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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Why "MMO's" are in a steady decline.

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  Javelin007

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/14
Posts: 13

 
OP  8/20/14 12:47:54 AM#1

So I guess I lost my old account so forgive this being my first post, while I've never been a largely active member in terms of posting I've been around here a bit longer than my new profile would indicate.

 

I'd like to talk about why I believe MMO's are in a steady decline. Now let me preface this to be clear, I'm not talking about any individual MMO, so definitely not a WoW vs. Wildstar or any such discussion though I will reference some as examples.

 

Let's start back near the beginning of MMO's. Two good examples are Ultima Online and Everquest. I use these as examples because they were pretty close to the only available options at their time and yet were also vastly different from each other. 

 

The first, UO, was an isometric top down sandbox mmo that fostered a dangerous experience to the player, generated by other players in the form of PK's. Now in those days generally the way this would work is when you traveled between towns you would often be set upon by other real players who frankly wanted to "pwn you" and "take your $h1t". Sometimes you'd escape and give a large sigh of relief as you inspect the castle deed in your pack. It had taken weeks to save up for, the deed you almost lost to two d-bags casting "corp por" as they ride naked on their pixellated stallions dawning their jester hats and halberds a'la traditional tank-mage style. Other times you might die, form a war party in the nearest town and go out looking for them either leading to sadness as you realize they've moved on or some form of sweet vengeance.

 

The second, EQ, was a 3D fantasy environment built more like a theme park than a sandbox. The game was centered around very difficult dungeon raids as it's claim to end game. Good equipment was ridiculously hard to get, even leveling itself felt like a chore as it would usually take many months of grinding to get to max level. The time sink that was EQ felt like exactly that: a giant time sink. You were spurred on by the feeling that if you could just make it over the next hill and get that next level or that next piece of gear then you might start actually enjoying the game. At least from my perspective that's how it felt, I don't think I really enjoyed killing the same goblins at the same spawn point for literally days underneath some old keep in some old town until I was high enough to move on to the next area of endless throngs of useless AI.

 

Since then there have been many slight variations to these two models, definitely more themepark type mmo's than sandbox.

 

So here's the problem. Traditionally, themepark mmo's have gradually become more and more casual to allow for a larger audience to enjoy them. Often the core of the game is fairly easy, usually leading to a bandaid of challenge being built into end game in the form of super hard raids. The hard part being the amount of time it takes you to figure out the scripted sequence of events that will always be the same, regardless of how many times you defeat "X boss of hard". It usually boils down to "put enough time into it and you'll obtain practically any item you want". The issue with this being that when everyone and everything is "special" then no one and nothing is.

 

On the other hand, let's say you like the idea of a super rare magical sword that glows blue with electricity and does twice as much damage as a normal generic sword. As cool as that sounds the fact of the matter is that you simply can't unleash a super powerful "mcguffin" into an online community without some mechanic in place to lose it. There has to be risk for reward to justify a truly epic feeling item. Most, however, would not like the idea of losing that item if they are killed and would quickly rush to the forums to gripe about it, immidiately followed by a /cancel subscription.

 

This is the main reason no weapon or skill set in any themepark mmo ever really feels truly "epic" or " uniquely powerful".

 

Players simply don't want the risk, they won't pay for it and that's why companies keep making clones of each other. They keep making the same boring, useless games that players flock to with high hopes of it being new and different only to quickly leave as soon as they realize it is the same hamburger they are eating with a slightly different bun.

 

I don't know about you guys but I am bored. I'd love to see a new inventive mmo but I don't see anyone taking the risk to develop something entirely new. Though there are always claims of said new mmo being fresh and innovative, I've played nearly everything out there and I don't feel anyone has really accomplished this.

 

Oh that's great you might say, well how would you fix it then, Javelin007?

 

Good question random forum guy! Let's just say I had endless funds and a game company with carte blanche to make whatever I want. Here are the keynotes of what I wish existed:

  • A sandbox mmo that gives players the tools to actually shape and define the world. The freedom to build a house or sprawling city wherever I and my friends / guild want to via resource gathering and territory control.
 
  • I'd pair this with the ability to build great war machines to tear down those same cities making the world an undulating shifting experience where power changes hands based on the player community and not dictated by what a game designer felt my experience should be. 
 
  • I want a game where a tyrant can rise to power by spam recruiting everyone to eventually be overthrown by an alliance of "the little guys" who got enough little guys together to become giants.
 
  • I want the freedom to attack the player that just stole my kill or resource node. It doesn't have to be hardcore, I don't care if I can loot his corpse or not.
 
  • I want an environment that allows players to choose to be murderers, outlaws and bandits and I want the same environment to as a result of the former develop stronger community bonds to come together and police / patrol those outlaws via the hand of justice brought forth by the rest of the community.
 
  • Skills. Want to get good using swords? Then start hitting stuff with swords, unlocking cool special sword abilities as you continue hitting things with swords. Want to get good at mining? Start hitting rocks with a pickaxe. That simple, remove "levels" and "classes" that put players into tightly defined categories. Maybe I want to be a wizard miner, or a stealthy assassin who prefers spears to daggers, you don't know. Let me choose who I truly want to be and what skills I want to create my unique character with.
 

I am sure I'm not alone when I say that I'm tired of mmo's feeling like they are a playpen wrapped in padding to protect my feelings -- as though I'm not adult enough to handle being back-stabbed in a back alley behind a tavern because a thief assassin looked in my bag and noticed I was carrying more gold on me than I should of been.

Give me something gritty, give me something new, give me something raw.

 

 

  Albatroes

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/29/14
Posts: 743

8/20/14 12:52:51 AM#2
I honestly wonder if you creators take like 2 minutes to run a search and revive an old thread before making a new one talking about the same thing over and over again.
  waynejr2

Elite Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 4396

RIP City of Heroes!

8/20/14 12:53:57 AM#3
I haven't seen any numbers that support the idea that there are less people playing mmos. There are a ton of game people are playing. I guess what you are saying is YOU can't find a game you like (how sad) therefore the industry is in a steady decline. (OMG the end of the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

http://www.youhaventlived.com/qblog/2010/QBlog190810A.html

  Javelin007

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/14
Posts: 13

 
OP  8/20/14 12:55:00 AM#4
Apologies if someone has spoken exactly the same words as me. While I am certain there are many threads about this subject I feel my keynotes at the end are likely the difference between mine and any other such post on a similar subject.
  Javelin007

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/14
Posts: 13

 
OP  8/20/14 1:01:36 AM#5
Originally posted by waynejr2
I haven't seen any numbers that support the idea that there are less people playing mmos. There are a ton of game people are playing. I guess what you are saying is YOU can't find a game you like (how sad) therefore the industry is in a steady decline. (OMG the end of the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Not so actually, I find plenty of games to play when I have time to sit and play. Mmos are just not among them.

Also, I am simply starting a discussion, my claim is that the mmo side of the industry is in a decline. Not just a decline of players but a decline in creativity. If you disagree please feel free to use words and examples to counter my current belief.

By your statement I also have not seen any numbers indicating that the mmo industry is stable / growing.

My observation is based on logging into ghost towns across multiple mmo's, along with server combining being on the rise across the mainstream mmos that I am currently aware of. Have you seen any mmo that has been out for longer than 6 months that is adding servers? I have not.

Generally when a game begins combining servers it's as a response to a decline in player base.

But if you have some points that would contrast this observation, by all means please share them.

 

  iridescence

Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 1492

8/20/14 1:07:20 AM#6

OP,

 

 

Check out Pathfinder Online. Seems like you took your post of things you want right out of their design document. :)

 

I think we are going to see more MMOs taking this path the themepark market is completely saturated right now 

  Javelin007

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/14
Posts: 13

 
OP  8/20/14 1:08:45 AM#7
Originally posted by iridescence

OP,

 

 

Check out Pathfinder Online. Seems like you took your post of things you want right out of their design document. :)

 

I think we are going to see more MMOs taking this path the themepark market is completely saturated right now 

I will certainly take a look as I don't think I've heard of Pathfinder.

  Boneserino

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 1518

8/20/14 1:08:54 AM#8
Originally posted by Javelin007
Apologies if someone has spoken exactly the same words as me. While I am certain there are many threads about this subject I feel my keynotes at the end are likely the difference between mine and any other such post on a similar subject.

No sadly they are not.    In fact  there is nary a shred of originality in any of them.

 

So I will repeat what I always say in these type of threads.  

 

What you want is simply a fantasy.    It looks and sounds good in your mind but if you were to create an MMO like this it would simply be a gigantic cluster....k.     Players don't PK for honor anymore, they PK to grief you and piss you off and ruin your day and your entire gaming experience.  

 

And no this is not the type of game I want.   If it was I would be playing Darkfall.  So why aren't you?

FFA Nonconsentual Full Loot PvP ...You know you want it!!

  grimal

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 9/11/05
Posts: 2946

8/20/14 1:17:46 AM#9
It sounds like what you want can be found in Rust. Give that a whirl.

My SWTOR referral link.

  shalissar

Advanced Member

Joined: 3/04/10
Posts: 291

8/20/14 1:18:06 AM#10

Darkfall? Mortal Online?

 

  railshot

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/11/04
Posts: 16

8/20/14 1:18:24 AM#11

What you described as your ideal MMO sounds very much like EVE Online. Ever try that?

Aside from that, I also feel that MMO market is stagnant. IMO, part of the problem is that the definition of success is changed. After WoW, any game that has fewer than a a couple hundred thousand subscribers can be deemed a failure. Naturally, the money bags that finance the game development all dream about reaping the profits of the next WoW. They start by throwing a lot of money at it. Huge budgets are the norm now. With huge budgets comes resistance to risk. So on one hand they want something that will attract millions of players. On the other hand they will not risk their tens of millions of dollars on something that have not been shown successful in the past. And there we have it - the market filled by WoW clones with minor differences.

Games that are different and innovative enough, that might get a very loyal following of 50-100k subs are not even considered by the big studios/investors. It does not mean they are not there. You might find some gems if you look hard enough. They probably have decade old graphics and tons of bugs because they are being developed by 1.5 guys in the basement. But you might find something you enjoy,

  Blaze_Rocker

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/06/14
Posts: 113

I've got a fevah, and the only prescription...is more cowbell.

8/20/14 1:19:38 AM#12

To OP's first post:

Hmm. Yeah, all that stuff does sound interesting. We might get that stuff some day but I feel that the current MMO market is going to have to crash before studio owners invest in new, un-WoW, types of systems and mechanics.

Was City of Heroes a failure because it couldn't run nine years or was it a success because it ran more than eight?

  Javelin007

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/14
Posts: 13

 
OP  8/20/14 1:20:43 AM#13
Originally posted by Boneserino
Originally posted by Javelin007
Apologies if someone has spoken exactly the same words as me. While I am certain there are many threads about this subject I feel my keynotes at the end are likely the difference between mine and any other such post on a similar subject.

No sadly they are not.    In fact  there is nary a shred of originality in any of them.

 

So I will repeat what I always say in these type of threads.  

 

What you want is simply a fantasy.    It looks and sounds good in your mind but if you were to create an MMO like this it would simply be a gigantic cluster....k.     Players don't PK for honor anymore, they PK to grief you and piss you off and ruin your day and your entire gaming experience.  

 

And no this is not the type of game I want.   If it was I would be playing Darkfall.  So why aren't you?

Darkfall / Mortal Online / UO etc I have played.

All of which have full looting as a mechanic built into death. These are all hardcore mmos.

What I'm asking for is a sandbox without the hardcore death. While you might be upset being killed or caught with your guard down surely you'd be more upset if you lost all your items. But what if you didn't lose anything? Anything but time that is. What if all the "killer" gained was points on a notoriety system. Points that would allow him to purchase items, however the more he has obtained, the higher a bounty would be set at for his head. Essentially encouraging anti-pks.

Meaning that let's say a PK who had killed 100 "non repeat" kills (so not the same player, not a new player and a player who is skilled up all the way to shield against exploitation) might be worth 100,000 gold if you managed to locate and kill this PK.

When the rewards are slight for PK's and large for those to collect the heads of said PK's, the community, "ideally" would balance the scale.

While my example has holes in it the point is to demonstrate that you can build systems to enable freedom of combat while not rewarding griefing.

I know that not everyone wants a game experience that yields real danger and part of why I started this discussion is to gauge if I'm alone in this observation or not.

Personally I like conflict, I like danger, I like having to watch my back and be careful about who I trust etc.

Yes my desire is likely a pipe-dream that will never come to fruition, simply because players align themselves with a more hand held, protected experience.

  Phry

Elite Member

Joined: 7/01/04
Posts: 6203

8/20/14 1:29:56 AM#14

OP, it sounds like DF;UW is your type of game, its not however, a very popular type of gameplay, as inevitably PVP orientated games will always appeal to a much smaller subset of the overall MMO playerbase, and your also looking for a sandbox game in a time when Themepark games seem to be the preferred option, overall there aren't many who would actually want to play a game of the type you suggest.

The other thing is your belief that MMO's are in steady decline, you are probably unsurprised that i disagree with you, i think overall the MMO 'sphere' is expanding, there are more and more new games and their more often than not expanding to include platforms that were rarely considered viable before, and of course, older ones are 'evolving' that leads me to believe, a bit more positively perhaps, that MMO's are actually a growth market, rather than as you seem to think, a dying one, sure individual games will decline, that is inevitable if they are unable to compete with their peers, and is just a part of the evolution of the MMO genre as a whole, but if you look back over the last 10 years, i believe that the overall outlook is a positive one, and one which has yet to 'plateau' and the reason i think for that is because MMO's themselves are becoming more of a part of everyday gaming, encroaching into domains that were once purely the realm of the single player games, this is probably more a sign of how much influence the internet itself has increasingly on our lives, and how perception of online gaming itself has changed over the years, its no longer the domain of the nerdy and the geekish.

  maji

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/15/04
Posts: 1994

8/20/14 1:35:53 AM#15
I think they are in decline as a result of the F2P mode. While a developer of a subscription game has as highest aim to deliver the best experience possible as far as money and time allow, the developer of a f2p game juggles about having the game just good enough to keep you playing while actually focusing on throwing obstacles into your path that can be removed by spending more $$$.

Let's play Fallen Earth (blind, 300 episodes)

Let's play Guild Wars 2 (blind, 45 episodes)

  Javelin007

Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/20/14
Posts: 13

 
OP  8/20/14 1:38:11 AM#16
Originally posted by Phry

OP, it sounds like DF;UW is your type of game, its not however, a very popular type of gameplay, as inevitably PVP orientated games will always appeal to a much smaller subset of the overall MMO playerbase, and your also looking for a sandbox game in a time when Themepark games seem to be the preferred option, overall there aren't many who would actually want to play a game of the type you suggest.

The other thing is your belief that MMO's are in steady decline, you are probably unsurprised that i disagree with you, i think overall the MMO 'sphere' is expanding, there are more and more new games and their more often than not expanding to include platforms that were rarely considered viable before, and of course, older ones are 'evolving' that leads me to believe, a bit more positively perhaps, that MMO's are actually a growth market, rather than as you seem to think, a dying one, sure individual games will decline, that is inevitable if they are unable to compete with their peers, and is just a part of the evolution of the MMO genre as a whole, but if you look back over the last 10 years, i believe that the overall outlook is a positive one, and one which has yet to 'plateau' and the reason i think for that is because MMO's themselves are becoming more of a part of everyday gaming, encroaching into domains that were once purely the realm of the single player games, this is probably more a sign of how much influence the internet itself has increasingly on our lives, and how perception of online gaming itself has changed over the years, its no longer the domain of the nerdy and the geekish.

Well said.

 

I think some are latching onto the whole pvp thing as it's often associated with griefing. The reason it's associated with griefing is because of how every mmo to date has approached it.

 

What I'd like to see is a new approach.

 

I think combat with players should be encouraged and fun and packaged in a way that's not detrimental to ANY player who chooses to participate in combat with another player. In fact it should be a rewarding experience for both regardless of the outcome.

 

We play games every day that have combat and death and don't feel taxing and griefing. Look at any shooter, you get headshot by some sniper and you respawn, did you feel griefed?

 

The problem is the approach every pvp enabled mmo has taken to date on how pvp combat is handled, not that it has or doesn't have pvp.

  Boneserino

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 1518

8/20/14 2:12:16 AM#17
Originally posted by Javelin007
Originally posted by Boneserino
 

 

Darkfall / Mortal Online / UO etc I have played.

All of which have full looting as a mechanic built into death. These are all hardcore mmos.

What I'm asking for is a sandbox without the hardcore death. While you might be upset being killed or caught with your guard down surely you'd be more upset if you lost all your items. But what if you didn't lose anything? Anything but time that is. What if all the "killer" gained was points on a notoriety system. Points that would allow him to purchase items, however the more he has obtained, the higher a bounty would be set at for his head. Essentially encouraging anti-pks.

Meaning that let's say a PK who had killed 100 "non repeat" kills (so not the same player, not a new player and a player who is skilled up all the way to shield against exploitation) might be worth 100,000 gold if you managed to locate and kill this PK.

When the rewards are slight for PK's and large for those to collect the heads of said PK's, the community, "ideally" would balance the scale.

While my example has holes in it the point is to demonstrate that you can build systems to enable freedom of combat while not rewarding griefing.

I know that not everyone wants a game experience that yields real danger and part of why I started this discussion is to gauge if I'm alone in this observation or not.

Personally I like conflict, I like danger, I like having to watch my back and be careful about who I trust etc.

Yes my desire is likely a pipe-dream that will never come to fruition, simply because players align themselves with a more hand held, protected experience.

Again this is a line I have seen in practically every thread of this type.    Why is it then that apparently no MMO to this point has managed to achieve this?   Oh wait.... I know what you are going to say....... EVE.

 

Sure great example, except that it seems that your type of MMO player always assumes that EVE gameplay can be transferred to any MMO.   Here I have to disagree.   For it to work you can't change any of the mechanics.  So what you get is just EVE in a different skin.  Which is Darkfall.  Substitute weapons and armor for spaceships and weapons and EVE = Darkfall.   Why is one considered a success and the other not?

 

And once you start taking away full looting and start applying penalties and such, well then the hardores will go on a crying rampage and start saying the game is "too carebear".   Now you have a game that niche hardcores don't want to play, plus the carebears that were never going to play anyway ( the majority as some would say)   So who is left to play your game?    Well probably about the same number as are playing ArchAge I would guess.   Which is another game that you should be playing if you are what you say you are.

 

So get this little pipe dream out of your head and start playing these games.  Otherwise devs are going to say, you know we tried to give these players what they wanted but nothing seems to work.  Time for us to move on and make games people are going to play.. 

FFA Nonconsentual Full Loot PvP ...You know you want it!!

  iridescence

Novice Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 1492

8/20/14 2:38:01 AM#18
Originally posted by Boneserino
 

And once you start taking away full looting and start applying penalties and such, well then the hardores will go on a crying rampage and start saying the game is "too carebear".   Now you have a game that niche hardcores don't want to play, plus the carebears that were never going to play anyway ( the majority as some would say)   So who is left to play your game?    Well probably about the same number as are playing ArchAge I would guess.   Which is another game that you should be playing if you are what you say you are.

 

So get this little pipe dream out of your head and start playing these games.  Otherwise devs are going to say, you know we tried to give these players what they wanted but nothing seems to work.  Time for us to move on and make games people are going to play.. 

Actually, many desire risk/reward gameplay without full-on ganking anarchy. For example a large number of players in EVE stick to high-sec and few hang out all the time in low-sec (the most grief-heavy area). So a game can and should tell the "uber-hardcorez" who want to be able to grief at will to go away. They are actually a small (but vocal) portion of even a PVP-based game's playerbase and they actively drive others away from the game. If games cater to them...well, you get Darkfall.

 

The thing is to have gameplay mechanisms in place to punish and discourage griefing whilst allowing most other playstyles to flourish.

 

  Boneserino

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 1518

8/20/14 2:50:51 AM#19
Originally posted by iridescence
Originally posted by Boneserino
 

And once you start taking away full looting and start applying penalties and such, well then the hardores will go on a crying rampage and start saying the game is "too carebear".   Now you have a game that niche hardcores don't want to play, plus the carebears that were never going to play anyway ( the majority as some would say)   So who is left to play your game?    Well probably about the same number as are playing ArchAge I would guess.   Which is another game that you should be playing if you are what you say you are.

 

So get this little pipe dream out of your head and start playing these games.  Otherwise devs are going to say, you know we tried to give these players what they wanted but nothing seems to work.  Time for us to move on and make games people are going to play.. 

Actually, many desire risk/reward gameplay without full-on ganking anarchy. For example a large number of players in EVE stick to high-sec and few hang out all the time in low-sec (the most grief-heavy area). So a game can and should tell the "uber-hardcorez" who want to be able to grief at will to go away. They are actually a small (but vocal) portion of even a PVP-based game's playerbase and they actively drive others away from the game. If games cater to them...well, you get Darkfall.

 

The thing is to have gameplay mechanisms in place to punish and discourage griefing whilst allowing most other playstyles to flourish.

 

You know it is quite easy to say the words "gameplay mechanisms".

 

Put them in an MMO and make them actually work..... then you will really impress me.     But if the object is kill other players, then you will have griefing.   If you know of another way  around this I suggest you write it down and start sending it to every developer you can think of.  I am sure they will be thrilled to hear from you!

 

Let us know when your game comes out!

 

FFA Nonconsentual Full Loot PvP ...You know you want it!!

  nariusseldon

Elite Member

Joined: 12/21/07
Posts: 22588

8/20/14 8:39:18 AM#20
Originally posted by Javelin007

I don't know about you guys but I am bored. I'd love to see a new inventive mmo but I don't see anyone taking the risk to develop something entirely new. Though there are always claims of said new mmo being fresh and innovative, I've played nearly everything out there and I don't feel anyone has really accomplished this.

nah ... there are plenty of entertainment. I am never bored. If devs innovate too much (like instanced pvp games), some here may not consider them pvp (sometimes even when the industry call them such).

So it is a catch-22. Being inventive, and you are making some other type of games. There are plenty of risk taking. Destiny, for example. Put MMO elements into other games (like crafting into Diablo). Heck, take MMO arena, focus on that and make a game just on instanced pvp (WoT for example).

Personally the traditional MMORPG paradiagm is too narrow for me. I don't look at MMOs. I look at games.

 

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