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[Column] General: Forgetting the Multiplayer Bit

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,610MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Any more these days, it seems that MMOs are developed, not for the MM part, but more for the single-player "O" part. In our latest Tingle's Touchy Subjects, we take a look at why that may be happening and why that is a bad idea. Read on before heading to the comments to chat!

For the first time in a very long time, I've actually enjoyed a MMORPG with another person. For a genre that has the word multiplayer in the title, it seems ironic that myself, and many others, play these games without uttering a single word. It's a lonely experience, but one made infinitely easy to approach with modern design and the, fairly, recent introductions of fates, rifts, and public quests.

Read more Tingle's Touchy Subjects: Forgetting the Multiplayer Bit.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • RobbgobbRobbgobb Dallas, TXPosts: 453Member Uncommon

    I mainly play solo. I have to say that I did the same in EQ and it worked fine most times as I tried to find people I could work well together with. DAoC was my game. I enjoyed the PvP which I don't like in mmos and I was US player that found out I worked better with EU players. Only left after the guild left for other games and I could not find a good replacement.

     

    EQ2 was one where I was playing and found a good guild I thought. There was real life drama but that is just life. I even found out that without the parsers and looking up online that I had actually picked a build that was one of if not the top build for my class except I used 1 extra ability. Guild got a guy in it that had been in top raid guilds and experience went down hill.

     

    I have not joined a guild since and played solo till tired of game and went somewhere else. I enjoyed FFXIV though could not play at the time. By time I could then the game was shut down. I have to say that I did know I would play ARR so I am still looking at FCs to find one that suits me. It is a world that is beautiful and relaxing to me. Probably be there for a while.

  • drakolasdrakolas Plymouth, MNPosts: 35Member Uncommon

    I've thought about this a lot, especially with WoW. Using the LFG tool I'd constantly do instances with people I had never met without anyone ever speaking a word somehow, just zerging on forward with our roles. I used to enjoy raiding in vanilla WoW, but even then I was more of a loner. I prefer smaller groups because I usually make a few friends while playing, but not 20+ that all like to do the same thing and can be on at the same time.

    I'd like a game more based around smaller groups so I can just gather up a few friends and go for it rather than being forced to raid for my loot with many people I don't care for as if it's a job. That many people feels too crowded and zergy and makes it not as fun to communicate over voice chat I feel. A lot of other people seem to still enjoy the raid environment, but I'm personally sick to death of it.

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    Everything you wrote, I am under the same circumstances. Friends with consoles, quitting after lvl 30, playing any new game yet solo..... the " bad " old days forced people to be a little nicer and more willing to work with you. I have pretty much given up. Im buying a next gen console Ps4, I sold off my pc equipment, and right now I am playing D3 on ps3 by myself. My irl friends won't play any thing but cod, so they are getting ps4's too and cod ghosts. I of course will join them, but thank God that some mmorpg's are coming to the ps4 too. Otherwise probably would have gave up for good, but more importantly maybe I can get them to play some mmorpg's finally.
  • raykorraykor Seattle, WAPosts: 326Member

    Despite the current wisdom, I believe people absolutely want and enjoy the “MM part.”  We are very social beings—even the most unsocial of us.  This is why the genre as a whole has grown so much.  I, for one, gave up playing single player games years ago once I experienced MMOGs.

    What many people DON’T want is the traditional method of forcing people to socialize into dungeon grinding/raiding groups to advance.  For some people, just sitting in a major city and reading general chat is their definition of socializing.  For others, crafting items and selling them on the auction house satisfies their need to socialize.  The open style of public grouping found in games like Warhammer, Rift, and GW2 was a good start but MMOGs are definitely all about socializing and developers just need to expand their definition of the concept.

  • DrakephireDrakephire Fontana, CAPosts: 445Member Uncommon

    You lost me half way through this...I guess I don't understand why you were having trouble grouping in other MMOs? Or why that grouping wasn't fun.

    I have no trouble grouping in the MMOs I play. And often they are fun, especially with guild members. 

    So I get the sneaking suspicion that this blog is advocating forced grouping because some people lack the social skills to make friends in MMOs?

  • DoozerglueDoozerglue Glendale, AZPosts: 38Member
    Originally posted by raykor

    Despite the current wisdom, I believe people absolutely want and enjoy the “MM part.”  We are very social beings—even the most unsocial of us.  This is why the genre as a whole has grown so much.  I, for one, gave up playing single player games years ago once I experienced MMOGs.

    What many people DON’T want is the traditional method of forcing people to socialize into dungeon grinding/raiding groups to advance.  For some people, just sitting in a major city and reading general chat is their definition of socializing.  For others, crafting items and selling them on the auction house satisfies their need to socialize.  The open style of public grouping found in games like Warhammer, Rift, and GW2 was a good start but MMOGs are definitely all about socializing and developers just need to expand their definition of the concept.

    eh, if I wanted to socialize in one spot, there are many other free outlets I can use, and even incorporate into my game playing.   Crafting, playing the market, gathering, are one thing, but sitting in a major city waiting for your queue to pop, so you can mindlessly farm instances, all the while trolling the trade channel telling Chuck Norris or mom jokes.... doesn't appeal to me. That's why I quit playing games that offer that experience.  I am very thankful for games like WoW, GW2, EQ, and now Final Fantasy, because they keep those type of people out of the games I enjoy.

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,762Member Uncommon
    Modern MMOs are solo ezMMO's built for solo play, so it is hardly surprising they do not feel multiplayer any more.
  • AzureblazeAzureblaze Cotati, CAPosts: 133Member
    Yay Adam! Glad you are having fun with a game. I've started playing ARR with a few friends of mine and my brother and we are all pretty into it. My brother plays with the xbox controller, from the PC and enjoys it.
  • LustmordLustmord Mt. Gilead, OHPosts: 1,095Member Uncommon
    I haven't played FFXIV, but I can say Darkfall:Unholy Wars- despite what anyone on these forums complains about- brings back the MMO to the MMORPG.
  • scarlettxscarlettx Phoenix, AZPosts: 30Member
    Originally posted by drakolas

    I've thought about this a lot, especially with WoW. Using the LFG tool I'd constantly do instances with people I had never met without anyone ever speaking a word somehow, just zerging on forward with our roles. I used to enjoy raiding in vanilla WoW, but even then I was more of a loner. I prefer smaller groups because I usually make a few friends while playing, but not 20+ that all like to do the same thing and can be on at the same time.

    I'd like a game more based around smaller groups so I can just gather up a few friends and go for it rather than being forced to raid for my loot with many people I don't care for as if it's a job. That many people feels too crowded and zergy and makes it not as fun to communicate over voice chat I feel. A lot of other people seem to still enjoy the raid environment, but I'm personally sick to death of it.

    Well said, Drakolas. I was a bit shell-shocked when I joined WoW (prompted by my adoration of The Guild web series), only to discover that the social aspect of the game was nothing like I'd expected. LFG instances where no one spoke to each-other; huge guilds where people barely knew each-other's names and newbs were summarily ignored; general chat filled with spam and smack talk; it was all pretty disappointing. I had better luck when a few friends and I decided to roll new toons and start our own guild from the get-go, but even then the socializing was all insular and without evenly paced leveling, it was back to LFG for instance grinding. Same old, same old.

    A smaller group oriented MMO sounds like my flavor too; that's what landed me on MMORPG.com actually, looking for something apart from the WoW experience. It's tricky being a primarily solo RPG'er in an MMO world, but I like to think the two can mix with the best aspects of both worlds.

  • blbetablbeta elkhart, INPosts: 79Member Uncommon

    I forge alone a lot.  I enjoy the solo aspect of MMOs.  Sorry but most non MMOs don't have the world size or complexity of the MMO.

     

    What I miss is the good old days of being able to solo, but finding areas that would be much more fun with my friends.  I started my MMO experience with Asheron's Call.  A lot of it could be soloed, but was much more fun and quicker to bring friends along.

     

    A lot of the soloing I do today is because my buds are busy with life away from games.  That is just how it goes, especially as we age.  I am still waiting on a new MMO where I can tell them they MUST play this.

     

    Never have a been a huge fan of forced grouping, but some isn't bad.  I like "suggested" grouping content so I can test my soloing prowess.

     
  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,444Member Uncommon

    Well imo FFXI did the whole MMO thing the best and by a longshot.

    They start you out solo and needing to learn your class as nothing comes easy.Then instead of an altaholic game you can play all other classes aside from some needing level 30 to unlock.Allowing one to play ALL classes  solo before getting into group play really allows players to understand the entire game and what other players are doing in a group.

    Ok so they got the start right but they did not stop there,they still designed some spells/abilities/classes to solo if you so desire.They still kept grouping as the most important role in the game but soloing was quite doable on say a Beastmaster class.The design was so good that even the solo classes could function in a group and not ruin the combat or dumb it down.

    Imo when games have players play solo 90% of the time,then the other 10% those players are not going to be very good at grouping,since they never do it.Also those altoholic games leaves players with no clue as to what other classes are doing,so they really do not even understand the whole group function.

    I laugh at games that use hate meters,i feel it is a lazy way to keep players from learning their class and how to function in a group.

    I feel the whole topic of solo-group is hit n miss,i feel sometimes developers just don't have a clue how to design a mmo and other times,they simply find the solo design to be easier,to which it is.I feel that unless you design a game to be fully group oriented as in FFXI,you ruin combat.You can't have it both ways,either the combat needs a well organized group or it is simple and solo combat.Scaling is NOT a fix it,it is a cheap way to design a sloppy combat system.

     


    Samoan Diamond

  • IaenvoyIaenvoy Needles, CAPosts: 6Member

    Say whatever excuse you wish to help you sleep at night, but the fact remains that Anonymous Disrespect rules the MMO world. A person on the other side of a connection can say or do whatever in a game without repercussion. I have done it and it has been done to me. From the big things to the little things. Ruining a dungeon group, posting items in the AH for outrageous prices, preventing someone from getting a gear piece by rolling need on something you dont need. If I cant enjoy a game for the content. neither will you. It has went from enjoying a game through game content to trolling another person's game for self gratification. THIS is why MMOs are leaning more toward solo content with an option to group. Players are tired of it and providers want money from subscriptions. So... enjoy the gaming community every one of you helped create by leaving a group in the middle of a fight or charging someone for pixels on a screen...

  • sketocafesketocafe StoupaPosts: 801Member Uncommon
    I always fall on the side of grouping being far better on this topic. The things that cause ME to not stick around longer than a month are always the design decisions that promote solo play and the conveniences that cause community to suffer.
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by Drakephire
    You lost me half way through this...I guess I don't understand why you were having trouble grouping in other MMOs? Or why that grouping wasn't fun.I have no trouble grouping in the MMOs I play. And often they are fun, especially with guild members. So I get the sneaking suspicion that this blog is advocating forced grouping because some people lack the social skills to make friends in MMOs?
    Not trying to answer for Adam, but for me, there is a difference between grouping and interacting. Most groups today consist of maybe a "Hi." at the beginning and a "bye." at the end, if that much.

    Interaction consists of joke telling, witty banter, fun debates, and general "get to know others" kind of talk/chat. The kind of chat that often times blossoms into an online friendship and getting to know others in the game.

    Of course grouping with guildies is fun. I hope that is why you joined the guild in the first place. Do you get the same kind of experience with a pick up group (PUG) or through a looking for group (LFG) tool?

    But, this is more of a player attitude problem than a game mechanic problem. Most players are in so much of a hurry that actual socializing is considered boring and non-productive.

    - 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

  • GruugGruug Chillicothe, ILPosts: 1,311Member Uncommon
    I personally find myself playing (whenever I play an MMO) solo. Not because I don't like to play with others but because I prefer to only play with the people I know. Unfortunately, we (my friends and I) don't always have the same play schedule. That means that I can choose to play solo or play with people I don't care to play with. Based upon my experiences, most of those odd pick up groups are just that...odd. You get all kinds of players and many times NOT the kind I even wish to associate with. So, the long and short  of it is, MMO's have to have the ability to let me play solo AND with friends when I choose.

    Let's party like it is 1863!

  • AhnogAhnog Keller, TXPosts: 231Member Uncommon
    There is no lack of MM out there. Introverts simply have a hard time joining in.

    Ahnog

    Hokey religions are no replacement for a good blaster at your side.

  • AyliosAylios EguisheimPosts: 1Member
    Originally posted by raykor

    Despite the current wisdom, I believe people absolutely want and enjoy the “MM part.”  We are very social beings—even the most unsocial of us.  This is why the genre as a whole has grown so much.  I, for one, gave up playing single player games years ago once I experienced MMOGs.

    What many people DON’T want is the traditional method of forcing people to socialize into dungeon grinding/raiding groups to advance.  For some people, just sitting in a major city and reading general chat is their definition of socializing.  For others, crafting items and selling them on the auction house satisfies their need to socialize.  The open style of public grouping found in games like Warhammer, Rift, and GW2 was a good start but MMOGs are definitely all about socializing and developers just need to expand their definition of the concept.

    Well said, basically there are as many ways to interact with other people as one can think of, even just doing /wave /thank is interaction and for many people that kind of interaction beats the join guild, do raids schema that counts as the sum total of the social model in some mmorpgs. 

     
  • AyulinAyulin Mt marion, NYPosts: 334Member

    I spent a good chunk of my day yesterday (a lazy Sunday afternoon/evening with nothing else to do... ahhhh...) running around in The Secret World with my Cabal-mates, doing Lairs, summoning Lair Bosses... then moving on to the next Lair, doing the same thing... eventually getting a couple Regional Lair Bosses to take down. It was an awesome time. Lots of chatting, joking around, discussing gaming and other topics (pancakes!).

     

    And really, while the fights themselves were fun, the areas quite challenging (had to really watch your step in several spots), and the loot was nice... It was the fun discussions and cool people that made it most fun.

     

    I could have done (and have done) similar things with a group of largely anti-social, humorless people, some of whom get angry if you get "too chatty" because you're "slowing things down" and they're not getting their loot as fast as they want. We've all seen the statements, like "less blabbing, more killing", thrown around by people who seem to have been born without the "personality" gene. Those situations have always been short-lived, and quite unmemorable for me. Even if it's the same kind of activity as I mentioned above. The people really make or break the experience in a big way.

     

    And the thing is, it's always been this way. It's not nostalgia goggles to mention it. It was true, and apparently... it still is.

     

    But, so long as the genre remains so highly populated by people who want to be lone wolves and detest any kind of socialization outside of asking for help when they need it, those  fun, social experiences will be the minority, it seems.

     

    Makes me all the more thankful to have found such an awesome group of people in TSW. My experiences are always enjoyable.

     
  • jfoytekjfoytek tigard, ORPosts: 150Member

    I couldn't agree more!!!

     

    Ultima Online, SWG before NGE and a few other games....

     

    Had something you just cant find anymore!!!!

     

    Real Solid Crafting With Vendor Houses and a reason for crafters to be....  I would spend hours standing around in Britannia making Armor and repairing armor for customers those were some of my fondest days in UO long before Trammel, when PKers routinely robbed everyone and if you got a 1000 gold back to the bank it was a good day... I experienced a very similar time period inside of SWG...

     

    In todays games you have an Auction House which takes away from all of the wonderful nuances of running a great online business that creates great online community!  As every can undercut each other at the tip of a button and there is no need to develop relationships with crafters...

     

    The lack of open world PVP has also made most games today lacking in risk vrs reward...  people are quite frankly rich and can usually afford to toss there in game credits away on whatever they see in the auction house!  With no risk and no feeling of accomplishment!

    And then toss in the LFG features and communication is something that is no longer needed, unless you accidentally did something to ruin a boss fight and you deflect that problem on the OMFG terrible TANK that can hold AGRO, what a noob you should just become sterile now and save the world a host of problems!!!!  Rant you just pulled on some random joe you don't know from adam and will never see again cause he isn't even on your same server and even if he were what could he do there is no open world pvp anyway...

     

    I have been waiting patiently for the Sand Box to return where imagination creates the end game content.... and we don't need a new expansion every 6 months to keep us playing because the economy and community makes everyday a new adventure!!!

     

    A return to the days of Ultima Online Pre Trammel....

    UO,Shadowbane,SWG,Darkfall,MO,Wurm Online,Secretworld,GW,GW2,PotBS,LotR,Atlantica Online,WWII Online,WoT,Battlestar Galactica,Planetside2,Perpetuum,Fallen Earth,Runescape,WoW,Eve,Xsylon,Dragon Prophet, Salem

  • LungingWolfLungingWolf Valdosta, GAPosts: 73Member

    Originally posted by raykor

    Despite the current wisdom, I believe people absolutely want and enjoy the “MM part.”  We are very social beings—even the most unsocial of us.  This is why the genre as a whole has grown so much.  I, for one, gave up playing single player games years ago once I experienced MMOGs.

    What many people DON’T want is the traditional method of forcing people to socialize into dungeon grinding/raiding groups to advance.  For some people, just sitting in a major city and reading general chat is their definition of socializing.  For others, crafting items and selling them on the auction house satisfies their need to socialize.  The open style of public grouping found in games like Warhammer, Rift, and GW2 was a good start but MMOGs are definitely all about socializing and developers just need to expand their definition of the concept.


      

    Very logical and well said, raykor.

    Waiting for: Citadel of Sorcery. Along the way, The Elder Scrolls Online (when it is F2P).

    Keeping an eye on: www.play2crush.com (whatever is going on here).

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