Just for clarification, this is Rob Steele's goodbye post from the MO forums when he was resigning from the guild Forsaken. This is not my post. I was just bringing it over for all here to see.
After announcing my resignation from Forsaken and retiring from MO, I recieved a pretty large amount of email from players saying their fairwells, voicing their regrets that MO was losing another, as one person put it, "pillar of the community." I never thought of myself as important in the scheme of things, and believed I had little to no impact on the game for most people.
Some apparently disagree with me, and the general sentiment of those emails was that they felt that MO was losing some influence that they felt it needed. Because of those emails, and several subsequent conversations, I have decided to write one last wall of text, spilling all my thoughts, ideas, suggestions, as well as discuss some of the things that I believe are problems that are hindering MO's growth and success at reaching the goal of being the MMO we all want it to be. Much of which has likely been commented on by others, or even discussed to the point of being a 'dead horse'. I risk repeating some of that stuff because deep down inside, I hope that those emails were right and that I do have some influence, and maybe my parting words may yet bring some good to the game, and help SV achieve their goals and the players get what they're after. So without durther adieu, lets see if this "pillar" has any pull...
Fair warning, I fully intend this post to be a wall of text. You've been warned.
One of the things that drew a lot of players to support MO include the fact that it was announced as a sandbox, where players would not only change the world, but be given the ability to shape the world, write it's history, make it the way they wanted it, and if others got in their way, there would always be combat and war to force it if necessary. But the core idea should have been that this is a sandbox MMO with open pvp as an intricate part, not a pvp world with sand.
With the open PvP world came the significant need for diplomatic souls, politicians, negotiators, and even war mongers, all with a role to play in MO. Guilds, alliances, even what some would consider nations formed before the game even released because of this. All in the light of knowing that in this wild and open world, not only would individuals need to be strong and resourceful, but we would need friends to count on, to stand at our side. As the guilds formed, discussions led to differing opinions, conflicting goals and plans, or even ideals and beliefs, and so the stage was set before the show was ever even ready. The constant threat of conflict, particularly challenges to guilds and alliances plans in game, strengthened the need for the diplomats and the politicians to work their magic. We have seen some incredibly brilliant people, some with guile and tact, others with silver tounges, turn astounding horrid situations into alliances, pacts, agreements, all of which was spun into a beautiful brilliant web.
Once the curtain was pulled back the web was tested for its strength and ability to withstand personal vendettas, agendas, spies, accidental conflicts where friendlies killed friendlies. Again, the politicians worked their magic. They were asked to avert wars with words, they were sent to battle with a pen, and from history of the game, we can see that a great many times, those battles were won, many conflicts were resolved, and allowed guilds to continue on with their goals and dreams.
As time went on however, guilds soon ran into a significant problem. Almost no goal, no dream, no plan was able to be enacted and fullfilled. There was no city building to speak of, aside for relatively useless houses and keeps. No roads, no fountains, no markets, no taverns, no sand or tools hardly at all when it came to empire building. The empire builders moved into a holding pattern, and busied themselves with whatever they could.
The crafters, the traders, and the gatherers worked the land, learned their trade, and for a time were kept busy supplying for a new world where no one had anything. Warlike groups pushed their people the hardest, determined to reach a point where their resources and equipment exceeded others to the point they would have the edge. Merchant and trade guilds did the same, eager to have the upper hand in the market, to be able to provide materials and superior items cheaper than any competitor. All, soon, found that not only was the race over, but everyone has the same resources, the same supplies - sometimes in unbelievable quantity or at unfathomably low prices. Everyone was equipped with the same armor, the same weapons, and there was little trade to speak of, especially outside of guilds, save for a solo player or new soul that was still finding their way.
Once the issues were resolved that crippled the economy of the game, traders and crafters struggled on, still sticking to their dream that they felt was only delayed, only to find that by that time, the demand for most items and materials were low because of a sadly sluggish population, and the fact that nearly every guild had their own gatherers, their own crafters, and access to the same resources that everyone else had.
There was no competition, in the world of trade and economics, only the competition to get the sale in a market where demand was so low that traders struggled to make profits from sales, even if they had personally acquired the goods to cut costs of production. There were no significant 'secret' recipies or formulas that garnerd an advantage over anyone else from the aforementioned astronomical number of weapon combinations. Only a set standard, that was not only common, but almost suicide to ignore for the sake of being different.
In time, very short time, the economics, the crafting, what most would consider the very essence of a world, the foundation of which everything is built, became mundane, unoriginal, and worthless to invest time and resources into experimenting, devloping, or even selling. This shifted the focus further towards combat readiness and military power more that it already was, just from the concept of being an open PvP world.
Politicians and diplomats soon found themselves plying their trade with one less bargaining chip. No matter how powerful of an economy their guild had they could not barter with it. No matter how significantly advanced and detailed a guilds design and structure was, no matter their population, they found that the only valid bargaining chip on most tables was that of militaristic might. Whether through the act of ultimatums, or the promise of military aid. The elegant web of alliances, pacts, agreements, and personal promises suddenly lost a great number of its strands. Suddenly guilds, even individuals realized that negotiations and relationships were only good for numbers of soldiers. This alienated solo players, and left small groups and guilds of players at huge disadvantages. Many of which joined larger guilds, or formed alliances so that they at least had something to bargain with.
1st January 2012, 12:31 AM #1
Rob's Famous Goodbye Post on MO Forums
1st January 2012, 12:33 AM #2
In time however, the politicians and diplomats of the world had achieved all that they could. Peace here, trade there, NAPs out the rear, promises of military support for this or that. Everything was at a stand still for a time almost. Then, somewhere along the line, the politicians and their kin started to lose focus, to fall out. They had little challenge them on a daily basis aside from an occasional personal issue between a member of their guild and an ally or friend to resolve. Boredom set in, perhaps because they had done their jobs too well, been too much of a 'carebear'. I believe, however, it was a lack of tools, of bargaining chips. I see it as a high roller, someone who comes to a casino loaded, ready to gamble with everything they have, to find that the bank only sells a single value chip, and only a certain number per person is allowed. The 'gambler' having traveled all that way to get to the casino, shrugs and buys the chips, goes to the table and gives it everything they had. For a time, its fine, the thrill of high stakes isn't there, but it's fun as the insignificant bet travels from one player to another at the table. In time however, one after another, a gambler takes whats left of their chips and exchanges them as they walk out the door. Now, the table has fewer players, and even less chips, and it seems that game has changed as well, for the table only offers a handful of choices to bet on.
With the players that most would call political powerhouses of the game, around since before release gone, many of their guilds and alliances appoint those that are most senior, or the best candidate to replace their gems. Most do their best, and some even excel beyond what they thought they could, but in the end, the political game, no... the political battlefield is not the same. With fewer brilliant political minds at play, the meeting room goes the way of the dinosaurs, and is instead only used when needed to secure more troops, organize an alliance, or plot revenge against one group or another for some transgression that might have been a personal vendetta to begin with. Truely, the gambit of 'nations' is over, and a new era has arrived.
I see it as MO's dark age, a time where there were no set standard, no laws, no nations, just countless fuedlistic nations and warring tribes vieing for supermecy, and fighting bitter personal battles simply because they had nothing else to focus their time on. In time, even the second and third diplomats of guilds left, and the collective boardroom was instead filled with dust, blood, and threats. Guilds sent whoever they could spare, or the senior most member, regardless of political skills or desire to negotiate or even listen, if they sent anyone at all. Warriors and savages in suits... still warriors and savages. The slightest disagreement, or conflict of interest, perhaps a miscommunication because of language barriers set these 'negotiators' off and running to their guild leaders to declare war, if they didn't swing the sword themselves. Now, MO's politics consist entirely of survival tactics. Guilds and alliances on their last legs, just trying to survive, hoping to hold out until SV releases the 'miricle' patch that will add more chips to the table, more sand to the box, and some chance at achieving the goals that many guilds have long since given up on, but secretly still hope for because they see no alternative, no other game worth playing.
With so little else to focus on, nearly every guild and alliance has found itself at war for one reason or another, or perhaps no reason at all, which I can personally attest to being more common than you might think. Bitter wars are fought in the game, on forums, in IRC, day in and day out. Because there is no 'end'. We were given tools to destroy with, to ravage and raize peoples hard earned achievements to the ground. We were given tools to support the machines of war. The politics, and the death of true politics in the game gave us 'reasons' even where there were no legitimate reasons to speak of, to fight. Somehow, though, we were never given the tools to end a war. No reason to end a war. And with battle being really the only game to bet on, anyone that refused to leave the casino, continued to bet until they just couldn't take anymore, or ran out of chips and were run out by security.
I am certain, countless numbers of those who have left the game did so not because of server instability, not because of exploding horses, not because of limited pve content, but because they were tired of fighting, day in, and day out, for no purpose, with no hopes of ever actually achieving goals beyond destroying everything their enemy had. Many PvPers will probably never actually own up to that, because it would be too 'carebear-ish' or seen as an excuse. Instead, they point the finger at SV, at bugs, at exploits, at anywhere but the fact that they're just sick of fighting for the sake of fighting.
And here's what's left. Hardcore pvpers, who struggle against all odds to find enjoyment in the last game the casino offers admist the bugs, the lack of diversity in combat, the inability to win a fight thats supposed to be based on player skill, when player skill hardly factors in at all, let alone against lag, complex combat systems that don't work properly if at all, and unbalanced skills or abilities and cookie cutter spec'd characters that are more of a rock-paper-scissors or a guilds numerical battle match than combat based on skill. They fight because its what they know, its what they enjoy, but most of all, because its all they have to do. And so they fight, and fight and fight, until people end the war in the only way they can, by leaving the game.
There was also the big idea that people could make the characters how they wanted, and always find a place in the game, because there would be so many options, so many variables that there wouldn't be a 'class' system, or a common setup. The skill system was set up to avoid classes, and the weapon crafting system, in all its beauty and splendor, was supposed to support diversity by bringing an astronomical number of combinations for weapons to the game as options. By that alone, one would think that not only would there be hundreds or thousands of standard weapons common in the game world, but surely countless customweapons giving the edge in combat. On paper, or in this case forums, these ideas are beautiful, elegant, something many of us have dreamed of for years. In practice however, thus far, we are presented with a small handful of 'cookie cutter' character types, weapons, and armor to be viable, effective, or for that matter even practical.
I personally approach every character creation of every game in a roleplay approach, I read through the lores, the data, and I create my character based on a persona I have always used, and develop it as closely as possible using the tools the game offers. In this world, in this game, I was thrilled that I could do so, and not only be happy that I was, if not unique, a rare 'breed', and not be worthless, but be effective, and perhaps find a niche in the game I excelled at. I am certain a great number of players, roleplayers or not, approached the creation of their characters this way. To our dismay however, so far we have seen the exact opposite. Certain builds, certain racial combinations excel so far beyond the rest in the platforms we have to compete on in the game that we are forced to either play at a huge disadvantage, or abandon our plans, and once again go with the flow set for us by a game. In a game where we have fewer 'classes' or spec's to choose from than the average theme-park mmo, and we're expected to not only play them and be happy, but write the 'lore' of the world and role play them as well, to make the games history as we progress. Thats sort of like dressing a wolf as a sheep, sending him out to a pasture and expecting him to eat grass for the rest of his life, or taking a nerd, giving him a basketball and half a court, and telling him thats the only fun thing he can do from now on, as computers, games, books and dungeons and dragons are off limits.
Also, there was talk of the game being based heavily on real world logic and principles. I remember specifically watching a video of a stroll through the woods while describing where some of the ideas came from, looking at rocks, trees, fungus etc. It was a long time ago so I don't even remember who was in it, but it sunk in enough for me to get the point; the game was going to be a real living world, fantastical perhaps, but realistic. Thus far we have seen a great deal of effort to adhere to this in some aspects, but in others, it completely goes against what anyone would consider logically representing realism, or based on reality at all. Lets take skills for example.
1st January 2012, 12:33 AM #3
Why, oh why, are we learning phsyical skills by reading a book? How are we learning to be master weapon crafters by reading a book? I am not trying to be nasty here, but has anyone at SV ever actually worked on an anvil? Handled or created real armor? Armor and weapon crafters of the medieval ages dedicated their entire lives to the art, they became apprentices as young children, and maybe by the last 5-10 years of their life did they ever become what was considered a master. Yet we see players learn a new skill from a book, not to mention the details or working various materials which in and of itself is an art to master, and they produce weapons that are capable of doing just as well as someone whos character has been doing it since they were 'born'. Furthermore, the only representation we see of a crafters skill is in the numbers in the way of damage or damage mitigation. What about breaking swords because of improper forging technique or folding? What of armor that restricts movement because the crafter that made it didn't understand the concept of 'walking rivets' or how to fit armor to a particular person? For that matter, explain to me how a suit of armor made for a halfbreed can fit a veela. Why are there not 'standard' armor sizes, that are a dime a dozen at any player vendor that are good enough to use but aren't tailored to a specific character? This would open up the door for custom armor, made by specific smiths that know what theyre doing AND the customer theyre working with. It would put value on a players craft, and not whether they have time to pump out another standard copy of scale armor. It would bring value to the work and more importantly bring value to the piece by the customer. They would loath the idea of losing their custom fit armor and strive to keep it more, rather than simply running back for yet another suit from the guild storage characters.
Weapons should be the same, not even considering the outrageous fact that 99% of the combinations of weapons are useless, offer no advantage worth having over another, why is a greatsword made for Veela the same length and weight as one made for a half-breed (didn't I already say this?). Explain to me how it's realistic for a sword designed for a halfbreed to fit on a veela and not drag on the ground, or for that matter, not be weighted wrong for their hands or combat style.
Speaking of combat styles, why is it that only a handful of gearing templates, out of the literally thousands the game mechanics offer us, are viable in combat, and the rest are merely decoration?
While we're on the topic of weapons and armor, why is it when a crafter is practicing his trade, or 'skilling-up' he creates dozens or hundreds of an identical weapon, typically that uses the least material for the class of weapon he looks to improve, and he improves all the class-like weapons connected to it to the point of mastery. Explain to me how someone who is a master of created a double edged hacking broadsword has automatically mastered the art of creating a delicate, swift and elegantly curved one edged blade. They are entirely different blades, with entirely different principles and combat styles. So that even adds the question of how someone who uses a two handed greatblade improves their standard sideblade combat skill at the same time, despite the very serious difference in technique to wield.
Back stepping a little to the materials of crafting. First and foremost, why is it a character that is supposed to be a master of a material can make a weapon or suit of armor, and yet not recover any of the materials from that piece should they wish to dismantle and salvage it? Why are training crafters forced to simply throw away (destroy) countless precious materials instead of being able to salvage the items at least for a portion of the invested materials and practice with it again?
Beyond that why are there not options for crafters to specialize in certain materials and thus turn out a greater quality item with their preferred material?
For example, someone who dedicated their life to studying and perfecting the art of manipulating steel and nothing else, would normally be at least slightly more skilled with the metal, and understand how to work it, what temperature to work it at, how to fold it, how to sharpen it, than someone who studies only a generic understanding of all metals. This devotion, and specialization of materials opens of dozens of oppourtunities for crafters to be unique, to bring their own flare to the game. Maybe a steel sword lasts longer than a tindremic messing blade, but maybe the master of tindremic messing has learned a way to sharpen it more than steel could ever hope to match without losing its strength due to overheating during sharpening. Maybe cuprum, folded correctly has the ability to focus more power to a single point due to weight distrubution. Perhaps leather armor, treated with a secret resin turns a blade as well as horned scale, at the cost of durability but with much less weight.
All of these things, I would think are simple, easy, logical, solutions to the mundane copy and paste like crafting we see in the game.
Having been a blacksmith apprentice, going to college for metallurgy, learning by practice how to heat, handle, shape, and work a piece of metal first hand, I can assure you, all of these ideas are reasonably realistic. Yet we see no such thing, not even in the plans for the future.
1st January 2012, 12:35 AM #4
Butchery was, and is perhaps the best recent addition to the game by many reports. I personally did not experience it first hand so I can't speak of it in depth. However, it makes me wonder, if butchery, a standalone profession by all means, received such positive reviews, why aren't there more popping up? Why do we have overhead swing, and spear stance but no other 'butchery-like' skills? Where are furniture crafters? Tapestry makers? Tailors to make standard clothes, robes, elegant dresses or fancy hats, or even the liners for armor? Why are there no shoe makers? Or perhaps more reasonable.. Where are the wood processors that take lumber and turn it into usable planks, poles, shafts, or other shapes? Where are the alchemists that make these healing potions we see, and why don't they make other tonics, salves, or antidotes, or better yet, a secret treatment for certain metals to make them more durable, or resistant to corrosion? For that matter, why aren't there poisonous creatures, capable of killing a man in a single bite or sting in a few hours without treatment by a skilled apothecary? Why is it that no character has ever been seen laying down to go to sleep, even on a soft patch of grass, yet no one is falling over from exhaustion? Why are there no beds, no taverns or inns? For that matter, why has no one starved or died of dehydration? Why are there no farms, farmers, player built fences, livestock skills. Why aren't there fields of veggies, or better yet hay that surely must be in existence to feed all of our horses. Speaking of horses, why is it we have breeds of horses roaming the wilds, countless tamers taming them, and no one has thought to add the ability to crossbreed. For that matter, why is no horse ever broken by a player mounting them and riding until the horse breaks? Or even better, to open a stable up into a full blown husbandry where a player can become a tycoon in his or her own right, raising horses from birth to ready them for war or as work horses to pull wagons.
Speaking of wagons, why don't we have any, why don't we have crafters that make them, that repair them, that raise the demand for wood that create a demand for fasteners. Speaking of fasteners, why is it there is no character in the game that makes rivets, joints, hinges, tongs, hammers, anvils, or any other widget or tool, yet weapon and armor crafters build their wares flawlessly without anything falling apart.
Why is it we have everything needed to support PvP, warfare, and destruction, yet we have absolutely no supporting structural or logistical tools, trades, or skills to go along with the top of the food chain of crafting?
SV, every layer of crafting you can add to the game, from refining raw materials and creation of simple fasterners or other widgets to creation of tools needed to work them and turn them into instruments of war or anything else... adds depth and significance to the crafting system. It adds a new layer for players to become involved in, to enjoy playing around with. Simple things like adding working temperatures to metals, learning how bright a certain metal should be before striking it to shape it on the anvil, or when the brightness has faded too much and working it without placing it back in the fire risks adding fractures in the work that may lead to the weapon breaking in at a most unfortunate time.
It's time to get players away from the 'quantity is everything' game, and introduce quality to the world. Give a chance for crafters and the traders that sell their wares to sell a higher grade of item, from a better rivet to a more resilient blade. Let players decide, not a game mechanic or a limitation placed on them by a lack of options.
Granted at first most players will likely groan and complain about the idea of adding more difficulty to getting suitable gear. Stating they don't want to spend their day searching for a crafter who can make a piece they need for this or that because they have a war to fight.
Those players are missing the point. Its not to make them spend their time doing so, its to give the crafters something to do other than push a button and pop out a masterwork item just like the guy standing next to them. It's the idea to make crafters a significant, full time, useful profession, not a dime a dozen everyone has a crafter alt. The idea is to allow crafters to gain renown for making great gear and items, or using the best materials money can buy, or infamous for armor that breaks quickly because of weak rivets or buckles because the crafter purchased low grade fasteners to save a coin , or swords that corrode and lose their edge because they weren't treated with any oil before being sold. You wanted realism in the game, add some and watch what happens.
Suddenly, everyone might not be so keen to start an endless war because Joe insulted Bob in Fabernum because he tried to steal his coin pouch and got caught. Suddenly wars might end because one side gives up since they can't keep up with the economic and industrial might of a less militaristic one. Suddenly every weapon and suit of armor suddenly has value, meaning, purpose, and no one will want to give it up and pay a small fortune to get another custom made instead of this rinse and repeat crap we have now.
Or maybe they decide that with inferior gear, their military might and combat experience is enough and they wage war against the better equipped outnumbered enemy. When it becomes clear that the might of the experienced army is too much, the merchant guild might submit, offering materials, items, weapons, armor, or perhaps their services in trade for their lives, their homes which houses their tools that are exceedingly important to their professions. Given the need for better gear that they are not equipped to prepare in large enough quantities, the militaristic guild agrees, and ends the war, gaining much in the ending, more than they would have gained by fighting endlessly, until the other guild leaves the game out of boredom or dismay and removing more of the all important crafters and traders from the game.
Or perhaps another option presents itself, and another merchant guild offers to supply the militaristic guild with armors and weapons, hoping to take a bite out of their competition.
These... these are sandbox ideas, these are tools, these are possibilities. These are the kinds of reasons that over ten thousand eager souls fought through the lag, the 403 forbidden messages, the problems with payments and everything else to line up to buy your game. What you offer instead, a world that is solely dedicated to PvP, in a hope that you will keep a small niche of hardcore players hooked while you perfect combat, is doing just what war it is destined to do: to destroy. The wars, the endless wars, the lost reasons, the single undeniable goal of creating conflict and combat is tearing the community, the games society, and the game itself to shreds.
I implore you, for the sake of all who have ever, and still pray for this game to be the diamond in the rough, to be the game that rewrites what a MMO should be for generations to come... let go of the war machine, stop focusing everything and anything on combat, let combat sit where it works and leave it be. For crying out loud, your players need sand, not blood.
With everything I am, everything I have done for my guild, my friends, the community in this game, it is my last wish that this letter make it to every desk in your offices, along with any and all support that it finds in these forums, and your team each sit down and read it, alone or in a meeting. Take a moment and think about what this game is to all of us, what it is or was to you, and reflect on that.
Know that you have all the support we the community can offer in our thoughts and hopes, and that even if each and every one of you trash this letter without reading a paragraph, for what it might be worth, Thaeric Forlorn of Forsaken hopes that even in your darkest hours, you can find a way to rekindle the flame that was once Mortal Online.
1st January 2012, 12:36 AM #5
*Let me apologize now for the poor grammar, spelling mistakes, and any errors regarding spacing or proper writing form in that monster of a post. It's 3am, I haven't slept in nearly 2 days, and I decided to skip the second and final draft and just go with the rough draft. Please forgive me.*
Please, everyone keep this thread on topic, clean, and constructive. I do not wish to see it locked or worse yet, deleted.
Haha! What a monster!
Some where asking for this to be moved over here. I believe it was linked to before, but now here it is.
1st January 2012, 12:41 AM #6
1st January 2012, 01:26 AM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
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had read this. A good read----------------------------------------------------------------
There are always bigger WoTers in the forums
1st January 2012, 01:54 AM #8
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
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Thanks for transferring this over here Bella. I've already been through it once but nice to have it on site for another look.
PS - If it's already been brought up then forgive me...as I've said before, I'm gettin' older so the ol' grey matter's gettin' a little clogged and forgetful.
4th January 2012, 12:31 AM #9
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
- The Netherlands
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All that time spent on this wall of text could have been spent on the game . But a good read indeed !
웃 This game is my home, thus you are my guest. So behave like one.
4th January 2012, 12:43 AM #10
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
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