Saturday, 17 January 2009

World of Warcraft is the new Rogue

Alright, that might just be a bit of an overstatement, but it does seem like some MMO-companies have been taking a leaf out of roguelikes when it comes to game complexity and tactics. Granted, the company concerned does have quite a track record when it comes to roguelikes, but the level of detail and thought that has went into some encounters and the tactics and complexity required to overcome them rivals that of some roguelikes at least. Granted, MMOs generally lack randomness, and of course permadeath, and a whole host of other features common in roguelikes, but I think there is a strong case for at least a commonality between the genres. What do you think?

6 comments:

Karmatic said...

Both WoW and roguelikes take place in a fantasy setting. In both games, you battle monsters and collect loot. That's where the similarities end though. Aside from roleplaying similarities, WoW's gameplay is nothing like any roguelike. Perhaps even more importantly, the objective of WoW is entirely different than that of a roguelike: in WoW, your objective is to socialize, acquire better loot, and perhaps win PvP battles. In a roguelike, your objective is to survive and thus beat the game.

Mario Donick said...

Interesting thesis, but I think I'll disagree.

First of all (and I am sure you know this) World of Warcraft has not invented the genre of MMORPG, it just made it easier to get into. I am very sure that older MMORPGs (Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot ...) offered challenges that required good tactical thinking, too. Thus I would transform your thesis to "MMORPGs are for 2009 what was Rogue in the 1980s".

Then there is this "MULTI" in MMORPG. Roguelikes are usually (except perhaps MAngband) played by a single player, requiring one person to anticipate and solve all problems that might occur. It's both strategy and tactics, and it's all my fault if I die. In MMORPGs, the different "jobs" are splitted on different players -- while I'm attacking the mob, another player heals me.

So, roguelikes are about the cleverness of a single player -- MMORPG are about teamplay, working together and partly about leadership. I think these are two totally different categories.

If you just want to say that Rogue influenced the creation of many other "roguelikes" and WoW influenced the creation of many MMORPGs similar to WoW, than I might partly (because of the aforementioned "There's nothing in WoW that has not been in other MMORPGs already"-thought) agree.

But this can be said for all kinds of genres. There's always a first-one, followed by something that takes the ideas of the first and improves it for a mass market, followed by lots of competitors. The first one will be forgotten, the competitors will not compete.

Karmatic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karmatic said...

Mario Donick said... "offered challenges that require[d] good tactical thinking, too. Thus I would transform your thesis to "MMORPGs are for 2009 what was Rogue in the 1980s"."

I agree that both roguelikes and MMORPG's ie WoW consist of challenges that require tactical gaming. However, Madden Football 2009 presents challenges that require tactical thinking also,.

Mario Donick said... "roguelikes are about the cleverness of a single player -- MMORPG are about teamplay, working together and partly about leadership. I think these are two totally different categories."


I agree that they are totally different categories. That is why I disagreed with your post to begin with.

Mario Donick said... "There's always a first-one, followed by something that takes the ideas of the first and improves it for a mass market, followed by lots of competitors."

The closest modern game to a modern, mass market roguelike is Diablo 2. WoW did not improve upon Rogue/Hack/Crawl/Band/ADOM because they are different game types.

Dave said...

Lest this topic get a bit too controversial, I should have clarified my original post slightly better.

But anyway....

I would argue that the two genres (RLs and MMORPGs) are actually more similar than most people think - I can certainly imagine a massive multiplayer version of Angband, for example. That's what I was perhaps trying to argue, only my poor phrasing got in the way.

I can also see elements of the whole "tank-dps-heal" synergy in certain aspects of Crawl's minion handling as well.

I'd also point to Guild Wars, where the outside world is instanced to the player as something very close in spirit to a roguelike.

And yeah, WoW certainly wasn't the first MMORPG. I played Everquest 2 (and still do occasionally) for some months before WoW came out.

Karmatic said...

Ooops, Mario I responded to you thinking you were the author. My mistake and nonetheless interesting discussion