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[Column] General: The Decline of MMORPGs

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,585MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Give me a moment to get down dirty and all controversial. Think of this statement as a written, MMO-centric cousin to the Miley Cyrus 'twerk' or even the last howl of a man with nothing left to lose. Ready? The MMORPG genre is in decline. I'm sensing a thousand crazy eyes glaring in my direction, but like an intrepid adventurer I'll continue to pose my declaration of war. 

Read more Tingle's Touchy Subjects: The Decline of MMORPGs.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • LobotomistLobotomist ZagrebPosts: 5,050Member Uncommon
    Clap , clap ! ... Always great editorials, Adam !

    image

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    Hmmm.  Back in the day, there was the idea that MMORPGs could become virtual worlds in time.  People dreamed of it.  That promise never materialized with MMORPGs.  But then, it never materialized anywhere else.  I remember there being a big hullabulloo about VRML and how people were going to create virtual worlds there too, but it never happened.

    I think the decline in MMORPGs can be linked to the decline in the widespread commercial viability of virtual worlds.  There's widespread commercial viability in games, but not worlds.  Figure out how to make worlds something you can make money off of, whether or not they are in games, and you'll see a resurgence in MMORPGs as worlds.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,980Member Uncommon

    Preach on brother!! 

    More to come after lunch image

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    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

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    I'd like to know how a genre that goes up in population and up in profit every year is in decline ? Driving towards a cliff ...maybe. But till to actually goes off that's just an opinion.

    What I notice most about the genre is how much stock people put into forums. This is what everyone thinks, and everyone is somehow represented by what you read here......really ?

    The market is evolving to represent what people are willing to pay for. That leaves a lot of people out. They are bored with what the genre has to offer and they are VERY vocal about it. Nothing about the actual numbers indicates they are a majority representing what " most" people want. The complaint department is full of people who are unhappy with what they bought...that doesn't mean the store is as well.

    When a poll on this site has 200 votes and people can sit back saying see the evidence is in ...this is what people want! you have to wonder about someones math skills. 400 million people play " mmos" and 200 votes on a notoriously negative troll site tell you "most" people think this ?

  • WereLlamaWereLlama Lubbock, TXPosts: 243Member

    I think the next big thing is asynchronous game play.  Its very hard to connect with friends and family in a game when were all on different schedules.  Once we figure that out, like Facebook did and Zynga started to, online games will become bigger and more integrated into our lives.

     

  • rodingorodingo Posts: 2,346Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    I'd like to know how a genre that goes up in population and up in profit every year is in decline ? Driving towards a cliff ...maybe. But till to actually goes off that's just an opinion.

    What I notice most about the genre is how much stock people put into forums. This is what everyone thinks, and everyone is somehow represented by what you read here......really ?

    The market is evolving to represent what people are willing to pay for. That leaves a lot of people out. They are bored with what the genre has to offer and they are VERY vocal about it. Nothing about the actual numbers indicates they are a majority representing what " most" people want. The complaint department is full of people who are unhappy with what they bought...that doesn't mean the store is as well.

    When a poll on this site has 200 votes and people can sit back saying see the evidence is in ...this is what people want! you have to wonder about someones math skills. 400 million people play " mmos" and 200 votes on a notoriously negative troll site tell you "most" people think this ?

    +100

    I think what you wrote here Damon should be posted as an article as well.  Tired of seeing doom and gloom, and "woe is me" threads about MMO decline and yet these are the same people clamoring for more of the same looming on the horizon in the forms of ESO and Wildstar. 

    "If I offended you, you needed it" -Corey Taylor

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member

    If you were right Vanguard and EvE Online would be the two most popular MMORPGs, and the subscription model would still be the de facto standard.

    So, you're not...

    Only thing in decline is my patience for the flame-bait "journalism" on this site.

    I guess you are writing to your intended audience, the rose colored glasses / teary-eyed nostalgia chasers who seem to overpopulate this site.

     

    If you said music and television were in decline, I'd agree with you, as almost everything out there sucks.

    But MMORPGs? I am a firm believer that there is a game out there that caters to EVERYONE, not one game for everyone but a game for each person's tastes so to speak.

    Kind of sucks that most of the ones that cater to the MMORPG.com bandwagon are so poor quality, barely or not AAA products.

    Vote with your wallets, just like the rest of the genre has done over the past 10+ years leading us to this current GOLDEN AGE, and go vote (pay) for EvE or Vanguard or drop money into Repopulation, Star Citizen, Pantheon, try and snag a Chinese/Russian client for Archeage, etc. etc.

    Just stop bitching, please!

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    I'd like to know how a genre that goes up in population and up in profit every year is in decline ? Driving towards a cliff ...maybe. But till to actually goes off that's just an opinion.

    What I notice most about the genre is how much stock people put into forums. This is what everyone thinks, and everyone is somehow represented by what you read here......really ?

    The market is evolving to represent what people are willing to pay for. That leaves a lot of people out. They are bored with what the genre has to offer and they are VERY vocal about it. Nothing about the actual numbers indicates they are a majority representing what " most" people want. The complaint department is full of people who are unhappy with what they bought...that doesn't mean the store is as well.

    When a poll on this site has 200 votes and people can sit back saying see the evidence is in ...this is what people want! you have to wonder about someones math skills. 400 million people play " mmos" and 200 votes on a notoriously negative troll site tell you "most" people think this ?

    I don't think anyone could successfully argue that MMORPGs are in a financial decline.  I don't think they could argue against MMORPGs being a popular form of entertainment either.

    However, players saw what MMORPGs were capable of in 1999, and then imagined what they could be capable of in 2009 and beyond.  What they imagined was something that was unrelated to any sort of financial reality.  Fully immersive 3D worlds with intelligent AI and dynamic, living ecosystems.  Never mind that even at the start of the genre people mostly just wanted to kill stuff.  The potential was something that could only be imagined in a SciFi book or MMORPGs.  It didn't turn out that way.

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member
    Originally posted by DamonVile

     

    The market is evolving to represent what people are willing to pay for. That leaves a lot of people out. They are bored with what the genre has to offer and they are VERY vocal about it. Nothing about the actual numbers indicates they are a majority representing what " most" people want. The complaint department is full of people who are unhappy with what they bought...that doesn't mean the store is as well.

    It's funny though with a few exceptions you don't see people posting impassioned defenses of the new games. Maybe they're just too busy playing but even when people were playing EQ or are playing EVE Online they still find time to talk about how wonderful they are.

    GW2 is perhaps an exception to that but I see a lot fewer people bothering to praise and defend that game than there used to be.

     

    I'm not denying the new games are quite popular but they seem disposable. Even their fans just look at them as something they will play for a month or two before they move on. I wonder how sustainable that model is?

    I certainly agree that MMOS, quite apart of financial success or failure, haven't lived up to the potential I used to see in them and I don't think that's just rose colored glasses.

     

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones
     

    I don't think anyone could successfully argue that MMORPGs are in a financial decline.  I don't think they could argue against MMORPGs being a popular form of entertainment either.

    However, players saw what MMORPGs were capable of in 1999, and then imagined what they could be capable of in 2009 and beyond.  What they imagined was something that was unrelated to any sort of financial reality.  Fully immersive 3D worlds with intelligent AI and dynamic, living ecosystems.  Never mind that even at the start of the genre people mostly just wanted to kill stuff.  The potential was something that could only be imagined in a SciFi book or MMORPGs.  It didn't turn out that way.

    That's technological limitations not a failure to program the game the right way. Which makes that old saying all the more true, imagination is limitless knowledge is not.

    It isn't a matter of some people are doing it and others are not. No one has done it, so you can't really condemn them all because of it. If there was an mmo that offered a true living dynamic world with intelligent AI and everyone else was making what we have now...yes those other people have failed at making a game.

    Till someone actually does it, people are upset because real life isn't keeping up with their dreams...boohoo I wanted a spaceship and to fly around the universe bedding green women...that hasn't happened either.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member
    Originally posted by DamonVile
    Originally posted by lizardbones
     

    I don't think anyone could successfully argue that MMORPGs are in a financial decline.  I don't think they could argue against MMORPGs being a popular form of entertainment either.

    However, players saw what MMORPGs were capable of in 1999, and then imagined what they could be capable of in 2009 and beyond.  What they imagined was something that was unrelated to any sort of financial reality.  Fully immersive 3D worlds with intelligent AI and dynamic, living ecosystems.  Never mind that even at the start of the genre people mostly just wanted to kill stuff.  The potential was something that could only be imagined in a SciFi book or MMORPGs.  It didn't turn out that way.

    That's technological limitations not a failure to program the game the right way. Which makes that old saying all the more true, imagination is limitless knowledge is not.

    It isn't a matter of some people are doing it and others are not. No one has done it, so you can't really condemn them all because of it. If there was an mmo that offered a true living dynamic world with intelligent AI and everyone else was making what we have now...yes those other people have failed at making a game.

    Till someone actually does it, people are upset because real life isn't keeping up with their dreams...boohoo I wanted a spaceship and to fly around the universe bedding green women...that hasn't happened either.

    Well, I'm just explaining a point of view.  I didn't say it made sense.  Anyway, I'm not sure sleeping with green, alien women is a good idea.  They might be green because they are poison ivy.

     

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones

    However, players saw what MMORPGs were capable of in 1999, and then imagined what they could be capable of in 2009 and beyond.  What they imagined was something that was unrelated to any sort of financial reality.  Fully immersive 3D worlds with intelligent AI and dynamic, living ecosystems.  Never mind that even at the start of the genre people mostly just wanted to kill stuff.  The potential was something that could only be imagined in a SciFi book or MMORPGs.  It didn't turn out that way.

    Part of the fantasy is the unrealistic nature of it. Being able to do things in game one could not do in real life.

    The more you try and mimic real life by having intelligent AI and dynamic, living ecosystems and economics etc. etc. the less and less you leave to the "fantasy."

    Give me a sword and bow and I would not be Legolas, not even close without decades of training and mastery.

    But in a video game, I can live that fantasy immediately, hacking and slashing Orcs with glee.

    The games of old seemed so magical because they were in reality very, very simple in comparison to today's games.

    I mean, in UO unless you were a spell caster you could mostly get by with only using right click and left click.

    From what I know of original EQ (never played, thought it was garbage) you had maybe 3-4 abilities to use for some no caster classes.

    Simple systems allow for greater creativity and freedom, which I think developers are finally starting to realize.

    Players don't mind spamming the mouse button over and over and over and over again to attack or dig rock etc. if the content is engaging and interesting.

    If they've invested themselves into the game through creating their own goals and objectives.

    If the interactions with the game are simpler we can also have more of them. More variety. More choice. And more exploration.

    I mean, imagine a MMORPG where you could click and interact with EVERYTHING in the game in some way, but the only way you could interact with the world was with that click.

    No hotbars no macros no interface to hinder that pure, creative layer of interaction.

    The complexity MMOs have added in the past 10+ years has taken away from the adventure that is derived from the simplicity.

    Supporting evidence?

    See UO, EQ, AC1, and now Minecraft, Cubeworld, Trove, the entire MOBA genre, D3 style games, EQN (maybe, I think they MIGHT be on the same page as me here)

  • NephaeriusNephaerius Baltimore, MDPosts: 1,539Member Uncommon
    To the author, did you ever stop to think that maybe the issue is you and the other players that have grown bored?  I've been around since UO/EQ1 and while those older games may have things that make them special to me the reality is they weren't that much better.  If you eat oatmeal everyday for 100 years you get tired of oatmeal.  If you play MMO's everyday for 100 years you get bored of MMO's.  That's life. The people that don't are not the norm. It's not the games.  It's you. 

    Steam: Neph

  • Sajman01Sajman01 Rochester, NYPosts: 204Member
    This genre has become obsolete.

    MOBAs are essentially the best elements of MMO PvP consolidated into 40 minute blocks. Why would anyone dedicate months to being griefed by stats and levels in an open world PvP MMO when they can reset and start over on an even playing field every game in a MOBA?

    Story and solo play can be found elsewhere, there's no reason to look for that in this genre. Fallout 3 is one of the best games I've ever played. I've never played an MMO that delivered that experience or ever will deliver that experience. TESO won't even come close to Skyrim in terms of story and solo play.

    The one saving grace of this genre from the days of EQ/UO till even today has been the community, the large collection of players brought together with similar interests. But now thanks to sites like this one, video streaming sites like twitch and YouTube, and voips like TS and RC even the community element in MMOs has been replaced by better alternatives.

    There's nothing left. There's nothing you can get in this genre that a more specialized game or program can't do better.


  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member

    Genres all have peaks and valleys. When the FPS genre was invented, it also peaked and everyone loved them. That in turned caused every company to dive in and toss out FPS games as fast as they could. The genre became saturated with a ton of crap and interest waned. The genre never died, but it did dip into a valley and other genres gained focus.

     

    That in turn caused all the companies that dove into the genre hoping for quick bucks to turn to other genres. A new group of developers came in and revisited the genre and also reinvented it a bit.

     

    Now we are in a resurgence again where every CoD game breaks sales records of the one that came before, not to mention other games like Halo. This time all those companies who failed before (many of which ceased to exist all together) didn't dive back in because they see the history of how hard it actually is to make a successful MMO.

     

     

    MMOs peaked years ago and everyone rushed in to make their quick buck. The genre is saturated with unoriginal crap and more just keeps flowing in. The genre is slowing and will dip into a valley as other genres peak up and grab the attention (social/casual gaming being a big one growing quick). This will cause most of the companies to bow out of the MMO industry and then in the future some new ones will come along and revitalize it, just like FPS games.

     

     

    The game industry has repeated this for every genre of game that has come around. It is simply the cycle and we're in the crappy part of that cycle.

  • NevulusNevulus Miami Beach, FLPosts: 1,288Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    I'd like to know how a genre that goes up in population and up in profit every year is in decline ? Driving towards a cliff ...maybe. But till to actually goes off that's just an opinion.

    What I notice most about the genre is how much stock people put into forums. This is what everyone thinks, and everyone is somehow represented by what you read here......really ?

    The market is evolving to represent what people are willing to pay for. That leaves a lot of people out. They are bored with what the genre has to offer and they are VERY vocal about it. Nothing about the actual numbers indicates they are a majority representing what " most" people want. The complaint department is full of people who are unhappy with what they bought...that doesn't mean the store is as well.

    When a poll on this site has 200 votes and people can sit back saying see the evidence is in ...this is what people want! you have to wonder about someones math skills. 400 million people play " mmos" and 200 votes on a notoriously negative troll site tell you "most" people think this ?

    As much as you want to believe profits are up, they aren't, about 3 financial statements from the 3 largest companies proves it. The industry itself even admits to the declination of MMOs, but please keep living this fantasy world that everything is ok and "peachy keen", what's next you going to say "its not the games its YOU" excuse? lol  yeah....ok.

     

  • NephaeriusNephaerius Baltimore, MDPosts: 1,539Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nevulus
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    I'd like to know how a genre that goes up in population and up in profit every year is in decline ? Driving towards a cliff ...maybe. But till to actually goes off that's just an opinion.

    What I notice most about the genre is how much stock people put into forums. This is what everyone thinks, and everyone is somehow represented by what you read here......really ?

    The market is evolving to represent what people are willing to pay for. That leaves a lot of people out. They are bored with what the genre has to offer and they are VERY vocal about it. Nothing about the actual numbers indicates they are a majority representing what " most" people want. The complaint department is full of people who are unhappy with what they bought...that doesn't mean the store is as well.

    When a poll on this site has 200 votes and people can sit back saying see the evidence is in ...this is what people want! you have to wonder about someones math skills. 400 million people play " mmos" and 200 votes on a notoriously negative troll site tell you "most" people think this ?

    As much as you want to believe profits are up, they aren't, about 3 financial statements from the 3 largest companies proves it. The industry itself even admits to the declination of MMOs, but please keep living this fantasy world that everything is ok and "peachy keen", what's next you going to say "its not the games its YOU" excuse? lol  yeah....ok.

     

     

     Please site your sources and indicate how this is different from anywhere else in the game industry atm?  See Nintendo, Sony, etc. all revising profits down. Probably not related to game quality if it's occurring across the board.

    Steam: Neph

  • Sajman01Sajman01 Rochester, NYPosts: 204Member
    Profit and population growth are misleading.

    Baseball has more fans today then it did 20-30 years. Back then it was considered the national past time now it can't even take a sniff at Football and it will be surpassed by Basketball in the next 3 years.

    Yes profits and population are growing. Population and profits are growing in every genre on every platform. Guess which one is growing the slowest?

    This one.
  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,267Member Uncommon
    +1 /applaud
  • SavageHorizonSavageHorizon ParisPosts: 2,062Member Uncommon

    Even with it's problems( most have been iron out now though) Vanguard was probably the last of the old time MMO's in the west but we must not forget Age Of Wulin which is a really progressive mmo. You also have ArcheAge but some feature or fluff seem to get under westerners skins.

     

    IMO if Age Of Wulin would of been made by a western dev team the OP and many in the west would be shouting from the roof tops.

     

    The game has some features never seen in any mmo to date.

     

    I think it will be games like Black Desert , indie mmo's and perhaps Brads new project that brings back that spark.

     

    Of course this is just my opinion.

     

    Thing is their are some great single player RPG on the way as well.

     

    As an EQ vet i really can't see EQN bring it back but i would like to be proven wrong.

     

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  • MagiknightMagiknight McKinleyville, CAPosts: 782Member
    I'm also extremely disappointed in every single MMO I've played in the past 10 years.  WoW, Rift, FFXIV, FFXIV 2.0, TSW, and SWTOR didn't do a thing for me. It feels like I'm playing the same thing in each one of these games. The only difference is text, graphics, and slightly altered patterns of clicking.
  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,267Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BadSpock

    If you were right Vanguard and EvE Online would be the two most popular MMORPGs, and the subscription model would still be the de facto standard.

    So, you're not...

    Only thing in decline is my patience for the flame-bait "journalism" on this site.

    I guess you are writing to your intended audience, the rose colored glasses / teary-eyed nostalgia chasers who seem to overpopulate this site.

     

     

    You found you mmorpg yet? I know you quit Gw2 about a year ago, and tried EVE for a few weeks. What's you new game? 

     
  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member

    Now try and explain a modern MMORPG. You kill stuff so you get levels, so you can kill more stuff, and then get to the highest level so you can just do it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until you eventually get bored.

    Gear-grinding games suck. The only point is to grind levels for gear for levels for gear for levels.

    Yes, boring indeed.

    And I agree with the poster above, if Black Desert gets it right, it will be a monster. We'll see...

    "Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever." - Noam Chomsky

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,267Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by SavageHorizon

    Even with it's problems( most have been iron out now though) Vanguard was probably the last of the old time MMO's in the west but we must not forget Age Of Wulin which is a really progressive mmo. You also have ArcheAge but some feature or fluff seem to get under westerners skins.

     

    IMO if Age Of Wulin would of been made by a western dev team the OP and many in the west would be shouting from the roof tops. 

     

    Easily the most innovative mmorpg of the past 9 years.  Blizz fire you entire dev time hire those geeks at Snail. Snail fire you entire management team higher those geeks at Blizz.

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member
    Originally posted by bcbully
    Originally posted by SavageHorizon

     

     

    IMO if Age Of Wulin would of been made by a western dev team the OP and many in the west would be shouting from the roof tops. 

     

     

    I think if they would just make it a straight forward sub game with a trial or a F2P game like Rift is where you don't need to pay for  ton of shit every month then it would be far more attractive. That and do something about the damn gold spammers. Never seen any game so bad for that.

     

    I do agree it has a lot of innovative ideas. It just really needs a new payment model. It is one of the few MMOs released in the last few years that I think has the potential to be really great but it's just potential right now in my eyes.

     

     

     

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