As promised, today I bring you Part 2 of my interview with former Massive Online Gamer Editor in Chief Jason Winter. Enjoy!
KTG: MOBAS like League of Legends have really come up this year. I noticed MOG was covering them more and more, even in this last issue you had an article detailing the Dominion map. Are you surprised at all, by the rise in popularity in these types of games? Do you think that they can coincide along the bigger titles like SWTOR and GW2??
JW: A: I think MOBAs are a natural evolutionary path of MMORPGs. And, in fact, we’ve probably all been playing something just like them for years but didn’t realize it. My classic “Rift is a pretty game to sit around waiting for dungeon queues to pop” line from a previous TWIMMO is a part of this
observation, but it applies to many MMORPGs. In my case, I’ve been playing The Lord of the Rings Online since April 2007. That’s 57 months. My main character has been at the level cap for 46 of those months. That’s about 80% of the time he’s existed. And what do you do at level cap? Mostly you form up groups for instances, raids, maybe PvP, etc. You don’t really run around the world doing quests like you did when you were leveling. Yes, you can do some socializing, and a little crafting and miscellaneous activities, but if you want to advance your character, the best way to do it, in most cases, is to form up a group and hit a dungeon.
What do you do in a MOBA? Queue up for “PvP instances,” basically. MOBAs are just PvP MMOs without the questing and (in some form) leveling. Take a look at Guild Wars, where you could make a max-level character just to do PvP right out of the gate. How’s that different from a MOBA? So many people rush to level cap these days to do endgame anyway, and there’s really no difference between doing that and just starting out in a MOBA. And that 46/57 months thing takes into account that I’m a notoriously slow leveler
Now, I’m hopeful that games like GW2 will, as ArenaNet claims, make the endgame the whole game, and that you’ll still be incentivised to run around the world and not just sit around cities queueing up for dungeons. As much as people say GW1 wasn’t a true MMORPG, it might be that most non-GW2 are more MOBA than MMORPG, which is kinda ironic.
KTG: What are you going to miss most, would you say, about working with the staff of Beckett’s Online Massive Gamer magazine??
JW: Ping pong. That is all.
KTG: I was somewhat surprised to see that your editorial staff chose GW2 as the top mmo of 2012 and beyond, what gives GW2 an edge over other games in your opinion, considering that was a list which includes so many great games like “The Secret World” and “Everquest Next” just to name a few?
JW: We actually had a formula that took a few factors into consideration and GW2 had the best “numbers.” That’s the short answer. The somewhat-longer answer is like what I referred to earlier, that I think ArenaNet and GW2 “get” that people are looking for something different, and they’re not just going to deliver something different for the sake of being different – they’re doing it because it’s actually better, at least in theory. Funcom’s sort-of got that with The Secret World, too, doing away with leveling (which, as referred to above, is something you won’t be doing with your character 80% or more of the time anyway). Honestly, we just don’t know enough about EQNext to give it super-high marks, but the brand name itself was worth a few points.
KTG: Since this blog (killthegoblinsavetheworld) is mostly about retro-mmo games, what mmo do you think fans would benefit from being resurrected or redone for a modern audience in your opinion and why?
JW: A: Retro games? You mean like Star Wars: Galaxies?
It’s only sorta retro, being just a few years old, but I thought Auto Assault was a great premise. As an old Car Wars fan, I loved the idea, but the problem was that NCSoft made it “too MMO-like.” Meaning that instead of making it a game about cars with guns, they made it an MMO, with DPS, healers, support, tanks, etc., but instead of people, you had cars. In other words, it was the same as anything else out there.
I’d like an MMO of vehicular combat that you could tweak and min/max to your heart’s content. Want more speed? You’ll have to shed some armor or weapons. Want bigger guns? OK, but you won’t be as fast. And so on. Come on, Steve Jackson, you know you want to do this!
KTG: Yea that would be great! I was a fan of the Car Wars pen and paper game too. OK so the big question on a lot of people’s minds, Wow: the king of them all, at least for now. What are your thought’s on Blizzard’s behemoth and its future and its impact in the mmo game industry? Do you think SWTOR can have lasting power to topple it from the mmo throne, or do you think it will fizzle out like many shiny new mmos before it?
JW: Something a lot of people have said, and that I agree with, is that “The only thing that will kill WoW is WoW.” A new game, whether it’s SWTOR or GW2 or TSW or EQN isn’t going to “kill” WoW, not directly at least. Like I said, gamers are looking for something more in their MMOs than… uh, well, “kill the goblins and save the world.” If newer games rewrite this paradigm and steal some players from WoW, that won’t be the real impact of their success. Rather, players will look at what those games are doing and think, “I like WoW, but why can’t it be more like this game?” If Blizzard can’t adjust its game to be more in line with these newer offerings, then who really “killed” WoW? Some other game for “stealing” WoW’s players or Blizzard for not changing WoW to meet the needs and wants of its players?
That’s it guys! I want to than Jason once again for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak to me and hope to bring you more interviews from some of the big guns in the industry in the future. Pick up a copy of the Mar/April edition of Massive Online Magazine, it will be the last but it should still be out on stands now.