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Community Spotlight: Are you Happy with the Evolution of MMOs?

Posted by MikeB Thursday September 23 2010 at 1:58PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Are you satisfied with how MMORPG’s have evolved?” by Creslin321. In the thread, Creslin321 comments on the evolution of the MMORPG genre and is curious to find out on the community’s opinion on the direction the genre is moving:

“When the graphical MMORPG genre was born, most games focused on a "virtual world" sandbox experience.  They featured large, expansive worlds, and attempted to make players feel like they were "part" of the world.  Many players enjoyed the freedom and flexibility these games offered.  However these games were not user friendly at all, and sometimes it could feel like they lacked direction.

As the genrea has progressed, games have become more streamlined and user friendly.  While the worlds are generally smaller, they are typically jammed packed with quests and such for players to do.  Many players enjoy the accessibility of these games.  However, others feel that the linear nature of these games make them shallow and the focus on leveling and large power-gaps makes players feel forced to "grind."

So what do you think?  How satisfied are you with the way that the MMORPG genre has evolved?  Do you think it has gone in the wrong direction, the right direction, or something in-between?”

Kyleran feels MMOs have become simplified and narrow in focus:

“When I played early MMO's I was impressed with the "virtual world" feel they had, and figured in the future they'd only get better. Instead they were simplified and narrowed in focus to make them more appealing to a broader audience and today's games are a shadow of what I thought this genre would evolve to.”

Drakynn dislikes the trend towards the F2P business model:

“I'm satisified in some regards and dissatisfied in others....I have notihng against intancing dungeons as others do because I remember the reason isntancing was implemented whixch was the vast majority of peopel were tire dof being having their boss stolen or mobs trained on them by other groups etc,it wa sone of the biggest complaints back in the day and isntancing was the response,however I tihnk instancing is being taken way too far by a few companies.

I don't like the push toward cash shops especially sub + cash shops and see it as one step closer to another market crash in the video games market. I really don't give a dman about the them park V Sandbox BS arguements here I enjoy both as long as they are actually good games.

I do agree thoguh the MMO genre as a whole is evolving very slowly compared to it's single and small scale multiplayer coutnerparts.”

Explorium is quite happy with the way things have gone, as they allow him to actually play while still maintaining a real life:

“I am happy with how they evolved. Unlike some people on here, I have a life...and I'm glad MMOs are becoming more casual based. No longer do I have to play 12 hours or more a day to compete with no-lifers. I can actually be a part of RAIDS, where as, before only hardcore no-lifers could be a part of them. I can actually take part in MMOs now, where as, before I couldn't.

I'm very happy with the way they are going. I no longer have to play MMOs as a second JOB, but now I can play it as what they are...a “

Like Drakynn, I too am a bit mixed with the way things have progressed. I do appreciate that the games have become a bit streamlined and easier to approach, however, this often seems to come with the cost of depth, and so we are left with games that are generally easier to approach, but are also fairly shallow. The earlier games of the genre were often overwhelming in their complexity, and so a middle-ground would have been preferable. It is also unfortunate that the concept of a “virtual world” or “sandbox” type MMO has really been all but abandoned by AAA developers. The commercial failure of many of these games in the past (read: Star Wars Galaxies) and the wild success of the themepark-styled World of Warcraft has all but doomed the sandbox/virtual world genre to niche games by smaller developers.

On the upside, there are enough new games on the horizon that are genuinely interesting that I am sure to be hard pressed for time to try and divide my time amongst them.