Just to sum up what I think on this subject quickly, a brief background is in order. You Got Tobold talking about Cuppycake, who is in turn talking about Keen and Graev's complaint that we are working backwards with MMO innovation.
From what I have read so far of their initial blog post is that the bar has been set in several different games since Ultima Online, and to be honest, no one has ever been able to release a game of that complexity, or hit the minimal bar level, at release since.
Even for a top-down 2D client, UO had a huge amount of gameplay and options from the start. Granted, there were no web sites out there like WoW-Wiki or Thottbot to help you find anything out about your game either. You had YOU and if you were lucky enough to have a guild then you had them too. That was it. There were of course, many problems, but there were several ideas and systems that everyone loved.
What I think the guys are trying to say is, why doesn't anyone release things that were proven to be good in many different MMO's and make an MMO soup of pure goodness? Then improving on all of that goodness instead of just roughly copying what came before or dismissing it entirely.
I have asked similar questions in the past. I mean, there is still no other game that has housing like UO did, even after the little issue with ten-million tents cluttering the entire landscape. The chat systems are okay, but there is a world of work that needs to be done there. UO also had a huge socal aspect to it that no game has ever matched that I am aware of. Then again, I don't play every single MMO anymore and may have missed something out there. What about pack horses? I mean damn, we can't even kill each other anymore, where's my damn pack horse?
I often wonder what the hell happened to Bow Fletching and Lumberjacking. I hear Cartography will be comming along soon, but why didn't WoW pick up on either of those other skills? You know I am also steaming mad that I can't even ask Evocare to give me a Castle! They don't have em! WTH?
The RvR that was also mentioned by K&G, is apparently a great idea too. Why aren't new games coming out with all of these things that we know already work, instead of releasing these games that have a tiny subset of good things and try to patch in the rest for the next ten years?
I have always wondered about that myself. It is like we are aware of what was cool from a customer standpoint, and most of the entire industry of programmers and developers must know each other by now. So why are we not able to create a fully robust game from the start and improve on it?
Now, don't get me wrong. WoW, and I am sure a multitude of other games have had great new developments and innovations, but what the heck is taking so long? What is the big picture, and who is gonna pull it together and give us what we have all wanted for over a decade? I don't really think it is going backwards, but they are so slow in giving us things we already had ten years ago, that it does give the appearance of going in reverse.
I think that WoW updating the fishing skill almost five years after release and ten years since we went fishing in UO, seems a bit on the backwards side to me. That is one of the greatist things people liked in UO, but WoW just kind of put something in there, that had no real purpose, no one liked it, until they fixed it so it is at least workable for the average player. Even with all those fixes they did, it is still not very innovative. They could do a much better job of making Fishing a fun experience, and make all of that stuff we can catch worth more then vendor trash.
To be fair though, WoW has come a very long way since UO and EQ. I really like some of the new instancing and phasing techniques they are coming out with now. There are a great many things I think we are yet to see from these guys and I look forward to watching the end result.
I just hope that going forward, MMO developers will take these great ideas and innovations and put them in their game before it is released. Instead of releasing the core components over years of patching in the game, and then going back and fixing the mess.
Hey, I am just a DJ out in the country that has been playing games since the 80's. What could I possibly know? I wish Jinx was around to give me a crayon drawing so I could understand this stuff better.
Overall, I don't really agree with Keen and Graev about everything going in reverse, but I can understand their frustration with the industry. Believe me, I have been an angry gamer forever. Fix your game people!
That's all I got... Laters.