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In My Understanding

An old school gamer discusses the challenges facing the MMORPG community and it's leaders.

Author: jesad

MMO Problems and Solutions

Posted by jesad Monday January 20 2014 at 3:18AM
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So I was thinking about some of the problems that plagued some of the earlier titles and the ways that the developers solved those problems and it occurred to me that it is quite possible that nearly everything that users today claim to be wrong with MMORPG's might, in fact, be the result of our own bad behavior.

For instance.

I recall there being a big problem in the earlier titles with players not being able to get certain, high level, drops simply because those drops were the result of a concerted effort between an entire group of people, and the numbers that made up that group tended to dwindle as each player received their drops.

The player base attempted to come up with all kinds of ideas about how to disperse these drops or how to justify not giving said drops to certain players.  Guild points, DKP, and other methods were all attempts that were made, but that ultimately fell prey to the simple fact that if no one shows up, how many points you had managed to save simply didn't matter.

And then there was the problem with the "kind" of items that were being gone after.  How do you get clerics to show up for a breastplate that they know you intend to give to a tank?  All of these problems easily solvable by simple teamwork and dedication not just to ones friends but to ones entire guild.

But yeah, right.....that didn't really work.

And so the developers had to come up with something. 

To my memory, and feel free to correct me or add to this as you desire, several different mechanics went into effect in order to keep raids enticing to all participants.

1. The loot tables of many mobs were enhanced to have a random occurrence of items usable by many different classes.

This, of course, decreased the opportunity for any one class to get their drop, but it made assisting in that particular raid more lucrative to everyone involved and thus helped alleviate some of the fallout.  This still didn't work so well when the luck of the dice allowed certain items to drop more often than others though, so often times groups of raiders might find themselves spending an evening coordinating a raid that ultimately ended up with a piece of unusable scrap.

And let me tell you, NOTHING is worse than seeing a prized item to one class left in a chest by all of the others because it is no-drop, and one one in the group needs it.  But what are you gonna do right?

2. All players were given an opportunity to get some phat loot, each, upon killing that large mob, being provided with a window from which they could gain their very own item.

Not a bad idea.  Again though, this did not solve the problem for the Johnny come lately who missed the opportunity to get in when the getting was good, thus late coming players of the game often missed out on a lot of items for no other reason than because the majority of the other players had already been there and done that.  But what are you gonna do right?

3. Finally they game up with this idea that would make it so that every player that participated in certain raids would be able to both gain an item for their work and alternatively have a reason for coming back and killing that mob over and over again.  This solution became known as "Token Grinding" and we all hate it.  But what are you gonna do?

See, if we had just taken the time out to act like the heroes that we were supposed to be then only the evil faction on any server would be the ones crippled for gear in the long run.  Instead, good and evil alignment alike all succumbed to the lowest common denominator between human beings, that being self-interest, and bailed on each other, took advantage of each other, and ultimately damaged one another to the point where it became almost impossible to get anything done.

And then we complained.  And we are still complaining.

A different problem and solution that comes to mind when thinking about this topic is the PVP problem.  Or to put it more specifically, the serial killer problem.

I am almost certain, although don't quote me on it that the first developer to put a player vs player mechanic in their game did not anticipate the number of mindless killings that would result from having allowed such a thing to happen.

I mean, how could they have known?

And yet, like Pandora's box, once that thing called PVP was released upon the world, along with it followed just about every other nasty thing you could think of from player killing to kinslaying to ganking, sneak attacks, greifing, and just plain out harrassing.

Sure, we could have calmed it down some.  Maybe tried to put the violence in some kind of human perspective, i.e. only fighting people that you actually had beef with.

But hell's no!!  Screw that!! I'm gonna kill me some noobs tonight!!! LOL

And so now we have the PVP crew and the PVE crew, two completely separate groups neither of which are capable of actually filling the population of any MMO that doesn't completely support them both without constantly complaining to the developer of the game about why this thing was changed for the PVP'ers or why that thing was changed for the PVE'ers.

The developers solution?  Again, an array.

1. PVP arenas - No fun because a serial killer doesn't want you to see it coming.

2. PVP arenas with specialized PVP gear - No fun because a serial killer doesn't want you to see it coming, even if they do it so often that they have way better gear than you.

3. Open world PVP - HAHA!!  Like watching crabs in a steam pot.

4. PVE only servers - No resolution for the other buttheads who kill steal, ninja loot, or call you dirty names.

5. Meaningless PVP arenas that are only fun because the rest of the game is so boring. - Still being tested.

6. MOBA's - Which is the same as the term "Elvis has left the building!"


One by one we, as a community, have abused the very essence of the these wonderful toys that people have invested millions of dollars and man-hours in to give us, and one by one, in an attempt to both appease us and control our more base desires at the same time, we have caused these worlds to be reduced to very simple point and click game of which we still complain about to literally no end.

More problems that I can think of that came from nothing more than allowing humans to play your game.

Ninja Looting, Kill-Stealing, Racially, sexually, politically, religiously, age insensitive remarks in common chat areas, harrasment, hacking, duping, stealing, griefing, ganking, real life threats, real life violence, suicide......the list goes on.  Oh wait!! Don't let me forget STUPIDITY, a problem solved by releasing about the biggest bane on the MMORPG community that has ever been known aka WOW.

And yet, there are those of us who continue to complain and call the developers everything from liars to cheats.

I don't know, if ever there was a case to be made of the world being what you made it, I believe that the MMORPG world is that case, because just about every single beef that we have with the way that these games have been made have been almost entirely the result of our own bad behavior, right down to the thoughtless complaining.

So for the new year my resolution is to not complain about anything else, not even us.  I will only make entries from this point forward for the sake of being either A. Informative, or B. Funny.

I pledge to behave like I have sense both on this blog, on these forums, and in these games.  And I will try my best to make the games, I play at least, a bit more fun for everyone involved that I can see are there to have fun in a positive way.

With all of that said then, and moving forward, I hope to be able to write about some better topics that will help us all improve our overall gaming experience.  I believe that many of the developers are doing their best to give us fun and enjoyable products to play, it is up to us then to do our part and assist each other in having fun as well

It is something that I think might make a little difference, even if only over a very long run.  At least that's my understanding.   And I hope that some of you can join me.

See you in the games.



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