If you happen to follow virtual reality scene, you noticed there are a lot of games being announced only for the Oculus Rift headset. Exclusive games that we haven’t heard about before, and that are made with great care to deliver the best VR experience to players.
However, what are the most suitable genres for it? Can MMO’s have a chance to hop on this VR train?
I have seen a lot of players using Oculus Rift. Rift is the only headset that is on the market, and we don’t really have a variety in this industry at this current moment. Headsets are being announced, but they are mostly starting to come out at the end of 2015, or next year.
Games That Fit Right in
Users with Oculus Rift have said that racing games were never as interesting and immersive as they are when you equip yourself with an HMD.
I agree full-heartedly.
I’ve tried many racing games. Even before this VR hype, most of the games that I have bought were either MMO’s or racing games. The amount of hours that I have put into Trackmania is utterly ridiculous.
But when I did put on the Rift, my whole perspective changed. I could swear at that time that I will never play racing games that support Oculus Rift without the Rift. Even if the quality suffers from it, and resolution will not be great, and even if you might get motion sickness, I knew that these problems will be erased.
But could MMO titles implement the same kind of VR immersion into their games?
Of course they could. Would it be effective? Well, maybe.
Apart from being able to move your head and look around, everything is in 3D. And now that head tracking has been added to DK2, everything seems much more complete. All of these features are used in their full potential in first person view games. Racing games like iracing or Trackmania 2 are in first person view, or at least allow to be, FPS games are mostly in first person view.
Take for example GTA 5. It is a great game that for the first time in Rockstar development cycle allowed to have a first person view. VorpX support was immediately added to GTA as soon as it hit the PC shelves, and now look at it. For many people GTA is the best example for where VR could take us. Even though I disagree on the “best” part, as GTA doesn’t even have a native VR support, I can see their point of view.
Same with Elite: Dangerous, same with Half Life 2, same with Skyrim. They all have the first person option.
Some of them are even MMO’s. For example, Elite Dangerous can be an MMO apart from single player mode. But not all of them.
Mostly, MMO’s, especially MMORPG’s like WoW and Guild Wars 2 are made to play in third person view. You can play in first person also, but… why? It doesn’t help you in your leveling, or in exploring. On the contrary, it can even alter your good experience with these of kind of games. Physical ergonomics are one thing that Oculus company can control, but inside-game comfort lies purely on developers. They have to make sure that you are comfortable in there for as many hours as possible.
Yes, I do rant about the view a lot, but in the end, it is absolute necessity for Oculus Rift or any other kind of head-mounted display to be value giving, not a value taking device.
I have played an MMORPG game called Guild Wars 2 for literally 1000’s of hours. Actually, let me check by typing /age. It’s 2,844 hours and 55 minutes. It even sounds a bit depressing as I could have used this time on something more useful, but hey, these are MMO’s in the nutshell.
They just suck all your time until you are confused by others with Dumbledore in terms of facial looks. Could I have been playing all these 2,844 hours in Oculus Rift headset? Hard to tell.
I hardly believe that it’s possible with DK1 or even DK2, but if Oculus Rift CV1 comes out and is absolutely free of nausea inducing, that might be a possibility.
Yet, if I look back, I can’t see VR headsets adding much to the overall experience to MMO games that are “magic” oriented. Looking down on your character means you will have to look down with your head all the time. Looking around, targeting, and clicking on stuff is easily accomplished with the mouse in these types of scenes, but with VR headsets it is just an extra hassle.
And that leads to a second problem.
Controllers For MMO’s
Founders of Oculus themselves have said that keyboard and mouse is not the best option for a good VR encounter. That was being confirmed by Oculus company announcing their own VR input that will come out in H1 2016 (not like Oculus Rift in Q1 2016), as well as an Xbox controller that will come with a Rift bundle.
However, I think most of us here can agree that MMORPG’s are best played with keyboard and mouse. It allows a perfect amount of freedom and doesn’t take more time than it needs to complete the most basic of functions, like typing in chat.
FOVE has an interesting take on all of this with its own eye tracking, but still, it takes years to find this golden spot with VR controllers.
Feature of VR, Oculus Rift and MMO’s
If you look at the Oculus Share store, you would see that most games are made by indie developers.
I can’t say the exact future that awaits VR in MMO scene, as it takes a lot of investments, time and money to make multiplayer games even just for PC. Indie devs don’t have that kind of power. A lot of money are already thrown into VR sink, but it takes time to fully develop it into a competing market.
Once it does, maybe then will we see a bigger picture in all the areas, but for now, at this current moment, I would not consider MMO titles (except for maybe MMO FPS shooters and some other games that focus on FPV) to be popular in virtual reality realm.
Yes, there are MMO games like Star Citizen or Everquest Next that plan to have an official Oculus Rift support, but it’s just too early to say how it will all work out. Maybe if the game will only be made for Oculus Rift, and the VR crowd is big enough to go to that area. Who knows.
Time will tell.