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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Five Assumptions that are Killing the MMO

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179 posts found
  Greyface

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/04
Posts: 388

 
OP  1/03/13 11:27:10 AM#61
Originally posted by jpnz

Growth was there in 2011.

Unless you can show me some evidence, we'll have to agree to disagree here.  I just don't see what you're seeing.  At best, the industry is treading water.

 

1. We have no right to expect anything. We can speak with our wallets and so far, people don't want 'risk taking games'.

They want something familiar like the next Madden / FIFA / COD / WOW expansion EPIC LEVEL 9000!! etc. It just isn't realistic to expect companies to spend $$$ on risk taking when the market is saying something else.

Just because the AAA publishers are afraid to try something new, it does not mean that there isn't a demand.  Pathfinder Online, for example, raised nearly a million dollars on Kickstarter.  If that's not "speaking with our wallets," I'm not sure what would qualify. 

I'll grant you, no one ever went broke catering to the lowest common denominator -- but it's a leap to say that doing so is the only way to succeed.  If we applied your logic to the film industry, no one would make anything but Michael Bay style action movies. 

 

2. What people like and don't like is up to each person. I make no judgement on that. Who are you to say which aspect of 'MMO' should be focused by the players?

I'm nobody.  I just have an opinion and a forum password.  Same as you.  Based on the responses here (and over at MMO Champion), I'd say at least some people agree with me.  If you don't, that's okay. 

 

3. Pure themepark game called WoW is making millions. WoW-Clones are making $$$ / profits as well.

WoW is fine.  I'm not bashing WoW.   It is what it is and a lot of people still enjoy it.  WoW-clones, however, are lazy design that can never hope for more than Blizzard's table scraps.  Regardless of whether they make money (I'm sure some of them do), there are a lot of people who want something different.

 

4. Once again, what people like and don't like is up to each person. What's the point? The answer is that MMOs are a video game; a disposable entertainment product for a lot of people. Some people like a good story in their MMOs, I am one of them.

Your preferences are yours.  Some people share them, some don't.  I find scripted stories in MMOs to be empty and (to use your word) disposable experiences.  MMOs are capable of so much more and it bothers me that no one is even trying.

 

5. Players can ask for something different, but I have not seen any action done so the developers know about it as players keep on buying the same thing on a yearly basis.

I'm not suggesting that you can't play your preferred type of game.  All I want is a chance to play mine.  If the status quo works for you, then great.  Go nuts.

 

  Myria

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/07/09
Posts: 552

1/03/13 11:29:01 AM#62
Originally posted by Boardwalker

 I'm just pointing out that it actually takes longer to "catch up to veterans" in the more traditional MMORPGs than it does with EVE. 

No, you can't ever catch up to vetrans in Eve, ever -- the design of the system assures that. You can, after a few weeks, perhaps be halfway effective cannon fodder, a role no one in their right mind really aspires to but somehow keeps getting trotted out as "proof" that newbies can be useful, but you can't be nearly as effective as vetran for years, and you can never catch up or exceed them.

In most MMOs you can be up to current conent in a few weeks, a month or two at most. You can be at the exact same level as any other player -- ignoring, for the moment, issues of individual skill and such -- a few weeks or months past that. Beyond that, most MMOs have inherent resets, usually at expacs, points where everyone is essentially put on an even footing again and someone just starting out is at essentially the same level as a multi-year vet.

Eve has no such mechanism, the impossibility of newbies catching up to vets is inherent in the design.

  Myria

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/07/09
Posts: 552

1/03/13 11:34:56 AM#63
Originally posted by haplo602

1. Listening to players is one side, picking the right ides is the tricky part. The main problem in most of the MMOs is lack of a public test server. EVE does this the right way, there's a public test server you can join and comment on the features before they hit production. However it is also a prime example of developers not listening to feedback.

Huh? Most major MMOs have a PTS, don't they? I know WoW does, ToR does, Rift does, even Fallen Earth does. Pretty common practice, not that it's really clear how much good it does in the end.

As far as listening to the playerbase, the problem is always what part of the playerbase do you listen to? I think the biggest mistake that gets made is to listen to that part of the playerbase that frequents the forums, I've seen more than one MMO get damaged that way. It's understandable enough, the forum goers tend to be passionate and loud, and it's relatively easy to fall into the trap of thinking they're a representative sample of your playerbase when generally they're anything but.

  SymianCerebrum

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/11/12
Posts: 3

1/03/13 12:22:02 PM#64

Good posts.

 

I would add about the storyline/lore.  I personally dont give a flip about a games storyline.  It does nothing for me to hear/read "You are now the exalted one" etc.  I played UO at release and for years, and the greatest thing about that game was the players were the story.  Old friends and i still occasionally bring up our stories from that game.  That was an MMO, everything since then has been single player games with people in it.  One thing i liked about UO that is long gone is the absence of global chat.  The chat bubbles added a very personal feel, and people were less likely to get mouthy because there was consequence.  Not this, "Suck a dick" from someone somewhere in the game.  That game had so much to do, it was unreal.  Also as far as endgame went.  It didnt take that long for a player to catch up to vets, so they could be a threat.  However, it was more about what you could afford to lose.   Other games i have enjoyed ....EQ, Daoc(pre Toa), Vanilla Wow.

Games i have played just grasping at straws...

Aoc, DF, Vanguard, EQ2, TSW, Warhammer, Rift, Eve, Aion, GW2.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

1/03/13 12:30:52 PM#65
Originally posted by Myria

As far as listening to the playerbase, the problem is always what part of the playerbase do you listen to?

It's easy to conclude if the Other Guys (the ones you consider the Enemy) are winning, despite the clear and obvious superiority of Your Side, then it must be because the Devs Just Don't Listen.

The oldest forum shell game there is.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  WereLlama

Novice Member

Joined: 2/13/12
Posts: 221

1/03/13 3:56:39 PM#66

The end game piece can be fixed by not allowing players to progress faster then X amount over Y time.

Its annoying, sure, but it solves the end game mindset, allowing players to breath and smell the roses.

  Boardwalker

Novice Member

Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 383

1/03/13 4:05:08 PM#67
Originally posted by Myria

No, you can't ever catch up to vetrans in Eve, ever -- the design of the system assures that.

 

No, that is a myth perpetuated by haters. It all depends on what you want to do in the game. Because skills are capped, you can focus on certain skills to fly certain ships so you can be as good as a vet who has played for years. (Granted, you won't have as wide a skill set as a vet, but you can be as good at specific roles/careers.)

They can adjust a game all day, but they can't help the issue between the keyboard and the chair.
Played: UO, DAoC, AC, WoW, EVE, TR, WAR, Aion, Rift, SWTOR, GW2, TSW, ESO, Elite:D
Play EVE for free for 21 days

  Lissyl

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/12
Posts: 269

Why yes, I DO like healing and the Trinity!

1/03/13 4:19:07 PM#68

I liked your post OP, but I have one major bone of contention -- #2.  I get that a lot of you have wonderful memories of Ultima, and that people were total jerks to each other and it was great and so on and so forth (by the same token, I have 'memories' of how fun school was, even though the overriding vast majority of it was nothing but ritual and routine so dreadful that if I had been given -any- other alternative at the time, I would have dropped it on a dime).  I'm glad it helped form a strong sense of concern about MMO's for you.

But even the jerk players of yesteryear aren't the ones we have today, nor were they ever so numerous.  They're not  just a conglomeration of primarily 'that guy's from TT rpg's, either.  Instead, they're a full gamut of jerks in every conceivable stripe, multiplying over and over again as yet another wave of people come trundling into the MMO sphere.

So while I agree that grouping should be made more beneficial and that community should be focused on, I'm going to take a stand and say no to jerks.  Ban them all.  Simply put, there is absolutely no need whatsoever for there to be a group of jerks ruining the gameplay of others.  It doesn't make a person more hardcore for 'surviving' it, it doesn't improve the gameplay one whit.  It simply costs players who could be good friends, groupmates, and guildies so that the ones who will -never- be good friends, groupmates, and guildies can get their giggles over how kewl they are.

  aesperus

Elite Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 4847

1/03/13 4:36:48 PM#69
Originally posted by Greyface

Let's talk about the assumptions we all make about MMOs that are suffocating the genre.  I love MMOs -- I've been playing these games for a long, long time.  But it's suffering from a serious case of stagnation.   If things don't change, I see MMOs going the way of the Adventure Game.

Assumption #2 Players are the problem: I cut my teeth on Ultima Online, a game where players brazenly tormented one another and exploited even the smallest bug.  It was one of the best gaming experiences of my life.  You never knew what was going to happen when you logged on, because human beings are unpredictable.  Note, I wasn't a PvPer in those days -- in fact, I spent a lot of time complaining about player killers.  But I loved the spontaneity -- the sense of player agency.  There were a thousand ways to play that game, and someone was always coming up with a new way to turn things to their advantage.  It was far from perfect, but like many other gamers, I was hooked.


Assumption #4 Story is important:  After the failure of Star Wars: the Old Republic and The Secret World, I'm amazed that the takeaway seems to be that the subscription model is the problem.  Subscriptions are fine -- players will pony up for a game if they think it's worth the money.  The problem with both games is the notion that voice-acted cut scenes are the magic bullet for a smash hit MMO.  If we, as gamers, want this sort of thing we'll play single-player games.  They still make those. 

Being the Chosen One in an MMO is just dumb, because there are 500 other Chosen Ones pouring out of the same instance right behind you.  Context, not story, is what we need.  Make the world and its back-story live, and give the players the tools and freedom to create their own story.

Very nice topic.

I'd agree with everything but the 2 you posted above.

#2 Players are the problem: Well, they aren't the problem, but perhaps it should be rephrased to say players are part of the problem. After reading these forums for a while, I think many of us have seen poster after poster reinforcing poor game design, and then seen more posters complaining about it a year later. This comes back to the topic of 'developers should listen to players'.

As you point out, most players haven't a clue as to what they want. They just know it when they see it. However, this doesn't stop players from wielding their opinions like a banhammer. Equally bashing in the good ideas with the bad. This also doesn't help developers who are trying to make games for us. A great designer can tell good game design from bad, But that distinction gets blurrier, and blurrier when making games for other people. Especially 100s of thousands of other people all at once. To get better games, players need to get more constructive & coherant about what they want. Furthermore, people need to support good games when they see them. A lot of people don't. They take the good and go 'ya that was fun', and don't give it a second thought. And we complain about everything. It's rare to see much in the way of positive feedback when it comes to games, unless the game is far too old to do anything about it.

#4 Story is important: Story actually is important. Very important. This gets shown again and again with every new game. This doesn't mean that games have to be based around a scripted storyline. What it does mean, is that games have to pay attention to this. Even in games like UO, back when MMOs weren't paying that much attention to story, story was important. In the case of games like UO (I know, short list) there are important story elements. Many of which are player-driven. A lot of what this comes down to is how believable the game world is, and whether or not players have clear goals within the world. Whether you enjoy more open games or not, the majority of players need direction, clear direction, or they simply won't play a game. A lot of people also claim they want more open games, but get frustrated if they have to think too much about what they are doing.

  Greyface

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/04
Posts: 388

 
OP  1/03/13 4:42:46 PM#70
Originally posted by Lissyl

So while I agree that grouping should be made more beneficial and that community should be focused on, I'm going to take a stand and say no to jerks.  Ban them all.  Simply put, there is absolutely no need whatsoever for there to be a group of jerks ruining the gameplay of others.  It doesn't make a person more hardcore for 'surviving' it, it doesn't improve the gameplay one whit.  It simply costs players who could be good friends, groupmates, and guildies so that the ones who will -never- be good friends, groupmates, and guildies can get their giggles over how kewl they are.

100% agree.

My point in #2 is that the fear of jerks has led game developers to straightjacket more constructive forms of player interaction.  I don't believe that any form of griefing should be tolerated.  

  free2play

Advanced Member

Joined: 10/13/05
Posts: 1830

1/03/13 4:45:34 PM#71
Originally posted by Boardwalker
Originally posted by Myria

No, you can't ever catch up to vetrans in Eve, ever -- the design of the system assures that.

 

No, that is a myth perpetuated by haters. It all depends on what you want to do in the game. Because skills are capped, you can focus on certain skills to fly certain ships so you can be as good as a vet who has played for years. (Granted, you won't have as wide a skill set as a vet, but you can be as good at specific roles/careers.)

EVE is not a solo game. If you want to over take the Vet, simply out number him 5 to 1. Even 2:1 in many cases. Ask anyone who lost ships to a Falcon/ Drake combo. Doesn't matter if you have 200 million SP and a 5 billion ISK fit. You are going down.

Blob up and hit the I-Win button.

-

On main topic, it can be condensed. MMO's are not One size fits all. WoW was a fluke. Redefine good and pick a niche or burn in a fail fire.

  aesperus

Elite Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 4847

1/03/13 4:50:47 PM#72
Originally posted by Greyface
Originally posted by Lissyl

So while I agree that grouping should be made more beneficial and that community should be focused on, I'm going to take a stand and say no to jerks.  Ban them all.  Simply put, there is absolutely no need whatsoever for there to be a group of jerks ruining the gameplay of others.  It doesn't make a person more hardcore for 'surviving' it, it doesn't improve the gameplay one whit.  It simply costs players who could be good friends, groupmates, and guildies so that the ones who will -never- be good friends, groupmates, and guildies can get their giggles over how kewl they are.

100% agree.

My point in #2 is that the fear of jerks has led game developers to straightjacket more constructive forms of player interaction.  I don't believe that any form of griefing should be tolerated.  

Problem is, this isn't a real solution. What exactly is a 'jerk', and would you honestly want a game in which everyone who did something mean was banned? What happens if you have a bad day, do something that might be considered 'mean' and get banned for it?

The sad truth for designers is that games are going to have jerks whether you like it or not. There are more trolls in all games now, than there have ever been. You simply can't get rid of crappy people. It doesn't matter how well a game is designed, no game will cure the human condition. What this means, is that developers are forced to design games around this fact.

  Hardanger

Novice Member

Joined: 6/06/09
Posts: 228

1/03/13 4:54:55 PM#73

My word.  

 

There is intelligence in the mmorpg.com community!

  newchemicals

Novice Member

Joined: 7/08/06
Posts: 43

1/03/13 4:57:13 PM#74

I strongly disagree with point #1. Plenty fo examples of not listening to players and being a failure.

I have to mildly disagree with point #4 since there are plenty of players who feel strongly about that point and Genre matters to them.

Point #2 is a bit harder to determine as there are too many variables at work or it should be a wider topic.

Totally agree with points 3 and 5.

Players can come from all over the spectrum and its likely that in trying to make a game for everyone the result is a game that satisfies no one.

  Greyface

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/04
Posts: 388

 
OP  1/03/13 5:00:56 PM#75
Originally posted by aesperus

Very nice topic.

I'd agree with everything but the 2 you posted above.

Actually, I think we agree on everything.

  Greyface

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/04
Posts: 388

 
OP  1/03/13 5:12:46 PM#76
Originally posted by aesperus

Problem is, this isn't a real solution. What exactly is a 'jerk', and would you honestly want a game in which everyone who did something mean was banned? What happens if you have a bad day, do something that might be considered 'mean' and get banned for it?

The sad truth for designers is that games are going to have jerks whether you like it or not. There are more trolls in all games now, than there have ever been. You simply can't get rid of crappy people. It doesn't matter how well a game is designed, no game will cure the human condition. What this means, is that developers are forced to design games around this fact.

I don't remember calling for a game where people get banned for being grouchy.  There are other solutions.  One example was proposed on the developer blog for Pathfinder Online: EBay style ratings for players.  It's only one possibility, and I'm sure there are others. 

There's a lot of room between letting players torture one another and treating them like kindergartners.  Unfortunately, those are the only two approaches that have been tried.

  jpnz

Novice Member

Joined: 6/29/06
Posts: 3565

1/03/13 6:30:14 PM#77
Originally posted by Greyface
Originally posted by jpnz

 

I'm not suggesting that you can't play your preferred type of game.  All I want is a chance to play mine.  If the status quo works for you, then great.  Go nuts.

 

The overarching view point of this thread is that the 5 assumptions are 'killing the MMO'.

The 5 assumptions (and others) are what made the MMO mainstream, are what made the MMO genre make insane $$$ for various companies and is one of the largest genre right now.

Yes, due to its size there will be a niche market for a minority of players that this genre doesn't quite get it right for.

Yes, the MMOs have changed (not neccessarily to the preference of a small minority of people) since 8 years ago but those changes brought huge successes.

To suggest that we should change what made MMOs the industry it is today doesn't make sense.

 

If the vast majority of players don't like the 'community building' part of the MMO, why should anyone be surprised (or demand) that companies go contrary to that?

Gdemami -
Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  elocke

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/15/04
Posts: 4114

1/03/13 7:28:24 PM#78
Originally posted by Greyface
Originally posted by Loke666

The story is important, TORs problem is that it focused the story on the single player instead of the guild, the town or the world.

A game with no story is just a bunch of pointless randomencounters unless you have a Minecraft sandbox where nothing is prebuilt.

A great story can save an average game, but the story needs to be about the entire world. Players should add their own touch to the story in games with sandbox elements of course but MMOs is a group thing, not a single player experience.

Still, story is important and games like UO actually had a rich story. 

That's exactly what I was saying.  My header was deliberately provocative -- I apologize if it was also misleading.  Single-player type stories, with cut-scenes, personal instances, and mary-sue heroics have no place in an MMO.   Having a voice actor tell you that you're a special little pony does not make it so. 

However, a game world absolutely needs story -- but it needs to be told in a way that acknowledges the fact that the space is being shared by thousands of other players.  And within that context, players need the tools to make their own stories.

 

 

Sorry, my 2 favorite MMOs:  FFXI and Lotro both have personal stories, cutscenes, personal instances and heroic actions and to me that is what truly sold me on them as being the best MMORPGs I've ever played.  Having this stuff doesn't detract from a game.  That's like saying that extra red icing on top of the white icing on a piece of cake ruins the cake.  Doesn't make much sense to me.

http://www.twitch.tv/elockethemmoaddict

https://twitter.com/MMOAddicted

  Greyface

Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/04
Posts: 388

 
OP  1/03/13 7:57:59 PM#79
Originally posted by jpnz

The overarching view point of this thread is that the 5 assumptions are 'killing the MMO'.

The 5 assumptions (and others) are what made the MMO mainstream, are what made the MMO genre make insane $$$ for various companies and is one of the largest genre right now.

I've really tried to be respectful of your point of view, but you're talking out of your lower intestine.

Yes, WoW has made scads of money.   But it peaked years ago.  It's anointed successor, SWTOR, was a gigantic flop. EA had to shoehorn the game into one of the most predatory F2P models I've seen outside of Farmville.  DDO and Anarchy Online each lasted 3 years as subscription-only.  The late, lamented City of Heroes lasted 7.  SWTOR? 11 months.

EA stated that they need 500,000 subscriptions to make a profit.  They didn't get them.  How do I know that?  If they had, EA wouldn't be trying to sell action bars to people.  EVE, the most impenetrable of sandboxes, has 400,000.  Who's the majority again?  I have news for you bub, the majority has moved on.  They're not playing MMOs anymore because MMOs have become boring.  

WoW is nearly a decade old and it's the last game to make a dent in the market.  The entire genre rests on the shoulders of an aging giant that barely manages to keep its subscriber base level.  Animals that fail to adapt to go extinct -- you can invent all the statistics you want, but the MMO as we know it is a dinosaur.

  Souldrainer

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 5/21/06
Posts: 1878

1/03/13 8:55:28 PM#80
Point #1 I largely disagree with. Designers should listen to gamers, absolutely... but what they often do, and should never do, is take complaints at face value. If a player says "this game sucks. It's so hard, I can't even have fun." What the player might mean is... "monsters have too many hp." "AI os poor" "the game lacls proper itemization" and/or "the control layout isn't accessible." It is the primary duty of a good designer to find ways to correctly interpret these complaints. They almost never do.

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