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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Just what the hell does "dumbed down" even mean anyway?

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180 posts found
  Solude

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/08
Posts: 697

3/23/10 6:51:36 AM#101
Dumbed down is a term used by the nostalgia crowd. I've been playing MMOs since UO and no games are not dumbed down today compared to then. This pretty much does the comparison visually... http://www.duelinganalogs.com/comic/2009/12/04/guest-strip-by-ross-nover/
  UnDeadKiss

Novice Member

Joined: 10/28/06
Posts: 16

3/23/10 7:04:03 AM#102

Dumbed down, as in World of Warcrap.  All the thinking has been done for you.  Now go kill ten bears and we will give you a purple hatchet of +1 agility when chopping trees, $18 dollars a month please, thank you come again! 

  drago_pl

Novice Member

Joined: 7/03/04
Posts: 394

3/23/10 7:05:46 AM#103

OP, if you don't understand this term then you must be target audience.

  Mad+Dog

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/02/10
Posts: 668

3/23/10 7:14:03 AM#104

Dumbed down = WoW

  Kordesh

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/12/06
Posts: 1731

3/23/10 7:14:04 AM#105

Stupified, to have its complexities removed, lacking in depth and or substance, otherwise being designed as such than and absolute moron could drag their ballsack across the keyboard and still end up with a full set of gear, with gear being the only focus and content in the game. Catering to the lowest common denominator. 

It's really not that hard to understand. Basically, take anything good, oversimplify it to make it appeal to a large number of wallets at the cost of actually, you know, being good, and you have something that has been "dumbed down." 

Bans a perma, but so are sigs in necro posts.

EAT ME MMORPG.com!

  Dahlifyr

Novice Member

Joined: 2/02/08
Posts: 144

3/23/10 7:56:13 AM#106

Take the upcoming Swtor as an example: You watch and listen to an Cutscene, then you follow an outlayed path to the next halt where you again will be watching an Cutscene with the usual drabble in it.

Mix this with wery little gamplay as in click and shoot followed by some exploring in an instanced and linear gameworld.

All this to fit todays "gamers" that are to lazy to play a game themself, to lazy to put down some time in the gameworld they are currently playing in. Everything has to be fast and simple, and this game will have all that.

It`s the new generation of Facebook-players that rules the gameworld now.

  Torik

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/02/09
Posts: 2325

3/23/10 8:12:31 AM#107

Dumbed down:

Old-school games like EQ and SWG where they could not figure out how to do interesting content and code the game mechanics properly so they instead substituted boring unimaginative grinding hoping the players were too dumb to notice.

Also raiding in vanilla WoW.

  Emhster

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/28/09
Posts: 913

Played: Shadowbane, WoW, WAR, AOC, Aion, SWTOR, Rift, Tera

3/23/10 8:16:40 AM#108

It's just another term used by trolls posting flamebaits. Everything can mean dumbed down, really, as long as something becomes easier, less tiedous, GUI improvements...


Since this thread is turning into yet another wow-bashing, let's take wow as an example:


- Quests zones are more dense in the new zones, less "Fedex quests" to avoid long runs. -> "Dumbed down"

- Quests don't need to be fully read. -> "Dumbed down"

- You can raid instances in easy mode, with lesser rewards. -> "Dumbed down"

- Stats are being revamped (2 stats are being removed). -> "Dumbed down"

- Quest marks are used to flag NPC with a quest. -> "Dumbed down"

- Quest goals are marked on the map. -> "Dumbed down"

  Mad+Dog

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/02/10
Posts: 668

3/23/10 8:17:12 AM#109

Bit like McD's, crap food but appeals to the masses.

  Josher

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/25/03
Posts: 2836

3/23/10 9:11:31 AM#110
Originally posted by Kyleran
Originally posted by J.Yossarian

"Dumbed down" it seems, is often used to describe removing things that didn't require brains to begin with. Such as finding quest mobs, running long distances or simply waiting. It's a silly phrase, poorly defined and usually misused, much like "deep".

Actually, trying to locate quest mobs can be challenging, managing travel times and your strategies to minimize them (or use them to your advantage against your enemy) and figuring out the best time to find a mob when others aren't around are actually what can give an MMORPG more depth.

The removal of these things is in fact part of the decline in terms of challenge vs accessibility that most MMORPG makers have chosen today which is why fans of the earlier games decry them and use terms like dumbed down, over simplified and unchallenging.

 

Removing tedious time sinks, which is all those "deep" features were,  is not dumbing the game down.  "Competing for MOBS" and "managing travel times"?  If you can't see whats wrong with those statements, no wonder you're confused=)  If you consider time sinks a measurement of challenge or difficulty or depth, its time to rediscover what real difficulty in a game means.

Dumbing Down is often confused with intuitive design by those too ignorant or stubborn  to tell the difference.  Its a nerd turf war really.  Don't like something?  Just call it dumbed down to make yourself feel better.

Highlighting on a map where a particular mob you need to kill is, is certainly making it easier.  DUMB?  Not exactly. Considering you can TURN OFF that particular hint feature or not install a MOD that allows you to do it, who's the dumb one really?  

Being unable to gimp your character is often considered dumbed down as well.  But whats so smart about spending countless hours figuring out what the developer should've figured out already?   Whats smart about allowing a player to make decisions that through no fault of their own are wrong decisions?  Why should a skill NOT work properly?  Why should a spell be worse than another?   Shouldn't they ALL be useful?   Isn't it DUMB building a character for 4-6 months only to find out it just doesn't work very well compared to someone else just because he took ice magic and you chose fire only to find out fire is broken?  Not smart to me.  

Highlighting on a map, particular NPCs who are designed specifically to provide content is NOT DUMB.  Someone who wishes to click on every NPC to figure out who has something worthwhile to say and who doesn't, and thinks thats DEPTH, is actually the dumbest person alive;)  THink about it.  Is it hard clicking on every NPC or does it just take time?   What amazing calculation in your brain is needed to run around a city clicking on every NPC you see to find a quest?  Thats for smart people, really?  REALLY?  I just bet Bill Gates or any other VERY smart person would call a mindless time sink, pretty darn stupid, hehe.  

Time sinks are not depth.  Waiting around isn't depth.  Repetitive actions are also not depth.  Bad UIs do not add depth.  Lack of explanation or broken game mechanics do not add depth.  Something that takes 5 button presses when it should take 2 button presses doesn't make those 5 button presses DEEPER.   A map designed by the developer that pops up when you press M is not dumber than a paper map you drew up on graph paper.  A minimap that shows where your group members are is not dumber than GUESSING or asking "where are you" in chat.   Walking 30 minutes to get someplace doesn't take MORE brains that walking 5 minutes.  Waiting 30 minutes for a boat then standing there 20 minutes for the boat to reach its location is not smarter than clicking on the boat and it instantly taking you to the location. 

Something that makes sense when you look at it does not make it DUMB, especially when the inner complexity and what its purpose is, is identical to something that looks confusing.   

  Jimmy_Scythe

Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/04
Posts: 3602

 
OP  3/23/10 9:30:43 AM#111
Originally posted by Emhster

It's just another term used by trolls posting flamebaits.

Yeah, that's basically what I said in my original post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2if5GYXOGyo

  Alberel

Novice Member

Joined: 12/02/09
Posts: 1121

3/23/10 9:41:57 AM#112
Originally posted by rscott6666


Sorry about the formatting, not sure how that happened.

I still don't agree that dumbing down is with respect to time it takes to hit max (or whatever).  If it does, then i don't feel its a valid phrase because it shouldn't matter how fast or slow you level.  Levelling speed should never be a consideration.  Some of my funnest mmorpgs times were when i ignored (or actually forgot) where the xp bar was.  I just played and played.  Levelling speed was, as it should be, forgotten.

Instancing isn't arbitrary, it is, or should be, part of a grand plan.  A set of related encounters in a sequence.  Some instances are all greens, some are not.  Its never the same.  You don't get the grindy feeling when its done well.  Oblivions scaling was just poorly done, i didn't care for it either.  Imho COX did it much better. 

However, my point was that no matter how its done, its up to the devs to 'dumb it down or not' whatever that means.  The programming trick by itself does not lead by its very nature to anything dumb or smart.  Just like the open world does not lead to dumb or smart.  Either one could be very hard or very easy. 

I don't think players need to feel like they are any good at playing.  They just need to have fun.  I wasn't any good at simcity, but it was fun making various cities.  It was a good game no matter how good I personally was at it.  Thats how mmorpgs should be.  Whether i bankrupt my character and kill it 100x a week, or keep my streak of no-deaths going for several months, as long as its fun, thats what matters.  And if the game can handle noobs like my mom or my neice going all the way, its a testament to how good the game is.  A sucky game would be hard and make them quit after 20-30 levels.

I actually agree with your ideals entirely. My funnest memories are also from times when I entirely forgot about xp or any sense of progression, and simply played because I was having fun. Unfortunately that sort of feeling is harder and harder to come by in modern MMOs and I think that actually comes down to community factors like I mentioned before. I find it very hard to become that immersed in an MMO when I'm playing solo, and since most recent MMO releases are designed to be resistant to group play and player interaction it's hard to deliberately seek such experiences out. Even at 'endgame' the player interaction is scarce; crafting interdependence seems to be a thing of the past with crafters simply throwing their wares onto the AH and rarely ever communicating with their customers whilst raiding is little more than following orders (and imo the raid environment is so tense and strict that it actually harms the relationships between the present players).

Again I agree with your ideal on instancing, but the implementation in most games is sub-par like you say. The fact that their play time is artifically drawn out by necessitating multiple runs for loot makes them grindy and the player loses interest in having fun because they are only playing for the loot. Again, like I said, the dungeon finder in WoW has made this a lot worse since Blizzard has made it possible to join up with 4 other faceless players and run an instance without saying a word. Nearly everyone now uses this system which means the player interaction that would normally be fostered through seeking a group is lost. CoX did have a better system in these terms, but it had its own flaws; the incessant reuse of skins and familiar instance layouts made them equally grindy as it didn't feel much different from running the same few instances over and over again anyway.

As for games being accessible to everyone... I agree with your analogy but it doesn't translate well into the current MMO setting. Firstly SimCity is a game based on player creativity, the amount of creative freedom a player has in an MMO varies from game to game but usually, past the character creation stage, this freedom is severely restricted. Also a good and bad player, though being able to equally enjoy SimCity, would end up with vastly differing cities. Modern MMOs have been simplified to the point that not only can anyone do it, but everyone does it exactly the same, there's no room for a good player to feel like they're any different from a bad one. What you describe in SimCity is simplicity whilst what we are seeing in MMOs is things becoming easier. And sure people like to have fun, but when the 'fun' comes non-stop without anything attempting to hinder you it just gets boring. Using another console example I'll throw in Fable 2; I'm pretty sure the biggest complaint with that game was that it was too easy, death meant nothing, enemies were ridiculously easy to kill, and lets not even get into the final boss who literally died in 1 shot no matter what... The game's mechanics were fun, they really were, but after a while being 'fun' just isn't enough. It needs to resist letting you have fun sometimes so that when you do feel it it feels good... too much of anything and it just becomes normal, you lose the sense for it.

The problem here is really that current MMO mechanics are too restrictive. Essentially the genre is trying to evolve but seems to be stuck in the constraints of using long since outgrown mechanics. Rather than reinvent itself the genre is trying to force the old mechanics to suit a new generation and it's growing harder and harder to make it fit as the games become less and less about 'fun' and the cracks in the grind illusion are all too clear to see.

I know my points are all over the place, but I really feel like changes to circumvent the the need for player interaction and changes to make the games easier and easier (as opposed to simpler and simpler) are harming the genre by way of 'dumbing it down'. I honestly wonder if it might be about time we start thinking of reclassifying the genre with a series of sub-genres.

  Ravanos

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/07
Posts: 912

3/23/10 9:58:50 AM#113
Originally posted by Jimmy_Scythe
Originally posted by Emhster

It's just another term used by trolls posting flamebaits.

Yeah, that's basically what I said in my original post.

 

you're original post took its meaning too literal. it basically means making everything easy. time and effort use to mean something in MMOs progressing your character either through levels or skills or even gear progression, took time effort and even in some cases a bit of luck.

 

there also use to be a sense of danger especially in games with heavy death penalties, you had to play your best and pay attention to every encounter since you knew one wrong pull or one silly move could set you back hours or days.

 

 

now MMOs are all about feeding those who have A.D.D. with new shiney things as they watch TV, read a book, surf the web or god knows what else. MMOs have become the special olympics ... "oooo you showed up, you clicked a button? awww you win a prize!"

 

and yes i know thats fun for some, just like its fun for some to play through other types of genres with cheat codes. Playing through a super hard FPS with god mode, playing through a platformer with infinite lives, playing through the toughest setting of any RTS with infinite resources or money. And while yes you technically beat the game and saw the same ending I did, you took the whole "spirit" out of the game. in essence  you "dumbed down" the game with your cheat so you could win.

 

and thats what many feel happened with MMOs, except not with cheat codes but with enough crying by the casual gamer, who didn't want or couldn't put the time and effort in and didn't want to suffer the death penalty if they did something stupid. over the years the developers themselves took out the whole spirit of the game.

 

thats what Dumbing down means

  Venger

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/03/04
Posts: 1322

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3/23/10 11:13:08 AM#114

Depends most use it as a ego boaster.  (insert why I'm epic) was required in older games but now (insert why I'm epic) isn't required in newer mmos so they are dumbed down.  If I used it I would reference the difference between UO and EQ where we went from a online world (where there was more to do then kill, kill, kill) to multi-player online rpg (which basically completely revolves around killing).

So it really depends on how and why they are using the reference.  I would enjoy a decent online world over a online rpg but I don't think one is better then the other.  Different strokes for different folks.

  Ataaka

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/01/08
Posts: 161

Anyone can act, just be yourself -aTaaka

3/23/10 12:10:36 PM#115

"...you "dumbed down" the game with your cheat so you could win.

 

and thats what many feel happened with MMOs, except not with cheat codes but with enough crying by the casual gamer, who didn't want or couldn't put the time and effort in and didn't want to suffer the death penalty if they did something stupid. over the years the developers themselves took out the whole spirit of the game.

 

thats what Dumbing down means..."

 

Please don't confuse an observation with your modern terms of flaming, flamebaiting, trolling, etc...

 

I read your post and this thread because it was of interest to me. I am what people might refer to as a Casual Gamer. I play for all the same reasons as any other type player, but I do so at the leisure of all those other things other players neglect in the real world. I resent being classified as a "cry-baby" who "couldnt put the time in" which has caused devs to "dumb down" gaming.

I speak for myself a lot of people who put their time in, roll with the punches, and grind their teeth when devs change the mechanics of the game to suit a certain "class of players"...which in this case refers to so-called hardcore gamers. The hard-core gamer is that player who can place a fair argument against the game mechanics, the fairness of loot, the value of intangibles such as adventuring, and the tangibles such as crafting... they offer a valid point against the grain of the devs who often turn to them when making drastic changes to one or many parts of the game. For instance, players wanted accolades for controlled PvP'ing, henceforth, Battlegrounds (BG) was born. They argued that time spent their took away from the leveling and loot they would have achieved if not using the BG to achieve fame... henceforth, BG Rewards was born. As we reflect, it was a bad idea to begin with, speaking from a casual player point of view.

I levelled to 60 during the launch of a certain game...the first on my server to do so. I had the time, so I played like no tomorrow. But, that doesn't change who I am. I made no contributions to any part of the game. I played hard simply because I had the time. It was Casual Players who caused a certain game to shut-down raiding of a certain Elf Town. So, unless we have specifics concerning how the game is affected by a certain type of player, we are just blowing wind.

I think devs were trying to leap into the next genre of game-play where dexterity of the player became less important. We still have to think about our next move, based a given situation, but they made it easier to get to the end product.

Dumbing-Down was a term created by players, regardless of style, which implies that the mechanics of play have been focused around a certain I.Q. (for lack of a better analogy). Instead of needing to jump and spin using dexterous keyboard movements, the game is often "dumbed-down" to a single key to perform the same action. In other words, the game is embedded with macros that perform two or more actions that were normally performed by the thought process of making the 'right moves' in a given situation with the keyboard, mouse or both.

(WINDOWS(tm) is the most widely used example of dumbing-down. Life is about simplicity. If its easy, more people can enjoy it. But, that doesn't make it perfect.)

Questhelper(tm) is a fine example of 'dumbing-down', as well. You grab a quest from a random NPC, and an arrow points to the location of where the quest can be completed. The time to travel there may or may not be lessened, but it takes the exploration and discovery value away from player... therefore, it 'dumbs-down' questing to have such a feature.

"Dumbing-Down" has nothing to do with the type of player, whatsoever. It is a negative term used by people who might resent change or evolution, whereas, their time to discover and master might be reduced to nothing. Sorry... It wasn't me who made computing easy. I vowed to not support Windows(tm) when it forst hit the market. The result is that I missed out on 5000 shares of MicroSoft...so who got dumbed-down??? Me.

A true hardcore gamer would find some innovative way to keep these MMO's interesting.

 


 

  Solude

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/08
Posts: 697

3/23/10 12:11:27 PM#116
I play MMOs for the combat... and the combat has gotten deeper and deeper along the way. In UO we had... swing and umm run away for melee depth. In EQ it got deeper... I could jump and kick, taunt and even disarm at high levels owww ahhh. Then AC brought us precasting buffs. By comparison WoW and EQ2 are much deeper and more involved which is by definition not dumbed down. AoC brought even more depth with directional queues and no forced targets. Caster wise, we've come from cast, sit, cast, sit to spell chains and variety in spell effects. Again not dumbed down. The relics of MMO were not and are not difficult, they are tedious. When your MMO is void of story, quests, lore or anything else but combat because the delivery mechanic is terrible, that isn't depth its dumbing it down to a swing and wait grind. Anyone who wants the original EQ feeling back to go play any Korean grinder and be right at home.
  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5244

3/24/10 4:44:22 AM#117

Hey what happened to Jimmy-Scythe’s avatar picture? He replaced it with that ultimate symbol of dumbing down, the gaming console. OMG he dumbed himself down. :D
 

  rscott6666

Novice Member

Joined: 7/28/03
Posts: 192

3/24/10 6:09:53 AM#118
Originally posted by Alberel
As for games being accessible to everyone... I agree with your analogy but it doesn't translate well into the current MMO setting. Firstly SimCity is a game based on player creativity, the amount of creative freedom a player has in an MMO varies from game to game but usually, past the character creation stage, this freedom is severely restricted. Also a good and bad player, though being able to equally enjoy SimCity, would end up with vastly differing cities. Modern MMOs have been simplified to the point that not only can anyone do it, but everyone does it exactly the same, there's no room for a good player to feel like they're any different from a bad one. What you describe in SimCity is simplicity whilst what we are seeing in MMOs is things becoming easier. And sure people like to have fun, but when the 'fun' comes non-stop without anything attempting to hinder you it just gets boring. Using another console example I'll throw in Fable 2; I'm pretty sure the biggest complaint with that game was that it was too easy, death meant nothing, enemies were ridiculously easy to kill, and lets not even get into the final boss who literally died in 1 shot no matter what... The game's mechanics were fun, they really were, but after a while being 'fun' just isn't enough. It needs to resist letting you have fun sometimes so that when you do feel it it feels good... too much of anything and it just becomes normal, you lose the sense for it.

The problem here is really that current MMO mechanics are too restrictive. Essentially the genre is trying to evolve but seems to be stuck in the constraints of using long since outgrown mechanics. Rather than reinvent itself the genre is trying to force the old mechanics to suit a new generation and it's growing harder and harder to make it fit as the games become less and less about 'fun' and the cracks in the grind illusion are all too clear to see.

I know my points are all over the place, but I really feel like changes to circumvent the the need for player interaction and changes to make the games easier and easier (as opposed to simpler and simpler) are harming the genre by way of 'dumbing it down'. I honestly wonder if it might be about time we start thinking of reclassifying the genre with a series of sub-genres.

...skipping over the parts where we agree...

The way one player differs from another is based on which quests they choose.  Do they stay in one area, or go to another.  To the extent the game forces you in one area or not, or one quest or another, thats how the players differ.  My character preferred going against magic using enemies in COX, another character of mine (or another play) may have preferred a different enemy or even a different zone.  The characters are different, even if the players are of different skill.  And of course, we also can take into account whether they go after blues/reds/bosses.  Is it a big difference, no, not terribly.  But i think this can change as well.  Choosing one set of missions may give you some new powers, which you could use in the next set of missions.  If you swapped the order in which you did the missions, they would play differently because the powers you got were different.  The game becomes more replayable.

The game can be very simple and easy to 'complete' and still be fun and interesting.  We just need the order you complete the quests to be significant.  So that doing quests A,B,C is very different from C, B, A or B, C, A.

There are decisions to be made, its just that no one things these decisions are significant, when in fact they can be.  Especially when its your first time playing the game.  Some people think that choosing which guild you are in is insignificant.  I think that the right guild can make or break a game.  We just have to look at every decision we make more closely.  There are alot more decisions than you might think at first.

 

  ArcAngel3

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/25/06
Posts: 2941

Momento Mori

3/25/10 10:04:55 PM#119
Originally posted by Jimmy_Scythe
Originally posted by Emhster

It's just another term used by trolls posting flamebaits.

Yeah, that's basically what I said in my original post.

 If you think that dumbing down games doesn't exist (still), I'd like to hear your response to post number 99.  If you aren't willing to respond, I have to wonder if this means you're not open to new information.  Is there some reason you don't want to acknowledge that this happens to MMOs?

Are you simply trying to label people as trolls if they don't like when complexity and depth are physcially wiped from the games they once enjoyed?

Another example of this would be CoH when they removed numerous superpowers from their PvP zones.  Instead of high speed chases, aerial combat, stealth attacks, teleport traps etc. etc., everyone was reduced to standing toe-to-toe (regardless of their alleged powerset) and button mashing until someone mercifully died.

I'm sure other games have undergone similar revamps.  Complex and engaging systems are quite literally deleted, and the devs outright say that they are doing this to make the game simpler and more appealing to a broader audience.

  pythi

Novice Member

Joined: 9/05/08
Posts: 64

3/26/10 2:27:20 AM#120

I would use the phrase "dumbed down" in slightly diffrent context. Using the newest CnC game as an example previous CnC games have been very popular, they had great story, great controls, great game play, overall good community. The newest CnC game I just ordered Tiberium Dawn I couldn't even play past the first few missions. Story seems to be lacking in general granted I did not play the whole game to experiance it fully however I wasn't pulled into it like I was the others. Controls basicly remained the same so I see no need to say it was "dumbed down". Now the kicker if you have ever played any CnC game, the best part was building your base, defending it from the engineer rush, tank swarm and the like, you had to collect oil, tiberium, whatever that game of the series had you collect for income, to manage your units you could only buy with what you collected. Now you having a crawler as a base that produces units on the fly with no real rescources to collect to build units with, to me that makes the game a deal breaker. Now on to the community, their official fourms are over run with "trolls" or as I would refer to some of them customers with valid reasons to be angry. Every post that I could find dealt with how the game is garbage, dummed down this dumbed down that, and I would have to agree with them on that.

Overall a game being "dumbed down" is purely subjective, as is the persons opinion about others saying things are "dumbed down"

 

 

EDIT: I also wanted to throw some wood into the fire,

EDIT 2: Ok I read back a little and I did see basicly what I was going for in my first edit.

See below link.

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/3458047

Star Wars Galaxies.

 

Exocide

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