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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » why older games seem better...

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  Distopia

Drifter

Joined: 11/22/05
Posts: 15958

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

10/07/13 8:45:55 PM#61
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by FinalFikus
 

Any creative or artistic endeavor will be more creative and artistic than its mathematical equivalent. It's not a complicated pattern. Why are you acting like it's unnatural?

Mathematics gets marketed a lot more since the risks are measurable, hence higher initial sales. But even non biased people can tell a painting from a photocopy.

I'm sorry but I don't understand what you're talking about. Why are we talking about math? And how do you market it?

 

I'm so confused right now...

 

He's saying the creativity (Art) has been removed from the product. The problem with this theory is, there's been little evidence that "the WOW model" is a surefire route to success with an MMORPG.

The truth in my view is that studios understand that a themepark is just much easier to maintain from a development standpoint. It's far easier to polish, leaves less room for rampant behavior (players ruining the experience for others), and is generally easier to understand by players as there's a direction to follow in the game. It can also be maintained with little effort.

There can still be plenty of Art infused in such a product ( as an example WIldstar is full of charm that is achieved through it's artistic traits), it just doesn't require as much from the player. For good or bad this is what studios focus on today. Ease of use...

 

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

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

  FinalFikus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/01/13
Posts: 910

"We're up all night to get lucky"

10/07/13 8:49:08 PM#62
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by FinalFikus
 

Any creative or artistic endeavor will be more creative and artistic than its mathematical equivalent. It's not a complicated pattern. Why are you acting like it's unnatural?

Mathematics gets marketed a lot more since the risks are measurable, hence higher initial sales. But even non biased people can tell a painting from a photocopy.

I'm sorry but I don't understand what you're talking about. Why are we talking about math? And how do you market it?

 

I'm so confused right now...

 

He's saying the creativity (Art) has been removed from the product.

That's what I should have said in the first place. Thanks for translating for me:)

"If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  aRtFuLThinG

Novice Member

Joined: 4/30/09
Posts: 1116

10/07/13 8:54:08 PM#63
Originally posted by drakaena
Because devs used to make games they wanted to play instead of corporation's deciding what will make them the most money. MMOs lost their soul. Sort of like D&D.

Not really.

 

I think it is more likely because the technical and technological constraint from 10-20 years ago was much bigger than it is today, therefore devs are forced to make games that have more depth to attract people, whereas now the technology is so pervasive that it kinda made devs more lazy in terms of creativity and resourcefulness.

 

To me it is the same reason why people in ancient times can engage in great projects such as Pyramid, Great Wall or Colosseum whereas people now can't even barely launch a mission to Mars (considering the the national cost of the ancient projects probably is a lot more compare to space programs).

 

  Holophonist

Elite Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2050

10/07/13 9:00:43 PM#64
Originally posted by thecapitaine
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by thecapitaine

MMOs seem better because they were novel experiences for many of us and were born at a time when the bounds of the internet were measurably closer, when the number of offerings was far smaller, when social media was virtually non-existent, and before gaming (particularly console gaming) exploded into what it is now.  For me it's like asking why haven't we had another proper Woodstock (despite later attempts) to recapture that experience.  Sure, we still have great musicians, plenty of motivated young people, and ample venues but having all the parts just isn't enough to reproduce that event. 

 

I can't emphasize enough how often this or very similar questions are posed in every artistic genre we humans are capable of.  You cannot talk movies, television, music, literature, theater, art, dance, or journalism without running into it.  There will always be a group of "veterans" who likely got their first or early exposure at a time they now consider to be the apex of the form, the high point that all subsequent efforts fail to reach.  It's such a common occurrence and transcends so many bounds that we have to start questioning its validity and whether it's just a basic part of human existence.  Either across the board, in nearly every facet of human endeavor, we are simply becoming less talented, less inspired, less capable and discerning.  Or, there's a strong predilection towards mythologizing what came before despite our best efforts at seeing things clearly. 

 

I'm greatly inclined to believe it's the latter.

You're leaving out a third option, which is that MMORPGs are being changed to appeal to a broader audience. We're claiming that this makes the games less niche and therefore appeal to those people less deeply than a more targeted game would.

 

Also, in industries where the major driving force for quality is individual talent, instead of technology, it would be incredibly weird if the "good times" WEREN'T behind us. 

I have no argument with the person who likes the Beatles more than the Jackson Five.  It's certainly possible for a genre to shift focus to appeal to a different demographic and for the former demographic to be left in the dust.  However, that's not the point I was making.  It's the statement that somehow the games were objectively better at some point than now I find disagreeable.  There's no yardstick for measuring better, for starters, and the trend is so pervasive that I really do think it's a function of how we think, experience, and age more than any concrete slide towards mediocrity that occurs.

 

As to your second statement, I disagree even more.  I'm not sure what industries you're talking about, exactly, but there's no reason to believe that the world will ever lack for masterpieces of any kind.  In fact, people have been making the same arguments as you have about the dearth of greater genius and better ideas since before the printing press, only to have some new light burst upon the scene and prove them utterly wrong.

Why don't you think it's a slide towards mediocrity? I wouldn't suggest this were the case if there wasn't a huge increase in playerbase. But it seems perfectly reasonable that the market saw that you could broadly appeal to a larger number of players, but in order to do so you had to obviously offend less people... but something that offends somebody or turns them off from the game is often going to be something that somebody else prefers. Looting mechanics and ow pvp are two obvious examples. I don't have a personal rule that says I will ONLY play a game that has full loot or ow pvp, but I strongly prefer it. So in order to bring in other players they are ignoring my preferences. They're perfectly within their right to do so. If their goal is to make money, then they can make money however they want. But it seems pretty obvious to me that this is a shift towards mediocrity and away from targeting towards more specific groups.

 

If people have been making what could pass for music by our current standards for hundreds or thousands of years, then it's pretty unlikely that the best music is currently being made. It's more likely that the best era of music has already occurred or is yet to occur. 

  Holophonist

Elite Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2050

10/07/13 9:12:37 PM#65
Originally posted by Distopia
Originally posted by Holophonist
Originally posted by FinalFikus
 

Any creative or artistic endeavor will be more creative and artistic than its mathematical equivalent. It's not a complicated pattern. Why are you acting like it's unnatural?

Mathematics gets marketed a lot more since the risks are measurable, hence higher initial sales. But even non biased people can tell a painting from a photocopy.

I'm sorry but I don't understand what you're talking about. Why are we talking about math? And how do you market it?

 

I'm so confused right now...

 

He's saying the creativity (Art) has been removed from the product. The problem with this theory is, there's been little evidence that "the WOW model" is a surefire route to success with an MMORPG.

The truth in my view is that studios understand that a themepark is just much easier to maintain from a development standpoint. It's far easier to polish, leaves less room for rampant behavior (players ruining the experience for others), and is generally easier to understand by players as there's a direction to follow in the game. It can also be maintained with little effort.

There can still be plenty of Art infused in such a product ( as an example WIldstar is full of charm that is achieved through it's artistic traits), it just doesn't require as much from the player. For good or bad this is what studios focus on today. Ease of use...

 

Hmmm ok I guess. Mathematics as in WoW has it down to a science? So that's why it gets "marketed" more?

 

While WoW may have "It" down to a science ("it" being making money), I agree with you that the WoW MODEL certainly does not. And I also agree that developers find it to be the simplest path to profits.

  thecapitaine

Novice Member

Joined: 3/06/11
Posts: 400

10/07/13 9:54:15 PM#66
Originally posted by Holophonist
<snippity snip>

I have no argument with the person who likes the Beatles more than the Jackson Five.  It's certainly possible for a genre to shift focus to appeal to a different demographic and for the former demographic to be left in the dust.  However, that's not the point I was making.  It's the statement that somehow the games were objectively better at some point than now I find disagreeable.  There's no yardstick for measuring better, for starters, and the trend is so pervasive that I really do think it's a function of how we think, experience, and age more than any concrete slide towards mediocrity that occurs.

 

As to your second statement, I disagree even more.  I'm not sure what industries you're talking about, exactly, but there's no reason to believe that the world will ever lack for masterpieces of any kind.  In fact, people have been making the same arguments as you have about the dearth of greater genius and better ideas since before the printing press, only to have some new light burst upon the scene and prove them utterly wrong.

Why don't you think it's a slide towards mediocrity? I wouldn't suggest this were the case if there wasn't a huge increase in playerbase. But it seems perfectly reasonable that the market saw that you could broadly appeal to a larger number of players, but in order to do so you had to obviously offend less people... but something that offends somebody or turns them off from the game is often going to be something that somebody else prefers. Looting mechanics and ow pvp are two obvious examples. I don't have a personal rule that says I will ONLY play a game that has full loot or ow pvp, but I strongly prefer it. So in order to bring in other players they are ignoring my preferences. They're perfectly within their right to do so. If their goal is to make money, then they can make money however they want. But it seems pretty obvious to me that this is a shift towards mediocrity and away from targeting towards more specific groups.

 

If people have been making what could pass for music by our current standards for hundreds or thousands of years, then it's pretty unlikely that the best music is currently being made. It's more likely that the best era of music has already occurred or is yet to occur. 

Why don't I think it's a slide towards mediocrity?  Because everyone at any time always thinks the world is on a slow slide towards mediocrity.  Greek and Roman philosophers, medieval monarchs, mid-century churchmen; they've all written how much better things were in their bygone  youth than now.  There's no evidence to suggest it and much in support of the idea that some things may actually be better tomorrow than today. 

 

In your example, though, by stating that since a game isn't serving your preference it must then be a shift towards mediocrity is telling.  Mediocrity how?  For you?  If that's the best evidence to be presented, then it proves my point.  Your subjective preferences (and mine) have nothing to do with the inherent quality of a game.  Arguing that shifting away from the niche towards the mainstream makes a genre worse is like arguing books got worse as more people learned how to read or the quality of musical performances declined as more phonographs were made.  If there is such a loss, no scientist has been able to quantify it; it remains firmly in the realm of subjective.

 

I'll grant that what the shift towards the mainstream does, especially if you consider yourself part of the niche, is isolating and sometimes disenfranchising, hence much of the hate from so-called veterans of all ilks.  But for the people for whom the genre was too confined, too small, too lacking, that shift is often an improvement over the old.  We tend not to do it much here but looking at it from the other side, it's very easy to imagine a gamer who didn't like EQ or UO feeling that the introduction of WoW was a cold drink of water in a desert of overly-complex, incredibly repetitive and impenetrable gaming.

 

As for music, I can probably agree.  The critical point is that we cannot suppose that the best music must be behind us and nothing but the yawning abyss stretches ahead which, sadly, is how I think so many people who claim to "love MMOs" view the situation.

  Nephelai

Novice Member

Joined: 1/29/13
Posts: 168

10/07/13 9:57:29 PM#67
Originally posted by aspekx

first to be clear, there are significant differences in the mmorpg's from 10-15 years back (or more). so i am not belittling those changes. however, its interesting to note that a number of us older gamers can look back and think: my gahd, what was i thinking camping that spawn all day.

 

the sad truth, that i am coming to accept, is that neurologically speaking its becoming more and more evident that the brain's ability to adapt to change as we age does diminish and it does diminish noticeably.

 

im afraid that neurologically speaking some of us are simply getting older. and i mean that sincerely, not casting any aspersions. but the facts are that as you age your neuronal pathways become less and less "flexible" in forming new connections or altering paths.

 

note, this is not about intelligence or the ability to process information. it seems that in some ways its easier when you are older. but the ability to form new paths or adapt older ones in new ways is affected (even if you are doing Sudoku every morning).

 

this is often why older folks are stereotypically seen as not embracing change. neurologically, its just harder. so those things we've enjoyed in the past seem more pleasurable because in a sense they really are more pleasurable. and the reason is that the brain is not having to overcome an increasingly difficult hurdle towards change.

 

this doesn't mean that everyone over 40 can't change or adapt. but it does mean that it is decreasing over time.

 

One's tendency whether to embrace or reject change has nothing to do with the physicality of the brain or age it is forged into our personalty at a very young age thru behaviors and experiences. From that point you cant re program a persons tendency you can only work with it and the biggest driver for those who have a tendency to resist change is security (what I have now is good and risking that is scary if I don't know the outcome is better).

 

 

 

 

  Holophonist

Elite Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2050

10/07/13 10:36:33 PM#68
Originally posted by thecapitaine
Originally posted by Holophonist

I have no argument with the person who likes the Beatles more than the Jackson Five.  It's certainly possible for a genre to shift focus to appeal to a different demographic and for the former demographic to be left in the dust.  However, that's not the point I was making.  It's the statement that somehow the games were objectively better at some point than now I find disagreeable.  There's no yardstick for measuring better, for starters, and the trend is so pervasive that I really do think it's a function of how we think, experience, and age more than any concrete slide towards mediocrity that occurs.

 

As to your second statement, I disagree even more.  I'm not sure what industries you're talking about, exactly, but there's no reason to believe that the world will ever lack for masterpieces of any kind.  In fact, people have been making the same arguments as you have about the dearth of greater genius and better ideas since before the printing press, only to have some new light burst upon the scene and prove them utterly wrong.

Why don't you think it's a slide towards mediocrity? I wouldn't suggest this were the case if there wasn't a huge increase in playerbase. But it seems perfectly reasonable that the market saw that you could broadly appeal to a larger number of players, but in order to do so you had to obviously offend less people... but something that offends somebody or turns them off from the game is often going to be something that somebody else prefers. Looting mechanics and ow pvp are two obvious examples. I don't have a personal rule that says I will ONLY play a game that has full loot or ow pvp, but I strongly prefer it. So in order to bring in other players they are ignoring my preferences. They're perfectly within their right to do so. If their goal is to make money, then they can make money however they want. But it seems pretty obvious to me that this is a shift towards mediocrity and away from targeting towards more specific groups.

 

If people have been making what could pass for music by our current standards for hundreds or thousands of years, then it's pretty unlikely that the best music is currently being made. It's more likely that the best era of music has already occurred or is yet to occur. 

Why don't I think it's a slide towards mediocrity?  Because everyone at any time always thinks the world is on a slow slide towards mediocrity.  Greek and Roman philosophers, medieval monarchs, mid-century churchmen; they've all written how much better things were in their bygone  youth than now.  There's no evidence to suggest it and much in support of the idea that some things may actually be better tomorrow than today. 

 

In your example, though, by stating that since a game isn't serving your preference it must then be a shift towards mediocrity is telling.  Mediocrity how?  For you?  If that's the best evidence to be presented, then it proves my point.  Your subjective preferences (and mine) have nothing to do with the inherent quality of a game.  Arguing that shifting away from the niche towards the mainstream makes a genre worse is like arguing books got worse as more people learned how to read or the quality of musical performances declined as more phonographs were made.  If there is such a loss, no scientist has been able to quantify it; it remains firmly in the realm of subjective.

 

I'll grant that what the shift towards the mainstream does, especially if you consider yourself part of the niche, is isolating and sometimes disenfranchising, hence much of the hate from so-called veterans of all ilks.  But for the people for whom the genre was too confined, too small, too lacking, that shift is often an improvement over the old.  We tend not to do it much here but looking at it from the other side, it's very easy to imagine a gamer who didn't like EQ or UO feeling that the introduction of WoW was a cold drink of water in a desert of overly-complex, incredibly repetitive and impenetrable gaming.

 

As for music, I can probably agree.  The critical point is that we cannot suppose that the best music must be behind us and nothing but the yawning abyss stretches ahead which, sadly, is how I think so many people who claim to "love MMOs" view the situation.

I think the argument of "people have always thought this" doesn't really work here because I'm talking about a shift that is made specifically to increase a playerbase faster than just what would naturally occur from an increase in population. In other words, you can't claim that it isn't CHANGING, the only question is what the change means. Yet, you're trying to say that this is nothing new. If my claim about MMORPGs is nothing new and, more importantly, is a claim that will be repeated ad infinitum due to the cyclical nature of human beings, then MMORPGs would have to eventually be played by every living human being, because my claim includes the fact that along with this shift towards mediocrity, there was also a large increase in the playerbase. Again, without WoW's success (and the subsequent wow clones), I'm not sure I'd be making this claim.

 

As for the point about my personal preferences, you've missed it at least somewhat. The point isn't that they don't have full loot anymore and so I'm just grumpy. The point was to show you an example of how you can get more people playing your game while serving those people less deeply. As in 10 million people in 1 game is serving those people worse than if those 10 million people were split into 2 games. You could follow this to its conclusion where you have games being developed specifically for 1 or 2 people... which obviously isn't economically viable. But I highly doubt that the industry had to balloon up to the size it is now merely to survive.

 

Also, the comparison about more people learning to read doesn't really work. I'm not saying the ONLY way to increase your playerbase is to water down your game or to move towards mediocrity. Computers and internet becoming cheaper are factors for instance. Aesthetics and marketing are another. Core gameplay features, however, are not. I have no doubt that WoW's success is at least somewhat due to unobjectionable improvements such as the ones I just mentioned. But are you claiming that the shift in gameplay features had nothing to do with it? Things like relatively simple crafting, quest hubs, carrot-on-a-stick game design, etc?

 

Re: music, I agree that it's a pretty silly position to hold that the best is behind us and to assume that it's NEVER going to get better. That's why I deliberately said that it's either behind us or is yet to come. The same can be said about MMORPGs. It's a young genre. I don't believe that UO or SWG or Shadowbane are going to stay the greatest MMORPGs of all time for me... but currently they are.

 

 

  Theocritus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3625

10/07/13 10:44:22 PM#69
I think the main difference between older MMOs and newer ones is selection....When I first started EQ in early 2000, I think UO was the only other choice (at least that I knew of at that time).....Later on games like DAoC and AC came along, but msot of us were entrenched so far in EQ that it didnt make much sense to try something new......Had there been 600+ MMOs in 2000 my MMO career would have been much different, especially if the majority of those are free (to try at least).......
  iridescence

Elite Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 1491

10/07/13 11:24:39 PM#70

If you like a niche product and really get to know and become a fan of the area that product is in, the mainstream will  always seem bland and unappealing by comparison. How many experts would say that Justin Bieber makes great music or McDonalds is a great place to eat? These things are successful because they appeal to people who are new to the subject or people who don't care much about it. It's a rare product or work of art that becomes totally mainstream while still holding niche/expert respect and appeal.

Also, a stereotypical  old person will tell you that everything was better in their day while a teenager will tell you that everything sucks and needs to change [and see the irony of the kid growing into the old person who now defends a lot of the things they used to complain about....] Of course the truth is somewhere in the middle. Every change improves some things at the cost of others.Some aspects of old MMOs were better but some changes are probably for the best.

 

 

  FinalFikus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/01/13
Posts: 910

"We're up all night to get lucky"

10/07/13 11:31:28 PM#71
Originally posted by thecapitaine
Originally posted by Holophonist

I have no argument with the person who likes the Beatles more than the Jackson Five.  It's certainly possible for a genre to shift focus to appeal to a different demographic and for the former demographic to be left in the dust.  However, that's not the point I was making.  It's the statement that somehow the games were objectively better at some point than now I find disagreeable.  There's no yardstick for measuring better, for starters, and the trend is so pervasive that I really do think it's a function of how we think, experience, and age more than any concrete slide towards mediocrity that occurs.

 

As to your second statement, I disagree even more.  I'm not sure what industries you're talking about, exactly, but there's no reason to believe that the world will ever lack for masterpieces of any kind.  In fact, people have been making the same arguments as you have about the dearth of greater genius and better ideas since before the printing press, only to have some new light burst upon the scene and prove them utterly wrong.

Why don't you think it's a slide towards mediocrity? I wouldn't suggest this were the case if there wasn't a huge increase in playerbase. But it seems perfectly reasonable that the market saw that you could broadly appeal to a larger number of players, but in order to do so you had to obviously offend less people... but something that offends somebody or turns them off from the game is often going to be something that somebody else prefers. Looting mechanics and ow pvp are two obvious examples. I don't have a personal rule that says I will ONLY play a game that has full loot or ow pvp, but I strongly prefer it. So in order to bring in other players they are ignoring my preferences. They're perfectly within their right to do so. If their goal is to make money, then they can make money however they want. But it seems pretty obvious to me that this is a shift towards mediocrity and away from targeting towards more specific groups.

 

If people have been making what could pass for music by our current standards for hundreds or thousands of years, then it's pretty unlikely that the best music is currently being made. It's more likely that the best era of music has already occurred or is yet to occur. 

Why don't I think it's a slide towards mediocrity?  Because everyone at any time always thinks the world is on a slow slide towards mediocrity.  Greek and Roman philosophers, medieval monarchs, mid-century churchmen; they've all written how much better things were in their bygone  youth than now.  There's no evidence to suggest it and much in support of the idea that some things may actually be better tomorrow than today. 

 

In your example, though, by stating that since a game isn't serving your preference it must then be a shift towards mediocrity is telling.  Mediocrity how?  For you?  If that's the best evidence to be presented, then it proves my point.  Your subjective preferences (and mine) have nothing to do with the inherent quality of a game.  Arguing that shifting away from the niche towards the mainstream makes a genre worse is like arguing books got worse as more people learned how to read or the quality of musical performances declined as more phonographs were made.  If there is such a loss, no scientist has been able to quantify it; it remains firmly in the realm of subjective.

 

I'll grant that what the shift towards the mainstream does, especially if you consider yourself part of the niche, is isolating and sometimes disenfranchising, hence much of the hate from so-called veterans of all ilks.  But for the people for whom the genre was too confined, too small, too lacking, that shift is often an improvement over the old.  We tend not to do it much here but looking at it from the other side, it's very easy to imagine a gamer who didn't like EQ or UO feeling that the introduction of WoW was a cold drink of water in a desert of overly-complex, incredibly repetitive and impenetrable gaming.

 

As for music, I can probably agree.  The critical point is that we cannot suppose that the best music must be behind us and nothing but the yawning abyss stretches ahead which, sadly, is how I think so many people who claim to "love MMOs" view the situation.

Isnt the perceived value a pretty good way to quantify a loss in quality or service?

 

 

"If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  thecapitaine

Novice Member

Joined: 3/06/11
Posts: 400

10/07/13 11:40:06 PM#72

I think the argument of "people have always thought this" doesn't really work here because I'm talking about a shift that is made specifically to increase a playerbase faster than just what would naturally occur from an increase in population. In other words, you can't claim that it isn't CHANGING, the only question is what the change means. Yet, you're trying to say that this is nothing new. If my claim about MMORPGs is nothing new and, more importantly, is a claim that will be repeated ad infinitum due to the cyclical nature of human beings, then MMORPGs would have to eventually be played by every living human being, because my claim includes the fact that along with this shift towards mediocrity, there was also a large increase in the playerbase. Again, without WoW's success (and the subsequent wow clones), I'm not sure I'd be making this claim.

 

As for the point about my personal preferences, you've missed it at least somewhat. The point isn't that they don't have full loot anymore and so I'm just grumpy. The point was to show you an example of how you can get more people playing your game while serving those people less deeply. As in 10 million people in 1 game is serving those people worse than if those 10 million people were split into 2 games. You could follow this to its conclusion where you have games being developed specifically for 1 or 2 people... which obviously isn't economically viable. But I highly doubt that the industry had to balloon up to the size it is now merely to survive.

 

Also, the comparison about more people learning to read doesn't really work. I'm not saying the ONLY way to increase your playerbase is to water down your game or to move towards mediocrity. Computers and internet becoming cheaper are factors for instance. Aesthetics and marketing are another. Core gameplay features, however, are not. I have no doubt that WoW's success is at least somewhat due to unobjectionable improvements such as the ones I just mentioned. But are you claiming that the shift in gameplay features had nothing to do with it? Things like relatively simple crafting, quest hubs, carrot-on-a-stick game design, etc?

 

Re: music, I agree that it's a pretty silly position to hold that the best is behind us and to assume that it's NEVER going to get better. That's why I deliberately said that it's either behind us or is yet to come. The same can be said about MMORPGs. It's a young genre. I don't believe that UO or SWG or Shadowbane are going to stay the greatest MMORPGs of all time for me... but currently they are.

 

 

I'm not sure that I'm understanding all the points but I think I'm somewhat on the right track, so I'll try to address them more clearly if I can.  I think a fundamental aspect is this notion of change since it keeps popping up.  I think it would be nice if we had a more concrete description of what exactly a "shift towards mediocrity" means since for me it remains an amorphous concept at the heart of things.  I don't personally believe that the sudden popularization of MMOs that occurred with (and through) WoW somehow mediocritized(?) the genre.  I don't think WoW's explosion onto the scene, despite being unprecedented, sort of artificially mutated the genre as some others do.  I think if anything it capitalized on the latent appeal of the genre that had been hidden by the nerd/hardcore culture that had grown up around MMO gaming.

 

As I alluded to before, it's hard to see full picture without stepping outside of an MMO vets' shoes.  For the average gamer, WoW is the best thing to have happened to MMOs.  For the average MMO publisher, WoW is the best thing to have happened to the genre.  For the average MMO developer WoW is the best thing to have happened to the genre.  Heresy, I'm sure. 

 

A genre whose imagined max ceiling was ~500k players, whose small fraternity of games numbered in the dozens, whose future relevance lay in the hands of aging nerds (like myself) suddenly discovered it had the potential for many more games, many more types of games, and many, many, many more players.  Many old school players may not like today's options but there's no arguing that the buffet spread is far more diverse than it could have been without WoW.  And so, for me, the explosion of popularity is a good thing for most people who like MMOs, just not necessarily for those who loved the old ways (and only the old ways).

 

I don't see it as mediocrity at all.

 

As for gameplay and what it has to do with the explosion of WoW, I can't really argue against your objections to more simplified play or carrot-and-stick motivation.  Partly because I've never given WoW much of my time and because my veterancy belongs mainly to SWG which was a horse of an entirely different color than WoW or EQ, for instance.  But I can say that WoW had some obvious misses to go along with its hits.  I miss the more profoundly social aspect of MMO gaming that seemed to wilt after WoW's arrival.  The feeling of expansive worlds and living universes has sadly diminished in some large part because of the behemoth. 

 

At the same time, I wouldn't be still playing MMOs today if the only sort of gameplay was that born from SWG or UO or Everquest.  I never liked Mission Terminals, I never liked spawn camping, I never liked sitting around waiting for shuttles to arrive, I never liked the aimless feeling that "creating your own narrative!" pushed on me during server dead times.  Without WoW or some other genre-busting game to come along and shake things up, I would have missed out on any number of great MMO gaming experiences. 

 

That's what gets lost in the argument of growing mediocrity, the fact that we now look at games as simply an amalgam of feature sets that either tickle or vex us.  That a damned good game can come along and have all the features we personally hate yet still be a damned good game.  That's what I find so puzzling about the argument that everything good has come before.  It completely discounts the possibility of there being something great today that we simply don't enjoy.  In the end, I find that all-or-nothing perspective says much more about the outlook of the speaker than the subject being discussed.  Such stark dichotomies just aren't borne out by my observations of history or the world around us. 

 

Hope I've been clearer, great discussion going on in this thread.

 

ETA:

Originally posted by FinalFikus
 

Isnt the perceived value a pretty good way to quantify a loss in quality or service?

Depends on whose doing the perceiving I suppose.  If MMORPG is the judge then the genre died c. 2004.  If the entire MMO-playing public were polled, I daresay the result would be quite the opposite.  Plus, the flaw in that sort of thinking has already been exposed by way of the overwhelming human tendency for believing that the best has already come and gone, despite having no evidence for it and often in the face of evidence to the contrary.

  PAL-18

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/14/13
Posts: 740

10/07/13 11:41:46 PM#73

Old MMORPG.

 

New MMO + epic cash shop item.

 

Something went wrong with copying at some point,they lost their genuineness.Sure these MMOs are different these days.

So, did ESO have a successful launch? Yes, yes it did.
By Ryan Getchell on April 02, 2014.
**On the radar:http://cyberpunk.net/**

  drivendawn

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/17/11
Posts: 1018

10/07/13 11:56:21 PM#74
Yep, rose tented are the glasses. I'm in my thirties and believe you me I loved Everquest, and FFXI but man am I glad the grind is gone. Also camping mobs for hours that had a 5% drop rate. They really weren't more challenging just tedious.
  Holophonist

Elite Member

Joined: 2/15/09
Posts: 2050

10/08/13 12:34:28 AM#75
Originally posted by thecapitaine

I think the argument of "people have always thought this" doesn't really work here because I'm talking about a shift that is made specifically to increase a playerbase faster than just what would naturally occur from an increase in population. In other words, you can't claim that it isn't CHANGING, the only question is what the change means. Yet, you're trying to say that this is nothing new. If my claim about MMORPGs is nothing new and, more importantly, is a claim that will be repeated ad infinitum due to the cyclical nature of human beings, then MMORPGs would have to eventually be played by every living human being, because my claim includes the fact that along with this shift towards mediocrity, there was also a large increase in the playerbase. Again, without WoW's success (and the subsequent wow clones), I'm not sure I'd be making this claim.

 

As for the point about my personal preferences, you've missed it at least somewhat. The point isn't that they don't have full loot anymore and so I'm just grumpy. The point was to show you an example of how you can get more people playing your game while serving those people less deeply. As in 10 million people in 1 game is serving those people worse than if those 10 million people were split into 2 games. You could follow this to its conclusion where you have games being developed specifically for 1 or 2 people... which obviously isn't economically viable. But I highly doubt that the industry had to balloon up to the size it is now merely to survive.

 

Also, the comparison about more people learning to read doesn't really work. I'm not saying the ONLY way to increase your playerbase is to water down your game or to move towards mediocrity. Computers and internet becoming cheaper are factors for instance. Aesthetics and marketing are another. Core gameplay features, however, are not. I have no doubt that WoW's success is at least somewhat due to unobjectionable improvements such as the ones I just mentioned. But are you claiming that the shift in gameplay features had nothing to do with it? Things like relatively simple crafting, quest hubs, carrot-on-a-stick game design, etc?

 

Re: music, I agree that it's a pretty silly position to hold that the best is behind us and to assume that it's NEVER going to get better. That's why I deliberately said that it's either behind us or is yet to come. The same can be said about MMORPGs. It's a young genre. I don't believe that UO or SWG or Shadowbane are going to stay the greatest MMORPGs of all time for me... but currently they are.

 

 

I hate to do it because this is when conversations become somewhat circular and beaten into the ground but I have to cut up your post in order to respond to things directly.

 

I'm not sure that I'm understanding all the points but I think I'm somewhat on the right track, so I'll try to address them more clearly if I can.  I think a fundamental aspect is this notion of change since it keeps popping up.  I think it would be nice if we had a more concrete description of what exactly a "shift towards mediocrity" means since for me it remains an amorphous concept at the heart of things.  I don't personally believe that the sudden popularization of MMOs that occurred with (and through) WoW somehow mediocritized(?) the genre.  I don't think WoW's explosion onto the scene, despite being unprecedented, sort of artificially mutated the genre as some others do.  I think if anything it capitalized on the latent appeal of the genre that had been hidden by the nerd/hardcore culture that had grown up around MMO gaming.

 

As I alluded to before, it's hard to see full picture without stepping outside of an MMO vets' shoes.  For the average gamer, WoW is the best thing to have happened to MMOs.  For the average MMO publisher, WoW is the best thing to have happened to the genre.  For the average MMO developer WoW is the best thing to have happened to the genre.  Heresy, I'm sure. 

First, when I say a shift towards mediocrity, I'm talking about watering down your gameplay. Basically what I was talking about before where you appeal to more people at the expense of appealing to those people in a deeper way. Less targeting. 

 

I think the position that WoW didn't mutate the genre is a pretty hard one to defend. It seems almost intuitive at this point that following WoW's success we've had an almost nonstop stream of somewhat cookie cutter themeparks... "wow clones." I think that was a bad move for the market, and I think there has recently been a shift back away from it.

 

Your point about WoW being good for the average gamer (I'm treating this to be synonymous with a player who didn't play oldschool MMOs, but did enter the genre with WoW) makes me think of... myself really. It makes me think about my own personal preferences regarding every other form of entertainment except literature. I'm thinking about music in particular. I've gone through a lot of fads, all of them based around mainstream forms of certain genres. I remember being SO INTO alternative rock and bands like staind, system of a down, etc. However, after discovering certain niche genre (and also just certain specific bands, irrespective to genre), I realized how much I was missing out on.

 

This seems to fit in nicely with how you're describing WoW for a lot of players. Just because it brought them into the genre, doesn't mean it's the best game for them. Three Days Grace may have been my favorite band at one point... that doesn't mean they still are. Because the bottom line is a lot of the people playing WoW and other themeparks quite simply haven't even tried those other, more niche games. THIS is going to sound like heresy but they may not know any better. And the problem is that games are a lot more expensive to make than music. So people aren't necessarily going to have that same opportunity to be introduced to a form of entertainment by way of mediocre mainstream products and then eventually find their own niche.

 

 

A genre whose imagined max ceiling was ~500k players, whose small fraternity of games numbered in the dozens, whose future relevance lay in the hands of aging nerds (like myself) suddenly discovered it had the potential for many more games, many more types of games, and many, many, many more players.  Many old school players may not like today's options but there's no arguing that the buffet spread is far more diverse than it could have been without WoW.  And so, for me, the explosion of popularity is a good thing for most people who like MMOs, just not necessarily for those who loved the old ways (and only the old ways).

 

I don't see it as mediocrity at all.

There's no arguing against the idea that we now have more games to choose from than we would if we never had that huge influx of players (and with them, more money). Unfortunately a LOT of those games are quite similar to each other. With WoW's abnormal success, it seems like a lot of games developed certain norms and standards with their game design. In other words, there was much less innovation. Basically, I'd rather have a choice between 3 vastly different games, than a choice between 10 games that are somewhat similar.

 

I think that's why it's hard for people to nail down what they mean by "oldschool." Because one of the things that made those games great is that they were so much different from each other. The timing doesn't work out perfectly I'm sure but think about UO, compared to Shadowbane, compared to SWG, compared to EQ. All vastly different games, but all of them oldschool. I think one of the things a lot of us are sick of is just the lack of innovation. I don't necessarily need UO 2.0, but I want games to be interesting and diverse again, not just another themepark with a different IP skin.

 

By the way, if you liked SWG you should look into The Repopulation.

 

 

As for gameplay and what it has to do with the explosion of WoW, I can't really argue against your objections to more simplified play or carrot-and-stick motivation.  Partly because I've never given WoW much of my time and because my veterancy belongs mainly to SWG which was a horse of an entirely different color than WoW or EQ, for instance.  But I can say that WoW had some obvious misses to go along with its hits.  I miss the more profoundly social aspect of MMO gaming that seemed to wilt after WoW's arrival.  The feeling of expansive worlds and living universes has sadly diminished in some large part because of the behemoth. 

 

At the same time, I wouldn't be still playing MMOs today if the only sort of gameplay was that born from SWG or UO or Everquest.  I never liked Mission Terminals, I never liked spawn camping, I never liked sitting around waiting for shuttles to arrive, I never liked the aimless feeling that "creating your own narrative!" pushed on me during server dead times.  Without WoW or some other genre-busting game to come along and shake things up, I would have missed out on any number of great MMO gaming experiences. 

If WoW didn't shake up the genre and turn it into a decade of themeparks, it's reasonable to assume that the genre would've come up with different changes and fixes to the problems you mentioned. Here's an example: Raph Koster, a founding developer of UO, has said that his solution to the "rampant PK" problem wouldn't have been to introduce Trammel, an exact replica of the game world except where you couldn't hurt or steal from other players. Koster said that he thinks UO's next natural step would've been towards more organic solutions and improvements such as player cities and sieging.

 

 That's what gets lost in the argument of growing mediocrity, the fact that we now look at games as simply an amalgam of feature sets that either tickle or vex us.  That a damned good game can come along and have all the features we personally hate yet still be a damned good game.  That's what I find so puzzling about the argument that everything good has come before.  It completely discounts the possibility of there being something great today that we simply don't enjoy.  In the end, I find that all-or-nothing perspective says much more about the outlook of the speaker than the subject being discussed.  Such stark dichotomies just aren't borne out by my observations of history or the world around us. 

 

Hope I've been clearer, great discussion going on in this thread.

Well I will point out that the "oldschool vs modern" or "sandbox vs themepark" argument is discussing the biggest and most defining features of a game. But in a discussion where you're comparing one specific thing to another, it's easy to make the thing you're arguing against look like it's basically just pure shit. In reality, I would play WoW before I'd play FIFA 2013, Farmville, Angry Birds, etc.

 

I'm sure I'm guilty of overstating the negative impact WoW has had on the genre, but I think that's just what happens when you have people arguing over things they love. Everything just becomes hyperbolic.

 

  Hellidol

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/14/12
Posts: 387

10/08/13 12:56:48 AM#76
Originally posted by Magiknight
Even if I do have more trouble adapting to change as I get older that doesn't change the fact that the games have changed. Now they are shallower, emptier, shorter, easier, quicker....

100% CORRECT!

  FinalFikus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/01/13
Posts: 910

"We're up all night to get lucky"

10/08/13 1:24:55 AM#77

 

Originally posted by FinalFikus
 

Isnt the perceived value a pretty good way to quantify a loss in quality or service?

Depends on whose doing the perceiving I suppose.  If MMORPG is the judge then the genre died c. 2004.  If the entire MMO-playing public were polled, I daresay the result would be quite the opposite.  Plus, the flaw in that sort of thinking has already been exposed by way of the overwhelming human tendency for believing that the best has already come and gone, despite having no evidence for it and often in the face of evidence to the contrary.

I think if they polled the entire playing public, you would find the majority of current players pay absolutely nothing, nor do they ever plan to. That is the trend.

 Whether or not they think the genre is dead or not wasnt what I said. When over half and still trending pay zero dollars, isnt that perceived value correlated with quality and service?

Or how can the value of something fall (is this even questionable with f2p becoming more prevalent) and the quality and or service remain the same or be better? You don't see a growing trend in gamers thinking mmorpgs are cheap disposable entertainment?

 

"If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  FinalFikus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/01/13
Posts: 910

"We're up all night to get lucky"

10/08/13 1:30:59 AM#78
Originally posted by drivendawn
Yep, rose tented are the glasses. I'm in my thirties and believe you me I loved Everquest, and FFXI but man am I glad the grind is gone. Also camping mobs for hours that had a 5% drop rate. They really weren't more challenging just tedious.

Well you pick out a couple negatives from old games and assume that's what people want now?

I could use the marketers own words to describe the shift. "much too much reading. What players want is kill, get treasure, repeat." You guys really want to go there?

The virtual world with the game built around it. There was never a reason to abandon that, unless they wanted to give all their customers to other platforms.

"If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

  Antiquated

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/13
Posts: 479

10/08/13 1:48:09 AM#79
Originally posted by Arglebargle
Originally posted by worldalpha
People are generally nostalgic.   That feeling about games is no different.  Everything was bigger, badder, more superior when I was a kid, is a common feeling that isn't always based on reality.

70's Rock, man!   All that other stuff since then is just trash!   Back then, we had it just right!

And for anyone who might doubt it: C&T with classic 70s! MMmmm and this classic! And the biggest hit of all.

It really is a  pretty good analogy for the problem with 'old games were the bestest'. Selective  memory hard at work.

(I remember a handful of 70s bands quite fondly, too; without forgetting the 70s included Disco and all kinds of other musically revolting dreck.)

  FinalFikus

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/01/13
Posts: 910

"We're up all night to get lucky"

10/08/13 2:52:55 AM#80

Jump to light speed does look ancient and it's gameplay was nothing to brag about when compared to its newer version. Being able to fly from planet to planet as well might have been neat back then, but compared to options today, it sounds so cheap. Who the hell would want to fly in space in multi-person ships?

You guys are right as usual.  I could go on and on, but I dont want to be embarrassed by all the new ways in which newer games own the old ones. So ill stop.

 

 

 

"If the Damned gave you a roadmap, then you'd know just where to go"

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