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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » MMO developers steer too far into casual friendly

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  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 17128

9/18/13 6:05:03 PM#261
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

Entering into the fray here..... I think people, especialy in the MMO context (where there is a good ring of truth to it), conflate the idea of "casual"/"easy" with time investment required or how quick it is to advance, etc. Possibly that's due to most people measuring thier performance or success in the game with level/gear advancement.

I can understand where this idea comes from in terms of the MMO genre. However, how easy a game is to play is really an entirely distinct and seperate factor from how quickly it plays or how much time investment is involved or what level/rate of "advancement" exists.

There's truth to that but then in that case "no mmo ever is hard".

I think when people are talking about difficulty they are talking about the ease in which they can progress, not the skill or "know how" that is required.

for instance, hiking up a mountain such as Mt. Washington is "not hard". It takes no skill to put one foot in front of the other, no knowledge other than what you had once you mastered your first steps.

but not everyone can do it.

So is it "easy" or not?

Well, it's not easy because it requires patience, stamina, strength, perseverance, etc.

I think that is what players are point toward when they say "x game is hard".

Having a game that clearly points the way, where gear is easily obtainable, where the death penalty is practically nothing, where one can accomplish everything solo is different than a game where one has to spend a lot of time gathering mats yet crafting has a chance to fail, where it's not clear what you are doign and where you are going, it takes a long time to get xp and if you die you lose a chunk of it, Where certain milestones require a large group otherwise it's not going to happen, etc.

If arduous is the better word then I'm fine with that.

  Quirhid

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5520

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/18/13 6:36:59 PM#262
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

 

Admitedly, I haven't tried DDO but my general experience with difficulty sliders or diifferent "modes" in MMO's is that they don't tend to change or add much in terms of the depth of thought or strategy the player is involved with in playing the game. It just adds more mobs or more hit points to mobs, etc but you are still doing the same thing as you do playing on "easy mode" and still considering the same factors . You just have less tolerance for mis-placed key strokes or have to bring more raw firepower to the situation, etc. That may be more challenging in a way but it's not really more interesting or requiring more in depth thought from the player in general.

In that case, you have not played WOW.

WOW hard mode and LFR requires very different tactics. It is also a mistake to assume the strategy and tactics remains the same if only the numbers change.

For example, if fire can kill you in 2 second, moving around avoiding it .. is a must. However, if it only takes off 2 hp and you can last 10 min in it, people can ignore it for a while, and use different tactics. The change in relations of numbers can change tactics completely. For example, you are killing the boss faster than he can kill you with fire, you stand and optimize DPS. If it is the other way around, you run around, and optimize survivability. Same mechanics, different numbers, two style of play.

What he's talking about is the fact that a sliding scale for difficulty means that the game wasn't designed around one or all of the difficulty modes. That means it's going to lack of a sense of authenticity compared to a game that WAS designed around a specific difficulty level.

It really depends how those modes are implemented. And if its just two - it is pretty safe to assume both are well done.

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

  DavisFlight

Elite Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2525

9/18/13 6:52:19 PM#263
Originally posted by ThomasN7

 

Since vanilla WoW there hasn't been a mmo that has captured the hearts of gamers.

I wouldn't say WoW captured the heart of core gamers. It captured the heart of the casual audience, and that's about it. WoW was the game that started the whole casual trend.

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2015

9/18/13 6:52:42 PM#264
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

 

Admitedly, I haven't tried DDO but my general experience with difficulty sliders or diifferent "modes" in MMO's is that they don't tend to change or add much in terms of the depth of thought or strategy the player is involved with in playing the game. It just adds more mobs or more hit points to mobs, etc but you are still doing the same thing as you do playing on "easy mode" and still considering the same factors . You just have less tolerance for mis-placed key strokes or have to bring more raw firepower to the situation, etc. That may be more challenging in a way but it's not really more interesting or requiring more in depth thought from the player in general.

In that case, you have not played WOW.

WOW hard mode and LFR requires very different tactics. It is also a mistake to assume the strategy and tactics remains the same if only the numbers change.

For example, if fire can kill you in 2 second, moving around avoiding it .. is a must. However, if it only takes off 2 hp and you can last 10 min in it, people can ignore it for a while, and use different tactics. The change in relations of numbers can change tactics completely. For example, you are killing the boss faster than he can kill you with fire, you stand and optimize DPS. If it is the other way around, you run around, and optimize survivability. Same mechanics, different numbers, two style of play.

What he's talking about is the fact that a sliding scale for difficulty means that the game wasn't designed around one or all of the difficulty modes. That means it's going to lack of a sense of authenticity compared to a game that WAS designed around a specific difficulty level.

It really depends how those modes are implemented. And if its just two - it is pretty safe to assume both are well done.

There's a tradeoff between amount of difficulty levels and depth/quality/whatever to those difficulty levels. Basically I'm saying that it's wrong to claim the answer to the problem of games being "too easy" is to just have difficulty levels. It feels similar to having separate pvp/pve servers. Also not a great solution.

  Quirhid

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5520

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

9/18/13 7:16:09 PM#265
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by Quirhid

First of all, you seem to be getting hung up on the false premise that I think the idea of "watered down" is some absolute, binary state. Every game is to some degree watered down or not watered down. So I'm simply saying that because WoW is "huge" that it technically makes it watered down. I'm saying aside from things like polish, fixing bugs, etc, the way to increase your base is to water down your game.

 

Second, it's nothing short of ABSURD to think that WoW is perfectly targeted towards an audience. No game is. You really think that each of the 8 million players shares the exact same set of preferences? You don't think that adding features that some people would like NECESSARILY make the game less attractive for others? Are you seriously trying to make the case that WoW targets a certain group perfectly?

 

What exactly do you mean UO and SWG aren't more targeted, but the amount of people who are interested in them are few? That's what I'm saying. They're going after fewer people, so it's easier to serve those people more deeply. That doesn't mean every small game is better than any game that is larger, but that's why I said "holding most things constant" at the very beginning of this discussion. 

No, I didn't expect being watered down is a binary state. No, I am not proposing WoW is perfectly targeted. However, I used an exaggeration because it seems to be really hard to get my message through to you. See if I can explain this a third way:

WoW can be as targeted as UO or SWG. You cannot make assumptions whether a game is less targeted or more targeted based on size. WoW's niche is larger, that is why it is bigger. They have more people under their crosshair (see the picture above). And no, unlike what you propose, that doesn't necessarily mean they have a bigger crosshair.

That is my point.

I get your point, I just don't think it has any relevance in reality especially when you're dealing with such large data sets. 

 

Yes, I see your picture of people in a crosshair... I'm not sure what it's supposed to prove exactly. Because in the real world that's not how it works. Those people each have countless individual preferences and just because they're in that crosshair doesn't mean that crosshair is suiting them perfectly. They're not just static groups that have perfectly overlapping desires. That's why I say holding other things constant, to increase your playerbase you have to find less extreme versions of features so as not to piss anybody off. You have to ride the line between two opposing design decisions so as to try to include as many people as possible. 

Of course the market is a lot more complicated than that. I have a book on my shelf about marketing so big, you could kill a man if you swung it around. But simplified examples help explain how things work.

Yes, what you say is one way to expand your audience, but not the only way. And nothing says WoW has had to rely on it any more than UO or SWG have. I see an error in your reasoning, so I cannot agree with your conclusion.

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

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2015

9/18/13 9:39:03 PM#266
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by Quirhid

First of all, you seem to be getting hung up on the false premise that I think the idea of "watered down" is some absolute, binary state. Every game is to some degree watered down or not watered down. So I'm simply saying that because WoW is "huge" that it technically makes it watered down. I'm saying aside from things like polish, fixing bugs, etc, the way to increase your base is to water down your game.

 

Second, it's nothing short of ABSURD to think that WoW is perfectly targeted towards an audience. No game is. You really think that each of the 8 million players shares the exact same set of preferences? You don't think that adding features that some people would like NECESSARILY make the game less attractive for others? Are you seriously trying to make the case that WoW targets a certain group perfectly?

 

What exactly do you mean UO and SWG aren't more targeted, but the amount of people who are interested in them are few? That's what I'm saying. They're going after fewer people, so it's easier to serve those people more deeply. That doesn't mean every small game is better than any game that is larger, but that's why I said "holding most things constant" at the very beginning of this discussion. 

No, I didn't expect being watered down is a binary state. No, I am not proposing WoW is perfectly targeted. However, I used an exaggeration because it seems to be really hard to get my message through to you. See if I can explain this a third way:

WoW can be as targeted as UO or SWG. You cannot make assumptions whether a game is less targeted or more targeted based on size. WoW's niche is larger, that is why it is bigger. They have more people under their crosshair (see the picture above). And no, unlike what you propose, that doesn't necessarily mean they have a bigger crosshair.

That is my point.

I get your point, I just don't think it has any relevance in reality especially when you're dealing with such large data sets. 

 

Yes, I see your picture of people in a crosshair... I'm not sure what it's supposed to prove exactly. Because in the real world that's not how it works. Those people each have countless individual preferences and just because they're in that crosshair doesn't mean that crosshair is suiting them perfectly. They're not just static groups that have perfectly overlapping desires. That's why I say holding other things constant, to increase your playerbase you have to find less extreme versions of features so as not to piss anybody off. You have to ride the line between two opposing design decisions so as to try to include as many people as possible. 

Of course the market is a lot more complicated than that. I have a book on my shelf about marketing so big, you could kill a man if you swung it around. But simplified examples help explain how things work.

Yes, what you say is one way to expand your audience, but not the only way. And nothing says WoW has had to rely on it any more than UO or SWG have. I see an error in your reasoning, so I cannot agree with your conclusion.

There's no error in my reasoning because you're merging two claims here. The past few posts back and forth have been about explaining what watered down gameplay means. Do you find an error in that explanation?

 

I assume you mean you find an error in my claim that WoW is watered down compared to UO and SWG. Well, as I've already said a number of times, it comes down to judgement. So I'm not sure what the error in my reasoning is. But as I've said before, if you're going to claim that WoW was as targeted as those games, and thus the average player's involvement and enjoyment was as high or higher, I don't think that's an easily defensible position for you. One of the hardest things for you to contend with is WoW's obvious tendency towards catering to casual players. It seems to me that there's a somewhat direct contradiction between a game being "targeted" in the sense that it's the opposite of watering down, in other words, appeals as deeply as possible, and a game being designed largely around inviting casual players.

  Kevyne-Shandris

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/08
Posts: 1980

You can't † BURY † ¤¤ Holy Paladins ¤¤ As we will always __.- ASCEND -.__

9/19/13 7:30:14 AM#267
Originally posted by ThomasN7

everything is so simplified so everyone's grandmother can understand how to play.

 

Well, us grandmas have been playing video games since 1976, which is even before some of these "know it all" "elite" gamers parents' were born.

 

Pick better scapegoats, like the elitist buttholes who like to talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.

 

Today on WoW I was using oQueue (how bad is it in WoW these days subscription wise? Using oQueue or Openraid to do group content -- we're playing solo because there's not enough players to actually do the content. oQueue or Openraid is cross-realming other players to do group content. That all became possible because the Cata guild system destroyed PuGs and PuRs that was so essential to dungeon and raid in WoW). Got into an 3s arena group first thing the dude asked was, "are u geared?" His friend said, "no" and they kicked me from the group. Checked the inviter's Armory, dude is showing he never seen a gem or enchant before...but sure would like someone to carry him, though.

 

There's much more to "end game" than just throwing on the gear. Biggest challenge in these MMOs these days? Players not taking cheap shortcuts and being carried to even get there -- and that happened long before the "casuals" came a long.

  ray12k

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/08/05
Posts: 475

9/19/13 8:21:43 AM#268
pretty sure casual killed war....  
  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10575

I've become dependent upon spell check. My apologies for stupid grammatical errors.

9/19/13 9:06:04 AM#269


Originally posted by ray12k
pretty sure casual killed war....  


Right. It had nothing to do with creating a boring game.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19530

9/19/13 10:16:28 AM#270
Originally posted by Sovrath

Well, it's not easy because it requires patience, stamina, strength, perseverance, etc.

I think that is what players are point toward when they say "x game is hard".

Having a game that clearly points the way, where gear is easily obtainable, where the death penalty is practically nothing, where one can accomplish everything solo is different than a game where one has to spend a lot of time gathering mats yet crafting has a chance to fail, where it's not clear what you are doign and where you are going, it takes a long time to get xp and if you die you lose a chunk of it, Where certain milestones require a large group otherwise it's not going to happen, etc.

If arduous is the better word then I'm fine with that.

In that case, i would like a challenging but NOT arduous game. I don't have time, or the desire to play a game that requires me to do chores. Games are entertainment to me, not tests of perseverance, and patience. I reserve those to work, career, family and raising kids.

 

  Stone_Fountain

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/03/13
Posts: 71

"Death is certain, life is not."

9/19/13 10:32:33 AM#271

I've played ALOT of games and WoW was not among them. EQ, AC, Vanguard, AC2 all had WoW beat but that is just my own opinion. Lots of people liked WoW but it never enticed me to play it. Using it to judge other games might have some merit for certain things but mostly for how people 'don't' want new games to be like. I certainly don't. 

 

With Console sales being high, games are made from the ground up for them. Not all but many now and though people who play consoles do not want to admit it, some level of complexity is sacrificed for the console. Not only that, graphics and other things as well. Now I'm not talking about fun factor. Some console games look hella fun but I can not justify setting aside my PC to play them, not when I am having fun doing what I do. (for now playing AC2/EQ2) 

 

When the game is designed that if you have the time, you get it, everyone at the end game tends to look very similar. The 40 hour gamers just get it quicker. In games like EQ, the 40 hour gamer can get more faster but the variance at the endgame is significantly different. There is enough gear for each slot and the game so large and broad that end game characters look and are different. That said it didn't start out that way. A good game needs a good following so it can be expanded into the MMO that all games want to be. Both contested and Instanced content, deep crafting and travel times need to exist for me or I'll do little else but dabble. Tedious grinding, slow leveling and difficult encounters also must be present or boredom sets in pretty quickly. Keep your houses and cash shops and features that do not matter to a game's release and put in more content to bridge the time people spend in game to the moment more content is added. This way it's player base remains and it's player core remains. 

First PC Game: Pool of Radiance July 10th, 1990. First MMO: Everquest April 23, 1999

  GrumpyMel2

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1813

9/19/13 11:10:56 AM#272
Originally posted by nariusseldon
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

 

Admitedly, I haven't tried DDO but my general experience with difficulty sliders or diifferent "modes" in MMO's is that they don't tend to change or add much in terms of the depth of thought or strategy the player is involved with in playing the game. It just adds more mobs or more hit points to mobs, etc but you are still doing the same thing as you do playing on "easy mode" and still considering the same factors . You just have less tolerance for mis-placed key strokes or have to bring more raw firepower to the situation, etc. That may be more challenging in a way but it's not really more interesting or requiring more in depth thought from the player in general.

In that case, you have not played WOW.

WOW hard mode and LFR requires very different tactics. It is also a mistake to assume the strategy and tactics remains the same if only the numbers change.

For example, if fire can kill you in 2 second, moving around avoiding it .. is a must. However, if it only takes off 2 hp and you can last 10 min in it, people can ignore it for a while, and use different tactics. The change in relations of numbers can change tactics completely. For example, you are killing the boss faster than he can kill you with fire, you stand and optimize DPS. If it is the other way around, you run around, and optimize survivability. Same mechanics, different numbers, two style of play.

 

I haven't played WoW since vanilla. Although I had fun while I played it, it wasn't a particularly interesting or difficult game to play in terms of gameplay. Mostly I enjoyed it for the satire injected into the game and some nice visuals. It didn't engage on any sort of level of depth in terms of strategy or thought. Admitedly some of the boss fights were technicaly difficult in terms of pure choreography. There was no challenge in terms of deciding what to do but a fair bit of challenge in terms of executing the proper keystrokes and mouse clicks to do it. Step here, jump over there, waggle your butt 3 times, etc. It felt a bit like playing Dance, Dance Revolution.

An MMO that I played that felt enjoyable in terms of the strategy involved was WWII Online. Admitedly, that was entirely PvP based and played more like a giant FPS then a typical MMO. It also was ancient and had a very small player base by the time I played it,  but it was very satisfying in terms of the intellectual challenge demanded from the player.

Perhaps the more accurate term for what I'm looking for and really finding lacking in most MMO's is DEPTH of gameplay. Something that requires the player to actualy think rather then click.

Don't get me wrong....sometimes it can be fun to play something where you can just turn your mind off and enjoy the carnage or the visuals.....but I don't want EVERY game available to boil down to just that.

 

  Morrok

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/08
Posts: 132

9/19/13 11:13:35 AM#273


Originally posted by ThomasN7
There is no challenge, everything can be bought from a cash shop nowadays and everything is so simplified so everyone's grandmother can understand how to play.


"Challenge" is a subjective thing. What might be challenging for me might be trivial to you and vice versa. So at most you can say "there is no challgenge there for ME".

Cash shops are a sad development indeed, but apprently well visited, so managers/investors seem to insist they be implemented.
The real regrettable develpment here is that accounting/controlling has far too much influence on MMO development, at the cost of creativity and "uniqueness".

Simplification:
What else do you expect?
Console-Controllers become more popular, kids these days can hardly write let alone read correctly or do simple math; if a UI/controlling mechanism isn't "intuitive", many are simply overwhelmed and whine about the "steep learning curve".
As was said above: instant gratification is what they seek these days, and they get it.
At the same time, the "mature" players are, well, mature and "time-challgended" due to job and family.
And last but not least, management WANTS to target as borad an audience as possible and so many steps are taken to reduce "barriers".



Originally posted by ThomasN7
It really is quite laughable what developers think of us as gamers. They think we are so stupid that every time they make a game they need to re-teach us how to play. Really ? Listen up devs, we aren't stupid, we been playing mmos probably a lot longer than most of you out there. You guys lack so much vision on what mmos should be and you only worry about your quarterly earnings.


Too much generalization imo.
You speak of "us gamers", as if "the gamers" were a homogenous lot.
The truth is though that "the gamers" are diversified.
Also, you spek to "the devs" there, when it has over the years become quite apparent that it's not the devs but the accountants/controllers who're calling the shots.
And the more money's involved, the less likely it is that this will ever be reveresed.



Originally posted by ThomasN7
Since vanilla WoW there hasn't been a mmo that has captured the hearts of gamers.
[...]
Within 3-6 months just about every mmo I mentioned has had no staying power whatsoever.


If you speak of major titles, then you're probably correct, i don't recall a "true success" recently either.
There have been MMO's that "captured the hearts of gamers", but too few of them.
That didn't attract many players in the first place and/or their development has been slowed down/ceased for a number of reasons.
For the major titles though, these have to deal with huge expectations (which were poorly managed) and failed to deliver.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19530

9/19/13 11:15:17 AM#274
Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

Perhaps the more accurate term for what I'm looking for and really finding lacking in most MMO's is DEPTH of gameplay. Something that requires the player to actualy think rather then click.

Don't get me wrong....sometimes it can be fun to play something where you can just turn your mind off and enjoy the carnage or the visuals.....but I don't want EVERY game available to boil down to just that.

 

No, that is why i play puzzle games, and point and click adventures.

MMORPGs are mostly just online ARPGs to me, with a city as a lobby instead.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19530

9/19/13 11:16:28 AM#275
Originally posted by Morrok

"Challenge" is a subjective thing. What might be challenging for me might be trivial to you and vice versa. So at most you can say "there is no challgenge there for ME".
Yeh. That is why a difficulty slider will be the best solution ... everyone gets a challenge level of their liking.
  Morrok

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/08
Posts: 132

9/19/13 11:31:29 AM#276


Originally posted by nariusseldon
Yeh. That is why a difficulty slider will be the best solution ... everyone gets a challenge level of their liking.


Actually i don't think a "difficulty slider/setting" would do us or the game any good.
After all, we're talking MMO's here, not single player games.


Something like this was done by EQ in LDoN, where you (on a group level) could choose to enter the dungoens on "normal" or "hard" setting (lvl63-65 mobs on normal vs. lvl68 mobs when the cap was lvl65).
But as Mel has said, that only changed the mob density and hitpoints.
It worked, and was fun, but only until new gear trivialized it, of course.
But something like that can only be done on a per-instance level, not for the whole world, unless you create different worlds/servers for each "difficulty setting".

The desciption you gave of WoW and the two "totally different playstyles" aren't so different after all.
It's just two different methods for defeating said encounter.
But optimizing for DPS or surviveability hardly equals "different playstyle" - it's just adopting to the situation, as is the case in ANY raid, which is (should be, at least) composed of different encounters.

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 19530

9/19/13 12:43:10 PM#277
Originally posted by Morrok

 


Originally posted by nariusseldon
Yeh. That is why a difficulty slider will be the best solution ... everyone gets a challenge level of their liking.



Actually i don't think a "difficulty slider/setting" would do us or the game any good.
After all, we're talking MMO's here, not single player games.

 


Something like this was done by EQ in LDoN, where you (on a group level) could choose to enter the dungoens on "normal" or "hard" setting (lvl63-65 mobs on normal vs. lvl68 mobs when the cap was lvl65).
But as Mel has said, that only changed the mob density and hitpoints.
It worked, and was fun, but only until new gear trivialized it, of course.
But something like that can only be done on a per-instance level, not for the whole world, unless you create different worlds/servers for each "difficulty setting".

The desciption you gave of WoW and the two "totally different playstyles" aren't so different after all.
It's just two different methods for defeating said encounter.
But optimizing for DPS or surviveability hardly equals "different playstyle" - it's just adopting to the situation, as is the case in ANY raid, which is (should be, at least) composed of different encounters.

MMOs are more or less online single player games when you go into an instance. And in many MMO, instances are where most of the gameplay occurs.

Well, if you don't think rush in and DPS, and survive and kite are two different playstyle and tactics, then we disagree. By definition, you are doing different things, and one for the higher difficulty, and one for the lower.

And yes, adopting to the situation (different difficulty) by using different tactics. That is why games are fun to me.

 

  Holophonist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2015

9/19/13 1:50:07 PM#278
You're going to lose quality when you implement a difficulty slider. At that point you're not designing the game based around one or the other. In other words, an instance on "hard mode" will be of lesser quality than if the devs spent all of their time and resources developing that instance where hard mode was the only thing you could pick.
  ray12k

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/08/05
Posts: 475

9/19/13 3:05:56 PM#279
Originally posted by lizardbones

 


Originally posted by ray12k
pretty sure casual killed war....  



Right. It had nothing to do with creating a boring game.

 

yeah i agree games for casual players are boring.... hence every wow clone has failed.....

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