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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Community Spotlight: That Home Feeling

Posted by MikeB Sunday June 29 2014 at 9:33PM
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In our latest Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Do you guys miss playing the same MMO for years straight? " by penthe:

I remember when I played WoW for many years straight, feeling like every minute spent in game is an investment. Now I play many different MMos and my characters dont feel like mine, it doesnt feel like home. I cant play games for many years straight anymore I get bored after a few months, am I getting older or just the genre has changed ?

Read on for some highlights from the thread!

TheQuietGamer doesn't quite get those who can play a single MMO for years:

I've never played a game for years and I don't quite understand how people can.  My longest run was probably wow and I played 4 months in vanilla and about another 4 in TBC.  

SWTOR I have played very casually for a couple of years, but with long gaps between periods of play.  

berenim attributes the trend of "endgame is the game" to the problem:

Problem is with those new themeparks the "Endgame is the game" attitude came. Also the "It's a game, not a world" stuff. I remember my years in Anarchy Online, descenfding to Rubi-Ka, being shot down by aliens. You did missions to do what you do, not to have something to do. Got an old-school drive atm and playing Ryzom. Total freedom, crafting your own stuff, interacting with others and passing by players even give you a short wave-emote, to greet you. Real Sandbox with optional PvP. New games seem to be targeted at people who play a game to the end, then throw it away to start the next game... Back then we were many (P&P-)RPGers, now most are just gamers...

DKLond has a more nuanced theory on the subject:

My theory is that we kept playing the same MMO for years, because we didn't fully understand the limitations of the design until we were done with it and had time to reflect on the experience.

Once you learn the limitations of a computer game, and especially a themepark gear treadmill design - you will lose interest in spending all your free time with it.

Problem with modern MMOs is that they're not bold and visionary enough - and, at the same time, the players don't understand their own psychology well enough, so they won't even allow a new approach to MMO design, because it will be compared to the "old home" - based on nostalgia more than anything else.

So, if we're ever going to find a new MMO home, and I truly doubt we will, it'll take a very bold vision and a very talented development team with a ton of resources.

That sort of thing doesn't happen very often - and the investment is prohibitive to many publishers.

I suppose it'll happen eventually, but I don't see myself falling in love for the first time ever again.

To directly answer the OP's question, yes, I too miss being able to play a single MMO for years and call it home. I've been chasing that feeling for years to no avail. Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes were the games I played for years and years and could always come back to.

These days, I cant' seem to spend more than a couple of months with a new MMO. They all seem to devolve into the same silly daily grinding and weekly token capping at endgame and I simply don't care for that. The genre is capable of so much more and has shown as much in the past. It's a bit odd that instead of moving forward most newer games turn out to simply maintain the status quo or worse -- be regressive.

What are your thoughts? Share 'em with us in the comments below!

Blaze_Rocker writes:

CoH was my first. I loved the atmosphere, the character creator and all the ways you could build your own character, whether it worked well for play or not. I tried SWTOR and I did like some of the atmosphere but it just wasn't "home".

As for the "endgame is the game" situation I never felt that way. You play 50 levels to do what, gain three or four more bonus levels? That never made sense to me, but everyone has their own views and I can't knock them for that. If someone wants to spend all their time to gain so little then that is their choice. As long as they're having fun that's all that matters and that's really ALL that matters in gaming. If you're not having fun then what are you playing for?

If a developer makes a game that I can have fun playing for many years then I'm there even if I have to pay a little bit more to enjoy myself than all those that take advantage of the F2P play-and-forget schlock the industry keeps feeding us.

Mon Jun 30 2014 3:02PM Report
wrongorright writes:

Many have heard this sentiment before, but I really have to say it.  Since the abrupt closing of City of Heroes franchise there has been little in the MMORPG world that is attractive or relevant.   

Your article essentially hits the nail on the head, the games coming out really do little for the MMORPG potential.  Either they simply restate an existing game/gameplay, or fail to take full advantage of what an MMORPG could be to it's players.   It's no wonder you can't manage more than 6 months playing them, when many people who were cut off at the knees playing CoX had been playing enjoyably for 4,5,6 and even 8 years.   

I shake my head anytime I go into a big box store, Gamestop, or online store and see the paltry offerings for PC-centric games.  Now the mantra of the developers is consoles, tablets, and I shudder... smart phones.   I grew up playing keyboard-centric games and prefer to throw any joystick/hand-control device on the floor and smash it with a 50# sledgehammer borrowed from WreckitRalph.     Those other platforms do not lend themselves to multi-year mutual immersion.  

Personally I hate every new MMORPG that has FPS/Apocalyptic/Fantasy World/2D-Cartoonish focus.  These simply do NOT promote "community" which drives long term devotion to an MMO.   Sure you may point to something like WOW, but standing across from some other species and saying "Hi, how was your day? Ready to go to and Instance" is so fake it makes me shudder.    

And sure some existing MMOs give you some new content... but when it's simply fantasy they can't give you anything more but more fantasy.  How much creepier do you make the species, the NPC, the bosses, where they will stand out from the prior content?    The same holds true for variations on the same theme, it's like comparing a carnival mirror image to the original.  You know it has been made more weird, but in reality it's only more the same.  

The MMO world needs new thinkers and creators who aren't mired in the mental images of what games exist today.  We need forward thinking people who say, what if "......"  where that "....." isn't based on any idea currently existing.    Do children today even explore a real sandbox?  With the plethora of like-designed MMOs that have poured out since 2008, we apparently have generations of game designers who don't understand original thinking, or whose perspective is so skewed it has to be called aberrant.  

I ask why must we be fed FPS's where the more psychotic, militaristic, or post-apocalyptic the more it is hyped as cutting edge?  Or Fantasy Realms where your character looks like basicly refugees from midevil europe, or some Tolkienesk/ storyline?   

I think one reason that a game like City of Heroes struck a chord with so many people was it spoke to an inner desire to be more than one's self, to truly be a hero albeit in a game.  Many people took that game into the real world and did real acts of good, not something I see coming from either an FPS or Fantasy game.    Through-out history games have had purpose to humans whether simply for relaxation or as training of the mind or body.   To take it a step further, the Anime series Sword Art Online takes a game and switches the tables on the players so that the game is reality with the consequences.   Purpose becomes important in that story, and finding one's humanity even in a game, that is something a game developer could strive for in the future of real MMO games we play.

In reference for those who want to really think about what could be inspiring RPGs look at  one of the first written fantasy stories, Well at the Worlds End.

Imagine building an MMORPG based on seeking that well, helping others along the way, achieving the power and helping others while all the while changing others as you go along.   Imagine a game where your status is tied to others as well as your own deeds.  Imagine the power you obtain is more about your influence on/with other players and their actions.    Just imagine a gaming system where it isn't just about how strong you've become individually but how strong those you know have become.   It makes me think of *spoiler* watching the new Guardians of the Galaxy and the climatic scene of a team working together to have the strength to grasp unimaginable power and defeat the undefeatable.   Imagine that kind of power behind you facing major foes in a game. 

The state of MMORPGs right now is lackluster, the packaging changes, but the same tired mythos stand behind each of those genre.   I played Pong, Pacman, Asteroids in the 1980s, those today are patterned, rote, and static by most standards, what many players of games today are in that same mode.  I challenge any designer who reads this post to break out of this matrix and forge a path to games that people will enjoy playing for years not days, weeks, or months.  




Sun Aug 03 2014 5:10PM Report writes:
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