A Trend Takes Root?

How many times do people involved in the MMO scene wish for days of yore? Back and forth go arguments about ‘rose colored glasses’ by the newbies against the old guard, and ‘silver platter’-esque statements by the old school concerning the new dawn. A meeting point between the two is about to be achieved.

I’ve recently explored a very general overview of how the MMO space would do well by examining idea implementations from other genres. As evidenced by less frequent postings here, I’ve been cheating on my genre of choice with another.

Looking Back

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” – Cicero

It’s always helpful to have brief history lessons for the uninformed, or to refresh material for the knowledgeable.

MOBAs as we know them today were borne of a playerbase-created mod entitled ‘Defense of the Ancients’ (DotA) to a popular RTS at the time. It’s very important to illustrate that this whole genre was created not only by an indie concept, but that it has remained largely close to the playerbase’s control.

Members of the original DotA crew were either hired or took off on their own and truly carved out the genre. Grassroots movements are always the strongest.

And then other companies cropped up, offering titles to contribute to the genre, without members that were part of the original DotA developer ‘bloodline’.

At this point in time, we’ve a genre with multiple offerings, largely staying true to the original DotA concept but everyone offering a spin. Some are pure arena based, some are more map-roaming oriented, etc.

Best Is Yet To Come?

Enter: Valve. Any gamer who takes themselves seriously as such really can’t speak ill of this company. Personally, I don’t appreciate FPS titles, of which the majority of their products are, but it’s hard to say that the company hasn’t done wonders for the industry, the playerbase, and done so without selling out to big suits. Oh, sure, they’ve done handsomely for themselves, but (not to beat a dead horse) they know the proper order of horse:cart. [Disclaimer: I speak in present-day terms only. We know how EA/Blizzard started out, and how they ended up.]

People have cried for remakes of games from their past pretty extensively over the years. “I wish I could play [insert title] but with updated graphics” is a fairly common statement. Or, perhaps someone might say something about a dwindling population. After all, many computer games of our current time rely on ‘the others’ to create the memories and content that make the games what they are.

Being Written

And so in the MOBA genre, we will have precisely that. And the main concern is that a remake ‘must be done right’- it must be a GOOD GAME in and of itself. I mean, it makes sense. Slapping lipstick on a pig and all…

So what better to do a remake than to invite one of the key players from the original DotA concept, into a company that is largely playerbase-centric, and take the time to do it right, proper testing and marketing?

Tune In

It will be interesting to see just how successful DotA2 ends up being. There is no doubt it will be successful in my eyes, but I’m curious to see to what extent. LoL is pretty much the undisputed king of the genre at present, but with a title remake done right by the right player in the industry, surely we will witness some influx to the genre, as well as a certain degree of ship-jumpers from the vanguard to the remake.

With inevitable decline in numbers from the MMORPG themepark model due to mindless rehashes of the WoW-model, it will neat to see if companies take note of what is about to happen in the MOBA genre, and get serious about doing PROPER remakes of old titles, complete down to names of champions.

Personally, I don’t want completely remade games with updated graphics. My guilty desire is to see games capture the essence that a remake would provide. I’m all for reinventing the wheel, so long as it stays true to its roots. Here’s to hoping the MOBA genre will be a beacon that the MMO might actually take cues from.


Shameless Plug

Anyone who, like expressed in the previous post, is interested in trying out LoL, here’s a signup link. And if you’re already signed up, add me. I’m currently getting back into it for both entertainment and research purposes, it would be fun to have others to game with (one of my main draws to MMORPGs).

About Ahtchu

Jock. Nerd. Holistic. Game theoretician. Can recite the alphabet backwards.
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4 Responses to A Trend Takes Root?

  1. Kelindia says:

    Well they’re plenty of games I’ve played in the past that I would love to play with better graphics, generally there are lots of other improvements that have come since too. Probably top on my list would be Final Fantasy 1 from the old NES system. However I would redo almost all of it’s combat system replacing it with much improved turn based strategy combat from Grandia 3(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandia_III or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2e18nKFA9U).

    What you’ve said though is very important. Developers have to remember where their game is derived and not remove it. The latest Final Fantasy game released for console was absolutely terrible because of this. Lets make a story but not tell our players the majority of the story and while we present the remaining bits of the story that we didn’t get rid of, lets present them non linear from the past, from different perspectives of the characters. The result is that you have absolutely no clue what is happening to you for the majority of the game. Add in that alot of the character’s were just plain annoying too without any steps forward combat wise and you have exactly what you should get. A terrible game.

  2. Doone says:

    I’m up on LoL as Waruins. It’s pretty fun. I would comment more, but the post speaks best to my own thoughts. Good insight.

  3. Ahtchu says:

    @ Kelindia
    I had never heard of Grandia. That graphics engine is very impressive. And immediately one thinks of the old school, true-to-soul FF series. You have a very valid point in that the recent games have strayed from its roots, and the sub-critical acclaim (to put it lightly) references why this isn’t a good thing.

    @ Doone
    I’ve attempted to add you, but to no avail. I’m glad I’ve earned your approval on this post :-p

  4. Hi, long time no talk!

    Everyone has a different opinion on the meaning of re-mixes, remaking games solely for updating reasons (graphics, etc) or to create new spins off these games. Take World of Warcraft as an example- even at its best settings, it can’t be compared to newer games. This is because it is a old game, and the graphics in the game have not been upgraded to enjoy what technology has to offer in this modern day.

    When you look at the spin offs like Rift, these are very similar to WoW and their gameplay/graphics are absolutely stunning. But… the content is pretty much the same thing, sharing the same genre! Is this what you mean by saying, “After all, many computer games of our current time rely on ‘the others’ to create the memories and content that make the games what they are.” ?

    I agree with you- this is why I stopped playing Rift. It was too similiar to WoW, even though there were differences like bigger talent trees and there were more classes who could heal or tank. More options were what attracted me to the game. But Rift is struggling with what Blizzard struggled with WoW in the early days- too many choices resulted in imbalances in the game that were difficult to deal with. How do you balance classes with 50+ skills/talents in their trees versus classes with a smaller amount, limited to something like 15? One could argue that it enriches the game, the more options the better, the players get more flexibility and so on. But some people say that it is not possible to do so in a game without having to deal with balance issues all the time.

    anyway, back to my point. I quit Rift because it wasn’t really different from WoW, reasoning that I shouldn’t be paying more money to play two games that weren’t really different from each other despite the subtle differences. I liked WoW as it were, so I just went back to it and stopped subscribing. It would be a different story if Rift wasn’t so like WoW, perhaps by having a different combat game play style, different way of utilizing talents and making specs and so on. I admit, I haven’t played a lot of those games, it’s because they all look so similiar to WoW, that I’m not willing to try them out. It’s what you say, at the end of the day, these new games are just off springs with updated graphics.

    Great article, Ahtchu 🙂

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