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General: MMO Growing Pains

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 17,633MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

One of the thing that many of us realize is that the MMO-genre is a bit stale. Why is that when, at least according to our latest No Elves Allowed column, "the sky should have been the limit"? Find out and then let us know what you think!

In No Elves Allowed's inaugural article, more than a few of you spoke out against the prevalence of, and I quote (Hello, xDayx!), 'face-rolling, questhub-hopping, dungeon-findering theme parks'. It's a disturbing trend. While there are definitely exceptions to the rule, it's hard to deny the fact that a majority of fantasy MMOs out there are little more than World of Warcraft with a different coat of paint.

Read more of Cassandra Khaw's No Elves Allowed: MMO Growing Pains.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom



  • 77lolmac7777lolmac77 Herp Derp, PAPosts: 496Member
    I have a feeling Blizzard is going to change MMOs again when Titan comes out. Then every game will be a "Titan clone"
  • theniffrigtheniffrig DublinPosts: 351Member

    I agree with the article. For me, your Fps examples like COD etc... hits the nail on the head. Fps gameplay/genre is essentially the same for every game of that type. Is that a bad thing? For me, not at all. The way those games play, be it u.i/controls etc has evolved to the point that it's the norm. It's like how cars have evolved to all having basic features.

    For MMO's, WoW has defined what these basic features are & should be. Your toolbars/healthbars/map/controls(tab/wsad) that for me is what the standard MMO should have. When you think MMO, all the control/u.i features should be basically the same.

    Is that a bad thing overall? Again, for me no. Controls etc.. does not equal gameplay. Gameplay can be very, very different. Sure the standard tools are the same for every FPS, but that doesn't mean the gameplay is the same. The real problem with MMO's at the moment is alot of companies are not only just trying to copy WoW's standard MMO features (like the u.i) but they are also trying to copy WoW's gameplay, and so bring nothing new or innovative to the genre. Infact, usually they even fail to just equal WoW.

    So it's not the genre's standardized tools that are the problem, it's the developers trying to standardize gameplay that's the real problem.

  • SkillCosbySkillCosby Trenton, MIPosts: 684Member

    The fantasy genre is still my favorite. Sci-fi, modern, futuristic, and post-apoc just doesn't do it for me.

    At this point, I don't care if we have redundant elves and dwarves...I just want a virtual world instead of all this co'op hogwash.

  • RhaycenRhaycen Marietta, GAPosts: 24Member

    As long as the WoW type games have millions of subscribers while the non-standard games have maybe a couple hundrud thousand at best. I think WoW will be seen as the golden standard.

    In the end it mostly comes down to economics, gaming companies need to convince investors that their game will make money. The WoW model has shown to be successful, and thus will be perpetuated quite a lot. Sometimes successfully, and often not so much.

    As someone who has a busy job and often works 50-60 hours a week, the WoW model works extremely well for me. I can log into the game and start playing right away, because the game tells me exactly where to go and what to do. Do I miss the "old" days of MMO gaming when I ran for hours through dangerous expanses of land in the hope of discovering something new ... of course I do ... but back then I was still in school and had plenty of time to do those things.

    So to all you kids who pile on the hate towards these standard model games, go play something you enjoy ... if games like WoW or SWTOR didn't exist I would likely be watching TV, and honestly I rather play games.... it has fewer commercials.

  • JowenJowen Posts: 326Member

    Hi. I'm an EVE'r. Dunno what you're talking about.

  • WhiteLanternWhiteLantern Nevada, MOPosts: 2,732Member Uncommon

    "First-person shooters are prime examples of this. Call of Duty. Battlefield. Counterstrike. DOOM. Stripped of their audio-visual finery and emptied of all their little details, they're all the same. Cut them open and you'll see Wolfenstein 3D written across the entrails."

    If only they were more like Wolfenstien 3D. Gah! FPSs used to be the greatest thing EVAR!!!1!! Now the esport pvpers have ruined this once-great genre that I hold so dear. 5-hour "campaigns", DLC multi-player maps, rocket-jumping(?!)....BAH!  FPSs are dead to me, you hear me? Dead!





    /thread derailed






    I want a mmorpg where people have gone through misery, have gone through school stuff and actually have had sex even. -sagil

  • BereKinBereKin SplitPosts: 287Member

    The truth is simple, mmo-genre has become "just business-nothing personal" point of view. To industry this is new cash machine and now every wannabe studio is putting mmo in hope to have piece of the cake. And with most of them you cant tell which is worse. There are exceptions, but sadly they are minority. This way cant go for much longer, people are fed up with situation as it is and  something has to be changed. Bring back the love and enthusiasm in making games.

  • TruthXHurtsTruthXHurts El Do, KSPosts: 1,555Member

    Stalker Online seems to have nailed it on their FPS MMO. It is what I've been hoping a developer would do with an MMO for a longtime.

    "I am not in a server with Gankers...THEY ARE IN A SERVER WITH ME!!!"

  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 18,326Member Rare

    Originally posted by 77lolmac77

    I have a feeling Blizzard is going to change MMOs again when Titan comes out. Then every game will be a "Titan clone"

    I am not so sure.

    Past sucesses is not proof for future ones and Blizzard today is very different from the company that started on Wow in the late 90s.

    I think it is easier for another company to change the genre than Blizz. Blizz players expect certain things from a Blizz MMO. Companies like Zenimax/Bethesda and Undead labs have a lot easier time to change the genre since they don´t have any MMO luggage but both have talented teams.

    Since Blizzard merged with Activision thecompany have changed a lot, and frankly have innovative games never really been their speciallity. Wow was a polished up version of EQ. Strain who got the idea and started working on it played EQ, and Kaplan who took over got the job because he was in the same EQ raid guild as Morhaime.

    In late 2004 we needed a polished version of already excisting games that offered more for regular players as well. Making something like that is what Blizzard do best. Creating something new from scratch on the other hand takes very different skills.

    My bet is instead on Undead labs "Class 4". The game will more or less be it´s own genre when it launches and it have an very good team including the same lead designer that Wow had in the beginning. The mechanics it uses are very different from what other MMOs have. Also it isn´t funded by EA or Activision who never dared to really gamble but by Microsoft who so far never put a dime in the genre before.

    I think Blizzards next large MMO will be "Wow 2", not "Titan". Blizz always loved sequals and Wow 2 will surely be released before 2020, mixing Wow with whatever style MMOs will have by then.


  • HrothaHrotha -Posts: 821Member

    From my perspective - yes, MMOs are stagnated, somehow. Nothing new, over the last years copy and paste from developer to developer. No new trends. Blizzard should have brought TITAN 2years ago, instead of milking the content and the "sheep"ish-gamers.

    The only REAL invention in the past 4 years was Age of Conan - new combat system. Besides that? Nothing. Which saddens me.


  • Loke666Loke666 MalmöPosts: 18,326Member Rare

    Originally posted by WhiteLantern

    "First-person shooters are prime examples of this. Call of Duty. Battlefield. Counterstrike. DOOM. Stripped of their audio-visual finery and emptied of all their little details, they're all the same. Cut them open and you'll see Wolfenstein 3D written across the entrails."

    If only they were more like Wolfenstien 3D. Gah! FPSs used to be the greatest thing EVAR!!!1!! Now the esport pvpers have ruined this once-great genre that I hold so dear. 5-hour "campaigns", DLC multi-player maps, rocket-jumping(?!)....BAH!  FPSs are dead to me, you hear me? Dead!

    There have been really great multiplayer FPS games that isn´t E-sport later.

    Natural selection to mention one, it was really great and NS2 is hopefully releasing soon.

    Of course NS had no single player whatsoever, but it was a fresh breeze in a stale genre.

  • AntariousAntarious Greenville, SCPosts: 2,779Member Uncommon

    My personal opinion is that currently the biggest factor is... *drum roll* the investors.


    Games like Ultima Online and EverQuest had tiny budgets... tiny development teams and were more or less locked away in a broom closet from the rest of the company.


    Now we have huge budgets .. tons of micro management and the people fronting the money want a return.  (these would be stock holders... since most companies don't have 100+ Million laying around to build a game with).


    So when EQ did better than UO the EQ model became the norm.   A bunch of games with that core release and eventually WoW comes out... no suprise that WoW became the "norm"... yet it really is just EQ 2.0... because the foundation is built on the EQ model/core. 


    Now a bunch of games that didn't do very well are going F2P and reporting success.   So obviously the F2P thing is going to grow and turn into epic fail for a few companies because the entire premise is flawed (my opinion).


    After that happens... if companies continue to make MMO... you might actually start to see some diversity.   Tho personally I may be old enough by then ... that I can log into the same game the next day and think its a new game anyway.


    The sky should have been the limit with MMO's for sure.   All the freedom that a game like UO offered... well there were things that needed to be "fixed" in that game... but not redesigned.   Beyond a few things MMO's should have followed a path of... more .. more ... more.


    Instead its a path of less.. less ... less and let's take away what you have... then introduce a new system you can grind through to end up almost having back what we took.   The "almost" being the key factor of that equation.


    Oh and just as bad as the points made in the article... how about one of these days a company actually enforces its Terms of Service and End User License Agreement?   I'm sick of the... exploiting and totally screwing a servers economy gets a warning or short term ban crap.   Yet if I was to simply to say "you give me cash I give you shinies" .. I'd get a perma ban.. because my spam has a far more negative effect on the game than the exploit user... seriously...  Considering most of these companies end up using some form of RMT anyway.


    Sorry not trying to derail or anything.. its just one of the parts of MMO's that really irritates me.


    *edit* various fixes to my lack of english comprehension at the moment.

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    Linear solo experience + grinding instances as practically only thing to do - that what make genre stale.

  • KanethKaneth Posts: 2,004Member Uncommon

    Well, we are in a similar position today, as we were in 2004. Up until WoW, there weren't many polished MMO's. EQ was the big dog, with AC available to those who preferred more solo play and a more sandbox experience. DAoC was popular and had a PvP focused end game. UO was still going strong and was a very different animal than the other mmos. Everything else was pretty niche, or was downright buggy as hell.

    When WoW released, it was a very different game, but it had enough similarities. There really wasn't a full questing experience available before, at least not on the scale of WoW. There wasn't any mob grinding, or forced grouping, with the exception of some quests and of course dungeons. While the classes weren't perfect, each one could solo well enough while questing, and no one was really dependent on someone else to have fun. Although, grouping for elite quests and dungeons was very fun back then.

    WoW was both a boon and a curse. WoW showed what time and money can offer, but we've pretty much only had quest hub style mmos launch since. Sure, EVE has always been in the background, but let's face it, outside of specific communities, many have no idea what EVE is.

    As of the current state of mmos, yes they are stale. I have to agree with some of the other posters who stated that investors are the problem. Those with the money control a lot, and it's going to be extremely hard for an indie to bust into the mmo scene at this point.

    I truly feel like the entire genre is standing on the edge of a cliff. It's either going to leap off and fly, or it's going to leap and fall to it's death. As it stands, unless someone can come in and make some fairly innovative changes, and show a lot of success, we'll be stuck with the same mmos for some time.

    Here's hoping that GW2, TSW, and/or ArchAge are different enough, and successful enough to have a real impact. If not, we'll probably have to wait to see what Titan is, but who knows if lightning will strike twice for Blizzard.

  • onelesslightonelesslight Alexandria, VAPosts: 116Member Uncommon

    Remember that innovation and change may not always lead to success. Consider New Coke. Many people may like the "traditional flavor" of MMOs. I think that's why a lot of experiments (Seed comes to mind) fail.

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,606Member Uncommon

    Forever is a long, LONG time... But any game that is able to bank a Billion dollars a year, year after year, is bound to attract the attention of the investors and those who make most of these games possible in the first place.  WoW appears to be in decline at this point, but only time will tell if Blizzard can duplicate their sucess with Titan.

    If they can even come close, I doubt any of us will live to see the end of the Blizzard dynasty. ^^  As far as different game types go, as middle ware and various technologies advance, it will not require tens of millions of (other peoples) money to make these games.  That will open up the market to smaller groups, willing to take the risks involved in trying new approaches. 

  • InFaVillaInFaVilla StockholmPosts: 592Member

    Originally posted by Vindicta

    Remember that innovation and change may not always lead to success. Consider New Coke. Many people may like the "traditional flavor" of MMOs. I think that's why a lot of experiments (Seed comes to mind) fail.

    Imagine that the soda market was only composed of coke-like beverages and no other kind except some obscure home-made ones. In other words: a world of basically only Coke XXL, Coke Superb, Star Wars Coke, etc.  Wouldn't you want the market to show a bit more diversity? Maybe a Fanta and Sprite?

  • PyrateLVPyrateLV Las Vegas, NVPosts: 1,096Member Common

    Originally posted by Vindicta

    Remember that innovation and change may not always lead to success. Consider New Coke. Many people may like the "traditional flavor" of MMOs. I think that's why a lot of experiments (Seed comes to mind) fail.

    Ah, but the failure of New Coke was that it was trying to be more like Pepsi.

    Sweeter for the Younger Palate


    Much in the same way all these other Themepark MMOs have been copying WoWs formula

    They arent trying to compete by being different, they are trying to compete by being the same.

    Dumbest plan EVER!


    Classic Coke works because it ISNT like Pepsi. Mountain Dew works because it is completely different that all the others.

    Tried: EQ2 - AC - EU - HZ - TR - MxO - TTO - WURM - SL - VG:SoH - PotBS - PS - AoC - WAR - DDO - SWTOR
    Played: UO - EQ1 - AO - DAoC - NC - CoH/CoV - SWG - WoW - EVE - AA - LotRO - DFO - STO - FE - MO - RIFT
    Playing: Skyrim
    Following: The Repopulation
    I want a Virtual World, not just a Game.
    ITS TOO HARD! - Matt Firor (ZeniMax)

  • AceundorAceundor OsloPosts: 482Member

    I think WOWs problem is simply that it is getting old. There are now hundreds of games that are so called "wow clones" These are constantly nibbling at WOW and reduicing the playerbase. WOW wil slowly dissapear and the MMO industry will re-invent itself. 

    One should also mention that the run towards endgame is probaly a bigger problem in the industry than elves. 

    One should maybe look at TSW it has no leveling (everyone starts at endgame) and it has no elves...

    Originally posted by BishopB:

    Are a lot of the trolls just angry kids with old gaming hardware?

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Originally posted by Jowen

    Hi. I'm an EVE'r. Dunno what you're talking about.


    Mission, mission, mission, mission, mission, "epic story arc!"

    ( it's structured a little differently, but it's there )

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    WoW used instancing because a lot of players complained about camping mobs, ninja tags, mob trains etc.

    PvP become instanced because a lot of players complained about being ganked/griefed etc.

    WoW gave us quests because a lot of players complained about the grind.


    We look back with rose colored glasses, I know I do when I think of times with UO.

    But the truth is somewhat different.

    Would we actually want to go back? In some ways, and in certain areas - for sure, without a doubt.

    In others?

    99% would say "not so much."

    "Occupy MMORPG! We are the 99%!" JK


    It's hard to let go - to think back on our earlier days and not be rosey eyed. Entire genres that I loved growning up no longer really exist - space combat sims!

    Sure, there will be "other" ideas that challenge the WoW conventions - but will they be successful? Millions are still playing and enjoying the WoW model.

    Only time will tell.

  • emikochanemikochan StaffordPosts: 283Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Jowen

    Hi. I'm an EVE'r. Dunno what you're talking about.

    Yep. Feels good to be on top :)


    That said, Has the writer ever played fps? Compare S4 league to COD and say they are "basically the same game" There is loads of innovation in fps, especially in the mmo scene, Firefall and Dust514 are really mixing up the dynamic.


  • KyleranKyleran Paradise City, FLPosts: 20,439Member Rare

    I think it all comes down to the end game.

    I'm bored with the standard theme park model of level up until cap, grind instanced PVP zones and PvE dungeons for gear and esoteric rewards.

    My needs are simple, bring back an end game that involves territiory / resource control, a la DAOC, Lineage 2 or even EVE (though I realize in EVE it's all just end game)

    What I want in MMORPG's isn't really innovative, it just has been under utilized in recent years and IMO has never realized the full potential that they could have.  (outside of poorly made Indie titles such as DF or MO)



    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    I don't play games, I inhabit virtual worlds™
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • ThorbrandThorbrand West Palm Beach, FLPosts: 1,198Member

    It is inevitable for MMOs to become stale when they are now targetting casual gamers who want it easier and easier every year. The content keeps getting less and less because of this and of course everyone has forgotten that true MMOs don't have a endgame. People need to remember this.

    The only why to save MMOs is to go back to what they where WOW vanilla and before.

  • DaddyDarkDaddyDark MoscowPosts: 138Member

    I am absolutely sure that the genre will evolve further and I am looking forward to it. WoW was a win because of it being more convenient vs. previous games: easy leveling (though a bit too long for my taste) and straight combat system, fast traveling (yeah it is damn slow, but if you ever traveled on foot in Ultima online cause your horse got perma-killed by the basilisc - you would know that WoW speeded it up a bit), capital hubs and auction houses (there was player driven market in Ultima, but you would have to go through like 20 shops to find what you want) ect. Those are only a few of the things WoW made more convenient... not to tell it had user UI support, which made it even better...  and I love all those convenience things, but WoW also limited the genre by setting up strict hierarchy of activities: Raiding > Arenas > Endgame PvP - Heroics.  There is no housing, no player customisation, few emotions and options to socialise. Crafting is totally degraded to being something secondary vs. grind. There is no roleplaying (well some players try to). When you hit max level - all you can actually do is grinding and farming some gear. Gear means everything - which is certanly something I hate to see in MMO.  

    I agree that the only solution is to go back to the roots of roleplaying, but not in a sense of making it a sandbox experience again, no. I want all the convenience features. But there still lots of unexplored rpg areas, which might be made into parallel and equalt important endgame features:

    1) Housing

    2) Crafting

    3) Character customisation and social features like in social MMOs

    4) Adventuring (there is no sense of adventure in WoW - you just constantly engage in combat). Adventuring opens up lots of space for non-combat skills. Classical AD&D examples include traveling and  overcoming obstacles (like rogue swimming on the other side of the river to set up the bridge), communication (e.g. bard talking locals into helping the party), all sorts of non-combat magical staff... examples are limitless. I don't mean you should make every river in game an obstacle - just make some random adventures which players can take like instances, but wich would put players up against much more than combat. This will be a very entertaining experience by itself, especially if those advenures will be random.

    Also I would like removing endgame objectives hierarchy and lowering importance of gear: WHY everybody should participate in raiding? Most people prefer playing in small groups of 2-4 players!!!  Why the newcomers who have no good gear should suffer because better geared players who've been longer in the game are prefered?? It makes no sense. There are different types of players who enjoy different things - make all of them happy, by giving their preferences equal rights.

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