"Lack of innovation" in MMOs says Richard Garriott

richard garriottDuring the annual Developers Conference, MMO guru Richard Garriott shared some rather harsh words about the current landscape of the MMOG genre. Richard Garriott, or Lord Briths, as you may or may not know, crafted the Ultima RPG series throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s. He’s the brain behind the genre defining MMORPG, and to this day, Ultima Online lives.

He pointed to the popular online gameplay mechanic of grinding, "The fact that people use the nomenclature ‘grinding’ to describe what they do in online games is a bad sign," and the lack of unique missions in games. "Missions have been reduced to taking the next pellet from the slot machine." Trust me, there’s nothing more boring then killing another rat in some dungeon for the 10,000th time.

Second, he attacked the lack of NPC AI, "NPCs are largely ignored in MMOGs. This reduces overall immersion." While it’s hard to craft unique NPCs that’ll be shared by thousands of players, giving NPCs more life certainly can’t hurt and won’t give players the notion of, "oh, they’re just another quest giver, who cares!"

In the meantime, Garriott proceeded to claim that his upcoming MMORPG, Tabula Rasa, will seek out to change the MMOG landscape and fix these noted problems. In order to reduce the monotony of grinding, combat in Tabula Rasa will be fast-paced and very mobile, "It’s just click to fire. There’s no management of shortcuts. We want to make you care about the 3D environment that you’re in."

In addition, Tabula Rasa will have a complex AI system, where as many as over a 100 AI-controlled NPCs or enemies can interact with the player. Lastly, Tabula Rasa will feature the soothing and heart-churning missions that are surely missed in today’s online games. "We’ll give you missions that are in conflict with each other, that force you to make judgment calls and think ethnically about who you want to please and who you want to disappoint."

Tabula Rasa is currently in a closed beta and is expected to launch this fall for PC.

[Via Gamasutra]


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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