A Golf MMO?

In one of those minor moments of daily synchronicity, shortly after reading the write up over on Nerfbat about NHL 09, an email hit my inbox regarding another sports MMO.

The email was from one of the team at Skill Technology.  They are developing a game called GimmeGolf which was described in the note as an MMO.

Which, to me, seems to be stretching the definition of MMO a bit.

Yes, GimmeGolf does appear to be a multi-player online game, but massive?  Do we have a threshold for that description?

In golf you play in groups of four, so at most you will be playing with three other people.  Yes, you can be in a tournament against many other people, but at the end of the day is the tournament result any different from rankings on any number of other online games that don’t claim to be MMOs?

And then there are the things we tend to expect with an MMO; a persistent world of some sort, character customization, and character development over time.  Aside from a record of your play, GimmeGolf does not appear to have much to offer in this regard.

Okay, I am biased and tend to apply MMORPG definitions to all MMOs.  But NHL 09 clearly has those sorts of features while it feels like Skill Technology is really stretching the point.

8 thoughts on “A Golf MMO?

  1. Yeebo

    Have you ever played Shot Online?

    I’d call it a true Golf MMO. You have stats that you develop by levelling up your character, as well as by saving up to buy better golf clubs, balls, and such. In between matches you hang out in a social hub with hundreds of other players. You can socialize and show off your swank threads, or browses different shops.

    Now that I think of it, an Online Golf Game MMO hybrid might be more accurate. Sort of like PSO, PSU, and GW are MMO Action RPG hybrids.

    In any case, I enjoyed it for a while. My two biggest gripes were that the “massively mutiplayer” part of it, the social hub, was little more than a giant shopping mall. What I was expecting out of a golf MMO, I’m not sure. Golf Cart racing and Golf Club Crafting on the side?

    And I could never get the hang of the putting. I’ve been playing PC and console golf games since the C64 could be bought in stores, and it had pretty close to the worst putting interface I’ve seen. I’ve read that they revamped that since I played, but I haven’t been back to try it since.

    Still, one the most fun FTP MMO experiences I’ve had.

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  2. Scott

    I was going to mention Shot Online as well!

    Here’s the catch: like GW and DDO, and several other recent “MMOGs” they are stretching the definition of MMOG compared to what we’re used to in the EQ+ games of open worlds. Are games with (massively or not) multiplayer graphical “lobbies” MMOGs? They seem to be going that way. At some point Diablo and Warcraft will become MMOGs right? After all, there are a “massively multiplayer” population playing the game all at the same time. Just maybe not in the same “world” at the same time.

    Madden ’09 on XBL is currently a multiplayer game. I have to select multiplayer then watch a colorful text lobby until the game starts. Does it suddenly become an “MMO” if I’m provided a graphical lobby to roam around in instead? (And am I roaming my entire team around? LOL Or am I the “coach?”) Either way, once the game starts it’s me vs. one other player in a football game. 1v1 isn’t “massively multiplayer” but… there’s a massive amount of players playing at the same time as me. The lines are becoming blurred, especially when the MMO genre is the industry darling so we end up with Hellgates being marketed as MMOGs when clearly they are not…

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  3. dave

    I envision a world that is and endless golf course.

    Villagers living in the rough or setting up small fishing communities by the water hazards can be captured for caddying purposes.

    Roving bands of golfcart jackers will make carrying protection other than your clubs a must.

    I’m in.

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  4. bluelinebasher

    Do 12 people constitute an MMO? NHL 09 is great, and I’d call it MMO of the year if it counts…but 12 people seems a bit light and I’ve never had a club of 6 on my side at once (of course I’ve seen fewer numbers in Warhammer Tier 1 open RvR so maybe I’ve answered my own question). I have played 4 on 5 and 4 on 6. Leveling is there. In online it’s not called EXP (it is in the offline mode tho) but leveling is based in games played and a grading system on your play to earn points with which you can augment your player (and it shows when someone is faster or pulling off better dekes). So maybe it is like a level 40 playing a 50 at times…but the online games are usually close unless you go against some serious players. You are one avatar the entire game, meaning if you get caught deep you have to hustle back and can’t just switch to the nearest defender (that differs from Madden multiplayer), and if you commit a penalty, you sit in the penalty box (more like Madden be a pro when playing solo and waiting for your turn on offense or defense). The only thing they took out for online EA Sports League play was line changes so you’re always active unless serving a penalty. Online stats are tracked, trophies and achievements are earned…the persistent world is the EA Sports League where divisions and ranks of the clubs that are constantly changing…great game, I hope others take note. What’s the argument of it not being an MMO?

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  5. Scott

    While I don’t have a firm number in mind, the MM in MMO stands for Massively Multiplayer. And as I noted above, it’s difficult to consider small groups of people ranging from 1v1 to 12v12 in a Tier 1 Scenario in WAR to be Massively Multiplayer. Because jests from my previous posts aside, I *do* only count them if they’re in the same “world” as me at the same time.

    Some of the first online games that made online gaming “big” were FPS’ like Quake which was in 1996 and supported 32 players per server. It wasn’t until the past few years that a very few FPS have been able to double that number to 64 per server. If I were yanked through time from a QuakeWorld session in ’96 to a BF2142 session today I might consider 2142 to be “massively multiplayer” simply because of the numbers.

    However, one other connotation of MMOGs is “persistence.” This gets a little sticky because… what exactly does that mean? The mobs I just killed in an MMOG have just respawned. That isn’t persistent. The princess I just saved needs saving again? That isn’t persistent. I’ve killed this raid boss 32 times so far, and the only “persistence” is that I *still* haven’t gotten my boots! Ok, so our “persistent worlds” are an illusion; they’re actually completely static and repeatable worlds, just like an FPS server that resets maps after a victory. Or WAR Scenarios… Ok then, the other type of persistence is that after I logout the game continues to play because other players are still there. Well, isn’t that true of an FPS server too? Or for that matter *any* online game? Oh, but in an MMORPG (notice I’ve been using MMOG up til now?) we have “persistent characters” that don’t lose their progress when I logout whereas in an FPS/RTS/whatever everything gets reset with each map and with each logout. RPGs have been the primary focus of MMOGs primarily because they allow for the dangling of carrots to keep us playing — and paying — longer. However, let me introduce you to modern FPS’ such as BF2142, COD4, Rainbow 6: Vegas and racing games like Forza2 where I *do* have an RPG-esque progression that is “persistent” even when logged out. The devs of R6:Vegas even came up with their own term P.E.C. “Persistent Elite Creation” to describe the player’s avatar.

    So, as I mentioned above, the lines are quickly blurring as to what exactly constitutes an MMOG…

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  6. Talyn

    Aeria Games has also had Project Torque, a racing “MMO” for awhile, and have Gold Slam, a tennis “MMO” in beta currently. Both F2P with microtransactions, obviously.

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