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

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170 posts found
  barezz

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/18/07
Posts: 136

9/30/13 12:39:13 PM#21

Very nice article with some great points!

One that that bothers me is that despite some great features having been developed in past games that prove to be popular, many new MMO's do not include these features at launch.  Group finders and vanity/apperance slots come to mind.  Both of these systems are well received in many games, but it still treated as a feature that "evolves" over the course of development.

I am not sure if this is done intentionally, in order to be a headline or bullet point in a post launch update, or if it has something to do with the long development cycle in MMO's.

  reillan

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/01/07
Posts: 219

9/30/13 12:48:15 PM#22
Originally posted by Nadia
missed one - lacking content!

This.  People will rush to max level in 2 or 3 days.  These are your most hard-core gamers.  If all you have for them is "epic versions" of all the 4/5/6-person instances they've run before, then you're going to lose their interest.  Give them at least one really mind-bogglingly difficult raid, something they're going to have to work hard to overcome.  Give them other things to do in the game besides grind for gear (cosmetics are a surprisingly-large part of that, especially uber-rare colors or collectibles).  Give them a housing area they can decorate. 

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

9/30/13 1:03:46 PM#23

I will start by saying some gamers have solid balanced ideas that could actually be implemented.

 

That being said, most don't. I'll use Asheron's Call as an example. They were going to do a major change to the weapon skills (the short jist of it was take all of their melee skills which were broken up by weapon type as sword, axe, dagger, mace etc. and make 2 new skills: Heavy and Finesse weapons). They brought this to the player base months before it was implemented to open up the discussion and get feedback to adjustments. A group of the player base became adamant that they needed three skills: Heavy, Finesse, and Light. The Asheron's Call devs put up that they didn't think this was wise and that it wouldn't be a skill that was used much and would essentially just bloat the game that they were trying to remove bloat and balance issue from. The players insisted and they added the third skill.

 

The patch came around and quickly players avoided light weapons. Almost no one uses that skill, but now there is more loot that gets in the way of finding what you want (because light weapons drop) there are more quest weapons that aren't liked (because they are light weapons) and there is another whole skill that gets in the way that people don't take.

 

So why did this happen when players think they know what is the best design so often? They were blinded by how they currently play and not by how they would play with these changes. Because of this they felt light weapons filled a role that it didn't (and which wouldn't really be there after the changes) so they demanded it. Even with developers directly trying to point this out they were sure that they were right and now there is a permanent skill in the game that everyone dislikes and avoids because it always makes more sense to use Heavy or Finesse instead of light.

 

So there is an issue with opening up your plans early as players will all think they have the best change/solution that should be added. Listen to them and you could end up with stuff people don't like, don't listen to them and people could complain you never listen. It is a no win situation.

 

I actually think MMOs should remain fully silent until they are hitting beta. No hype, no misinformation, no false expectations, none of it. Just "hey here is our game try it out for what it is".

 

I've seen far fewer rage/panic posts with Asheron's Call's new approach which is to essentially not hint/hype anything about upcoming big patches until the patch notes come out (traditionally the Thursday/Friday before patch). Because instead of players twisting and distorting what COULD happen, they instead jump right in to see what DID happen and it is never as bad, and often far better, than their mind would have made it out to be.

  apocoluster

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/15/07
Posts: 1235

\m/,

9/30/13 1:05:21 PM#24
I'm
Cool with what I see so far. I know I'm totally in the minority though

No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin

  Tuchaka

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/14/10
Posts: 446

9/30/13 1:07:38 PM#25

Thing i liked about old MMO's is they were harder so when i accomplished something it really felt good , but with that being said a huge amount of those old MMO's lacked end game content , were really buggy years after release. So while i felt the earlier MMO's were really innovative they were also a royal pain in the butt to put up with. The way i see it is MMO's cost a ton to make and companies are not taking risks cause they don't wanna end up with a flop on their hands. All the MMO industry needs in my opinion is some new ideas it's at a crossing point where it needs to adapt.

 

At this stage as a gamer you couldn't pay me to play a wow inspired theme park game, but i still remember during vanilla WoW being impressed how much better the game was being run than most of the MMO's  i had played to that point. There is only so long you can do the same thing over and over again where ANYTHING new seems fresh.

  BMBender

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 423

9/30/13 1:08:01 PM#26
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

I will start by saying some gamers have solid balanced ideas that could actually be implemented.

 

That being said, most don't. I'll use Asheron's Call as an example. They were going to do a major change to the weapon skills (the short jist of it was take all of their melee skills which were broken up by weapon type as sword, axe, dagger, mace etc. and make 2 new skills: Heavy and Finesse weapons). They brought this to the player base months before it was implemented to open up the discussion and get feedback to adjustments. A group of the player base became adamant that they needed three skills: Heavy, Finesse, and Light. The Asheron's Call devs put up that they didn't think this was wise and that it wouldn't be a skill that was used much and would essentially just bloat the game that they were trying to remove bloat and balance issue from. The players insisted and they added the third skill.

 

The patch came around and quickly players avoided light weapons. Almost no one uses that skill, but now there is more loot that gets in the way of finding what you want (because light weapons drop) there are more quest weapons that aren't liked (because they are light weapons) and there is another whole skill that gets in the way that people don't take.

 

So why did this happen when players think they know what is the best design so often? They were blinded by how they currently play and not by how they would play with these changes. Because of this they felt light weapons filled a role that it didn't (and which wouldn't really be there after the changes) so they demanded it. Even with developers directly trying to point this out they were sure that they were right and now there is a permanent skill in the game that everyone dislikes and avoids because it always makes more sense to use Heavy or Finesse instead of light.

 

So there is an issue with opening up your plans early as players will all think they have the best change/solution that should be added. Listen to them and you could end up with stuff people don't like, don't listen to them and people could complain you never listen. It is a no win situation.

 

I actually think MMOs should remain fully silent until they are hitting beta. No hype, no misinformation, no false expectations, none of it. Just "hey here is our game try it out for what it is".

 

I've seen far fewer rage/panic posts with Asheron's Call's new approach which is to essentially not hint/hype anything about upcoming big patches until the patch notes come out (traditionally the Thursday/Friday before patch). Because instead of players twisting and distorting what COULD happen, they instead jump right in to see what DID happen and it is never as bad, and often far better, than their mind would have made it out to be.

excellent example, one reason why test servers and an ACTIVE incentive program to get people to use it can be so valuable.  And while a lot of a mmo's have test servers, they rarely incentivize and hardly ever focus test

 

most test servers end up being nothing more the "build/skill testers" for the min/maxers

EDIT

I give Cryptic/PWE a lot of crap for basic design but in this area they do ok or at least better than the average.  At least in the area of getting people on the test server.

  patlefort

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/13/08
Posts: 51

9/30/13 1:16:37 PM#27
All I want is an action MMO that's not plagued by bugs, looks like it's too much to ask.
  wowclonez

Novice Member

Joined: 7/24/13
Posts: 77

9/30/13 1:21:36 PM#28
Problem is everyone tried to make a "WOW Killer" to gain WOWs user base. Thus all you have is WOW clones. Developers are starting to give up on copying WOW and that is a good thing. Wildstar has a good idea but the graphics are a WOW knock off, which turns some off completely. EQNext looks great , because the environments are Planetside 2 like(realistic). Also another problem is everyone tries to be niche, example Darkfall 2, Defiance etc. Try catering to a universal crowd and your game may last more than a year. Off topic, Bill you guys should move to DISQUS messaging for this!
  azzamasin

Elite Member

Joined: 6/06/12
Posts: 2400

We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.

9/30/13 1:23:00 PM#29

The reasons why I have quit every MMO since I quit WoW right after Cata:

  1. Too quick leveling, I enjoy progression but if I can level to cap within a few weeks then the game dies.
  2. No Group/Dungeon Finders....especially if the game features instanced group content.
  3. boring, grindy, or samey questing.  Quests should take a while to complete and be detailed, not fedex tasks.
  4. combat is too boring and slow.
 
Those are the reasons why I have quit every MMO released since January 2011 when I quit WoW for good.

If your idea of a Sandbox is open FFA Full Loot PvP, full crafted world with minimal support for anything combat then your sandbox ideas are bad! Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

  BMBender

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 423

9/30/13 1:24:33 PM#30
Originally posted by wowclonez
Problem is everyone tried to make a "WOW Killer" to gain WOWs user base. Thus all you have is WOW clones. Developers are starting to give up on copying WOW and that is a good thing. Wildstar has a good idea but the graphics are a WOW knock off, which turns some off completely. EQNext looks great , because the environments are Planetside 2 like(realistic). Also another problem is everyone tries to be niche, example Darkfall 2, Defiance etc. Try catering to a universal crowd and your game may last more than a year. Off topic, Bill you guys should move to DISQUS messaging for this!

uhm wow clone = universal crowd

by niche you mean EVE?

  Boneserino

Novice Member

Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 570

9/30/13 1:54:53 PM#31
Originally posted by Kyleran

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.

Pity.

 

Yes it is a pity and it puts us in the same situation as all the OW FFA PvP crowd.    But their model for an MMO was never going to work anyway.

I think a change will come, but when I don't know.  I am not sure if it will be the programming that drives it or the hardware.  IMO, what lacking to make a "virtual world" is the intelligence of the NPCS's .  I think that is where the PvP guys have it wrong.  Yes, humans are more intelligent and adaptive to situations and therefore provide more challenge to gameplay.  The problem that comes with that is the complete and utter asshattery that those intelligent humans bring to the gameplay.  And it is uncontrollable.

However if you can create NPC's that behave intelligently, but behave according to some kind moral guildelines, then you might have the ideal game.  Something like Aasimov's rules of robotics.  Rule number 4 , "though shalt not behave like a complete asshat against a human player"  I think we all want to go "Wow I did not expect that character to do that!! " when we play a game, and not " Oh there is another mob, lets wade in and wipe them out" kind of thing.

Make the NPCs have more human behaviour and I think we will be on the right track to more enjoyment in our fantasy worlds.

FFA Nonconsentual Full Loot PvP ...You know you want it!!

  DamonVile

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 3652

9/30/13 1:56:35 PM#32

great article Bill. I often disagree with how you review games but tend to agree with the final judgment about them.

I don't think the cure is all one sided and it's just the devs that need to change. Most vet players are negative people. Negativity is a disease that infects people and only gets worse over time.

So many people here think they just have high standards or think they're doing some public service by always being the one to point out a games flaws but you can't see the good in things when you're only looking for the bad in everything.

Being negative is like any other chemical addiction. The ones who have it the worst will fight the hardest to avoid seeing the problem. To them how they see the world is the right way to view it. It's hard to look at yourself and see you're part of the problem.

People are like cats. When they die, you get a new one.

  BMBender

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 423

9/30/13 1:58:19 PM#33
Originally posted by Boneserino
 

Make the NPCs have more human behaviour and I think we will be on the right track to more enjoyment in our fantasy worlds.

It's not been a technical or programing problem for a long time. it's been a balancing one.  It's been tried b4 problem scaling difficulty of ai to match the abilities of any particular player is a guessing game at best.  The wider a games demographic range the more slop gets built into the system.

 

EDIT

people do stupid S*** ai can't balance that

  ThomasN7

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/17/07
Posts: 6602

"Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.” - Mordin Solus

9/30/13 2:06:05 PM#34

I can add something to Mr Bill's list...

Trying to re-invent the mmo genre when it wasn't broken in the first place. MMO's like EverQuest, WOW, UO, DAOC and FFXI were keeping mmo players happy. Not every mmo was the same and they all provided something different for everyone. When devs and publishers wanted to cater to the casuals and go mainstream that is when the industry started to fail hard. MMOs are not soley just for casuals, they never were.

 
  Boneserino

Novice Member

Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 570

9/30/13 2:06:48 PM#35
Originally posted by BMBender
Originally posted by Boneserino
 

Make the NPCs have more human behaviour and I think we will be on the right track to more enjoyment in our fantasy worlds.

It's not been a technical or programing problem for a long time. it's been a balancing one.  It's been tried b4 problem scaling difficulty of ai to match the abilities of any particular player is a guessing game at best.  The wider a games demographic range the more slop gets built into the system.

Well here is a question.

If an NPC is confronted by a more powerful force, would it not make sense for that character to try to run or protect itself?  And also, If a stronger NPC see's you coming would it not make sense for that NPC to try and stalk you and hunt you down for a kill?  You might be walking down a path, unaware of said character, who then waits for an opportunity to surprise and ambush you.

Instead we get stationary mobs that wait for the player who obviously has the upper hand to annihilate them, and then complains how easy it was.

Why can't the former be done instead of the latter?  Is it a programming issue? A gameplay issue?  If it can be done, then why isn't it?

FFA Nonconsentual Full Loot PvP ...You know you want it!!

  SnarlingWolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 2728

9/30/13 2:10:54 PM#36
Originally posted by BMBender
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

I will start by saying some gamers have solid balanced ideas that could actually be implemented.

 

That being said, most don't. I'll use Asheron's Call as an example. They were going to do a major change to the weapon skills (the short jist of it was take all of their melee skills which were broken up by weapon type as sword, axe, dagger, mace etc. and make 2 new skills: Heavy and Finesse weapons). They brought this to the player base months before it was implemented to open up the discussion and get feedback to adjustments. A group of the player base became adamant that they needed three skills: Heavy, Finesse, and Light. The Asheron's Call devs put up that they didn't think this was wise and that it wouldn't be a skill that was used much and would essentially just bloat the game that they were trying to remove bloat and balance issue from. The players insisted and they added the third skill.

 

The patch came around and quickly players avoided light weapons. Almost no one uses that skill, but now there is more loot that gets in the way of finding what you want (because light weapons drop) there are more quest weapons that aren't liked (because they are light weapons) and there is another whole skill that gets in the way that people don't take.

 

So why did this happen when players think they know what is the best design so often? They were blinded by how they currently play and not by how they would play with these changes. Because of this they felt light weapons filled a role that it didn't (and which wouldn't really be there after the changes) so they demanded it. Even with developers directly trying to point this out they were sure that they were right and now there is a permanent skill in the game that everyone dislikes and avoids because it always makes more sense to use Heavy or Finesse instead of light.

 

So there is an issue with opening up your plans early as players will all think they have the best change/solution that should be added. Listen to them and you could end up with stuff people don't like, don't listen to them and people could complain you never listen. It is a no win situation.

 

I actually think MMOs should remain fully silent until they are hitting beta. No hype, no misinformation, no false expectations, none of it. Just "hey here is our game try it out for what it is".

 

I've seen far fewer rage/panic posts with Asheron's Call's new approach which is to essentially not hint/hype anything about upcoming big patches until the patch notes come out (traditionally the Thursday/Friday before patch). Because instead of players twisting and distorting what COULD happen, they instead jump right in to see what DID happen and it is never as bad, and often far better, than their mind would have made it out to be.

excellent example, one reason why test servers and an ACTIVE incentive program to get people to use it can be so valuable.  And while a lot of a mmo's have test servers, they rarely incentivize and hardly ever focus test

 

most test servers end up being nothing more the "build/skill testers" for the min/maxers

EDIT

I give Cryptic/PWE a lot of crap for basic design but in this area they do ok or at least better than the average.  At least in the area of getting people on the test server.

That could help that particular situation a bit, but wouldn't help the point I was trying to illustrate overall.

 

The article suggested to be open with information very early (basically we've just started making this game stage). There would be no test server or anything at that point in time. The type of gamers who follow all of that early info, every tweet, every tease, etc. tend to have minds which twist and distort the information put out into what they WANT it to be instead of what it is.

Those are the ones who get all hyped up over every new release only to be either disappointed when all the fine details get released or who get disappointed a week into the game because although the game may be exactly as advertised, it isn't what their brain turned it into.

 

I don't think there is any way you could give information early to those people that would let this happen so I don't think releasing information even earlier would help. Instead I think being silent until you are ready to open the game up for beta and then doing a "Hey we're making a new MMO, here's all the details and btw sign up for beta below and try it out." Now players don't have time to twist any of the information because it comes out at the same time they can get their hands on it. I think those players who appreciate the game more for what it actually is with that method.

  BMBender

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 423

9/30/13 2:11:42 PM#37
Originally posted by Boneserino
Originally posted by BMBender
Originally posted by Boneserino
 

Make the NPCs have more human behaviour and I think we will be on the right track to more enjoyment in our fantasy worlds.

It's not been a technical or programing problem for a long time. it's been a balancing one.  It's been tried b4 problem scaling difficulty of ai to match the abilities of any particular player is a guessing game at best.  The wider a games demographic range the more slop gets built into the system.

Well here is a question.

If an NPC is confronted by a more powerful force, would it not make sense for that character to try to run or protect itself?  And also, If a stronger NPC see's you coming would it not make sense for that NPC to try and stalk you and hunt you down for a kill?  You might be walking down a path, unaware of said character, who then waits for an opportunity to surprise and ambush you.

Instead we get stationary mobs that wait for the player who obviously has the upper hand to annihilate them, and then complains how easy it was.

Why can't the former be done instead of the latter?  Is it a programming issue? A gameplay issue?  If it can be done, then why isn't it?

If you are designing your game for only one type of predictable play style then yes you can do it. but currently someone who prefers easier content want ai to act a certain way.  Hard cores want it different. Rprs something else. groupers...you guessed it.  Eventually all your clock cycles are solely devoted to controlling the infinite number of ai responses and the game stops.

  BMBender

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/14/07
Posts: 423

9/30/13 2:16:32 PM#38
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf
Originally posted by BMBender
Originally posted by SnarlingWolf

I will start by saying some gamers have solid balanced ideas that could actually be implemented.

 

That being said, most don't. I'll use Asheron's Call as an example. They were going to do a major change to the weapon skills (the short jist of it was take all of their melee skills which were broken up by weapon type as sword, axe, dagger, mace etc. and make 2 new skills: Heavy and Finesse weapons). They brought this to the player base months before it was implemented to open up the discussion and get feedback to adjustments. A group of the player base became adamant that they needed three skills: Heavy, Finesse, and Light. The Asheron's Call devs put up that they didn't think this was wise and that it wouldn't be a skill that was used much and would essentially just bloat the game that they were trying to remove bloat and balance issue from. The players insisted and they added the third skill.

 

The patch came around and quickly players avoided light weapons. Almost no one uses that skill, but now there is more loot that gets in the way of finding what you want (because light weapons drop) there are more quest weapons that aren't liked (because they are light weapons) and there is another whole skill that gets in the way that people don't take.

 

So why did this happen when players think they know what is the best design so often? They were blinded by how they currently play and not by how they would play with these changes. Because of this they felt light weapons filled a role that it didn't (and which wouldn't really be there after the changes) so they demanded it. Even with developers directly trying to point this out they were sure that they were right and now there is a permanent skill in the game that everyone dislikes and avoids because it always makes more sense to use Heavy or Finesse instead of light.

 

So there is an issue with opening up your plans early as players will all think they have the best change/solution that should be added. Listen to them and you could end up with stuff people don't like, don't listen to them and people could complain you never listen. It is a no win situation.

 

I actually think MMOs should remain fully silent until they are hitting beta. No hype, no misinformation, no false expectations, none of it. Just "hey here is our game try it out for what it is".

 

I've seen far fewer rage/panic posts with Asheron's Call's new approach which is to essentially not hint/hype anything about upcoming big patches until the patch notes come out (traditionally the Thursday/Friday before patch). Because instead of players twisting and distorting what COULD happen, they instead jump right in to see what DID happen and it is never as bad, and often far better, than their mind would have made it out to be.

excellent example, one reason why test servers and an ACTIVE incentive program to get people to use it can be so valuable.  And while a lot of a mmo's have test servers, they rarely incentivize and hardly ever focus test

 

most test servers end up being nothing more the "build/skill testers" for the min/maxers

EDIT

I give Cryptic/PWE a lot of crap for basic design but in this area they do ok or at least better than the average.  At least in the area of getting people on the test server.

That could help that particular situation a bit, but wouldn't help the point I was trying to illustrate overall.

 

The article suggested to be open with information very early (basically we've just started making this game stage). There would be no test server or anything at that point in time. The type of gamers who follow all of that early info, every tweet, every tease, etc. tend to have minds which twist and distort the information put out into what they WANT it to be instead of what it is.

Those are the ones who get all hyped up over every new release only to be either disappointed when all the fine details get released or who get disappointed a week into the game because although the game may be exactly as advertised, it isn't what their brain turned it into.

 

I don't think there is any way you could give information early to those people that would let this happen so I don't think releasing information even earlier would help. Instead I think being silent until you are ready to open the game up for beta and then doing a "Hey we're making a new MMO, here's all the details and btw sign up for beta below and try it out." Now players don't have time to twist any of the information because it comes out at the same time they can get their hands on it. I think those players who appreciate the game more for what it actually is with that method.

that's why I said earlier "somewhere above" open coms is good if your also diligent on saying these types of play styles we are not supporting this this and this is what we are doing. In todays market they do the opposite COME ONE COME ALL TO THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH.  Most actively target play styles they had no intention of supporting with predictable results.

 

EDIT: as an example I think just about every major one recently touted it's crafting system as something special or something centric to gameplay(usually with no more info than that) when usually it was a reskin of what was already on the market, what could be thrown together quickly, or a mini game.

  DavisFlight

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 2369

9/30/13 2:18:06 PM#39
Originally posted by reillan
Originally posted by Nadia
missed one - lacking content!

This.  People will rush to max level in 2 or 3 days.  These are your most hard-core gamers.  If all you have for them is "epic versions" of all the 4/5/6-person instances they've run before, then you're going to lose their interest.

They are also the huge minority of players, and catering to them is foolish. This is only the surface of the problem. Player generated content is what is needed more than anything else. Risk vs reward, social virtual worlds.

What kept games growing over years, something no modern MMO has managed to do, was the community and difficulty of the game encouraging people to band together.

There will always be people to burn through the content, which is why you need more than just content in your games.

  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 14390

"what a boring life, HATING everything" -Gorilla Biscuits

9/30/13 2:18:38 PM#40
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.

 

Holy hells, we actually agree on something :).

For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson

It is a sign of a defeated man, to attack at ones character in the face of logic and reason

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