Like the Yetti and the Loch Ness Monster, a great MMORTS is hard to find. This week, Dana returns to his weekly column and looks at an approach that might actually finally bring one into the mainstream.
There are four main obstacles that stand in the way of the MMORTS genre:
The first problem is in the mindset of an RTS player. The whole genre is far more like a board game than a video game. MMOs are meant to be long, enduring, near-on endless marathons. RTS games are short and the table is cleared once a winner is crowned. The biggest hurdle for an MMORTS designer is translating a relatively short game into a long one.
The second issue an MMORTS faces is the spoiled nature of the MMORPG audience. You cannot “lose” in most MMOs. Sure you can die, sometimes you even get an XP penalty, but largely these games encourage everyone to win. That’s not necessarily wrong. RPGs wouldn’t be much fun if people couldn’t get to the end. Nonetheless, it’s a different mindset. The bulk of the MMO audience is not used to losing, while RTS games are far more competitive by design.
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