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Players Vs. Devs

By Laura Genender on February 01, 2007 | Editorials | Comments

Players Vs. Devs

Community Spotlight: Players vs. Devs
By: Laura Genender

Editor's Note: This is an edition of a weekly column by Community Manager Laura Genender. Each week, Genender takes to our message boards and examines a specific topic raised by our community. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of MMORPG.com, its staff or management.

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MMO players are always complaining that devs aren’t giving us what we want. “You’re releasing too early!”; “You said the game would be out a month ago!”; “Too difficult!”; “Too easy!”; “It’s overwhelming!”; “There isn’t enough to do!”

Of course, the focus lately has been on the recently released Vanguard, though this has always been a debate for players and developers of MMORPGs. For players, the perfect video game would be one where we could invest as much time as we would like and keep current with content, yet still be competitive. It would have no subscription fee, the best graphics, frequent updates, free expansions, character customization, no lag, lots of space but it wouldn’t feel empty (i.e. population would be spread out). You could progress via large-scale wars, raid content, group content, solo content, crafting, and all this with a perfectly crafted weather and season system, and NPC AI.

One player posted his idea for a new MMO, “New games should put the M's in MMORPG. Players want truly massively multiplayer games. We should strive for gigantic maps that a player could roam for what seemed like forever and never find an unexplored area. I (and i would believe most people) get tired after killing the last boss for the 3rd time. The excitement just isn't the same.”

But for developers, an MMO with everything we want just isn’t feasible yet – and just isn’t needed. While more and more companies are getting into the MMO industry due to World of Warcraft’s success, its competition that drives quality up, and competition is fairly recent.

With our small industry population, a gigantic world just wouldn’t work. Players inevitably favor one dungeon or area over another, and other areas of the world would feel abandoned and cries of “OMG GameX is dying let’s go play GameY!” would flood these very forums.

And let’s face it, the perfect MMO, from the publishing and production side, is one that everyone pays for and no one plays.

Many, many forum topics have dealt with these lately – Vanguard is just hitting the shelves, and players are hugely divided on its likelihood of success. Many players are complaining that the game is being released too early, but then you run into the risk of waiting forever like Tabula Rasa or Duke Nukem Forever fans.

Players are complaining that it’s too difficult, and on the WoW forums hardcore EQ and Lineage II fans ridicule WoW players for playing on “easy mode.” But what about casual players, who can only put in 2 hours a night vs. some players’ average 6 hours a day? When I get done eating a long, relaxing meal at the all night diner, do I drive by a fast food place and ridicule customers for eating “nub food”?

We need to be more tolerant about the different kinds of games the industry presents us. Having various choices is a good thing; it allows us to choose what we want, and to move on when/if we get bored. It allows our industry to keep growing, and forces the devs to keep competing.