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How to look cool and get the chicks while playing MMO's

Rants, wild speculation, unfounded theories and general poor quality humor.

Author: MacScarfe

MMO's the last great bastion of Communism

Posted by MacScarfe Friday August 28 2009 at 10:08AM
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Okay so a title so full of hyberbol it's almost beyond belief, but really there seems to be a set of unwritten laws and expectations for western hemisphere players of todays MMO's.

1) The level playing field.

No i get it, i really do. Trust me i've always joked when people or paperwork asks me about religion i answer 'devout socialist', i was brought up such and it has formed many of my opinions on how life should be.

And yes in life i see how everyone should have an equal chance to attain their goals and dreams, irregardless of their financial or environmental upbringing, but that's not how life is though is it, lets be honest.

Point of Order: I do not suggest, infer or even dream that ALL current MMO's should conform to my way thinking, neither do i think it should apply to ALL future MMO's.

You see i think (and can i get a stress on the I) what the MMO industry needs is variety, variety and innovation, variety innovation and realistic financial goals, no one expected the spanish inquestion ..... oh wait sorry went off track there.

There is a place for games, in the industry, for games aimed at a niche market. MMO's are afterall above and beyond everything else buisnesses, so games willing to reward players for spending stupid amounts of cash are inevitable.

Now here is where the howling banshees will decend upon me, their point of view is simple you open the door, even the slightest crack, and all of the tradional MMO's will fall to this evil. And yes there are a number of companies who i guess would love to take as much money out of your pockets as quickly as possible. I for one would like to know who these companies are so that i can avoid them because if there only aim is to facilitate your economic downfall then their games are probably gonna suck and suck big time.

But doom and gloom is not the invitable conclusion of letting the money grabbers grab money, because players will vote with their feet/subscriptions and plenty of companies, if not the vast majority, will see how they cam make more than enough money from the tradional MMO model.

2) All playstyles must be accomidated

Okay, show of hands, who has played a PvE centric games and hasn't seen a large thread on the games forums entitled something like "This game will fail without full loot, open world PVP!!!11!!!!"

It seems to me, and probably only me, that one of the main barrier to creativity in the MMO industry is this insane belief that a game must try and accomidate everybodies playstyle. This idea is backup up by the many many posts we all see day in and day out on virtually every games forums calling for radical changes to the basic game design so that a specific playstyle can be included.

It seems to have become a mantra that most game devs recite everyday, and most game devs fail to successfully acomidate in there product. This simple model of get as many subs as possible, irregardless of how long they start subbed, rules the roost mainly because of the WoW factor.

Point of Order: I do not hate WoW, i have never played it, i never will as it holds no interest for me. It's a prefectly good game that appeals to a vast number of players, and i have no opionion on the caliber of human beings that play WoW.

The WoW factor being CEO's and/or the money men saying if Blizzard can do it, then so are we and second place is for losers.

It's a dream i know but i would love it if just one company ceo would decend onto his/her forums and post the following in one of those irritating thread "Thanks for your support for our product, but clearly this game isn't for you and were not about to change it for your benefit, it would be greatefully appreciated that at the end of your current subscription cycle that you cancel and take your buisness to some other game that you will enjoy more than ours." Or words to that effect.

3) All content should be accessable to all players

Again i can see how this seems logical you've bought the game and you've paid the sub fees and you've built your character up to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, so why shouldn't you be able to access all the games content?

Gimmie a sec here, i just need to finish bludgeoining my head against a brick wall..

Secondly, and you'll need to read carefully cause this point is real small ... Why not?

There i said it and i'll do it again, Why not? Why should the instance with the super duper weapon/armor/bunny rabbit reward at the end be soloable? Why should the soloist have access to everything? Don't get me wrong i spend a lot of time playing solo in a lot of games, but since when did that give me the divine right to access everything.

And what would be wrong with an instance which couldn't be grouped? And what about that gear hidden in non-consesual PvP zones that the purist PvE player complains about because they get ganked trying to get it, why not? I'm sure you can come up with a million other examples of this but really can anyone explain Why Not?

Okay lets get the financial argument out of the way with 2 real quick points. 1) (The knucklehead answer) Okay dude show me where on the box it says you'll have complete access to everything ingame? 2) (The pragmatist approach) A standard game designed for the solo player is often advertised as having x amount of hours gameplay, so lets do the maths one PS3 game $60 for 20 hours of gameplay, one PC MMO game box price $40 plus $15 per month for .... how many hours have you played this game? Do the math please.


Okay so it was rant, did you expect anything less? But come on, this approach to MMO's is killing the genre, it needs variety, innovation and WoW being reclassified as a movie or something so that companies and players don't continually draw stupid and irrelavent comparisons to it for every game released or envisioned. It needs a differnet approach to game design and these three rules seem to me to combine together to make an unescapable philospohy which is stifling the industry.

P.S. I'll edit for spelling, grammer and reality later when i give a damn.

Bellarion writes:

You seem to have a pretty good understanding of economics. And no doubt understand that consumer choice ie. demand is powerful in video games. The WOW bagillions of players is what developers look at.

As long as this is what the large numbers want. The developers will try and target them with a similar make. Niche gaming is a scary thing I think for developers of an MMO. Its a gamble to hope your niche game will ever actually attract enough of those niche gamers to make a community that allows your MMO to thrive while also paying the bills you have accumulated.


Fri Aug 28 2009 10:53AM Report
Malakhon writes:

So to sum up:

"Don't make a game for everybody that has broad appeal, just make a niche game for MEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

Sounds like a solid plan.

Fri Aug 28 2009 11:52AM Report
MacScarfe writes:

Nope, don't make a game for meeeeeeee! frankly i don't have enough money to keep me afloat let alone a small games design company.

Yes, make a game for us, where us isn't a grouping of some 10 million + players because you'll fail and the game will be so bland you won;t be able to tell it apart from all the other games currently trying (and failing) to achieve the impossible dream.

I don't have all the answers, never claimed i did, but frankly just because i don't it dosn't mean someone might have and if there unable to get their vision into production because it to meet the check list of the mythical WoW killer, then were all poorer for that.

Simple put - Hollywood blockbusters make lots of money and keep plenty of people entertained, but that's no justification for discouraging an Indie Film Maker.

Fri Aug 28 2009 12:06PM Report
todayisblue writes:

1. I suggest you read a book titled, "Copyrighting Culture." It applies to MMO's, but also other entertainment industries. It may shed some light on why the industry is the way it is and why games are the way they are.

2.  I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say. You ask a lot of questions and sometimes I can't tell what you think about the implications of those questions. That said, I think i'm inclined to agree with you?

3. You should use this rant as a draft and revise it into an essay. I think you'll get some better feedback once you do that.

Fri Aug 28 2009 2:10PM Report
toddze writes:

There is a strong correlation between communism and what gamers are wanting in their MMO's. MMO's are far from the American dream. I think this is mostly attributed to the types of people an MMO attracts in general. We all know the stereotypical MMO player. We know a lot of people come to hide in an MMO for short comings in there life. These are the type of people that thrive in a communistic environment. These are the majority in an MMO, thus games are catered to them.

Then there are MMO players that play an MMO as a hobby. This is the category in which I fall. Lets look at some other hobbies.

Fishing, if every time a guy threw his lure in the water he caught a fish, eventually he would get tired of fishing because whats the point if you caught something every time? The thrill is knowing that there is a chance your not going to catch something.

Hunting, If every day you went hunting you were guaranteed a trophy buck. Ok a guy will eventually get tired of shooting one everyday. The excitement of being in the right place at the right time seeing that monster buck walk in front of you is gone.

Model car kits. How challenging would it be to just glue 5-10 pieces together and your model car is finished? That wouldn't be very challenging.

This is just a few examples, you could look at any hobby you want and apply this idea. MMO'ing started as a hobby but turned to a place to hide for people looking for a place to hide.

Fri Aug 28 2009 6:16PM Report
todayisblue writes:

@toddze: clearly stated, unlike the blog, but i definitely disagree with you. perhaps mmos lend themselves well to escapism. i can agree with that part. however, an escapist who can't function successfully in real society would be looking to compensate in a fake one. therefore, they would prefer mmos that gave them a false sense of achievement. they would in effect prefer the mmo that would have the potential put them on top for a change, and be of a higher status than their fellow players. they would subscribe to a "laissez-faire capitalist" mmo.

if we're going to label an mmo as "communistic," i would also possibly label it as "carebear." another possibility is, these "communistic" mmos would better serve the general public who only recently became interested in computer games as a type of accessory to define them as individuals. these people would prefer more instant and/or gauranteed gratification and therefore would prefer a "communistic" mmo to better facilitate their real-life wants.


Fri Aug 28 2009 8:36PM Report
MacScarfe writes:

@toddze: yes your right, and that is what is wrong with the current MMO industry. Let me pick out a couple of points and explain my perspective on them.

"These are the majority in an MMO, thus games are catered to them." :- your right, but there's a difference between "give the people what they want" and "the people want what they are given" Right now the industry is on the whole dishing up more of the same, attempts at innovation or expansion are few and very far between.

Dont get me wrong i'm not saying it's wrong to be popular, instead what i'm trying to point out is that if more innovation or new directions are not pursuded by smaller companies the entire industry will stagnate to the point of near death. The minority feeds the majoirty and keeps it the entire thing moving forward.

"MMO'ing started as a hobby but turned to a place to hide for people looking for a place to hide. " :- I would actually say quite the opposite in fact the 'hardcore' 14hr a day players are now way fewer and the casual gamer is king. Maybe we all discovered sex, got married, had kids and now only have a few hours here and there to play.

Sat Aug 29 2009 10:11AM Report
MacScarfe writes:

Okay so in the blogg/rant i imply that the playerbase defines the games we are currently given and in the post above i infer that the playerbase is happy with what it is given.

So despite contradicting myself i obviously think i'm right ;)

How can i be right? Like a man shaing his own hands (which is quite hard to do btw) both statements can co-exist and infact re-enforce each other. As the companies give the players games, the degree of success of the game is determined by how close they adhere to the players wants. And with each sucessive launch failing to fail, this re-enforces the companies beliefs, and with each launch being so similar to each other, this re-enfocres the players beliefs.

I'm not saying the industry is totally devoid of innovation and that all the games are crap, quite the opposite. Games do innovate, but the pace of innovation is a snail's pace. Games arn't crap, just look at how FEW games have closed there doors, compared to many other sectors of the economy the rate of buisness failures in MMO's is staggeringly low.

What i'm saying is we need a 'Citizen Kane' and it's like, we need indie games with big ideas that take a giant leap forward in terms of innovation. Irregardless of their ability to be a successful buisness we need something to come along and shake the cobwebs out of the minds of the players and the companies. All i tried to do in my rant above is turn a spotlight on some of the cobwebs.

Sat Aug 29 2009 10:35AM Report writes:
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