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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Should MMOs cater to all or to few?

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61 posts found

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/20/10
Posts: 1033

6/13/13 10:10:45 PM#21
Now that MMOs are popular I think they should start specializing.  Much like restaurants(everyone likes food right?) normally serve a primary type of food (french, italian, american, etc).

Elite Member

Joined: 11/15/09
Posts: 4985

The only luck I had today was to have you as my opponent.

6/13/13 10:15:41 PM#22
cater to target audience. I don't care how many salads McDonald's sells. I'm there for the burgers.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/30/09
Posts: 1116

6/13/13 10:17:37 PM#23

I think MMO shouldn't focus on catering at all but should focus on creating worlds.


Devs need to start looking at what they are doing as art and literature as oppose to making a commercial.


Build it and they will come... if it is good; and if they don't, it is because your backyard is shit. Copying other people's backyards won't help if your mentality is shit to start with.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/03/11
Posts: 107

6/13/13 10:21:16 PM#24
A good mmo caters to no one.  The goal should be to make a good game, period.  Sadly, companies no longer want to make a good game and make money doing it, they want to leech every dime they can get out of their customers, making a good game is secondary, or even tertiary.

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/28/04
Posts: 1843

6/13/13 10:30:08 PM#25

The depth of this topic is going to go over a lot of heads.

For a game to cater to a few, for example...raiders. It would mean the game would completely lack in every other MMO aspect from crafting to open world PvE as well as me one old school game that so many will claim was great that did that.

The idea of catering to a few is far deeper than many are saying here, most of whom no doubt are falling back to the tried and true "old games were great, new ones suck" argument...when in fact, the only real difference today is that the games are easier and watered down to cater to non-MMO players.

EQ catered to groups, crafters, explorers and expanded further to include PvPers and larger group sizes. That is NOT catering to a FEW.

“I hope we shall its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

6/14/13 12:52:48 AM#26

I admire an MMO that tries to please everyone, even if it is an impossible task.

It's just something about the genre - while most games try to provide a focused experience, I like the old fashioned idea of MMOS being a big tent where many different kinds of people meet, even if they have conflicting basic play styles.

We all want our ideal experience.  We all get irritated by compromises made for people who play the game differently than we do, but I'm not convinced that culling players who don't share one narrow play style is a good idea.  I think you lose essential diversity and I think you lose economies of scale when you try to carve up an audience and make specialized games for each niche community.

That said, there are certain divides that are very hard to bridge.  For example, putting PvE and PvP players in the same world without making many people very unhappy is a puzzle I can't figure out how to solve.




Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 38

6/14/13 12:57:24 AM#27
I don't think any of the original successful games catered to any one.  They set out a world they wanted and people came on their own accord.  You can't make a successful game based on what people want, because people don't know what they want, the only way to do it right is to focus on the game and if people like it, you win, if they don't, you join a long list of games that just didn't have the magic.

Novice Member

Joined: 8/19/12
Posts: 125

6/14/13 1:13:46 AM#28

Personally, I don't care much for the one-size-fits-all approach that has prevailed in recent MMO's.  It's obviously driven by the developer's desire to appeal to the largest market segment and thereby maximizing their subscription base, but in my opinion this approach detracts from the overall value and enjoyment of the game.  I do understand the reasoning behind it; it's just that I don't particularly like it.  I think that there should be a place for MMO's that cater to ten to fourteen year old players, but to integrate every demographic into one MMO causes the game to sacrifice some of it's personality and enjoyment.


Selfishly speaking, I would like to see an MMO that is strictly suited for more mature players; a game without the carrot and stick approach, a game with a high degree of difficulty, a game that requires some intelligence factor, one that does not lead from point A to point B so easily, etc.  I feel that games should offer it's player base a true challenge, something to lose-- not just a bit of risk but a giant scoop of risk with every action or non-action taken.  


Please, developers, stop giving players only one or two dialogue response choices [PS: what's up with all the games that give us only one NPC interaction response choice? How is that a decision on our part?]  I know you work your tails off to bring these games to market and I personally don't envy the thousands of hours of design and programming work that you have to do (most of which attracts endless criticisms and ire), yet I still yearn for the ultra difficult game with a plethora of choices to make; give us a game that requires human beings that play it well, don't give us a game that just requires human beings.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

6/14/13 1:15:20 AM#29

Appealing to everyone seems to mean "make a WoW clone" and it has never once worked.


Make a game that

a) is specialized and appeals to a niche

b) do it on a niche budget

c) actually play to the strengths of an MMO, don't make a singleplayer game and charge for it (TSW, SWTOR, NW)


Elite Member

Joined: 8/11/10
Posts: 1809

Don't give us stories. Give us worlds and we will make our own stories.

6/14/13 1:19:08 AM#30
MMO's should cater to player freedom.  The "rails" have to go.

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 21640

6/14/13 2:22:02 PM#31
Obvious the answer is "depends" .. .depends on the goals of the devs.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/05/08
Posts: 686

6/14/13 2:26:50 PM#32

An MMO that tries to appeal to everyone is "a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none."


Hedonismbot: Your latest performance was as delectable as dipping my bottom over and over into a bath of the silkiest oils and creams.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 4909

6/14/13 2:40:51 PM#33

I've always thought a better question to this is, should players learn to accept that not everything in an mmo is there for them.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/11/10
Posts: 545

6/14/13 2:41:54 PM#34

Games which "please everyone" end up being today's themeparks. In order to squeeze every cent from the audience, the devs slowly appeal to the following: going "free to play" thus destroying some good established communities, dumbing down, changing the game to be more "like WoW" because everyone played WoW and got used to its systems (instances and raids to gain tokens, spend tokens to get gear), the enormously stupid thing called "balance" (every damage class should be equal in numbers, every healing class the same thing, no flavor, no nothing - gone are the days when people played classes for their unique flavor, when some things could be done only by a few classes and only those) and other things like that.

Games which appeal only to a small number of people end up not producing enough money, and the following happens: they turn in a very expensive version of F2P, they end up on life support (two people for maintenance, no new content ever) or they die.

Really there is no good answer. It's very difficult when it takes years to create the content which is devoured in weeks. Sandboxes are not a solution, because the people got used to being "fed", people have less time and way more options. There are so many ex-p2p now freemium games on the market that you can play a good different game every day of the week and not get bored. There's no sense of belonging to one of those games once you realize that every one of them is designed to "end" when you "get the gear".


Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

6/14/13 2:44:20 PM#35
Originally posted by Kaneth
Originally posted by redcapp

Yet another lacking poll.  Did not vote.


It depends on the MMO.


And I disagree entirely with your initial premise that the first few MMOs all catered to the entire community.

I mean, look at the big three.  EQ, UO, AC.  All very very different, and very good in their own ways. 

Agreed completely. The big three had very different and extremely loyal audiences. All three games were very different from one another as well. I would say that each game was specialized in many regards, additionally, I'd argue that the game that tried to really cater to all was WoW.

Many mmos did specialize before the WoW era, and each of them was successful in their own right. The problem now is that too many believe sub numbers rule the world. I don't think AC had many more than 25k users, but it was considered successful. Hell, even EQ which peaked around 500k (iirc), would be considered a flop by today's standards. Unless you retain millions the game "failed".

The answer to the question was already answered. It should have a target audience. It doesn't matter if that audience is niche or general, go for that audience and do what you can to retain them. As long as the game is fun, everything else will fall in place.

 I think you left off a zero. I believe it has always been said that both UO and AC had over 250k at their peaks.


Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 21640

6/14/13 2:52:50 PM#36
Originally posted by DamonVile

I've always thought a better question to this is, should players learn to accept that not everything in an mmo is there for them.

Yeah .. apparently a lot of players don't understand that.

Otherwise there won't be so much rant about popular features like LFD, LFR, auction house, fast travel, and so on.



Elite Member

Joined: 6/08/10
Posts: 1997

6/14/13 2:58:31 PM#37

I agree with the premise that MMO's should find a niche they want to target and make a great game for that niche.


Only problem I see is that it's more difficult than ever to identify a niche outside of themepark players. Everyone else has wildly different ideas of what constitute sandbox gameplay, WvWvW, PvP based and so on.

If the customers can't even form a niche, then how are you supposed to design a MMO for them?

Half the threads on are arguments over what sandbox means. Of course you can't get a game targeting your niche, you don't have a niche. You have a buzzword that means something different to everyone who says it.

Then you have phrases like, "meaningful pvp" lots of people claim to want some purpose to their pvp. Gear, titles, mounts, recognition are not meaningful to them though. What they want is to impact the world around them! Or wait, maybe it means player housing that people can destroy. Or wait, player housing indicates solo play, it should be sieges with castles that can be conquered! Or wait, they want the landscape to change. Two factions is too few, five is too many, three is just right!

PvP should be open world, but with consequences for pkers, with a death penalty, but nothing too harsh, maybe being able to spawn children to alleviate the death penalty and let them inherit your gear! The best gear should be crafted, and everyone should rely on others for crafting, and gear should deteriorate, so it shouldn't be so good that you are upset when you lose it, but it should be good enough that people are willing to work hard for it and fight over it.

Progression should be skill based, but also twitchy action combat that is slow and requires strategy and tactics, but the game should have at least 20 classes and 10 races, and the ability to switch factions and betray the others, but only one character per server. We don't want big shoulder armor or huge weapons, but we want high quality visually striking graphics and art style. There should be no scripted dungeons, but the dungeons should be open world with pvp enabled, and it should take a year to hit max level, but there shouldn't be levels at all just skills.

And it goes on. So many mixed thoughts out there. 


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 4909

6/14/13 3:02:32 PM#38

Just for ppl reference because it came up

EQ topped out at 430k in 2004

AC 120k in 2002

DAOC 250k in 2002

UA 250k in 2003 ( first mmo to reach 100k subs )

That's the most subs at one time, not everyone that ever played.



Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 21640

6/14/13 3:10:16 PM#39
Originally posted by Rusque

Only problem I see is that it's more difficult than ever to identify a niche outside of themepark players. Everyone else has wildly different ideas of what constitute sandbox gameplay, WvWvW, PvP based and so on.

I don't see such problem. Sandbox is not the only idea out there.

PS2 does open world pvp game well.

There are lots of instanced combat games (like MWO). There are lots of new ideas of "share world shooters" like Destiny and Division.

Now some may not be traditional MMOs, but certainly devs are finding good new settings and gameplay styles.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 4909

6/14/13 3:12:58 PM#40
Originally posted by nariusseldon

There are lots of instanced combat games (like MWO).


I think he meant games that didn't suck



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