Free MMORPG & Free MMOs

Linear MMORPGs are Good

Posted on: October 22, 2010

Some people like to think that linearity in video games is bad. That’s mostly true, but for MMORPGs, I think linearity is a good thing, as it provides direction. Just look at a game like Lunia. It’s an anime MMORPG that’s broken down into worlds and stages – sort of like a Super Mario game. In order to get to the next stage, you need to finish the current one. It’s probably the most linear MMORPG out there, but it’s also a popular game; definitely one of the more popular games ijji publishes. But too much linearity may not be a good thing. I think games like Lunia take things a bit to the extreme. Look at a game like Fists of Fu. The game is also broken down into stages, but it’s not as linear, because players don’t ALWAYS move from one stage to another. Players can pick which stages within their level range they want to complete first – where as in Lunia you MUST complete level A before moving to level B then to C. Fists of Fu is from OutSpark and it’s actually one of their new MMORPGs. It’s a side scrolling MMORPG that aims to compete with Dragon Saga from Gravity Interactive – as it has the same type of hack-n-slash style gameplay.

The success of Vindictus from Nexon is yet another example of why linear MMOs work really well. Vindictus is broken down into stages the same way Lunia is. The only thing different is that you might have to play the same few stages in Vindictus multiple times to complete every possible quest in that area. The game world is literally broken down into a persistent world town and instanced dungeons. That’s it. It’s hard to get any more linear the Vindictus and Lunia. Other stage based games like Divine Souls from OutSpark and Grand Chase from Ntreev are also extremely linear. Even really popular MMORPGs like The Lord of the Rings Online from Turbine and Heroes of Three Kingdoms from Perfect World Entertainment do this. They’re built in way that their quest lines are linear.

There are games that are a bit more “open”, but still linear. Just look games like Grand Fantasia and Kitsu Saga from Aeria Games. Both games have quests that take players from point A to Point B to Point C while leveling them up in the process. These games wouldn’t be so linear if they had multiple quests that took players to different areas of the game world, but that isn’t the case. These games basically have ONE quest chain which is extremely linear. Everyone goes through it – no matter what class they pick! Another good example of a game that does this is Runes of Magic and maybe Allods Online. Both games are structured so players move throughout the game in a very linear pattern. It’s easy to say EVERY Game is like this, but it isn’t true. More open world games such as Ragnarok Online, Darkfall Online and Uncharted Waters Online are examples of MMORPGs that aren’t linear.

The thing is, I actually LIKE when a game is linear, because it gives me direction. I know exactly where to go and what to do in 4Story, because the questing is structured in a way that players will always have something to do and know where to go.

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October 2010
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