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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » What Makes Console MMO's "Dumbed Down"? (And other questions)

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  maskedweasel

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Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

 
OP  6/26/13 3:18:01 PM#1

As the title says, a few simple answers are requested.  Why are Console MMO's considered to be "dumbed down" in comparison to the "superior" PC MMO?

 

After you answer that,  answer me this - Will there ever be a time Console MMO's would be considered on par or greater than what PC MMOs can offer?  If not, why not,  if so,  how?

 

And lastly,  Will there ever be a time that Mobile MMOs (MMO's for mobile devices) will take center stage the way Console MMO's have started to recently?

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2697

6/26/13 3:21:03 PM#2
Originally posted by maskedweasel

As the title says, a few simple answers are requested.  Why are Console MMO's considered to be "dumbed down" in comparison to the "superior" PC MMO?

 

After you answer that,  answer me this - Will there ever be a time Console MMO's would be considered on par or greater than what PC MMOs can offer?  If not, why not,  if so,  how?

 

And lastly,  Will there ever be a time that Mobile MMOs (MMO's for mobile devices) will take center stage the way Console MMO's have started to recently?

Many MMO's aren't even bothering with the complexity of the players character development. In older games like Anarchy Online for example the customization was amazing. It seems as though they're taking out the need for the customer to think.


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  Wizardry

Elite Member

Joined: 8/27/04
Posts: 6732

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

6/26/13 3:24:37 PM#3

Well it used to be severe limitations in the hardware.

The so called technical experts claimed the PS3 was powerful enough to be on par but the coding for it was a huge challenge and really made it a bad console.

The new PS4 is supposedly,again according to experts a GOOD console to code for,so to answer the question,it most certainly could be on par.It all depends on the total bandwidth a system has,be it PC or console.That means you have to give and take in the game design,be it lower quality graphics,fewer colours,fewer models ect ect.

The PS4 and Xbox1 are still using older tech both the Radeon card and the AMD chip are nothing top of the line but both are capable of a decent quality game.Example BOTH systems are better than my PC and i can play FFXIV.

One Characteristic is usually noticed in the graphics,you won't see the detail.High compressed graphics can still look good if the textures used are decent quality and also seem to be able to fool a lot of users into thinking they are of high quality.

Epic games recently show cased a video showing a software program in their engine that takes high quality physics models and compresses them down to very low polys while still maintaining that same look,so basically less vertices as one example.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Napolianboo#p/u/15/rCYLLQCNc1w
Samoan Diamond

  CrazKanuk

Elite Member

Joined: 10/06/09
Posts: 1036

6/26/13 3:26:31 PM#4

I could agree with MTibbs on the literal dumbing down of the game, but even PC games are going there. Look at WoW, for instance, but who needs skill trees anyway? 

 

For me, the primary issues have been control. However, I think that if mouse and keyboard support is added to more games then you'll see some better adoption. 

Crazkanuk

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  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 6030

6/26/13 3:27:30 PM#5

The controls are the major issue.

the limits of controller vs keyboard or even mouse, is too much and requires the game to be dulled down to be balanced across all controls.

cant play a game like WoW on a controller without serious limitations to self. Same with Rift. Too many keys to press to be keybinded to a console controller. So games like that usually only have 6 to 8 skills. Vs WoW's and Rift's many vast amount of skills to use.

  AG-Vuk

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Joined: 7/26/04
Posts: 818

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Oh, I see it's too late to help you.

6/26/13 3:30:25 PM#6
The UI and versatility. I can have multiple bars up and move through them faster with a mouse and keyboard, then I can with a game controller. I found this also applied to shooter games also. Not to mention Macro's use to be the norm for MMO's , then the desire adapt games for consoles began and macro's have all but disappeared from gameplay. Sigh, I use to have soo much fun with them . Custom UI's , modding, recall, POE BF 2,  Project Reality of BF 2, NWN . It seems people tended to be more creative where PC 's are involved as compared to consoles. Not saying it can't be done on consoles , just less prevalent. It just seems to me that console players are far more casual.

  maskedweasel

Tipster

Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

 
OP  6/26/13 3:55:13 PM#7

I hear some saying controls are the issue, but a controller is essentially a handheld keyboard and mouse with less keys that would require more combinations.

 

Bypass that comment if you don't like it, and instead,  answer,  how many skills should a player have access to in any single game?  How many skills and skill combinations are required so that the game isn't considered being dumbed down?

 

As for Macros, I used to do macros in CoH and SWG and a few other games,  but, for SWG I used a recursive macro much of the time which allowed me to AFK, and while it did take more brainpower to do that, it definitely didn't make me feel like the gameplay was any "smarter".  It almost made me feel like I was tricking the game.

 

Would adding the ability to Macro in a Console MMO change the Console MMO reputation?

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2697

6/26/13 3:57:51 PM#8
Originally posted by CrazKanuk

I could agree with MTibbs on the literal dumbing down of the game, but even PC games are going there. Look at WoW, for instance, but who needs skill trees anyway? 

 

For me, the primary issues have been control. However, I think that if mouse and keyboard support is added to more games then you'll see some better adoption. 

 Yeah, I've noticed the overall dumbing down of games compared to older ones. There are very few titles I see who actually put the time into making their game fairly complex and Bethesda does a great job with the Elder Scrolls series.


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2697

6/26/13 3:58:59 PM#9
Originally posted by maskedweasel

I hear some saying controls are the issue, but a controller is essentially a handheld keyboard and mouse with less keys that would require more combinations.

 

Bypass that comment if you don't like it, and instead,  answer,  how many skills should a player have access to in any single game?  How many skills and skill combinations are required so that the game isn't considered being dumbed down?

 

As for Macros, I used to do macros in CoH and SWG and a few other games,  but, for SWG I used a recursive macro much of the time which allowed me to AFK, and while it did take more brainpower to do that, it definitely didn't make me feel like the gameplay was any "smarter".  It almost made me feel like I was tricking the game.

 

Would adding the ability to Macro in a Console MMO change the Console MMO reputation?

 Your controller is like your keyboard? How'd you fit all ~101-102 buttons onto a hand held device?


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  Torgrim

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 12/15/05
Posts: 2153

6/26/13 4:00:14 PM#10
If  console MMOs are dumbed down then I guess EQN will also be dumbed down.

If it's not broken, you are not innovating.

  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2697

6/26/13 4:03:19 PM#11
The biggest thing I hate abut consoles are the controllers. I like my precision with the keyboard and mouse. The joy stick is simply terrible; especially for FPS games. 


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

  ElRenmazuo

Elite Member

Joined: 10/28/06
Posts: 4179

6/26/13 4:06:31 PM#12
Originally posted by MMOExposed

The controls are the major issue.

the limits of controller vs keyboard or even mouse, is too much and requires the game to be dulled down to be balanced across all controls.

cant play a game like WoW on a controller without serious limitations to self. Same with Rift. Too many keys to press to be keybinded to a console controller. So games like that usually only have 6 to 8 skills. Vs WoW's and Rift's many vast amount of skills to use.

On final fantasy XIV you can put up to 32 skills on the cross hotbar for gamepad, 16 on one set and another 16 on the second set that you can click on the shoulder button to go back and forth from.

  maskedweasel

Tipster

Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

"Kids, try imagining how far the universe extends! Keep thinking about it until you go insane."

 
OP  6/26/13 4:07:42 PM#13
Originally posted by Mtibbs1989
Originally posted by maskedweasel

I hear some saying controls are the issue, but a controller is essentially a handheld keyboard and mouse with less keys that would require more combinations.

 

Bypass that comment if you don't like it, and instead,  answer,  how many skills should a player have access to in any single game?  How many skills and skill combinations are required so that the game isn't considered being dumbed down?

 

As for Macros, I used to do macros in CoH and SWG and a few other games,  but, for SWG I used a recursive macro much of the time which allowed me to AFK, and while it did take more brainpower to do that, it definitely didn't make me feel like the gameplay was any "smarter".  It almost made me feel like I was tricking the game.

 

Would adding the ability to Macro in a Console MMO change the Console MMO reputation?

 Your controller is like your keyboard? How'd you fit all ~101-102 buttons onto a hand held device?

Controllers are similar in function to keyboards.. you press a key and get a desired result.  Holding right trigger and pressing A is the equivalent of holding shift and pressing 1.  They are able to fire off the same ability in the same game if its mapped that way. 

 

I mean its completely possible to create configurations on a controller, such as the Xbox 360 controller,  that reach over 40 button configurations.  Half of that would be more than enough skills for even the most complex MMO.

"Loan me a Dragon I wanna see space"


  AIMonster

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/31/08
Posts: 2016

6/26/13 4:12:45 PM#14

It use to be due to technical limitations.  I'd say with the next gen consoles (at least the PS4, Xbone still might have delivery limitations) that console MMOs do not have to be dumbed down.  MMOs on consoles use to be severely limited in things like the controller, programming, patch delivery / payment models, and hardware limitations.  Let's examine them one by one.

Controller:  You'd have to make an entirely separate UI for a console game, and you still do.  I think the big problem with this is most traditional MMOs simply would not work effectively on a console unless the game was designed around it (look at how bad the controls were in FFXI on PC for example).  This is mostly changing with the shift to action MMOs, which require less hotkeys, and VoIP becoming more popular to allow for players using a controller to not have a harder time with controls than a PC user using mouse/keyboard.

Programming:  Professional SDKs for consoles are ridiculously expensive and may be needlessly costly even for large development studios wanting to port over to the console market.  The PS3 in particular was far more difficult to program on than the PC (and Xbox 360) as the cell processor technology and the way Playstation systems handled multi-processing made porting a MMO over from the PC to the PS3 quite a headache.  Both systems are moving towards more PC architecture and Xbone and possibly even the PS4 (rumor) will support DirectX 11.

Patch Delivery / Payment Models:  I know with Microsoft at least, patching your game is difficult and is at the expensive of a developer.  As far as payment models go, monthly subscription fees on top of paying for services like Xbox Live and PS+ would deter people.  Neither system really allowed for microtransaction and free to models to thrive on their system.  That's changing in the future.

Hardware Limitations:  This has probably changed the most significantly, but originally it was difficult to get the same graphical and performance qualities on a console as you could on even a mid range PC.  Draw distances had to be significantly lower, and graphical quality had to be reduced to support more players on the screen.  It made porting the games over to console (or concurrent development) more a hassle than it was worth.

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  khameleon

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 372

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6/26/13 4:13:48 PM#15

FFXIV, Elder scrolls online and EQ next are all going to be on PS4. I think all major MMOS from now on will be on consoles.

There are no hardware limitations anymore. Controls like chatting are still somewhat of a problem, but you can use voice chat and actual controllers have a ton of buttons now so its not as bad. 

I don't see a huge disadvantage for a console player anymore. An old PC is worse as you will see less in the distance, suffer low framerates in combat, etc.

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  ElRenmazuo

Elite Member

Joined: 10/28/06
Posts: 4179

6/26/13 4:19:26 PM#16
Originally posted by AIMonster
Controller:  You'd have to make an entirely separate UI for a console game, and you still do.  I think the big problem with this is most traditional MMOs simply would not work effectively on a console unless the game was designed around it (look at how bad the controls were in FFXI on PC for example).  This is mostly changing with the shift to action MMOs, which require less hotkeys, and VoIP becoming more popular to allow for players using a controller to not have a harder time with controls than a PC user using mouse/keyboard.

Now look at how they designed the controls for XIV and I would say this mmo is very traditional as in tab target hotbar with auto attack.  As i said in an earlier post you can have up to 32 skills slotted on to the cross hotbar system for the gamepad, 16 on one set and another 16 on the second hotbar which you can switch back and forth with the shoulder button.  The problem is people (especially people who hardly playes with gamepad) do not fully understand how much you can design and customize with a gamepad.

this developer explanation shows you how the gamepad works in XIV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hqbg9_ZJLw

  jskeets916

Novice Member

Joined: 1/08/13
Posts: 160

6/26/13 4:19:41 PM#17
Originally posted by khameleon

FFXIV, Elder scrolls online and EQ next are all going to be on PS4. I think all major MMOS from now on will be on consoles.

There are no hardware limitations anymore. Controls like chatting are still somewhat of a problem, but you can use voice chat and actual controllers have a ton of buttons now so its not as bad. 

I don't see a huge disadvantage for a console player anymore. An old PC is worse as you will see less in the distance, suffer low framerates in combat, etc.

^This.

 

OP the so called experts that dwell on these forums can be misleading at times.

 

They forget these same devs are trying to appeal to a mass market, and that even some OLDER crappy PCs are considerations and one could argue the game is "dumbed down" for their sake.

 

Look at FFXIV 2.0, going to run on PS3, PS4, and PC. That's not to say the hardware limitations of the PS3 aren't going to hinder your gameplay, but the speculative leap that the game is shitty and "dumbed down" on all plateforms is inconsistent.  And like i posed to another so-called expert in a different thread, explain how such a feat can be accomplished on a game with the BEST graphics thus far on a themepark MMO?

The only retort he had was that 1.0 was better... which is debatable as i played it on my rig and a friends much more expensive rig and 2.0 looked and felt better on both.

  syntax42

Elite Member

Joined: 3/30/07
Posts: 1139

6/26/13 4:22:55 PM#18
Originally posted by khameleon

I don't see a huge disadvantage for a console player anymore. An old PC is worse as you will see less in the distance, suffer low framerates in combat, etc.

This statement doesn't make much sense.  You are comparing an old PC to a new console.  It would be like telling someone to try playing Halo on their N64.  Everyone accepts the fact that they have to buy new hardware as the years go by.  Holding on to that old PC is like holding on to your original XBOX.

 

To answer the OP's question, I think the controller is the issue.  Most games which require real-time button presses are designed so you can press the buttons fast, not press a combination of buttons to perform one action.  If you make a game require complex button combinations, like holding down a different trigger then pressing a button, there is a good chance a majority of the console gamers will criticize the game into failure.

  Mtibbs1989

Elite Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 2697

6/26/13 4:23:04 PM#19
Originally posted by tkreep
Originally posted by AIMonster
Controller:  You'd have to make an entirely separate UI for a console game, and you still do.  I think the big problem with this is most traditional MMOs simply would not work effectively on a console unless the game was designed around it (look at how bad the controls were in FFXI on PC for example).  This is mostly changing with the shift to action MMOs, which require less hotkeys, and VoIP becoming more popular to allow for players using a controller to not have a harder time with controls than a PC user using mouse/keyboard.

Now look at how they designed the controls for XIV and I would say this mmo is very traditional as in tab target hotbar with auto attack.  As i said in an earlier post you can have up to 32 skills slotted on to the cross hotbar system for the gamepad, 16 on one set and another 16 on the second hotbar which you can switch back and forth with the shoulder button.  The problem is people (especially people who hardly playes with gamepad) do not fully understand how much you can design and customize with a gamepad.

this developer explanation shows you how the gamepad works in XIV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hqbg9_ZJLw

Yeah, people forget you can macro with a controller as well. So long as the developer designed the controls properly. using a button such as Left or right trigger that might not be typically be used for a MMO could easily be used to macro the hotbar within the game to switch from one to another. I've actually done this in DCUO and several other games myself and do have to say that I love the controls (MMO wise).


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  maskedweasel

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Joined: 9/24/07
Posts: 7264

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OP  6/26/13 4:31:58 PM#20
Originally posted by syntax42
Originally posted by khameleon

I don't see a huge disadvantage for a console player anymore. An old PC is worse as you will see less in the distance, suffer low framerates in combat, etc.

This statement doesn't make much sense.  You are comparing an old PC to a new console.  It would be like telling someone to try playing Halo on their N64.  Everyone accepts the fact that they have to buy new hardware as the years go by.  Holding on to that old PC is like holding on to your original XBOX.

 

To answer the OP's question, I think the controller is the issue.  Most games which require real-time button presses are designed so you can press the buttons fast, not press a combination of buttons to perform one action.  If you make a game require complex button combinations, like holding down a different trigger then pressing a button, there is a good chance a majority of the console gamers will criticize the game into failure.

Well me, personally, I never use keys 7-0 on my keyboard when I play.  I always hotkey 1-6 and shift 1-6 and usually q and e - shift q-e,  then I'll move to alt instead of shift... so holding right trigger or left trigger is second nature for me as I'm used to hitting shift or alt anyways.

 

But I just don't want to believe that button combinations are all that would create the stigma of console games  being "dumber" then PC games.  Or forcing them to be more casual, or forcing them to have less content.  What about these features causes everyone to say the game is "dumbed down"?  Is it less fun?  Do the games have less features?

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