Tell Us Dammit: Mobile MMOs

Image: Kotaku

I've been looking at spending some time with an MMO again recently. But coupled with the explosion of Pokemon GO over the last week, and the nature of how that works, it got me thinking: how far off are we from a future where mobile MMOs, at least in the sense that we recognise them on PC and consoles, become more of the norm?

The amount of grind in Pokemon GO, for instance, would put many MMOs to shame. But people tend to be more receptive to the grind when they're travelling on a bus or train five days a week. Maybe there's something about physical movement that makes the grind more acceptable. I don't know.

But here's something that's undoubtedly a fact: mobiles are getting more powerful every year. Your phone can drive a virtual reality headset that works well.

Here's some footage of one hack-and-slash MMO from South Korea: Heroes of Incredible Tales. It's impressive, or maybe it's because I don't expect action games to be quite so fluid on mobiles.

So what I want to know is: what would it take for you to get into a mobile MMO that plays and behaves like what you might find on a PC or console? Does it have to be free-to-play? Are graphics a large part of the appeal? Is there a certain setting the game needs to be in? And do you think mobile connectivity and the power of mobiles are at the point where those sorts of games can be enjoyable in Australia right now?


    I don't think great graphics are required. Look at ingress. Fairly simple graphics for a game. But great strategy. Teamwork is highly favoured also. Not so much in Pokemon but hopefully they add some features in to promote that.

    Tell Us Dammit: Did Alex Walker kill Mark Serrells?

    Yes: 69%
    No: 36%

    I always thought it was the low-fi nature of the graphics in games like we always point to when talking about successful MMOs that helped them become popular.

    As in, the size of WoW's worlds sort of come at the expense of detailed graphics? Right?

      While some MMOs have been limited in graphics by either the size of the rendered area or the number of moving objects/players on screen... the most enduring MMOs have a chosen art style that holds up longer. Like WoW.

      The realism looking MMOs or the excessively graphical fantasy MMOs have suffered the worse due to aging grsphics or poor gameplay due too much flash and little substance.

      That said WoW has had to fight and keep updating the graphics engine and game models to keep pace with time... 11 plus years keeping it both looking good... but also looking like warcraft is tough.

    I honestly couldn't afford the data allowance to play this sort of thing on the go & when I'm home I have so many better options.

      ~20mb an hour? What sort of plan are you on?

        Mine only has 300MB a month.

          Mine's only 20mb but part of a shared group so I get a bit of leeway. No youtube on mobile data!

            Wow, I didn't know they went that low. How much does that cost per month? I don't think I've ever cracked 40MB in one month.

            I don't even youtube on non-mobile data :P

              Oh crap, that was a type. 200mb!
              It's fairly low but a few other users in the pool have massive data limits to offset it. It's a work plan so I never see prices.

              I've gone over my 6gb allowance a few times - upgrading to at least 10gb when this plan expires.

              Turns out, trying to watch esports on the go chews through data like you wouldn't believe.

    MMOs are by nature grindy, they are long play games where 100s of hours is still considered casual.

    Mobile MMOs are terrible because they exaggerate the grind to its unbearable limit so they can sell microtransactions. And they are Iunscupulous about it.

    What would get me to play a mobile MMO, a well established and reputable AAA developer with clear design goals and intentions over microtransactions.

    PokemonGo does a ln okay job... still not the best earning a measly 10 coins every 21 hours in game is limited.... but the Pokestop lures having an area influence is cool.

    I prefer microtransactions being optional feature unlock (storage) or cosmetic.

    As long as there's a big world and lots of freedom in the things I want to do, and it has a playerbase, I'm on board. If I can bring my friends in, even better.
    And that I don't need to invest more money (Subscriptions for access to the game are alright) after getting it, I'm sold.

      So you've just described Ingress. Best played with friends. Make sure you all join the same team.

    Final Fantasy XIV via PS Vita Remote Play - live the dream!

    Also Phantasy Star Online 2 (no Western version yet...)

    A PC or console style MMO wouldn't work because a) The interface needs to be simpler on mobile devices because of screen real-estate and the size needed for touch elements and 2) sessions are a lot more sporadic and shorter in length. That's not to say an MMO wouldn't work it would just need to be designed for mobile devices.

      They need to come up with a better control scheme for mobile games if they want to achieve any sort of complexity - I hate having to obscure part of the screen (in the case of many third-person games, permanently - see any port that emulates twin-sticks on the screen) just to play the game with any degree of proficiency. Hell, it's frustrating enough in console FPS where you can be attacked by something you can't see because it's hidden behind your gun-model.

    It would have to be one that works on a handheld, because it won't work on my mobile otherwise :P Also I would rather preserve its battery. Also I don't think I'm overly that interested in MMOs so it would probably take a lot, and then some.

    Well Pokemon Go is basically an MMO so welcome to the future.

    In terms of it having a severe grind - many games and MMOs have this to some extent and what is a bad grind in one game that puts people off can be a fun and acceptable grind in another. It just depends on how the grind is designed. I can tolerate and even enjoy grinding for xp in Blizzard games but other MMOs kill it for me within 10-15minutes.

    Pokemon Go has introduced a new aspect of the grind, a new way to progress through it. It's new and very novel for most of us so it'll have much more longevity. Content wise the game is fairly bare so it relies on that grind to pad the experience out. Be nice to see what the game will be like a year from now, guaranteed to have a lot more to do and more robust systems due to the sheer amount of cash going their way.

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