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The Evolution of the MMORPG Community

nate1980nate1980 Evans, GAPosts: 1,829Member

Seen some people creating posts about the community of MMORPG's and things that effect them and it started me thinking of how the community has evolved. So I'll lay out my opinion on how the community evolved, and see what you all think and have to add.

* Pre - WoW Era (AKA "The Golden Age") 

This was the height of the mmorpg genre IMHO, because this was the era when MMORPG's were created by fans for the fans, and populated only by a niche group of gamers who's passion was to live a second life through their avatar in an online environment with other players. There was a tight knit global community, because everyone needed to group to get the best xp and to overcome challenges encountered on a daily basis that was too much for any one person to overcome. A servers community as a whole got along great, worked well together, and was helpful. People eventually grew closer to people as they leveled up and formed guilds. While guilds were formed of like-minded and goal oriented players, they weren't a players sole source of socialization. People still talked with, grouped regularly with, and otherwise socialized with the larger server community.

* The WoW Era

This era, when WoW was gaining steam, and before all the WoW clones, the community was in-between what it was before WoW and what it is now. Back then, leveling still took time, but the focus on group leveling was replaced by quest-hub leveling. Also, the elimated the need for crafted gear to get through the game, since quests and mobs rewarded gear often enough not to need it. Because whoever tags a mob first, hits the harvesting node first, and so on gets credit, this new system pitted one player against the other. Even in group content (dungeons and raids) it was players pitted against each other for drops. So you seen the global community slowly disappear while the guild communities started to rise in popularity. While you could still somewhat depend on other players to group up for needed things, your guild was your go to place for any serious socialization.

 

* Post-WoW Era (AKA "The Clone Period*)

WoW still exists, investors have seen WoW's success and decided to clone WoW in many parts, while dumbing down the game mechanics even further. WoW also does the same over the years. Thus the final nail in server wide communities are gone, and the focus is purely on guild communities. WoW introduced the genre to a larger market, a market where people have lots of friends who also play MMORPG's, so people rely less on strangers, and instead stick to their friends and guilds. Socialization outside of guild chat is usually trolling or youngster chat in /general and the like, chat channels. If you want a good community experience, people tell you to join a guild. The problem with this, unlike Pre-WoW games, joining a guild is like rolling a dice, since you haven't grouped with any of those people yet, so you don't know how you will get along with them and etc. Before WoW, you knew the people around you before you ever joined their guild, so you didn't join a guild lightly. You usually joined 1 guild pre-WoW and that was it, you were loyal. Post-WoW, there are hundreds and thousands of guilds, all claiming to offer the same thing, and so on. If you want to feel like you're a part of any kind of community, guilds is where it's at.

So there we are, my opinion on the evolution of the MMORPG community. While some games have tried to bring back or improve old mechanics in order to foster and encourage a server-wide community in recent history, most haven't. Players are now used to how things are done in the Post-WoW era, and I don't know if we'll ever have communities like we did before WoW came out. People just expect instant features, and quick fixes. Jump in, jump out sorta things. Quick fun, less work, maximum gain. That sorta thing.

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Comments

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member

    'Quick fun, less work, maximum gain. That sorta thing.'

    A video game by definition is entertainment.

    Some people find the 'work' part of it 'fun'. Some don't and find the 'fun' part 'fun'.

    Guess which one is the majority? :P

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    jpnz

    I think there is a balance between something you're given and something you have to really work for. In all facets of life past survival things are appreciated more by how you got them. Yes, games are not life but time spent is time spent.

    The "majority" may think that quick and easy gains are fun but for how long? Seems that after about 3 weeks to a month after release the "fun" isn't as fun and it's off to something else. By contrast those with more work involved ate stable and/or slowly growing.

    It's a balancing act for sure.
  • eddieg50eddieg50 Tolland, CTPosts: 1,613Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Aelious
    jpnz

    I think there is a balance between something you're given and something you have to really work for. In all facets of life past survival things are appreciated more by how you got them. Yes, games are not life but time spent is time spent.

    The "majority" may think that quick and easy gains are fun but for how long? Seems that after about 3 weeks to a month after release the "fun" isn't as fun and it's off to something else. By contrast those with more work involved ate stable and/or slowly growing.

    It's a balancing act for sure.

       If someone gave me 10 mil , i can guarrantee you I would be the happiest person alive

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    To answer the OP it wil all depend on what games come out and what their focus is. If a great game comes out that attracts post golden age MMOers and introduces social tools and gameplay I think the evolution will change for the better.

    The best bet will be Titan IMO. If Blizzard releases a game with a heavy emphasis on the social aspect of an MMO you will most certainly see a change. If not a good "community" does not mean tons of people. There will be plenty of us that want to play a socially minded type game.
  • nate1980nate1980 Evans, GAPosts: 1,829Member

    To address the comment about some people thinking "work" isn't fun, I ask this:

    You boot up Skyrim for the very first time, you create your character, log in, and automatically you are given max weapons, skills, and armor. How fun will the game be?

    I think everyone likes to work for their gains, it's just a matter of what degree they're willing to work for their gains. Some more than other, and like another poster said, it's a balancing act to please those who like to work more for things against those who like to work less for things. 

    In my opinion, Vanilla WoW, from what I heard, since I didn't play it, was onto something concerning the right balance. Maybe completing solo quests of your level was too easy, and took away from the socialization aspect that older games that required grouping to level had, but it did segregate content into different groups to balance that work vs gain paradigm. It offered something for all types.

    Solo quests were the least work and you'd still eventually end up with green items, and maybe blue until later expansions.

    Open world quests required more effort, and offered more rewards. 

    Instanced Dungeons required a greater amount of work and the second best rewards in the game.

    Finally, raids required the greatest amount of work, and offered the best rewards in the game. 

    Can't speak for the game now, but I think that was a pretty good balance, although I think even solo quests should offer some kind of challenge, at least of the same level TSW's solo encounters are. If you aren't paying attention to the mobs skill useage, and agro radius of surrounding mobs, you'll very likely die. In WoW and like games, you can auto attack any mob of like level, if not a little higher and always win. There's no challenge for solo questing gameplay.

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by eddieg50
    Originally posted by Aelious
    jpnz

    I think there is a balance between something you're given and something you have to really work for. In all facets of life past survival things are appreciated more by how you got them. Yes, games are not life but time spent is time spent.

    The "majority" may think that quick and easy gains are fun but for how long? Seems that after about 3 weeks to a month after release the "fun" isn't as fun and it's off to something else. By contrast those with more work involved ate stable and/or slowly growing.

    It's a balancing act for sure.

       If someone gave me 10 mil , i can guarrantee you I would be the happiest person alive

     

    Lol, point taken but in the same relation would it not mean more if you earned it yourself?

  • smh_alotsmh_alot Area 51Posts: 976Member
    Originally posted by Aelious

    Originally posted by eddieg50
    Originally posted by Aelious
    jpnz

    I think there is a balance between something you're given and something you have to really work for. In all facets of life past survival things are appreciated more by how you got them. Yes, games are not life but time spent is time spent.

    The "majority" may think that quick and easy gains are fun but for how long? Seems that after about 3 weeks to a month after release the "fun" isn't as fun and it's off to something else. By contrast those with more work involved ate stable and/or slowly growing.

    It's a balancing act for sure.

       If someone gave me 10 mil , i can guarrantee you I would be the happiest person alive

     

    Lol, point taken but in the same relation would it not mean more if you earned it yourself?

     

    True in theory. In reality, people'll will play the lottery and be happy if they can gain easy money in whatever way and often just believe that they've 'earned' it. Give people a choice, that they gain a certain amount of money or other special privileges and benefits either by working hard for it for an extensive amount of time, or just straightaway with some simple actions, and guess what the vast majority'll choose.




    There's far too many assumptions in the OP and those agreeing with it, too black and white, and it shows its shaky base.

    It ignores the simple fact that people'll regard the first MMO('s) they play differently, more positively than when they've been playing for years. That applies to those that stepped into MMO gaming in the UO/EQ era, as well as those who stepped in with WoW.

    Most people weren't really fans of full loot PvP, or player killers galore, or being almost unable to do anything outside of a group or having a few hours in the evening and then having to just hang around for 1-1.5 hr doing nothing until they finally found one. They just coped with it, but given the choice most'd have preferred mechanics to be differently. WoW, even in its vanilla state, was as themepark as you can get. Yet it has people playing and returning to it for years, millions of them, a hard fact that themepark dislikers and sandbox/1st generation MMO fans do their utmost to ignore.


    So, how is it that a themepark MMORPG is capable of having MMORPG gamers playing it and returning to it for years and years? This should in their philosophy be an impossibility. Thise people should've left it, or any themepark, after the first month, no longer. Cewrtainly not stick to them for years.

    It's simple, really. People play for fun and a good time. What fun is, differs from one person to the next, but if an MMO, themepark or sandbox or otherwise, has people playing them for years, it's clear that those MMO's apparently has gameplay that's fun enough for those sticking around. Like said, people play to have a good time, if possible with friends or other good people. This can be achieved in all kinds of MMO's and online games, not only sandbox MMO's.
  • NaughtyPNaughtyP Edmonton, ABPosts: 793Member

    You mean devolution right?

    Enter a whole new realm of challenge and adventure.

  • nate1980nate1980 Evans, GAPosts: 1,829Member
    Originally posted by smh_alot
    Originally posted by Aelious
    Originally posted by eddieg50
    Originally posted by Aelious
    jpnz

    I think there is a balance between something you're given and something you have to really work for. In all facets of life past survival things are appreciated more by how you got them. Yes, games are not life but time spent is time spent.

    The "majority" may think that quick and easy gains are fun but for how long? Seems that after about 3 weeks to a month after release the "fun" isn't as fun and it's off to something else. By contrast those with more work involved ate stable and/or slowly growing.

    It's a balancing act for sure.

       If someone gave me 10 mil , i can guarrantee you I would be the happiest person alive

     

    Lol, point taken but in the same relation would it not mean more if you earned it yourself?

     

    True in theory. In reality, people'll will play the lottery and be happy if they can gain easy money in whatever way and often just believe that they've 'earned' it. Give people a choice, that they gain a certain amount of money or other special privileges and benefits either by working hard for it for an extensive amount of time, or just straightaway with some simple actions, and guess what the vast majority'll choose.

     


    There's far too many assumptions in the OP and those agreeing with it, too black and white, and it shows its shaky base.

     

    It ignores the simple fact that people'll regard the first MMO('s) they play differently, more positively than when they've been playing for years. That applies to those that stepped into MMO gaming in the UO/EQ era, as well as those who stepped in with WoW.

     

    Most people weren't really fans of full loot PvP, or player killers galore, or being almost unable to do anything outside of a group or having a few hours in the evening and then having to just hang around for 1-1.5 hr doing nothing until they finally found one. They just coped with it, but given the choice most'd have preferred mechanics to be differently. WoW, even in its vanilla state, was as themepark as you can get. Yet it has people playing and returning to it for years, millions of them, a hard fact that themepark dislikers and sandbox/1st generation MMO fans do their utmost to ignore.

     

    So, how is it that a themepark MMORPG is capable of having MMORPG gamers playing it and returning to it for years and years? This should in their philosophy be an impossibility. Thise people should've left it, or any themepark, after the first month, no longer. Cewrtainly not stick to them for years.

     

    It's simple, really. People play for fun and a good time. What fun is, differs from one person to the next, but if an MMO, themepark or sandbox or otherwise, has people playing them for years, it's clear that those MMO's apparently has gameplay that's fun enough for those sticking around. Like said, people play to have a good time, if possible with friends or other good people. This can be achieved in all kinds of MMO's and online games, not only sandbox MMO's.

    That's not what my post is about. This thread is about the evolution or change the community has taken over the years and why that happened.

    But to address you post, of course WoW has a higher retention rate these days and more people prefer themepark games. Let's assume that all pre-WoW gamers still play MMO's. That's not even a million players on the western part of the world, compared to the millions of players drawn into the genre when WoW became popular. 

    Also, some people are generally a fan of MMORPG's period. Those of us from the Pre-WoW era are almost forced to play themepark games if we want to play a MMORPG with a healthy population. That doesn't mean we wouldn't prefer an old school game made with the same polish of todays games with the same population of themepark game. I play WoW and GW2 right now, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer a group-based leveling game. In fact, I only level through dungeons in WoW.

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,994Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by NaughtyP

    You mean devolution right?

    Yeah, I thought there was a typo in the thread title too. image

    In  my opinion it all boils down to a few factors, like the OP said, the composition of the player base was a bit different back then, and they radically reduced the amount of down time (waiting) that the early titles had.

    As I saw someone post in another thread, people tend to socialize when waiting around, and early MMO's had tons of it, between down time from fights, travel times, camping dungeon spawns etc.  

    They removed it all and now people just "fight, fight, fight", and the only people you can really socialize with are those on your voice chat, because who really has time to type anything when fighting all the time.

    One thing we can hope for is that as the gaming population ages they might want to slow the pace down, but still play MMO's.  If so, there might be an opportunity to increase wait times somehow and people will once again begin to socialize.

    Yeah, I know, wishful thinking. 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

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member
    Originally posted by NaughtyP

    You mean devolution right?

    haha, good shot  + 1 one for me on this one

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    smh_alot

    I agree 100% that people play for fun or similar gratification. While WoW is a great example of a themepark keeping its fans they are the exception and it hasn't worked for may others. Rift seems to be doing alright but many others have fallen by comparison.

    I don't think one type of MMO is better. I am personally looking for a deeper game than one that feels on rails and totally scripted. Past that though I see hope that a high quality sandboxish game is coming because fans keep spitting out themeparks one after another. That's why you see more of an uproar now. Even those held back by decent themeparks in the last few years want something different. I think they and sandbox style gamers will get their wish soon. We may know in a few weeks.
  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nate1980

    * Pre - WoW Era (AKA "The Golden Age") 

    This was the height of the mmorpg genre IMHO, because this was the era when MMORPG's were created by fans for the fans, and populated only by a niche group of gamers who's passion was to live a second life through their avatar in an online environment with other players. There was a tight knit global community, because everyone needed to group to get the best xp and to overcome challenges encountered on a daily basis that was too much for any one person to overcome.

    I agree that 2001-2003 was the Golden Age of MMOs. Tons of diversity in design. The rest of that paragraph is a fascinating trip down nostalgia lane, but it makes it very clear that the reality of the situation is nothing you really want to hear.

    So MMOs made before WOW were made by fans for fans is an interesting concept. So the devs creating MMOs before there were MMOs were MMO fans but the devs that made MMOs after there were MMOs are all just in it for the money. 

    And there was a tight knit global community, especially among the EQ elite which was only surpassed by the lovefest going on in UO.

     

    Your entire post boils down to "We used to group and level longer in the older games because we earned and worked and blah blah blah but now the new gamers want everything fast and free because they aren't great like us."

    Same post, different day.

     

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,666Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kyleran

    They removed it all and now people just "fight, fight, fight", and the only people you can really socialize with are those on your voice chat, because who really has time to type anything when fighting all the time.

    That is one thing that really bothers me a lot about most of the post-WOW MMOs. All you can do is fight. There's no other path to do things and the limited crafting that the games offer is only meant as an aside, constructed with contrived dependencies to supposedly foster or encourage grouping.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • StonesDKStonesDK SomewherePosts: 1,805Member
    Originally posted by Kyleran
    Originally posted by NaughtyP

    You mean devolution right?

    Yeah, I thought there was a typo in the thread title too. image

    In  my opinion it all boils down to a few factors, like the OP said, the composition of the player base was a bit different back then, and they radically reduced the amount of down time (waiting) that the early titles had.

    As I saw someone post in another thread, people tend to socialize when waiting around, and early MMO's had tons of it, between down time from fights, travel times, camping dungeon spawns etc.  

    They removed it all and now people just "fight, fight, fight", and the only people you can really socialize with are those on your voice chat, because who really has time to type anything when fighting all the time.

    One thing we can hope for is that as the gaming population ages they might want to slow the pace down, but still play MMO's.  If so, there might be an opportunity to increase wait times somehow and people will once again begin to socialize.

    Yeah, I know, wishful thinking. image

    The people I met and played with in EQ when it was released, were people who came with a pen and paper/mud background. To them it was more about the social aspect of playing roleplaying games. The themeparks today are created to draw in the facebook generation that doesn't want to be dependant on other people for anything. The more MMORPGs move towards "Farmville" the more people it will draw, the more you move towards EQ/UO the less.

    It's only going to get worse. This is a moneymaking business after all

  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,854Member Uncommon
    Well MMOs on that model have not been making much soooo...

    I wouldn't fret just yet. There is a market much bigger than MMORPGs and smart companies will lure them over so they can experience the excitement MMORPGs bring along with thier socializing...
  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member


    Originally posted by nate1980

    Seen some people creating posts about the community of MMORPG's and things that effect them and it started me thinking of how the community has evolved. So I'll lay out my opinion on how the community evolved, and see what you all think and have to add.

    * Pre - WoW Era (AKA "The Golden Age") ...
    * The WoW Era ...
    * Post-WoW Era (AKA "The Clone Period*) ...

    So there we are, my opinion on the evolution of the MMORPG community. While some games have tried to bring back or improve old mechanics in order to foster and encourage a server-wide community in recent history, most haven't. Players are now used to how things are done in the Post-WoW era, and I don't know if we'll ever have communities like we did before WoW came out. People just expect instant features, and quick fixes. Jump in, jump out sorta things. Quick fun, less work, maximum gain. That sorta thing.


     

    Sounds about right.

    I'm missing the early years as well. Good thing that there are at least some "pockets of resistance" in the smaller indie games I play where community, player reputation and interdependence still matters.

    As for the big AAA themeparks, I've given up on them, they lost me as customer. No big deal for them anyway, they've got millions of other customers instead. :)

    I maintain this List of Sandbox MMORPGs. Please post or send PM for corrections and suggestions.

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,230Member Uncommon

    I take a broader view:

    The Bartle Age (1990-2003): Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games

    This is a time when collaborative roleplaying on computer was born, and charts its development from text-based MUDs and MUSHs, through the first graphic MUDs, to the first MMOs.  The Belle Epoque of this period would be in the late 90s and early 2000s when Everquest, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, Asheron's Call, and Star Wars Galaxies (pre-CU) were all active.

    This period embraced the notion of the "diverse community."  In other words, it sought to provide experiences every player would enjoy.  For those who liked to explore, huge worlds with secrets were created.  For those who liked to achieve, there were great goals to be achieved.  For those who liked to build, there were crafting and economic opportunities.  For those who wanted to kill others, a PvP environment was fostered.  And for those who were creative and social, roleplay was fostered and creativity was encouraged.

    The goal of this period was to create a "symbiotic" community whereby every playstyle could satisfy particular needs in one game.  Many had no use for trade systems and crafted goods, perhaps they even resented going to non-combat professions for gear needs, but they tolerated it, because they derived their satisfaction in other ways.  Many had no use for PvP, but they toleated the occasional ganking, to enjoy the things they wanted.  Many had no use for playing in character, but they did it, so they could get to the things they enjoyed.

    In this era, developers worked to provide complex systems of interdependence that made every playstyle accountable to the others.  The best players were the well rounded ones, the ones who could PK, explore, roleplay, overcome obstacles, craft, and work in teams.  The games encouraged players to familiarize themselves with a wide variety of skill sets from playstyles outside their comfort zones.

    The Great Playstyle Wars (2001-2008): Massive Multiplayer Online Combat

    It is hard to analyze the Great Playstyle Wars without understanding the impact of certain technologies that arose in the early 2000s.  Faster internet connections brought a new kind of player into the market: the FPS combat player.  This player had no use for roleplay.  He had no use for non-combat professions.  He had no use for exploration.  He thought of his avatar as a vehicle for himself, a "toon," rather than a "character" designed to be roleplayed.  But he was motivated, had an appetite for persistant worlds, and was the largest demographic to hit the market since its inception.  With him came voice chat: TeamSpeak and, later, Ventrillo.  Web pages became more sophisticated.  Faster load times and a plethora of info caused most game secrets to become instantly available to searchers of game sites.  Players started to talk with each other on forums.

    The impact of a lot of these changes caused MMO players and developers to question a lot of the staples of world design.  Why do we need to roleplay?  Why do we need to rely on non-combat labor to produce combat gear?  Why do we need to have long travel times between quest points?  To many newcomers to the MMORPG scene, an MMORPG was just a persistant action game, and they wanted more of the "action" and the "game" than the "symbiosis" and the "world" of the Bartle era.

    And so, the "Great Playstyle Wars" began.  System by system, staples of world design were questioned and ridiculed.  "We want combat.  We don't want to have to rely on boring crafting systems and greedy crafters to get our gear."  Or, "We want to get to the combat more quickly."  Or, "We don't want roleplay foo foo.  Get on Vent or go home!"  More casual players fought back with demands of their own: "We don't want to be subject to your ganks," and "We should have a game to play without having to join a professionalized FPS clan and stick a headset in our ear."  And all of these demands were countered by the traditionalists, point by point, across forums and the blogosphere.  Many of the criticisms are levelled to this day.

    But the effect on the genre, I would argue, was profound.  Consumers of MMOs looked at their $15 fee as a kind of right to get the game they want, whether or not their desires clamped down on another's fun.  The first crowd to be hit were the PvPers, who were easy targets.  Their open world PvP that facilitated non-consensual PvP was replaced by "PvP zones" and "Consensual PvP only" features.  Then came the roleplayers' turn, who were hit with voice chat and downtime opportunities ("Sitting in camps was fun for you?").  Then the crafters were hit by making games "loot-centric" rather than "crafter centric."  The explorers were disenfranchised by fast travel systems and game info websites.  Finally, the achievers were hit by the emerging "gold selling" economy.

    At the end of the "Great Playstyle Wars," the publishers, players and designers have pretty much come up with a formula for how an MMO should look:

    1)  MMOs are combat games.  Non-combat activities are of secondary importance.

    2)  MMOs are action games.  Times of inactivity are signs of bad design.

    3)  MMOs are team sports.  Characters are designed to be specialized and contribute to a unit.

    4)  "The Group" is the fundamental unit of balance: it should be mechanically limited to less than 10 for most encounters.

    5)  "The Guild" is the only social outlet a player would need or want.

    6)  Player "success" should be measurable and charted: levels, gear values and stats.

    Upping the Ante (2008-Present): Massive Multiplayer Online Club

    RMT has had a long history in so-called alternative games.  Second Life and Entropia had rather sophisticated systems of translating real dollars into game currency.  But the limitations of this genre (the monthly fee, the steep entry costs, the longevity issues) have caused publishers to become creative.

    John Smedly describes the new paradigm as "the velvet rope."  The basic games would be "free to play," with no entry cost or monthly fee.  But, for a fee, a customer could purchase something "extra," perhaps a costume piece or an exclusive zone.  The problem is that many of the players believed that a "cash shop" or an "item store" would disrupt the integrity of the game.

    Then again, the demographics of your average MMO consumer was changing.  All the hyper-competitive FPS players were already enrolled in WoW or other games, but the new, socially networked player--fully equipped with an easy PayPal account or game cards--is willing to spend money to get the things he or she wants.  This player, deemed the "casual player," doesn't necessarily find pleasure in the marathon raids or the years of accumulated "grinding," but they want a place to go in which to have some fun encounters with their real life friends.

    I'd write more, but this post is long, and it gives you a general overview of how I view the history of "community."  It's less "mechanics driven" and more "philosophically driven."

    __________________________
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    --Exar_Kun on SWG's NGE

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,994Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Beatnik59

    I take a broader view:

    The Bartle Age (1990-2003): Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games

    I'd write more, but this post is long, and it gives you a general overview of how I view the history of "community."  It's less "mechanics driven" and more "philosophically driven."

    You win. Most insightful post I've read in ages, good form sir, good form. imageimage

    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
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  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,917Member Uncommon

    I think changes in the games can be summarized as "revenue optimization in an increasingly competitive environment".

     

    I consider changes in the community to be a result of the changes in the games.  When devs stop catering to "X style plaers" and start catering to "Y style players", it's natural for the X's to leave and the Y's to dominate.

     

    Kudos on the "devolution" comments.  I too find myself struggling to consider changes in MMORPGs as progress.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • StonesDKStonesDK SomewherePosts: 1,805Member

    @ Beatnik59

    Your post is spot on

  • ImpacatusImpacatus San Diego, CAPosts: 436Member

    Beatnik59 - That is a very good analysis.  The OP was a good start, too.

    I still think that a wider demographic would find they enjoyed the older, more interactive style of mmorpg if they ever got the chance to experience it.  I even sometimes here WOW players wishing WOW had features that were in those earlier mmorpgs, even though they never heard of those games.

    The tragedy is that back in the early days the will to make interactive, immersive virtual worlds was there, but the technology was somewhat limited.  Now we have the technology to improve upon what we have before, but the will is gone.

    However, I actually think there's hope in the casual players.  They've shown that they have a pretty loose definition of what a game is supposed to be, so I think they would tolerate sandbox features if they were offered to them, and some players may even come to enjoy them.

    If you're building an mmorpg, or if you'd like to share ideas or talk about this industry, visit Multiplayer Worlds.

  • Beatnik59Beatnik59 Chicago, ILPosts: 2,230Member Uncommon

    Thanks for everybody's attention.  And I thank nate1980 for bringing this topic up.

    I think a major part of why we don't have the communities we had before is because we've lost tolerance for things we don't particularly understand or like.  The "Great Playstyle Wars" is a concept I developed some time ago in previous threads.  Here's an earlier rendition of it (http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/post/4877896#4877896)

    "In an attempt to not displease everybody, the new games don't really satisfy anybody, at least not the people who like MMOs for the things MMOs do well (PK, immersive roleplay, complex systems, achievement).

    In the early days, you had to be a tolerant player, subjecting yourself to things you didn't particularly like in order to get the good stuff you liked. But you were rewarded for this tolerance by getting the things you did like in a way no other game could match. This was a genre that encouraged a diverse and cosmopolitan notion of fun, but when those who really didn't understand this genre came into the picture, this notion of fun got destroyed.

    The downfall started with what I call "the great playstyle flame wars" that were waged between 2003 and 2005. The wars generally started with threads that looked like this:

    'It isn't right that I have to pay $15/mo to subject myself to (PK, roleplay foofoo, timesinks, decay, spawn camping, gated content, sticking a headset in my ear to get in a guild).'

    And the piling-ons, pseudo-intellectual arguments, pleas for pathos, trolling defenders, and various insults meeting or exceeding Godwin's Law were heard from the plains of Trammel, to the heart of Coronet, to Paragon City, to Queynos, to Kalimdor, and many more places without end. And the community managers, producers, designers and VCs shook with horror at what was unleashed, vowing never again to make a game which subjected anyone to anything even the slightest bit inconvenient.

    They created games where players don't have to be tolerant of other playstyles, because they took out all the material that caters to different playstyles. They created games where nobody ever has a reason to be offended at paying the publisher for things they don't like, but they did this by taking out or watering down all the material that people liked.

    Who can blame them? It's the only thing they could have done for players who refuse to be tolerant of another's fun."

    __________________________
    "Its sad when people use religion to feel superior, its even worse to see people using a video game to do it."
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  • ImpacatusImpacatus San Diego, CAPosts: 436Member
    I really like the term "world builder".  That perfectly describes my playstyle and what I expected from the mmorpgs I played.

    If you're building an mmorpg, or if you'd like to share ideas or talk about this industry, visit Multiplayer Worlds.

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,743Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by NaughtyP

    You mean devolution right?

          Hehe yeah that is how I see it too......

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