Friday, February 9, 2018

The future of MMOs is VR. I've seen it.



I've spent a decent amount of time playing VRChat and I keep getting surprised every time I get on. Visiting theme parks, virtual cinemas, concerts, and raves are all really fun activities. But what makes it so special is being in those spaces with other people inside VR. You get a sense of closeness that you can't get normally that totally elevates any social interaction you're going to have; you can even communicate reasonably well with nothing but gestures.

Social is a big part of MMOs. It's the main reason I keep going back to the MMOs that I've played, and it's the foundation for guilds, trading, raids, and group content.

Imagine once we have that AAA VRMMO that allows you to play cards with people within inns, or just mess around by drinking and stacking bottles.

Imagine player housing taken to the next level where you can map your real chair and furniture to your virtual space and have virtual TVs that you can play and watch movies on with visitors.

Imagine how much more responsive fishing or other side-activities will be. What we come to expect in most MMOs is simply clicking on a fishing node after some time has elapsed; it gets old very fast. And add in the ability to manage your own market stool or shop, physically putting together items and hammering weapons as a blacksmith. I was always in awe at how involving the crafting was in FF14; when I first started playing, I spent a while just watching people craft and seeing a physical workstation actually materialize. Seeing that for real with 1:1 input would be really surreal.

Imagine other activities like clubbing / raves (Dancing is incredibly fun in VRChat and surprisingly popular), fireworks which just feel so much nicer in VR, and theme parks like Gold Saucer but more expansive.

I haven't touched on combat, but just take a look at Vanishing Realms for melee combat, The Unspoken for magic combat, and QuiVr for ranged combat. I personally haven't had a chance to play OrbusVR (indie VRMMO - The very first) yet, but it has an interesting take on the mage class and I very much look forward to playing it.

VR is advancing much faster than people realize. Within 5 years, we're going to have eye-tracking, facial-tracking, and full body-tracking built into your average VR headset. That's when socializing in VR becomes uncannily real. We'll start to see some of those mentioned technologies as soon as next year with 2nd gen headsets. Quite literally every expression of your body will be shown.

The possibilities for VRMMOs are basically endless.

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