As a solo only player...MMOs should be a social only genre

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  • cameltosiscameltosis ipswichMember EpicPosts: 1,557
    Whilst I agree that MMOs have become too solo focused and have basically forgotten their one and only unique selling point, I disagree that the genre should have very little to do for solo players. 

    The genre needs an entire revamp, in my opinion, in order to make the best use of it's USP. We've barely scratched the surface of what can be done in a massively multiplayer environment, yet virtually nobody is pushing those boundaries. 

    On the community front, the strongest communities are those that are the most diverse and that foster respect for that diversity. Yes, MMOs are too solo focused now, but to virtually remove solo content (and thus soloers) won't improve the situation, you would still end up with a fairly homogenous community, it would just be smaller and group focused, still subject to the fickle winds of change. You still want your soloers in the community, just as you also want crafters, groupers, raiders, pvpers, roleplayers, socialisers etc etc. 

    To achieve that, I feel the genre needs the following:
    • Proper game engines - Most game engines can't even support massively multiplayer. You get 50 people involved in a fight and things go to shit. We need real investment and innovation in game engines so that they can support 500+ player activities, be it open world bosses, large scale pvp or just social gatherings. Without the engine, we'll never achieve the potential this genre has to offer. 
    • Horizontal progression - Possibly unpopular, but clinging onto single player / coop progression mechanics such as levels, increasing stats and skills, power gaps from gear is harmful for the genre. It makes too much content obsolete and places too many barriers between players. Segregation has been proven over the centuries to be a wholly negative effect on communities, yet we're happy to be segregated in our online communities?
    • Less reliance on scripted content - it is a sad fact that it is impossible for developers to produce content quicker than we can consume it. Yet, all MMO devs make the attempt! We play through the scripted content, then end up grinding a tiny amount of endgame content on the gear treadmill. It is not a good model for long term retention. Yet, there has been very little investment in other types of content. Sandboxes are still stuck with just mob grinding, crafting and open world pvp. 
    • Progression outside of characters - almost every activity we do is designed to improve our character, there is very little we can do outside of that. If we want to cap or eliminate power gaps, we need progression in other areas. It could be things like estate management (starting with a small plot of land, building a house, hiring gardeners, producing food to sell, reinvesting in land to create more food, turning into a large farm etc etc), or freeform building (like CU - design and build your own things in the world), or rearing animals (pokemon...) or whatever else you can think of. 

    If we can these four fundamental changes made, I believe the genre would improve a lot. On the surface things would look similar - there would still be a focus on fantasy, you'd still be out playing your character, completing quests, getting new stuff etc. But, these changes would provide more player freedom, more opportunities for being social and if they get the sandbox elements correct, far more content that never ends. Whack a popular IP on the top too and you've got a winner. 
    TheAmazingDwarfvito11Mendel
  • iixviiiixiixviiiix GSMember UncommonPosts: 1,381
    edited August 31
    It not solo focus mind you , it called forced solo .

    basically you get punish and lost more reward if you not solo . Forced solo MMORPG give you group up option but punish you if you group up.

    Those game forced player to solo (to not get punish) but also forced you to group (if you want raid contents) remember bind on pickup ?

    A game make for solo player don't mean a game must force player to solo .

    Social MMORPG don't mean you have to make it harder so player have to group up , social MMORPG mean a game you can group up anytime and make it more enjoyable when group up .
    Post edited by iixviiiix on
  • timtracktimtrack StockholmMember UncommonPosts: 491
    The real question that comes to my mind here is: Why would anyone limit oneself to a box called "solo only payer". What's the point? What do you gain by doing this? You are actively ruling out potentially great experiences by creating an imaginary limitation around yourself. What is the basis for doing this i wonder?

    I respect that you might have valid reasons, i'd just like to know what they are.
    LynxJSA
  • AntariousAntarious Greenville, SCMember UncommonPosts: 2,783
    edited August 31
    I personally always find this an amusing topic.  Why?  Well MMO's at their core are a world simulator.  The average person doesn't walk down the street in real life asking random people to "group" with them.  Yet you has this segment of gamers that believes the moment you log into an MMO this should be normal.  Just like in life you can choose to be part of a group... or you can choose to not be part of a group.   Why would anyone want to be forced into one thing or another instead of having a choice?  Oh and no... saying to play Civ "insert version" is not an answer.

    Ultima Online is an interesting game to bring into the topic.  Granted I haven't played UO since around 2002 but... UO was not a group oriented game in any way.  UO was a game that rewarded you for understanding how things worked.  If you actually grasped UO... then you could solo pretty much anything.  Even in PvP before Tram... if you really understood the game you could take on 20 people that didn't really understand the game.

    Oh and if fishing chests became a group activity then it was definitely after I left.  You simply fished until you get a treasure map and then went to where it was.  Depending on the level of the map something of a relative difficulty popped out and you killed it.  I solo'd every level of Treasure map...

    In UO players did often create their own events in ways they could and obviously there were player towns.  Some were active and others weren't.  There was also this other thing in UO called an Interest Team.  Which was a Volunteer program that existed on all Shards... I was an Interest Team member on Great Lakes.  We had modified game clients and depending on your level within the ranks you had the ability to spawn mobs, set the town criers to announce things etc  When you saw player towns with these impossible to obtain items in them... it was because a Seer had blessed the town (which required IGM approval.  IGM's being actual paid employees and IGM stood for Interest Game Master for the curious).  I left UO shortly after the "volunteer" decided to sue EA for pay.. and the volunteer programs were wiped.

    So I have a pretty in depth personal experience with UO.. and the fact someone put UO in a thread about how MMO's should pretty much be a group only thing.  Well to me it exactly hightlights why they should NOT be a group only thing.  It's not the game I would pick for the example.  *edit*  UO was a game that showed how a bunch of "solo" players can choose to come together as opposed to be forced to come together.  It was a choice and that is exactly what an MMO should be (in my opinion).

    Everquest which I always thought shoulud have been called Neverquest... was a much harder game in the PVE context than UO at release.  Yet my room mate who wasn't even a gamer prior to EQ managed to solo their Druid to 50 and was probably the first 50 on the server I played on.  I grouped a LOT in EQ because my initial character was a cleric... but I could do pretty much anything I really wanted to solo.

    The only common theme from EQ through say WoW is that you needed to "group" in order to raid.  Then of course raiding had to give the best items etc or nobody would do it.   Which is pretty much what has led us to the current state of how MMO's work.

    Personally I'm glad if you found other games that are "better" for you to solo in without anyone else in the world etc  UO and SWG were my two favorite MMO's... not really because I could solo and did solo (was in guilds in Uo and PA's in SWG.. so I grouped as well).  It was because what I like is crafting and selling things... all the raid focused MMO's have mad crafting pointless and thus the games became pointless to me.

    My idea of a "social interaction" in SWG.. was having people come into my shop.  Then either find what they were looking for or telling me what they wanted so I could track down what I needed to craft it... which I pretty much did solo and then went back to my shop to talk to people...

    I *edited* the post for some randomly strange grammar and I'm sure there is more in there.  If someone is curious I started playing UO in 1997 and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Which really was simply because I had been an "ultima" fans since the series started.
    Post edited by Antarious on
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  • PhaserlightPhaserlight Boca Raton, FLMember RarePosts: 2,135
    Deja vu, man. Didn't like the answers in your last thread?  This is a rehash of the same topic while taking an opposite position.
    immodium

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  • AlbatroesAlbatroes Member EpicPosts: 3,276
    edited August 31
    Most MMORPGs really are just a social experience now-a-days. Expansions tend to treat the game as a new game entirely with what you did in previous content meaning less and less with each expansion simply because devs and publishers think that it will attract more players if its advertised that they can be "competitive" even if they've either been gone for a while or are completely new. So the only real advantage you might have being a long term player in most mmorpgs on the market is a currency advantage; however, in games like FFXIV and WoW, having a large amount of currency is really subjective in its view of usefulness.
    Post edited by Albatroes on
  • immodiumimmodium ManchesterMember RarePosts: 2,299
    I can't play MMO's solo. The system in place are just to shallow compared to what single player games offer.
    ConstantineMerus

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  • beebop500beebop500 IndianaMember UncommonPosts: 140
    Forcing players into one thing or another is never, ever a good idea.  Forcing people to group is one of the absolute worst things a game can do, imho.  The very best MMOs - at least, the ones that have lasted for years and still have tons of players, not the horrendous crapfests we see release every week now - are the ones that give players options in terms of progression and content.  One of the primary reasons WoW and Guild Wars 1 are still around (GW to a lesser extent, but it still has players) are because they didn't force you to solo or group or do much of anything you didn't want to do, thus they had lasting appeal to all sorts of play types.

    The on-rails experiences we see, and games that lock all of their best content behind grouping or elitism, have historically never done much.  If you don't have solo players, or casual players, you aren't ever going to have much of a player base, at least not for very long.  Why so many of these games now failed to learn that lesson is beyond me.  Choices are good, not bad.  If you can include content for more types of folks - the solo people, the casual players, the traders, the hardcore raiding/group types - you're on the right track, if you ask me.  Besides, nobody is forcing you to solo if you don't want to, and then again, not everybody has 48 friends that are online all the time.
    TheAmazingDwarf
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  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 14,162
    Deja vu, man. Didn't like the answers in your last thread?  This is a rehash of the same topic while taking an opposite position.
    We need a group vs solo megathread. :lol:
    immodiumPhaserlightRobsolf
  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Chicago, ILMember EpicPosts: 5,545
    edited August 31
    Stuka1000 said:
    OP, The mmo's that were built mainly for group only were at a time when the communities were good and a pleasure to be a part of,  MMO was a niche genre and 100k players was considered a success.

    Now almost every MMO community is saturated with arseholes and tossers who players like myself want nothing to do with.  The endless search for WoW levels of players and the $$$$ that come with them has turned the genre into a series of cesspits & clones ( with a few exceptions ).  So no to your suggestion.  I would rather play solo than put up with 85% of modern MMO players.
    but in this case, why not do what I did; moved on to other genres of games? Aren't games like Civ 5, or Skyrim or many other different games better for a solo experience? In Skyrim, I can mold the game to however I want it to be with mods and its awesome. I even added part of cyrodil to skyrim with mods, so there is a lot more to explore and do.
    What I don't understand is why you can't enjoy both? I usually rotate between an mmo, single player game and some kind of single/multiplayer FPS at the same time.  I play each day what I feel like playing.  I don't understand the point of having to choose one or the other.  After all, they aren't mutually exclusive. 
    Exactly, which is why most MMO's support solo players and some single player games support co-ops.  The limits of any game are only defined by the imagination of it's creators.
    Post edited by Octagon7711 on
    TorvalRobsolf

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  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAMember LegendaryPosts: 22,712


    MMOs greatest AND best difference with any other genre? The massive amount of players one can interact, socialize and do things with that no other genre can compete with.


    While it's true that solo games have better gameplay in general, it was my understanding, way back when, that mmorpgs were supposed to be (at the time) worlds.

    Now, I'm an extrovert and in my daily comings and goings I don't do everything with people "all the time".

    There is a certain energy to being in a game world where people are doing things, making things happen, affecting the game world around you and yet you don't have to be a part of it all.

    My take is that mmorpgs offer the possibility of this living world, it evolves, moves, is sedate at times, etc.

    Personally, i love doing my own thing and feeding off the energy of others while they do their thing. I'm usually open to social experiences but I'm afraid I'm not interested in socializing with people who aren't capable of being civil or who are socially inept.

    And sadly these games seem to attract a lot of those types. So "yes" "being social" is a great strength of mmorpgs but it's also their biggest downfall.
    TorvalMrMelGibsonTuor7



  • LynxJSALynxJSA Sarasota, FLMember RarePosts: 3,185

    MMOs greatest AND best difference with any other genre? The massive amount of players one can interact, socialize and do things with that no other genre can compete with.     


    "can"

    That's the important word there. I can interact with the throngs of people in Times Square, and sometimes actually even do interact with a handful of them. I can interact with everyone at a club, tavern, or bar, but normally just interact with one or two, usually the ones I went there with. The same with shopping malls, amusement parks, beaches, or any other locale/venue intended for large groups of people where people - by nature and by choice - rarely interact with others, their immediate group being the exception. 

    Don't focus on how an MMO should work. Focus on understanding how people work. 
    RobsolfTorvalPhaserlightConstantineMerusTuor7
  • LynxJSALynxJSA Sarasota, FLMember RarePosts: 3,185
    Deja vu, man. Didn't like the answers in your last thread?  This is a rehash of the same topic while taking an opposite position.
    He's gotten very Ihmotepp-y lately.
    Phaserlight
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,201

    MMOs greatest AND best difference with any other genre? The massive amount of players one can interact, socialize and do things with that no other genre can compete with.


    Not by the classification of games on this, and other websites.

    In fact, this "massive amount of players one can interact with" does not seem to be that important in gaming anyway. There is a reason why MMOs are no longer focusing on massively multiplayer gameplay.

    In fact, how much of the end-game Wow gameplay is massively multiplayer? And that is the most successful MMORPG in the history of mankind.

    The only question is whether people will call non-massively multiplayer game, MMOs .. kind of to keep the label alive. 
  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade KingsmouthMember RarePosts: 4,172
    Nope, definitely not. Besides, weren't you done with the genre anyway according to your other troll post? ;)
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  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAMember RarePosts: 27,201
    Nope, definitely not. Besides, weren't you done with the genre anyway according to your other troll post? ;)

    hmm .. "done with the genre" does not equate "done with having fun talking about the genre on a forum".

    Don't tell me you think playing a MMO is the same as talking about MMOs here. 
    CecropiaAzaron_Nightblade
  • Dead_GuyDead_Guy Needles, AZMember UncommonPosts: 37
    MMOs are not a genre. Being able to play with many people is a feature and does not dictate, in any way, the type of game you're playing or how you decide to play it.
    EldurianMoirae
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,611
    Dead_Guy said:
    MMOs are not a genre. Being able to play with many people is a feature and does not dictate, in any way, the type of game you're playing or how you decide to play it.
    While I'm not sure that would put it outside the definition of genre strictly speaking I do agree that people assume a lot more baggage is attached to the term MMO than really is. It get's tiring explaining to people that the reason you play MMOs is because you like to inhabit a world populated by hundreds or thousands of other players, but that you dislike leveling and grinding and they keep falling back on "If you don't like leveling go play a MOBA."

    Likewise people should have to defend their right to solo in an MMO. Just because you want your character to live in a world inhabited by many other players doesn't mean you don't sometimes want to explore it alone.
    ConstantineMerusTheScavengerCecropia
  • CazrielCazriel San Francisco, CAMember UncommonPosts: 193
    Should?  Eeks. 

    If it wasn't for that should in the title, one might almost think this was a legit posting.  But it's just the MMO police wanting to reiterate how solo players need to play other games because and really just because it puts their panties in a wad to see anyone ungrouped in an MMO. 
  • TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYMember RarePosts: 2,000
    Eldurian said:
    Dead_Guy said:
    MMOs are not a genre. Being able to play with many people is a feature and does not dictate, in any way, the type of game you're playing or how you decide to play it.
    While I'm not sure that would put it outside the definition of genre strictly speaking I do agree that people assume a lot more baggage is attached to the term MMO than really is. It get's tiring explaining to people that the reason you play MMOs is because you like to inhabit a world populated by hundreds or thousands of other players, but that you dislike leveling and grinding and they keep falling back on "If you don't like leveling go play a MOBA."

    Likewise people should have to defend their right to solo in an MMO. Just because you want your character to live in a world inhabited by many other players doesn't mean you don't sometimes want to explore it alone.
    I agree. While I still think social activities should be encouraged. And I think there is some misunderstanding that when I say social I mean forced group. I definitely don't think forced grouping is a good idea. Why would I want to group with someone I don't like or will ever like or even care about?

    However, in Ultima Online...there are events (GM made and player made) that bring a lot of people together. I can choose to go there and socialize, and if I do I can socialize with certain people or just be a creep and stand there watching everyone. Or I can choose not to go at all.

    That is the kind of social stuff I feel MMOs should focus on. Not forcing people to interact, which is actually anti-social. But give people motive and means to socialize and hang out, talk and maybe work together at some boss event or some world event or whatever it happens to be.


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  • LackingMMOLackingMMO Tucson, AZMember UncommonPosts: 163
    Antarious said:
    I personally always find this an amusing topic.  Why?  Well MMO's at their core are a world simulator.  The average person doesn't walk down the street in real life asking random people to "group" with them.  Yet you has this segment of gamers that believes the moment you log into an MMO this should be normal.  Just like in life you can choose to be part of a group... or you can choose to not be part of a group.   Why would anyone want to be forced into one thing or another instead of having a choice?  Oh and no... saying to play Civ "insert version" is not an answer.
    Well I could also say in my world simulator of real life I also have co workers, people at the store I interact with when I'm buying stuff, friends, family and what not. You are right not everything should be stuck to groups only but the best content should be, the best reward should be. In eq your druid friend might have got to 50 mostly by himself but he also didn't solo any of the high end content by himself.

    Its not about being forced into one thing but about making this genre unique compared to the rest of the industry. Right now there is nothing that really separates an mmo from others. Large open worlds? Elder scrolls, fallout, witcher say hi and with better graphics. Single player experience is torched by almost every counterpart out there. A lot of times people know there class but don't know group mechanics so when they do finally group they have no idea whats going on, how to react with other classes around. In group focused games you learn these things as you level, as you get to end game you know how to play, you know what you need to do when something happens, when this character does something how to respond. You will never know these things soloing, yes it can be learned of course but its so much better when your doing it all along.
  • EldurianEldurian Member EpicPosts: 1,611
    I don't even really feel you need to gate the "best" stuff behind grouping. Most games already do that. The issue is in too many instances you make less profits per hour in a group than you do as an individual. You level faster solo, get gold faster solo, harvest more resources solo etc.

    And that is a huge part of the reason I frequently choose to solo.
    MadFrenchieAzaron_Nightblade
  • TheScavengerTheScavenger Matrix, NYMember RarePosts: 2,000
    edited September 4
    Eldurian said:
    I don't even really feel you need to gate the "best" stuff behind grouping. Most games already do that. The issue is in too many instances you make less profits per hour in a group than you do as an individual. You level faster solo, get gold faster solo, harvest more resources solo etc.

    And that is a huge part of the reason I frequently choose to solo.
    yeah, that is one of the problems. That many MMOs (especially themeparks) focus on soloing so much and then bam at endgame its forced grouping to progress. But before endgame, there is barely any reason to group except maybe dungeons where no one talks.

    I however like I said above don't think forcing groups on people is very smart either and the opposite of the soloing problem, forcing groups is bad mechanics.

    However, look at Ultima Online or Asheron's Call. In both of those, you can group and progress the same speed (if not faster, in AC you got bonus exp in groups) and while in both you could solo, it really focused on the social aspects of the MMO. And in AC, many dungeons could be soloed, but it was far easier to do it in groups and to communicate with each other on how to do the dungeon (puzzles, mazes, other mechanics etc). So grouping was definitely encouraged.

    However both didn't force people to group, but it pushed people toward grouping mechanics but it was/is all optional for the person to group or not (in Ultima Online and Asheron's Call).
    Post edited by TheScavenger on

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  • KnightFalzKnightFalz Member UncommonPosts: 124
    timtrack said:
    The real question that comes to my mind here is: Why would anyone limit oneself to a box called "solo only payer". What's the point? What do you gain by doing this? You are actively ruling out potentially great experiences by creating an imaginary limitation around yourself. What is the basis for doing this i wonder?

    I respect that you might have valid reasons, i'd just like to know what they are.
    One man's constraint is another's freedom.

    I do what I want, when I want. I am beholding to and reliant on none. For every benefit I miss out on in group play there is at least one detriment I need not endure.

    I'm not a casually social person to begin with so have never been all that reliant on interactions with others to enjoy myself.

    My interest in MMORPGs is more based on their ever evolving nature than the opportunity for group play they provide,

    I'm not adverse to group play if I should happen to find a guild I am suited to that I mesh with, but since it isn't a priority to me I don't seek that out and will be quick to leave if it were to change in a way I found displeasing.
    Tuor7
  • postlarvalpostlarval Member EpicPosts: 1,521
    I'm of the mindset that if you want to play solo, then go play a single-player game.

    Having said that, I don't think MMOs should completely disallow solo play. However, it shouldn't be rewarded. MMOs are multiplayer games and that should be the desired play style. You should be able to progress solo or in groups, but grouping with others should allow for faster progression. 
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