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Samhain's Zergwatch

Samhain's Zergwatch is a blog that started in 2006 on a different gaming community server and has since evolved into www.zergwatch.com, a place to gather my twisted thoughts on the whole mess. Explore the oozing underbelly of gaming with me.

Author: zergwatch

Console players are skilless, driveling morons

Posted by zergwatch Friday February 29 2008 at 10:30AM
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Debunking the common misconceptions core MMORPG players have with console based mmorpg's

For the core MMORPG player, thier most anticipated MMORPG being released on a console platform seems like a fate worse than death. For years, the core gamer has enjoyed his or her game in the relatively peaceful confines of a well educated, sophisticated and experienced gaming community.

At least, this is what they want you to think when the topic of console MMORPG's is being discussed on any MMORPG message board. In the core gaming circle, core gamers fundamentally believe that console gamers are skilless driveling morons who cannot handle the complex and sophisticated MMORPG creature. To make matters worse, to develop an MMORPG for both console and PC distribution, the developer needs to dumb the game down so much that controller button mashing r-tards can play too, says the core gamer.

There are two fundamentally opposite mindsets between the average console player and the core MMORPG gamer.

Console players buy many game titles per year, in the hopes of quickly defeating the game and moving on to the next one, unless the game has a multiplayer mode in which case it will get frequent reuse to fall back on between future game purchases. Console gamers may play several different games on any given day.

The core MMORPG player buys one game every few years and plays nothing but that game religiously with very few other gaming diversions. They are accustomed to playing a game that will never end while the developer throws even bigger pieces of cheese at them one or two times per year in the form of expansion packs.

With all that being said, lets get to debunking the myths surrounding the console MMORPG.

Console gamers are not technically sophisticated enough for MMORPG's

This is a very popular argument which the core gamer relies upon. The one about console players not having the skillset required to play an MMORPG. MMORPG players spend countless hours fine tuning their game's interface, installing mods that will help in raids, determining the right slot in their action bar to put their most crucial skills and abilities. They roam the virtual landscape with a 101 key keyboard and a 4 button mouse. Surely, the 6 button, 2 stick console wielding baffoon cannot compete with that.

The basis of this argument is that the demographic of the core gamer is suspected to be males between the ages of 18 to 34, while the core demographic of the console gamer is considered to be children between the ages of 6 and 17. Surely, a child who mashes controllers all day is not prepared to participate in the same virtual world as the well educated, young urban professional.

When you actually think about it, children are very adaptable and have a much lower learning curve when it comes to embracing and mastering new technology. The core gamer is usually set in their ways and rarely embraces going outside the norm. An MMORPG needs to be a turned based mouse clicking objective oriented grind that mimicks real life struggles or they won't play it. Console gamers are more open to new ideas and change. They embrace the non conventional and welcome difficult challenges. They embrace fun.

You can't do with a controller what you can do with a mouse and keyboard

As I mentioned, a standard keyboard has 101 keys. When you throw in the mouse, you have a total of approximately 140 ways to interact with your character. Add in shifting and control-click and you have an awe inspiring 420 ways to interface with your avatar when playing an MMORPG on a PC.

Sounds very sophisticated and technical, yes? When you come back down to the land of reality, MMORPG players use 4 keys, 2 mouse buttons and a push of the mouse left and right or up and down. All of their skillfull prowess comes down to mashing the same two mouse buttons for hours on end. All of the keys on the keyboard are for convenience purposes only. They are not required in any way. Can you imagine an MMORPG that requires PC players to actually have to use more than WASD and a mouse to play? There would be widespread revolt. The game would be shunned by the community. The mmorpg interface is about as exciting and challenging as Microsoft Excel.

If you have ever played an RPG on a console, you will understand why in some ways, a console controller is more convenient than a PC. One of my favorite console games was Sony's Champions of Norrath series, a spin off of Everquest and Everquest II. In Champions of Norrath, you use the directional stick and button clicks simultaneously to shift between spells. Towards the end of the game, with a quick click and push, you have over 16 spells and abilities at effortless disposal at any given time. In the time it takes a PC gamer to scroll across the screen and left click their icons, the console gamer can fire off the same amount of different commands.

While the PC gamer is given visual cues in the form of icons and cooldowns, the console gamer memorizes patterns and combinations. If you put the console controller in the hand of a core gamer and the keyboard/mouse combo in the hands of a console gamer, which one do you think will master their new craft more quickly and successfully?

When you consider that a Playstation 3 console can support USB keyboard and mouse, there are xbox keyboard and mouse adapters and the Wii remote functions similarly to a mouse and keyboard, half of the battle has already been lost for the core gamer.

Console gamers will bring down the MMORPG community

Have you actually ever played an MMORPG? Most are already chock full o' mouthy teenagers and children running amok. They're also full of grown adults who act worse than the mouthy teenagers and children. I hate to be the one to break the news to the core gamer, but the MMORPG community broke down several years ago. MMORPG's were once the Jaguars and Porches of the gaming industry, but today MMORPG streets are full of bicycles with training wheels, handme downs and rice burners.

I doubt we will ever see an MMORPG with the communities of days gone by. The new MMORPG community has been brought down to the guild level. Where you used to have one large interweaving community of players, you now have thousands of micro communities, each with its own unique identity and culture. Infusing the overall MMORPG community with console players will have no impact on these micro communities, nor can they sink the overall community any further into the mud than it already is.

Console MMORPG's are dumbed down and waterered down shells of an MMORPG

Since we really have not seen any console MMORPG's besides Final Fantasy, I was unable to find any evidence of this claim being true or false. While its true that Final Fantasy is a horrible MMORPG to play on a PC, I think the problem lies more with Square Enix being a console manufacturer and adding PC game play as an after thought with more importance being focused on the console play.

This problem is one for the industry to resolve. I have worked in the business software development industry for nearly 15 years and the one thing I know is there is a technical solution for every problem. The unfortunate reality though, is that it takes a well balanced team of highly skilled professionals and millions of dollars to achieve a successful product. The MMORPG industry has the capital, but I'm afraid it lacks the skill and ingenuity at this point to develop a product that pleases everyone involved.

While this complaint is one of the few with merit, I think it will eventually work itself out. When the Wii came out, one of the hurdles developers faced was how to make the Wii variant of a title interface more appropriately with the Wii remote to give Wii users a more unique gaming experience over the PS3 and Xbox. At the time the Wii remote was a new and very non conventional gaming control interface for consoles. We can also add that many predicted doom for Nintendo because the wii remote was so different. Core gamers perhaps?

Console MMORPG's will not have a traditional MMORPG look and feel

My first immediate wise cracking response to this gripe is GOOD! The MMORPG interface is terrible. So terrible infact that to effectively use it and compete in the game, you must scour the internet for add-ons or modules that help you better control it. I yearn for a new age when the MMORPG operates more like a hybrid MMORPG, FPS and RPG. When you take each of those elements individually, they each have good and bad. At some point, we can only expect and hope that the creative juices flow enough where a hybrid interface can emerge that solves all of our problems.

MMORPG's are still using the same user interface they had back when Everquest was first released. There have been no changes, advancements or improvements in almost 10 years. I think we're long overdue for an MMORPG UI revolution.

Hybrid MMORPG's must have seperate PC and Console servers

This argument stems more from the core gamers' fears than it does from a technical standpoint. PC and Console gamers can interface and play on the same servers. The problem lies with the core gamer's phobia of console players. Core gamers are folks who spend lots of time being good at their game. Almost to a point where their ingame accomplishments and real life accomplishments are sometimes blurred together. Many core gamer's pride would be hurt to learn that they received an in game whooping by a 10 year old on a Wii.

Instead of embracing the new challenge, it is much easier to petition for platform seggregation. I personally think an MMORPG that pits PC gamers against Console gamers would be a wildly fun and exciting challenge. If you buy the game for a console, you must play X faction and if you buy it for a PC, you must play Y faction. From a PVP standpoint it would make a hugely successful and well bonded community with a fierce competitive rivalry with your opponents.

From the technical point of view, this argument is purely garbage.

Console Gamers Vs. PC Gamers

PC MMORPG players are unemployed 30 somethings still living in their mom's basement wasting huge amounts of time hoping their in game persona turns out to be better than real life reality, while console gamers are skilless driveling button mashers chasing the cheese through a predefined set of circustances before burning through another game.

While both statements are usually quite fun to sling at eachother, you will see that both sides of the coin are very similar. There are console players living in mom's basement, and a good portion of the MMORPG community carries a drool cup in their man purse.

Slowly, the core player demographics are being blurred by successful crossover titles. Halo, WoW, Command and Conquer, The Sims and the list goes on. As time progresses we will eventually see the demographics of the core player edge closer together. The bottom line is that both demographics enjoy video games. It is one common denominator you cannot dispute. If that common bond cannot make a hybrid MMORPG work it will be the fault of the player and not the developer.

In Conclusion
A hybrid MMORPG can be successful. It can be fun. It can also be the huge breakthrough the MMORPG industry so desperately needs. I don't encounter many console gamers who are anti-pc, but we frequently see the core gamer up in arms about any potential MMORPG hybrid.

When a decent MMORPG hybrid comes out, will it be instantly boycotted by core gamers, or is this entire argument just another finicky complaint from a community that has always complained about the most minor of changes in the way their games are played?

 

Spirer writes:

Very nice read, especially on the inovation side.

Fri Feb 29 2008 11:20AM Report
Meltdown writes:

Good points all around, although I disagree about the reasons behind having separate console and PC servers.

"Instead of embracing the new challenge, it is much easier to petition for platform seggregation. I personally think an MMORPG that pits PC gamers against Console gamers would be a wildly fun and exciting challenge."

Except on the basis of "twitch" gaming. Playing games like Halo on a console against playing it on the PC is like night and day. Sure an MMORPG might not have THAT much twitch for gaming, but what you're suggesting is an imbalance of the UI which could have drastic affects on PvP.

I'm actually more of a core PC gamer than a console gamer. And I want the segregated OPTION for players because I don't want to hear things like "of course he beat me, he is playing on a PC". So actually I would say the reverse of your statement isn't true. I don't fear the consolers coming in and owning me, I'm afraid of them QQing about some sort of unfair advantage.

Fri Feb 29 2008 11:52AM Report
Kurai3 writes:

I found this to be a good read, and there is a point I'd like to throw in myself if you don't mind.

I, personally, play both Console and PC games, pretty much equally. I honestly think that MMO's are some of the least skill required games that exist on the market today. Thinking, yes, skill? None that I can see. And I will admit that Hybrid MMO's might have a bit of trouble working together, but there's nothing that says you can't have multiple servers some linked, some unlinked.

 

Another point would be is that, I have yet to play an MMO that I couldn't play equally as well with a controller. There are a number of programs out there that allow for Joystick Movements to be translated into Keyboard Commands, and Honestly, it's not hard to play MMO's As they are with a console controller. I'd like to see a little more twitch/Skill based gameplay being integrated in to MMO's, instead of just dice rolls, they're just getting... Old.

 

Fri Feb 29 2008 1:55PM Report
Hexxeity writes:

The number of keys and buttons is not what makes PC controls superior.  It's the precision of mouse control.   This does not matter so much for most MMOGs on the market today, but it may become more of an issue in future generations.

FFXI's controls are not bad on a PC -- just plug in a game pad and voila!  It's a breeze.

In general, the console-vs-PC argument is a hugely false dichotomy, engendered by the vocal minority of PC gamers inhabiting message board communities.  In reality, most PC gamers also play console games (but maybe not vice versa).  I myself play both, and none of the gamer descriptions in this article even come close to matching the way I play or think about games.

Fri Feb 29 2008 2:05PM Report
BadSpock writes:

I'm much more precise with my Halo 3 sniper on my 360 then my Counter Strike: Source sniper on my PC.

Those who are very used to the "precision" of the keyboard/mouse set up tend to have a natural handicap to overcome when switching to console FPS games.

So it's not that one is better or worse then the other, it's personal preference. That's it.

Fri Feb 29 2008 3:38PM Report
Kordesh writes:

You were correct for about the title and first paragraph...

Fri Feb 29 2008 4:46PM Report
Rajai writes:

final fantasy is the only game I've been able to play using only a usb keyboard, you don't even need a mouse
so if you hook a usb keyboard into a ps2 or a 360 no difference?
might run faster..

Sat Mar 01 2008 12:28PM Report
theblade423 writes:

    i personally play console and MMORPGS most of the week. in my opinion, i have a hard time holding on to those MMOs because they just dont last that long. killing X amount of monsters u get the sword of awsomeness gets kinda boring after a while. While console games have that action, most lack the depth ( im not saying hybird MMOS on 360 and such.) they just dont have that leveling system i crave. if they integrated that into several games we could bring both sides together and for once end these discussions about whos more idiotic and whos better. take Age of Conan, i read in a forum topic that they might inplement a 360 version. after that all hell broke loose. i heard so many complaints that it would be dumbed down and people didnt want it. it has a combination of both and its would also be for those who dont have that " super uber pwning PC" and if u hate it so bad, i have something for you, its called a USB keyboard. so my point is, that there are some restrictions on some people and they want certian things. all that could be in a hybrid MMO if they actually made one. so that is my arguement and im sticking to it. (and P.S., im 12 and im not a whining baby who has a attention span thats 5 minutes long.)

Sat Mar 01 2008 2:05PM Report
Gwazi writes:

You forgot to mention EQOA for the ps2.  I think that has been the most successful console mmorpg.  It was not watered or dumbed down, it had the feel and look of a MMORPG that was on a computer, if not better.  Although the servers are dead now(well really low population), at it's time the land of Norrath flurished with people.  It lost a lot of it's population when EQ2 came out.  A lot of the devs went and worked on that leaveing eqoa behind.  But it was compatible with the keyboard, it made it really easy to play and was a great mmo.

Sat Mar 01 2008 2:13PM Report
zergwatch writes:

I would like a new eq2 based mmo on ps3/xbox/wii.

Sat Mar 01 2008 10:40PM Report
jaskau writes:
  • I'm much more precise with my Halo 3 sniper on my 360 then my Counter Strike: Source sniper on my PC.
  • Those who are very used to the "precision" of the keyboard/mouse set up tend to have a natural handicap to overcome when switching to console FPS games.
  • So it's not that one is better or worse then the other, it's personal preference. That's it.

Regardless if  you grew up eating shit and got use to the taste, it's still shit that you're eating. The mouse and keyboard is better. <--period

Sun Mar 02 2008 9:02AM Report
vajuras writes:

I really enjoyed this blog good topic you picked here btw. I feel the same

 

oooOOOOo You really came up with some great points :P

 

Tue Mar 04 2008 9:01PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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