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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The Problem No One’s Talking About

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168 posts found
  evolver1972

Novice Member

Joined: 3/18/11
Posts: 1126

What is "real"? How do you define "real"?

11/02/12 6:49:54 PM#81
Originally posted by immodium
Originally posted by evolver1972
Originally posted by Ozivois
They need to slow down level progression - that will add more time to subs.  Lower experience gain to a minimum so that players have to spend inordinate amounts of time in every area of the world. Offer raids for every ten levels. Limit daily experience gain.  Make it so that rare level 20 armor is worth looking for because you will be able to use it for another month as you work your way to level 30...

Why do they need to slow down level progression?  So they can bilk you out of even more money?  So the game can just become tedious?  No thanks.

 

I got an idea when it comes to longevity of a game.  Stop playing games like they're a second job.  Does anyone hear realize how ridiculous it is to spend 5-6 hours per day playing a computer game?  Maybe slow down the amount of time you play and you won't finish a game in 2 months.

 

To Bill's article, I think you need both.  You need both the content to keep people happy and the systems.  Just one of those won't be enough to keep people coming.  Especially those who have apparently massive amounts of time every week to waste.

When you say job are you implying people hate what they are doing? What if they find their job immense fun? Is it wrong to have immense fun for 5-6 hours a day? :)

 

No, it's wrong to spend that much time playing one game and then complaining there's not enough to do in the game.

 

The job reference was more about the amount of time spent, not whether or not someone likes what they're doing.

You want me to pay to play a game I already paid for???

Be afraid.....The dragons are HERE!

  Codenak

Novice Member

Joined: 12/23/08
Posts: 418

11/02/12 7:49:47 PM#82

There is another point that should be considered in mmorpgs alongside the need for systems to keep players engaged, that the players can see opportunities, scope for expansion.

No game will ever be able to launch with enough systems that work correctly right off the bat to keep lots of players involved, a lot of the systems will have to develop over time as minor tweaks can have large unintended consequences either immediately or sometimes months down the road. If you are handing over tools to the players, the players will use those tools in ways the developers did not and often cannot forsee, the developers need to have properly thought out metrics and sampling tools to be able to spot what's actually happening.

The developers idea for the future of the game isnt necessarily where the players want it to go, and the devs will have to be able to change their vision for that of their players, or they wont have as many players as they could have had.

The above reasons are why the players have to be able to see that there is potential in a game, not just from rumours of "whats down the road" but also from the engagedness of the devs, if they're actually in the games asking questions and talking to players on forums, generally are they listening to the people who are playing their game. If the development team gets cut to the bone immediately after launch players know that more systems/content will be delayed and that reduces the potential of the game. If management comes out and states everything is fine and dandy when there are obvious problems, that reduces the potential of the game in the players eyes, which will lead to players looking for something with more potential in their eyes, or abandoning the genre altogether.

A second point I would make is that "one size does not fit all" which will be incredibly unpopular with VC's, but it is a truth. MMORPG's make their large profits from having lots of players play for a long time no matter what monetisation method is used. If you try to appeal to everybody you will end up appealing to very few over time.

Wall of text, no tl:dr.

Player of Eve Online for 6+ years.

 

F2P/P2P excellent thread.
http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/282517/F2P-An-Engineers-perspective.html

  muffins89

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/15/12
Posts: 1331

11/02/12 9:33:09 PM#83
Originally posted by Ozivois
They need to slow down level progression - that will add more time to subs.  Lower experience gain to a minimum so that players have to spend inordinate amounts of time in every area of the world. Offer raids for every ten levels. Limit daily experience gain.  Make it so that rare level 20 armor is worth looking for because you will be able to use it for another month as you work your way to level 30...

didn't they speed it up to avoid being called 'a korean ginder'?

 

I think the prostitute mod corrupted your game files man. -elhefen

  darkhalf357x

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1139

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

11/02/12 10:24:25 PM#84

/slow claps.  Finally an article which represents the *actual* problem with MMORPGs.  For a minute I was thinking I was going crazy because it was not being recognized.

Problem today is we have a bunch of MMOs who feign as MMORPGs.  Without the RPG you really dont have much to keep a sub.

Systems are the absolute core of an RPG.  Give me tools to *create* my own role in a persistent world and I will barely log out.  

If we have some secret developers on these boards. LISTEN! And persistent does NOT mean instancing.  Get rid of it.

EQNext talks a good game, skeptical if they can deliver but willing to wait to find out.

Keep the momentum on this going... good stuff.

  darkhalf357x

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/25/12
Posts: 1139

I'm only playing the role chosen for me. Who you supposed to be?

11/02/12 10:42:48 PM#85
Originally posted by rounner
Originally posted by Gdemami

 


Originally posted by Torvaldr

It's not that no one is able to answer the question, but at this level, most of us should already be familiar with why that is and don't want to waste our time with a history lesson.  Ask a more pointed question if you have one.

 

Ah, Mr. Obvious argument...


Well, you might give some thought why are asian games being recycled and released on western markets or why is CCP, WargamingNet or Trion releasing more products instead of focusing on what they have released already...


But hey...you're Mr. Obvious, right?

Its a more valid point than most of the diatribe here. Posters that have been around for a long time are like radio shock jocks; they think if only the world was more like them there'd be world peace. To answer your question plainly I assume players posting here want to find a game they can play for years on end and cant get their head around the short shelf life of modern games. Coming up with theoretical solutions like more systems... wtf is a system, Ive been trolling here for years and never even seen the term used in this context before.

A system is a mechanic introduced in a game like a tool, that a player can leverage to develop their own interpreted fun.  Crafting is a system.  Housing is a system. Building boats, etc is a system. Player-driven markets is a system. Which is different from content which is a scripted set of events that all users get to enjoy (but cannot change).  I can tell you how a quest or piece of content will end since it will be the same no matter who does it.  Even the so-called 'dynamic' events are scripted and have a known end.  With a system, you cant predict what a user will do or how they will leverage it.  Adding an unknown factor that is fun. 

 

  User Deleted
11/02/12 10:51:44 PM#86

When taking into account the recent "theme park" MMORPGs of note, it is increasingly hard to deny that the industry is moving away from designing games that are meant to last a player for months and years at a time. The market is entirely too crowded to compete in and single player games like Halo, Skyrim, and Half Life sell millions of copies in comparison without a third of the required upkeep of a traditional MMORPG. The same is true for co-op games like BF3 and COD.

 

Those big dollars are guiding the industry. As a result we read the same forum complaint about every new MMORPG release now - "It’s a single player game with co-op features." The latest games in the genre expect you to buy the download, play for a month or two, and then move on to the next big thing while hoping to lure you back for a short time when they release the next expansion. The comment you hear from angry developers upset by fan complaints so often now is that the only people who want all these virtual life features with lasting appeal are those looking to compensate for having no lives...

 

All these systems and mechanics that generate lasting appeal in a game are by nature hard and time consuming. This is a drawback in an industry looking to broaden its appeal and bring in more casual players to make more money. Increasingly you are seeing face book, twitter, and other social networking features brought into games to make it a more casual social exercise between real life friends at the expense of encouraging internal game communities or a play model that requires too much in game communication between strangers.

 

I think it was brought home not so long ago after reading a certain TESO lead developer state that MMORPG was a dead term with little meaning anymore as almost every game had multi-player features. This was a telling comment to me in that it showed the development team didn’t see the same feature set as distinguishing an MMORPG from any other MMO game that I did. This has been true of many developer interviews regarding various in development games in recent times.

 

Why not aim for big download and box sales, keep the subs going for as along as possible, and then try to milk it for all a title is worth using a F2P model once most have moved on? It’s more profitable to just make cash shop items and requires less ongoing financial investment than making a game with lasting appeal would. It’s the new norm for every new game because it makes money and its not expected to really last any one player.

 

You may see these systems for lasting appeal as a way to save the industry from turmoil OP. I just see it as a sign that we are all dinosaurs, a small niche group with desires not financially worth catering too, in an increasingly casual play oriented market. I fear we are going to have to adjust our expectations of MMORPG releases or move on to another hobby as we have been left behind and such games, our games, have become something else.

  User Deleted
11/02/12 11:18:42 PM#87
Originally posted by ShakyMo
The problem is company execs keep seeing the "10 million" playing wow and think if we make a game like wow and only pull 1 in 10 of those people we will make more money. We just have to make a game like wow with a couple of things that are missing from it.

Hence you get all these wow with a twist games. E.g.

Lotro - wow with rp features
Rift - wow with rifts and free spec switching
Swtor - wow with personal story
War - wow with rvr and pqs
Aoc - wow with action combat and boobies
Tsw - wow with puzzles, story, semi action combat and skill based progression
Tera - wow with action combat and bams
TESO - wow with rvr and open dungeons?
Nw - wow with player made dungeons?

On that list the only definitive WoW clones are Rift, SWTOR, WAR, and Tera. Aoc and TSW only contain the endgame of a WoW.

 

 Teso and Neverwinter share none of the core foundation principles of a WoW.  Both offer different playstyles, non linear questing, and endgame consisting of something other then the "raid or die" mentality.

  MindTrigger

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/19/07
Posts: 2628

11/02/12 11:48:10 PM#88

No one is talking about sandbox features?  We've been talking about it daily on these forums for over five years.

All of the sudden everyone is getting a clue, and now you'd think these thoughts were just discovered days ago..  ;)

Great article by the way.  This discussion needs to move from the forums to the mainstream, and now is the time.  I've tried to share many of my thoughts on the matter for a long time now.  Many of us who started out in those older games, never found the themepark games to be even remotely entertaing by comparison.  We've waited a long time for everyone else to catch up.

A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  Mueslinator

Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/08/11
Posts: 78

11/03/12 1:27:55 AM#89
Originally posted by BillMurphy

I suppose I actually should have said, "The Problem Few Devs Are Acknowledging" but this seemed catchier.  :)

In regards to GW2, I still think the game's fantastic... in fact, I love themeparks as much as I long for a good quality take on the Sandbox (Malu and EQNext I'm particularly looking forward to, as well as Darkfall:UW's PVP-oriented take).  But a Theme-park can have quality longevity, just the same.  For millions, WoW does the trick.  I don't know how, but it does.

However, WoW (as the article states) is a fluke. It can afford to take time and sustain itself because of its insane amount of subscribers.  As we've seen lately, that model just doesn't work with any other title. 

 

The first thing I thought after reading through that -very good- article was: "I bet people will be jumping down his throat to claim they've been talking about this exact issue for years".

I think it goes to show that gamers and developers differ, sometimes vastly, in what they talk about. And if you take a look at the MMOs that were released in recent years, devs really didn't talk about this issue at all, whereas gamers talked about little else (when you boil it down).

It is generally not a good sign for any industry when the makers have their minds on completely different things than the consumers.

 

Regarding the "WoW fluke", I have always thought it moronic that so many companies tried to copy its success. And of course, they didn't succeed. Because, as I see it (which is, of course, also only one point of view), they overlooked the most critical information about WoW subscribers: They are not MMORPG gamers. They are WoWers. Most only know WoW and only want WoW. Many keep their subs open even if they don't play.

You just can't think that just because WoW has ~10mil subscribers that the market is that big. I think that MMORPGs of the last years have taught us that it really, really isn't. If you're not WoW, you will NEVER see those subscriber numbers. WoW is a freak accident, an absolute exception to the market.

 

That said, I concur with the article: MMORPGs today are too much focused on developer-created content, and don't feature enough robust systems with which gamers could entertain themselves. One MMORPG (I know of) that differs a bit would be WAR: Here, the whole idea behind RvR was quite robust. Sad to say, it still fell flat because it had many shortcomings (technical as well as design-wise. When will people learn that any long-term, meaningful PvP can't work with just two parties? Three is the way to go if you want the population to auto-balance itself).

But we would need more of that: Less 'one-time' content, and more robust systems that work without constant injection of new things by the devs. Heck, why do you think that Legos are so popular? Because they're a robust system: Bricks with which you can build anything, not just the one thing the package shows. And MMORPGs do it backwards: They build entire systems that funtion only in one very specific way. Which, of course, gets boring fast. Just like Legos if you could build only one thing with it.

  Burntvet

Elite Member

Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 2897

11/03/12 3:27:56 AM#90
Originally posted by Foomerang

Irony:

Forum members get their sandbox threads locked because "we already have a sandbox discussion thread". Then the Managing Editor writes a column about the same things that mods normally shut down and titles it, "The problem no one is talking about". Well Bill, we would talk about it if your moderating staff would let us. And no, necroing some all encompassing thread wont cut it. Especially when countless combat or quest system threads gets put on a pedestal.

And not only that...

But it also seems that all of the reviewers here and at other sites also seem to miss most of what is in this article, too... when they are writing the review/preview of theme park of the moment and almost uniformly give all AAA games high marks...

So, a game can be missing all kinds of systems giving a game longetivity and deep game play, as mentioned in the article, and still score in the high 8s/low 9s? Even though because of this we have seen the population crashes 2-3 months after launch?

Seems to me a good bit of that could be mentioned during reviews (and isn't).

But these games continue to get high marks anyway...

I wonder why... (not really).

 

  Cleffy

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/09/04
Posts: 5570

11/03/12 3:55:19 AM#91
I think the thing lost in this article and a good many mmos is that the goal is not to keep the player logged in.  The goal is to get the player to pay for that month.  The idea of keeping the player logged in leads to grind games and time sinks that just are not fun.  There are better alternatives that would increase player enjoyment and reduce bandwidth costs like releasing 1 or 2 dungeons a month.
  Volenibblets

Novice Member

Joined: 7/08/12
Posts: 206

11/03/12 3:59:26 AM#92

Nice article and very true.

One other thing I think is that a sense of lore and place is important. For example, GW2 has tons of content, beautiful vistas and lots of lore but none of it hangs together. The lore is puddle-deep, sometimes awful, uninteresting and very poorly interwoven with the locales making even the most beautiful city or location initially 'ooh' then rapidly 'meh'. I think a long term attention grabber would do well to have your character feel embedded in a world full of rich background which he/she is a part of and makes some impact on...even if it's illusory.     

 

And (flame shield engaged) there is no way in hell wow's success was anything close to a 'fluke'. It was very carefully market researched effort to meld together the attractive features of previous games that were percieved as too difficult/niche/socially awkward and they made a highly polished, cartoony, widely accessible monster for its day. Unfortunately a) it's charm has vastly dimmed after 7 odd years and b) it created a monster by making too much money that subsequent investors wont back anything that isn't chasing that market...even if it's now overwhealmingly clear that trying to repeat that format ad nauseum is a surefire route to failure.  

 

In my opinion a fantasy (MMO)RPG would be wise to aim for that tingly feeling in the belly a paper and dice roleplayer would get when leafing through a Dungeon masters guide back in the day where a single drawing of an adventurer holding a torch and a map with a big beasty lurking out of sight ready to pounce, could come alive right off the page. I have high hopes that designing dungeons for your mates to run through in Neverwinter (complete with traps and copious kobolds) could make that possible.

  Kuinn

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/10/11
Posts: 2105

11/03/12 4:02:09 AM#93
Originally posted by BillMurphy
But a Theme-park can have quality longevity, just the same.  For millions, WoW does the trick.  I don't know how, but it does.

 

But WoW does not have many systems, before MoP it pretty much trusted just in dungeons, PVP, and the knowledge that they have a huge player base with celebs like Mila Kunis advertising the game on TV by casually letting everyone know how she plays the game. All of a sudden, gamer or not, girl or a boy, it's cool to play WoW.

 

Other games like Rift does not have that kind of meta game where you can just walk to someone and start talking about it. Personally this is the biggest longevity factor WoW had for me, it's why I sticked with WoW long past I got bored of it, since everyone was still talking about it, no matter if I was on the forums, at home, at work, or just saw some dude I barely knew, if there were nothing else to talk about, just bring WoW up.

 

I cant do that with anyone anymore since I know like 2 people who play the game, but obviously someone else also still plays according to the sub numbers, which would mean a constant stream of new players, and that again comes from the reputation of the game, the phenomenon status, and the still large community which spreads the word if the marketing department cant reach someone. Am I far fetching? I dont think so tbh.

 

From a gamers perspective, I'd rather have a game with vast and rich systems to bring longevity into my mmorpg rather than just enormous community or phenomenon that simply just steamrolls onwards. I've went back to WoW a few times after my personal WoW-community eventually dissolved, and there was nothing for me. Just the same old dungeon crawling and PvP with item rewards that has bigger numbers.

  Larsa

Novice Member

Joined: 2/14/04
Posts: 992

11/03/12 6:45:13 AM#94


Originally posted by BillMurphy

...  But a Theme-park can have quality longevity, just the same.  For millions, WoW does the trick.  I don't know how, but it does. ...


Isn't it obvious how WoW did it? WoW gained it's critical mass when it "almost" was a traditional old-school themepark MMORPG. Sure, it was more streamlined than the older ones - but it built on the systems from EQ and DAoC: there was no cross-server dungeon finder, there was no cash-shop, there was factional PvP, there was no personal story and no instancing and no phasing, there was no lobby game, there even was a (compared to now) long levelling experience.

All the other themeparks trying to repeat that success did one major thing wrong: they copied how WoW is "now", not how WoW was when it grew to their impressive customer base. Now WoW is an old game with a slowly dwindling subscriber base. And that's what the other themeparks copy: an old game with a slowly dwindling subscriber base ...

I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  elocke

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/15/04
Posts: 4189

11/03/12 6:56:30 AM#95
Originally posted by Zylaxx
Originally posted by ShakyMo
The problem is company execs keep seeing the "10 million" playing wow and think if we make a game like wow and only pull 1 in 10 of those people we will make more money. We just have to make a game like wow with a couple of things that are missing from it.

Hence you get all these wow with a twist games. E.g.

Lotro - wow with rp features
Rift - wow with rifts and free spec switching
Swtor - wow with personal story
War - wow with rvr and pqs
Aoc - wow with action combat and boobies
Tsw - wow with puzzles, story, semi action combat and skill based progression
Tera - wow with action combat and bams
TESO - wow with rvr and open dungeons?
Nw - wow with player made dungeons?

On that list the only definitive WoW clones are Rift, SWTOR, WAR, and Tera. Aoc and TSW only contain the endgame of a WoW.

 

 Teso and Neverwinter share none of the core foundation principles of a WoW.  Both offer different playstyles, non linear questing, and endgame consisting of something other then the "raid or die" mentality.

The list is dumb.  Lotro and Rift alone started as WoW clones and have pulled away from that and now have their own identity.  Also to be fair, calling it a WoW clone isn't accurate as they aren't as good as WoW at all.  More like cheap knockoffs of WoW to be more precise.  Much like the SyFy channel does with those horrible doomsday movies that are cheap knockoffs of the big budget Hollywood blockbusters.

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https://twitter.com/MMOAddicted

  elocke

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/15/04
Posts: 4189

11/03/12 7:01:08 AM#96
Originally posted by Burntvet
Originally posted by Foomerang

Irony:

Forum members get their sandbox threads locked because "we already have a sandbox discussion thread". Then the Managing Editor writes a column about the same things that mods normally shut down and titles it, "The problem no one is talking about". Well Bill, we would talk about it if your moderating staff would let us. And no, necroing some all encompassing thread wont cut it. Especially when countless combat or quest system threads gets put on a pedestal.

And not only that...

But it also seems that all of the reviewers here and at other sites also seem to miss most of what is in this article, too... when they are writing the review/preview of theme park of the moment and almost uniformly give all AAA games high marks...

So, a game can be missing all kinds of systems giving a game longetivity and deep game play, as mentioned in the article, and still score in the high 8s/low 9s? Even though because of this we have seen the population crashes 2-3 months after launch?

Seems to me a good bit of that could be mentioned during reviews (and isn't).

But these games continue to get high marks anyway...

I wonder why... (not really).

 

Not really fair to be honest considering we as humans always review or rate/grade a product when we try it.  In the case of MMORPGs, they really can't be fully graded until one has hit that "plateau" of gameplay where they feel they have experienced enough of the game to be an expert on it.  At THAT point is when we should review and score these games.  Otherwise, everyone sits in the honeymoon phase hopped up on the newest shiny game to come out the door.  They are all great for that first "hit".  It's whether they get stale or not that counts with these types of games and again, the review process either needs to wait till "one character completion" is hit or a certain timeframe has passed.

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https://twitter.com/MMOAddicted

  Elsabolts

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/03/06
Posts: 2705

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of those that would threaten It

11/03/12 7:30:35 AM#97

The Industry standard is Sony and Blizzard what they do will more then anything dictate what the rest of the Industry does. The gaming outfits who without any qualms take advantage of there gamers ie: Funcom, Turbin, EA and to some degree other companys will in the end lose Subs. Whats coming will be more single player games like Oblivion. Im through with any company who promotes Life-Time Subs period.

  ompgaming

Novice Member

Joined: 8/11/08
Posts: 180

Know Thyself

11/03/12 10:24:54 AM#98

"WHY SYSTEMS (NOT CONTENT) SPELL LONGEVITY"

 

 

Why don't the MMO developers get this?  I just can't understand why this is such a hard concept.  If Bill got it... well then.... :)

Above all else... never ever piss off the penguin.

  Gdemami

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7897

11/03/12 12:40:06 PM#99


Originally posted by ompgaming

Why don't the MMO developers get this? 

They do get it, it is Bill who is missing by a mile tho...

  Foomerang

Elite Member

Joined: 11/10/05
Posts: 5374

11/03/12 1:17:10 PM#100


Originally posted by elocke

Originally posted by Foomerang Irony: Forum members get their sandbox threads locked because "we already have a sandbox discussion thread". Then the Managing Editor writes a column about the same things that mods normally shut down and titles it, "The problem no one is talking about". Well Bill, we would talk about it if your moderating staff would let us. And no, necroing some all encompassing thread wont cut it. Especially when countless combat or quest system threads gets put on a pedestal.
This isn't about sandboxes though.  This is about systems and pricing models.  Something which affects ALL MMORPG types not just sandbox.  I wish you people who gripe about sandboxes this, sandboxes that would get it through your heads that Themeparks can be just as fun if developed right and SYSTEMS added to make them so. 

What do you think an mmo with tons of game systems is called? I would call it a sandbox. Sandboxes are ultimately what we are talking about here. A themepark with enough systems becomes a sandbox. Thats what a lot of people dont seem to understand. Themeparks consist of mainly a combat system with a bunch of developer made sub systems to do said combat in. you start adding non combat systems, creative tools for players, other ways to play, and your themepark starts to become a sandbox. Themepark is just a sandbox waiting to happen. But most of them never get past the kill shit stage.

I can count the number of actual gamers here on one hand.

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