8 votes

Amazon Game Studios and Leyou are developing a free-to-play Lord of the Rings MMO

10 comments

  1. [7]
    aphoenix Link
    Interesting - I'm not sure we need another LotR MMO, but here we are. I think MMOs are kind of a dying market. I don't think that they appeal to the current younger generation of gamers, and the...

    Interesting - I'm not sure we need another LotR MMO, but here we are.

    I think MMOs are kind of a dying market. I don't think that they appeal to the current younger generation of gamers, and the older generation is getting, well, old, and we already tend to be spoken for as far as MMOs go. I don't think this will draw me away from what minimal time I still spend playing World of Warcraft, and I don't think it's going to draw in too many new people to MMOs.

    But what do I know? Amazon made about four hundred and seventy nine bajillion dollars last year, so they probably have a better idea of what's going to do well than me.

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Loire Link Parent
      I do wonder if MMO's were a fad limited to our generation or if I am just imagining their decline, because I'm older and no longer personally play them. I remember those early golden years of...

      I do wonder if MMO's were a fad limited to our generation or if I am just imagining their decline, because I'm older and no longer personally play them.

      I remember those early golden years of Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, Final Fantasy XI, EVE online fondly. Everything seemed magical and the communities within those games felt like actual living breathing worlds. The last few times I've taken a stab at a new MMO, the world no longer felt like worlds, the other players felt no different from any other multiplayer game queing up for content and then disappearing into the nether.

      Am I jaded,or dod we leave the concept of virtual world's behind somewhere?

      5 votes
      1. aphoenix Link Parent
        I don't think we've entirely left that idea behind, but I think the concept of games that are also work are pretty much behind us. Right now to play WoW, I log in on raid nights, I log in a couple...

        I don't think we've entirely left that idea behind, but I think the concept of games that are also work are pretty much behind us.

        Right now to play WoW, I log in on raid nights, I log in a couple more times during the week to do a M+ or two, and that's about it. Everything else I do is not necessary and I only do it if I enjoy doing it. I'm not a cutting edge player, but I get Ahead of the Curve for each raid and get a few mythic bosses down (and a raider.io score that's quasi-respectable). It's fun, and has a much lower time requirement than WoW had even during the last expansion where you had to grind content to get Legion-daries, which many people considered mandatory for most content.

        This world is not much work, and almost all the stuff that's immersive is entirely optional and can be accessed at my convenience. Everything I just wrote is a roundabout way of saying that we've given up some of that immersion for a lot more convenience, and a lot more immediate rewards.

        The worlds that give us a more immersive experience now seem to be single player RPGs, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad. I like a good 1P RPG, but I also like the concept of an alternate world with alternate things happening... but I just don't have the time, and I don't think it's just me. It seems like a lot of people are approaching gaming in a more convenient way for themselves. I think that's probably good (this is a recreational hobby) but in a way we miss out on some of the worlds that used to be magical.

        5 votes
    2. [3]
      Bullmaestro Link Parent
      I wouldn't really say 'dying market.' The problem is that WoW's success pushed a massive gold rush on the games industry, leading to developers pushing out unfinished or crappy ultra-casual MMOs...

      I wouldn't really say 'dying market.' The problem is that WoW's success pushed a massive gold rush on the games industry, leading to developers pushing out unfinished or crappy ultra-casual MMOs to market and hyping them as WoW killers. WAR, D&DO, LOTRO, Neverwinter, GW2, Wildstar, Transformers Universe (a MOBA originally planned to be a MMO) and a lot of other games spring to mind as examples of flawed games that came out of that gold rush.

      The only MMO that I'd make a strong argument for is Final Fantasy XIV even though it has too many flaws to truly stand up to WoW.

      If anything, WoW Classic will be the true test of whether a hardcore MMO can still exist in today's market. And I think they can. Firstly, a large portion of players ditched WoW because the game was being dumbed down and turned increasingly babymode by Blizzard. Secondly, Jagex managed to make lightning strike twice by releasing an old school version of RuneScape, which has eclipsed the far more casual main game (RuneScape 3) which a lot of players left due to bad game-destroying updates.

      3 votes
      1. aphoenix Link Parent
        I don't want to get off on a rant, but WoW Classic is definitely not a hardcore MMO. It was considered casual when it was released, and it still has a lot of casual-friendly quality of life...

        WoW Classic will be the true test of whether a hardcore MMO can still exist in today's market.

        I don't want to get off on a rant, but WoW Classic is definitely not a hardcore MMO. It was considered casual when it was released, and it still has a lot of casual-friendly quality of life features, along with impermanence of individual actions, easy and accessibly raids, no punishments for death, and a simple "guard rail" type approach to content (ie - everyone gets the same sorts of experiences if they put in time).

        Don't get me wrong, I love WoW, but it has never been a "hardcore" MMO, in any iteration.

        I think Classic will be successful, though probably not as successful as OSRS was (relatively speaking). I also think that the next expansion is going to be great, and as a person who mostly cares about raiding these days, WoW has only gotten better over time.

        leading to developers pushing out unfinished or crappy ultra-casual MMOs to market

        I think the idea of "ship it and fix it" is particularly bad when there's a behemoth in the marketplace that you really have one shot to dethrone, so I fully agree with your point here, but I also think that people have switched to games that have more immediate rewards, and it's hard to do that well in an MMO, which should be about constant improvement and rewards for effort.

        3 votes
      2. cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
        “Ultra-casual”... Wildstar? I’m pretty sure the reason it failed was because it was literally the opposite of casual player friendly. The game was pretty mechanically solid overall, and bug-wise...

        “Ultra-casual”... Wildstar? I’m pretty sure the reason it failed was because it was literally the opposite of casual player friendly. The game was pretty mechanically solid overall, and bug-wise the launch went reasonably smoothly as well, other than the end-game raids being broken for a bit. But ultra-casual it was not. In fact, the primary reason I and pretty much everyone I know stopped playing it eventually was because it was so damned demanding, time commitment-wise, and because of how punishing of mistakes during the raids it was. I think, if anything, wildstar proved that the days of 40-man, several-hour-long, mechanically difficult raids being mainstream in MMOs is over for good reason; Ain’t nobody got time (or the frustration tolerance) for that shit anymore.

        1 vote
    3. SourceContribute Link Parent
      This is the same idea as Epic building Fortnite; it's a real-world case study of the best things you can do with their engine. The engines that Amazon provides are under AWS, there's stuff for AI,...

      This is the same idea as Epic building Fortnite; it's a real-world case study of the best things you can do with their engine. The engines that Amazon provides are under AWS, there's stuff for AI, massive amounts of compute power, storing data, storing backups, CDNs for serving data, multiple geo hosting for lower latency, and more. Lord of the Rings is a suitably impressive and existing IP that Amazon can leverage instead of coming up with a whole new fantasy world and risk being brand a clone of every other MMORPG out there.

      Small game studios that want to scale fast will look to Amazon after seeing a case study like this.

      Also disclaimer, I work at a game company. Also, all opinions are my own.

      3 votes
  2. [3]
    Douglas Link
    We'll see how it turns out, I'm a bit curious after seeing how New World has been going. Seeing big companies, both foreign or domestic (but China has been investing a lot in gaming recently),...

    We'll see how it turns out, I'm a bit curious after seeing how New World has been going.

    Seeing big companies, both foreign or domestic (but China has been investing a lot in gaming recently), invest so much into mobile and free-to-play games with some of the most profitable (and in Amazon's case, a bit unethical) companies leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth. It feels to me like they're trying to gain a foothold in gamifying data acquisition.

    I'm going to half-jest here and half-don my tinfoil hat for a moment, I would not be surprised if Amazon (or any company) finds a way to, unbeknownst to their users, gamify piloting the warehouse robots into an mmorpg. All you'd have to do is aggregate fetch requests into a queue, integrate the most in-depth AR onto the robot camera's output into the game, and viola; fetching 10 flowers is actually fetching 10 orders from the warehouse.

    ...again I'm half-jesting/half-tossing it out there for someone to shoot it down and tell me why that sounds ridiculous. I mean if the game was fun enough, people would pay to play it, right? And at that point they've found free workers who are paying THEM to work for them! And again, if it was done sneakily-enough, the players would never know it.

    5 votes
    1. Deimos Link Parent
      It's an interesting idea, and I guarantee that there are some companies out there that are trying to figure out a way to do something like that. It's conceptually not too different from what...

      It's an interesting idea, and I guarantee that there are some companies out there that are trying to figure out a way to do something like that. It's conceptually not too different from what Google has been doing with ReCaptcha lately: getting users to solve computer-vision problems for their self-driving cars by identifying traffic lights, fire hydrants, crosswalks, etc.

      The main difficulty is that there's a pretty limited set of problems that it would work well for. You need a problem that's understood well enough to be able to convert it into a game, but it can't be easily solved by a computer, and there needs to be a reliable (and probably easy) way to verify whether a solution is correct or not.

      Worth noting that Amazon's already been experimenting with gamification of their warehouse workers' jobs, including getting them to compete against each other through a game representation of how fast they're working: ‘MissionRacer’: How Amazon turned the tedium of warehouse work into a game

      4 votes
    2. cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
      It's not quite the same as your idea, since there is no gamification involved IIRC, but your comment did remind me of a pretty awesome dystopian Mexican scifi movie on the same subject (VR/AR...

      It's not quite the same as your idea, since there is no gamification involved IIRC, but your comment did remind me of a pretty awesome dystopian Mexican scifi movie on the same subject (VR/AR controlled robotic labour) called Sleep Dealer. Have you seen it? If not, you should check it out, since I suspect you would enjoy it.

      2 votes