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

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Advanced Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7922

11/05/12 3:00:51 AM#121

Originally posted by Phrame

Another issue is that developers are too enamored with the concept of creating a "personal story" for players.

Well, as you said yourself before and yet seem to be forgetting - personal story is what helps out with the feeling of grind.

Originally posted by Phrame

In an MMO, the focus needs to be on the community, not the individual.

Need, really? No, it does not need to. At this point you are just projecting your own desires into other gamers.


Advanced Member

Joined: 10/15/12
Posts: 911

11/05/12 3:03:20 AM#122
Originally posted by nationalcity
Originally posted by orbitxo
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?

twist games. E.g. ...with Better wow graphics.


Not even sure how to respond to this post.. TSW is nothing like Wow not even close no clue where you came up with half these games being like Wow....


I also see you forget to mention "THE PRECIOUS" because if anything that game should also be on your list if TSW is lol.....


And he leaves GW2 out lol.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5657

11/05/12 4:17:02 AM#123

I think Bill is having a laugh; we talk about this all the time. I call them two monthers or the like. Maybe nobody mentions this at press conferences and game shows. :D

The best revenue model is a sub with a fluff only cash shop. Unfortunately cash shops always end up containing pay to win elements later, even if they start with just fluff. Remember as well, if you only put the pay to win items in shop after a year, those two month casuals will not be there to buy them. I think this is what drove GW2 to include some minor PtW elements at launch.

User generated content is the best way forward, gaming systems will only go so far. But getting good quality user content and fitting it into the existing game is not easy. It did not save NWN before, so I don't think I am going out on a limb when I say it won't save them this time round.

Casual players want their Big Mac and fries, they make up the baulk of the player base, no new MMO is going to be a huge success long term while that remains true.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/29/06
Posts: 630

Has successfully forgiven SOE/LA for the NGE.

11/05/12 8:15:34 AM#124
Originally posted by BillMurphy
Originally posted by MMOwanderer
Originally posted by Larsa

Well, Bill, you're quite late to the party, welcome anyway.

Yeah, i was thinking "You guys only figured this out now?" all the way while reading the article .

Regardless, i completly agree Bill. I don't hate story, questing, dungeons, cutscenes, voice-overs, etc at all (expect "personal" stories and voiced pc's). I think they bring good things to the game and give it greater quality. It's developers abusing them and turning them into the main focus of the entire game by 90% that angers. Once you're finished with it, it's over and there's nothing left to achive and play.

More "systems" and "non ending" activities are necessary and fortunatly, it seems quite a few devs are figuring this out. Let's hope mmorpgs like these are coming in the future.


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. 

Though I haven't plaid WoW in years, WoW, though a themepark, works because it gives you some choice to your progression. And I think choice - as well as systems AND content - is what will keep a player coming back.


In a themepark, you want to be able to choose and pick your rides, even if you come back to some of the same ones here and there. If you just get to ride the Big Wheel, you'll get bored quick. Throw in a few choices, and the propensity for early boredom is reduced, equalling higher customer retention.


Take SWTOR for example. It has failed in a sense that it probably wasn't expected to go F2P quite so early into it's lifespan. That's because, at the heart of the game, it brought nothing new to the systems department, and also had little choice. Once you got bored of the cutscenes, you realised that progression for each character was identical, and there was nothing you could do to alter that path.


Also, WoW is not a fluke. I'm quite surprised to see an industry veteran write that, though I doubt you meant it quite in the way I'm taking it. I don't have interior knowledge, but I am quite certain that Blizzard looked at all the other available MMO and single player games on the market, then carefully picked the elements that they saw people enjoyed. All these were then all piled in together with their existing IP. That's not a fluke, that's good business strategy.


So yeah: Content - System - Choice.


Advanced Member

Joined: 9/23/08
Posts: 7922

11/05/12 8:21:12 AM#125

Originally posted by korvass

That's because, at the heart of the game, it brought nothing new to the systems department, and also had little choice. Once you got bored of the cutscenes, you realised that progression for each character was identical, and there was nothing you could do to alter that path. 

If only one could say why people are not into your product... Truth is, you do not know just like anyone else.

You can only guess.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/22/04
Posts: 77

11/05/12 9:28:36 AM#126
Fun. That is what every game should be. Not a timesink, not a leveling crawl...but fun. Somewhere along the line with all the slick graphics and shiny items the path of fun was lost. We need someone to blaze a trail back to the path and systems sounds like a step in the right direction.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/04/11
Posts: 2034

11/05/12 10:08:13 AM#127
Originally posted by Nomad40
Fun. That is what every game should be. Not a timesink, not a leveling crawl...but fun. Somewhere along the line with all the slick graphics and shiny items the path of fun was lost. We need someone to blaze a trail back to the path and systems sounds like a step in the right direction.

Yep, the technology somehow became more important than gameplay, and so a de-evolution began where the games became less featured because all of the time and money went into making the next big thing in visuals/cutscenes. The more constrained the gameplay, the less time and money for that aspect, which is harder to sell to investors than: watch this demo, see how great this looks! I love great looking games, but they are a waste of time if they don't have great gameplay with potential for longevity too.

Bait and switch games are 2 month prospects. The end user should push back on this practice.

Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/19/08
Posts: 446

11/05/12 10:43:02 AM#128

Very good article. "Systems" are why I'm still playing Ultima Online 15 years later. Sure, I play other MMO's, but they always tend to get dull, whereas even after 15 years, with my rate of play, I still haven't seen and done everything in UO. Why? Because the basic systems, the crafting, the vendors, the player housing, the ability for players to create environments and situations to RP in, have kept me FAR more occupied than checking out a dungeon, or going after uber loot items.

Couldn't agree with this article more.


Elite Member

Joined: 2/27/07
Posts: 7116

11/05/12 11:14:56 AM#129
Originally posted by Gdemami


Originally posted by korvass


That's because, at the heart of the game, it brought nothing new to the systems department, and also had little choice. Once you got bored of the cutscenes, you realised that progression for each character was identical, and there was nothing you could do to alter that path. 


If only one could say why people are not into your product... Truth is, you do not know just like anyone else.

You can only guess.

He does not have to guess, it is all over the net.  Pretty obvious the problems SWTOR had, too much expensive voice overs and cut scenes, that end up being skipped after playing the game awhile.  The systems in the game were very poorly done hence the game has very little replayability and very little retainability.  It won't do well as a f2p either.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/22/10
Posts: 693

11/05/12 1:01:19 PM#130

Well I do not really agree with Bill.

I think the problem lies with the AI.

All MMO has the most dated AI compared to SRPG.

The day the companies update the AI, the whole gameplay will change.


Pardon my English as it is not my 1st language :)


Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 957

11/05/12 10:00:10 PM#131

While I agree with the sentiments regarding hybrid models I dont think it really contributes that greatly to the "Two months done, whats next" problem.

Developers seem to think Everyone wants a themepark game & there are many players who will tell you they love themeparks & defend the concept of themepark MMO's to the death. Problem is the majority of players who defend such a concept are also the players who play for 2-3 months then move on.

I have been saying for a while now that its impossible for themepark MMO devs to stay infront of player progression and provide quality new content faster than players can consume it, it just cannot be done. So Instead you need to have alternative activities for players to do (not just at endgame) that do not require you to generate lots of content rapidly.  If you like, as a developer you can have your themepark but you need to let players get out of the themepark at their leisure.

The Hybrid Themepark with sandbox elements such as Wildstar is proposing is where new MMO's should be heading IMHO, letting players drive their own experience more instead of buying a ticket and hopping on for the ride which once completed is not all that interesting to repeat. New MMO's would do well to include things like.

- Randomised dungeons/mission areas. Randomised like Diablo/Torchlight. Get players into them through whatever concept you like (portals, magical maze that is ever shifting, dungeon hack style thing etc) but truly randomising it and giving players a reason to explore them will go a long way.

- Hold your themepark attractions inside a sandbox world. By that I mean make the world more of a sandbox, people will find the sandbox elements scattered throughout it (following fixed roads from quest hub to quest hub if you like) that are easily found, but for those who want to get off the themepark they can by going off exploring, finding non quest hub content.

- Incorporate world & zone events into your game from day 1. By this I mean make it easy for your live team to run impromtu events and plan these out and get players involved. Sure you can have static events like public quests & programmed world events but GM run events are often one of a kind.

- Let your players build upon the world. Allowing things like player run/controlled villages, player housing etc gives players a lot more to do and makes them feel a lot more part of the world instead of just strapped into a ride until it ends. Exploring the countryside and finding a small guild village with few player built buildings and a partially completed wall is a lot more exciting than just finding some new NPC content that has been added.

- Let your players do the heavy lifting. allowing players to generate quests & missions of their own (if handled well, ie: content vetted) is always well recieved. RPG communities are generally crammed with talented people who love to build stuff for friends and other players, just have a look at the Neverwinter Nights community. Naturally there is a need to vet content to make sure players arent making easy mission for fast leveling or making offensive content but there are easy ways of handling this.

- Its an MMO not a single player experience ! find better ways to encourage group play and build your community. Im not saying rip out all solo play as that is a big part of themeparks now but what I am saying is definitely put in content that can only be tackled by players working together, or perhaps even against each other.


While there is no quick fix we can only hope that new MMO's that are being planned now (for release in the next 2-3 years) can see the current themepark model is unsustanable and adapt accordingly.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/26/12
Posts: 4

11/06/12 2:14:56 AM#132


yes ramdomised quest and dungeon is the best way to keep players for years in the game. But MMO need to be a long game not a game like swtor ! Swtor  u reach the maximum lv in two weeks ! Stop it. I want to made quest, dungeon alone or with friends for month and years. And when i reach the max lv after 2 years i m happy. 

currently mmo are disposable game, u play to 2 week and it s over u are lv 80. it s a shame. So now u are lv 80, u can do PVP or farm dungeon to have the tier 1 armor. After u can farm to have the tier 2... tier3 ....  Where is the fun ?????? We want fun !

And stop dungeon for a team with a tank, healer and 3 dps. i want to play with my 2 friends and do some dungeon with them or alone. Without tank, without healer. Just 3 dps that want to have some fun.

Stop dungeon with boss that need 30 mn of fight, with one need to do this, an other need to touch the pillar .... It fun the first tim after it s very boring.

Ramdom boss in ramdom dungeon with random quest inside it s the best way to keep players.

And let players play alone if they want to do it. Stop quest that need 3 or 5 peoples to do it.

Let player play like they want. 



best regards


Novice Member

Joined: 9/08/11
Posts: 176

11/06/12 2:31:02 AM#133

You see, there are sandboxes that actually fulfill your points. Have you seen milions of eager players on them? Certainly not. I don't think systems alone cut it anymore. Many people want to be told what to do and almost all needs some reason to do what they do. Or I believe so.

For me the best way to go is theme park that sort of simulates Sandbox. You get a direction, but you are not able to do anything you want. Let's say you have a continent to settle. NPCs will do "planning" while players will do labor. Of course you can let players influence planning as well, but it's important NPCs fill those places. I've just seen too many forgotten and abandoned viliges in sandboxes. So you can go and build your city and systems for that would be sort of sandboxish, but still NPCs will give you direction and purpose to do so.

This being said, it should be fairly easy to implement as you set systems in place and adding content is not such a huge problem (you can always go and settle another continent). Along this base system, you can add other content like dungeons and other events.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/08/07
Posts: 233

11/06/12 3:54:13 AM#134
Wow what a great read, I agree 100%. Now we just need some devs to read this.
  User Deleted
11/06/12 4:03:54 AM#135

Great article,

now that we re-invented systems could we also let "sandbox" and "themepark" die and focus on a system oriented gameplay which does not need "daily" chores and "max level raid tiering" and so "2 days to maxlevel" gameplay?

Just like back when MMORPGs started...


Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/05
Posts: 29

11/06/12 8:54:20 AM#136
oh yes

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/09/05
Posts: 804


11/06/12 9:02:09 AM#137
Originally posted by SaintPhilip

An MMORPG.Com article which I fully agree with???

My God, its snowing in Hell....

Ze Pigs, They are a flying..

Great article.

Playing: H1Z1, The Crew, Defiance, APB:Reloaded
Mourning: World of Darkness, Vanguard, City of Heroes

My Humble MMO Blog:

Free, Clean & Safe Quality of Life Software:


Novice Member

Joined: 12/31/05
Posts: 29

11/06/12 9:03:26 AM#138

and also hello all,

i am not a poster, but one of the most avid readers.

almost all posts have something interesting to say, but i have one serious question:

Do you people think you represent the average mmo player? because if that is so, who are the other people buying new mmos on day one? and making all corporate suits calculate profit-losses and deem what is best for them (and obviously not for us)?

I think the mmorpg crowd is a "niche" crowd by itself  :)

could not agree more with the person mentioning the "WoWers not MMO players" apart from the rest of us. And yes it seems silly that other companies would try to steal a share of the pie, but i do not like to think they are that stupid. when they drain this well, they will move on.

Let's do some wallet-voting please, kill the genre and see wether some will rise to cater to our niche needs.


Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/12/09
Posts: 1098

11/06/12 9:24:53 AM#139
Systems are the way to go however system cost more moeny than making a game such as WoW which has basicly no systems (its only just strating to get them) and developers have been trying to maximise profits by trying to mimic the success of WoW with as little money as they can, unfortuently this isnt gonna work for them and they seem to have noticed that WoW success was a fluke, all eyes are on EQNext atm SoE is knows to have alot of good systems in there game elts see if they can carry them across to EQNext and make it an amazing game i hope they can pull it off cause im kinda getting sick of these stale games. A MMORPG revolves around systems not what there currently doing now it sickens me.

Novice Member

Joined: 1/06/07
Posts: 2541

Hype (noun)
1. to trick; gull.
2. exaggerated publicity; hoopla.
3. swindle, deception, or trick.

11/06/12 9:30:22 AM#140
Originally posted by kostantis

 who are the other people buying new mmos on day one?


The same type of people who buy drugs from their dealer as soon as they get more stock. 

And I agree, we must first starve the beast in order to tame it.

"Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

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