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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:28 pm 
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Hmm.

To be frank, I really don't think Myst Online is what people have in mind when they use the term ARG.

The online play portion of Myst Online- and no matter what you think, that is the dominant area- kinda sinks it in that respect. ARGs are played out in the real world. Fantasy worlds like Myst have, that you can only visit via a computer screen, don't fit well in that.

As the wiki article states:

"While ARGs generally use the internet as a central binding medium, they are not played exclusively on a computer and usually do not require the use of special software or interfaces."

No breakthroughs about MO can be made in real life. You cannot travel anywhere in real life and find bits of it. The game can only be 'advanced on', as it were, inside a simulated computer front end. All of this is against the ethic of an ARG.

I think the use of 'designed for a hive mind' has been misappropriated for use here also.

I can't really see this definition catching on. The majority of people looking to play Myst will see it as an MMO, just with a different slant on things.

I also suspect trying to re-define what Myst is or is not will not make a huge difference. Myst is either going to be engaging to enough players or it is not. It has not yet produced the factor that will make it so.

I know it's natural to try and find an answer during this period of waiting, but I think the simpler answer is this- Myst online IS an MMORPG. It's statless and economyless, has a large puzzle element, and it is highly player interactive. That simply makes it a type of MMORPG.

That's all it needs. The one issue is simply that not all of it has got going yet.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:43 pm 
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Norfren wrote:
I cross my fingers for the future of Uru, however, I am afraid that if the "story-line" of Uru advances with the speed similar to that of a real archeolical excavation and restoration, only a handful of explorers will tolerate that.


Well, I think it will be a different demographic. ARG games like the Beast, the Lost Experience, etc have been very successful. Only a few hundred actively participated, but thousands and thousands kept track of it.

But I agree, a solely ARG experience (as seen in the above examples) is not going to be successful for Uru. I'd think that Uru has to merge elements of ARGs, LARPs and adventure games into something new in order to be successful. That's why I coined the term 'Massively Multiplayer Alternate Reality Game'. I expect that 'Massively Multiplayer Live Action Role Play' could easily be applied as a term. Or 'Massively Multiplayer Speculative Re-enactment'.

Anyway, yes, we all want more content, whether it be more ages, more story elements, more interaction or more things to do. My point is that we as players, with a change in expectations and point of view, can probably get more out of the game than we are getting while Cyan continues to work on the game.

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I also suspect trying to re-define what Myst is or is not will not make a huge difference. Myst is either going to be engaging to enough players or it is not. It has not yet produced the factor that will make it so.


I think that does vary from a standard ARG, yes. However, advances can and do happen outside of the MMO environment. For example, most of the interaction involving Negilahn seems to have happened on these forums.

The Uru Live game is and will always be the core of the experience, yes. How different is that from, say, the LOST experience, where the core of the game was a handful or websites. I think that Uru incorporates many elements of the ARG structure, especially the 'story as archaeology' concept.

The point of my post and the term was to simply to point out the fact that Uru is an MMO with a different slant to it as well as highlight what that slant seems to be. My thought is that if people understand more of this before walking into the game, they are more likely to enjoy it, as they can begin by being engaged by what it is, not what they thought it would be simply because it has the terms 'Myst' and 'MMORPG' hanging off of it.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:00 pm 
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"However, advances can and do happen outside of the MMO environment. For example, most of the interaction involving Negilahn seems to have happened on these forums."

And a whole lot of Uru interaction happens on the UO web site and the DRC web site. And those of Greeters, Great Tree, Guild of Cartographers...

Yes, all but one of those are fan-operated. But *from a new player's point of view*, what difference does that make? They are sites and groups scattered around the web, on which Uru-relevant things are happening. That's certainly ARG-like.

It is different from the "traditional ARG" (can you use that word on a phenomenon only a few years old?) in that this greater Uru activity is a collaboration of the fan community, and not orchestrated by GMs. But Cyan has said from the beginning that they view Uru as including player influence.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 8:27 pm 
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I think I'm in love. :shock:

Yes. This. Exactly.

If I had time, I'd like to calligraph the opening post (and five or six of the comments) on parchment, embroider it on linen, mosaic it on the walls of my Bevin. When you've been searching and searching for the right words to say exactly "what" and "why" and someone nails it so perfectly, that's worth keeping, bookmarking, handing out flyers in Takotah Courtyard.

But Uru is not, as others have pointed out, exactly the same kind of beast as "the Beast." (Although the very early Zandi journey surely qualifies!) It is set apart from other ARGs by its stated position as a commercially offered "game." It is (or presents itself as) a hybrid of "game" and alternate reality. No wonder people come expecting something other than what they find. The dance between Uru's two personalities will need to be delicate and creative (and quick) to satisfy both kinds of audience/participant.

To some that dance seems lumbering and ungraceful right now. Not me. I'm having too much fun in the "white spaces." :)

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 10:31 pm 
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I'm a little late to add to this discussion, but I did post a link to this thread over on the "unforums" at Unfiction.
http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/view ... hp?t=18606

We've been debating the definition of "what is an ARG?" there for years. Some people would not use "The LOST Experience" as a good example of an ARG, but it might be the most accessible to mainstream media. We have purists that will tell you that Uru cannot be an ARG because it doesn't ring you up on the telephone or drop a package on your doorstep. On the other hand, we've had plenty of games play out entirely in AIM chat sessions, or video clips on YouTube -- maybe all it takes is the illusion that a story is unfolding in real time in a way that makes you believe it is real, that perhaps it *could* deliver a package or ring a telephone somewhere in our world.

Uru qualifies in that sense, for me, because of how I feel when I'm immersed in it. The difference may be that you cannot convince a non-player that it is/feels real. Uru still sits in the MMORPG space, safely boxed in a computer interface.

When Audi staged the theft of a real car from a dealer showroom in New York City (the stolen A3 which launched the game "The Art of the Heist" two years ago), it demonstrated how ARGs invade reality, even for people who were not participating in the ARG. Uru has not done this -- the Zandi quest years ago *did* intersect the real world, and that probably qualifies as a stand-alone ARG, but sadly it didn't reach out to an audience beyond the Myst forums, and hasn't really been incorporated into the game we play today.

Oh dear, I'm rambling. If you visit Unfiction, you'll find that I tend to talk a lot about "meta" issues and the genre. We just had a conference, with panel discussions and presentations by people passionate about Alternate Reality Gaming, in all of its varieties.

I invite you to add me to your buddy lists (KI#00397513) and visit the Unfiction-ARGN 'hood (when you can find it publically listed in the Nexus).


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:56 pm 
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At time seem to me that MOUL is becoming a Massively-Multiplayer Soap Opera. Rather than puzzles like the previous Myst games or the initial Uru release they are dribbling out... well something else interspersed with a lot of contrived drama (imho). I can see where that may be where CYAN needs to go but I think they are going to loose a lot of cred by rushing towards it.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:12 am 
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Ushgarak wrote:
Hmm.

To be frank, I really don't think Myst Online is what people have in mind when they use the term ARG...


Of course not, because there has never been anything like this before, you can't expect something that dashes off in a new direction to be exactly the same as the concept it grew from. A few years ago, no one had anything in mind for "ARG" either. Terms change and grow, that's part of the point.

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No breakthroughs about MO can be made in real life. You cannot travel anywhere in real life and find bits of it. The game can only be 'advanced on', as it were, inside a simulated computer front end.


At this moment in Uru existance, no. But there has been in the past, Uru out is the 'real world'. There easily could be again.

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All of this is against the ethic of an ARG.


ARGs have an ethic? I'd say that many of the things we've seen to date all have a similar aesthetic, but an established and fixed set of values? Don't think so. The concept of an ARG is a growing, evolving thing. I maintain that MOUL is one part of that evolution.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 6:27 am 
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I've only briefly skimmed this thread, because I don't have time to read it in full. I just wanted to say "well said" to BladeLakem. I've always thought of MOUL as an ARG, and I love it precisely because of that aspect. It takes a bit of work, but the reward and the enjoyment (to me, at least) of being able to so fully immerse one's self in the game, even when you're not logged in, is enormous.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:53 pm 
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Eleri wrote:
Ushgarak wrote:
Hmm.

To be frank, I really don't think Myst Online is what people have in mind when they use the term ARG...


Of course not, because there has never been anything like this before, you can't expect something that dashes off in a new direction to be exactly the same as the concept it grew from. A few years ago, no one had anything in mind for "ARG" either. Terms change and grow, that's part of the point.

Quote:
No breakthroughs about MO can be made in real life. You cannot travel anywhere in real life and find bits of it. The game can only be 'advanced on', as it were, inside a simulated computer front end.


At this moment in Uru existance, no. But there has been in the past, Uru out is the 'real world'. There easily could be again.

Quote:
All of this is against the ethic of an ARG.


ARGs have an ethic? I'd say that many of the things we've seen to date all have a similar aesthetic, but an established and fixed set of values? Don't think so. The concept of an ARG is a growing, evolving thing. I maintain that MOUL is one part of that evolution.


To your first point- just because Myst Online has not been done before, does not mean you can label it with something that it simply is not. Besides, your point is contradictory. This thread was an attempt to give it an already existing label. An entirely new idea that has not vbeen done before would require a new label, not to be fitted into an old one.

But in any case, I disagree with your basic premise of it being that new anyway. It's just a take on RPing.


To your second point. I believe you are simply mistaken if you think the important and significant portion of Myst Online will ever be anything but a computer generated affair. You will NEVER be able to physically, really, visit other Agaes. I cannot stress this strongly enough- ARGs take place in the real world. ou are you in a FAR more fundamental way than Uru, for all the punning quality of the name, can ever be. ARGs run through things like the net work simply because it is pretending to be something genuinely net based.


To your final point, yes, they have an ethic, and it is very much about them being played out in the real world.


In serious and very fundamental ways, Myst Online does not fit this definition. Nor, I maintain, does it particularly need it.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2007 11:42 pm 
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This seems to be a common argument on ARG forums. Like someone mentioned earlier, some people don't accept something is an ARG unless you get phone calls and boxes on your doorstep. Others have more liberal definitions.

As for the story having to be based in the real world, that's debatable as well. The storyline of the Beast, pretty much considered to be archetypal ARG, played out in 2142. Hardly 'real world'.

I think, however, that enough of the factors of the elements of an ARG, especially the design principles I quotes, are relevant to how Uru is is being done that it's a good point to examine things from. There is a blurring between game and reality (the You are You concept encourages that). There are things that happen outside of the virtual reality proper that are a part of the story line (DRC forums), etc.

My intent with the thread is to approach the situation form a different perspective using an existing label as a starting point. I think it can be useful in describing the style of play as well as looking at what we can do with it.

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