This week's Community Spotlight focuses on the thread "MMORPGs are too damn easy." by precious328. Simple enough, precious328 laments the lack of difficulty of most contemporary MMOs:
It's been so long...
I've been submerged within the realm of ease and simplicity for over 10 years. I've become "soft".
I don't know why, but I was greatly consumed with this nostalgic-gaming type thing. I loaded up eBay and purchased a RETRON 3 (Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Genesis - All in One). I know I could've just run an emulator. However, it's not the same. It's got to be on the big screen with the original controllers :)
I purchased a few of my favorite Nintendo games:
- Kid Icarus
- Battle of OlympusMy package arrives! I load up the system on the 42". Wow! How nice it was to experience classic Nintendo in Widescreen! I load up Kid Icarus, one of my favorites.The music starts. Intensity sets in when the level 1 4/4 beat kicks into full progression. It's harder than I remember. I get to level 2...WHOA!?!?!? I can barely do this! I keep dying on level 2! I finally get past it after several tries. When I did pass it, however, it was by the skin of my teeth. My heart was pounding at the finish line. I had to actually take a breather. I felt accomplished.I felt accomplished.I felt accomplished.I felt accomplished.I felt accomplished.I felt accomplished.I felt accomplished.I felt accomplished.Where was my guiding hand? Where was my help? Where was mommy?The MMOs of today are insulting. Problem solving? There is none. I load up my map, I follow the quest marker from point A to B, I click the chest, I follow the quest marker back to the quest giver, rinse/repeat etc. The combat is borderline K12. I've experienced this in every game I've played post-WoW.
What did the MMORPG.com community have to say in respones? Let's find out!
fivoroth feels the culprit is the traditional MMO combat system:
The problem lies within the very mechanics of MMOs and their combat system. When you fight a mob 1 on 1 it mostly boils down to stats and not strategy or precision. What's even more hilarious? Boost a monster's health and damage 5 times and what's the solution? Get a group of 5 to have the EXACTLY same fight as the 1v1 fight but scaled by 5. Still no skill required but simply pressing 1,2,3,4...
just2duh asserts that it's the industry's pursuit of broader audiences as the cause for the lack of challenge:
The problem is.. games are seen more as a business than it is about making good games today, it's all about getting as many people able to play and buy it as possible than anything else.
The magic word has been "accessibility" for the past few years now.
The same has been happening with all games in general, not just MMO's. While there are still a few go against the 'build-for-casual' trend of the past few years, there are many many more that go with it. Even beloved franchises of the past that return and were popular because of the challenge they offered have been getting tailor-made for a giant crowd of average joe gamers.
(most recently i'm looking at you Driver:San Francisco)
Elidien doesn't mind how easy most MMOs are, as difficulty often seems to equate to additional time sinks:
Until MMO's find a way to make challenge/difficulty not equal to time sink, then I will accept easy. I will reserve difficult and challenging for things like work and raising a child and marriage. Thank god my "easy" game is a respit and a shelter from the things that really do require a challenge. Or at least that is why I play games.
I'm pretty torn on this subject myself. I play every game I can on max difficulty (just beat the Hard Reset demo on 'Insane'. Woot!) but as Elidien notes, more often than not MMO difficulty just means more time sinks. This isn't always the case, or the full picture, as there are MMOs out there that are simply more challenging/punishing. I don't know how much I miss that feeling though. I like the additional difficulty when it encourages players to play together, but I don't like it when that difficulty amounts to what fivorth described as your typical 1v1 fight only necessitating 5 people due to the multiplied health and damage statistics of the enemies in the encounter. I'm much more of a fan of mechanical difficulty than arbitrary difficulty.
MMOs are definitely easier now than they used to be, but too easy? Let's talk again when we don't have to tell people to not stand in the green fire.
Share your thoughts on this week's topic in the comments below!