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Discussion in 'Game Design' started by CarterG81, Dec 24, 2014.
Multiplayer Online Game? Right now it's missing the massive.
Teila, although I know you seem to be afraid of sharing your work-in-progress with Unity Community, I highly doubt you'll get the same response you have seen others receive regarding their desire to make an MMO. You're not just dreaming about an MMO and posting on the forum asking people how to make one and have zero experience. You actually seem to know what your doing... eventually you'll need to share your game with the world and regardless your not going dodge trolls, or negative people now or later, as developers we have to learn how to deal with these kinds of people.
Personally I'd love to see your game also! So I vote for you to Open your Work-in-Progress Thread today! ^_^
Thanks, Kuroato. We will see. Like I said, I want to make sure we have it together first at least to the point where one can tell what it is. Work in progress is one step forward and one step back so would probably be rather boring.
Besides, you guys wouldn't like our game. It is the antitheses of most Unity games. lol
I have spent years learning how to deal with "those kinds of people" and the ups and downs of game development have taught me first of all, to be careful of promising too much, it hurts to let people down, and some folks will never understand anything outside the box. I am not afraid of being attacked, just don't want to deal with it now. This is hard work and I need motivation, not de-motivation. We have had plenty of that over the years.
Went to a forum yesterday and was motivated by all the people asking for a game similar to ours. Of course there were the obligatory trolls who screamed, "Why don't you go play a tabletop game!" lol
Edit: I was informed that today, it is a hunky guy running around a beautiful world. Step forward!
what!?? now im even more curious lol.... are you making a MUD game or something. It's Ok you don't have to say lol, we can return back to the thread and topic at hand. All the best, i'll look out for your announcement on the Forum at some point in the future.
LOL I wouldn't need Unity for that. But yeah, back to the topic at hand.
It seems that the majority of the big boys use the word "Massively" to mean anything from 50-400 players in a zone/instance with a world/shard size of 2000/10000 accounts (depending upon the number of zones). Nice work on all the stats above this post I can add that GW2 has around 300 players and possibly 100 NPCs, per zone.
I'm aiming at 200 players per zone/instance, so in theory, I could use the phrase "MMO", but I'd rather be more honest if there's a better phrase. HMO (huge), MMO (medium), MO (just multiplayer)? I'm going to be suffixing RPG to that as well.
Yeah, the big guys do that. But I am more concerned about the player's perspective than the corporations.
With 200 per zone you should call it an MMO i think.
1. People can relate to the term, new terms will just confuse them. Explain player per zone in an FAQ or something instead.
2. Overall i think the MMO term is used for most multiplayer games that does not focus on a room based structure today (Most FPS, racing games and so on). So even a game with a maximum of 30-40 per zone but a few 1000's per "server" could be seen as an MMO now a day.
What about a max of 64 per zone, but with a total of about 1500 players in the game at one time? Ulink recommends no more than 100 per zone but you can put in multiple zones.
Again, I don't players see it the way we do. If you tell then you have 64 players per zone max, they think...ooo, this is not an MMO, it is too small! But if there are 10 zones in your game, then that is 640 players, so not so small.
We need a label for the public, regardless of how we see it. It is the public who will buy our game because it sounds great or ignore it because a MMO with only 64 people sounds really boring.
But in how many MMO's do you actually play with more than 64 people at one time often? Very few. Yes i would call that an MMO
It doesn't matter how many people you play with at a time. You might only play with 3. But if you were to say, "Play our MMO! You can play with 3 people!" it would not go over well.
If you say you are making an MMO on MMORPG.com or any big site, the readers automatically assume 100's of thousands of players. They don't care about the server size or how many people they play with in the game. They care about the fact that there are HUGE numbers of players that they can join in a game.
We have to sometimes think like our customers rather than like developers.
But you CAN play with thousands of people on a server even though the zones dont allow them to play together all at once on the same screen. Thats actually how many MMO's work anyways. And as you go through zones you will meet all kind of people. You would only notice if you suddenly got limited at a large event ala. those in Rift or Open World PvP in Darkfall...
Yeah, I realize that.
I think we are not connecting in this conversation. LOL I understand what a developer's definition of MMO is. Just trying to relate it to the players. But I give up. I will just ask them instead.
I am. I dont think the players will notice, thats all i am saying.
I meant for promotions, not whether they would notice.
What they dont see they dont need to know
All of this data seems to hub off of WoW's more recent changes (such at WotLK and above). As stated, yes the captial cities were massive player hubs. Although, prior to the spread of auction houses to each capital city, each faction (Horde / Alliance) had one REAL capital city containing the only auction house for their factions. You would see at any given time, if you had the misfortune of having to travel through the city, around my guess was 500-600 players just trying to trade. They created the cross servers to depopulate these heavily populated areas for performance and play value, but at the same time it killed the MMO feel to each city. It is the same for each zone, you would travel everywhere and there would be herds of people stealing all of your quest monsters, making it difficult and frustrating to level up.
Raids, in your ideal of MMO, are shy of the MMO you think of. Previously 40 man raids were the max and a lot of fun, but the dungeons and smaller raids were anywhere from 5-15.
Battlegrounds were spot on.
Dungeon finder used to never exsist, you would have to interact with others, search in your zones and in capital cities for other players willing to travel and do the dungeons which made it more immerse gameplay. People enjoy the easy route though, which in my opinion has killed dungeons all together in the game.
I am not bashing or hating, or being a WoW fan, I am just saying that at one point the game had a more MMO feel, but recently (last year or two) the feel has died out and been removed to enhance server capability.
Take a look at Runescape, they HAD to create a exchange system due to trying to travel through Varrock on a high server time was hell, especially on the high trade servers like World 1, World 2. You would at any given time, members and non-members, around 1000 players sitting in a block area trying to trade goods. It was insane, and difficult to do anything in the area of big groups of people trading. Chat was spammed out, you could click trade due to the text would shoot your trade message away.
Another look, Last Chaos, had to implement different systems for there towns due to herds of players sitting in the starting zones warp in square setting up player shops and spamming, was difficult to get around.
Runes of Magic, the first big city you come to TONS of players would sit in the main square and spam for trade and clutter the city, yes felt immersive, however anywhere else in the city was empty. Gold spammers were a huge issue too.
Sounds to me like maybe the solution could be not splitting the players off into different shards, but rather designing better chat systems (as discussed earlier in this thread, I believe). Thousands of players chatting in one square shouldn't be a problem; it should be easy enough to focus on just the people close to you if you want.
Of course spammers, griefers, and other bad actors are somewhat of a separate problem, and one that's going to crop up in any large open community (especially if it's free to participate, which is of course the trend nowadays). But that probably deserves its own thread.
In SWG, you could filter within the chat channels and create multiple chat channels. So I could put all system messages in one chat channel which I could toggle if I wanted to see them or toggle the regular chat if I wanted to concentrate on chatting with others. I could also filter out names and shout messages (which were mostly spam). While not perfect, I found this to be a very nice system.
Also, alternative communication is nice, like in-game email, tell systems (private IM) and whispers, which would be semi-private. Some games benefit from group chats. SWG allowed you add chat groups and invite people. That way, you could filter out anyone who isn't in your group.
In a massive game, these are helpful.
This is the biggest problem with MMOs, I think. Technical problems, given enough time and money, can be solved relatively easily. If code won't fix it, throwing more well-configured hardware at it might. Sure, it takes some skill to ensure that everything plays nicely, but people do that on a day-to-day basis. It's a solved problem.
Community management, though. That's trickier.
Here in the real world, we've spent thousands of years dealing with the fact that other people are douchebags. We've created paramilitary forces that enforce rules to ensure said douchebaggery does not reach critical mass. We have philosophical problems devoted to what happens when said guards need guarding themselves.*
Here in the real world, we've still not nailed it, either - you can simply look to the current unrest in the United States between certain communities and police forces.
This is the reason I refuse to write a true MMORPG. The only way to keep cheaters and general douchebaggery out of the experience is, A) erect a paywall that must be traversed in order to act like a douchebag, and B) have people whose job (that they're paid well for) is to periodically apply Drain-O in the form of disciplinary action to this bottom cruft of the gaming society.
Reputation systems may help automate the process somewhat (in your settings, have an option like, "Only view chats from players with rating at or above [threshold]". This will at least keep verbal douchebaggery at bay.
Of course, you've also got to be mindful of your mechanical design. In what ways can your design be exploited to give someone a bad day? My favorite example, is in World of Warcraft, you could convince someone to go underwater and cast Divine Intervention on them. If they didn't dismiss the "buff", it meant you could PK your own faction, because invulnerability doesn't protect you from drowning (with limited social engineering involved, of course.)
*: The quote is actually not from a major Greek philosopher, funny enough. As the link shows, the quote comes from a later Latin work, The Satires of Juvenal. The usage of the quote is often to refute parts of Plato's Republic, though.
I agree, and one reason why, even if our game did become popular, I don't want 10's of thousands of players.
I recently read a thread in another forum regarding finding a good role play community in a game. Several people said the best communities were ones with paid subscription because it kept out some of the baser elements. I remember when a game I paid switched from free to paid (yeah, they used to go that way) and the community, while smaller, improved dramatically.
But with today's market, you are almost forced to at least have a free tier if nothing else, so you have to have a plan to deal with certain behaviors or you could lose the people you want to attract.
Thats why every game programmer should atleast have a basic idea of effective data mining algorithms. Find players with wrong patterns and remove them.
I feel this is a rather uninformed comment. Having taken data mining as part of my Computer Science major, and having actually done some data mining at a previous job, I can tell you first-hand that it's not that simple.
One of the key parts of devising a data mining algorithm is a tradeoff between coverage (how much of the dataset you're covering) and accuracy (how true a generalization is to the actual trends in the dataset.) What winds up happening if you take the ill-advised approach to focus on one or the other, is you either A) get a broad dataset that poorly describes the trends in the data (we called this a 'data stereotype', for obvious reasons), or B) you get a dataset to describes individual elements really well, but fails to catch a lot of other things that are going on in the dataset (we called this a 'tunnelvision algorithm', again for self-explanatory reasons.) The best you can hope to do is achieve a balance that is fraught with smaller numbers of both problems.
Why do I mention this? Well, if you're trying to use data mining to enforce behavioral rules, you're going to do two very bad things - punish innocents, and allow offenders to slip through. These are the very things that undermine a community. Look at the uproar over the ContentID system in YouTube about a year ago now - that was this very problem in practice! You had pirated materials still hosted on YouTube, but people who made legitimate material (with all of the necessary legal requirements taken care of, mind you) being enforced.
You can't simply throw computers at assholes. Assholes require a human intervention.
I had data mining as a part of my Games Technology Master (Computer science master, with focus on games), so i do know what it is. And if you are smart about it, of cause you can use it!
Not saying you just throw an algorithm at your game and it solves the problem. Use it to aid you.... A LOT. Its great for finding players with certain patterns. Then you can use a human touch to judge the bad seeds.
As soon as your reach a threshold of people playing your game you don't really have a choice if you don't want to go bankrupt from hiring enough customer support.
Good point, editing it.
As a Bachelor's holder, I can't really refute the opinion of one who holds a Master's degree. That said, I can suggest perhaps a revision that suits us both well, and probably supports your original meaning a bit better than the exact quote I responded to.
The point of data mining in part is to find patterns (as you said; 'find the players with bad patterns and remove them.') To assist a community management team, it would probably hold that there are two good options: A) a mining algorithm to look for patterns of bad behavior (e.g. players who report a particular exploit all tend to have a certain ability used on them, like my Divine Intervention example in WoW), but also B) a mining algorithm to trace the trends of a player who is frequently reported as an abuser of the game (based on your clarification and original remark, this seems like the primary thing you were thinking of.)
Both tools are important, because both the problem and those exploiting it have to be recognized. Knowing that a particular move can be exploiting in a particular way can lead to grounds for instituting a rule patch to fix a problem. Knowing that a particular player exploits rules to a given degree can make the difference between knowing who to just ban, who to track in order to observe for newly-found exploits, and who just needs a stern reminder to be nice.
I'd be skeptical of a degree alone as evidence to suggest anything. I encourage everyone with a lower level degree with any feelings of competence to challenge others- especially if the opponent has a higher level degree. Make them work for that title!
In other words: MORE
In any field, but especially in CS, there are people who graduate with both levels of degree who you would never want helping you program anything.
It's beyond scary the kind of people who graduate with high level degrees.
Then again, I am entirely lost in this conversation as I do not even know what data mining is.
Still, let's battle to the death anyway for good show. ROUND 2..........FIGHT!
I think this thread is kind of like a train wreck, I can't really distinguish what I'm looking at but there's all kinds of stuff all over the place and so I can't bring myself to disable alert. I still don't even understand what the thread title is supposed to mean.
I always thought that data mining was digging for and collecting large amounts of data, for the purpose of extrapolating patterns and trends... More of a marketing thing.
Then I feel you man but I'm not going to go slashing my wrists.
Of cause you can. Just because i hold a master it does not mean that my knowledge in an area is greater hehe
Well seems like we agree after all. A nice approach much like yours is to:
1. Find frequent patterns which is presented to the community managers.
2. Let the community managers flag certain patterns.
3. Data mine players that fit these patterns.
4. Based on how frequent they match a pattern do X, Y, Z.....
5. In worst case scenarios (like banning people) let a human decide based on each case.
Of cause its not that simple, but it shows a system that ,as you suggest, is a co-operation between humans and algorithms.
Still dosen't make it a good idea, though
Not to derail the discussion, but a higher degree means more work has been put into understanding the subject matter at a deeper level. While I've worked with Data Mining in the real world, I haven't put as much time into understanding the subtleties, and developing a case study that demonstrates said understanding. Similarly, my work has been outside of the actual Games industry, more in business programming. I guarantee he knows more than I do about Games Technology. I will not respond any further on the subject of degrees, because that's not game development material and has no place here.
That out of the way, I also misread part of his statement, which he corrected me on. That's why good communication is essential (funny enough, that's the second time within the thread, and within the hour, I've been reminded of that fact.) Good lessons abound in this thread!
Data mining are in all large online games today and it is HUGE in the mobile industry, where they use it to find out how to abuse your wallet the most haha
There is a great plugin for Unity also: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/6755
You seemed to have missed my point entirely.
That is irrelevant, not to mention obvious. The point I was making is that just because it theoretically means more work resulting in learning, doesn't mean it actually means it.
There are a scary number of CS graduates who can't pass a simple FizzBuzz test. Doctors who believe the most insane theories which contradict the medical research they were suppose to learn. Psychologists who practice things which even an amateur knows is not legitimate. Anyone and everyone with degrees who works at or appears on Fox News, for example. Scary stuff.
A degree means nothing. Literally. You'd think it meant they have some level of knowledge and understanding as to their field, but that isn't even always true. What a degree means is a higher chance of being educated, but there's actually a freaky disconcerting chance it means more ignorance than a newbie has. Heck, there is even research to suggest that in lower level schooling (for children) they actually know LESS at the end of the year than when they began. Less. They become LESS educated. It wouldn't surprise me if this happened to some people in some colleges too.
All you have to do is graduate alongside people who you know should not be allowed in the field. Everyone knows the types I'm talking about. Well, except people who were shy/ignored everyone or the people who ARE those scary people
Fair point. Just remember that CNN is the same, merely in the opposite direction.
Please don't turn this into a derailed political/off-topic-news-media discussion.
We already derailed it into a "degrees mean nothing || have meaning!" discussion.
Anyway... so what is your favorite super power, if you could only have ONE?
There's entirely too much in this thread to read, but I did get the gist of your first post and a few after and I think you have some good points. I've actually thought about them myself as well, I think most people have but they can't really materialize that into realizations or facts.
MMOs imo are realtime, persistent, server hosted online games that you cannot host your own independent game on.
Aside from whats been said at length, technology and hardware limitations are a consideration of MMOs and big online games, obviously, but I think it isn't observed as equally as the gameplay itself. For instance if you see 100 people in front of you (out of 1000) it's going to feel more populated than if you saw 10 people (out of 10,000). But not every game has the same hardware behind it and that is going to be a big diversifying factor in the genre.
Single player games with similar release dates actually always have the same hardware scenario's. Whats available at the time to the end user. MMOs don't, budget is a bigger factor there and there are a lot of variables that will adjust that. Does it make it less of an MMO? I don't think so. They compete in the same genre.
Bottom line though, I don't care enough to consider it any more than that. Not sure anyone here is really planning (or has the capacity) to shovel out a mid to large scale MMO so it seems like a moot point.
Good point, LaneFox! That is a great way of looking at things. Small or big, what really matters is the user's experience. So if you scale the game for your audience having a small population in a small world will be as meaningful as a large population in a large world. 100 characters in an area still feel like a lot of people, even if they are a significant portion of the players online at the time.
Makes me feel like I wasted a lot of time worrying. That is a good thing!
Happy New Year, by the way.
If that's what you're getting, I really want to know more about your game. Please add me to your list of interested folks, and PM me anytime!
Thanks, MrG. Our game is a role playing game, meaning we are creating a game that supports role players, sort of like the role playing servers you sometimes see on other games but ours will actually have the tools needed for better role playing. My guess is that those trolls have no idea the difference between role playing in an open world and role playing in a tabletop game, although I have seen some awesome role playing while playing and GMing tabletop games. Oh, the stories I could tell!
My two bits on the topic...I really hate instancing a large world. I don't want to have umpteen copies of Bree as was mentioned. I visualize networking along the lines of how IRC works: Thousands of concurrent connected users, a handful of servers with full trust among each other, and each server has full authority over those who are connected to it, sharing the necessary information to the other servers who distribute it down to their connected users as appropriate by subscription. Subscription is by proximity, joining and leaving "channels" of others around them, managed by the servers' shared location information of all users. Whether those servers are all together in a Level 3 data center, or scattered around the globe, pretty much is irrelevant except in the case of netsplit, which is only for a few seconds and with stable servers in well-provisioned facilities shouldn't be an issue, or should be incredibly rare. position updates, actions, chat, trades, etc. should only be heard by those in a given client's "channel". Additionally, the servers should have an understanding of confined spaces, that effectively cull range checks, and perhaps reduce the range of a client when inside such areas (trigger zones?), such as going inside a house so that another client on the other side of the door is "unsubscribed". Personally, I dislike bubbles and labels floating over everyone's heads...I'd rather have the ability to customize avatar appearance sufficiently as to allow for direct organic recognition (perhaps with a little help from mouse-over). I think an external global chat goes a long way to building social bonds, but this must be separated from in-game (in-character?) conversation. A chatbox with tabs for local, global, PM, server, group, as I've seen in at least one game, is quite effective, and runs on the same "subscription" mechanic as the rest of the game traffic, just that they're more permanent instead of constant joins and leaves. Server-to-Server bandwidth may be reduced if the servers evaluate the subscribers of a client's channel and only push data to those servers that are managing those clients.
I also like the concept of "Services", again borrowed from IRC, that manage NPC's in full trust, pushing data to the game server network and unburdening the game servers of NPC activity. What's interesting here is that game operators can load-balance NPC's by shifting them around among NPC servers based on their varying levels of "busy", so that numerous far-flung NPC's that get little interaction can be piled together while a few training dummies, that never get a moment's peace, might be put off on another. Just like player clients, they'd join and leave players' and other NPC "channels" by proximity.
It seems to me that if one considers a separation of roles as described above, it becomes easy to scale, because one can start with all of these on one good box, and as popularity demands, split them off with virtually no additional effort other than getting the additional machines provisioned.
As for why devs are drawn to the idea of MMO's...honestly I think it's at least in part about money. Many I think want to see if they can replicate the success of <insert popular MMO here> on the cheap, with off-the-shelf assets, make a few million from ads and micro-trans and disappear to a beach someplace that doesn't extradite. Or maybe I'm just cynical...who knows?
I could've sworn I played a game on Steam that was precisely this... Vindictus, was it? That was essentially a player hub and you could pick the instances you wanted to play through, find a group if needed, and play. Once finished, you returned to the hub. I believe there was a bit of outside exploration, but I think to call it open-world would be a lie. Perhaps that would be an easier thing to build than a full blown MMO...
EDIT: I actually wonder... I am not familiar with networking at all, but I play BF3, and it has an option to rent a server for a set amount of days. You pick what can happen in the server, set admins, pick the amount of days you want it up, and BOOM you have your own server anyone can connect to. Could that technique be applied to MMOs? Perhaps a player can host a server and set their friends as admins. I'd imagine that would allow cheating to an extent, but strict admins and perhaps a 'Report Cheating Server' function would help. Just a thought.
A very interesting thought.
I am curious if Life is Feudal has any plans on doing something similar to that. They already have the singleplayer/multiplayer servers, with their current game being sold to fund their MMO. I don't know where, but I swear I've read of a MMO doing something similar to this before- renting out servers to its users. Maybe it was just an idea I read or talked about in the past- idk. Seems familiar though, and I like the idea because it thinks outside the traditional box of "We only have one server type, hosted by us, and we pay all costs." combined with lots of private (pirated) servers. (I actually think that for Dark Age of Camelot, at least one of the free shards actually matches or exceeds the population of battlegrounds when compared with the battlegrounds of the actual legit servers. And while I'm not sure of the populations of Ultima Online & their free shards, I know the free shards are very well populated. Those are both plenty of money that could have been placed in the pocket of EA over this last decade, if they rented out servers. Theoretically anyway.)
I have always thought that would be a great idea too, Carter! There are times when I just want to play with a bunch of friends rather than annoying strangers.
That was the general consensus when I investigated many MMO gamers. Many spent most of their time in their respective guilds, not outside of it. This is especially true, I'd hypothesize anyway, of "veterans". Users who have played the same MMO for years and years.
My recent forages into MMO playing have not been positive. Either people ignore you and it is like playing with a bunch of unpredictable NPCs or they are annoying and obnoxious. Most come from outside guilds and use voice so you can't really talk to them...they ignore chat typing. Many are just there to gain XP, kill some things, and leave.
A friend purchased ESO for my son, he played for a month, and is already bored. He says he just can't bring himself to play again and a big part of that is not being able to play with friends due to the way the game is designed.
(Mod Note: Thank you to the good folks who are keeping this train on the tracks. Your good discussion quickly overwhelms the 'de-railers'. Please continue. Gigi)
Making a response in this thread, from this post https://forum.unity3d.com/threads/m...-forge-and-playfab.294852/page-5#post-2905477
I thought this might be interesting.
I also made a thread for handling Open Worlds (MMO's usually have enormous worlds).
If you want low costs & to host your own MMO servers, then I believe the best option (for low cost) is to either do a custom networking solution, a popular networking library that ISN'T native to Unity, or maybe talk to the Forge developers (It's the only option I know of that has no CCU cost).
Otherwise I imagine that the CCU cost for these other networking assets would be quite expensive. It's been awhile since I've done my homework in the context of a MMO, but I go with Forge specifically because
No CCU cost
Full Source Code
However for a MMO? I would strongly suggest checking out networking libraries that are not native to Unity. I don't know what's out there in 2016, but it would be worth checking out.
You will almost certainly want to, at least IMO, use entirely different Physics than what Unity has... for Performance reasons alone. You will really want to squeeze every drop of performance for that MMO Server. You'll also want to see techniques for keeping bandwidth as low as possible (very efficient) on your server's end.
Also I don't know how new to Multiplayer/Networking/Gamedev/MMORPG's you are, but there are a lot of problems you have to overcome for an MMORPG (Even a small one. They are also the same problems for games like GTA, Skyrim, or even small (but still large) open world games.)
These videos really helped me understand some things about Unity, Multiplayer, Open Worlds, and Multiplayer in Huge Open Worlds.
Streaming Large Open Worlds
Multiplayer Q&A Portion of above talk (Simple Question/Answer)
Performance & Tips about Unity (ex. "Don't use Unity as much as possible." ; Unity Transforms suck really badly)
Obligatory "Best of 2016" talk on Game Design (Very fitting for this thread)
How KSP (Singleplayer Game) did some things with Floating Point Precision & their enormous universe (Interesting way- probably not that helpful for multiplayer though. But just to get some ideas for how people do things.)
I also want to add a huge problem I have with the majority of MMO's on the market:
As GiGi's wonderful game design talk points out, there is the theory of FLOW.
I dislike a lot of MMO's, and I think one of the reasons we all like WoW (but not other MMO's), is because most MMO's do literally EVERYTHING they can do distract you from FLOW.
"Kill 10 Rats!" & the incredible cardboard taste of so many MMO's that constantly make you awaken that this isn't just a video game (you're not in flow if you're thinking this) but even worse: This is a waste of your valuable time on Earth. Why are you spending 20 minutes running from Point A to Point B just to turn in a dumb quest? Where is the adventure? The meaning?
I also think that being in FLOW was an incredibly large factor to the success and nostalgia of early-day MMO's like Ultima Online & Everquest, and to a lesser extent DAoC. And the lack of FLOW of the very few titles attempting to bring back that UO/EQ nostalgia are what makes them 'failures', NOT the nostalgic features themselves (which if done right in a 2016 context, would usher in enormous FLOW for those type of gamers. Which are pretty massive in number.)
These were MMO's that were never really iterated on in any path except the WoW Path. Games like Darkfall tried to emulate some of what Ultima Online had, but IMO failed to do so because they didn't actually understand what made Ultima Online something people loved. (It actually isn't the FFA PvP. It was sooooo much more. It was the FLOW.)
Meaningful Travel in Everquest was a beloved feature for almost 250,000 users who had bought Vanguard: Saga of Heroes immediately upon release. Vanguard immediately failed (with historic precedent) but for reasons outside of FLOW (the game literally couldn't run on anyone's computer; so no one could play it). And in a way, Vanguard actually brought back "FLOW" for those who actually could play it. However that was quickly ruined by removal of key features that destroyed FLOW. (Okay, Vanguard SoH is a bad example, because it died before it even lived bc of technical reasons.)
My point though is that Everquest's "meaningful travel" in modern types is pretty stupid idea right? A true waste of time. Well actually, no. It would be if you did it EXACTLY as Everquest did, in 2016. It worked back then because it was the only MMO & the days of AOL dialup made EQ feel like Full-Immersion-VR for PC gamers. And as with some of the older games (UO's FFA PvP / PK problem & Everquest's XP loss / tedious components) those games were successful DESPITE those awful features not because of them. However if you did it right, meaningful travel is an incredibly strong "FLOW" inducing feature. Vanguard, IMO, pulled it off very very well. It only existed for a very brief moment, so it was easy to miss the experience: The meaningful travel without the boredom. You go back to Everquest, and it is just boring (also non-existent after the Nth expansion pack, hehe). In Vanguard, it felt both meaningful & adventurous. Exploration in a truly massive world. Definitely something that game did right. (Except that the world also felt very empty at the same time. Which had little to do with the traveling since you saw so much, but did make some exploration a lot more dull.)
WoW knows FLOW very well.
WoW Clones do not. It's so transparent too.
And we don't see games adding those FLOW-inducing features without breaking FLOW in other ways. (I'd argue that Darkfall's FFA Full loot PvP did bring FLOW to that type of gamer, but destroyed FLOW for a LOT of other reasons... including that the exact same feature that caused FLOW also destroyed it because it wasn't done well enough.)
And I think that this idea of "FLOW" in the context of "Difficulty" or that niche "hardcore" demographic is a very good one. More so than when focusing on "Casual" gamers who get catered to much more often by great games. Niche demographics rarely get great games, and don't even often get any games period- even bad ones. Although that depends on the context, obviously. I just have a huge bone to pick with a lot of indie developers, especially permadeath developers who are DEFINITELY their own biggest distraction.
Anyways, my thoughts are everywhere right now at the end of this. I totally forgot my point. I guess I was just saying
UO & EQ gave gamers Flow. They remember that nostalgically. They want that again.
Modern MMO's do not give flow. They do everything to take you OUT of Flow & remember you that you're playing a pretty S***ty cloned MMO with no innovation.
WoW brings Flow, but it is a different type of Flow than what UO/EQ gave. Fits a different demographic entirely. Although most EQ players loved WoW too when it was released. But they crave some of that "meaningful" flow from original EQ. Something Everquest 2 failed to deliver.
The MMO classification is used very loosely nowadays.
Vehicle games like World of Tanks/Battleships, War Thunder, Robocraft, Crossout etc typically call themselves MMOs while they are 8v8 multiplayer games with a matchmaker.
DDO called itself an MMORPG while combat areas were limited to 12 players.
GW1 with a very similar design called itself a CCORPG (competitive and cooperative online RPG) or some such.
Referring to "feel of an MMO" - the MMO examples of those games contain very lengthy progression for power.
GW1 does not.
No MMO has 1000s of players interacting with each other at once unless it's on an auction house or similar. Planetside 2 and Guild Wars 2 can have 1000s of players on a large PVP map, but not all of those players can be at one battle. If too many players are in the same vicinity, players are being phased out, ie you dont see everyone who is there.
What they can stem in one battle is a 100 or so i'd guess.
This is an interesting take on an MMO made by one guy:
The game couldnt maintain a player base though.
I'm not sure the maximum numbers supported, but Planetside 2 & Dark Age of Camelot (Camelot Unchained too?) which have the largest battles.
It can get pretty jam-packed. And even if you don't see all of them on screen at once (some phased out in Planetside 2) you are still playing with them (they will phase in at some point, and moving around the map will phase in your local proximity as a priority even if it phases out long distance players).
It really just depends on what the Server wants to send. Modern computers can easily handle tens of thousands of pieces of data. Watching Camelot Unchained develop, it's interesting how they fit so many models (hundreds) on just one screen (still caring for performance). So it really just depends on how much information you're sending, how often you're updating that information, and how much you care about performance.
I am curious though what the physical maximum might be though. I'd really look to Camelot Unchained for this. DAoC is too old, and Planetside 2 is of questionable competence in their dev team. (There are a lot of problems with Planetside 2 engine. The least of which is their player capacity / lag, hehe.)
I'm not really sure how big their "Server" or tested area was, but in the last few months Camelot Unchained successfully tested 2000 players/bots.
However according to their post, I believe this was all in the local proximity.
And each "bot" was a full client running remotely from AWS instances.
This makes sense to me though. It would be a lot of work, but it sounds very feasible to have hundreds/thousands all in your local proximity. It really just matters how little data you can get away with sending & how infrequent you can get away with sending it. I'm not really sure how the models/textures work for 2000 players, but again I have seen games do this. (Total War, Supreme Commander, etc.)
I believe Supreme Commander had hundreds/thousands of individual units - all with their own calculations I believe. (I remember reading an article on it. Very impressive.)
I'm quite excited about Camelot Unchained, to be honest. One of the greatest experiences I have ever had in "FLOW" was a single time in Dark Age of Camelot, in an equal battle between 100's vs 100's. It felt like I was in a movie battle like Braveheart or Game of Thrones.