It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
"Been there, done that"
"It's not a bad game, really, but I got to L25 and now I can't be bothered to login"
"I'm bored to tears, but my friends all play this game, so I force myself to play"
Just a sample of phrases that have been appearing on these boards ever more often in the last year or so. In fact, it's almost become the dominant theme for posts in the Pub forum. What's going on ? If you are an "MMO vet", and can identify with any of these, then you're probably a victim of "Themepark Fatigue Syndrome (TFS)".
Core gameplay has not changed much in the themepark genre over the last 10 years. It has speeded-up and become more "accessible", but the formula has remained largely unchanged.
New themepark MMO's arrive with great fanfare, but usually 75% of the gameplay is the same as every other themepark MMO you've played previously, and the 25% which is different just doesn't cut it anymore. That 25% is usually just flavour anyway, core gameplay remains the same, and that's the real issue. That 25% difference is just "re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic", but the ship is still sinking.
I'm willing to bet that players that are new to MMO's will probably get a lot of mileage out of the current offerings. They are still excitedly hunting for the cheese, and are still delighted that a candy bar pops out every third time they pull that little red lever...
When you first start a new themepark, things look different, and the hype may carry you along for a while, but by L20 or L25, the "newness factor" has worn off, and as the mists clear, you realize that you're on the same old treadmill, just the size and speed has changed a bit. The more themeparks you play, the quicker TFS will set in with each "new" game.
So Themepark Fatigue Syndrome (TFS) has arrived, but is there a cure ?
The obvious trite answer is that "core gameplay has to change" so that things are new and fresh again. But that is a paradigm shift, and those are notoriously difficult events. A change in core gameplay will carry enormous risks for any developer that attempts it.
It has become an accepted "rule" in MMO design that your game systems must be familiar to players from other games, and be easy to pick up. In short, "make your game similar to others, otherwise players will not buy it". Familiarity is great, but don't forget the old saying: "Familiarity breeds contempt". And we are seeing more and more contempt on these boards of late...
It will take a very brave and visionary developer to change core gameplay. I have no idea what shape or form it will take, but I have endless faith in human ingenuity