Looking to the Future of MMOs – A PAX Panel
By Shannon Doyle (Leliah), OnRPG Elder Scribe
When six industry leaders get into a room to talk about the future awesome things happen. When those six people have to answer questions from the people who play their games you get a glimpse into the industry like none other. From the closure of MMOs to the future the MMORPG PAX Panel on the future of Online Gaming had it all. With industry vets like Jack Emmert from Cryptic Studios and Dave Georgeson from SOE on hand to answer questions and give their views it was the panel to be at this year.
So, what does the future hold for MMOs? This was the first question asked at the panel but I think the panel as a whole spoke more on the future than the one directed question. Answers ranged from more dynamic content and letting people do what they want, to the community helping developers. But what seems really to be the future is mobile access, the ability to be in the game in some way without being at your computer. We can already see this coming with things like ArcheVille which was recently announced to go with ArcheAge.
Jack Emmert came straight out and said that mobile access/games are the future. While Chris Roberts from Star Citizen would like to see tablets become the first point of connection with fans.
My personal favorite question of the night was about the closure of MMOs. In particular the closure of City of Heroes and if everyone who plays an MMO should be prepared for their game to die. Every one of the panelists agreed, MMOs should last forever. Dave Georgeson put it quite simply, “City of Heroes shouldn’t have died, damn it.” It was also said that any time one closes it is purely business. And finally, if a game is facing closure it should be mentioned to the fans before it is too late and ways should be provided for the community to help bring down costs.
All Classes on One Character
A member of the audience put forth the question of why can’t you level all the classes on one character. The best answer to that was again from Jack Emmert who said that ultimately MMOs are about being social. If you don’t need anyone else you won’t play with anyone else. And eventually if you’re only playing alone you’ll stop playing.
User Generated Content
Finally there was a discussion on user generated content. MMO content takes a long time to make so building a tool that will keep players happy and creating content of their own is only logical. At the same time though even user generated content requires a lot of work, and so it was suggested that there should be some sort of tip system in place for builders. A way to thank builders for the hard work they’ve put in. But all around it was agreed that user generated content is the future.
The future looks bright for MMOs. The industry is expanding in every direction. Mobility and user generated content seem to be the things of the future. And MMOs should never close. For me this one panel made the 3,000 mile trip completely worth it. And that is all thanks to the wonderful developers of the games we love.