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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: Are MMOs Too Easy?

Posted by MikeB Saturday September 10 2011 at 4:59AM
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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
  • Metroid
  • Rygar
  • Battle of Olympus
My 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!

Nhoj1983 writes:

Sometimes absolutely but then again we don't play MMOs the same way we do single player games.  It's sort of like having to make an mmo that will support years old hardware just so they can get as many people as possible in the game.  The lowest common denominator is important when your talking about mmos. Just think what happened to WoW when Cata first came out people weren't happy with how hard it was.  Myself?  Just as long as I don't feel like a bot I'm good.  Meaning I actually have to do more than just press one button to live.  If I want harder stuff I'll go grab one of my single player games.

Sat Sep 10 2011 5:19AM Report
Sulaa writes:

They ARE way too easy. Much much much too easy. I am NOT talking about instances , some of instances are ok.

 

I am talking about OPEN WORLD difficulty. Quests , mobs and everything that is in open world is laughably too easy.

It is just totally no challange at all.

Mobs just don't do enough damage , sometimes have small hp , don't chase player long enough. Not to mention that they just stand idle waiting to be slaughtered. And player can go pick one by one :/

 

Sure someone can say that even if they did hit harder/ were tougher / had diffrent mechanics , you could go with group of pepple and it would be very easy again.

Yet most people play in open world ,at least some of the time as single.

 

So yes mmorpg's especially in open world are way too easy , fast too convenient , making open world experience very boring.

 

Another thing are quest trackers. Having arrow showing you exactly where to go at all times , ridicule mmorpg's as well , adding too their easiness as well as making open world experience more boring and pointless.

If questing and fighting in open world is so easy , when fighting does not give any challange and questing does not need any thnking just following arrows - one could ask.

What's the POINT of even doing this?

Seeing that many people just race as fast to the end game , they do agree that it is just time sink.

 

This has to change and dramatically.

Sat Sep 10 2011 5:36AM Report
Lord.Bachus writes:

There is nothing wrong with MMO's having hard content as long as as you can choose not to take part of it....  And the rewards for that challenging content are not outballancing the whole game...

 

Sat Sep 10 2011 6:22AM Report
DOLPHYNN writes:

All the modern MMOs are way too easy.  They all chase after the WoW model hoping for success but generally fail. 

With ease there is no sense of reward or accomplishment.  It is terrible. 

I want time sinks, I got time.  I want to be forced to group, it is an MMO.  I want death penalties that hurt, as when I succeed I feel better. 

When a game is constant easy mode it loses its luster quickly.  All modern MMOs are constant easy mode. 

Why make an entire populated world when the game blows you through it in a couple weeks or a month, instead of a couple years. 

MMOs need to add in an XP reduction slider for those of us that want to slow down our levelling speed.  Leave it at 100% for those who want to get to max level fast, but let the hardcore set it at 5% or whatever they want to make the game last.  I want to give these companies money for a long time, but instead they max me out in level regardless of my attempts to slow things down.  And then I move on.  For me and others like me, Leveling is the game, and the game does not start at the End Game, it ends there. 

In addition to an XP reduction slider there also needs to be a difficulty setting.  Champions Online added this after they found out that constant Easy Mode was costing them player base.  I want my mobs tough and hard hitting.  I want to have to lull and pull a single or face a wipe. 

But the industry does not listen to players like me.  They keep chasing the WoW crowd and failing. 

Sat Sep 10 2011 6:28AM Report
Lord.Bachus writes:

Open world is not boring because its to easy, but espescially because it is to predictive....

Sat Sep 10 2011 6:29AM Report
SaphFeathers writes:

Interestingly, I would say all three points of view are right. MMOs are easy, and seem to be getting easier (after Rift and modern WoW even GW1 seemed challenging!). And yes, much of this seems to be to do with broadening the player base. But I also agree that when difficulty = time sink that is simply pointless and annoying.

The solution? MMOs with plenty of easy-moderate content, but also with challenges that are mechanically difficult.

I don't want to see MMOs become more difficult overall, because I think broadening the community is a largely positive thing - more players playing more games funding more development and creating a more diverse and vibrant community. 

But devs need to stop treating players (and in particular casual players) like children. Provide content for those of us who only have a couple of hours a week to play, but want a challenge when we do. If an mmo manages this (alongside a good hardcore scene for people who have all the time in the world, and plenty of easy content for those who want it) I'd play it for sure.

Sat Sep 10 2011 7:06AM Report
Mufflo writes:

Well, as Sulaa described it: How many of you have even thought about that in OPEN WORLD, 90%, and I even account on the NPCs of your enemy faction in the game, stand alone. They stand at distances so you can pick 'em off one by one.

Like cattle ready for slaughter. 

That, is why we, as stated in OP, need mechanical difficulty.

Sat Sep 10 2011 7:09AM Report
jinxxed0 writes:

Considering that in most MMOs you just watch your character fight, theres not much that can be done to make it harder in the sense that the player has to develop some kind of skill. If an enemy is "hard" then it just has more hp, defense or damage and the player can't really do anything about it except just watch their character fight longer than usual.

 

When MMOs actually have the combat that single players do (and not the illusion of live action, you know what im talking about) then maybe they can be harder.

Sat Sep 10 2011 7:19AM Report
CyanK writes:

My four year old, who is just learing to read the most basic of books, was able to play through the entire goblin starting zone in wow unassisted.

All she needed to know was which button opened the map, what icons to look for, to click on the sparkles and if there wasn't a 1/x of something killed popping up she was done in that spot.

So yes, some mainstream MMO's are just a tad easy

Sat Sep 10 2011 7:50AM Report
cheyane writes:

Dungeons and Dragons Online is quite challenging. I do agree generally that games have become ridiculously easy.

Sat Sep 10 2011 8:29AM Report
Yaruna writes:

Not all MMO's are easy street. Most P2P's could be leaning towards being easy since they don't want you to have a hard time, they want you to feel like you rock so you'll renew your subscription. Most F2P's will make your life easy in the beginning and gradually make it harder and harder in order to persuade to buy CS assistance.

If you want hard, play F2P games and refuse to buy from the Cash Shop. Your days on easy street are going to be over fast enough, and if you make it to end game and can thrive there, then you'll feel accomplished. Be prepared to invest a lot of time in the game though, you'll need it.

Sat Sep 10 2011 8:32AM Report
Sulaa writes:

Yeah this basically , like CyanK said , nowadays it is enough if you just go near mob and spam any damaging skill. Like literally anything.

So while I agree with need maybe diffrent fighing system and some innovatveness , we ALSO need mobs to have more hp, more damage , better mechanics (like they run when they start to lose to call their friends to help them, way to catch us with slow down skills , sprint when we run ,etc) , there is alot of solutions to make it harder.

It is not just making fight last longer , because with enough time player is able to beat up any mechanic , be it twitch based or tactic based or whatever.

But for starters , remove hordes of idling mobs everywhere.

Instad place mobs logically :

some in camps , buldings , quest places ,etc

some camping near camp fire

some patrolling in smaller or bigger groups

Mobs have to be more random , not standing idle or running into circles on predefined paths.

Make mechanics when mobs run for help if they start to lose (and thay have at least sometimes skill to run from you unless you menage to stop it somehow) , make them chase a player if they win and have them have means to catch you , so you don't always can run from them easily.

Less amount of mobs , but make them more unique and/or random. Script it so they can have many diffrent abilities. So one player don't know exactly what to expect. F.e. let's say orc have axe + shield , so you assume he is robust but don't do much damage. but then wrong! he is aggressive high damage one , he use shield to knock you down and axe to inflict deep bleeding wounds.  But next one with axe and shiled even though he have same weapons have diffrent fighting style and "character" and is more catious and defensive ,and try to wear player down by debuffing.

Now imagine you fight both of them.

Make mobs act diffrent depending on what player do. Player keep melee at distance firing fireballs? Make melee mob throw his weapon at a player (with a chance to stun) or run away towards other mobs ,etc

With addition to that I am also of opinion that mobs need to have ability to inflict MORE damage, have more hp, more defenses ,etc

It is not only time sink it makes it more difficult , does fighting two elite mobs is not harder than two normal ones?

Maybe for some players is not , but it will be harder for most.

Besides if it would be just time sink , then why not make all mobs die on single hit? Becasue following that logic if they have more hp , damage ,etc  and they don't die instantly after you hit them - it is just time sink :/

Sat Sep 10 2011 8:41AM Report
Mardukk writes:

I went back to EQ1 about a year ago in search of a challenge solo/duo.  I had played WoW and WoW like games for a very long time and tired of the open world solo/duo ease.  The mobs require 0 strategy to defeat.  I had to resort to soloing instances to entertain myself.

Hopefully some of the upcoming games can add a bit of strategy/challenge to the solo/duo open world parts of the game.

Sat Sep 10 2011 9:10AM Report
tordurbar writes:

I would bet real money that every poster here who says MMOs are easy are big console gamers. If you want difficulty - go play console games!!!

I don't want to play an MMO as a console game but that is where you all are trying to lead the industry. DCUO and Global Agenda are two good examples of this. Almost every new MMO wants to be a multi-player, online, shooter.  I want to live in a world - not in a combat zone.

I think it hilarious the comment, "They all chase after the WoW model hoping for success but generally fail."  What you and the MMO/console gamers don't realize that investors do is that they are lots of MMOs out there that do follow the WOW model and are successfu but they are MMOs that the MMO/console gamers turn up their nose. Wizardry 101, Maple Story, Runes of Magic and lots more are just as simple as WOW and have millions of players.

Harder difficulty MMOs are rampant in Asia yet have had little success in the Western Hemisphere and Europe. I say right on.

Sat Sep 10 2011 9:28AM Report
Mardukk writes:

I'm not sure every one is saying make it more "action" oriented.  I think they just want a small bit of strategy to the solo game.  I shouldn't be able to wade into a group of mobs, if I'm a weak caster, and mow them all down without any thought.

 

I'm guessing those that want it impossibly easy have not played an mmo that required a small bit of thought to the solo open world game.  Trust me, it makes the game a lot more fun. 

Sat Sep 10 2011 9:40AM Report
Muntz writes:

Sadly the gaming industry is paralleling other entertainment industries (TV, Film). The orginal Star Trek was deemed too cerebral and they did not want to air it. Since the money involved in video games is higher then TV or Film dumbing them down was inevitable.

Sat Sep 10 2011 10:18AM Report
Athcear writes:

Metroid is brutal, man...

Sat Sep 10 2011 11:42AM Report
Vercinorix writes:

It seems that what a lot of people actually want is more 'dial-a-hurt', with opt-out options for game features designed to automate some game tasks that quite a few gamers find annoying (like looking up online where to find quest mobs, etc.) IMO, the 'easy to learn, difficult to master' model of game design is flat out the model that makes the most sense.

Lets take WoW as an example. The basics of this game are easy to learn. Leveling is indeed easy, and I would agree probably too easy but only because you don't actually have to learn how to use all the abilities your character has.

The endgame of WoW is NOT easy. If that was the case, then everybody would be doing and completing heroic mode PVE raiding and earning the top arena PVP rankings, and that is simply not the case.

The solution is developers doing more 'dial-a-hurt' either through dynamic adjustment of difficulty to match a player's capabilities/skill or for the player to be able to customize their own playing experience via an opt-in or opt out system of difficulties and/or game features that appeal to them or don't.

Sat Sep 10 2011 12:10PM Report
Sulaa writes:

@Vercinorix

WoW thing is EXACTLY what is wrong with today's mmorpg's.

Very easy and fast levelling and harder end game. Well I have enough hard end game grind.

I want challenging , slow , interesting and giving sence of accomplishent levelling.

As for quests, well you said "looking up online to where find quest mobs" , erm. I would NOT look up internet but I would find it in game myself.

Nowadays I even don't have a choice becasue a) people I am questing with use quest tracker so we follow arrows anyway , and 99% of people use it also because that is how game is made and developers make game with mind that player WILL use quest tracker. Another thing is that quest descritions are so bad and short that it is next to impossible to know where to look based only on quest description.

Game to have not quest tracker have to be DESIGNED with NOT having quest tracker in mind for it to work.

Sat Sep 10 2011 2:54PM Report
syncronized writes:

MMO lvling has become easy.  I was a console gamer until 2005, when i started a MMO called knightonline.  the grind at that time was just horrific. (even gamersfirst sped up the lvling through a premium service.)  I remember tho ppls saying, ah the grind, why does it take so long.  The more I saw this, the more i started trying a bunch of newer games, and the games got easier and easier to lvl and max lvl to.  Now we make alts and max lvl. I would never be able to do that in the older games, (alts, whats that? If you wanted your main maxed lvl that is.)  Every post i have ever decided to comment on has always brought me back to my first game for comparison, to everything ive played since.  Altho my first game is just a bad game. do to 97% hacking, cheating in some way. for the 3% it was just teadious work.  I know this, if a new game came out and it was super hard, many would complain. so i understand why developers make it easy, i keep my sub until i max lvl and make a good alt for the game to max lvl and then quit.  they got my money, and now the next new person to come, will shell out his money feel compelled to max lvl, maybe make a alt of everyclass,  quit and rinse and repeat.  Then when they raise the cap for the lvl we all go back to play and max again. :D = more money, and more fresh faces.

Sat Sep 10 2011 4:32PM Report
Vercinorix writes:

@ Sulaa and synchronized:

No offense, but both of you seem to fall under the category of the casual gamer. Neither of you seems to care about the endgame, but only the journey there, which is not much more than an extended tutorial. That journey (for the most part) seems to be a very small part of any modern MMO, because the endgame is what determines the long term survival of any MMO since that is where the long-term player base will be operating at.

Another factor is how much you can affect the world around you. If you can actually make permanent changes, then there isn't much choice but to make the outdoors an instanced world, which has the effect of limiting your 'massively multiplayer' part to playing with random strangers who happen to be at the same stage as you, or playing with friend(s) who happen to play at the exact same time as you always, you you are always at the same stage. That's why the outdoors leveling experience is now pretty much single player only.

Thats why the majority of the development effort should be spent on catering to the needs of the long term subscriber base and not on those who are guaranteed to be in and out players.

Sat Sep 10 2011 6:39PM Report
PukeBucket writes:

Yeah.

I mean it's as simple as that. MMOs have gotten easy. Whenever there's a party wiping feature added or some degree of difficulty that's not on a slider the whaan-wagon rolls in and squashes it.

I think that's why more people are playing games like League of Legends and other actually compeditive games now. Well more core-players anyway. The housewives and school kids can have their "easier than Super Mario Bros." casual games. Those markets have cash to burn.

Sat Sep 10 2011 6:39PM Report
Destai writes:

It's not that MMOs are not challenging, a vast majority of them are not fun. They aren't immersive, they aren't open, they don't allow for actually roleplaying. How many of the steaming pile freebies have gender locked characters or poorly translated class names? How many games require infinite grind to get somewhere instead of having that progression naturally be a part of the game. 

I don't fault any developer for making a game as business. It's entertainment, plain and simple. Work goes into it, money should be exchanged. 

I think the industry is in a quandry because very few games are successful, at least in the western markets. Why is WoW the 800lb gorilla in the room? Polish. Support. Challenge. And a class that heals is not called healer or Assist. It is a believable setting. 

Every game has failed promises, but the successful ones at least have a desirable core. 

Sat Sep 10 2011 6:39PM Report
Draemos writes:

First off, the people equating inconvience w/ difficulty are off their rocker.  EQ1 was not difficult, it was inconvenient.

The problem w/ MMOs is that the AI they use is absolutely awful.  Nowhere else in the gaming industry can developers get away with using such pathetic AI scripting.  It's something that absolutely drives me mad because more people don't complain about how juvenile it is.

Sat Sep 10 2011 7:09PM Report
Sulaa writes:

@Vercinorix

Oh no offense taken. But you're wrong in few things.

Open world game beign extended tutorial IS the problem. That is whot on this is exactly what is a problem.

End-game? Hmm in I do play end game as well but it is not only part of game I cater for , in opposition to you it seems as anything non-endgame is "extended trail" to you.

Hope you don't take it wrong way , just quoting you.

 

Permanent changes and instancing in open world . erm excuse me but what?

Technology to change open world around you is in mmorpg's since beggining and it does not need any instancing.

Second mmorpg that existed - Ultima Online had ability to change world around you , and this game had no instancing at all. It was in 1997.

There is few more games like that.

Just because in most games you cannot change world permanently in open world is not becasue technology don't allow this but becasue it is what game developers has choosen to do (or not do actually).

Actually I am against instancing as much as sanely possible and definately I don't want to see ANY instancing in open world. So you kinda missed.

As for short-term / long-term subscribers.

I was subscribed to my last mmo (I do play one mmo at a time exclusively) for 13 months. So definately I am not a "in and out player".

My first mmorpg that was UO I played for 3 years and I quit it only becasue I took a break from playing mmorpg's for various rl reasons.

I am preety loyal and I am looking for a long term mmorpg , but for me "end game" is not single important thing in a game and rest just a "extended trial".

Actually whole concept of modern mmo with levels and dividing content between "levelling" phase and "max level" phase is one of biggest problem , but that is topic for totally other discussion.

 

Anyway I hope I cleared some things, and I stand by what I said. Focusing almost purely on instance treadmill at max level is one of reasons why all other content is too easy. That is precisely what is wrong with many modern mmorpg's.

Open world needs much more love , it need to be more challenging , and not just combat need to be much more challening. Non-combat things also need to be more interesting and challenging (crafting , housing ,exploring just to cover basic mmo features).

 

Vercinoroix : I think what is causing our disagreement is that we want to play diffrent kind of mmorpg's. I am not saying only about end game vs. journey to end game , but also sorry I am assuming wrong , you are a fan of a end game focusing on a running pve instanced dungeons/raids and / or instanced pvp.

Well while I bo both of those as well , I am certainly against that in many modern mmorpg's game is almost solely focused on running instances over and over.

Sat Sep 10 2011 7:23PM Report
bamdorf writes:

I think there is no difference in the "difficulty problem" in single player vs multiplayer vs board games for that matter.

If the game is too easy, it stinks.   Take UNO.   Even so, suppose after a thanksgiving dinner a bunch get together, have some alcohol, and get silly playing a silly game.   It can still be fun --- in the right setting.

If the game is too ridiculously hard, it stinks.   Take an RPG.   If you get stuck and try and try but fail to click the key pixel, for example, you get bogged down and instead of a mildly stimulating pastime you have a patience challenge.    For example, Zork.     Zork, without hints, was one very tough game. Getting stuck is ok, but getting stuck for a month isn't.

Some games are tough for physical reasons.   The twitch games tend to be very tough for me, despite their appeal otherwise, because my reaction at my age are neither precise no quick.   Which is being very kind to me.

The trick is to find something that is about right for your sklll set in the context of a particular game.   I found that I could enjoy Mass Effect.   Dragon Age is about right.   Both require some effort and planning and sometimes repeated efforts to get past a certain point.

What about MMOs?   If you consider GW1 worth considering in the context of MMOs, I would say the difficulty is about right --- bordering on a little too hard.     At the moment I am stuck in 3-4 quests, and am busily trying to gather additional skills and learn how to put together an appropriate build while doing other stuff.   So I am not locked in to frustration because I haven't quite been able to kill the bear in "Bear Club for Men", for example.   Of course I am refusing to use cookie cutter builds so I learn something, but my forehead is taking some brick wall damage.  But meanwhile I am expanding my skill set.

I agree that EQ1 was not hard --- although I think some of the end game encounters, based on what I have read, were quite complex to pull off.    But I am not a fan of end game stuff, so that is irrelevant.    What EQ had was not being hard but being dangerous.   Severe death penalties do get one's attention. The danger helped build community, which was the fun part to me.

Then take something like Forsaken World.  The difficulty is so non-existant, at least as far as I looked into it, that it is sort of embarrassing to realize that you are playing it.

Personally I am not too keen on real time targeting scenarios.   Given my reaction times and the inevitable lag, I just don't see how this sort of thing isn't going to be a serious frustration rather than a skill challenge.   

OK but here is my main comment on difficulty.   Let's call the next thing you want to do in a game a task.   Not a quest necessarily, maybe a level, whatever.    It's the next thing you want to do.    What I want is a fair shot (only fair!) to accomplish it WHEN THE CONTENT IS NEW to me.    In other words, being able to get it on the fly without doing research on the web or doing several reconnaisance runs,etc.   Some times that may be necessary but sometimes not.

And please not something that is darn near impossible because the game gives you no chance to figure out the trick...like the instructions are incomplete, for example.   That's not hard, that's stupid.

The problem with MMOs as I see it is that developers think that the treadmill is all that is necessary.   Put some ridiculous "story" with it and bingo you've tied people up.    I don't think people want to walk through stuff without having to actuallly pay attention or think.  Click, click.   Well maybe the popularity of Zynga says otherwise.     But requiring effort does not mean that I want to stress out playing a game.  So I sort of agree with both sides of this!

I think the basic  things one can do in a game should be very easy.  Moving around in the game world should be second nature.  It's ridiculous to me if I can auto-run to a location I have never been to, but it is also ridiculous that I have to figure out again how to find something once I already did it.  And so on.

I agree with others that making something harder should not translate into more ridiculous time sinks.    Challenge to patience for routine junk isn't fun.   

Oh well, I summarize then that a lot of MMOs are a bit too easy, and also a bit too hard (for the wrong reasons).

 

 

Sat Sep 10 2011 8:38PM Report
DOLPHYNN writes:

I agree with Sulaa.  When you think that leveling is just an extended tutorial and the Max Level content is what deserves most the resources, you end up with games which are trivial and unstatisfying. 

Likely it has to do with the initial game you played.  If you started in EQ then you understand leveling is the game.  If your first game was WoW then it seems that End Game content is the only part that is really important. 

With difficulty and slow leveling you get accomplishment.  You have time to team wtih people of the same level, since each level can take quite some time.  With downtime you can communicate with your group and make friends.  With mobs so hard you have to group, even at low levels the game becomes more social. 

Current MMOs also have a problem with their questing system.  The quests are so easy and quick that those you group with tend to be on different quests and leave a group as soon as your shared quest is complete.  Modern MMOs seem to base levelling on how many quests they can crank out, and even then the players outlevel a large portion of the quests, due to too much XP and ease. 

Sat Sep 10 2011 9:14PM Report
Vercinorix writes:

@ Sulaa:

I guess I should have been more clear about differentiating between what I consider the "state of things" and what I actually want.

What I want is the ability to jack in and experience essentially an interactive movie. Where I and other real people can fully interact with each other and NPCs who act like real people, with multiple ways of solving problems and actions that result in fairly permanent consequences and changes to the environment. There is, as far as I know, nothing like this in existence, or anything even remotely close.

As far as instancing goes, I was not claiming that you liked instancing or not. I did make a mistake in that I did not type out all of what I was thinking. I left out a quantifier. What I meant to say was that if you can make permenent changes to the game world and if this is a story-driven game (aka theme park) there is no choice but to make the world an instanced world. Otherwise if you killed a particular critical npc as part of your personal choices you would kill the ability of anyone else to 'progress' in the story line after you.

I apologize for the confusion.

As far as the leveling process vs the end game I do not believe that I am wrong. The big thing about MMOs is the massively multiplayer part... IE the social element. In any game that uses leveling as a mechanism that is not brand new, the majority of the existing players will be operating at cap level if   there is any endgame. If there is no endgame, the life of any game for any individual player will be either for how long they can tolerate the gameplay itself or until they hit the cap (whichever comes first) with possible extensions if there is enough replay value in repeating the process with a very different character.

If I'm going to bring a friend into a game where I am already well established, we are logically going to want to play together as soon as possible. For any game that has a leveling process, the choices to do that are likely to be extremely limited. This is the reason why many developers have chosen to streamline and accelerate the leveling process.

This of course sucks for people who are playing mostly FOR the leveling process.

This is also the reason I don't particularly like the concept of leveling at all =)

Sat Sep 10 2011 10:23PM Report
Vercinorix writes:

@ Dolpynn:

Actually the first MMO game that I played happened to be EQ1 and I came away with the exact opposite set of conclusions.

Because the leveling process was so long, and the death penalties were high, you couldn't afford to group with strangers whose abilities you did not know because the cost of failure was so high.

I started the game to play with an IRL friend, and the only time I actually got to do that was when he came with his high level character to rescue my group after we wiped deep in a dungeon. That was 6 hours and 2 delevelings after the wipe. Any sense of accomplishment or fun at all in that game was wiped out by that experience. Subscription cancelled immediately afterwards.

The reason why those style of death mechanics are no longer present is because normal sane people are not masochists and will not put up with it.

Sat Sep 10 2011 10:48PM Report
DOLPHYNN writes:

Luckily the problem of playing with characters of a much higher or lower level has been addressed by games which offer Mentoring or Sidekicking or both. 

Aye, harsh death penalties can lead to very trying times.  But that very challenge leads to a much more rewarding experience and sense of accomplishment.  When you know a death results in weeks of lost progress it makes what you do have more meaning. 

In EQ I remember my heart pounding quite rapidly in real life when some Cyclops snuck up on my and my screen started shaking as I ran for my life.  That is awesome. 

Sat Sep 10 2011 11:52PM Report
Golelorn writes:

I don't think they've become too easy(MMOs have never been rocket science). I think most MMOs lack direction and focus.

Is it a solo game? Is it a group game? Is it a raiding game? Is it a PvP game? Is it a battleground game? No!! Its all of them, but it doesn't do any of them that well!! Instead of doing one or two things really well games are trying to be the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none.

Sun Sep 11 2011 12:55AM Report
Khalathwyr writes:

I don't know if I consider it a matter of "hard or easy". I look at it more as they have gotten less complex, less sophisticated. They certainly are closer to being "one-trick ponies" than they used to be.

Sun Sep 11 2011 1:27PM Report
Smokeysong writes:

Yes, they are too easy, AND less involving, both.

 

Sun Sep 11 2011 10:17PM Report
TheCrow2k writes:

yes they are far too easy and MMO's that were considered hard have been scaled back such as D&D Online to appeal to more people.

Mon Sep 12 2011 12:09AM Report
Cpt_Picard writes:

I wouldn't call mmorpgs too easy, simply players are now too good. Back in 2004, successfuly completing Stratholm was an accomplishment as people just didn't have that much experience playing and took thier time figuring things out. Now in 2011, everone is expected to know how to put out as much dps as possible (and usually can) making mechanics which would have appeared hard in 2004 appear very easy.

Mon Sep 12 2011 4:27PM Report
mmoguy43 writes:

I definately agree with Khalathwyr. Not so much as easier as they are more simplified. Much has been striped away from MMOs of old that made them more involved and fairly unique from one to another. Now every one must adapt a huge list of hand-holding features.

Thu Sep 15 2011 10:19AM Report
garry writes:

If you do not like MMOs because they are too 'easy' why in the world do you buy and play them? Geeze guys, lumping everybody else (except you of course) into the 'lowest common denominator' is a direct insult to an awful lot of people. You don't know these people or why they play MMOs. You do not know what they like or why they play? Overall judgments and condemnations of groups with a different point of view is the highest form of elitism and the proponents are NEVER part of 'that' bunch.

 

You like a different playstyle than some others - hey thats ok. The differences in playstyle among MMOs is as varied as the community playing them. I am sorry that games don't please you when it comes to challenge or difficulty but, everybody is not the same. That doesn't mean that being different from you makes us any less intelligent, or educated, or knowledgeable, or capable, or that we are 'dumb downers'. Please, your nostalgia for 'hard' games is understandable but for the rest of us, give it a rest.

Thu Sep 15 2011 3:21PM Report
vistakah writes:

I like hard earned rewards that are not achievable by those who don't invest the time/efforti do to get them. Hard work, time invested with valuable rewards is still the perfect mmo concept. I'm sick of hand fed games. They destroy the very thing that made old school games what they used to be "COMMUNITY".  The original MMO games have staying power, In fact many are still around. Speak with your wallets. GO back to games that are actually worth playing, Everquest, DAOC, and the rest of the old school games and leave the cheap instant gratification games of now to rot.

Sat Sep 17 2011 7:04AM Report
HappyFunBall writes:

I also agree that MMO's now are WAY too easy.  I started with UO and EQ, so yeah, games now are a joke, and challengeless.

I think most of the Asian grinders (and others) are very robotic too.  I mean, as a software engineer, when I play them, I don't feel like a person, I feel like a script or program I just wrote.  A simple set of instructions designed to perform a certain tast.  They are mindless.  I call these games "algorithmic".  There's no fun or challenge, it's just a matter of rinse, wash, repeat.

Sun Sep 18 2011 6:45PM Report
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Wed Feb 29 2012 7:21AM Report

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