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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Why So Many MMOs Disappoint

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170 posts found

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/28/06
Posts: 2150

OP  9/30/13 9:57:05 AM#1

No this isn't a religious column from Bill Murphy this week. Instead, it's a quick look at why we as MMO gamers always seem to be waiting for the next big thing, instead of enjoying what we do have while looking forward. And why developers are so hesitant to move the genre forward, and how they can do just that if they're brave enough. Read on, see if you agree, and leave a note in the comments.

There's a tendency, as written about here and across the MMO industry, for players to latch onto their favorite past games with a sense of erstwhile pride and more than a little bit of "rose-tinted" glory. We forget the reasons we left some old MMO flame, and isntead long fondly for the time in our MMO life when that game was the game. But the fact is, if we left a game and haven't been able to get back into it since those golden years, chances are it's time in our gameplay life is over.  That's not a bad thing, but we're only limiting our future enjoyment of new titles by clinging stubbornly to "the old days".

Read the rest of Bill's Why So Many MMOs Disappoint.

Ultimately, we all just want to be (fowl-mouthed) kids, playing pretend.



Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11863

9/30/13 11:39:40 AM#2
missed one - lacking content!

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/11/07
Posts: 195

9/30/13 11:43:11 AM#3

[quote] Let's try harder to make what we lovingly call "virtual worlds" actually feel like worlds. [/quote]

Especially this. This is lacking in many modern MMO that start to feel like clones after other clones. On the other hand GTA Online feels more alive and vibrant then any mmo on the market right now. Stop making clones and start to imagine new worlds that we want to "live" in and go on from there to imagine ways to entertain ourselves in that world and adventures to be enjoyed. I want to feel immersed again instead of arriving in mmo's that have the same checklist of features that all the other mmo's had but lack an imaginative and original scope. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 563

9/30/13 11:46:23 AM#4
Another thing don't start marketing till the NDA is lifted; nothing is more conductive to unsustainable raised hope than that as the PR spin rarely matches the game.


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/24/09
Posts: 1835

9/30/13 11:46:55 AM#5

I think there is a bit of a cop-out in this article Bill. It's not all about player expectations. The games themselves HAVE changed and particulary they seem to be going for a different target audience then in the past. Earlier games targeted people who actualy DID play PnP Role-Playing Games or frequented MUDS...or even, gasp, played complicated turn based board-games like Advanced Squad Leader or World In Flames. In other words, they targeted people who weren't afraid to have to think and fail and suffer setbacks and have to work together and maybe even occasionaly actualy role-play. Today's games seem mostly to target an entirely different audience.

That's why I see most games released today and my initial reaction isn't super's more like "meh", not really for me. So much so that I generaly don't even bother to try them. Yesterday's games were different because they WERE different. They may have been flawed in many ways, but at least I was actualy interested in what they were TRYING to accomplish.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2430

9/30/13 11:53:53 AM#6

Ok, but how do they let us players in without selling the alpha? The alpha which could turn people away before the "good stuff" finally comes?

Is it proven it is better this way? Better than doing a near complete* beta?


*less than a year

Bitter Vet™

Joined: 9/13/06
Posts: 20051

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions. Pvbs 18:2, NIV

9/30/13 11:57:18 AM#7

I agree, no one is ever going to make a game exactly the way "I" want it. but would it hurt to have a few more options than standard theme park #234 and under funded Indy title (theme park or sandbox)  #67?

I'm just tired of the current options that are out there, and yes, for the record I did try a lot of titles both AAA and Indy and find the fun in them.  Ended up spending anywhere from 1 - 3 months in each, and for the game hoppers this is great, goes well with their play style.

But for the same reason I read very long novels instead of short stories, I prefer longer, more engaging MMORPGs where I might spend 6 months to 5 years in the same virtual world (perhaps on and off) and as of late, there's been few titles in this design category.

Just like you really can't create a game with the perfect blend of PVE and PVP without making tradeoffs somewhere, I don't think you can make a title designed for long term retention and try to make it interesting enough for the short term game players out there at the same time.

Developers keep trying, and so far the majority of the designs seem to favor the short term customer, would be nice to see a title or two designed a bit differently.

Yeah, I know, it won't sell enough to justify the cost.



Arrogant, Condescending, Dismissive, Elitist, "Meany", you speak as if these are bad things?
Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
"This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 563

9/30/13 11:57:19 AM#8

DBL Post


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/11/11
Posts: 1222

9/30/13 11:59:47 AM#9

The reason they dissapoint is becvause every since world of warcraft, they all cater to the casual, or they copy and paste parts directly out of world of warcraft and such, Bascally the problem is they just don't attempt to do anything unique and just keep bascally re-making world of warcraft in a few skin. FF14ARR is the most recent example of this, Combat system? direct copy and paste from world of warcraft. Insted of using the 1.0 combat system near the end (1.20 patch iirc) that was actually a tad unique, they opted to just copy and paste from wow instead.

Wildstar will have some stuff copy and pasted from wow, but it also has its own sort-of unique combat system(Tera did something simmlar), a unique "break out of cc manually" system that I haven't seen in other mmo's yet, and the path system actually sounds intersting. I still hate the cartoony art style wildstar uses though, but thats a personal thing for the art style.

All in all it all boils down to every mmorpg pretty much feeling like that same mmorpg we played how many years ago? I played ff14arr, and I just felt like I was playing wow in a new shiny skin for the most part, which is honestly not the feeling you want your playerbase to have.

But then there is the flipside, everytime a mmorpg dev team tries to do something diffrent the comminuty slaps them for it. I mean maybe the problem is with the community and not the genre itself. People want change, but when they try change they get yelled at for it.

I'd honestly love a mmo to come out that plays like old school ff11 (way back wotg and older), where your forced to party to do anything (even to level you needed to party), so the bonds you make actually really matter.

I don't think people want something totally new, I think what they really want is someone to try to innovate the current system, not so much totally redo it, but add to it so it feels diffrent at the least, but most mmorpg devs don't event attempt this sadly.

Being a pessimist is a win-win pattern of thinking. If you're a pessimist (I'll admit that I am!) you're either:

A. Proven right (if something bad happens)


B. Pleasantly surprised (if something good happens)

Either way, you can't lose! Try it out sometime!


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 563

9/30/13 12:00:13 PM#10
Originally posted by BillMurphy

"There's also a prevailing trend in our genre to shun anything that doesn't meet the above impossible hopes, rather than accept what is good about a game despite its misgivings.  Now, I'm not saying we should lavish praise upon turds, but we should surely strive to point out the good with the bad, even if we really don't enjoy a game. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, they say, right? Well if only the squeaky wheels are noisily rumbling and never a good thing is said about something, what do you think the ultimate response will be from the industry? It won't be a sudden and swift change to fix the entire genre... it'll be the decimation and complete disregard of this pastime.  I don't believe we should all throw money at things we don't enjoy. But whether with financial means or with our words, we should strive to give credit where credit is due."




There is much truth to that, however developers/publishers do not go out of their way to say to this or that demographic this game is not for you we are targeting this.  Actually the reverse is true, quite often actively marketing play styles they KNOW don't fit in the game.  They don't then have an excuse to be "confused" why they get pushback from bad demographic targeting


Novice Member

Joined: 3/07/04
Posts: 169

9/30/13 12:06:14 PM#11
I always like Bill's columns.  Lot of typos fin many of the write ups recently for a fairly large blog site though

If you don't worry about it, it's not a problem.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2604

9/30/13 12:08:59 PM#12
Originally posted by Nadia
missed one - lacking content!

No. No amount of content can keep people happy forever. The correct observation is, there is no player driven content. That shit keeps people around for ages.


The real reason? Cause they're all the same. STO, AoC, LotRO, Rift, SWTOR, they all play virtually the same, and have the same problems that solo centric instanced quest hub grinding games do.


This column is basically saying "Shame on you for not accepting the declining quality of MMOs! You shouldn't lust over the great games of the past and put unrealistic expectations on MMOs that have millions more in budget and manpower than those MMOs that managed to be great!


No I'm sorry. I will never be okay with WoW and its clones. The genre should march forward, not backward.



Joined: 7/26/03
Posts: 11863

9/30/13 12:12:50 PM#13
Originally posted by DavisFlight
Originally posted by Nadia
missed one - lacking content!

No. No amount of content can keep people happy forever. The correct observation is, there is no player driven content. That shit keeps people around for ages.

i agree - i stand corrected


Novice Member

Joined: 2/29/08
Posts: 205

9/30/13 12:15:11 PM#14

The main reason is simple  it's community  today is is not there. Today it's all about me  and the good old  join a guild it used to be where you would have hour long talks with people in world chat with  a few diffrent people. Need help there where 10 people to help in under 10 secs.  


You can have the best game ever and it will  fail since every one plays MMO's like there solo games  but can't blame them realy  anymore since now there are made to be solo with some need to group. We need the community back with hard normal mobs that kill you  if you make more then 2 or 3 mistakes and you need to rest after every fight.


In order to lvl the fastest you need to group and grind mobs and have world bosses that spawn 1 time every   12 hours that drop the best items in the game. Like EQ used to have sure it had it's flaws  like the biggest guilds just camped it a lot.  but that in itself would  have pros and con like making the server hate your guild  and other things.


This is what is gone  tody and will never be back. The golden age is long gone never to be back this is the rush age max lvl fast and possable  grind gear fast as  possable then cry theres nothing to do and jump to the game that just came out and start it all over. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 563

9/30/13 12:15:27 PM#15
Also, using 3rd party IP's as a crutch for your game tends to bring a certain amount of false expectations.  Name one of those that did well


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 3/31/09
Posts: 2430

9/30/13 12:20:52 PM#16
Originally posted by HurricanePip
I always like Bill's columns.  Lot of typos fin many of the write ups recently for a fairly large blog site though

If you ever critique someone's writing you better be damned sure your own doesn't have the same errors.

It is amusing that this often isn't the case.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/20/13
Posts: 74

9/30/13 12:27:43 PM#17

i'm so sick of the "ohh you just have rose-tinted glasses" rebuttal.  a game was fun for however long you played it. just because you stopped playing it, somehow automatically makes it a terrible game that you just remember as being good.

what sort of logic is that.



Advanced Member

Joined: 1/11/05
Posts: 215

9/30/13 12:28:47 PM#18

Actually, the number one failure for most MMO's is re-re-re-re-inventing the wheel again.

It's as if every MMO is developed in a total vacuum, and refuses to learn anything from those that came before, let alone those that are in play during development.

There are millions of examples, but just for the heck of it, here's a simple one.  Inventory management.  Almost every MMO has an inventory system where your players are constantly collecting all the junk they need (or think they need) as they're leveling up.  Various games have come up with ways to help players deal with it.

WoW has addons that allow searching, sorting, categorizing, and collapsing of inventory as the user desires.  Guild Wars 2 allowed crafting materials to be sent directly to the bank, and used FROM there while crafting.  Etc...

Yet, every time a new game comes out, it seems we're back to a tiny collection of "bags" with no easy way to sort or manage them until 2 years later.  FFXIV v2.0 is a perfect example.  The game was re-launched with an opportunity to learn from everyone else *AND* from their own mistakes, yet right now, it has a crufty inventory tab system that looks more like it came from EverQuest 1.  Why?

And more generally... WHY?  Why do they feel the need to re-invent everything in worse ways, just to be unique?

Think of all the man hours that went into making half these features from scratch, knowing they would NOT be as good as ones in other games already out, but doing it anyways out of sheer stubbornness.


Novice Member

Joined: 4/16/06
Posts: 897

9/30/13 12:30:00 PM#19

My first MMO was EQ. I was introduced to MMOs by some real life friends who I played tabletop RPGs with. I joined their guild, and accepted and enjoyed grouping.

Fast forward to 2013, and I no longer enjoy grouping. I am a soloer.  I would like to posit that the difference is that, in "the olden days", MMOs, and internet access in general, was still not universal. Anyone you encountered in a group could be reasonably expected to be a techie/geekie adult who could afford to maintain this computer based, subscription required hobby. Now, everyone from babes to your grandma is online, and frankly, I don't know what kind of individual I will be grouping with ( although they often seem to be whiny, impatient babies for some reason). Yeah, no more group- centric MMos for me, sadly.



Novice Member

Joined: 4/26/05
Posts: 1267

9/30/13 12:33:26 PM#20
How can you write an article about MMO's being disappointing and not mention, risk vs reward, lack of challenge, or how dumbed down easy mode everything is. Even if you made the best virtual world possible if nothing was challenging and it was all handed to players on a silver platter would it even matter?

How to post links.

"classification of games into MMOs is not by rational reasoning" - nariusseldon
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