You know it has taken a lot but I think the MMO world might have finally drive me away. A number of factors lead to this decision but the straw that broke the camels back was the ESO announcement. I will cover all of my reasons here so you can understand.
RPG is Dead: The original MMOs where MMORPGs, games with a heavy tilt toward role play. The idea was to create a persistent world that you and your friends could have RP adventures in and have others from around the world join you. However over the years the MMO community has done all but openly attack RP gamers. The genre has gone so far as to have the name changed with the removal of RPG. Further games now are seldom written with good RP elements built in them with game mechanics or even story lines.
F2P Failure: The original concept of F2P was brilliant, it allowed the gamer to see the game and invest the amount of money he wanted based on how deep he wanted the game to go. The promise of F2P was amazing, the reality a nightmare. F2P has become the shop of meaningless stuff with mounts and outfits that break the immersion of the game just to have something else to sell. As if that was not bad enough it quickly moved to the realm of P2W with players able to buy their way through the games, not actually needing to play anymore. The end result is little meaningful content and the gamers instead fed a constant diet of tripe to keep cash flowing for essentially nothing.
PvP for Griefers: To this day EVE Online holds a special place for me, I truly think it is a great game except the game is broken for all but serious PvP and Griefers. So called safe zones have no real safety as any poor new pilot that wants to strive out on his own can be targeted the minute he leaves a so called NPC corp. The war dec system is designed to promote the griefer play style and if you say this publicly you are ridiculed as a weak play. PVP and it's entire concept is really cool and something awesome when done right. However few games do it right, instead rewarding players for smashing new players before they have a chance to know they have entered a PVP zone. Friendly, gentle introductions of PVP are deemed useless but only by the serious long term players.
Early Access is Paid Beta: Back in the day it was considered an honor to be granted access to the beta of a new MMO. You played hard and worked to help find bugs. Today the way to get into a beta is to pony up money and never do anything useful for the game development. The devs know this so they launch a beta and ask for money to join, oh and BTW the servers will not be reset. In essence the game has launched in a broken state and we are given the honor of paying to play crap. If this was the exception then it would not be so bad and we could target companies that performed this practice to shut them down. Sadly it is the norm with ALL MMO devs performing this dispicable practice, and while we all scream about how crappy this is, most still pony up the money to play. Are the game devs bad for doing this or are we STUPID for ever thinking the next time will be different?
Dev Bait and Switch: Two games for me come to mind, the first is MWO. When this game went into beta all of us die hard MW fans leaped in. The devs told us how they wanted to be loyal to MW and that we, the diehards where their people. Then the game goes into "open beta" and suddenly the dev efforts where all about the little cash story items instead of the cool game elements we where promised. When finally pressed one of the devs let the cat out of the bag, the game was not being developed for the MW diehard but for a wider audience. They lied to us to get our money to develop their game for other people.
We see this same behavior today with Zenimax and ESO. They made clear from day one that they would NOT go to anything but the standard subscription model for ESO. They where not making a game for everyone and the subscription model would ensure that true ES fans would be the gamers in game and their target. It was pointed out that console games would likely not pay a subscription fee and we where told they did not care, subscription was the model, end of discuss.
Taking into context the timing of the recent announcement it is fairly clear that ESO was planned from the start to go to the B2P model. Not just the evidence but friends within the company have told me this. The entire subscription model was a way for the company to keep cash flow while they finished the console versions. Now that those versions are about to release they can shift to the B2P model so the PC gamers are not mad at the console gamers not having to pay subscriptions. We where drawn in by a promised, paid our money and once they had what they need they changed the rules, bait and switch.
If these practices where done by one or two companies then I would not condemn the industry. However when EVERY company in this industry has been guilty of it we need to serious look at this type of game. How can we, as passionate gamers, stand by and allow the destruction of what was a great genre of gaming and not do something? What can we do? Stop giving these con men money. Stop playing the crap they put out. Stop buying into early access and beta programs. Make them keep their promise when they develop a game and shut them down because no one will play when we are shown that they lied.
With solid solo and co-op games like Divinity and Inquisition, new titles coming up like Witcher 3, our fantasy gaming itch can be scratched without paying out $100 a year to play a single game. Maybe if we switch to these games the MMO developer community will actually take notice that we are fed up and done with business as usual. Maybe they will try to do something unique like produce the game they promise.
Until the MMO community makes a stand we will get nothing but crap and the worst part is that is what we deserve.