is so addictive that some women refer to it as

  15. Link: Philosophizing MMORPGs – How cute. Do i look innocent and squishy to you? Why do i always get aimed by middle-aged liars who want to cheat me of my money? Was in tampines today and this idiot came up to me and told a whole load of crap

  16. The estimable Raph Koster (who wrote the only readable book on game design) has compiled an extensive teleo-log of what we know about the world from games. Per ejemplo: You can be the best in the world at your job. But so can everyone else. And you will all do it exactly the same way. So far, so office-email. But Koster, rather sweetly, nudges further:

  17. – I want a tiki fireplace! – An interesting article on why W.o.W. teaches the wrong values. And a broader article on why ALL current MMORPGs are crap. – MeFi has a nice roundup of some interesting GVideo and YouTube vids. This sushi eating one was good. – The show for everyone who has done any tech support, ever.

  18. on something. While pure exploration is always a worthy pursuit, the game should be able to be experienced by all participants – not necessarily the ones willing to spend the most time staring blankly into their monitors. Sirlin’s article prompted a thoughtful list from Raph Koster, which in his words was more of a lament of the state of MMORPGs than a bona fide response. I think the most fascinating aspect of this list is that is speaks as much about the gamers than the games themselves (see: “Staring at someone

  19. What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?

  20. Raph�s Website � What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?

  21. You Are What You See, Part 2 Just remember, if we don’t make conscious choices about what kinds of attitudes we create with our games, we’ll make unconscious choices. MMOG pioneer Raph Koster sums this up neatly inhis post on the lessons we’re learning from today’s MMOGs. Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army. People are only good at one thing. That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything. You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die.

  22. front was transmitted via “V-mail”, where the letters were photographed and transferred to microfiche. Neat! LINK – Make convincing spaceship props from asprin bottles and toilet items LINK – This pirate ship battle minimod of gmod is really clever!LINK

  23. total coolness. It does contain a little bit of nudity and women in skimpy armor, but that’s because they’re screenshots from the movie itself. I encourage you to read the essays and such on the site, though, as they’re really very interesting. The Lessons of MMORPGS – (DF) Oh, the truths you can find in the strangest of places. “Death doesn’t really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.” Top Ten Crazy Beauty Products that Come From Japan – (DF) Just like the title says.

  24. I’m a slow reader ;) So I only just found this gem from last year What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? The tide never washes in and out. The birds never migrate. Strawberries are never in season. Read, learn and inwardly digest.(C) k r harvey 2005 Opinions expressed are frankly those of a deranged muppet…

  25. Она, не видя слез и боли, Прошла весь путь лишь для него, Но сделав это по своей же воле, Ей захотелось выпрыгнуть в окно, (Читать дальше) [IMG Здеся ОбыЧные Мои СтиХи-И] Комментарии: 0 Группа: Стихи о парнЯх-Х [IMG image]

  26. (gut, hauptsächlichen Jungs) in einer virtuellen Welt spielt. Das erste “große” war & ist Ultima Online (UO) und das wohl weitreichendste dürfte derzeit World of Warcraft (WoW) sein. Macht nicht nur Spaß, das Ganze, sondern läßt einen auchWahrheiten des Lebens erkennen. Naja, zumindest einige. Wahr ist auch, daß Rode sein 1. Theologisches Examen im Gegensatz zu mir hinter sich hat & das entsprechend feiert – Gratulation in den Norden!

  27. What Are The Lessons of MMORPGS Today?. Funny except for how it’s not.

  28. It might be a lament, but “Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.” was hilarious nonetheless.

    “Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning.” reminded me vividly of Story of a Tree, and how beautiful the concept was to me.

    I’ve always been extremely ambivalent on my choice (and it IS a choice) to never have picked up a graphical MMORPG. I always told myself it was a matter of finances, and it is, but it’s also how… inane they’ve seemed to me. I watched people play Everquest, in high school, and I couldn’t wrap my mind around it. I laughed when I watched my friends play World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI. It’s just funny to watch the fight. I like my text-based Dragonrealms: at least I can imagine it to be interesting. Not the combat; the combat bores me. I prefer to be tipped for my resurrection services, and I’ll be giving a lecture on having ‘favors’ in a few weeks.

    A friend of mine tagged me for involvement in his project. I’ll be sending him this list. I think we’ll treat it as a to-do list of what to be extremely careful about. We’ve already agreed that combat will be our least important bit, and I’m working on a mechanical system for player politics that’s malleable, like the rest of the game will be. (My other big project, for him, is dynamic room descriptions. It sounds so simple when I say it!)

  29. I have to admit I laughed when I read it.

    But it is sad that its true.

    The problem comes in while some of that list is addressable ( you can have evil invade) it is rarely well recieved, for a variety of reasons and all pretty much for the same reasons npc X seems to need his widget recovered; however many times there are pc’s who’ve never recovered the widget.

  30. Raph, I go back and forth on whether I think you’re a genous or a nutcase, but either way that’s the most elegant summation of “What’s wrong with those damned MMOG’s!” that I’ve read to date.

  31. –genous

    SUFFIX: 1. Producing; generating: hematogenous. 2. Produced by or in a specified manner: hypogenous.
    ETYMOLOGY: –gen + –ous.

    Clearly, I an a -genous, not a nutcase. :)

  32. I understand the lament. I recently just played a “free” month of World of Warcraft. I did this because so many people are playing MMOs now, and I wanted to gain a better understanding of what they really are. My personal experience is that they are not what they purport to be. The actuality was very different from my expectation–really, a disappoitment. I just recently stopped playing, because I don’t have either the time or money to spend on it.

    A few certain themes come forward in these laments:

    A) Everything is quantifiable (how else would a computer deal with this information?).

    B) Nothing player created, including their avatar, is truly unique, or, for that matter, player created.

    C) There is no real change, therefore there is no real choice or influence.

    That is, these are the key themes so far as that which exists as and integral part of the MMO’s system. Some of the laments address things that are more abstract, such as manners, altruism versus selfishness, and tolerance–ethics. These are what I worry about, because these are lessons that will carry over most strongly to the “real” universe.

    It makes sense then that Michael Chui would prefer text-based RPGs. The text there is a quantifiable communication channel for abstract information. That way, there can be change and uniqueness.

    I also agree, Michael, that the fights in graphical MMORPGs are hilarious. Its like mechanical toy soldiers fighting–with flashy wiz-bang spells and stuff!

  33. some of that list is addressable

    I beg to differ. All of that list can be addressed.

    The question is: is it still fun? We can (theoretically) make a perfect simulation of the real world, but why bother? We don’t need a game to learn that stuff; we can learn it in the real world.

    I also can’t believe I’m saying that, but that’s something I think I have to come to terms with, and then work past.

    You can say the players will hate it if you do such and such, but in a lot of cases, the truth is: this is a market that hasn’t seen things like LambdaMOO. They are a mystery yet, and all we know is that what we have right now does work. Mostly. Not enough, but there is a revenue stream. In short, a lot of it simply has to be tried before it’s dismissed.

  34. Excellent post, Raph. :)

    A comrade leaves your guild or leaves the game, they may be mourned as if they had passed on. In this sense, there is death in MMOs.

  35. [...] Pragmatism Submitted by Abalieno on February 25, 2006 – 07:12. Best post from Raph. Totally unexpected. [...]

  36. People are only good at one thing.

    Or, if they’re good at more than one thing, it’s okay to reduce them down to a single activity in order to manage them better.

    Of course, most of these laments deal with how our worlds are incredibly static. Nobody really dies, monsters never really invade a town (even though the weakest of them have made it to right outside a city), murder isn’t as bad because the victim re-appears soon afterward, etc. Only expansions break the monotony, but those rarely change the basic rules.

    Yet, how much do we really want these worlds to change? The history of both UO and SWG has shown that even if you make changes that you feel are in the best interests of the players, you will upset people greatly. Even in Meridian 59 we regularly upset the “faithful” because we’ve done something like change the reagents used to cast a spell.

    It’s like a former co-worker said to me at 3DO. The basic player demand is, “Improve the game, but don’t change anything.”

    So, we take the easy route that makes our worlds static. And, the few that do try to bring change to the world get vilified. C’est la vie.

  37. Nice list. I agree with Mr. Chui that all of it can be addressed but we’re talking about games, so some of it probably shouldn’t be addressed.

    Just two points:

    Death doesn’t really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.

    That’s the problem with ressurection. And it’s the reason why I never really understood why we should worship a certain carpenter. When you get a full exp res, your “sacrifice” means nothing. Hell, I’d be willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of mankind if I knew that I would be back three days later.

    Nobody reads.

    Because game developers usually write amateurish crap and think too highly of their garbage.

    How many game developement studios hire professional writers? Valve did, they snatched Marc Laidlaw. I think John Shirley was involved in Bloodrayne 2. Other than that? As long as game developers think they’re actually worth a damn as writers, people will refuse to read ANY of that crap. Sure, a few hardcore players with low standards and a high tolerance for BS will read the “lore” and the dialogues. Most people won’t bother.

    There are few games that are actually well-written, e.g. The Longest Journey. Fact is that game developers have educated the gamers NOT to read by rarely putting anything into their games that is worth reading.

    Game developement companies hire professional artists, programmers, content designers and musicians. They rarely hire professional writers. Most of the stuff you find in games would barely qualify as bad fan-fiction. As long as you people think you can get by with providing sub-standard writing done by amateurs, don’t complain.

    Sorry for the rant, but that’s something that has always been bothering me. There is a shitload of talented SciFi/Fantasy writers out there who are currently going through rough times because the book market is shrinking and the publishing industry is consolidating itself rapidly. Writers like John Shirley, who is one of the most creative SciFi and Horror writers on this planet, have problems getting their stuff published nowadays.

    Many of these writers would probably jump at the opportunity to get involved in game design. They have bills to pay.

  38. That list is funny because its so true. All of that list can be solved except it would take alot of players to be accepting of the situations that would happen. Such as invasion and laws. Heck we could add in perma death but who wants it? People complain in WoW for dying in pvp with 0 loss besides a 15 second break. I think the only mmo that really breaks alot of the boundaries on that list is Second Life. Since its not your typical game and it allows full customization with the tools your given your able to stand out. Create a unique jacket and your the only person who can use it. (unless you sell it of course).

    Think D&D online is breaking that trend of kill for exp as well. (to a degree) Other then that, alot of that stuff is true because of the simplicity with some of the systems and how people dissect them to find out the optimal choice. Like if you know you need a specific stat during char creation to use the best weapon for your class your definitly going to boost that stat up to that amount.

    The only game I could say that had alot of those things somewhat fixed on is UO. Death at one point meant loss of everything on you. Nerfing meant nothing amazing since you could swap “jobs”. That and alot of animals werent aggressive.

    Makes you wonder if a game will ever come out that is fun to play and is completely against the list you posted.

  39. Add:
    Dessonate learning has no value beyond it’s context.

  40. [...] Comments [...]

  41. Hmmm. I would also like to add: “We bring ourselves to the game.” For me, that means a joy in exploration, an overall lack of deep concern for leveling and all the baggage that goes with it, and an interest in the wide range of fascinating and various people I meet in the MMORPG environment.

    It also means time spent with loved ones a continent or an ocean away doing something amusing for practically no cost (compared to plane tickets, etc.).

    A game will always have limitations, but the people playing it have the capacity for infinite variation.

    That being said, I’m always willing to explore a new MMO environment. :) You people make it; I’ll play it.

  42. Thanks for that, Raph. You have cured me of MMO’s. Seriously, for the longest time I’ve been wondering what’s missing from MMO’s and why I continue to play every single one the moment it is released. You’ve answered that question: Everything is missing and we will never find what we’re truly looking for in these games ever (unless you make your own).

    FREEDOM!! Okay … gotta go grind in EQII some more! cya! kthxbye!

  43. Nobody reads.

    Kranky Kraut wrote:
    Because game developers usually write amateurish crap and think too highly of their garbage.

    Or they don’t care about writing because nobody will read it anyway? Eh…

    Or maybe that whatever you’re reading or not, there’s no link between what you read and what you have to do?

    Why care reading when all you have to do is to go at the bottom to read “Go kill X useless monsters just because”.

    Or why care reading when you can just go to your quest log to remember what you have to do?

    Or why care reading cause the loop of questing is only to get XP and loot anyway.

    What if you had to actually read to understand what you have to do instead of just scrolling down. Spoilers on the web could always provide support to those that just don’t care.

    Or why care reading because players can’t write anyway (public display I’m talking).

    While I was playing SWG, I used to have a poetry museum. I bought crates and crates of backpack and “renamed” them to write the poems that were displayed in my house. Some people were actually reading that because it was written by another player and they could find a twist related to the many RP plots I was involved in.

    People don’t read because there’s no benefits in it (beside personal enjoyement). Not because they think it’s crappy.

  44. Someone in the ‘high-end raiding guild’ that I am a member of in World of Warcraft had linked the article refrencing your work, Theory of Fun, and stumbling upon this has definately made me happy to see that there are others who create/play these games and can look at them to see the flaws in them.

    Oh, and why read when you can just check a box that lets you accept the quest/mission/whatever without knowing anything of the story, not like the stories are entertaining ever because the creators of the game never seem to care about them enough.

    And if there is ever a game that attempts to be called ‘100% real’ – the Metaverse is here and I’m leaving.

  45. [...] What are the lessons of MMOGs today? I thought this was worth sharing: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/2…-mmorpgs-today/ __________________ You took my skies, I took my $15/month. [...]

  46. I liked this. My thoughts on your thoughts can be found here, although it is a very rough essay.

    In short, I think it stems from one problem: trying to give all players equal opportunity for advancement even if they don’t have any skill. This forces a game to make it so that the people with skill can’t use their skill… it would be an unfair advantage.

  47. Dessonate learning has no value beyond it’s context.

    Huh? Is that “dissonate”? If so, again, huh? Whatcha mean?

    And if there is ever a game that attempts to be called ‘100% real’ – the Metaverse is here and I’m leaving.

    we’re talking about games, so some of it probably shouldn’t be addressed.

    MMORPGs fit into a hybrid category between games and worlds. It’s extremely difficult to ignore the fact that you’re in a world when you’re in one.

    Let’s assume, for a moment, that the experience is fun. If we assume, also, that Raph’s book is dead on (which it probably isn’t, but is better than nothing, which was what was on the table before), then the experience is fun because there’s a game involved. That game meets your personal skillset, and challenges you without being too hard.

    The sweet thing about the MMORPG experience is that, when designed right, it scales up in difficulty as you gain skill. So, if you’re a better than you were a year ago, there’s a more difficult set of content for you. This is how single-player games are designed. Play Warcraft; the first scenarios are cake. The last one requires unique strategies that normally wouldn’t apply, and you’re pitted against an effectively relentless foe.

    But I digress.

    Think about one of Raph’s better points in this regard: “The birds never migrate.”

    The first thing you need is seasons, so there’s a reason for the birds to migrate. Then you need birds who have to migrate in order to survive the change in seasons. And then you need two temperature zones that become comparatively advantageous during different seasons, so there are places they migrate to and fro.

    None of this changes the fun you can have, and in a world-emphasized game experience, it can provide a challenge (where are those birds going?) and additionally educate younger players about the nature of migratory birds.

    Remember the story of the Happy Prince? It is not nearly as powerful, if swallows didn’t migrate.

  48. Painfully true, all of it.
    I reckon it will be years if not decades before we see any games even attempting to address these issues, if ever. And then I suppose those might not be “games” anymore.

  49. It is about the static nature of things, but the things Psychochild describes as having been changed are all a matter of “laws of physics”, not about in-theme change.

    A city changing hands in a game world might shock or surprise. But changing the way the world works will always upset everyone.

  50. [...] Raph Koster wins Just go read it.  And weep, for this is the truth. Published Saturday, February 25, 2006 7:26 PM by Cael [...]

  51. [...] Raph Koster is one of the leading lights among online game designers and he has posted up his lessons from online games. As usual with gaming posts it will mean nothing to you if you haven’t played them, but you know exactly what he is talking about if you have ever played any of them. I admit these are lessons, but to me the key lesson is that these games are in their infant state, you have to expect some limitations. That doesn’t mean you should stick to a game forever even if you are bored with it, but expecting the holodeck experience is a waste of time in these games. [...]

  52. Wow. This list kind of makes me glad my newer computer died and I had to drop all my MMO subscriptions until I can afford to fix it. I never really noticed those lessons until they were pointed out.

  53. I beg to differ. All of that list can be addressed.

    Well, respectfully, I disagree as some of what he is lamenting is not code driven but social.

    No matter our skills at programming we cannot reprogram the human being. We can try and direct them, by force or bribery, to go the direction and/or exhibit the behaviors we desire but you can only code that up to a point, even disreguarding the ‘is it fun’ factor. I do not really believe that the technology is really there yet to act as a full guide to offer solutions to all of the applicable list. At least not to any form of mass market. You have to have a means of providing far more sensory information (including pain) than currently possible.

    I stand by my assessment that we can ‘fix’ some of the list, disreguarding fun or not, but not everything. Once you start adjusting for fun then even less is really doable. Maybe in a few decades virtual reality will be up to the level needed to truely do it all.

  54. As long as you people think you can get by with providing sub-standard writing done by amateurs, don’t complain.

    Okay, I’ve read this more times than I care to count, and I can’t let it stand anymore. This is Raph’s bio. Look at what he majored in.

    Well, respectfully, I disagree as some of what he is lamenting is not code driven but social.

    Actually, I meant that it’s design-driven. The list is a series of design choices that point to a world that seems real, but doesn’t reflect some of the better things possible in the real world. In fact, the MMORPG generation will likely be more cynical than I was as a youngster.

    The coding is irrelevant. You can code about 90% of the list if you really wanted. You might not get the results you wanted, but that’s a design problem, not a code problem. It is, as you said, social. How to design the society, really. Which is what mythmaking is.

    The entire list can be addressed. If you’d like, I will (in my own blog, and point back) replicate the list and explain them all, point by point as a design decision.

    Another point to make: “Telepathy is normal.” is not actually false. We do have cell phones. =P

  55. Re-reading my reply, I don’t like it. Let me put it more succinctly:

    Raph’s lament is “What in the world are we reprogramming them into?”, not “Players don’t like the good stuff.”

  56. Raph, well done mate. Well done indeed.

    Now, I think I’m going to go slit my virtual wrists.

    I don’t like my job.

  57. Okay, I’ve read this more times than I care to count, and I can’t let it stand anymore. This is Raph’s bio. Look at what he majored in.

    I didn’t refer specifically to Raph Koster, I was making more of a general statement on the quality of writing in computer games.

    I’m not saying that there are absolutely no talented writers involved in game design. I’m sure there are. It’s just that it rarely shows in games. RTS games are probably the worst offenders, closely followed by WW2 themed FPS games.

    In recent years, computer games have become more and more story driven but while game developement activities like graphical artwork have become highly professionalized, I don’t feel the same thing has happened with regard to writing.

    I feel that many game developers are highly creative but they lack the skill to leverage that creativity when it comes to writing.

    And I’m not talking just textual quality here. Writing up a nice piece of lore and placing it on some shelf in a dungeon doesn’t cut it. The first step is always to get the potential reader interested instead of hitting him over the head with 12 pages of condensed, boringly written yarn about some epic war 3000 years ago.

  58. [...] February 26, 2006: He’s Right. It’s A Lament. Check out Raph Koster on the state of MMORPGs today. I don’t think I have ever recommended Koster’s A Theory of Fun here. But even if I have, I’m recommending it again. If you’re interested in game design, get it and read it.– Steve Jackson [...]

  59. I enjoyed that read, though it depresses me.

    You can say the players will hate it if you do such and such, but in a lot of cases, the truth is: this is a market that hasn’t seen things like LambdaMOO. They are a mystery yet, and all we know is that what we have right now does work. Mostly. Not enough, but there is a revenue stream. In short, a lot of it simply has to be tried before it’s dismissed.

    The revenue stream comment is the biggest blessing and the biggest hinderance to mainstream alternative forms of MMOs. EQ brings in the dollars, or should I now say WoW… Therefore, EQ/WoW is the only correct model. Let’s beat it up until customers no longer give us money for it only problem is, the social bonds formed in game has the innovation cycle set at around 10 years or ver very sloowwwwly.

    Sadly, I think we’re stuck with the current MMO model for many years to come. EA is not going to release anything different; Neither is Sony… Until someone comes along that has enough money to take the “risk” on some of these design elements, static-combat-centric MMOs are what we’ll get.

    The minute you begin to address any of these lessons, you open a Pandora’s Box of alternative design decisions that are nothing but additional risk on top of an already “too” expensive game development project. I mean, I’m putting almost 3 console titles worth of money into a single game. Man, I better not lose money. How did EQ/WoW do it again? Oh yeah follow that… The only thing that could change this outlook is a massive shift in the way the game industry funds projects; both of these are not soon on the horizon.

  60. My single biggest lament, I think, is that my accomplishments are all meaningless. No matter what I do, it’s undone. I run to the four corners of the earth, fetching the 12 ingredients needed to make a potion to save a man’s dying daughter, but for some reason, she is dying again, seconds after the potion saves her. She will never get up and play again, because she is like some dying god, writ tiny — her only role to languish away in the same narrative, over and over and over.

    How can you feel good about what you’ve achieved, when it’s the same things everyone else achieves? How long could you stand being a police officer, if every day, the same criminals you caught yesterday were right back out on the street (and worse yet — now you’re supposed to ignore them, and arrest even tougher criminals)? Every villain you defeat is like a bowling pin, set right back up with robotic efficiency, as soon as you’re done. If sex were this unfulfilling, the human race would die out from lack of interest.

  61. Cael wrote:

    A city changing hands in a game world might shock or surprise. But changing the way the world works will always upset everyone.

    Here’s the rub: in order for the city changing hands to have any real impact on the game, it has to… you guessed it… change how the world works. If the good king loses control of the City of Tarth to the evil king, but a paladin can still waltz right in and buy equipment, then the changing of the city had no real meaning. But, if it does have meaning, and our dear holy paladin can’t go in and buy his equipment anymore, someone’s going to complain because they can no longer go buy equipment at that town. Hell, some are probably going to complain that we “…nerfed paladins, because no one on the dev team has ever played one so none of them know that city is the best place to buy equipment, and now all paladins learn .03 less gold per hour, so the class is worthless.” Of course, if we don’t change anything then we’re “…a bunch of money-grubbing bastards that sit around collecting fat paychecks while not even lifting a finger to improve the game [they] pay for!”

    This is the voice of experience here.

  62. Heck, I agree with everything man said. Those are just some of the reasons why I will always choose a roleplaying group with a good and talented GM than spend my youth, eyes and money in front of rows of flashing lights doing same ol’ repetetive grinding.

  63. Spot on for most and I even spotted some pot shots at Diku MUD inspired gameplay :P

  64. Sadly, I think we’re stuck with the current MMO model for many years to come.

    That sounds suspiciously like, “The solution is to sit back and twiddle fingers until someone else fixes it.” Take a look at the games produced by Iron Realms Entertainment; those pointedly break the mold. Take a look at eGenesis. At CCP. Other stuff exists.

    Quality of writing

    My problem, right now, is that I’m starting to realize that my dream of making up an entire culture, multiple cultures, in realistic detail requires more creativity and imagination than I have available to just me. I don’t have the raw experience other writers do, nor do I have the native talent some people exhibit. My first, real, expected career was to be a programmer by day, and an amateur writer by night, hoping to make it big. Ideas have shuffled since, but I’ve always considered myself a half-decent writer.

    What I’m guessing is that the quality of writing you’re asking for may actually require a team of writers dedicated to nothing but that. Hiring a profession writer is going to get you a novel, not in-game fiction.

    You need a conworlder. Like I wish I was. Like Tolkien.

  65. Psychochild: there are so many assumptions that should be questioned in that response that i don’t even know where to start. so, i’ll just leave it to Mu’s Rant on MMORPG Design. why everyone in the industry hasn’t read that yet, i don’t know.

  66. hi,

    i like to say somthing of this,
    first ralph is right, about what it teach..

    however that true for mooron who have not a grip on reality,

    i’m a fairly saine persone i hope, and because the matrix dasn’t exist yet, if i want to play games without these issus i’m stuck with pen and paper (i do like it too thought)

    otherwise i have to hack and slash on everquest or anarchy online (pretty good story and NPC dialogue thought…., and it’s kinda cool too.

    so i guess he is moorning for the half brained, i admire his sympthaty.

    if an given individual cannot make the difference or cannot have a look back at these issus then that indivudual have something wrong.

    and he forget one littel fact, all the community work, that acctualy give life to these games, back story, art, where the birds do acctualy migrate because someone did actualy think about it.

    what is good in a piece of art is what you make of it, what it does inspire in you, and for any game is the same, did it make you dream ? did you make up a story for you half elf paladin, his familly his parents, his motivations…

    but don’t get me wrong i think ralf is right, but then again only for mooron.

  67. All these responses, and only one person mentions Second Life? I think the problem is that game designers, for the most part, are approaching the “game” from the wrong angle.

    As a designer of a persistent world, you cannot be so in love with your world that you need it to remain totally static. You must allow the players to have impact, otherwise you may as well go write a novel.

    I see the big MMOs (EQ, WoW, CoH) as the mindless blockbuster films that everyone concentrates on when discussing “all” MMOs. It’s very convenient to forget places like Second Life, Eternal Lands, and several smaller ones that did something different, but didn’t make tons of money.

    Raph, those are the lessons _you_ learned.

    I learned (mainly from CoH):

    You can be creative in a static world, you just need imagination.

    You can have time to stop and smell the graphic roses. The game will still be there when you’re done.

    No raid is so important or huge that you can’t tell some really bad jokes and make people groan.

    More players drink Mountain Dew than I ever thought possible.

    You can find some really wonderful people and forge longterm friendships while playing.

    Game developers don’t really understand what it is they’re developing.

    It’s far easier to write a book on Fun than it is to make an actually fun game.

  68. Game developers don’t really understand what it is they’re developing.

    Now, now. The players don’t understand any better than the developers do. We just happen to be blind men on opposite ends of the proverbial elephant, and everyone involved seems convinced they somehow ended up on the arse end. ;)

  69. All these responses, and only one person mentions Second Life?

    Perhaps because Second Life isn’t an MMORPG; it makes no pretenses of being an RPG, and in fact they refuse the label “game” when it is attached.

    As a designer of a persistent world, you cannot be so in love with your world that you need it to remain totally static. You must allow the players to have impact, otherwise you may as well go write a novel.

    I really don’t think that the reason why things are static is that the designers are in love with it. The usual reasons advanced by designers are 1) the cost of doing anything dynamic; 2) the unpredictable experience for end-users that can result, when they want to ensure a good experience; 3) wanting to fulfill the player’s desire for stories.

    Raph, those are the lessons _you_ learned.

    Actually, the rest of the website is the lessons I learned. ;)

    It’s far easier to write a book on Fun than it is to make an actually fun game.

    Given that there are many fun games, and only one book, I’d say that might be incorrect. ;)

  70. [...] Will he be able to rant about the things he, himself fucks up? Quandry. Raph Koster still does, though he doesn’t necessarily blame himself in particular. _________________J. http://www.damnedvulpine.com/ Ultima V: Lazarus : Out now! Get your Dungeon Siege CDs out! [...]

  71. Ah, but the real question is — what can be done about it? I can imagine technical solutions to the problems, but the issue isn’t technology — it’s human. A game which solved all or most of those problems wouldn’t have an audience. (Witness that your two ‘sandbox’ games, UO and SWG, both became a lot less sandboxy overtime. Witness that one of the least sandbox games, WoW, is the most popular. OTOH, there’s EVE Online, which breaks most of your rules completely. Have you checked it out? OTOOH, I’ve stopped playing it in favor of WoW, as WoW requires less of a time commitment and time is my most precious commodity. So it goes.)

    But there’s some other lessons, not so negative:
    =================================
    No matter how few tools you give people, they will still do things you don’t expect.

    Friendship transcends not only race and class, but also worlds.

    Community develops no matter what.

    So do economies.

    You can’t make a difference to the world, but you can make a difference in other people’s lives in that world, and that may be more important.
    =====================================

    BTW, Raph, have you made any statement on the “New Game Experience”?

  72. [...] User Info lederhosen @ 09:47 am: Lessons of MMORPGs Via Daily Illuminator: What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die.Many, if not all, wild creatures are highly aggressive and will attack on sight.Killing is the only real way to gain people’s admiration.Well, you can make stuff too, but you won’t earn the same kind of admiration.In fact, there are only two kinds of admiration in the world, and they can be quantified.There is always a demand for couriers and assassins.There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.Exercise since last update: 20 km (12 miles), which would be more impressive if it wasn’t spread over nearly 3 weeks. Have been annoyingly sore in my exercising bits lately for no very good reason. (Also, somewhat apathetic this last week due to a couple of annoyances at work. Total 138km/83mi puts me somewhere in the Old Forest; another 12 miles to go before Old Man Willow.Read CommentsReply From:Anonymous OpenID Identity URL:  Log in?  LiveJournal user Username:Password:Log in?  Subject: [...]

  73. [...] Raph’s Website: What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? A lament on MMORPGs. Check comment 5, about games telling us everything’s quantifiable. Bruce Sterling’s spimes are about the same thing. We seem to be lapsing into thinking the world’s clockwork and in our grasp. Bolderdash. (tags: MMORPGs society culture videogames) [...]

  74. Interesting on the writing front. I picked up City of Villains yesterday, and installed it while waiting for my WoW login queue to get done. The first thing I noticed was that some of the description text during character creation didn’t fit into the screen area set aside for it.

    The second thing I noticed was the phrase “accident gone awry” in one of the descriptions. Huh. Accidents go according to plan sometimes?

    World of Warcraft has a LOT of text, and some of that text is less than stellar. Mostly though, it gets skipped because I don’t empathise with the NPC asking me to do some random task. I don’t care why they want it done, so I don’t read their story.

    Also, City of Heroes/Villains has superb character customisation. My costume isn’t an artifact of which gear is the best, it’s a choice I make. Star Wars Galaxies featured a lot of visual customisation that had no bearing on stats. World of Warcraft character appearance is entirely driven by the items with the best stats. Big difference.

    ATitD covers/fixes a lot of these points, as I’m sure Raph is aware. I’m sure Raph is also aware of the marketshare ATitD has. :)

    World of Warcraft offers great game, Star Wars Galaxies offered great world (pre-NGE; I have no idea what it’s like anymore). Where’s the halfway point between those two?

  75. “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?”

    All this recent focus on what the games are “teaching” the players really doesnt concern me as a gamer. What I want to know is – “What lessons are the current games teaching the industry?”

    To me, I think that the large success of WoW is going to mean I will never see the MMOG I always wanted made anytime in the near future. I personally hate class and level systems. I hate having to go out and kill x fluffy bunnies to hit level +1. I hate the over use of “Kill x” or “bring me x” quests. I hate the constant quest for that super rare item that you can only find on one MOB. I hate the way most games deal with death. I hate that the only way to really play most MMOGs at the late/endgame is with very large groups of people. I hate how the current games actually make people less social with anyone outside of their guild. I hate standing in an area with 40 other people and having it seem like I am in a sea of NPCs.

    ok .. So really, why do we see the same trends over and over? I blame my fellow gamers for it. I blame the people who have to build “ubber characters” based on templates they read on websites. I blame the people who are more than happy to mindlessly grind away killing bunnies so they can outlevel everyone and think this earns them respect. I blame the people who think you should only be in as much “danger” as you put yourself into. I blame the people who forget they are playing a GAME.

    Sure not all gamers are like this. The problem is the “elite” players also tend to be the most vocal and always seem to have the ear of the developers.

    I miss the old days of UO ;)

  76. I will actually be addressing all (but one or two, perhaps) of these issues in my upcoming project :)

  77. Hm – I view this more as a list of ideas to try than as a lament. Changing just a few of those could lead to a very interesting game.

  78. Well SWG may have gotten screwed over, but don’t quit trying Raph. You have many believers who are waiting for your next project.

  79. [...] Raph Koster’s “What are the lessons of MMORPG’s today?” *sings off key…* Too many people Making too many problems And not much love to go round Cant you see This is a land of confusion. This is the world we live in And these are the hands were given Use them and lets start trying To make it a place worth living in. Ooh superman where are you now When everythings gone wrong somehow The men of steel, the men of power Are losing control by the hour. … Wendy_________________lemon-loud kaleidoscopic sensation on an infinite canvas reduced to monochrome scratchings. words. ——————— [...]

  80. >> Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.

    Well, except Krayt Dragons. Then all it took was Master Doc self-buffs ;)

    But in general, the most light-hearted general damnation of the state of an industry I’ve read in ages.

  81. Some of these things may be changed by creating virtual worlds that are living.

    I’m not sure how many other things in the list this ripple would affect.

    From my readings it seems the two detractors from creating a living virtual world are the computational power or resources required, and probably most importantly the fact that players tend to kill anything that is living.

    And I’m not saying that last part to be funny. This goes back to the original UO when it was thought that the players would police the other players.

    Raph. Now that you’ve written your lessons learned how do you intend to improve upon your next project?

    I really have the utmost respect for you designers. Having to weigh these problems and still try to keep the fun factor high enough to draw in the required subscribers.

  82. Amazing list and, for me, largely true. I’m very much awaiting a game that realizes at least the spirit of this list.

    One point in particular appealed to me:

    If you don’t keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you don’t keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either.

    In my own theory of fun, a MMO game must provide the social / psychological experience that the individual players craves.

    Some players crave socialization a sense of being popular … popularity is always defined in regards to a community.

    Some players crave the sense of power (differentiated by the many ways of being powerful: wealth, combat prowess, position). But this sense of ‘power’ is only relative to a community.

    Some players crave the sense of being useful and needed (I fall into this category). Again, usefulness is only relevant within a specific community. In my case, I typically play a support role, dependent on what’s missing in my group of friends.

    There are many other social / psychological needs that a MMO may satisfy, I’m sure. In each case, it’s always relative to the player’s specific community.

    Break the community, and you undo some of the psychological satisfaction the player derives from the MMO.

    This is where all games (that I’ve played) have failed. Sooner or later, artificial walls appear that fragment a community. Any such rule is bad game design (although, I will admit, often difficult to avoid).

    Some examples:
    – SWG/The Village of Aurilia. There was a time when I couldn’t join my friends in their Jedi quest advancements, because I wasn’t permitted in the village.
    – SWG/Jedi visibility forced some to grind alone (again, fragmenting my community for a time).
    – Any game/Zone level restrictions. Again, as members of a community cross the threshold, the community is splintered for a time.

    As most MMO players can attest, it is the community that holds them in the game during the lean times. And during bountiful seasons, most of the fun comes from interaction with the community.

    I propose a general rule for MMO design: implement rules that encourage communities to form and grow – never implement rules that prevent the members of a community from playing together.

  83. [...] but don’t change anything!” I think we’re going to keep on having some of those problems . . .(Reply to this) copperbird 2006-02-27 03:36 pm UTC (link) I grok the complaints, but sometimes it is likethan a static world. Because if you leave them to their own devices, they will bully each other.(Reply to this) Log in now.(Create account, or useOpenID) [...]

  84. I propose a general rule for MMO design: implement rules that encourage communities to form and grow – never implement rules that prevent the members of a community from playing together.

    Tuebit, I do believe that one is already in the Laws… Elmqvist’s Laws…

  85. It’s funny, I read your list and laughed because I have played a few of the games out now, and that’s what so many are. But also as I read the list, I checked off UO didn’t require that, or that, or that…

    I would have felt the need to point this out, except you’re raph, you designed that game… So instead I ask you this, Was the UO that is bandied about as “What we need in a MMOG” what you intended it to be? It’s ended up being the only game of it’s kind, and a favorite of the disalusioned old timer. Would you ever design something like that again given the resources? Or is your vision different than that of the pre trammel loving UO old timers?

  86. Tuebit, I do believe that one is already in the Laws… Elmqvist’s Laws…

    Thanks for the link. That’ll teach me to post before fully exploring a site ;)

    The more I explore the writings, the more I like! When will you release a game for me to play?

  87. [...] I thought this was funny, then sad, then truthful… http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/#more-346 The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day before anyone else gets to slay it._________________Uceda, 60 Fury, 60 Alchy Laggalicious, 60 Sage, 26 Zerker Cidknee 34 Wiz Maluc 27 Guardian, 21 Prov Dethrj 23 Pred, 30 Jewel [...]

  88. I’ve never played UO, or any graphical MMO, but I smell Golden Age Syndrome. I suspect that the disillusioned will never find a game that measures up until they shake off the miasma of the past. Further, I am hopeful of the sentiment that niche games are the next generation of MORPGs, or whatever you want to call them.

    You never want to backwards, really.

  89. Raph that was as many already stated hilarious and sad at the same time. And a good chunk of reason to push harder and not give up and try to make a difference.
    Hell, one day one has to be successful – and if not we than maybe those can at least stand at our shoulders, right?

  90. Hi Raph! Yeah, it’s me.

    Funny list :). I disagree on a few points (e.g. in WoW many female toons did (or still do) need bras – the sports variety. It’s one reason I don’t play that game).

    But it’s funny that you mention death and mourning. Just yesterday I came across a DAoC tribute to a player who passed away, and there have been other such that I know of. Players from all three realms (in a game where the realms are enemies) may come together to commemorate a player who has died, whether as a respected friend or enemy. When I was on AC1, we got a note about a player who had died who had loved AC1, and it had an impact on me. Even now, some of us ex-AC1 devs have just heard about someone who died – whom we didn’t know – who had played AC1. There’s an instant bond, an instant connection, an instant sense of loss. “Ah, there went someone whose life I affected!”

    Many of my game friends are now my RL friends. The war in Iraq seems more real now I have MMO friends who are in the armed forces. I got my current job thanks to playing an MMO, and my jobs have been to make MMOs. There is no doubt that MMORPGs are still an integral part of life, in all senses of the word.

  91. [...] Raph has a post up entitled “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?” As a commenter says, it’s a ‘whats wrong with those damned renderMUDs nowadays’ post, and it comes off as kinda cranky. Or, at least it makes me a little cranky. Witness my crank-fu after the cut. [...]

  92. Was the UO that is bandied about as “What we need in a MMOG” what you intended it to be?

    Hehe .. by the trammel time of UO, so many of the core systems had been hacked/bandaided to make the “What we need” that it produced some really fun bugs.

    I know UO is not what my prefect game would be. It did however have many things that sadly other games did not pick up on due to EQ getting much more attention. UO was buggy, had extremely weak AI (which is why you could solo just about anything). But it had a sense of true community that I have not seen since in a MMORPG.

  93. [...] MMORPG Lament From http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/2…-mmorpgs-today/ Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. People are only good at one thing. That�s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything. [...]

  94. [...] daedeross We got this increadible book you just have to see. It is the collectors’ edition of Dressing a Galaxy. It has photos, diagrams, and fabric swatches from every costume from the six Star Wars movies. It even came with a patch of fabric actually used in Darth Vader’s robe! The thing is hudge, about 20 pounds.Ralph Kostler on The State of MMORPGs todayTheories on hyperspaceLEGO Pinball, ’nuff said [...]

  95. Eri,

    Good to hear from ya!

    I disagree on a few points (e.g. in WoW many female toons did (or still do) need bras – the sports variety. It’s one reason I don’t play that game).

    My point was that somehow, those enormous boobies all manage to float, gravity-defying, perhaps made of foam or something. :)

    But it’s funny that you mention death and mourning. Just yesterday I came across a DAoC tribute to a player who passed away, and there have been other such that I know of.

    I’ve seen this too, many times — most famously in the Karyn case, of course — but my point was that all things considered, it’s pretty rare. We only mourn when there’s a real death, or when the person leaving makes a big deal about it. But as you know, most people depart from MMOs as if they had met a boojum: “you will softly and suddenly vanish away, and never be met with again.”

  96. Lessons of the game of Chess:

    Women are inherently better than men.

    Priests see the world only in black and white.

    The nobles, priests and castles are worth far more than mere peasants.

    The only chance for a peasant to advance is that no one will notice them and attack them. There is no chance for revolution.

    You don’t actually have to finish anything, just show that you could have.

    If we are lamenting, what are we lamenting? That this is what the audience actually responds best to? These seem to be just the realities of targetting the mainstream audience. What lessons does McDonald’s teach us? The mall? Network TV? Pop Radio? I’m far more concerned about those than that player-created content isn’t viable in a mainstream MMORPG or that mainstream MMORPG’s must emphasize time over skill in order to maintain broad appeal. WoW is just taking the mainstream appeal of the genre to its furthest extent. The exceptions to these “teachings” are going to be niche by their nature — and there are already a fair number of niche products providing a lot of these.

    I of course think that most players are simply far more ludologically inclined and this is either why they act the way they do (in the case of things like comparing themselves to others in terms of well-defined stats and achievements) or why these simply aren’t that important to them (in the case of things like “telepathy”). And in the long-run I think this is fine. I think that we might as well have authentic game-based stories instead of trying to fake meaning and attain “realism” in what is fantasy to begin with anyway.

    I think the key to going on from here is accepting these as teachings to us as designers, as showing how players react to our games instead of just looking at what we want our games to be. To me the lament is that of the death of an optimism that said that “the game I want to play” is the game that “everyone wants to play”.

  97. I have to say, that most of the points are pretty much right on for the big mmorpgs. There are, however, still mmorpgs that have a better atmosphere, a community that is strong, with no players griefing or camping. There are craft systems that are important, that creates the world and allows for singular working or massive joint projects.
    I play in a game that has a world, that we shape, and change. The community works together to help eachother, and new players, and there are memorials placed by developers for those players that have passed. You can play any class you wish and keep adding skills to your character, you can craft, you can fight, you can fight with a mining pick.

    At this time, our enemy is advancing, their lines have moved forward and unless we can figure out how to stop them, we might lose a lot of ground with rare resources in the area they are moving around. They have invaded before, and will again… there have been times when the world is swarming

    Not every MMO is the same, there are small games that have audiences that are loyal and friendly. The fact that is more disturbing is the vast majority of players seem to enjoy the type of behaviour listed, otherwise they would have moved to a new game. I’m happy in a game I can be old, or fat.. I’ll stay here and not move to a disgrace of a world like lineage.

    Virtually none of those things have to do with the mmorpg I play, so please don’t group all into one. I play Horizons, and most people will say “huh? whats that?”

  98. We only mourn when there’s a real death, or when the person leaving makes a big deal about it.

    Perhaps if MMO’s made it easy to “depart with story”, we would mark such events more commonly.

    Recently, when it was time for me to leave a MMO, I made the effort of building a quest and story (using in game items and an out-of-game website). There were perhaps a dozen participants, none of whom knew the outcome.

    Sorry, the site it down now (but here’s a discussion thread http://www.naremiki.com/cgi-bin/naremiki/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1095965690/0)

    In the end, it was revealed that my character was murdered (I know … how typical … perhaps a better writer would have come up with something more unique).

    It took several days effort to build the website and organize the in game items. This is probably beyond the skills of many MMO players (interactive websites aren’t completely trivial).

    If only MMO’s provided such tools.

    You might say my case is nothing more than “the person leaving making a big deal.”

    Who else but the departing player really has the ‘right’ to assign an end story to a character? Really, I think many people would consider it uncouth to write another character’s ending. It would be interesting if MMO’s had tools allowing players to play out the story of their departure.

    Who else but the departing player really has the commitment to the character to invest the effort in a departure story? It takes a lot of effort! If it were easier to memorialize, celebrate, invite participants, and embed player created story, perhaps the organization of character memorials would be taken over by those remaining, rather than the player leaving.

    In the case of my departure, I enjoyed saying goodbye in this way. I was quite pleased to see the following quote in the quest discussion thread:

    Truthfully I was so excited to solve T’s excellent quest, that I thought I would be the hero and save the day. Well I have never had so many mixed emotions about “beating” a quest. To tell the truth I was deeply saddened by the news of T’uebits “death”. In fact, it was as if a dear friend had departed in RL.

  99. It’s funny, Meep, both you and MMOG Nation take me to task and offer up examples of specific games that contradict one or another of the various points…. believe me, I’m pretty familiar with all the smaller games and all the things they are accomplishing. But I’m really lamenting the general direction here; it’s a summary of concerns across the genre. There are definitely bright spots here and there.

    The question is whether there’s a trend towards reversing the above or not. I actually think the trend is towards more linear experiences, stuff more like single-player games, with more stagecraft that provides a greater illusion of some of the above.

  100. You not only can’t go home again, you probably don’t have one.

    If you do, it’s mostly to store stuff, not to live in.

    You never have people over.

    Guess that makes me an MMOG ‘noob’ then. Not only do I live in my house, I have people over all the time.

  101. St Gabe, what’s interesting to me is that your position seems to effectively argue for a capped market. It assumes that what we have now is in fact the optimal, audience-selected form.

    What’s odd to me about that is that you use the word “mainstream” when in fact, the current audience is NOWHERE near mainstream.

    It’s also interesting to me that there is a general current out there these days (which your comments represent) that says that the desires expressed in laments like these are somehow outre and therefore niche. I’ve seen whiffs of that in Darniaq’s comments as well.

    And yet, I think the above desires are in fact the ones everyone comes to the genre with, until the reality of what’s there beats it out of them. Using these as lessons learned and a starting point seems to me to leave few places to go? It feels like surrendering a dream, like cynicism.

  102. Raph,
    I guess the real point is… those games are out there, but nobody is playing them.
    People want the brain dead slashing games, they want to kill others and be scum. The only thing you can do is support what you think is right, and what you enjoy.
    Our game has a very small playerbase, but it lives on. There is no fee to buy the game, so what stops them from playing it? Its probably not what they want, you can’t feel all powerful unless you kill someone and steal their hard earned items.
    Supply and demand applies to MMOs, if nobody plays a friendly family game with all the moral features, then they will no longer exist, but the WoW clones will thrive on at this rate… unfortunately.

  103. Priests see the world only in black and white.

    Priests see the world only in black OR white. =)

    The rest of the commentary are true, and reasonably accurate for the day and age chess was made. Except the last one, which I’m hesitant to agree with.

    One to add might be “You never need to kill to win.”

  104. St Gabe, what’s interesting to me is that your position seems to effectively argue for a capped market. It assumes that what we have now is in fact the optimal, audience-selected form.

    I’m not saying that we won’t have a new breakout hit that changes the face of the genre. Given time, we probably will. But I do think that most of the stuff you are lamenting is pretty well determined to be far from optimal for the current market. Lacking any changes in the market or any other breakthroughs I just don’t think any of the stuff you mention is going to suddenly become marketable in and of itself.

    And yet, I think the above desires are in fact the ones everyone comes to the genre with, until the reality of what’s there beats it out of them. Using these as lessons learned and a starting point seems to me to leave few places to go? It feels like surrendering a dream, like cynicism.

    First of all I don’t think that everyone has these expectations. I never did. I think a lot of the original hardcore audience shares your laments but that WoW is succeeding with a larger audience by giving up on those issues. As the overall audience grows, those who would even stop to consider tells as a form of telepathy is becoming a very small demographic or grinding as genocide is very small.

    Secondly, I’ve always found this area of your viewpoints to be a bit contradictory with your cheering for other online mediums that exhibit place. Online music and game distribution, podcasts, blogs, etc., are all important in terms of function, not form. The online revolution is about creating new activities for people and not about creating new stories for people to read. And we’ve been headed that way for a long time — the cyberspace of Gibson and Stephenson predicts online worlds where people are whatever they want and that being true to period is something that an eccentric user might do. Second Life, perhaps the largest success in terms of player content, is completely devoid of the sorts of external restrictions/stories that you want to inject.

    Why then, I wonder, do you seem to cling to this notion that intricate text scripts and arcane restrictions for purposes of realism are what players want? To me it is obvious that players just want a world with a meaning and could care less about where that comes from. In the case of a game like WoW they want meaningful challenges and ways to constantly gauge their success and increasing power relative to a game world and other players. The graphics matter, surely, but really they just have to be consistent and engaging and don’t have to pertain to any particular story or setting. For most people’s purposes anyway. Static content is more important than dynamic content but static story is less important than dynamic story. The story of selling something for X gold on the auction house or killing Y with only a group of 4 is far more important to the majority of WoW players than the quest text they read.

    The notion that it is bad that players use “telepathy” to communicate strikes is a good example. It seems terribly jarring with some of your views of the rest of the online world as well as jarring with the mode of play for most current players. To me it seems obvious that regular usage of IM clients has far more impact on MMORPG play to the majority of players and potential players than the “realism” imparted with only using say to communicate. And this realization seems to be very obvious in looking at all the other ways online use is growing.

  105. Other good examples are externalities such as RMT or trademarking guildnames. You embrace these far more than I personally do. And yet it seems obvious to me that externalities like commonplace usage of IM’ing are more important to how players play than a feeling of “realism” or identification with the hand-crafted story pasted over a world.

  106. Hang on — I wasn’t decrying the telepathy thing, nor was I proposing that we do away with IMing/tells/etc. To be honest, the thing that I had in mind there was the way it’s implemented so badly — nobody can tell you’re “on the phone,” so it constantly leads to social faux pas…

    Lacking any changes in the market or any other breakthroughs I just don’t think any of the stuff you mention is going to suddenly become marketable in and of itself.

    Hmm, I’d definitely disagree there. The above is very marketable. It’s an easy sell, and it gets people very excited. It’s not marketability that’s the issue.

    I strongly agree that players want a world with meaning. I am not really all that hung up on realism — I am hung up on sense of wonder.

  107. I am a game designer with things currently in production for paper RPG, wargame and Play By Mail(PBM). I used to run games for four years with over a hundred players (PBM). I have tried all the big MMOs and a few small ones. I have currently settled on Guild Wars partly due to the fact has a good pace, mechanics, tactics, appearance and diversity of playing style for what is a hack and slash style game, it is also the fact no subscription fee is required. I am optimistic about D&D Online being okay to entertain me for a while; partly because it is different in several areas of its design. Enough about me…
    I agree with the lament points, overall it is a good bunch of observations about MMOs.
    I will mention a few points about stuff that has been mentioned, which is all very interesting with some great points raised, but to truly do this subject justice a very detailed breakdown of every single thing about all the current MMOs is required, something I not doing here; so nickpick if you like but remember that ;-)
    It is not enough to say that other games are available with a few differences; the biggest problem with MMOs is the same problem as in day-to-day life, people! More on this point later…
    On the point of a few differences, this is a very important point. I will add that I am talking in applicable generics; there are always exceptions to a point. Until a game actually breaks away from the terribly basic and silly origins of the old RPG designs like the obvious granddaddy D&D, and does something very different in not just one part of a game but the whole game! In general people will stick with what they know, or games that friends play, which of course is why there are such an abundance of D&D clone/heratbreaker games out there, also people will normally stick to genres they like and some people only like a few genres:
    Warcrafts success is partly due to the fact that Blizzard has developed a few great games. WoW is being played by some RTS players whom have only given it a try due to the fact they liked the Warcraft RTS series. Also with Diablo 1&2 being such massive hits, there are lots of Diablo players trying WoW. The fact that WoW has so many nice features, was well advertised and it looks distinctive helped make it such a success.
    City of Heroes has players whom play it despite, or due to, its simple approach but for many the fact it is the only hero MMO. City of Villians is slightly better than CoH, partly I think due NCSoft knowing their engine better and have had a chance to tweak certain things.
    For some Star Wars: Galaxies many players tried it simply because it is Star Wars and they are big fans. Same as CoH, most people that I know play it due the genre.
    And so on…
    The smaller MMOs suffer from the fact they are not distinctive enough and are not based on a major license of something that has a huge fanbase. Producing another ‘samey’ fantasy background is not enough to attract RP players. An advertisement that mentions, for example, great crafting will likely only get people whom are the types to really want to craft. Combat, unfortunately is what rules the majority of RPG, be them paper or computer games. So without big advertising campaigns the majority of players are highly unlikely to give a game a go, partly because they may never hear of it more than once at best. Add in the fact that there are so many MMOs out there now; the choice can be overwhelming for some so they stick with popular ones, maybe due to the worry that other games will not last. With experienced MMO players things are different to some degree, they will likely have heard about other less well known games, but in the end it comes down to genre, overall game features and with experienced players whether they want to give up potentially years worth of friends and game assets.
    On the point of people, until someone develops a game that includes a social structure, the majority of people will do whatever they want in a MMO and RP for the majority is horrid.
    There is a slow and building trend occurring in the paper RPG community, social mechanics that are actually being thought through. Now whether someone cares about RP in their MMO or not, with a decent social structure in place a MMO will be a better place to stay in the long-term for the people that like a games genre and style.
    For RP, well psychology routines are required, and this topic just makes a lot of players suffer a whole range of negative emotions LOL
    Lastly a quick acknowledgement to two of my favourite people Steve Jackson and Steven Marsh for their brilliant games and ideas ;-)
    Richard Brewster (Bat)

  108. Hmm, I’d definitely disagree there. The above is very marketable. It’s an easy sell, and it gets people very excited. It’s not marketability that’s the issue.

    Proof? You can throw that stuff around and get people on your blog or on a board like f13 to salivate. But as far as I have seen, implementations that incorporate these sorts of things consistently fail to attract largescale audiences. SL, ATitD, Eve, etc., all do some of these things and are great. But they’re very niche and are part of a movement towards niching most of these concepts. What got 1 million NA subs was going the other route and focusing on a solid, simple game-focused experience.

    The “telepathy” stuff all goes along with all these other comments:

    Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their own are generally evil and should be slain.
    Many, if not all, wild creatures are highly aggressive and will attack on sight.
    Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate.
    The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day… before anyone else gets to slay it.
    Running past or away from people while you are talking to them is also polite.
    You not only can’t go home again, you probably don’t have one.
    If you do, it’s mostly to store stuff, not to live in.
    You never have people over.
    There is no need for bras.
    People have sex a lot.
    People never touch.
    Nobody reads.
    There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up.
    Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning.

    All these things say to me:
    The world isn’t allowed to be a world in and of itself. If it can’t recreate the meanings of real life then it is a failure. Things that don’t mimic real life aren’t good stories, by definition. Things like “beauty”, “mourning”, “death”, “touch”, “evil”, “good”, “genocide”, etc., must have and can only have meaning in the exact way that they make sense in the real world and these are the only meanings we’re allowed to have.

    And that flies in the face of this crazy new world we are living in where typing at each other on blogs, podcasting to other strange people that happen to be like ourselves, representing ourselves to the world on MySpace with hodgepodges of personality tests, videos, songs and lists of things of we like. When a guild trademarking its name and a person buying an ubersword externally from the game world are “normal” trying to force in real world meaning becomes an obvious hack.

    I think that players are giving up on these laments (those that even cared in the first place). A world that gives them meaning in terms of raw game mechanics will trump a world that tries to arbitrarily restrict itself to seem real or tries to cut and paste in real world tokens as having meaning in and of themselves.

    I too once bought into these concepts. So I can lament as well. But to me it’s not that these aren’t happening — it’s a realization that most will never happen. At least not the way we thought they would. And when they do they will fill niches instead of being the epiphany we may have once thought they would be. I imagine omeday almost all of these things will exist in one product somewhere but I think it will be a very niched product with a smaller, specialized following, and not a massive, mainstream thing. Meanwhile I think more popular worlds will move towards increasing abstraction and game-centric meaning. That we will go this way seems to dovetail so well with other things that you have to say about online “places” that I find it confusing that you hang on so much to all this other cut-and-paste, real-world-derived meaning stuff.

  109. Proof? You can throw that stuff around and get people on your blog or on a board like f13 to salivate. But as far as I have seen, implementations that incorporate these sorts of things consistently fail to attract largescale audiences.

    Both UO and SWG were very much sold to pretty large audiences using the same sorts of dreams.

    On much of the rest of your comments… I really don’t know what to say. I don’t see a contradiction at all. You read those items as a craving for realism, and I see them as a craving for immersion (which is completely orthogonal to whether or not the world is game-centric). You read those items as cutting and pasting real world meaning, and I see them as permitting more humanity to exist in our channels of communication, when we currently filter it out (mostly inadvertantly).

    Just to pick one example, “people never touch.” Any game world, such as WoW, would be improved in pretty much anyone’s mind by having a wider array of emotive possibilities, including tandem emotes, automated parsing of text for plausible body language, handling of eye and head tracking, conversational cues, and so on. It’s just how the human mind works. To say otherwise is to deny all those WoW dance videos, because it’s the same impulse.

    The worlds that give meaning in raw game mechanics become exhausted as the mechanics are explored; the typical player does not play them for all that long. At least, that’s the pattern we have seen. Instead, it is the worlds that allow in more of the human that do well.

    Again, it’s not about realism at all…

  110. [...] The discussions on the lessons make me curious. [...]

  111. I imagine omeday almost all of these things will exist in one product somewhere but I think it will be a very niched product with a smaller, specialized following, and not a massive, mainstream thing.

    For me this point is moot, since I do not care if only a minority play the game I want. If niche games that are very specialised at what they are created, then the longevity of said games are going to exist as well.
    Some people will play any old rubbish, others will not; in the end if these games start to happen then every gets viable choices “Do I play the fully imersive specialist game, partially imersive popular game, the hack and slash, FPS, a board game, watch that good movie on telly, etc?” and so on.

  112. [...] .. is a funny old place. Raph has a lament, and it’s a thing of great humour, beauty … and sadness. There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.Best thing I’ve read all day. [...]

  113. [...] from http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ Running past or away from people while you are talking to them is polite. You can be the best in the world at your job. But so can everyone else. And you will all do it exactly the same way. If you dont keep up with your friends, you will never see them again. Death doesnt really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful. The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day before anyone else gets to slay it. Robbing the dead of indigenous cultures is how you make money. All women are beautiful and all men are either handsome or darkly mysterious. There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up. [...]

  114. You forgot “Nobody poops.”

  115. [...] … I learned from MMORPGs. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/_________________~~~ Somyr: “If people can’t think flexibly, they need to stop trying to think for other people.” [...]

  116. I’ll add that when I put bodily functions into a MUD in the early 90s, I was viewed as a sick, sick man.

  117. [...] “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?” http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ I thought the author* made some interesting/funny points. He claims it’s a lament, but he takes this way more seriously than I do. Course, given his credentials, this might also be a case of sour grapes. *”Raph Koster — lead on Ultima Online, creator of Star Wars Galaxies, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment, and author of A Theory of Fun (a kind of Understanding Comics for games)…”_________________Meritus – Paladin – lvl 60 – Knight [...]

  118. [...] Caught this on boingboing…the Theory of Fun author put up an amusing look at MMORPGs on his site. What are the lessons of MMORPGS? [...]

  119. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  120. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  121. I mis Uru. Almost none of that would have applied. But it didn’t make money fast enough, so it got yanked.

  122. For me, this is not about trying to replicate the real world. It’s about trying to get a good story out of the gameplay.

    Without meaning we (as humans) can innately grasp, without true risks, without important goals and unique character lives, it is actually impossible to write any story beyond ‘how I picked up chicks in a virtual tavern.’

    Wanting functional and necessary storyline elements is often discounted in arguments as wanting realism for its own sake. They are not the same goals at all.

    —Brett

  123. Both UO and SWG were very much sold to pretty large audiences using the same sorts of dreams.

    UO as one of the first entries in the market is arguably useless as a data point. SWG also had a lot of conflicting variables — the largest being that it would be difficult for any MMORPG to sell poorly given the Star Wars license. I liked the game personally and I know a lot of people did enjoy its depth but it is clear that even those leading the project after you felt that it was not “mainstream” enough, was too complicated and found that it did not appeal to a large enough audience for something with the Star Wars license. I don’t mean this to turn into a SWG discussion but I was told flat out by a SWG dev that the recent changes which dumbed down the game were done as a last ditch effort to avoid having to turn the game off. So I don’t exactly count that as a success story for the sorts of depth you are talking about. Admittedly the game was so unfinished at release that this is another conflicting variable which is impossible to reconcile. But that itself is one of the biggest reasons that content of the sort you want almost never makes it in the real world: it tends to take up too much development time and other types of content are simply far more effective for the investment.

    Again, it’s not about realism at all…

    You say that and yet the majority of our laments are directly about realism in the game which I still don’t think has been reconciled. I think that increased opportunities to emote would be great — if still not really the sort of content that the majority of players are interested in (dance videos themselves are cool but also very niche — for example, despite rave reviews, PC sales for The Movies were so disappointing that the console port was cancelled). I think that if you want to revise all your points to not be about realism all of a sudden then you really are saying something very different than what your post originally had to say to people.

    When I think WoW dance videos, by the way, I don’t think about realism or meaning in the way your laments point to. I think about
    Internet is for Porn, which far from containing the sorts of meaning that you allude to, is a movie whose content is completely about things external to the game world. In my opinion, this WoW video is a perfect example of all I see that misses the marke in your laments and yet is exactly the sort of thing you applaud in other posts. It also shows that those in the dance video niche don’t require complicated emote mechanics to make expressive videos.

    I guess we’re just going to disagree here, as usual, but I still think you haven’t yet realized or addressed a tension in a your writings between wanting to embrace free-form online worlds in a very open sense and still harkening back to the text-heavy, tightly-scripted, MUDs that form your roots and a dependence on co-opting real-world meaning to create game meaning. I think you are assuming without enough proof that the natural expression of these open tools will to go back to old modes of roleplaying and restrictive gameplay that appeals to real-world meaning. I think that gamers are far beyond this point. There are indeed those who mourn the loss of this type of game but they are a shrinking minority.

    Generally “telling you what I think you think” isn’t the best of form, I admit, but I have to insist because I think this tension between open online worlds with open meaning and old-style worlds that rely on cut&paste real-world meaning underlies a lot of what we disagree about.

  124. [...] Raph Koster has a list of things I suppose we might learn from MMOGs HERE. Some of his observations are quite right on the mark and seem ridiculous when pointed out._________________ Time Tunnel Employee of the Month [...]

  125. [...] city_of_heroes[urban_bohemian]A cute (and in some ways, sad) list of MMORPG “lessons”What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?The first 3…Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.People are only good at one thing.That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.Replacing kill with “arrest” on the heroes side, obviously. And replacing kill with.. um.. “kill” for the villains side.x-posted to cityovillains Link9 comments|Leave a comment [...]

  126. [...]  Anyway, Ralph Koster, an executive in the MMORPG industry, posted a hilarious list of things that can be learned from MMORPGs. [...]

  127. This is a lament about what’s bad about MMORPGs?
    I read it as praise about what’s /right/ about life (and as an amusing text, of course).

    Reading the comments made me sad.

  128. But as far as I have seen, implementations that incorporate these sorts of things consistently fail to attract large-scale audiences. SL, ATitD, Eve, etc., all do some of these things and are great.

    Eve supposedly has 100K subscribers. I’d say that puts it in the ‘large-scale’ category (perhaps not one of the giants, but still top 20, maybe approaching top 10 … I’m not an industry insider).

    But with regards to whether the lamented features could be integrated into a market dominating game …

    As with most products, players select MMO’s based primarily on broad brush features (example, does it have PvP? Is it already a favourite franchise) and on recommendation.

    Who wants to try-out a MMO that everyone else says is no good.

    Eve players overwhelmingly post positive comments on the various sites. They’ve received a couple accolades from gaming sites. The comments seem to me to have some common threads, but really, the important point is that the comments are POSITIVE.

    A large community + typically positive comments = growth.

    Sure, EVE is not king of the hill. Eve is perhaps somewhat held back by its lack of relationship with a pre-existing brand. Maybe the next few months will see it explode. Perhaps it has just reached critical mass.

    Wow owes its success, imo, not to innovative features (or the lack thereof). Wow grew because it was commonly viewed (rightly or wrongly) as a good game.

    Wow gets generally positive comments (especially in the early days). And it has community galore.

    WoW was one of the first games with the perception of a solid feature set. As a game, WoW just worked (server congestion aside).

    Despite Blizzards historical troubles with hacking, everyone I know hangs on their next release (what a great starting point for a cult).

    (Aside: I’m slowly getting to my point.)

    I see a bit of a parallel with MP3 players. Here, iPods sell for 2-4 times the price of another MP3 player. Can you get the same broad brush functionality out of another player for a lot less. I think so. But iPod just works. It gets good reviews. Then there’s the cult of Apple … what a great base to launch a product from. iPod rules the MP3 player space.

    So how do you become perceived as a MMO that just works. I’d throw out suggestions like minimize bugs, implement a great user interface (intuitive, easy), have at least the commonly expected feature set, have some style! Having a brand to exploit on launch doesn’t hurt either. Be the iPod.

    Note that I didn’t say, ‘be easy’ (as in dummed down). I said have a good UI.

    A game that just worked AND added the lamented features, would set new heights.

    WoW is a relatively simple game, imo. That’s not a selling point (contrary to the beliefs of some, I’m sure) … it is a limitation.

    The market is just waiting for someone to introduce a game the just works AND raises the bar on worldy features.

  129. [...] by Raph Koster…whom I really don’t like but it is a good read anyhow http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24…mmorpgs-today/ Quote: [...]

  130. So true… growth, change and consequences is what all of these games promise and what they all try to deliver. How can they?

    I have played many of these and usually find myself quitting…or re-starting a new character half-way to the level cap. I think I know why I do this: I want to be THE Hero and the game can only conspire with me to suspend disbelief for a short period of time–only as long as the canned Main Story Line is the predominant feature of the game. Once you reach a certain level and must group to achieve goals, you find yourself lessened in your heroism and become just one of many uncannily similar grinders.

    Would Gandalf be such a compelling character if he was just one among hundreds of wizards, all more or less of equal ability? I think not. We all want to be Gandalf and we enjoy the wizarding experience only for as long as the game helps us believe that we are like him.

    Ultimately all MMORPGs become nothing more than chat rooms with interesting and unusual avatars. Not that there is anything wrong with that–if that’s your thing–but that wasn’t what it started out being when it was making me feel heroic.

    Face it: our collective context (that which we knew before we got here) is fantasy fiction where we can all, vicariously, be the protagonist and with him/her grow, choose, suffer consequences and see the results of our actions lead to a concrete resolution. That is something we will never see in a MMORPG. Unless I suppose, your last name is Gates and you have one custom designed for you and you pay some people to play the support roles and other bit parts.

    There is some truth to the lack of writing talent in evidence in most MMORPGS, but I’m not sure that improved writing would do much more than make that mid-game transition to chat-room worse.

    “How about strict Role Playing shards/realms/Guilds” you say, “Isn’t that a way to enhance/prolong the fantasy?” Well, there is something to that and having consensual participation in enhancing the fantasy can, to some extent prolong the enjoyment. But even then you’re still left with compromises: YOU are not THE hero; nothing that you do truly advances the story in a permanent way and worst of all, there is no end in sight! The best you can hope for is to have a “good group” (i.e. a nice chat-room experience.)

    (In case you’re curious, I am a 50ish reader (Dan Simmons’ Ilium at the moment) and game player (many World of Warcraft characters–all sub level 40) who is looking forward to the upcoming Oblivion: a game that guarantees me I’ll be the baddest Spellsword in my house until I’ve finished it)

  131. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? My 10 second scan revealed nobody has posted this yet (at least, not with the proper title…) so here you are… http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24…mmorpgs-today/ A few snippets I liked… how many will still apply to this "next generation" MMORPG, aka, Vanguard? The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day before anyone else gets to slay it. You should probably have entrance and rsum requirements to join your circle of friends. Lone heroes cant slay dragons. It takes an army. People are only good at one thing. Thats why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything. If you dont keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you dont keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either. There are no such things as social progress or technological advancement. In fact, evil will always be lurking at the edge of the village. On the other hand, it will never invade. [...]

  132. [...] Exactly why I don’t play online RPGs.Lessons of MMORPGs TodayMy favorite:There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them. [...]

  133. It’s kind of tragic, really. We choose to play in worlds of Harrison-Bergeron-like constraints, happy in our ever-repeating drudge of bigger numbers.

    People always find a way, however, to bring back life to games. From using smilies in text, to ascii art in MUDs, to dropped coin art in EQ to the phenomenal house decorating in SWG to dancing displays in WoW – no matter how restricting a game may seem, and how limiting its interface, there will be creative players testing the limits. Indeed – they may enjoy the challenge itself.

    I worry that because people watch reality TV, and read rag newspapers, and listen to whatever rubbish is being touted at the time – this lowest common denomenator doesn’t care how limiting it is as long as it gives them what people tell them they want. And that’s a lot of lowest common denominator, with cash.

  134. [...] From Raph Koster — lead on Ultima Online, creator of Star Wars Galaxies, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment… My favorite: "People are only good at one thing. Thats why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything." http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ [...]

  135. The market is just waiting for someone to introduce a game the just works AND raises the bar on worldy features.

    And there we have it.

    JUST WORKS is really a big deal. It’s a big deal with so many things. Your telephone service, for example. The television. Appiances, in general. Just work.

    I’m pretty much convinced that if SWG had “just worked” out of the box, it would have been a smash hit like WoW was. But the insaitiable greed of corporate entities, demanding ROI NOW, did it in. Pushed out the door before ready..it’s been the problem with SWG since release, and it has never recovered.

    I came to SWG because of genre; I loathe elves with the intensity of a thousand burning suns, so I never got in to Warcraft; I bought Starcraft but the zerging of most RTS games bores me to tears. But Blizzard did one thing right, and that was make sure the darn thing JUST WORKED from day one.

    As for Raph’s lament, well, yeah, it’s funny because it’s true. But I could live with those things if I could “live a life in the Star Wars universe”. Since the NGE came out and destroyed the community, they stand out in higher relief.

  136. [...] Fascinating… in a variety of different ways. Mostly if you *don’t* think of these in terms of a game.What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? back to top Comments euterpe35 2/28/06, 08:22 pm   transcribe vox-casting     Link   [...]

  137. [...] Raph Koster being as pretentious as ever, though for once I agree with him somewhat. Thing is, surely he’s in a better position than just about anyone to change things. Um, go on then. Games [...]

  138. [...] What are the lessons from todays MMORPGS? credit Raph’s Website What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. [...]

  139. The lifespan of the universe is determined entirely by how popular it is.

    The world will grow before your very eyes – but only so as to give people who have done everything else more things to do.

    The laws of physics may change at any time, without warning, often for the express purpose of invalidating all the work you’ve done over entire life.

    There are many priests, but no religions.

  140. [...] var pseudo = ‘Visiteur'; var userid = ‘0’; var redacteur = false; 22:43 carwin : [url] 22:43 nitoo : toof> Hey ! C’est chouette, c’est de qui ? 22:42 nitoo : mwahaha, t’inquiètes j’ai pris du galon depuis l’temps^^ 22:40 Niko : Y’a intert :] 22:37 nitoo : Niko> Bientôt !La skool me prend vraiment trop de temps, j’attend d’être bien OP pour chier un truc qui tue un max 22:29 Niko : J’ai signé, je suis fan 22:28 hohun : [url] encore quelques signatures ! haut les coeurs ! 22:23 Niko : nitoo> Terrible ! Et puis, comme ça, tu pourra nous faire un header en flash pour ta skin. Au fait, elle arrive quand ? 22:18 hohun : 21:50 > pas mal :) 22:12 nitoo : enfin scool koi… hum 22:12 nitoo : 22:01 > xetllent 22:12 nitoo : 22:01 > trop bien^^ 22:01 Geeze-Us : Trop bien [url] 21:51 nitoo : prise de tête juste pour une merde pareille…flash, sai l’horreur 21:50 nitoo : Mon partiel flash [url] 21:47 toof : voilà un clip qu’il est bien : [url] 21:24 Joule : DoubleJ> Chez nous aussi incessamment sous peu 21:18 DoubleJ : [url] 21:18 DoubleJ : Trailer (38 Mo) de Superman Returns (le jeu) chez GameInformer 19:36 nuitn0ire : wedge> normal, mais y a un bouton pour la détacher et qu’elle soit lisible. là c’est juste un raccourcis. [...]

  141. [...] Via BoingBoing: “Raph Koster — lead on Ultima Online, creator of Star Wars Galaxies, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment, and author of A Theory of Fun (a kind of Understanding Comics for games) — has published an hilarious series of aphorisms under the title “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?”” http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ Entertaining list. A little depressing too, as a commentary on the state of most MMOGs. [...]

  142. Second Life is a role playing game. In fact, Second Life is the only graphical computer-based role-playing game I’ve ever seen where role-playing is actually possible.

    It’s not a “computer role playing game” in the traditional (if you can call a tradition something that hasn’t been around as long as my own participation in role playing games) sense, but it’s definitely a “role playing game” in the traditional sense. If you’ve been hacking around in the MUD and Muck of text because MMORPGs didn’t seem to really include RP, this is an opportunity to break into 3d…

    Come visit me in Second Life. You’ll find my home on the World Map in the dAlliez islands. Just look for the huge blue crater left by the collapse of my first sub-orbital space station and skyhook-cum-gravity-elevator… the new one (half a kilometer tall) is safe. Honest. It hardly ever hurls passengers off the island any more…

  143. [...] Amusing:http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/– Kyth, Officer of Temerity Random quote: (Click here to view all quotes) [...]

  144. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  145. [...] Quote Modify Via BoingBoing: "Raph Koster — lead on Ultima Online, creator of Star Wars Galaxies, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment, and author of A Theory of Fun (a kind of Understanding Comics for games) — has published an hilarious series of aphorisms under the title "What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?""       http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-tod ay/   Some Funny stuff!  but sad in a way. [...]

  146. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  147. [...] ( http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ ) What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. [...]

  148. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  149. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  150. Very interesting stuff, particularly the comments.

    I’m relatively new to MMORPGs, though I was a chit-and-dixie-cup (pre-dice) Basic D&D player many moons ago. I’ve been playing WoW since Christmas 05, but I feel I’ve come to understand many of the pluses and minuses of the current generation of games through reading what the players love and hate.

    One thing I’ve always thought would guarantee a successful, player-centric MMORPG would be to allow players (perhaps after reaching a certain threshold) to create an area of content/instance (let’s call it a dungeon, for ease of understanding). The dungeon, once set up, would be persistent and subject to the player’s alterations.

    This conceit would work particularly well in a sci-fi themed game — dungeons become planet instances. Give the players tools to create and modify the creatures, terrain, and storyline and you’ve opened up your worlds to the creativity of everyone playing the game. Everyone becomes a GM and a storyteller.

    The obvious problem with this is server space for all these new instances. How to solve that? Allow the players to host their own worlds on the game’s server arrays or on their own server space.

    The main world would be a hub — in a sci-fi game, it might be a giant planet or a massive spaceport. The socialization takes place in that virtual space, and instances are accessed via travel or teleportation.

    Many players I know feel stifled by the sameness of game worlds and the lack of agency beyond following the general leveling path and skill advancement. Give the players the opportunities to design their own worlds and you immediately harness their creativity.

    Instances/dungeons could be rated, and awards given to the best designed, most highly rated, and most innovative.

    Maybe I’m dreaming, but that would be a helluva lot of fun for me.

  151. Pan… you can do that in Second Life.

    Last Saturday I was chasing Aliens through a pretty realistic version of the wrecked base from the movie of the same name.

  152. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  153. [...] Clicky_________________————– Take Care, Bink CoH: CaptainMayhem, NaomiArmitage, Captn Randomizer, JordanBarbarian, Murky Thecat, Captain Meanie CoV: Professor Junk, Oasis the Lost, McFlurry, Kitten-Killer, Wherez Waldo Global Handle = @BinkDeBook [...]

  154. [...] Couple of links I thought you folks might find to be interesting: The Laws of Online World Design – some general rules of design from various people, but primarily from the MUD-Dev list: http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/laws.shtml What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? – some humerous rules we have learned: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/_________________“The computer allows you to make mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.” -Mitch Ratcliffe [...]

  155. [...] (Push the button, Max) cityovillains [ urban_bohemian ] 1:32pWe’re supposed to learn something?! A cute (and in some ways, sad) list of MMORPG “lessons”What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?The first 3…Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.People are only good at one thing.That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.Replacing kill with “arrest” on the heroes side, obviously. And replacing kill with.. um.. “kill” for the villains side.x-posted to city_of_heroes [...]

  156. [...] Watch this… and then See the inspiration. And then, you might want to check out What MMO-RPGs are teaching us. -H [...]

  157. Chess has even more restrictions and limitations than MMORPGs but a lot of people have found it a rewarding pastime for many years. I tend to look at MMORPGs as games first and foremost and don’t get hung up on what makes them “unrealistic”. I don’t make moral choices in chess either but I don’t feel it’s a drawback in the game design: just using a few mental skills to try to win seems enough to make it fun.

    I suppose this list is a decent starting point if you were designing an MMORPG and brainstorming for areas of gameplay that could possibly be expanded upon in the next generation. Just expanding the gameplay to make a better simulation of real life doesn’t seem very productive to me, however. If the birds migrated the zone would have to be balanced with and without the birds, quests changed, etc. etc. It’s a large price to pay for the short term “wow” factor you give your players when they first realize the game is realistic in a way they didn’t expect.

  158. [...] Lessons from MMOs WoW’s lessons will make you appreciate CoH more Sorry kids, not a flash/video this time. __________________ Anasai: 44 Fire/Eng (Mayhem CEO) Awa: 50 FF/Dark (PMC) Lady Eishan: 22 Rad/Rad (PHI) Carrie Conglomerette: 17 Dark/Eng (rah!) Peppermint Poofie: 16 WS (MI) Angel Dusted: 12 Kin/Elec (MI) Mrs. Recluse: 27 Mind/Psi (STI) Icy Stare: 17 Ice/Thermal (CE) Kihou: 16 Robot/FF (HI) [...]

  159. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  160. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  161. [...] Une fort belle faon de dcrire les MMORPGS d’aujourd’hui. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ C’est en anglais, c’est un peu long, mais c’est vraiment trs bien dit et vous tes un vieux con si vous n’avez pas 2 minutes pour lire a : [...]

  162. Tappen: Chess isn’t a “Role Playing” game, well, unless you’re REALLY into Alice in Wonderland or something. And a Role Playing Game doesn’t need to be “balanced”, because “winning” isn’t the point.

  163. [...] Like I said I dont think he is a great designer, but the man is a great thinker about MMPORGs. Have a think about this little list he has posted on his website._________________AusGuard: The ANZAC Vanguard Community The Raids of Southern Armada [...]

  164. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  165. [...] http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army.
    _________________
    Johne (Phy) Cook | phywriter.com aka Gresh Firebrand / aka Phritz / aka Greyswandir [...]

  166. The most lamentable aspect of this lament, from my point of view, are the first seven entries. I’ve found MMORPGs to be instantly forgettable simply because each one I’ve found was so entirely built around the concept of “guilds” and such, which is anathema to someone who lives as a near-hermit and prides himself on individuality.
    The underlying concept that individuals will always fail, that being part of a group is essentially mandatory, and that everyone must specialize is certainly a philosophy that will be instantly and enthusiastically embraced by corporate America, but not one I could ever bring myself to agree with.
    The other, perhaps more subtly evil aspect of this lies in the fact that guild members are forced, by the nature of the game (and the fact that they can never accomplish anything on their own), to depend on one another, and thus to spend more and more time online. While this is certainly a commendable feature of the game, from a business point of view, it also strongly discourages anyone from playing more than one MMO. It also makes such games impossible for anyone who has a life away from their computer.
    I’ve watched several people descend into a sort of madness, playing these games, where their obsession with their “guild,” and the interdependency with its other members, has taken precedence over their families, their relationships, their jobs … their lives in the real world.
    Again, from a business point of view, that’s a sign of success, and the sort of thing that gets healthy bonus checks awarded to the developers (at least at some companies), but it’s certainly a disturbing trend.

  167. [...] GeneralI quit MMOs until they stop being boring. I guess I have no interests now. Addendum: Raph Koster recently posted this in his blog, which sums up a lot of my dissatisfaction with (most of) our currently available virtual worlds. But not everything.highlightInterests(“ProfileGeneral”);Musicsee Wrecked DistrohighlightInterests(“ProfileMusic”);MoviesCluehighlightInterests(“ProfileMovies”);TelevisionTwin Peaks, DegrassihighlightInterests(“ProfileTelevision”);HeroesConstance Steinkuehler, Kevin Blechdom, Lynda Barry, Kelly LinkhighlightInterests(“ProfileHeroes”); [...]

  168. [...] That kind of “lather, rinse, repeat” philosophy has yielded a post from Raph Koster which could double for one of those “Everything I need to know I learned in…” posters that people have hanging in their office next to the posters of kittens on screen doors with motivational sayings like, “Hang in there!” [...]

  169. [...] Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army.
    __________________ [...]

  170. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  171. [...] A cute (and in some ways, sad) list of MMORPG “lessons”What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?The first 3…Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.People are only good at one thing.That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.Replacing kill with “arrest” on the heroes side, obviously. And replacing kill with.. um.. “kill” for the villains side.x-posted to city_of_heroes [...]

  172. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  173. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  174. [...] Raph?s Website What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  175. I find that all things understood in life are structures pulled together from abstractions. MMORPGs are just the same. They can be … anything, but they consistently follow patterns because thats how we think they HAVE to be.
    We can identify issues with these kinds of games, investors and developers do too. So what would logically happen is, these issue will stop showing up in mmorpgs if they continue to grow in popularity. They willn become less popular or more popular depending on how they continue to address the psychology of the people.

  176. [...] I got this from BoingBoing: Raph Koster — lead on Ultima Online, creator of Star Wars Galaxies, Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment, and author of A Theory of Fun (a kind of Understanding Comics for games) — has published an hilarious series of aphorisms under the title What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? I’ve looked at his “Theory of Fun” book and it looks very interesting. I think I’ll pick it up one of these days. Some of the best items:Killing is the only real way to gain peoples admiration.Well, you can make stuff too, but you wont earn the same kind of admiration.If you dont keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you dont keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either.There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them. [...]

  177. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Some of these are certainly true of UD: [...]

  178. [...] Lessons of mmorpgs today… [...]

  179. [...] woensdag, maart 01, 2006 moest ik zo ongelooflijk om lachen:#You can be the best in the world at your job.#But so can everyone else.#And you will all do it exactly the same way.Via via.

  180. [...] Raph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Good stuff. Some of it is a tad goofy and a lot of it is pure fluff, but there’s also a great deal of (very amusing) truth in it. (tags: gaming mmorpgs raph_koster) Filed under Uncategorized  [...]

  181. [...] is simply a failure to show up.Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning.via Boing Boing * 3/01/2006 01:12:58 AM document.write(”); [...]

  182. Raph: Hmm, I’d definitely disagree there. The above is very marketable. It’s an easy sell, and it gets people very excited. It’s not marketability that’s the issue.

    I strongly agree that players want a world with meaning. I am not really all that hung up on realism — I am hung up on sense of wonder.

    Come on! I saw you at GaTech a couple weeks ago lamenting the risk aversion and serial/cloning nature of the industry, and yet you sit at perhaps one of the higher chairs of power in that industry to affect change. All in all, while I agree with you at the most abstract levels in what I would like to see in a game, I think when you bring “marketability” into it, you are missing something about the nature of game:

    “World of Warcraft is the new golf.”

    I see people pontificate over the nature of these games, and while I would still like to see something of the spirit of the old MU* world make it into an MMO, it just isn’t going to happen. SecondLife is really the best thing going on that front and it has every failing you would expect, and yet is somehow really fantastic. Big games, however, will be “games”. They are Golf, they are Pool, they are Darts or Bridge. They are things you do in the background to what you are actually doing, or they are simply a way to kill time.

    While the “playing with your friends” issue is somewhat relevant — moreover, you left out server isolation — all the rest fall into a category of “doesn’t matter anymore.” It is like someone playing chess and going “Why can a knight not go in a straight line? That’s stupid.”

    Lastly,

    Telepathy is normal.

    You don’t have a blackberry do you? :P

  183. [...] Likewise for this one. Here’s an excerpt: [...]

  184. I think what is actually being lamented is that the big online games are not life simulators. I have a life that I live everyday where birds migrate, I touch people, I have many skills, etc. but that’s not why I play WoW.

    If there were only one dragon in WoW to slay, or one unique quest that only one guy could do, some powergamer would do it within the first month of the game opening, leaving no chance for a casual gamer like myself to ever complete the quest, or any unique quest. Most ordinary players would literally never get to do any of the “unique” things.

    In fact, this list does not describe a very enjoyable game experience. Seasons and such are nice, but it’s a game, who cares? It would only be cool the first time you saw it and then you’d just ignore it.

    Songs and music? Why? You can listen to your music while you play, and if you make friends, you can recommend new music to them, the fact that you don’t hear the music in game is totally irrelevent.

    This list is frustratingly bad. It’s a list of things that don’t need to be in a game to make a game fun. I don’t need to live in WoW, I play WoW. It’s like saying that baseball or tennis needs to be more like real life to be enjoyable.

  185. [...] raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today This site was found on following weblogs, on the given date: March 01, 2006 thisboyistoast.nu lessons of MMORPGs today » track this weblog [...]

  186. [...] information throughput device (oletheros) wrote in apocalinks,@ 2006-03-01 12:20:00      why am i still hungover? jean-paul satre cookbookkinky barbiecapsule review of grizzly mana species search enginesix possible ways that tony soprano could get whacked in the grand finale see also: blood brotherswhat are the lessons of mmorpgs today?bio med researchers have developed an implantable system that can form and stabilize a network of blood vesselsmonkey research: all it takes to form a culture is a consistent source of food and a stable social groupguitar phoneawesome landscapes painted on naked female backs(Post a new comment) solipsistnation 2006-03-01 05:39 pm UTC (link) As somebody points out in the comments on the MMORPG list, A Tale In The Desert addresses almost all of the societal issues and most of the technological ones. Of course, it has about 1400 regular players, where WoW has, what, two billion regular players? (Reply to this) Log in now.(Create account, or use OpenID) [...]

  187. you sit at perhaps one of the higher chairs of power in that industry to affect change.

    Dude, you have a very skewed perception of my power! In many (most!) ways, I have more power talking on blogs or at conferences, than I do at work. :)

    Big games, however, will be “games”. They are Golf, they are Pool, they are Darts or Bridge. They are things you do in the background to what you are actually doing, or they are simply a way to kill time.

    I fully agree. I don’t see the contradiction. None of the things on that list mandate tedium, long play sessions, or virtual lives. I think it’s very interesting that so many people read them that way. Perhaps a sign of how much expectations have been conditioned.

    Wouldn’t WoW be a nicer WoW exactly as it is, but with seasons so that you can build snowmen in the winter? Wouldn’t any of the Diku-derived games be better if the avatar movement and interaction was superior?

    In fact, this list does not describe a very enjoyable game experience. Seasons and such are nice, but it’s a game, who cares? It would only be cool the first time you saw it and then you’d just ignore it.

    If you can’t see the fun in a fresh snowfall, I feel sorry for you. :)

    Seriously, though, what am amazingly jaded view of things. Never mind the fact that just the visuals of the game could become more varied and pretty; there’s a ton of cool gameplay that opens up.

    It’s like saying that baseball or tennis needs to be more like real life to be enjoyable.

    Baseball and tennis HAVE seasons. And other folks playing music. And hot dogs. And better emotes. In fact, they HAVE all the things I described. I bet that if baseball or tennis DIDN’T have those things, we’d find them to be poorer experiences.

  188. [...] Raph Koster, who is apparently some sort of MMORPG guru or something, wrote a little ranty blog post today called What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? If you’ve played any of those sorts of games you will laugh. Bitterly. And when you stop laughing bitterly, you might look grumpy for a little while when you think back to how much damned time you wasted playing the blasted things, trying to find the “fun” that you lost when you figured out the game mechanics. (Once you figure out the core mechanics it’s all just rote time-filling, which is a lot like, oh, work.) [...]

  189. Then don’t play MMO’s. If you want a virtual world that throws “real-life” consequences on you when you die – how does that, a game make? Die, and the game is over? For good? In WoW’s defense…hey guys…5.5 million subscribers *can’t* be wrong.

    So you don’t want to go out and kill anything in order to advance. Fine – then what are you going to do? Wander aimlessly until you figure what it is you want to do? How close do you want this virtual world to mirror real life? Work at a virtual job, make virtual money from it, *and* be taxed from your friendly virtual government? Or even get mugged by a virtual robber in a virtual alleyway? Come on – does anyone really want that? Games are about fantasy. They’re about going out there and doing things you CAN’T do in real life. That’s just the sheer beauty of it. If I wanted to live something *that* close to real life – why not just turn the computer off and *just go do it*?! Want your avatar to go rock climbing or learn square dancing? Just go it yourself.

    It’s very clear that a huge, highly social MMO is not for you. There are RPG console titles that I can see that might appeal to you. Or even single player games like Baldur’s Gate. If you don’t read the NPC text when he hands you a quest, because it doesn’t live up your expectations of Shakespeare – you’re forgeting something very fundamental here. It’s a game, not opera.

    There is hope however. There are MMO Construction kits out there – where anyone can go out and design their own MMO however they like it. Don’t like WoW? No problem – make your own, the way *you feel and believe* it should be done.

    And watch players just click, click, click through your tear-jerkers of NPC text, without reading it at all bhahahaha

  190. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  191. Jedah, I can’t even tell to whom you are replying. Nobody asked for “real-life” consequences for death, or for Shakespeare.

    On whether large numbers mean something can’t be wrong, I refer you to this post.

  192. If you can’t see the fun in a fresh snowfall, I feel sorry for you. :)

    Seriously, though, what am amazingly jaded view of things. Never mind the fact that just the visuals of the game could become more varied and pretty; there’s a ton of cool gameplay that opens up.

    I think the point is that a fresh snowfall and making snowmen in a game is always going to be a distant second-place to the same activities in real life.

    What’s fun in a game is throwing snowballs at other players and knocking them on their ass. This is something that you’d rarely or never do in real life, for a variety of reasons, but would be a ton of fun if nobody got hurt.

    I think MMORPGs should work at allowing us to live out our unrealistic fantasies in this way, instead of fulfilling realistic ambitions.

    As to lack of moral consequences in games, I have too many moral choices going on in real life, including a large variety of ways to get my groceries home from the supermarket. I don’t want to micro-manage a set of moral decisions in a game.

  193. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? SRS BSNS!1!11! __________________ ~*Brighella*~ <Inconceivable> 60 Night Elf Warrior [...]

  194. [...] Lessons learned from MORPGS… Read. Learn. Understand. Edit: THAT’s the right link… [...]

  195. L2P NUBz

  196. [...] Longtime TN reader and Second Life resident Kolby Granville points us to recent musings of Raph Koster on the subject of MMORPG design. Fine material from a top thinker. [...]

  197. you sit at perhaps one of the higher chairs of power in that industry to affect change.

    Dude, you have a very skewed perception of my power! In many (most!) ways, I have more power talking on blogs or at conferences, than I do at work. :)

    I am not saying you can change the industry, or even a large company on a whim, but you have a “Chief *” title at one of the largest companies in the field. That carries a lot more weight than the 20 top game blogs combined :P

    Big games, however, will be “games”. They are Golf, they are Pool, they are Darts or Bridge. They are things you do in the background to what you are actually doing, or they are simply a way to kill time.

    I fully agree. I don’t see the contradiction. None of the things on that list mandate tedium, long play sessions, or virtual lives. I think it’s very interesting that so many people read them that way. Perhaps a sign of how much expectations have been conditioned.

    Wouldn’t WoW be a nicer WoW exactly as it is, but with seasons so that you can build snowmen in the winter? Wouldn’t any of the Diku-derived games be better if the avatar movement and interaction was superior?

    Right, but if you are out playing pool at a bar, just because you can, oh, take the balls on the table and start making a little mandlebrot set to show your fiends doesn’t mean than you want to do that. You can build a fort out of checkers too, but most people still just want to play checkers.

    I think things like seasons and weather are interesting and I would like to see them because of the depth they could add to the *game* — weather affecting combat, seasons affecting mobility, etc. Still, though, it comes down to the game you came to play. “Snowman Tycoon” is always going to be a narrow niche. Stack a thousand Snowman Tycoon games together (plus all the giant snow penises you will get) and you have Second Life. :P

    Again, I respect your goal, and I feel the same way. However, I (a) definitely disagree about marketability — if it was an easy sell, we wouldn’t have the market space we have today — and (b) I am not sure it is even managable in scale while still maintaining a compelling, immersive environment. I am still a big fan of ATITD, but it only _really_ works because of the small player base, and at that scale you run into technology and art issues for things like weather and seasons anyway.

    Yes, I know the logic of the above seems… broken: Lots of people won’t play them; they work because lots of people don’t play them. But when you start talking about the “big” MMOs, I am not sure that your “lessons” are really all that addressable in the context. I would like to see games focus more on depth of the “game”. I would certainly like to see more games with a complex enough system to allow for more inspired gameplay– that is inspired actions from the players, not gameplay as in LAF issues. However, given how few of the games seem to manage the “game” well from a systems perspective, I think that is likely too much to hope for in the medium term.

  198. [...] This is from the Ralph Koster website: lessons of mmorpgs today A few of my favorites: [...]

  199. Oof, I am not suggesting making “Snowman Tycoon.” I completely agree on the limited interest for something like that.

    I think people are somehow imagining a game that consists ONLY of the inverse of the items in the lament. That’s not it at all.

  200. I think a few of the people posting here are missing the point of Raph’s commentary. Those of you complaining that MMOGs aren’t life simulators but are games are missing the fact that many players (Sims, anyone?) LIKE life simulators. When you say things like 5.5 million WoW players (myself included) CANT be wrong you are making the mistake of believing that there is a perfect or “right” way to make games. The human psyche, my friends, is not so simple. Some of you like the “fun first” games and some of us want to live in a world other than this one. There are large numbers of both types of players. Raph here would like to see other “life simulator” games out on the market besides pre-NGE SWG *ducks the flamethrowers*.

  201. [...] Just came across Raph Kosters so called lament. It’s rather hilarious to be sure, but what the hell is the guy complaining about? He joined a crap-lets-not-innovate-game-dev-house after his work on UO. [...]

  202. [...] From Raph Koster’s site; some commentary is, of course, completely needed on some of his points. It’s basically a list not unlike “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten,” just flavored with some MMO love. [...]

  203. Those of you complaining that MMOGs aren’t life simulators but are games are missing the fact that many players (Sims, anyone?) LIKE life simulators.

    I think they like highly structured life simulators with beginnings and ends which isn’t really what is meant most of the time by a “worldy” MMORPG. Single-player gameplay almost never translates into the same gameplay in an MMORPG. The simple act of adding thousands of players to the game almost always turns the experience into something completely different and much more chaotic. TSO itself was hardly a huge success (but like most MMORPG’s there are so many factors that affect its success that it’s hard to draw a conclusion from this). The chaos of a somewhat open online world turned it into a playground for a very hardcore brand of social players.

    I think that these more casual types really want managed, quality-assured, straight-forward experiences and I think this is what WoW is basically offering for part of that crowd. I expect further developments to change the themes but keep the underlying mechanics. They will be level-based (whether levels are called “levels” or not), focus on achievements and regular rewards, contain treadmills (which are really just ways to continue the reward cycle), avoid complicated and chaotic concepts like player-created content, reward time instead of skill, etc. If that is achievable in a game that focuses on dancing then ok, we’ll have a dancing game. But it will be dancing WoW-style.

  204. [...] Stumbled across this on another forum, seemed fitting: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ and just to draw attention to his note at the end. [...]

  205. [...] Messages on walls What we have learned from MMORPGs (Having scrolled through further that first one contains the odd rude word as it’s pictures of intriguing graffitti…) [...]

  206. Oof, I am not suggesting making “Snowman Tycoon.” I completely agree on the limited interest for something like that.

    I think people are somehow imagining a game that consists ONLY of the inverse of the items in the lament. That’s not it at all.

    Sorry, I didn’t really mean that as a “game game”, that was more my being snarky. :P

    I think the thing is, I am just not seeing the kind of open endedness in, not just a little detail like snow, but in the larger game engine without it jumping the rails and affecting the “game” in critical ways. Moreover, it seems counter to what I think is a more practical (and marketable) goal of adding depth to the “game” rather than a lot of shallow little things. A lot of the rest, quite honestly, seem like things you explicitly split from in SWG..

    Walking is stupid.
    [and]
    Night’s really short.

    stand out in my mind as two prime examples of this, mostly because the player base will shout it down if you do something different. I think that goes to the whole marketability thing.

  207. You forgot:

    Everybody is a farmer, but if you are from an Asian country or have an Asian name you are a nieucence and must be ignore or reported.

    It saddens me because I am Japanese and the use of my name often begs the eternal “Are you a f*cking farmer or just a guy? I am reporting you if I see you PLAY TOO WELL…”

    Aiya…

  208. [...] by Raph Koster (note, the subject is my title, not his) From: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. __________–That’s MASTER Yak to you. [...]

  209. [...] archangelbethBoo, hafta wake up earlier. O:pCold cold cold. Dickens is playing cloak-mouse with my elbow, since I have my light cloak on.INwatch: no changes, 182, 144, 117. It’s weird. Weekends seem to be the times of least sales.Amusement — and sometimes sadness — with What do MMORPGs teach? link6 comments|post comment [...]

  210. Raph:

    Thanks for the original lament, and responses in the above threads. I share many of your own concerns about MMORPGs.

    However, I ended up leaving UO (and later joining and leaving SWG) more because on the infantile players than the static content, limited ability to change the world, etc. In my own words, “I really enjoy MMORPGs, except for the MM part”.

    In any case, I’ve enjoyed your postings over the years on the various gaming systems etc. as I’ve stumbled across them. I may not always agree, but they’re always well-thought-out and give me pause to consider.

  211. [...] Sent from a friend – it is harshly appropriate. I think anyone who plays an MMO might feel the pinch:http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/some of my favorites:If you don’t keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you don’t keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either.Walking is stupid.There is no need for bras.There is art and beauty in the world, but you can’t be responsible for any of it.Tags: link (1 secret | tell a friendly secret) Wednesday, March 1st, 2006 @ 01:11 pm [...]

  212. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad Enjoy! __________________ Theda ~ 60 Human Warrior Carramia ~ 56 Dwarven Priest *~ Elysian ~* Non illegitamus carburundum http://aimsbrain.blogspot.com [...]

  213. I think the problem can be summed up in three words, Static by design. The fact that I can go to a website and learn who I need to speak to, what I need to say, where I need to go and what item I will get for my deeds, is why most of that list exists. If the evil army comes and takes over a town, the player base is pissed because the expectation is that the town is controlled by the the forces of good. This is especially true if it just happens after a patch, or whatever. The same thing with having quests meaningless. If the same guy gives the same quest over and over again, sure the story doesn’t matter. Likewise, there rarely any reason NOT to do the quests. Since event things like faction hits can be worked around. “well I’ll just do quest X three times and it will all average out.” The issues brought up in the list can’t be fixed in any existing game because to do so would require a fundamental change to the design.

    There are other, automatable ways that things can be meaningful. For instance, why can’t NPCs name drop when a player is the first to do something? [You're off to fight a dragon? Did you hear about Bilbo, I hear he slew the elder Smaug] Clearly that also raises problems, but then in a properly dynamic world, “first” doesn’t mean “done by someone in beta” because everything could be a first.

  214. [...] Elite Member Registered: 12/31/04 Posts: 646 So I just got done reading the latest article on Raph Koster’s website and thought it was freakin’ hilarious. I just wanted to share with you all. As a side note, This sums up the reasons I’ve returned to MUDs. [...]

  215. [...] And speaking of games, what are the lessons that MMORPGs teach us today?(Read comments)Post a comment in response: From:Anonymous OpenID Identity URL:  Log in?  LiveJournal user Username:Password:Log in?  Subject: [...]

  216. [...] Elite Member Registered: 12/31/04 Posts: 649 So I just got done reading the latest article on Raph Koster’s website and thought it was freakin’ hilarious. I just wanted to share with you all. As a side note, This sums up the reasons I’ve returned to MUDs. [...]

  217. [...] <grue> “Welcome to IRC. Where the men are men, the women are men, and the little girls are FBI agents” Surprise: people don’t want a-hole legislation posted by spinfire at 2006-02-28 22:27 ( permalink ) http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/Main_Page posted by grue at 2006-02-28 22:09 ( permalink ) Jabber posted by spinfire at 2006-02-28 22:01 ( permalink ) awesome parody of that Bravia ad with the bouncy balls posted by dyfrgi at 2006-02-28 19:47 ( permalink ) The plot thickens! posted by spinfire at 2006-02-28 19:21 ( permalink ) Java, just like it’s name, is bloated. posted by Xavier at 2006-02-28 18:03 ( permalink ) If Microsoft designed the iPod packaging posted by dyfrgi at 2006-02-28 16:01 ( permalink ) convergence virtual/reality game prop designer position posted by dyfrgi at 2006-02-28 15:54 ( permalink ) lessons of MMORPGs today posted by dyfrgi at 2006-02-28 14:52 ( permalink ) amusing Cragslist engineering post posted by dyfrgi at 2006-02-28 14:44 ( permalink ) ah, the crookedness posted by spinfire at 2006-02-28 13:34 ( permalink ) <– that’s the class posted by chillywilly at 2006-02-28 13:29 ( permalink ) http://action.aclu.org/site/DocServer/know_your_rights.pdf?docID=161 posted by tweakism at 2006-02-28 05:14 ( permalink ) http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/waydowntown/ posted by xkcd at 2006-02-28 05:09 ( permalink ) http://www.collisionservices.com/csicatalog/images/PR9918.jpg posted by tweakism at 2006-02-28 05:06 ( permalink ) http://www.commonplacebook.com/humor/love/clonesong.shtm posted by xkcd at 2006-02-28 04:35 ( permalink ) http://www.boingboing.net/images/boycottsmartfilter.jpg posted by tweakism at 2006-02-28 04:26 ( permalink ) [...]

  218. Oof, I am not suggesting making “Snowman Tycoon.” I completely agree on the limited interest for something like that.

    I think people are somehow imagining a game that consists ONLY of the inverse of the items in the lament. That’s not it at all

    I know you’re not suggesting making Snowman Tycoon; but let’s take that concept and expand it a bit. Where MMOGs fail is that they attempt to only incorporate elements of a single genre, or where they incorporate elements of multiple genres, they do so clumsily at best. No offense intended, but the integration of Jump To Lightspeed with the original Star Wars Galaxies was not exactly what most players were expecting, I’m sure.

    The problem is, whenever you -do- mix genres, you run the serious risk of alienating fans of each of the genres. I know many people who would’ve preferred Star Wars: Galaxies if the entire game had been like Jump to Lightspeed. I know just as many people who would’ve vastly preferred that JTL was like the original game, turn-based and involving no ‘twitch’ gameplay at all. Problem is, if you want to combat many of the problems listed in your lament, you have to do some genre mixing; otherwise, it’s not ‘realistic’ as such.

    Perhaps I’m misreading your list, but that seems to me to be the underlying element to many, if not all of the complaints listed. In a realistic game, enemies would invade, the gods would exact vengeance upon those who did not follow the commandments, and the world would change dynamically based on the actions of yourself and your fellow players. And maybe that’s the risk that someone’s going to have to take; make a world where the player’s actions have an actual realism and permanence to them.

    The thing is, though, is players are too enmeshed in the hamster wheel philosophy; look at me, linking to my WoW guild’s website. The problem arises in that if you DO make a more realistic game, people become less and less willing to play it. Imagine playing World of Warcraft where you have to spend your first while in the barracks training before you’re allowed out in the world, and in your very first engagement you find yourself horribly outnumbered and die, losing your progress. There’s a very small fraction of players who’d actually find that fun; I think I’m one of the rare few.

    Of course, one doesn’t need to go that far; most of your list seems like it would be doable even in the current climate, but again, it seems to me that the underlying issue is one of realism, and I know that the risk of developing a game which breaks the genre boundaries is one many people would not be willing to take, for the simple reason that, in the current climate, MMORPGs are being designed and built financially; I’m certain that there were decisions in SWG which were put in to appeal to the lowest common denominator so that the game would sell.

    -John

  219. The only world where I see the developers handing over more and more control to the players is EVE online.

    WOnderful story there about a group of developers that decided they didn’t like the fluffy kindler gentler WOW style and set up a game with a real market, with real territory to claim and the ability to HURT someone badly.

    The players of course provide everything else.

  220. The problem is, whenever you -do- mix genres, you run the serious risk of alienating fans of each of the genres. I know many people who would’ve preferred Star Wars: Galaxies if the entire game had been like Jump to Lightspeed. I know just as many people who would’ve vastly preferred that JTL was like the original game, turn-based and involving no ‘twitch’ gameplay at all. Problem is, if you want to combat many of the problems listed in your lament, you have to do some genre mixing; otherwise, it’s not ‘realistic’ as such.

    You have a hint of a point here, but I think you are missing something that I think the SWG/JTL duopoly missed: some people wanted XvT, some people wanted.. well, something more than SWG, and it simply missed on both points.

  221. Y’know, although it’s been said that Second Life is NOT an RPG, and that even Linden Labs says so, I disagree.

    For one thing, you ARE role-playing a character no matter what you do. You can’t choose your last name, for example, and no one runs around wearing their real-life face or body. It’s true that there’s no “objective” to Second Life, but then again RPGs have always stressed that THEY have no specific objectives either. RPGs are built around the idea that a player can explore a world through their character and make their own decisions about what to do and how to do it along the way. In this respect they and Second Life are identical.

    And when you boil it down, there are really only two things that make SL so different from other MMOs — the ability to build, script, and animate items that other players can interact with, and the fact that all money in the game comes from limited player stipends. Linden Dollars are THE most valuable virtual currency on the Internet, currently around 270L per $1US. That’s only possible because they are not nearly as easy to obtain as other virtual currencies.

    People have even begun to develop MMORPGs WITHIN Second Life, such as “Minerva”, using the physics engine to create a sub-economy around mining, crafting, and combat. It’s laughably primitive compared to any actual MMORPG…but then again, it’s also remarkably advanced for a totally fan-driven project. Instead of having to code, compile and alpha test for long boring months (as with normal development cycles), “Minerva” developers and players can address issues and add new content on the fly. Given time and continuing effort, “Minerva” might come to rival some of the pay-to-play games out there.

    All in all, I’d say the development community could learn quite a bit from examining the dynamics underlying Second Life.

  222. For one thing, you ARE role-playing a character no matter what you do. You can’t choose your last name, for example,

    I just want to point out that this is no different, in truth, from real life. I know I’m nitpicking a bit, but…

    Are you ever NOT roleplaying? And if so, should you ever? I have some thoughts on the matter, but I don’t have anything I’m ready to throw onto the table.

  223. Bah, and I forget to respond to this part because I’m tired and blind…

    All in all, I’d say the development community could learn quite a bit from examining the dynamics underlying Second Life.

    When I showcase what I know of MMORPGs, or VWs in general, I always make it a point to mention Second Life. Because, to me, it exemplifies exactly why it’s worth pursuing without getting into the rut of associating “trivial” with “fun”. If they doubt me, I can start talking about money. =P

  224. “While I was playing SWG, I used to have a poetry museum. I bought crates and crates of backpack and “renamed” them to write the poems that were displayed in my house. Some people were actually reading that because it was written by another player and they could find a twist related to the many RP plots I was involved in.”

    While i was playing UO, i used to have a library for runes (teleport locations for points of interest) and books. The books were actual ingame books where players could write on. I had extencive collection of books ranging from powerleveling tips to RP diaries, all written by other players.

    The place was hugely popular, not only by the role players but the hc players aswell. Many times i logged in the game only to notice that there were strangers standing next to the bookshelfs, reading through the books. Ingame email is common nowadays but its not nearly the same as items that look like books, where you can write and pass to other players. (or drop to the ground and see if anyone picks it up).

    Havent even seen posters or bulletinboards since UO. Sure there might be a pole and when you hower your mouse over it you get a popup text of what its supposed to say, or you get a clickable object on the wall that prints out the preset text on it. Players cant make or edit those so they dont feel “real”.

    In SWG i had a museum of arts. things created from ingame objects, placed so that they resembled something else. It was bloody hard work too with the limited tools (i think they improved them later but i wasnt around at that point). That place generated some traffic aswell.

    Its the player generated content that really interests people. Sure, you cant leave the main plot and story structure for the gamers but the little things and details that make the surroundings seem “real”.

    That pirate place in UO (cant recall the name) was not feared because the game developers made it look like a pirates haven, it was scary because the players there would actually rob you if you werent carefull.

  225. That ‘lament’ pulls my pants down and taunts me….

  226. People have even begun to develop MMORPGs WITHIN Second Life, such as “Minerva”, using the physics engine to create a sub-economy around mining, crafting, and combat. It’s laughably primitive compared to any actual MMORPG…but then again, it’s also remarkably advanced for a totally fan-driven project. Instead of having to code, compile and alpha test for long boring months (as with normal development cycles), “Minerva” developers and players can address issues and add new content on the fly. Given time and continuing effort, “Minerva” might come to rival some of the pay-to-play games out there.

    Yes, the difference is SL transcends “game” into “environment” specifically because people don’t see SL as “the game”. They see it as the sandbox. You build “the game” within SL and what you are doing becomes the golf/pool/bridge/analogue-here.

    The thing is, for any kind of real freeform creativity on the part of the use base you need that flexibility. SL is basically a big MOO and that is cool, however, imposing a “theme” (read: Warcraft, Star Wars, DC Comics) on SL would be pretty much impossible because of said flexibility.

  227. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? || 03/01/2006 || What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? – What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?From cw Add a Comment! [...]

  228. [...] Click!_________________”Ok, let it be recorded in history that he [Verginis] is the best warlock, the most powerful summoner of evil gribbly things, the most hax of all the leet” – Vermillion _ “Shiney, Lets be Bad Guys” [...]

  229. [...] Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army.
    _________________
    Zim: Invader’s blood marches through my veins like giant radioactive rubber pants! The pants command me! Do not ignore my veins! [...]

  230. Yeah, Raph has hit it pretty much on the head, although I have an overwhelming urge to wag my finger at him and say “It’s your own damn fault, you know!” I think that Massive Games may be inherently flawed. The problem is basically an existential one: The appeal of a Massive game is an appeal to freedom – being able to move and act freely in a large virtual “playroom”, and to “be” someone else. However, in order for the game to exist economically, the game designer must strive to make all player experience roughly equal, and as we all know: “Where men are equal they are not free”. So really, what a massive game is selling you is the illusion of freedom, when it is really locking you into a very rigidly defined system.

    Which is really what modern life is all about, when you think about it.

  231. [...] Raph Koster on the lessons of Modern MMORPGs Can be found here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24…mmorpgs-today/ Quote: [...]

  232. [...] Now Raph Koster has gone on and mused on what the lessons of MMOGs today really are, which is somewhat of a follow-up to his reply of Sirlin’s initial article. [...]

  233. [...] A great list of the realities of online gaming, and why I don’t like them in their current form.
    _________________
    Mike
    Mere puppets they, who come and go At bidding of vast formless things That shift the scenery to and fro, Flapping from out their Condor wings Invisible Woe! [...]

  234. [...] Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army.
    _________________
    Scurvey: Level 60 Undead Priest Schaten: Level 21 Undead Warlock Blancor: Level 12 Tauren Druid [...]

  235. I have an overwhelming urge to wag my finger at him and say “It’s your own damn fault, you know!”

    I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been working against much of that list… :)

  236. [...] http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-…-mmorpgs-today/ ——————– Q: Why do I have to pay a monthly fee when I can play on my PS2 for freeA: You can play with yourself for free too, but then you couldn’t come to GameFAQs/GameSpot to post about it with screenshots. Well, you could, but you really shouldn’t. [...]

  237. What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?

  238. [...] With many applicable to our world. What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?_________________The harder I work, the luckier I get. http://www.xenograg.com [...]

  239. This game seeks to change all that:
    http://www.seedthegame.com

  240. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  241. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. [...]

  242. [...] Lessons learned from MMORPGs Interesting article about MMORPGs in the abstract. [...]

  243. [...] Oh! These are REAL lessons of MMORPGs today. [...]

  244. [...] Pancakes and Book Reports I came, I saw, I cleared off my NordicTrac and vowed to spend the next several months working off the breakfast item pictured to the left. The Original Pancake House was splendid as always, and I got the impression that they saw a boost in sales after the FFN strip featuring their wares ran, which gives one a warm feeling. So does an overdose of sugar and butter, but that’s neither here nor there. :) I was able to demolish the German Pancake, reducing it to about a one-inch square, which fought a valiant battle, but escaped, vowing to fight another day. As Charlie Brown often said, there’s always next year…I have had the pleasure of reading two books recently, and thought I’d pass on some thoughts. The first is Stephen King’s, “Cell.” If you’re a King fan, you’ve either already read it, or you’re going to soon. You shouldn’t be disappointed. It’s a brain candy book, not too deep but compelling enough to keep you turning the pages. In the story, a signal goes out over the cell phone network, turning everyone listening to it into mindless homicidal maniacs. Our heroes have to try to escape the “phone crazies,” find their loved ones, and figure out what the infected people mean to do. It’s King’s homage to the zombie flicks of days gone by. My only real complaint (other than a wish that he’d gone a few chapters more) was his take on how computer systems and worms (viruses) work. Someone posits that a worm-infected system can be “cured” by introducing a second worm. They claim that “worms eat each other. It’s what they do,” or something similar. Somebody in King’s research staff needs to surf Russian websites of dubious nature using a Windows box with no firewall or virus protection running IE 6.0 with no updates. Adding more malware won’t solve anything, I’m afraid. :)The other is a book I recieved for Christmas: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. This text is a fantastic novel about the resurgance of “English Magic” in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. A magician named Mr. Norrell confounds other English “magicians” by actually performing “practical magic.” Until Norrell came along, the term “magician” applied to men who studied the history of magic, instead of performing it. Later, Norrell takes a protege, one Mr. Strange, and they embark on two distinct paths to “restore English magic.” This is an oversimplification, of course. The book is VERY British, concerning itself with the behavior of gentlemen, the courtly manner of politicians and people of the age, and the place of servants in society. Those who are not fans of long Chaucer-esque antics of socialites might have a problem with large portions of the book. However, if Victorian sensibilities (and the violation therof) are your cup of tea, and you like a little abracadabra, this book is for you. Especially fun are the footnotes about various events in magic history that read like micro-fairy tales. And it’s endorsed by Neil Gaiman, so you can’t beat that.Inklings of Linklings:- I’ve never heard of Pepsiman before, but PepsiCo owes me a finders fee since I came up with the idea of a Pepsi hero in the first place. ;)- Some may remember the old “Fanta Shakota” website where you could add subtitles to movie clips from India. Well, someone seems to have revived the idea and added a voting system so the funniest get the most attention.- Chris Bliss is an amazing juggler. Click on the “must-see finale.” You won’t be disappointed.- Pick an important date. Now go here and see what song was #1!- Total Reclaimer is an updated Asteroids-style game. It does stink when you run out of fuel, though…- And speaking of games, what are the lessons that MMORPGs teach us today? 23 [...]

  245. [...] | geeky]What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Pepsiman: A Real American Hero linkpost comment [...]

  246. [...] Spamming the thread again. Ralph Koster has a follow up to his response. Its pretty funny. [...]

  247. [...] at once.”-Raph Koster, on The Lessons that MMORPGs TodayView the whole list here.Very amusing.(Post a new comment) Log in now.(Create account, or useOpenID) [...]

  248. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. Source : http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-t oday/_________________ [...]

  249. [...] Without question, the most impressive day was the 28th, the very last day of the month. That would be because the inexplicably popular Lessons of MMORPGs was apparently reprinted on every forum on the Internet. This quadrupled typical traffic that day, as 10,667 rubberneckers stopped by to see the resultant trainwreck of trackbacks ruin the comments thread. [...]

  250. I really did’t think that MMORPGs were supposed to teach anything. I’m probably still the only person in the world that thinks that video games are just meant to be played.

  251. [...] Todays Popular Links Encyclopodia – the encyclopedia on your iPodSiteAdvisorStreet-side views w/ Live Localmezzoblue  §  Speaking? Tips.Save a Snowflake for Decades – Popular ScienceWindstorm SoftwareHow to Import Archived Outlook Email Into GMail Using GML – WikiHowHOWTO: Stop the Direct Marketers – ConsumeristFunny UNIX Shell Commands» Ajax homepages market review | Web 2.0 Explorer | ZDNet.comWhy Windows Vista Won't SuckDevelop your own filesystem with FUSELinuxコマンド百科辞典Mail2RSS: free disposable email, read your email in your favorite RSS feedreader!Cingo – Where Families Click.Shock Absorber1つのSQL文で複数の表にINSERTする絶品テクニック(1/2) - @ITUse old telephones as an intercom10 Tips for Becoming a Great Corporate Blogger – SCOUT Corporate BloggingiPod HiFiRe-ImagineeringDijjer – An Open Source P2P Web Cache for large filesOpen Source Web Design – Browse DesignsPODZINGERWorking Smart: What’s the Secret to Your Success?Elias Fotinis DeskPins :: Make Any Window Topmostal.com: Unseen. Unforgotten.Mine 2 Trailer – Google Videoarchi Web LecturesChris Holland: The Blog.: Dijjer: Future of Online Media Distribution?The Theory of Classification – A Course on OO Type Systems | Lambda the UltimateRaph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Video Bomb – Shout run (video)USATODAY.com – Flickr of idea on a gaming project led to photo websiteE.W.Dijkstra Archive: Home pagePlagger とプラグインシステム: blog.bulknews.netProceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society » Blog Archive » Kircher’s Cat PianoTechnology As If People Mattered : WeblogThe Impact of Emerging Technologies: How to Digitize a Million Books – Technology ReviewWhat (will be) new in Rails 1.1Quantum Physics Double Slit Experiment – What The Bleep Movie – Google VideoSteve Jobs' definitive wardrobeSecurity Now! Now featuring episode #28MyLifeBits Project – Microsoft BARC Media Presence GroupYouTube – microsoft ipod packaging parodyZoomCloudsView From the SidewalkIT Manager's Journal | What IT managers can learn from software developersWWJD 3 – Results!Mininova labsShibuya.js破解Myspace成功之谜 – 麦田的读书生活A Meditation On the Speed Limit – Google VideoGoogle Maps vs the Rest – ShortFlip.com: THE Online Magazine for MenJohn the Ripper 1.7, by Solar DesignerWhat if Microsoft designed the iPod's packaging?Q.I. Software :: CalendarCreator.serviceTrouble in ToontownSourceForge.net: E09. Subversion (Version Control for Source Code) (en)『RailsによるアジャイルWebアプリケーション開発』サポートサイトmicrosoft ipod packaging parodyLSD: The Geek's Wonder Drug?Integrated Web Design: The Meaning of Semantics (Take I) > Semantics Is MeaningThe Lazy Way to Success: A German military leader who rewarded lazinessUpgrading WordPress « WordPress CodexRead/WriteWeb: The Value of Feeds (is shifting…)Foreign Policy: The Dark Side of China’s RiseASPN : Python Cookbook : Tail Call Optimization Decorator Last Update: 02/28/2006 11:43:34 PM EST Yesterday   Permalink for today [...]

  252. [...] SpeakLinkRemember 2nd-Mar-2006 07:09 pm – LinkypopfiendWhat are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Pepsiman: A Real American HeroMood:geeky [...]

  253. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/2…-mmorpgs-today/ [...]

  254. [...] Raph Koster’s rant: What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? _________________"Look, prophecies aren’t in my job description, okay? I’m just a humble PI trying to save the world as we know it." – Tex Murphy "The lunch of the damned! Those who worship at the altar of beef, veal and poultry shall wreap the vengeance of atherosclerosis!" – Gary Lee [...]

  255. [...]  Clicky Got that as an email from some friends. At first, I wondered why that reminded me so vividly on the development of SWG. Then I noticed the address. Jev [...]

  256. [...] Current Mood: lazyCurrent Music: Yoko Ishida – Negai(3 comments | Leave a comment) 01:01 pmfinalfantasy11[xvolph][Link] Lessons MMO’s teach usSomewhat different than what someone else here posted a few days ago. This one is also funny because it’s true, even if the writer didn’t intend for it to be funny. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ [...]

  257. [...] Somewhat different than what someone else here posted a few days ago. This one is also funny because it’s true, even if the writer didn’t intend for it to be funny. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ (4 comments | Leave a comment) short update… Mar. 2nd, 2006 @ 12:40 pm [...]

  258. [...] Raph Koster, a game designer who was a large part of the success of Ultima Online, and who currently works for Sony Online Entertainment, has recently posted a piece in his blog titled "What are the Lessons of MMORPGs today?". This is at times extremely funny and also kind of sad, and makes you think about why you game. In that same vein, he also has a presentation that he gave to an Austin Game Conference in 2003 about gaming, fun, and the human brain. It is an excellent and quick read and can be found here: "A Theory of Fun" Presentation [...]

  259. [...] Lessons MMO’s teach us Somewhat different than what someone else here posted a few days ago. This one is also funny because it’s true, even if the writer didn’t intend for it to be funny. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ 4 [...]

  260. [...] MMORPG Lessons [...]

  261. [...] Anyone interested in forming a WSG team for level 29? As some of you already know, Storm and I are expecting a baby in approx 8 weeks. After that our WOW play time will be curtailed even more than it is now. So for this reason I’m setting up my Hunter, Zynja, as a 29th level pvp twink for WSG. If some of you guys want to start or modify an alt for this purpose I’m thinking it would be lots of fun. We could get on TS. It’s be just like the old Tribes days (cept without jump packs LOL). We could organise one night a week for it._________________”Death doesn’t really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.” – Raph Koster [...]

  262. [...] Longtime TN reader and Second Life resident Kolby Granville points us to recent musings of Raph Koster on the subject of MMORPG design. Fine material from a top thinker. [...]

  263. [...] finalfantasy11[xvolph] Somewhat different than what someone else here posted a few days ago. This one is also funny because it’s true, even if the writer didn’t intend for it to be funny. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ [...]

  264. [...] Ralph rants and raves while BoingBoing asks, what would an MMORPG about healing be like? (Hattip: TN) [...]

  265. [...] finalfantasy11[xvolph]Somewhat different than what someone else here posted a few days ago. This one is also funny because it’s true, even if the writer didn’t intend for it to be funny. http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ link4 comments|post comment [...]

  266. [...] Great to hear from another MT! Ahh…such fond memories of Baishi and screaming "TAXI!" at Blink Mule, My hubby used to tease me that I could never find my way anywhere if Blink wasn’t on. I was part of the Desire monarchy before she folded into another alliance. Was quite a few years ago – I came back for a little bit and then left again. We were known as the HOJ crew, some of our friends were more vocal than others – (Amish Bob o Hoj, Bob Hoj, etc.) Some of the other names from the old days I remember:Hokan (bow god)Morgus (perma red)Xai’do <—would love to hear from him againAlan of HoltburgOodle __________________ Warning: You have entered a Tact Free Zone "There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them." ~Raph Koster – What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  267. [...] Lessons learned from MMORPGs. You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die. [...]

  268. [...] Life lessons as linked by Aaron Williams._________________If you think this is bad, wait until you reach page 37… [...]

  269. [...] Raph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  270. Wow! Even though it appears that I’m missing quite a few things from the game world, it still seems like a pretty good deal for 14.95 a month.

    But then again, who really cares about having children in the game anyway?? Like that’s important! What I really want to know Raph, is why you still haven’t brought back pre-casting yet!!!11!!

    Nice lament =)

    Chris

  271. [...] Read for yourself._________________Hey, look, I just regenerated a finger. Guess which one. — Lord Xykon I’m a pineapple chunk! — Elan [...]

  272. [...] Lessons of MMORPGs today… thought the kids in the FFXI forum would appreciate this link the most http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24…mmorpgs-today/ i like this one Quote: [...]

  273. [...] Problem is, i can’t see myself joining a new mmo without being out there on release date. Of coure, 2 of the ones I am watching are Tabula Rasa (by lord british) and Huxley http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/_________________It came from wikipedia: Hammerspace should not be confused with Hammertime. [...]

  274. [...] MMO’s are increasingly analogous worlds, their increasing popularity leaking microcosmic culture like digital ant colonies. On one level, it’s possible to justify the nature of day-to-day actions taken by players in MMOs, parallels to the real world can be seen in the slaying of monsters, the comaderie of teamplay and so on. On another, some stark flaws line the institution of large scale online games. This week, those flaws have been pin pointed with wit and eloquence by Raph Koster, here. [...]

  275. [...] by Raph Koster <—clicky_________________Callyndra The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be either good or evil. ~Hannah Arendt [...]

  276. Raph,

    An excellent summary of many of the things that bother me about MMO’s. I avoided them myself for quite a while because what I saw in them was a lack of freedom, and a reward system built on leveling up.

    I lept into the fray with SWG and had a lot of fun there. Flexible classes. Rich emotes for roleplaying. The richness of clothing options even had style trends occur as people discovered new looks. As you put it above, it was expressive and the economy was more player driven than loot driven. I liked that a lot, but played it out. I’m playing EQ2 now and the only plus I can give it is that it appeals to my sense of exploration and wonder. The game world is huge!

    As I read what others have to say, I too lament. The people I know (who probably qualify as mainstream) say they like videogames that are direct, don’t require any of that thinking stuff, predictable, and rely on reflexes or brute force. Points, coin, and levels are what count.

    I’m more of a subscriber to your book on Fun. Why play something where I am not learning new strategy or interaction, or where I’m not exploring or storytelling? But I feel like I’m in a small a minority.

    Keep up the good work. Any day you make something a little better is a good day.

    Best of luck,

    Stephen.

  277. [...] What MMORPGs teach us. “Lone heroes cant slay dragons. It takes an army. People are only good at one thing. Thats why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.”_________________I put the laughter in Slaughter~ [...]

  278. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can�t slay dragons. It takes an army. from http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/_________________ [...]

  279. [...] fick denna frn en polare… krver lskunnighet i huset du surfar i. be om hjlp om det inte r du. det r till och med p utrikiska.http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of- mmorpgs-today/i laughed my balls off.skratta lugnt/theo If it’s stupid but it works then it’s not stupid. Logga in fr att svara. [...]

  280. [...] (Raph Koster) Sony Online Entertainment EverQuest Star Wars Galaxies.   , , , . - , - . . [...]

  281. [...] MMOG MMOG: EverQuest , (MMOG). . (Raph Koster) Sony Online Entertainment EverQuest Star Wars Galaxies. , , , . - , - . . . , , - , . - . , . . , , , . , , . , , , . , . . . , , . - , , . . , , . . , - . . . . . . , . . . . , . . , , . , , . . , . . . , . . . . . , . . . . . . __________________ StarCraft, . , , … Raven`u "FIght Club". MoD, 14.03.2006 23:05. [...]

  282. [...] Multiplayer Online Games Bookmarks Multiplayer Online Games Bookmarks History Timeline for Development of Online Games Online Games Open Directory Project Free Multiplayer Online Games Free Online Multiplayer Games Google Directory – Games Video Games Multiplayer Miniclip.com – Free Online Games, Multiplayer Games and more… RuneScape Free Online Games.com Multiplayer Gaming – Yahoo! Video Games Multiplayer Online Games Directory – Main – Find Multiplayer Games Here Multiplayer Online Games Directory – Multiplayer Game Reviews – Find Multiplayer Games Here Technology DimensioneX Online Multiplayer Game Engine Community A Rape in Cyberspace Online Multiplayer Games Network (OMGN) Home Game Theory Game Theory .net – Resources for Learning and Teaching Strategy for Business and Life Game Theory Class Submissions Funding for Learning How to Make Multiuser Games (Damian) PerplexCity (Damian) Is WoW the New Golf? (Brit) What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? (Damian) Will Wright’s introduction of Spore (Damian) Update 02/08/06 [...]

  283. [...] “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?” by Raph Koster, MMORPG. : “ ( MMORPG)— . , , - , …” :) “ , , .” : http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ : http://www.webplanet.ru/news/games/2006/3/14/mmog.html | [...]

  284. I’m afraid Raph’s always going to find something to be sad about in online games, for three reasons:

    – Griefing is fun for some, and too difficult to prevent subtly.
    – Most mainstream players (people, really) don’t have much imagination, or don’t want to expend it on their entertainment. This is why radio dramas gave way to TV, and text MUDs gave way to graphical MMOs.
    – Facing a negative result with something you have control over is far worse than facing a negative result with something you have no control over. Specifically, tragedy in a game is less palatable than tragedy in a fixed narrative.

    The rest of the problems may well be fixable. :)

  285. [...] Entry Tags h5n1, vaccine, worldchanging 02:24 am – MMORPG food for thought…What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Interesting article, full of wonderful snippets:Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their ownare generally evil and should be slain.Killing is the only real way to gain people’s admiration.Well, you can make stuff too, but you won’t earn the same kind of admiration.In fact, there are only two kinds of admiration in the world,and they can be quantified.There are no governments. Thus there are no laws.Instead, there are laws of physics.There are gods, and they are capricious,and have way way more than ten commandments.Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.but what really intrigued me was this posted comment: >>Death doesn’t really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.That’s the problem with ressurection.And it’s the reason why I never really understoodwhy we should worship a certain carpenter.When you get a full exp res, your “sacrifice” means nothing.Hell, I’d be willing to sacrifice myself for the sake of mankindif I knew that I would be back three days later.now I could go on about how the ‘Net causes usto overly abstract things and presents us , at times,with a nearly godlike ability to custom config damn near anythingto the dictates of our increasingly fickle-to the-point-of-being-neuroticboson-sized attention spans, but…i’m thinking he has a point… if that’s all there is to it…but then again, this might be a case of an incongruitybetween words and actual action – happens a lot in the human species…3 days to resurrect -17,280x longer than a 15-second MMORPG resurrection….and the death would be real,involving excruciating amounts of pain(both median nerves severed by steel spikes)and, in the end, dying of asphyxiation…even if I knew I’d regenerate in 72 hrs,there’s no way I’d go through all that crap…not for an intellectual exercise,or for a rose-tinted romantic ideal (a la Les Miz)if I deeply loved the person,I might think about doing it -no guarantees, though……http://jmcgready.com/2006/03/01/mmorpg-food-for-thought/Mood:awake [...]

  286. [...] The reality of MMOs This site has a great list of what is wrong with MMOs like you have never seen before. It is pretty funny but really sad: Check it out A few examples from the page:Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army. [...]

  287. [...] “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?” by Raph Koster, MMORPG. : “ ( MMORPG)— . , , - , …” :) “ , , .” : http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ : http://www.webplanet.ru/news/games/2006/3/14/mmog.html | |  [1] [...]

  288. [...] Matt Stevens (kent_allard_jr) wrote,@ 2006-03-20 20:21:00      Lament of the MMORPG Player Folliwng viridian’s anguished scream, I thought I’d link to Raph Koster’s list of “lessons” from contemporary MMORPGs.(Post a new comment) viridian 2006-03-21 11:34 am UTC (link) Things on that list that CONTRIBUTED TO MY PAIN:- If you don’t keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you don’t keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either.- You should probably have entrance and résumé requirements to join your circle of friends.That post on the mailing list about having to be OMG TOTALLY IN CHARACTER on the RP servers also made my brain explode messily.(Reply to this) Log in now.(Create account, or use OpenID) [...]

  289. [...] between a rant and a lament. Koster himself was one of the designers of Ultima Online etc.(Post a new comment) Log in now.(Create account, or useOpenID) [...]

  290. [...] Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Link (via Wonderland) [...]

  291. [...] Random ThingsI finally added Chuck to the sidebar. Chuck was contracting with us for a number of months. He was great to work with and is an all around good guy. I hope to work with him again sometime.I also added Ken to the sidebar. I’ve never worked with Ken, but I hope we get to at some point. I’ve been impressed with his Out of the Box and Suppressed Transmissions columns for years.Seth passed my a list that shows how much people in different professions make. The one that really stood out was:Andy Warhol$16,226,741Deceased artistThe next random bit . . . lessons learned from massively multi-player online rolplaying games (MMORPGs for the uninitiated).Lastly, Seth and I were both enamored of this article on non-transitive dice. Then, I did a bit of looking around and found Grand Illusions and two sets of dice that use the principles outlined in the aforementioned link — as well as the very cool Sicherman dice. I really need to get my hands on all of those dice!Like I said, lots of random stuff. I’ll get a realy update done next. [...]

  292. News Flash: MMORPGs =! Real Life

    From Raph Koster’s site; some commentary is, of course, completely needed on some of his points. It’s basically a list not unlike “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten,” just flavored with some MMO love.
    Now, let…

  293. [...] True, and sad kinda. [...]

  294. [...] Other WoW links: Here’s a UI mod for those who need more cute in their lives. For some reason, that didn’t capture as much attention around the gallows-humor-starved offices of the makers of Shadowbane nearly as much as the recent funeral raid. Really, this should go on Raph’s List somewhere. • • • [...]

  295. [...] Raph Koster is a biggie in the MMO design world. Here are a few “lessons” you can learn from MMOs._________________(From Triumph: Cross Shot) [...]

  296. [...] Raph Koster’s Lessons of MMORPG’s today: Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army. [...]

  297. [...] by Raph Koster <—clicky_________________Callyndra A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. ~Bertrand Russell [...]

  298. [...] As Raph Koster, the Chief Creative Officer at Sony Online Entertainment is often wont to do, he has posted an amusing and often spot on lament titled, "What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?" [...]

  299. [...] Saturday, March 04, 2006 9:42 PM (0 comments) Over on Boing Boing I saw that this year’s SXSW sampler torrents are up–more than a thousand tracks from the bands playing down at SXSW. I grabbed the torrent last year, and found some really great stuff browsing through it in the following months. Jumping on tonight. 3:13 AM (1 comments) Shining a bright light into the dark corners of comic history, it’s a collection of links to the first 39 episodes of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed over at Comics Should Be Good (via Hembeck.) Friday, March 03, 2006 12:52 AM (0 comments) Interesting: Marvel Comics has launched a new source for information on their characters–Marvel Universe an official psuedo-wiki where information is entered by fans and approved by editors. I will be watching its progress with a slightly morbid fascination.In related wonderment: Paul Kupperberg is leaving DC to become Senior Editor at the Weekly World News? Thursday, March 02, 2006 1:14 PM (2 comments) So I just watched a video of Will Wright’s talk from GDC demonstrating Spore gameplay. I think this must be what people feel like when they find religion. Needless to say, I can’t wait to play. (via Trabbold–go check out his shiny new website!)UPDATE: Trying out the new option by Google Video that allows you to embed the video in your own page: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:01 PM (1 comments) Veteran game designer Mike passes along a link to the push by a group to get the Olympic Committee to recognize an Olympic team from Washington D.C.. 11:19 AM (1 comments) Encyclopodia, the Wikipedia on your iPod. I’ll be trying this out tonight. 11:14 AM (0 comments) All over the web today is Raph Koster’s What Are the Lessons of MMORPGS Today?There is always a demand for couriers and assassins.Moving frequently is normal, and never going back to your old stomping grounds again is the way of things.There are no such things as social progress or technological advancement.In fact, evil will always be lurking at the edge of the village.On the other hand, it will never invade.There are no governments. Thus there are no laws. Instead, there are laws of physics.There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them. 9:36 AM (0 comments) Brook points out that Disney is looking to hire an intelligence analyst. I wonder if you’d still have to wear the Ears. Sunday, February 26, 2006 11:51 PM (0 comments) A new paper suggests that quantum information might be able to escape a black hole…if you believe it can travel faster than c. (See also Wikipedia’s Unsolved problems in physics page.) 4:52 PM (0 comments) A fascinating article summing up the recent Tonbridge heist in England, who might be behind it, and what they would have to do to get away with the crime. (via Metafilter, where the comment thread also pointed to the Wikipedia article on the similar Northern Bank Robbery last year–and the movie Firewall, currently in theaters.) 12:22 AM (0 comments) If you have some spare computer cycles, maybe you’ll want to throw them into the effort to decode Enigma-encoded messages that have gone uncracked since 1942. The project began on January 9th, and one message has already been broken. (via Slashdot.) HOME var site=”s10oberdicta” [...]

  300. [...] Lessons from an MMORPG~ http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24…mmorpgs-today/ Kinda makes you stop and think about a few things. __________________ Cascet 60 Warlock of Cataclysm [...]

  301. [...] The giant traffic spikes you see on the graph are all attributable to Slashdotting and BoingBoinging. (I put in a two week moving average in the graph for real tracking purposes). The largish bump is from the posting of the Lessons. [...]

  302. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Raph Koster (author of Theory of Fun) has put together a list called What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Here are some of them — go read the rest…Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.People are only good at one thing.That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.You can be the best in the world at your job.But so can everyone else.And you will all do it exactly the same way. You can’t be in two places at once. But places can be in two places at once.There is no such thing as obesity.All women are beautiful and all men are either handsome or darkly mysterious.Somehow, this means that nobody is beautiful and there is no mystery.Nobody’s really from here, they just live here.The tide never washes in and out.The birds never migrate.Strawberries are never in season.Nothing sleeps.Nothing dreams.There is art and beauty in the world, but you can’t be responsible for any of it.There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up.Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning.Excellent comments section too. Please, go give it a read. [...]

  303. [...] Ok, I admit I’m at work and just bored as hell! . Here is a couple recent posts I have made that I thought would bring some sunshine to the forums rats. Please be warned you may have seen some. You know your a 90’s baby when……. http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.aspx?fn=wow-realm-burningblade&t=221675&p=1&tmp=1#post221675 the new blood elf dance http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8014808211220282746&q=E3+world+of+warcraft+burning+crusade this is how it should be here is a little link that is kind of kind funny. http://fellowcraft.ytmnd.com/ Had me in tears http://www.wimp.com/competition/ How Powershot got his name http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6640225987281635407&q=punch&pl=true http://fellowcraft.ytmnd.com/ http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ Jahrans’ wet dream http://www.youtube.com/watch.php?v=Gi2CfuqcUGE_________________It's hard out here for a pimp, when you tryin to make money for the rent. http://wow.allakhazam.com/profile.html?1441121 Diobolica- 60 Hunter Nakazato- 60 Rogue Bluesavior- 60 Druid [...]

  304. [...] Raph Koster, perpetrator of UO and SWG, has posted What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  305. [...] The better you target your news, the greater the number of interested people who will see it. Learn More (it’s free!) Logged in as demo. Login Feedback Discussion – Register (no email required) – del.icio.us demo accounts – CleverCS – Web 2.0 Everyone’sSubmitted Links (2369) My TargetedLinks (17) My TargetingLinks (59) My LikedLinks (99) My DislikedLinks (9) My SubmittedLinks (27) Link Surfing Mode Raph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? – http://www.raphkoster.com/... gaming, games, mmorpg, via:boingboing, sociology, society, rpg, online, internet, humor more like this / fewer like this – family – targeting – reply 0 points, submitted 58 days ago Hilarious and/or sad. A taste: In fact, evil will always be lurking at the edge of the village.On the other hand, it will never invade.There are no governments. Thus there are no laws. Instead, there are laws of physics. –rzklkng [...]

  306. [...] Raph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? (tags: games humor MMORPG) [...]

  307. [...] Makes you think wtf your doing playing ffxiREAD THIS True but some parts are irrelaventEDITED* and works now This post has been edited by Dougie on Jul 3 2006, 08:32 PM ——————– w.t.f m8 [...]

  308. [...] In a recent Blog entry, Ralph asks What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? You can find the original article plus comments here: clicky Lone heroes cant slay dragons. It takes an army. People are only good at one thing. Thats why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything. You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die. You can be the best in the world at your job. But so can everyone else. And you will all do it exactly the same way. Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their own are generally evil and should be slain. Many, if not all, wild creatures are highly aggressive and will attack on sight. Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate. Killing is the only real way to gain peoples admiration. Well, you can make stuff too, but you wont earn the same kind of admiration. In fact, there are only two kinds of admiration in the world, and they can be quantified. Having a hobby will probably reduce your admiration. All that hoorah about endangered species is like, a total exaggeration. Theres plenty of everything. You not only cant go home again, you probably dont have one. If you do, its mostly to store stuff, not to live in. You never have people over. Telepathy is normal. Staring at someone who is talking the politest thing you can do. Because the only other option is to not look at them at all. Running past or away from people while you are talking to them is also polite. If you dont keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you dont keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either. There are no children. Death doesnt really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful. There is always a demand for couriers and assassins. Moving frequently is normal, and never going back to your old stomping grounds again is the way of things. There are no such things as social progress or technological advancement. In fact, evil will always be lurking at the edge of the village. On the other hand, it will never invade. There are no governments. Thus there are no laws. Instead, there are laws of physics. There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them. Sports are stupid, because everyones body is the same. Charity is not a virtue; in fact, its frequently physically impossible. You should not associate with those of lower social standing than yourself. You cant be in two places at once. But places can be in two places at once. Parallel universes are obvious. Walking is stupid. Actually, in general, taking your time is counterproductive. The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day before anyone else gets to slay it. You should probably have entrance and rsum requirements to join your circle of friends. Hunting is the noblest profession. I take that back; hunting is only noble until youre good enough to switch to murder. Robbing the dead of indigenous cultures is how you make money. There is no such thing as obesity. All women are beautiful and all men are either handsome or darkly mysterious. Somehow, this means that nobody is beautiful and there is no mystery. There is no need for bras. People have sex a lot. People never touch. Nobody reads. Theyve never heard a brand new song. In fact, inventing is either forbidden or impossible. Sometimes both. Most people dont have families. If they do, they probably dont have mothers and fathers, only brothers and sisters. Nobodys really from here, they just live here. The tide never washes in and out. The birds never migrate. Strawberries are never in season. Nights really short. Nothing sleeps. Nothing dreams. There is art and beauty in the world, but you cant be responsible for any of it. There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up. Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning. * * * I realize this list may seem like a cutesy joke. But it isnt. Go back, and re-read it. Its actually a lament. *_________________ [...]

  309. [...] Alun Clewe (alun_clewe) wrote,@ 2006-03-25 18:59:00      Wow Everyone I know plays World of Warcraft.This is, of course, a gross exaggeration. However, it’s not quite as much an exaggeration as one might think.That many of my friends I know through role-playing games play World of Warcraft may not be too surprising. The odd thing is that my family plays World of Warcraft. None of them are at all into role-playing games otherwise–in fact, they all think tabletop role-playing games are kind of weird–but they all play World of Warcraft. My brother, my sister, even my parents. Although my mother plays it only very occasionally, and not because she enjoys the game but because it gives her an opportunity to virtually interact with my nephew, who also plays it. In fact, my mother kind of resents the game for the amount of time my father and sister play it. (Which, actually, is understandable; they do spend ridiculous amounts of time on the stupid game.)Needless to say, with so many people I know playing the game, there’ve been attempts made to get me to start playing. Not terribly serious or concerted attempts, usually more like half-hearted suggestions, but attempts nonetheless. Somewhat strangely, though, the person who’s tried the hardest to get me to play is my father, who’s constantly asking if I wouldn’t like to maybe have a character on his account, just for a while, just to try it out?It’s not going to happen.For one thing, I don’t have the time. From all accounts, the absurd amounts of time my father and sister spend playing the game aren’t atypical. People who play World of Warcraft generally spend a lot of time playing World of Warcraft. I don’t have nearly enough time to get done everything I want to get done as it is.But another part of the reason I’m resisting playing the game is that…honestly, it just doesn’t much appeal to me. If I did have a lot of free time, I can think of many things I’d rather do with it. Yes, I like role-playing games, but…World of Warcraft doesn’t have the aspects of role-playing games I really like. (And the same is true of other MMORPGs I’m familiar with; I’m just discussing World of Warcraft because, well, that’s the one everyone I know is playing.) Just running around killing monsters doesn’t do it for me.I tried explaining this once to my father, and he seemed baffled. But it’s not just running around killing monsters, he said. There’s a lot more to it than that. But from what I’ve seen, no, there isn’t, really. Oh, sure. You get quests. Which more often than not seem to require you to kill a certain number of a certain type of monster. (Those that don’t seem to just require you to take something from one place to another–also not exactly the pinnacle of excitement.) You can craft things. But the only reason most people seem interested in crafting things is to either (a) make things that will better allow them to kill monsters, or (b) make things they can sell to get money they can use to buy things that will better allow them to kill monsters. At the basis, it’s all about killing monsters. Everything else is just fancy window-dressing.In contrast, the part I like most about role-playing games is…well, the role-playing part. Playing the part of some character. Interacting with NPCs, in ways that involve treating them as actual characters and not just one-note sources of information or quest-givers. Exploring a world, and finding out what lies in unknown areas. And, okay, sure, the “exploring a world” part is there in World of Warcraft, I admit, and it’s not completely without appeal to me. But…the other parts aren’t.My father wondered aloud once what the difference was between a “role-playing server” and a regular server on World of Warcraft. I tried to explain that on a role-playing server the players, well, played their characters; they tried to act as their character would act. “But that’s what I do anyway,” he said…although it clearly wasn’t. I was at a loss at first to try to explain what I meant, until I finally thought of something that might get the point across.”Okay,” I said, “what’s your character like? What’s his personality?””Well…he doesn’t really have one.””Exactly.”And that’s why World of Warcraft doesn’t appeal to me. I want to play a character with a personality. I want to play a character who I can think of as a person, not some generic effigy that runs around and does generic quests for no better reason than so he can become more powerful and be able to do the more difficult generic quests. I want to feel like I’m part of a story that my character’s actions are helping to build, not just running through the same meaningless scripted events as everyone else.(So why not just play on a role-playing server? Well, if I ever did play World of Warcraft, that’s certainly what I’d want to do. But even on a role-playing server, there are too many important aspects of role-playing that are missing…even if everyone else is trying to play their characters, there are still pretty severe limits to what can be done.)Granted, single-player computer RPGs have many of these same problems, but they’re not quite as severe. The fact that there’s only one person playing means the story can be more complex, since the creators don’t have to worry about other players messing it up. And, conversely, your actions can have more permanent effects because the creators don’t have to worry about your messing things up for other players. If you kill the evil dragon and liberate the town, the dragon can stay dead and the town stay liberated; the dragon doesn’t have to pop back up in an hour and everything return to the way it was so the next player to come along can get a chance to kill the evil dragon and liberate the town too. (Plus, it’s kind of silly to meet someone else who’s also done the same unique task, isn’t it?) Single-player computer role-playing games still pale in comparison to actual tabletop role-playing games–a computer can’t come close to duplicating the imagination and ability to react to new situations and account for unanticipated actions of a real live gamemaster, and AI technology is still a very long way away from making computer-controlled NPCs seem like real people–but they still beat MMORPGs, as far as the game aspect goes. (Though the fact that MMORPGs are, well, multiplayer does of course introduce a social aspect that single-player games are lacking.)Could an MMORPG be made that addresses these issues? Maybe. I think foremost it would have to get away from the idea of leveling up as being all-important, which is a constant in all the major MMORPGs out there. There needs to be more to do that’s meaningful than just killing monsters and building your character’s stats. Which means a more dynamic gameworld, among other things. Which means…well, it would be hard to do. Could it be done? Dunno, but I don’t think any major game company out there is really interested in trying. (With the revenues they get from World of Warcraft and the like, why should they?)It could be argued (in fact, it has been argued) that such a game wouldn’t have the mass appeal, that running around and killing monsters is what the masses are interested in. People who are really interested in role-playing are far in the minority. Well…eh…maybe. Then again, part of that’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that no one’s really tried to interest the masses in real role-playing, and so without exposure to it, of course they’re not interested. I often wonder if role-playing games (I mean tabletop-type role-playing games, not MMORPGs) could ever become close to mainstream if there were any significant effort to promote them in mainstream venues. Even if not, though, and even if there are only a small minority of people who’d be interested in a MMORPG that wasn’t all about killing monsters and levelling up…well, then it may be a niche market, but it’s one that’s largely untapped, so I have to think it could still be profitable.The computer game that’s probably come the closest to that sort of thing that I’m aware of is Neverwinter Nights. The thing about that was that individuals could set up their own servers, design their own maps, and be present as gamemasters and take a hands-on approach to the events and characters in their worlds. That meant that they could account for an individual’s actions in an in-depth way that MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and EverQuest never could. I never got time to play it much myself, but based on the experiences of friends that did, it really opened up the potential for characters to interact with each other like people, with personalities and goals, and to do things that made a difference in the world and create a complex story in which all the characters played a part. The biggest problem with Neverwinter Nights? Creating or customizing a world or creating special events required scripting, which was very difficult for people without programming experience. I don’t know if there’s a way around that, though. I don’t know if any interface could allow the breadth of possibilities it did without scripting, and without becoming ridiculously unwieldy. Though I suppose it might have been possible to have “wizards” cover more actions than they did, and so allow more possibilities for those who didn’t want to mess with scripts, while still leaving the option of scripting open for people who wanted to do things really in-depth.There’s a page I ran across a while back–I don’t recall exactly where I found the link to it–about “the lessons of MMORPGs today”. It’s not saying exactly what I’m trying to say here, but it’s related enough I figured I might as well toss up a link to it. (As well as a page about RPG design I just found a link to in the comments to the aforementioned page and that looks interesting, though I haven’t had time to look through it yet.)Wow. I’d intended this to just be a very brief entry about how it seemed everyone I knew played World of Warcraft, but I really ended up getting carried away and digressing and going on at much more length than I’d expected. Um…sorry about that.So, anyway, World of Warcraft. Everyone I know is playing it. I’m not. That’s…that’s really about all I’d originally set out to say.(Read comments)Post a comment in response: From:Anonymous OpenID Identity URL:  Log in?  LiveJournal user Username:Password:Log in?  Subject: [...]

  310. [...] The lessons of MMORPGs today. Also, what is an MMPORG (for Michelle). [...]

  311. [...] "What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?" asks Ralph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun. Here are some of his: "Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their own are generally evil and should be slain." "If you dont keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you dont keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either." "There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them." "Death doesnt really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful." "Robbing the dead of indigenous cultures is how you make money." "Walking is stupid." "There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up." "Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning." _________________________________________________________ And what do people here think the Dofus-specific ones are? _________________ Officer, Avatars of Lost Light "AoLL for one, and one for AoLL!" [...]

  312. [...] to Chthulhuhttp://mcsweeneys.net/2006/3/3bradburycarlin.html(Post a new comment) Log in now.(Create account, or useOpenID) [...]

  313. [...] Of course, I already expounded on these invisible lessons once already. [...]

  314. [...] Überschlub (normanrafferty) wrote,@ 2006-09-01 11:34:00      Quote for the day: “Death doesn’t sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.”– Raph Kosterthanx athelind(Post a new comment) rikoshi 2006-09-01 04:13 pm UTC (link) As someone who once got hit in the eye with a Nerf football, I will vouch for its debilitating sting-inducing properties.(Reply to this) Log in now.(Create account, or use OpenID) [...]

  315. [...] Update: See also “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?” For instance: [...]

  316. [...] If this doesn’t add to your thread Bariss, let me know and I can edit it out.  But Raph Koster posted his laments about online gaming about nine months ago and I thought it was a good read:What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Lone heroes can’t slay dragons. It takes an army.People are only good at one thing.That’s why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die.You can be the best in the world at your job.But so can everyone else.And you will all do it exactly the same way.Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their own are generally evil and should be slain.Many, if not all, wild creatures are highly aggressive and will attack on sight.Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate.Killing is the only real way to gain people’s admiration.Well, you can make stuff too, but you won’t earn the same kind of admiration.In fact, there are only two kinds of admiration in the world, and they can be quantified.Having a hobby will probably reduce your admiration.All that hoorah about endangered species is like, a total exaggeration. There’s plenty of everything.You not only can’t go home again, you probably don’t have one.If you do, it’s mostly to store stuff, not to live in.You never have people over.Telepathy is normal.Staring at someone who is talking the politest thing you can do. Because the only other option is to not look at them at all.Running past or away from people while you are talking to them is also polite.If you don’t keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you don’t keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either.There are no children.Death doesn’t really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.There is always a demand for couriers and assassins.Moving frequently is normal, and never going back to your old stomping grounds again is the way of things.There are no such things as social progress or technological advancement.In fact, evil will always be lurking at the edge of the village.On the other hand, it will never invade.There are no governments. Thus there are no laws. Instead, there are laws of physics.There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.Sports are stupid, because everyone’s body is the same.Charity is not a virtue; in fact, it’s frequently physically impossible.You should not associate with those of lower social standing than yourself.You can’t be in two places at once. But places can be in two places at once.Parallel universes are obvious.Walking is stupid.Actually, in general, taking your time is counterproductive.The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day… before anyone else gets to slay it.You should probably have entrance and résumé requirements to join your circle of friends.Hunting is the noblest profession.I take that back; hunting is only noble until you’re good enough to switch to murder.Robbing the dead of indigenous cultures is how you make money.There is no such thing as obesity.All women are beautiful and all men are either handsome or darkly mysterious.Somehow, this means that nobody is beautiful and there is no mystery.There is no need for bras.People have sex a lot.People never touch.Nobody reads.They’ve never heard a brand new song.In fact, inventing is either forbidden or impossible. Sometimes both.Most people don’t have families.If they do, they probably don’t have mothers and fathers, only brothers and sisters.Nobody’s really from here, they just live here.The tide never washes in and out.The birds never migrate.Strawberries are never in season.Night’s really short.Nothing sleeps.Nothing dreams.There is art and beauty in the world, but you can’t be responsible for any of it.There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up.Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning. Online   Index » General Discussion » Top 10 Most Annoying things about Online Gaming [ 1 ] [...]

  317. [...] Raph s Website What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Everything I need to know I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs . Here are a couple: You can be the best in the world at your job. [...]

  318. [...] .. is a funny old place. Raph has a lament, and it’s a thing of great humour, beauty … and sadness. There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.Best thing I’ve read all day. [...]

  319. [...] Raph’s Website ” What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Raph Koster’s personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books. … Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs . Here are a couple: … [...]

  320. [...] What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? [...]

  321. [...] Raph s Website What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Everything I need to know I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs . Here are a couple: You can be the best in the world at your job. [...]

  322. [...] Your page is now on StumbleUpon! For each appearance in your referral logs, one of our members has ‘stumbled upon’ your site after clicking “Stumble!” on our toolbar to discover a new great site. Enter Your URL → [...]

  323. [...] Lone heroes cant slay dragons. It takes an army.People are only good at one thing.Thats why it takes six people (all doing different jobs) to kill most anything.You never, ever, ever change jobs. If you want to, you probably need to die.You can be the best in the world at your job.But so can everyone else.And you will all do it exactly the same way.Intelligent beings who have civilizations and languages of their own are generally evil and should be slain.Many, if not all, wild creatures are highly aggressive and will attack on sight.Evil is not redeemable; good is not a choice. Your morals are innate.Killing is the only real way to gain peoples admiration.Well, you can make stuff too, but you wont earn the same kind of admiration.In fact, there are only two kinds of admiration in the world, and they can be quantified.Having a hobby will probably reduce your admiration.All that hoorah about endangered species is like, a total exaggeration. Theres plenty of everything.You not only cant go home again, you probably dont have one.If you do, its mostly to store stuff, not to live in.You never have people over.Telepathy is normal.Staring at someone who is talking the politest thing you can do. Because the only other option is to not look at them at all.Running past or away from people while you are talking to them is also polite.If you dont keep up with the Joneses, you will never see them again. In fact, if you dont keep up with your friends, you will never see them again either.There are no children.Death doesnt really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful.There is always a demand for couriers and assassins.Moving frequently is normal, and never going back to your old stomping grounds again is the way of things.There are no such things as social progress or technological advancement.In fact, evil will always be lurking at the edge of the village.On the other hand, it will never invade.There are no governments. Thus there are no laws. Instead, there are laws of physics.There are gods, and they are capricious, and have way way more than ten commandments. Nobody knows how many because everyone clicked past them.Sports are stupid, because everyones body is the same.Charity is not a virtue; in fact, its frequently physically impossible.You should not associate with those of lower social standing than yourself.You cant be in two places at once. But places can be in two places at once.Parallel universes are obvious.Walking is stupid.Actually, in general, taking your time is counterproductive.The most important thing in the world is slaying something that will be back the next day before anyone else gets to slay it.You should probably have entrance and rsum requirements to join your circle of friends.Hunting is the noblest profession.I take that back; hunting is only noble until youre good enough to switch to murder.Robbing the dead of indigenous cultures is how you make money.There is no such thing as obesity.All women are beautiful and all men are either handsome or darkly mysterious.Somehow, this means that nobody is beautiful and there is no mystery.There is no need for bras.People have sex a lot.People never touch.Nobody reads.Theyve never heard a brand new song.In fact, inventing is either forbidden or impossible. Sometimes both.Most people dont have families.If they do, they probably dont have mothers and fathers, only brothers and sisters.Nobodys really from here, they just live here.The tide never washes in and out.The birds never migrate.Strawberries are never in season.Nights really short.Nothing sleeps.Nothing dreams.There is art and beauty in the world, but you cant be responsible for any of it.There is no death; there is simply a failure to show up.Because of this, there is also rarely any mourning.http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-…-mmorpgs-today/ ——————– Hope is the first step on the road to dissapointment. [...]

  324. [...] Raph’s Website ” What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Raph Koster’s personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books. … I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs. … [...]

  325. [...] Raph’s Website ” What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Raph Koster’s personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books. … I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs. … [...]

  326. [...] Raph’s Website ” What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Raph Koster’s personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books. … I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs. … [...]

  327. [...] fizzboy1/25/07 08:48 am Look upon this, weep, and know that it is true for this is the reality of massively multi-player online games today:http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ 1 commentLeave a comment [...]

  328. [...] Look upon this, weep, and know that it is true for this is the reality of massively multi-player online games today:http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ [...]

  329. [...] Raph s Website What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?Everything I need to know I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs . Here are a couple: You can be the best in the world at your job. [...]

  330. [...] Raph’s Website ” What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Raph Koster’s personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books. … I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs. … [...]

  331. [...] Raph’s Website ” What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Raph Koster’s personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books. … I learned in WoW Raph Koster posts a list of life lessons learned from MMORPGs. … [...]

  332. [...] it’s painfully broken. In fact, if you think World of Warcraft is a good analogy for life, read Raph’s Website What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? __________________ "I read, I interpret, I think, I criticize, I oppose, I listen, I write, [...]

  333. [...] Raph’s Website > What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?… activities for people and not about creating new stories for people to read. And we’ve been headed that way for…I think it’s very interesting that so many people read them that way. Perhaps a sign of how much expectations have been conditioned. 25.12.2006 – 494 Kb – http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-… – – [...]

  334. [...] Whar are the lessons of MMORPGs today? ——————– [...]

  335. [...] you make money. For those that don’t read Boing Boing, I take a moment to point out Raph Koster’s What Are The Lessons of MMORPGS Today?. Funny except for how it’s not. Current mood: awake… mostly….Current music: I Was Wrong – [...]

  336. [...] money.   For those that don’t read Boing Boing, I take a moment to point out Raph Koster’s What Are The Lessons of MMORPGS Today?. Funny except for how it’s not.    Current Mood: awake… mostly…Current Music: I Was [...]

  337. [...] See also “What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?” For [...]

  338. [...] Raph’s Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today? Hilarious and/or sad. A taste: [...]

  339. [...] all. Because they spend a lot of time on raiding – the only activity worth speaking of. Right… Lessons of MMORPGs today Could LOTRO possibly take a different path? We’ll [...]

  340. [...] EverQuest Star Wars Galaxies.   , , , . [...]

  341. [...] go read Raph’s nattering. Kthx.Let me preface this by saying I do not know Raph. I am well acquainted with his work, of [...]

  342. [...] alter their design and code so you can’t do these things is beyond me”. [EDIT] Also seeThere is art and beauty in the world, but you can’t be responsible for any of it.. (tags: mmog games education [...]

  343. [...] and “Star Wars Galaxies” publisher Sony Online Entertainment and an old-school MMO philosopher. And he’s recently laid out his thoughts, almost poetically, about what such games teach, according to Wonderland. For example, he begins, [...]

  344. [...] are the lessons of MMORPG’s today? Amusing:http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/– Kyth, Officer of Temerity Random quote: (Click here to view all [...]

  345. [...] what are the lessons of mmorpgs today/ There is no such thing as obesity. All women are beautiful and all men are either handsome or darkly mysterious. Somehow, this means that nobody is beautiful and there is no mystery. There is no need for bras. People have sex a lot. People never touch. Death doesn’t really sting. Nerf, however, is incredibly painful. [...]

  346. [...] [links to REM essays!!]http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ [tragic mmorph literalization "humor"/critique]http://www.ubu.com/film/index.html [avant-garde [...]

  347. Tom…

    Did you get this off MSN?…

  348. [...] asks: What’s your ideal MMO? Raph Koster posted a "lament" of sorts on his blog recently and, because of the discussion that followed, asked the [...]

  349. [...] people have probably seen this, but I submit it anyway, on the off chance that anyone hasn’t.http://www.raphkoster.com/2006/02/24/what-are-the-lessons-of-mmorpgs-today/ -Kodachi Belmont the Hacker and Slasher of the Samurai (Idle: [...]

  350. [...] by Brian Green (via Raph Koster’s blog): The basic player demand is, “Improve the game, but don’t change [...]

  351. новости дня…

    [...]Raph's Website » What are the lessons of MMORPGs today?[...]…

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