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All Posts by Ayin

All Posts by Ayin

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5 posts found

All of my observations are from personal experience or others I have seen in my travels.

I started online gaming by playing MUDs (helped run a MUD for a few years).

Since I could only afford one subscription MMO each month, I chose FFXI. (liked the series as the basis, but they butchered Dragoon, and for years, Monk was unwanted for parties... my favorite two jobs made me an outcast)


I've played FFXI for... well, since the month prior to the 2nd expansion release... how many years is that?(still have a character with several max level jobs.  40-60man raids? been there, done that, hated that.  forced grouping just to level? been there, done that, hated that. Forced groups just to see the storyline? been there, done that, hated that. (especially when the rest of the party doesn't care about the story and they spam past all the dialogue and are waiting on you to start a battle).


But, FFXI also had amazing world-population based objectives and activities that anyone could partake in.  Beastman attacks on a city, A war in the past, colonization of a wild land... massive group activities you could do solo or in groups. And that's just a few.  The problem was they never rewarded those activities appropriately to maintain population interest, gating all the really good stuff behind forced group content *sigh*.  So even though they were fun activities, they became simply diversions or methods of gaining levels that could be done faster elsewhere.  I had high hopes.


I used to have a static group to play with and completed several expansion storylines, but they've all moved on, so I've let my subscription lapse for a few months - since nothing worthwhile as regards my goals, can be done solo.)  They've changed from lateral progression to "Item level gear" progression that requires groups to attain... so, essentially, you get gear to level up now, and can't get that gear without fighting bosses that require groups... blech.

I've played numerous FreeToPlay games such as Ultima Online, Atlantica Online, Anarchy Online, TERA (just started and I love the combat, but my laptop doesn't), and Rappelz.


I've experienced plenty of different MMOs, with plenty of solo content, plenty of grouped content, group reliant content... and I think there are plenty of ways to make grouping satisfying in a game where you can solo to make the same progress as grouped players, just at your own pace.


Grouping has to be made fun and rewarding... (FFXI had skillchains which for many years required multiple skills used by different party members to create bursts of damage... this encouraged group play. Didn't need that to solo, but it benefited groups.)  I would expand on the abilities that can chain, and grant other bonuses for teams working together.  I would suggest an experience bonus to groups, rather than a penalty, like some grouping games... sure grouping makes it easier to kill enemies, but groups take TONS of time to organize and are constantly disturbed, disbanded, delayed, etc, by different party member's outside lives.


I would also say, the Tank/Healer/Damage trinity needs to DIE.  Most of my problems with forced grouping comes from needing specific roles for the group to succeed.  Without those roles, you might as well not leave town... so you don't leave town, and you stand around all day, only to play for half an hour and everyone disbands... yeah... the reality of forced grouping in MOST games I've played.


ANYWAY...   Solo content is GOOD for MMOs.  Group content is GOOD for MMOs.  Forced either way is BAD for MMOs.


I'll keep looking for a dev group that gets it right, and hope they present a world I'd like to play in with classes or abilities that I'd like to use. (Watch some western or zombie apocalypse MMOrpg get it right and I can't stand the setting...)


Originally posted by Keeno

Play a "Massively Multiplayer" game just to play by your self.  Brilliant, Brilliant!

Lemme go to this car show with my motorcycle real quick.

Lemme order some chicken at a steak house.

Lemme put a motor on my sail boat.

Lemme be a moron and have people tell me its alright.


Re evaluate your self, if you play mmos to have a single player experience you need to be put down.


Massively Multiplayer games can have many solo people playing in the same world and interacting without "grouping" to have fun.  Some of the "draws" to these persistent online games (that you can't find in traditional offline single player games) to Solo players are:

* They have content that is constantly updated.  New goals, new items, new enemies, new areas, more story.

* Their accomplishments can be meaningful to their friends (even if done separately). They can help their friends with gifts of items they don't need, or money, or whatever.  (Some MMOs even have world goals that can be worked on by the entire population regardless of being solo or in groups)

* They have the option of grouping to take on challenges that are too difficult at their level of progression alone, if they want to progress faster.

* Usually there is an economy in MMO games that some people like to take part in.

* They like to socialize over chat channels while they do their own thing.

* Many are "Free to play" , compared to the expense of buying new games.


Reasons for Solo Play despite options to group:

* They might be shy.

* might not like others foul language, choice of jokes

* Don't like the expectations placed on them, just using games to relax and are less demanding of perfection which makes "raid" content far too tiresome.

* Lack of communication skills on their part, on others' parts.

* Their schedules do not allow them to regularly meet for planned gaming sessions. (or even play at the same time) and they may have to leave abruptly.

* Satisfaction of accomplishments done alone that most only achieve in groups.

* Don't want to form "friendships" with strangers online, and none of their offline friends play the same game.

* Don't want to be forced into guilds/clans and all the drama that comes with it.


None of the reasons to Solo are in opposition to playing an online game, if they're not forced to group.  Personally, I'd very gladly play an MMORPG that focused on solo while allowing groups.  All the pros of offline games, with the benefits of online.

Grouping should be something fun that people want to engage in, not something forced upon people.  Have friends you want to play with, GREAT.  No content should be locked behind forced group content.  There should be alternative means to acquire any items, even if they're just alternative items with identical stats that can be crafted (where gathering the ingredients is also solo) or quested solo.


So yeah, the whole "MMO"-game-means-always-playing-together" argument has no legs in my book.


  • Most important: No PvP without consent, and no progression (gear, skills, etc) which are only obtained through PvP, without PvE equivalents  (requiring PvP if you want to progress is just as bad as no consent).  If it has forced PvP, I won't even consider the game.  I don't care what fantastic arguments can be made for PvP being good for a game; I can't stand it.

All other points are irrelevant. I won't enjoy playing in the world if I have to constantly look over my shoulder when the whole world is potentially against me, even when I'm away from the computer, or simply minding my own business. Even worse, is when I have a chance of loosing any of the stuff I have to those enemies.


  • Cost: I can't pay for more than one or two subscription MMO's at any given time. (0 currently, and looking) I've tried a few F2P games, and enjoy a couple now and then.  I won't pay more than $10 a month, given the track records of any MMO I've seen out there, the content just isn't good enough for me to justify more... given the variety found in the F2P games I can play and for the same cost of 1 monthly subscription, I could buy 2 offline RPGs that I'd probably enjoy more - I still go back and play my offline RPGs now and then.
  • Closely related: in F2P cash shops, I should be able to progress without buying anything from it through normal gameplay. Speed up exp gain, new appearances, whatever, fine, but no cash shop inventory expansion, no exclusive access to areas or gear... and Cash Shops should sell the actual item you're paying for, not a random chest that *might* contain what you want. Deal-breaker stuff there. I'll eventually say "What's the point?" if I can't continue progressing. Maybe that's just me.


  • Next major point: A Responsive Development team.  (both in creation or modifications in game content, and direct communication with the players) They have to understand how their game is being played and know that people actually playing the game know what they're talking about when they present well-reasoned proposals for change. Not all requests for change are good, or if they are good, they may not fit the direction the MMO team wants to go.  So if the answer is "no", it would be good to give reasons why; not just ignore.  With this information, future requests can be put into context with the vision of the game's team.
The following aren't my biggest selling points on what I look for, but each one gives the game a higher chance that I'll go back to it, rather than to another:
  • Quick Access to content for limited play time. I don't want to be running around the world for 30 minutes just to get to play for another 30 before I have to stop.
  • Classes that fit my personality and combat style. (Polearms, twin-bladed weaponry, dual wielding weapons without penalty (weapons made for it, and the combat system designed to take it into account), martial artists using claws)  Generally with limited self-sustaining abilities so I don't have to rely entirely on items to stay alive.
  • Active combat that requires using abilities strategically, and enemies whose attacks can be read and either countered or avoided. (very few abilities should have recharge times of 30seconds or more.)
  • Solo content that is meaningful to the game world and other players. (to me, the MMO part is playing in the same world as other players, not playing "with" them the entire time.) Accomplishing group goals is good. Buying items made or gathered by other players is good. Chatting with them is ok.
  • Content that makes me WANT to be in a group, when I feel like it.  Bonuses for being in a group, perhaps allowing classes access to combined abilities that require multiple players to perform - maybe just increasing the strengths of abilities based on other classes in the group, not necessarily different classes. Do not reduce experience gained in a party.  Do not make solo progression agonizingly slow to make group leveling appealing.
  • Closely related: Limited penalties for dropping out of groups when life outside the game requires it, so the rest of a group does not have their time ruined... which means, an easy way to bring in another member somehow.
  • Easy ways for people who want to accomplish the same goals to find each other, without being in the same guild/clan/whathaveyou. (perhaps tied to the above group dropping problem.)
  • Massive, easily accessible storage that you don't have to pay extra for.  I'm a hoarder of trophies from my adventures, be they combat or exploration, not always useful.  And I like to try many styles of playing my character, so I like sets of gear that each cater to each style.
  • User created content and customization is something very few MMOs have embraced, and I'd be drawn toward. Closely related: Once I find a good look based on the gear I've found... I want to keep that look, regardless of the new gear I eventually find with better stats that looks dreadful... you know it happens. And I hate the mix'n'match appearance that plagues games where gear from different sets is collected as 'best in slot'; if I want to be Gogo, I'll play FF6, thankyouverymuch.


I'm not seriously playing any MMO's right now, ever since I let my subscription to FFXI drop about a year ago, before they practically forced everyone to move off the PS2 to the computer to play the new expansion which I didn't buy.  The few Free to play games I still can play on my old and getting older PC are dwindling, so a minor feature I'd look for is low PC spec requirements.

There ya go.


FF Tactics/FF12/Vagrant Story online (preferrably not operated by Square Enix - just allowing another company to use and expand upon their property) Strategic gameplay is lacking in most of the MMOs I've played, and it's the key element in this branch of the FF franchise. An updated action-y turn-based combat system and body-part targeting would be interesting.

Xenogears (not Xenosaga) with a mix of on-foot and mech combat, even allowing mixed battles. I especially liked how "magic" was handled by technology through the "Ether Drive"... since I hate traditional fantasy magic and real magic. (the only big issue is the special nature of the "good" mechs responding only to a set group of animas, although there were some pretty strong unrelated gears that all players could potentially use.)

Metroid - exploring the universe and hunting aliens in a cybernetic power suit that can shrink down into a ball. Going after bounties and finding powerups as you go. Mixing weapon properties on the fly. Oh yeah, and a personal ship as a customizable home with trophies. Fun times.


3 is good enough for 1am.

My "Big 3" criteria:

1 : PvP:
     Either it shouldn't exist, or must be by choice, never free for all. It can be contained in zones that have zero interest to PvE players, or be only initiated by duels (with an auto-ignorable challenge system) or realm wars where people expect it (still separated from PvE players).  Where PvP exists, it should be a friendly competition, ideally.  No permanent damage should result to either party involved.
     I should never have to be looking over my shoulder while minding my own business.

PVP style is a deal-breaker, regardless of anything else the game has to offer.


2 : Classes / Combat options (gameplay):
     I prefer physical combat, but this can be expanded upon in a sci-fi setting. I'll never touch mage jobs, and there has to be the option of not taking any magical abilities without harming the overall effectiveness of a character. I prefer unique weapons, not your standard medieval weapons or laser guns, no matter what the setting is.
     Also, there has to be a lot to do during combat, not just auto-attack and unleash a special attack every 1 to 5min. The more there is to do, the more potential there is for strategy, as long as it's not just button mashing to get the same results.


3 : Solo-ability:
     My schedule is not my own. I cannot generally lock myself into being in a game at a certain time for any period of time. I get called away. I want to be able to accomplish most things on my own, with group-needed events taking under 2 hours (including gather time).



Those are my "Big 3" criteria. If those are missing, I won't be able to enjoy the game for long (or at all in some cases.)


These next things may draw me to a game, or hold me in the game longer than I intend to stay:


4 : Friends:
     If I know people who are playing from outside the game, I'll join/stick around to help them out. I don't go out of my way to make new friends. I can also happily play MMO games without making any friends (I HATE when games force you to add a certain number of people to your "friends list" as part of the quest lines.)


5 : Story:
     I like playing through quests when they're part of a larger story that you complete progressively through the game. A story can justify "collect 10 rat tails" type quests, especially when semi-cinematic cut-scenes are involved with the story before and after.  I'll continue playing long after my friends leave a game if there's more story to be seen, even if that story can be watched on youtube (it's not the same).


6 : Price:
     I only play 1 P2P game at a time currently, while I play several F2P games.  Point 4 is drawing me to other P2P games right now, but I can't justify the expense yet.  Free to play games offer variety from the P2P game experience that can get boring at times.


7 : Developer Feedback:
     MMOs are constantly changing and growing.  The developers should have a clear goal for their game, and each thing they add to the game should build on that goal in some way.  The players should understand that goal.  Each time the game is changed in some way, or something is added, the developers should say why.
     With this understanding, players can offer more constructive feedback and suggestions.  People who want things that go against the goals of the developers can easily be discarded and be rightly told to go play another game with that goal.  A person's subscription fee does not entitle them to creative direction of the game.
     When developers fold to the whims of a vocal community, when it goes against the game's goals, that's when you have problems, in my opinion.
     Sometimes the vocal community can be right, and are trying to get the game to stay true to its goals in a significant way that the developers either are already working on, or may never have thought of before.  In these cases, it would be of monumental importance for the developers to acknowledge the issue and say what they're doing about it, even if it's just "we're working on it."  Even better, would be to discuss the options they're thinking about, and open it to discussion, so what they finally do end up implementing is what people actually want.

     If developers are aware of the state of the game, and show a real understanding, I have hope that the game may change for the better.  This shows there is potential for greatness.

     When developers are silent, and simply release updates without their reasoning, players can feel like they are being ignored (and they very well may be.)  This problem becomes even more noticable when there is a language difference between developers and players.



There are a few other things I look for, but they don't make or break a decision.  They would read more like a wish-list, so I'll save that for a relevant topic.

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