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  Vocadi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/21/04
Posts: 194

 
OP  5/18/12 7:39:25 AM#1

 

In reading these discussions on the current state of gaming, it is clear as a bell to me what is wrong with MMO's these days.  Money hungry developers and marketers, abysmally boring and rehashed content and a general lack of interest in the opinion of the customer. Online gaming has become the new cash cow (or is trying to). 
 
So we clearly know what’s wrong, but how do we as a gaming community alter this trend? Many say speak with your wallet and stop buying games from the big offenders. But are those who feel this way in the minority?  After all SWTOR (*edit* EA claims to) still has 1.3 million subscribers. That’s a lot of people who are supposedly happy with the game, or merely sticking with it and waiting to see what happens.
 
To use the recently announced Elder Scrolls online as an example. This announcement generated a very loud and vocal dissent towards the apparent content and style of this game. I won’t go into the many reasons why people feel ESO is missing the mark, but suffice to say it seems to offer nothing terribly new or groundbreaking. It appears to be trying to take the same tired torch that WoW has been holding for years.  So all this dissatisfaction in the next attempt at mainstream MMO consumption, where can it be directed? Take a look at the following links:
 
 
Even though it’s been in the works for a while, it appears that some clever people are working on a Skyrim Online mod. This will enable 1-4 players to join together in the world of Skyrim. It sounds promising. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the modding community pulled together and made Skyrim Online as huge as it has the potential to be? That would be a nice stick in the eye for Zenimax/Bethesda!
 
I started this post because there appears to be a trend in the opinion of gamers lately, a general dissatisfaction in the offerings that are produced and it seems to me that people are a lot more vocal about it. Since we have already defined what appears to be wrong with the newest crop of MMO’s, what do you folks feel can be done to try and change this apparent downward spiral? 

  Avarix

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/22/12
Posts: 285

5/18/12 11:00:05 AM#2

I think it's because developers stopped trying to be inovative. They see the tried and true models and continue the same trend.

A lot of people actually do vote with their wallets but there is a disconnect here. World of Warcraft brought in millions of people into the genre. This changed a couple things.

Those millions will keep hyping and jumping to the next clone, hoping for the same feeling/experience as WoW without doing any research. This encourages developers to continually push out sub-par games since they are making money from it. This isn't going to change until the majority of people that were brought into the fold by World of Warcraft realize they simply do not like MMORPGs, just WoW and no one does WoW like WoW itself.

So now we have the millions of people trying to repeat WoW all over again, and a much smaller number trying to play original MMORPGs. This is why there is such a large turn-over of subscribers after a couple months on most new games. Until those millions give up and change to thousands, the genre will continue moving in the same direction it has been going for quite a while now, trying to repeat the anomaly that is World of Warcraft.

I'm not asking for much, just make me feel something when I get into your game that makes me want to stay, not roll my eyes. Most of this is subjective, and all of it is only my opinion. Take it as you will.

 

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17129

5/18/12 11:05:49 AM#3
Originally posted by Avarix

I think it's because developers stopped trying to be inovative. They see the tried and true models and continue the same trend.

A lot of people actually do vote with their wallets but there is a disconnect here. World of Warcraft brought in millions of people into the genre. This changed a couple things.

Those millions will keep hyping and jumping to the next clone, hoping for the same feeling/experience as WoW without doing any research. This encourages developers to continually push out sub-par games since they are making money from it. This isn't going to change until the majority of people that were brought into the fold by World of Warcraft realize they simply do not like MMORPGs, just WoW and no one does WoW like WoW itself.

So now we have the millions of people trying to repeat WoW all over again, and a much smaller number trying to play original MMORPGs. This is why there is such a large turn-over of subscribers after a couple months on most new games. Until those millions give up and change to thousands, the genre will continue moving in the same direction it has been going for quite a while now, trying to repeat the anomaly that is World of Warcraft.

I'm not asking for much, just make me feel something when I get into your game that makes me want to stay, not roll my eyes. Most of this is subjective, and all of it is only my opinion. Take it as you will.

 

I think Avarix is close to the mark.

Coupled with the cost and risk it is very clear why developers are loath to jump into something that is "new and different".

  s1fu71

Novice Member

Joined: 12/08/10
Posts: 220

5/18/12 11:10:17 AM#4

I very much agree with, Avarix.

It's also my opinion that even if you have a talented team with a good idea, it can be crushed if they need to rely on investors. Investors can create pressure in a negative direction as well.

It's not about fighting, it's about balance. It's not about enlightenment, it's about balance. It's not about balance.

  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2170

5/18/12 11:10:57 AM#5

Developers have been hardcore against the "sims" model and realism, and players are reluctant to use those words because of the game "The Sims" and poorly funded start-up efforts that really are nothing more than a poor rendition of "realistic" lacking anything more. But the reality is, as shown with Skyrim, as shown with the displeasure of "the same ol' same ol' ", players do want "realistic fantasy". Players do want "a world". To live in, but more, to adventure in. All the gameyness is turning gamers off.

Once upon a time....

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17129

5/18/12 11:18:58 AM#6
Originally posted by Amaranthar

Developers have been hardcore against the "sims" model and realism, and players are reluctant to use those words because of the game "The Sims" and poorly funded start-up efforts that really are nothing more than a poor rendition of "realistic" lacking anything more. But the reality is, as shown with Skyrim, as shown with the displeasure of "the same ol' same ol' ", players do want "realistic fantasy". Players do want "a world". To live in, but more, to adventure in. All the gameyness is turning gamers off.

I don't think that's exactly true.

The few people I've met (other than this website) who played Skyrim, and in some cases the other elder scrolls games, played them for the quests.

They followed all the immediately findable quests, did them and when they couldn't find anything else to do they moved on.

I think sandbox fans and perhaps elderscrolls fans are in it for the other stuff. But there is evidence that following the game's apparent path is just as much a reason to by a "Skyrim" as not.

So this doesn't really translate into "x amount of sales went into the game therefore it's for a large explorable world".

heck, one of the guys I talked with hated morrowind because of all the walking. That's a game I played for a good two years.

  Terranah

Hard Core Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 3616

5/18/12 11:22:31 AM#7
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by Avarix

I think it's because developers stopped trying to be inovative. They see the tried and true models and continue the same trend.

A lot of people actually do vote with their wallets but there is a disconnect here. World of Warcraft brought in millions of people into the genre. This changed a couple things.

Those millions will keep hyping and jumping to the next clone, hoping for the same feeling/experience as WoW without doing any research. This encourages developers to continually push out sub-par games since they are making money from it. This isn't going to change until the majority of people that were brought into the fold by World of Warcraft realize they simply do not like MMORPGs, just WoW and no one does WoW like WoW itself.

So now we have the millions of people trying to repeat WoW all over again, and a much smaller number trying to play original MMORPGs. This is why there is such a large turn-over of subscribers after a couple months on most new games. Until those millions give up and change to thousands, the genre will continue moving in the same direction it has been going for quite a while now, trying to repeat the anomaly that is World of Warcraft.

I'm not asking for much, just make me feel something when I get into your game that makes me want to stay, not roll my eyes. Most of this is subjective, and all of it is only my opinion. Take it as you will.

 

I think Avarix is close to the mark.

Coupled with the cost and risk it is very clear why developers are loath to jump into something that is "new and different".

 

Yes, as soon as the genre began to establish itself, 'models' were developed and this has hamstrung further risk and innovation, resulting in mediocrity and similarity between titles.

 

It's like studying a beautiful oil painting and breaking it down into it's component parts and trying to formulate something as provocative.  Too often, it has less to do with components, and it's more about the inspiration and synergy that happens to make it more than the sum of it's parts.  Too often if you follow a 'model' or recipe, you end up with something that feels rather safe, uninspired and sterile in it's feel.  

  BigHatLogan

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/09/06
Posts: 695

5/18/12 11:29:56 AM#8
Originally posted by Vocadi

 

 
 
So we clearly know what’s wrong, but how do we as a gaming community alter this trend? Many say speak with your wallet and stop buying games from the big offenders. But are those who feel this way in the minority?  After all SWTOR still has 1.3 million subscribers. That’s a lot of people who are supposedly happy with the game, or merely sticking with it and waiting to see what happens.
 
 

 

 

SWTOR does not have 1.3 million subscribers.  Just because they say they do does not make it true.  EA is and always has been a big fat liar.   The game is failing and that is a good sign for the genre. 

Are you a Pavlovian Fish Biscuit Addict? Get Help Now!

I will play no more MMORPGs until somethign good comes out!

  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2170

5/18/12 11:35:32 AM#9
Originally posted by Sovrath
Originally posted by Amaranthar

Developers have been hardcore against the "sims" model and realism, and players are reluctant to use those words because of the game "The Sims" and poorly funded start-up efforts that really are nothing more than a poor rendition of "realistic" lacking anything more. But the reality is, as shown with Skyrim, as shown with the displeasure of "the same ol' same ol' ", players do want "realistic fantasy". Players do want "a world". To live in, but more, to adventure in. All the gameyness is turning gamers off.

I don't think that's exactly true.

The few people I've met (other than this website) who played Skyrim, and in some cases the other elder scrolls games, played them for the quests.

They followed all the immediately findable quests, did them and when they couldn't find anything else to do they moved on.

I think sandbox fans and perhaps elderscrolls fans are in it for the other stuff. But there is evidence that following the game's apparent path is just as much a reason to by a "Skyrim" as not.

So this doesn't really translate into "x amount of sales went into the game therefore it's for a large explorable world".

heck, one of the guys I talked with hated morrowind because of all the walking. That's a game I played for a good two years.


Well, you are certainly free to believe what you want. But players are turning off of MMO's as they are. It'll only get worse until it changes.

Once upon a time....

  Vocadi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/21/04
Posts: 194

 
OP  5/18/12 11:45:15 AM#10
Originally posted by Avarix

I think it's because developers stopped trying to be inovative. They see the tried and true models and continue the same trend.

A lot of people actually do vote with their wallets but there is a disconnect here. World of Warcraft brought in millions of people into the genre. This changed a couple things.

Those millions will keep hyping and jumping to the next clone, hoping for the same feeling/experience as WoW without doing any research. This encourages developers to continually push out sub-par games since they are making money from it. This isn't going to change until the majority of people that were brought into the fold by World of Warcraft realize they simply do not like MMORPGs, just WoW and no one does WoW like WoW itself.

So now we have the millions of people trying to repeat WoW all over again, and a much smaller number trying to play original MMORPGs. This is why there is such a large turn-over of subscribers after a couple months on most new games. Until those millions give up and change to thousands, the genre will continue moving in the same direction it has been going for quite a while now, trying to repeat the anomaly that is World of Warcraft.

I'm not asking for much, just make me feel something when I get into your game that makes me want to stay, not roll my eyes. Most of this is subjective, and all of it is only my opinion. Take it as you will.

 

Indeed, however I still feel like there are alot more people than even a year ago who can see through the smoke and mirrors. Surely even those who are looking for a WoW clone can see when they are being fed filler.  Shouldn't this alone be enough to cause a bit of a gaming revolt? 

Is it really that acceptable for the majority, the alleged 1.3 millions to be fed a line and to consume it every time? Look at the articles that gaming websites and magazines (and mainstream media) are writing recently.  They are also questioning the lack of content and the complete and utter defiance in brining something new to the table. The offending developers are getting some negative feedback... so the word is out so to speak.

 

  MikeJT

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/28/09
Posts: 83

5/18/12 11:59:37 AM#11

I think the inability of studios to break free from the WoW mold comes mainly from the fact that the people with the money simply won't fund games which don't follow a tried and tested formula.

Think of recent MMO releases like Darkfall and Mortal Online (well okay they're not that recent anymore). Both developed by small studios with limited budgets, both plagued with severe bugs on release, both slow to correct unintended gameplay imbalances or unforseen consequences of changes to the game.

What if those games had the budget of something like WoW? What if Darkfall released back in 2009 with the same features, gameplay balance and bug-free gameplay that it has today?

Buggy releases, gameplay imbalances and poorly thought out features lose a game subscribers in the long run, even after those issues have been fixed. I have no evidence but personal observation to back that statement up, but you know it makes sense. I know many people who started playing Darkfall at the same time that I did who left because magic was entirely overpowered and the grind to catch up was ridiculous. These people didn't come back when these issues were fixed (by the introduction of global cool downs and a change in the skill gain rate, and other things later).

And lets not forget to mention that the majority of press on a game is generated during it's release, so launch reviews of buggy games are certain to turn off many gamers who demand a more polished experience from the outset.

Because these small studios are never going to be able to release a game with the same polish as the big budget titles, MMORPG's that might be industry changing are probably never going to create a significant impact.

It's only when a big named studio takes the risk on breaking the mold and releases a polished, AAA title that the industry may shift from being so heavily limited by the current WoW-based model to alternatives.

I think the biggest challenge for the industry as a whole, when trying to move away from the WoW-style MMORPG, is rebranding their games so that people who associate the term "MMORPG" so heavily with WoW will not be turned off by a game based on the simple fact that its an MMORPG. So many people I've spoken to who proclaim not like to MMORPG's have only ever played WoW, and they won't even consider other MMORPG's because they think they are all like it.

  darkhalf357x

Elite Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1108

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

5/18/12 12:00:42 PM#12

The scary part for me is I have seen this before.  On the console side.  They used to be a place to get fun innovative games especially on the PS2.  But I'd say around the time XBOX entered the market consoles started to change, I saw more and more AAA multi-million dollar budgeted games.  Press talk about who could make more money, consoles or movies.  The result was a hash of 'me-too' games, a trough of sequels, developer house shutdowns, and publisher mergings.  It was no longer about having fun or taking on a challenge it was about selling the most units.

So in 2011 haven't really touched a console title since Red Dead Redemption I jumped over to the PC side, specifically interested in MMOs seeing how Im an RPG nut. I started with SWTOR and quickly branched out to older MMO looking for a "home" so to speak.  In that experience Im still living I recognized a few things.

1. Online gaming is more attractive to both sides, gamers and developers.  Its attractive to gamers because it (can) give you that one game experience that constantly changes without having to buy a new (updated) game every year (looking at you Madden ripoff!).  To developers its a great way to reduce if not end piracy.  I can get a 'copy' of a game well enough, but if I dont authenticate to  your server I cant play.  I actually see a more detrimental effect of being restricted of what I can play.  I will never be able to play Star Wars Galaxies.  Period.  Yeah there are pre-NGE servers, but its not the same if you know what I mean.  Thats a stark difference from say my SNES library.  I can read/hear about an old game and pretty much re-live what I lost through emulators.  After hearing Diablo III and its 'online' component for single-player, the trend is growing.

2. Its not about us (gamers) anymore. Why cater to the what? 10,000+ people here on MMORPG, when they can make a generic flawed game and sell it to millions. No incentive.  Its about market penetration and trying to reach the absolute maximum number of people with the least amount of effort.  The only way to effectively do that is to make games easier and cater to the masses by leveraging branded IP. Resident Evil 6??  You smack 'Star Wars' on something, you will easily make a million dollars from the rabid fan base alone. New people? An added plus.

In terms of ESO, I was actually part of the mob with my torch and pitchfork.  After I read the game informer article, the project DOES sound interesting at least to me.  Take the 'WOW' concept with ES lore with nuanced changes specific to ES. I like the idea of not having a quest hub, but getting quests from talking to random NPCs.  Its more immersive that way, but no one has really done it... save Arena.NET.  Now dont beat me, yes, I'm a fan of hotkey/tab combat. I know, I know its old fashioned, been there done that.  But in a particular perspective it works and in a way brings me back to my old school turn-based RPGs.  Given the right (updated) context it can work... at least for me.

So yes, Im looking forward to trying ESO. Sub makes me bite my lip but if they deliver something I like I dont mind supporting.  But I digress...

3. I noticed, this time period of uncertainty we are in is at least opening the doors to innovation. We are open to it and as people become bored with the conservative commerical titles, small more niche ones will emerge.  Look at the whole Kickstarter project.  Developers will be given ways to reach the customer directly, but I dont feel it will ever have the massive world encompassing impact as UO or EQ1. 

But just perhaps they will start a new one.

Hoping and waiting to eager to see what happens. 

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

5/18/12 2:24:25 PM#13

Choosing not to play a different genre is a conscious effort to avoid new experiences.

So choosing to stay with MMORPGs and complaining they don't innovate enough has always struck me as a little silly.

Also if you read forums for just about anything you're going to come away with the impression that people more or less hate the thing in question.  Forum discussion occurs around complaints and disagreements.  When two people agree (either two players, or a player and the game-maker), the conversation ends quickly in agreement.   When two people disagree, tons of conversation happens.

  Quirhid

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5520

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

5/18/12 4:02:38 PM#14

What the hell are you on about? Skyrim is the same-old same-old Elder Scrolls. Its in a pretty wrapper and not much else. Replace the dragons with Oblivion gates and it is quite similar to Oblivion.

When you see a themepark MMO you hurry to call it a WoW-clone when the next Elder Scrolls game comes out "Oh my god its totally different!". You are such hypocrites.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  ArChWind

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/19/11
Posts: 490

5/18/12 4:20:24 PM#15
Originally posted by Axehilt

Choosing not to play a different genre is a conscious effort to avoid new experiences.

So choosing to stay with MMORPGs and complaining they don't innovate enough has always struck me as a little silly.

Also if you read forums for just about anything you're going to come away with the impression that people more or less hate the thing in question.  Forum discussion occurs around complaints and disagreements.  When two people agree (either two players, or a player and the game-maker), the conversation ends quickly in agreement.   When two people disagree, tons of conversation happens.

 

The problem is Axehilt that every game is the same formula that is has been tested and proven to work. We are still seeing games based on 20 year old D&D leveling systems that are so linear that one can predict the outcome before the game play is even half way through the first day. The other thing is the minority of these game designs are voicing their discontent. I know this is not going to set well but the vast majority of gamers are happy with the game they pick because of various reasons. This leaves a small number that want something different and the cost to build it to the probability of success is to great.
 
With that said..
 
It leaves the small independent studios to try to pick up the slack and they don’t have enough backing to produce a AAA title because of the enormous cost of the engines, software and man power to build one. What the indies do is try to copy enough of the working formula so they can at least get back their investment but they can’t produce a multi-million dollar product.
 
Times are changing though. I got an email from Hero Engine yesterday. The Indie can make a commercial game for 100 bucks a year and have 100 people working on it. I been working with BigWorlds but this offer changes things for me and for a lot of small developers. I expect a big jump is small MMO games to stat showing late 2014. Hopefully some of these projects will actually produce something that breaks the mold.
 
  GTwander

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/09
Posts: 6125

LARPer Hunter

5/18/12 5:08:43 PM#16
Originally posted by Avarix

I think it's because developers stopped trying to be inovative. They see the tried and true models and continue the same trend.

The game industry has become the movie industry.

"Transformers made how much? Lets make something just like it, and swim in it's greasy wake!"

 

 

@Quirhid

You are mixing up the "expectations of an IP" and the "expectations of a genre", which is the whole issue with ESO... and I, personally, believe the "expectations of an IP" have more weight. In one hand you have people that want what makes TES special, in the other, people who play a lot of a single genre (traditional MMOs) and are afraid of change... well both are afraid of major changes, respectively.

I said it before in another thread, but I'll say it here too:

TESO is to the IP what The Elder Scrolls: Travels on the Nokia N-Gage was...

Writer / Musician / Game Designer

Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  User Deleted
5/18/12 5:19:16 PM#17

Corporate money hates risk.  Major releases are backed by corporate money.

 

Lead designers get hired on the basis of being in line with corporate directive.  This results in games being designed by designers who aren't taking risks.

 

Games from designers that don't take risks tend to be rehashes of other games that did well financially.  The end result is more of the same.

  Nadia

Elite Member

Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11430

5/18/12 5:23:18 PM#18

some devs have broken away

 

notably Jeff Strain, former of ANET, whos now making an apocalyptic sandbox mmo for consoles

 

regardless of opinions of consoles

-- Strains forthcoming mmo is not what the OP describes as "boring and rehashed content"

http://www.tentonhammer.com/undead-labs/interviews/jeff-strain/May-16-2011

At the Lab we refer to the game we are making as a “survival sandbox” game.

We want to drop you into the heart of a zombie apocalypse and let you put your personal survival plan to the test in an open world, with no predefined quest paths, no levels, no corridors, and no canned character progression; just you, your plan, your equipment, and your wits.

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

5/18/12 5:28:30 PM#19
Originally posted by ArChWind 
The problem is Axehilt that every game is the same formula that is has been tested and proven to work. We are still seeing games based on 20 year old D&D leveling systems that are so linear that one can predict the outcome before the game play is even half way through the first day. The other thing is the minority of these game designs are voicing their discontent. I know this is not going to set well but the vast majority of gamers are happy with the game they pick because of various reasons. This leaves a small number that want something different and the cost to build it to the probability of success is to great.
 
With that said..
 
It leaves the small independent studios to try to pick up the slack and they don’t have enough backing to produce a AAA title because of the enormous cost of the engines, software and man power to build one. What the indies do is try to copy enough of the working formula so they can at least get back their investment but they can’t produce a multi-million dollar product.
 
Times are changing though. I got an email from Hero Engine yesterday. The Indie can make a commercial game for 100 bucks a year and have 100 people working on it. I been working with BigWorlds but this offer changes things for me and for a lot of small developers. I expect a big jump is small MMO games to stat showing late 2014. Hopefully some of these projects will actually produce something that breaks the mold.
 
Axe: "Try different genres if you want different games."
Archwind: 'But when I play the same genres and don't try new things, I play the same game!'
Axe: "Let me try this again: Try different genres if you want different games."

There's a ton of innovative titles out there if you want innovation.  You just have to go play them, and not expect the innovation to come in the form of a giant super-expensive AAA MMORPG (because that's a ridiculous expectation.)

  Vocadi

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/21/04
Posts: 194

 
OP  5/19/12 8:51:36 AM#20
Originally posted by Quirhid

What the hell are you on about? Skyrim is the same-old same-old Elder Scrolls. Its in a pretty wrapper and not much else. Replace the dragons with Oblivion gates and it is quite similar to Oblivion.

When you see a themepark MMO you hurry to call it a WoW-clone when the next Elder Scrolls game comes out "Oh my god its totally different!". You are such hypocrites.

Who are you referring to? When I posted the link in my original topic for Skyrim online I did this to make a point. That players are able to customize something and change it outside of how the developers originally intended. In this way, this puts choice back into the players hands.

I did not start this discussion to state how deviated from the original elderscrolls the single player game Skyrim has become. I have very definite views on this and in fact prefer Morrowind personally. I think you missed the mark on this one as thats not what this post is about.

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