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General: Content Stagnation in MMORPGs

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,619MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

It's a common complaint among gamers that MMOs get old very quickly without frequent and -meaningful- updates. In today's Devil's Advocate, we take a look at that notion and offer a few thoughts. Read on!

My question, however, is this: is providing people with more content enough in the long run of the industry? That's the subject of today's Devil's Advocate, and one we'll be discussing with the help of a variety of game examples, both online and off.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s Devil's Advocate: Content Stagnation in MMORPGs.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I think your on the right path here, I for one feel like game mechanics wise, I've been there and done that, its just the same cookie cutter mechanics with different skins. Outside the box poses a threat to devs though in the form of risk. It's not a matter of reinventing the wheel, its more a matter of making the best better.
  • WeretigarWeretigar winifrede, WVPosts: 609Member

    I blame the media. Not A lot of movies, shows, or music comming out that has a fresh feel. It was only a matter of time tell it happend with games. We probably wont see any super huge cult like gamming followers tell Virtual Reality comes out. There are some titles out that will pass the time thou.

  • FredomSekerZFredomSekerZ Long Beach, CAPosts: 1,156Member

    Great collum. It's true, while i feel sandboxes last lober, even they need updates and new stuff to do and experience.

    Going from the DayZ example, which i agree with, i'll also use Planetside 2. Never played the first one but i think it's creating so much positiev feedback because it's a very different experience from your standart mmo.

    Let's hope for more variety in mmo mechanics in the future.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    Unless your theater keeps offering new movies, I'm going to eventually stop going to watch the same ones over and over.   However, every time I go to a stadium, it's a whole new ball game ... I never know what will emerge from the rules.

  • ericbelserericbelser buffalo, NYPosts: 783Member

    Part of the problem is that devs keep missing the concept of player created content. This doesn't have to mean giving players the ability to sculpt a mission/dungeon...as mentioned that becomes limited by what options exist in the editor. Instead, you need an interactive system with depth and 'sims' elements to it.

    Just as an example, lets say you have a PC armorsmith...well advanced in skill and wealth who owns his own shop in a town...this could create:

    Player sponsored resource gathering missions - basically a bounty/standing order for freelance miners to bring him ore/metals/materials

    Delivery missions - pick up XX piece of armor and deliver it to person/place who ordered it

    Guards for the shop, or any other missions

    Thieving/sabotage missions by or against competing shops, random attacks by NPC thieves/bandits

    Survey/mining expeditions - maybe the smith sends a caravan/team out to establish a permanent mine to supply him...

    The teams hauling ore back from the mine become a magnet for bandits/monsters and require guards

    Successful bandits grow and become camps and a bigger problem, turning into targets for bounty missions etc

    Moving on from that, maybe the business fails and the mine becomes occupied by goblins or bandits, thus becoming a 'dungeon' for other players

    ...and so on...EVE comes closest to allowing this sort of thing, but even they haven't really gone far enough or included enough sim elements

     

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    You be better off looking to books than movies for ideas, unless you want a stupid batman mmo, I could see stealing ideas from the hunger games though, I did not watch the movies, but was inspired to read the books more so from media hype about the movie. If you think about predicaments like katniss was in, and now put gamers into predicaments and make them work thier way out. Make it massive though, don't make it one story for one person, make it affect everyone. Inspire and drive people to want to do whatever it is your trying to make them do. You want them to go hide in ten man raid groups? That's not massive.
  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member

    I disagree with the OP. He is with the "I want something new" crowd that try every game and then quit and complain that it is just like all the others. The OP even admits to game hopping!

    There are finite number of things that can be done in an MMO rpg because, bottom line, all MMO rpg are stories i.e. literature. It is said that there are only 36 possible plots in literature. So too with an MMO rpg.

    I admire those game companies that try to be different CCP and ANet being two of them. Yet everyone points to WOW as being filled with boring quests and "same" content. I say bull feces. Have you ever been to Outland in WOW. Now there is something completely different. Rocks floating in the sky, magic oozing from the ground, an edge that you can fall off. It took guts for Blizzard to tear up the world in Cata. I have never heard of a game destroying and rebuilding content on such a scale. Look at the WOW environment - a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy with a little humor and horror thrown in. The only reason that the quests are boring is that you (or at least I) have been doing them for 7 years. Yet this "boring" game held my interest for all that time.

    Like too many Americans (sorry to generalize here - and I am an American) if something is NEW it is cool. Sure Tera combat was different, RIFT rifts were neat and GW2 has a whole bunch of things that are not WOW-like. But, are they really different? You are still pressing buttons in Tera and GW2 just faster and in a different order.

    I would have more respect for the OP and similar posters if they gave me some examples of how to be different. QQ for the sake of "sameness" is more boring than any of the things that they complain about. Tell me how you go beyond the 36 plots and you would have a sympathetic ear.

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    And you sir are ? Oh let me answer that one, you have great expectations and are not siezing the day, nor is anyone here talking about the future, or beta testing.
  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    Any chance we can change these forums too? Let's turn these forums into less of a preview and complain to more of an I've got and idea and let's construct forum.
  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member
    Originally posted by Rockniss
    Any chance we can change these forums too? Let's turn these forums into less of a preview and complain to more of an I've got and idea and let's construct forum.

    LOL. Great idea!

  • AmanaAmana New York, NYPosts: 2,551Moderator Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rockniss
    Any chance we can change these forums too? Let's turn these forums into less of a preview and complain to more of an I've got and idea and let's construct forum.

    You can always try our Developers' Corner forums .

    To give feedback on moderation, contact community@mmorpg.com

  • HrimnirHrimnir Qeynos, COPosts: 1,597Member Uncommon

    I don't have a ton of time to respond since i need to head into work, but i will put in this 2 cents.

    I personally think a huge problem is that a large majority (80% or better) of the *new* MMO population (which i define as anyone who came to the genre post WOW release), due primarily to WOW, play MMORPG's like they play single player games.   I.E. They play solo, they "burn" through the content so to speak, paying particular attention to the "story", and then they look for their next game.

    I've gone into this rant before, but what attracted most of us "old schoolers" to the genre were things like having an open, living/breathing world (or as much of one was possible due to tech) to go explore and make your way in.   Having a character which started out as nothing which you made into someone/something (rather than current MMO's where you pretty much start out as captain mcbadass, saving entire towns from hordes of goblins and such with your magical sword of kickassery +1).  And, also, the actual MULTIPLAYER aspect of it.  I.e. the fact that grouping was heavily promoted by game mechanics as the key to better and/or faster rewards.  Which consituted more socialization, getting to know people on the server, and the resulting real community which evolved from that.

    All of that is gone because modern gamers in the genre are basically console gamers looking for their next "fix".

    "The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

    - Friedrich Nietzsche

  • fahadjafarfahadjafar ChittagongPosts: 44Member
    Originally posted by tordurbar

    I disagree with the OP. He is with the "I want something new" crowd that try every game and then quit and complain that it is just like all the others. The OP even admits to game hopping!

    There are finite number of things that can be done in an MMO rpg because, bottom line, all MMO rpg are stories i.e. literature. It is said that there are only 36 possible plots in literature. So too with an MMO rpg.

    I admire those game companies that try to be different CCP and ANet being two of them. Yet everyone points to WOW as being filled with boring quests and "same" content. I say bull feces. Have you ever been to Outland in WOW. Now there is something completely different. Rocks floating in the sky, magic oozing from the ground, an edge that you can fall off. It took guts for Blizzard to tear up the world in Cata. I have never heard of a game destroying and rebuilding content on such a scale. Look at the WOW environment - a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy with a little humor and horror thrown in. The only reason that the quests are boring is that you (or at least I) have been doing them for 7 years. Yet this "boring" game held my interest for all that time.

    Like too many Americans (sorry to generalize here - and I am an American) if something is NEW it is cool. Sure Tera combat was different, RIFT rifts were neat and GW2 has a whole bunch of things that are not WOW-like. But, are they really different? You are still pressing buttons in Tera and GW2 just faster and in a different order.

    I would have more respect for the OP and similar posters if they gave me some examples of how to be different. QQ for the sake of "sameness" is more boring than any of the things that they complain about. Tell me how you go beyond the 36 plots and you would have a sympathetic ear.

    he also wants player housing and thinks player housing is more important than pet battle, showing off how much in game cash a player has is more important than hisher intelligence to compete in a different form of pvp. i played at least 3 f2p game with player housing+marriagesoul mate system, the woe of facing a player who has a high lvl house+marriage based skills were terrible, nope, i DO NOT want player housing or marriage system in WoW. the only thing i hate abt WoW is the combat, "jumping like monkey and attacking opponent, if latency is lower than opponent i win", this type of combat is really annoying.  

  • rdrakkenrdrakken Gotham, FLPosts: 426Member
    Originally posted by tordurbar

    There are finite number of things that can be done in an MMO rpg because, bottom line, all MMO rpg are stories i.e. literature. It is said that there are only 36 possible plots in literature. So too with an MMO rpg.

     What a farse. Polti broke down everything into its most base form using criteria that was arbitrarily narrow. The Comparative-lit group at Northern State broke it down into "motifs" listing over 40,000 motifs..."lowly heroine marries prince", "magic object alters characters life".

    Perfect example about how you should NEVER listen to someone that lived over 100 years ago when it comes to literature...there was no Pizza delivery and thus no possible plot for "Pizza man delivers Pizza, scores with horny babe" to be written during his time...and this has been a plot for sooo many modern prons.

  • krazzeekrazzee Reno, NVPosts: 2Member
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    Originally posted by tordurbar

    There are finite number of things that can be done in an MMO rpg because, bottom line, all MMO rpg are stories i.e. literature. It is said that there are only 36 possible plots in literature. So too with an MMO rpg.

     What a farse. Polti broke down everything into its most base form using criteria that was arbitrarily narrow. The Comparative-lit group at Northern State broke it down into "motifs" listing over 40,000 motifs..."lowly heroine marries prince", "magic object alters characters life".

    Perfect example about how you should NEVER listen to someone that lived over 100 years ago when it comes to literature...there was no Pizza delivery and thus no possible plot for "Pizza man delivers Pizza, scores with horny babe" to be written during his time...and this has been a plot for sooo many modern prons.

    Oh you woefully understand what tordurbar meant, good sir. When you break it down, there are only so many possible plots in literature, in storytelling in general--regardless of the media or form it is presented in. To use your example,  "Pizza man delivers Pizza, scores with horny babe," is the same as the very standard and common "Hero must complete a task to gain the love/admiration/lovely, lovely lady lumps of his respectful gal." So to recap, tordurbar was talking about storytelling at it's most basic concept, which is what we know how to express. There is only so many variations of the same basic thing.

  • AriannaeAriannae Hiding somewhere in the mountains, AKPosts: 40Member

    The one main point I agree entirely with is that MMOs need to implement some way to allow player-made content to flourish in their games.

     

    The first game that comes to mind in terms of player-made content are mods in the Elder Scrolls game series. Anyone that has seriously modded any one of them knows that the life expectancy for an Elder Scrolls game is in the decades. Literally.

     

    If these Game companies seriously want us to be paying a monthly fee for their game, on top of the box price even nowadays, then the absolute easiest and probably most successful way to do this would be to give us the ability to implement our own content. Our own quests. Our own dungeons/mazes/puzzles/stories. This prolongs the life of a game at least ten-fold. Which means they rake in the subscription fees.

     

    Why none of them have realized this by now is far beyond me.

     
     
  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,221Member
    Maplestone:
    "Unless your theater keeps offering new movies, I'm going to eventually stop going to watch the same ones over and over.   However, every time I go to a stadium, it's a whole new ball game ... I never know what will emerge from the rules."
    This^. Very good article also.
  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,189Member Uncommon

    Good article on the whole.  Don't ever confuse Darkfall with a good sandbox design.  

    I think Sandboxes usually have far more things to do, than a themepark, mainly because your character is not shoehorned into a specific skillset.

  • rdrakkenrdrakken Gotham, FLPosts: 426Member
    Originally posted by krazzee
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    Originally posted by tordurbar

    There are finite number of things that can be done in an MMO rpg because, bottom line, all MMO rpg are stories i.e. literature. It is said that there are only 36 possible plots in literature. So too with an MMO rpg.

     What a farse. Polti broke down everything into its most base form using criteria that was arbitrarily narrow. The Comparative-lit group at Northern State broke it down into "motifs" listing over 40,000 motifs..."lowly heroine marries prince", "magic object alters characters life".

    Perfect example about how you should NEVER listen to someone that lived over 100 years ago when it comes to literature...there was no Pizza delivery and thus no possible plot for "Pizza man delivers Pizza, scores with horny babe" to be written during his time...and this has been a plot for sooo many modern prons.

    Oh you woefully understand what tordurbar meant, good sir. When you break it down, there are only so many possible plots in literature, in storytelling in general--regardless of the media or form it is presented in. To use your example,  "Pizza man delivers Pizza, scores with horny babe," is the same as the very standard and common "Hero must complete a task to gain the love/admiration/lovely, lovely lady lumps of his respectful gal." So to recap, tordurbar was talking about storytelling at it's most basic concept, which is what we know how to express. There is only so many variations of the same basic thing.

     Oh you woefully understand what Nothern State meant, good sir. Basic concept does not match up to complicated concepts.

    A pizza delivery person...is not a hero. A pron starting out with a knock on the door and said delivery man already there is not a person completing a task as the task was already completed by the start of the story "he is already there", and said horny babe was already wanting the pizza man and thus there is a lack of his needing to "gain" the unrespectful gal.

    40,000 motifs. 40,000. "magic object alters characters life" does not fall into Polti's basic concepts.

    This is the educational trap, you think you are intelligent but then someone points out you are using knowledge that no longer applies...didnt even apply when he made the list, the list was based off of GREEK texts and classical works which did not consist of any modern ideas.

  • necrosteinnecrostein westminster, COPosts: 80Member

    rdrakken is correct in both concept and facts. Thought the "pron" example is kinda thin (cause there isnt and actual plot as such, just a supporting framework. so lets let that one go for now...)

    While everything can be stripped down to a few basic statements like...

    "the protagonist is confronted by some kind of issue or situation which they must overcome" 

    What that summary does not contain is the flavor or feeling that makes a story good or readable or watchable or playable or... interesting. For that you must have comnplexity of some sort in the plot of the story, some detail that makes it worth playing. it is the detail tht makes the difference, otherwise we would have quit telling stories to each other many years ago.

    the issue the OP shared was the sameness of the quests and  the repetition of content without variation, the lack of different goals and objectives. or more specifically ones that create and interest and desire to complete.

    Some folks like grinding the same raid, and are comfortable with knowing what they need to do.  thats good too. 

    my example of what the op asked for is this... give me an mmo that lets me choose vanilla from 31 flavors, i will eventually try them all, and i might find a new favorite.  but i might just want to fall back on good old vanilla. 

    better yet, let players create new combinations and even sundaes for me to try... thats the mmo for me.

     because the devs are looking at the game from one perspective. and when players get the opportunity to interact with the game world, interesting stuff will happen.  because they bring a new perspective and  the different details they bring may make "protagonist ovecomes obstacle" interesting. and yes someone will eventually find a way to create an achovy sundae, which i wont like... but i will try it, (yuck) and i might even stick around a game just so that i can be that guy... heck that is actually interesting.

     

    Long live the anchovy sundae!

      

     

     
     
  • GrumpyMel2GrumpyMel2 Catskills, NYPosts: 1,832Member
    Originally posted by krazzee
    Originally posted by rdrakken
    Originally posted by tordurbar

    There are finite number of things that can be done in an MMO rpg because, bottom line, all MMO rpg are stories i.e. literature. It is said that there are only 36 possible plots in literature. So too with an MMO rpg.

     What a farse. Polti broke down everything into its most base form using criteria that was arbitrarily narrow. The Comparative-lit group at Northern State broke it down into "motifs" listing over 40,000 motifs..."lowly heroine marries prince", "magic object alters characters life".

    Perfect example about how you should NEVER listen to someone that lived over 100 years ago when it comes to literature...there was no Pizza delivery and thus no possible plot for "Pizza man delivers Pizza, scores with horny babe" to be written during his time...and this has been a plot for sooo many modern prons.

    Oh you woefully understand what tordurbar meant, good sir. When you break it down, there are only so many possible plots in literature, in storytelling in general--regardless of the media or form it is presented in. To use your example,  "Pizza man delivers Pizza, scores with horny babe," is the same as the very standard and common "Hero must complete a task to gain the love/admiration/lovely, lovely lady lumps of his respectful gal." So to recap, tordurbar was talking about storytelling at it's most basic concept, which is what we know how to express. There is only so many variations of the same basic thing.

    That strikes me as a bit of a reducto-ad-absurdiam arguement. If you really want to go that route, you could say that all literature boils down to but a SINGLE theme... "Stuff Happens" and everything is simply some variation of that.

  • azmundaiazmundai St Louis, MOPosts: 1,417Member

    To me it all boils down to the abandonment of group content.

    You make a game 80% single player content, and it suddenly all has to be unique and easy enough for everyone, meaning you need 10x more content and even then they will still blow through it way too fast.

    I remember days wasted in group areas, and now those same group areas (nerfed into oblivion) take 10 minutes.

    Wow was onto something with places like BRD ... I don't know the particulars but if you look at how the mountain looks to have been designed, it all flows together into a vast group centric zone. Personally while I would prefer non-instanced games .. this as a concept seems like it would have been a good one. But .. wow has since become something very different. Something far more linear and scripted and each new content patch is easily soloable in a week or two and each new raid zone easily skirted with badges and a few raids.

    Instant gratification has changed the genre in (for me) some pretty horrible ways. All I can do is dream of having a server side LFD tool in a game much more like EQ/vanilla wow. Finding people sucked .. yes .. but gutting the genre into an easy mode mess is not the direction I would have chosen.

    LFD tools are great for cramming people into content, but quality > quantity.
    I am, usually on the sandbox .. more "hardcore" side of things, but I also do just want to have fun. So lighten up already :)

  • KiljaedenasKiljaedenas New Westminster, BCPosts: 468Member
    Originally posted by tordurbar

    I disagree with the OP. He is with the "I want something new" crowd that try every game and then quit and complain that it is just like all the others. The OP even admits to game hopping!

    There are finite number of things that can be done in an MMO rpg because, bottom line, all MMO rpg are stories i.e. literature. It is said that there are only 36 possible plots in literature. So too with an MMO rpg.

    I admire those game companies that try to be different CCP and ANet being two of them. Yet everyone points to WOW as being filled with boring quests and "same" content. I say bull feces. Have you ever been to Outland in WOW. Now there is something completely different. Rocks floating in the sky, magic oozing from the ground, an edge that you can fall off. It took guts for Blizzard to tear up the world in Cata. I have never heard of a game destroying and rebuilding content on such a scale. Look at the WOW environment - a mixture of science-fiction and fantasy with a little humor and horror thrown in. The only reason that the quests are boring is that you (or at least I) have been doing them for 7 years. Yet this "boring" game held my interest for all that time.

    Like too many Americans (sorry to generalize here - and I am an American) if something is NEW it is cool. Sure Tera combat was different, RIFT rifts were neat and GW2 has a whole bunch of things that are not WOW-like. But, are they really different? You are still pressing buttons in Tera and GW2 just faster and in a different order.

    I would have more respect for the OP and similar posters if they gave me some examples of how to be different. QQ for the sake of "sameness" is more boring than any of the things that they complain about. Tell me how you go beyond the 36 plots and you would have a sympathetic ear.

    That part I highlighted in green...you say "bull feces" to the part of WoW having boring quests and same content, then your prime example against that is nothing more then environmental graphics and land layout. There are multiple other MMOs that have advanced environment graphics, floating pieces of land that you can fall off of, etc...putting a different coat of paint on the same piece of hardware doesn't make it new. So I say "bull feces" to your "bull feces". WoW IS boring and has the same content; that's why I stopped playing it many years ago.

    Where's the any key?

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