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[Column] General: An Open Letter to the Game Industry

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe CitadelMMORPG.COM Staff Posts: 21,443 Epic

The ongoing conversation among MMO gamers is whether or not their favorite titles have become to "dumbed down" and casual. In an open letter to the gaming industry, we vent on the issues that vex us the most in an attempt to make our voices heard. Read on and then add anything we missed in the comments.

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m not so happy, myself. In fact, I’m downright unhappy; that is to say, vexed, cheesed and more than a little miffed. With you.

Now, we go back a long time, you and I. From those heady early days of Pong, when one could find joy in the movements of rectangles and squares across the TV screen, through text-based adventures, quarter-sucking arcade games and beyond. Today our romance continues through the many-splendored landscape of many an MMO. We’ve had a good ride.

Read more of Lisa Jonte's Fair Game: An Open Letter to the Game Industry.

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Why for you no heal us in last raid?


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Comments

  • bleakravenbleakraven BredaMember Posts: 25 Uncommon
    It's true, all of it... Just wait for the next generation of game developers to change it :)
  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAMember Posts: 429 Uncommon

    OP - in other words - return to the beginning days of MMOs where you had to search all day to find a quest, grind for hour after hour after hour to get resources, spam chat ad nauseum to find a group and make playing much harder. Cheer up, you are getting your wish as I read more and more MMO developers are turning towards exactly what you are suggesting.

    Ever since WOW was released it has been a battle between hard core and casual. Casual won out and now the worm is turning. The cost - casuals will start leaving MMOs. The hard core will sing praises in triumph until the game companies start closing MMOs because they are not making enough money. There was a reason why there were so few MMOs before WOW. I hope, for the hard core sake, that the remaining games will be everything that they expect.

     

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAMember Posts: 20,722 Epic

    a game filled with naked, giggling nymphs who engage in jiggly pillow fights at every level gain, and set it in the magical land of Boobitopia

    I'm sorry but where can I download this?

     

    otherwise, I pretty much agree with most of your article. I don't mind added levels though, never have as I (for some reason) enjoy leveling.

  • DerangedcowbrainDerangedcowbrain Tucson, AZMember Posts: 56 Uncommon

    Well written, and I mostly agree. I don't think adding levels is an issue though, especially if I'm attached to a character. However, it's hard to get attached to a character these days when thinking of the issues you have addressed. I have found almost no games of late that I feel immersed, feel a part of the game landscape and feel like it mattered if my character was there or not.

     

    DCB

  • TimEisenTimEisen Columnist Member Posts: 2,584 Uncommon
  • firefly2003firefly2003 Los Angeles, CAMember Posts: 2,517 Uncommon
    I think you won't get any argument out of me regarding this article, pretty much my feelings as well :)

  • lugallugal Escondido, CAMember Posts: 660 Uncommon
    Good letter OP. I fully agree with all you said. Now you pen a letter to the game media telling them not to sell their integrity and hose the gamers, whom look to you guys for unbiased reviews of games, which seems to be a thing of past now.

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    The reviewer has a mishapen head
    Which means his opinion is skewed
    ...Aldous.MF'n.Huxley

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingMember Posts: 3,458 Uncommon

    Well written, extra thanks for the offline leveling part, I'm bashing that concept since AoC introduced the "start at 50" and "offline levels every 4 days" options years ago... (back in the subscription era, before they went f2p)

     

    Too bad the industry won't read it, and what's even worse, I'm not convinced it's not a justified decision if they want their developement money back... I mean no wonder you can see "dumbification" in every genre, and with a massive praise I might add  (just look at Last of us, the whole gaming press is in awe - for an interactive movie with a few QTE's...), so probably it's not a coincidence, maybe a big part of the playerbase IS really that dumb.

    I was in Neverwinter a lot (good test subject, it's a new game, action game, and free) during the beta-closing event, it was hilarious / shocking a lot of times... I mean, there are threads here about how wikis, guides and other webpages ruined our good old gaming experience - well, turned out many players don't read even those pages. Heck, they don't read what's the game telling and showing them :) and Neverwinter does a really good work with hand-helding, the game could be a perfect example for your 3rd paragraph (3. Back away with the training wheels and no one gets hurt. ), so if players have problems in there, then the situation is really really bad.

     

    I'm not sure there's a solution. Companies should go after big numbers, and veteran players became the minority during the years. If the new players want quick and easy fun, the industry will give them, whether we like it or not. Not a bright future I guess...

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARMember Posts: 2,697

    Well for starters scientists have done studies which have shown that the human race is in fact getting less intelligent as the years march on. So in a sense society has, and will continue to, become increasingly moronic. Unfortunately that is the truth.

    The other part to #1 doesn't even have to do with intelligence. It is that so many gamers have become so lazy. If you release an MMO that doesn't put marks over NPCs heads (or on the map) and doesn't tell players exactly where to go for the quest, generally now by showing it on the map, as well as make the goal item or mob glow so as to know exactly which thing to interact with at the area it directed you to.... they would fail. That is right, the game would fail. The companies are held hostage in making games lazy and stupid because they will lose money if they don't. Your letter should be to the current gamers, not the companies. Companies react to the markets. Consumers drive the markets.

     

     

  • OpapanaxOpapanax Rochester, NYMember Posts: 973

    Seems legit..

    /signed

    PM before you report at least or you could just block.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingMember Posts: 3,458 Uncommon
    Originally posted by SnarlingWolf
    Companies react to the markets. Consumers drive the markets.

    While I sadly agree (and researches agree as well), there was a great german movie toying with the idea of the opposite (Free Rainer - Dein Fernseher lügt).

    In it a guy gathered a team and start to manipulate the tv ratings to favor good movies, lectures, and pulling down reality shows, crap talk shows, etc. Sadly it's only fiction and wouldn't work in reality :)

     

    Just put it here because usually there are opinions that if companies would make better games (as in harder, more thoughtful, more challenging ones), the playerbase would follow. Well, not. They would simply jump onto an easier one which they like. Consumers dictate, especially on a heavily cramped market like mmo's.

  • RobbgobbRobbgobb Dallas, TXMember Posts: 465 Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    a game filled with naked, giggling nymphs who engage in jiggly pillow fights at every level gain, and set it in the magical land of Boobitopia I'm sorry but where can I download this?

     

    I think it is called Scarlet Blade or something. Everyone is a female in skimpy outfits.

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARMember Posts: 2,697
    Originally posted by Robbgobb   I think it is called Scarlet Blade or something. Everyone is a female in skimpy outfits.

     

     Your icon only does one slash and yet an X appears. It has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation, I just thought I'd throw that out there as it distracted me enough to want to post about it.

  • DestaiDestai Detroit, MIMember Posts: 574

    @OP - I mostly agree with you. I enjoy the exploration that older games. I enjoyed the wonder of finding new lands and not knowing every detail ahead of time. It was nice not having everything spelled out. 

     

    The current generation has refined some things however. Namely, developing grouping tools, make character development clearer, and providing a wider variety of content. 

     

    There are so many interconnected problems, that it's hard to identify the source of MMORPGs' cultural decline. As you mentioned, the breadcrumb trails and fedex quests are indicative of an impatient culture. Yet, companies keep rewarding it. 

     

    It's so odd that you mentioned LoTRO. They are precisiely what's wrong with the genre. It was a great game that's become a nickel-and-diming fest. It's a combination of what's wrong with the old school games - convoluted systems, grindy progression, and what's wrong with the new - paying to advance or have fun. 

     

    MMORPGs are turning into casinos. Character development is nill. And we keep paying money for the decline of a genre with great potential. 

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAMember Posts: 3,828 Common

    I am both laughing and crying here. I especially enjoyed the 3 Stooges pic and caption :)

    A great article that I find myself nodding my head more and more the further I read.

    Add my sig to the bottom of the letter :)

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • MaquiameMaquiame Member Posts: 1,043 Uncommon
    double post

    image

    Any mmo worth its salt should be like a good prostitute when it comes to its game world- One hell of a faker, and a damn good shaker!

  • MaquiameMaquiame Member Posts: 1,043 Uncommon

     

     

     

     


     

    I've been saying it forever and I am going to say it again. The time for a premium high quality luxury service mmo is now. We have it in every other product out there. I am willing to pay 30 dollars a month for GM events, no training wheels, RP enforced servers, FFA supported servers, and every other server time under the son. Give me intelligent npc AI and no low spec graphics, constant content updates, real story writers who write adult content and nobody allowed to play under the age of 21 and no cash shop ever. I don't want to play with the cheapskates, or the kids or those who can't afford 30 a month. They have plenty of things to play out there.

    Honestly I'm tired of this industry punishing me because I am an adult gamer. Hell honestly I could pay 50 dollars a month if you throw in a constant evolving damageable world with shifting continents, weather patterns and real AI for your flora and fauna. When I want  a better car than everyone else I buy a Lexus or even better yet a Rolls Royce.  Worried about development costs? Do a demo put that ish on Kickstarter and let the early adopters buy their way in with their support. Make the players part of the entire process from beginning to end. Where the hell is the damn Rolls Royce of mmos?

    image

    Any mmo worth its salt should be like a good prostitute when it comes to its game world- One hell of a faker, and a damn good shaker!

  • MaquiameMaquiame Member Posts: 1,043 Uncommon
    Originally posted by Maquiame
    double post  

     

    image

    Any mmo worth its salt should be like a good prostitute when it comes to its game world- One hell of a faker, and a damn good shaker!

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCMember Posts: 4,818

    Point 4 really should be about everything not just that one issue you all seem to be so hung up about here. If it's not an open world don't call it an open world. If it's not about pvp don't make it seem like it is.

    Trying to fool people into trying a game by making it look like something it's not is only going to give your game more very vocal haters. Focus on what your game is and sell it on that.

     

    And about too easy. I can't really say I hate map markers for quests. If they're going to have boring volume quests I don't want to go find them all. If they had a few quality ones that took time that would be different. but...the games are too damn easy. If I can solo form 0 to max lvl and never go below 50% health your game was built for a retard. So don't be surprised when that's all you end up with as a player base.

  • TribeofOneTribeofOne Wellford, SCMember Posts: 1,006 Uncommon
    How about leaving these features alone for those of us that use and enjoy them and instead why dont the rest of you show some freakin self discipline and restraint and CHOOSE NOT TO USE THEM
  • eric_w66eric_w66 North Richland Hills, TXMember Posts: 1,006 Uncommon
    I gave up playing games as a 2nd job back in my EQ1 days. In most games, you can turn off quest markers and the auth path to objective stuff. I can't play 6+ hours a night waiting to find the right group doing the thing I want to do... sitting around spamming chats "LFG for solb!" wasn't that much fun.
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAMember Posts: 3,828 Common


    Originally posted by TribeofOne
    How about leaving these features alone for those of us that use and enjoy them and instead why dont the rest of you show some freakin self discipline and restraint and CHOOSE NOT TO USE THEM
    Do they need to be in 80-90% of every MMORPG made today?

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • TribeofOneTribeofOne Wellford, SCMember Posts: 1,006 Uncommon
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky
      Originally posted by TribeofOne
    How about leaving these features alone for those of us that use and enjoy them and instead why dont the rest of you show some freakin self discipline and restraint and CHOOSE NOT TO USE THEM
    Do they need to be in 80-90% of every MMORPG made today?

     

    yes. more option and choices is always better. seriously if you dont like a feature dont use it. why punish or deny everyone else because you have no self control

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILMember Posts: 6,403
    Originally posted by Maquiame

    Hell honestly I could pay 50 dollars a month if you throw in a constant evolving damageable world with shifting continents, weather patterns and real AI for your flora and fauna.

    Terra has all of those features. Well, the AI is pretty weak, but improving quickly, give it a few years. Ok if we just stick with the fauna for now?

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARMember Posts: 2,697
    Originally posted by TribeofOne
    Originally posted by AlBQuirky
      Originally posted by TribeofOne
    How about leaving these features alone for those of us that use and enjoy them and instead why dont the rest of you show some freakin self discipline and restraint and CHOOSE NOT TO USE THEM
    Do they need to be in 80-90% of every MMORPG made today?

     

    yes. more option and choices is always better. seriously if you dont like a feature dont use it. why punish or deny everyone else because you have no self control

     That is always an extremely wrong way of trying to argue for features.

    Players are not going to put themselves at a handicap or detriment when compared to other players. For a lot of MMO gamers there is a level of competing with your fellow player. You will never enforce a harsh death penalty on yourself (deleting items or even rerolling upon death) if others don't have to do it because you will always be far behind them.

    Self control has absolutely nothing to do with it at all. Players want an even playing field with other players. It is just that they'd like to see an MMO here or there that has that even playing field including tougher death penalties and no hand holding. In a single player game that kind of stuff happens all the time. A gamer puts harsher penalties on themselves to make the game more interesting. But in an MMO it is rare because it fundamentally doesn't make any sense due to having a world filled with other gamers who can prosper by not using those same self enforced limitations.

    As I said before, it won't happen from a major publisher because players have already dictated the market. They went easy as all hell, fully guided, no thought involved games. An indie developer here and there will occasionally try to put out an MMO that is a lot harsher and involves using your brain, but it will always be niche this day and age just like movies that involve any level of intellect.

     

     

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