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[Column] General: The Problem No One’s Talking About

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  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,195Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zekiah
    Originally posted by Gdemami

    Originally posted by Bill Murphy

    The problem is MMOs by their very nature are dependent upon players sticking around in game for months or years at a time. 


    And this premise is based on...?

    Really? C'mon now, think this one through...

    MMO = Massively Multiplayer Online

    Yeah, it's boggling that you or another would have to explain this.  Does Gdemami really not get why MMO require some form of retention?  It's this sort of silliness along with all the cardboard wow-clone responses that distract.

    The problems Bill touches on are real.  If the genre is going to mature in a healthy way it needs to deal with them.

    The barrier for entry, and then retention or return to the game is real and no amount of content delivery is going to solve that.  Can a developer pump out content and patches faster than Trion has done over the last couple of years?  Even then they've only really put out one major update (Ember Isle) and a few smaller updates that kind of add up to Ember Isle.  Even though they bust ass they still can't keep up with the consumption.

    Games need system, but they also need to be systems that matter.  We'll see how Trion does with housing, but even though it looks very nice and robust from a design point will the housing matter to the rest of the game?  One reason why EQ2 housing has been so popular is because of it's robust design (ie: free form placement, etc), but even more so because it is heavily integrated with crafting, adventuring, and the broker.

    So while we need systems, those systems need to matter.

    The payment model as a barrier should be a no brainer but for some reason we're stuck in a rut there.  Arena Net might prove that you don't need a sub for content updates (that really remains to be seen over the next year or two) as they're pretty much matching Trion's pace at this point.  But what they really need to show is that a B2P game can have robust systems in place.  They still need to show that B2P can be relevant.

  • LarsaLarsa NurembergPosts: 990Member

    Well, Bill, you're quite late to the party, welcome anyway.

    So, the Problem No One's Talking about? Looks like you never read you own forums. We, the regular posters here, are talking about the very same thing since years. You would have no problems to find 1000s of posts telling you so. The Problem No One's Talking about? Smedley from SOE talks about it, Funcom makes noises in the same general direction, Cryptic as well - it wasn't that no one talked about the problem - it was that no one at MMORPG.com wanted to hear anything about it. You guys rather prefer to praise the longevity of these same games ... wasn't it you who rewarded GW2 with a 9 for longevity a few weeks ago? :)

    From AoC to GW2 games have launched with great fanfare from this website, have sold millions of boxes - and you are talking about "barrier to entry"? Sorry, but talking about a "barrier to entry" when games with a barrier of $60 for you US guys sell millions of boxes (no matter whether the game has a subscription or not, see SWToR and GW2) should tell you that "barrier to entry" is a complete non-issue. None of the big games of the last 5 years had any problem with it. Marketing removes any barrier to entry for an entertainment product.

    Anyway, I welcome that you now put same emphasis on non-content design in MMORPGs - apart from that, thanks, I prefer my subscription games, just like Blizzard and CCP and Trion do.

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

  • makiimakii noPosts: 280Member
    Originally posted by elocke

    Yes!  Systems!  Thank you!  Finally, someone saying what I've been trying to say for a few years now but more so in the last few months after sinking my teeth into GW2 and realizing it is lack of systems that stops me from playing.   The games adding the systems are the ones I'm playing right now.  Like Lotro and Rift, heck even WoW(although it could definitely use more focus in this department, but apparently they get this and 5.1 looks interesting with a new Brawler Arena system).

    The key to those old games everyone talks about like AC, EQ, FFXI are the sheer volume of systems in those games that keep people logging in.  Extra content is awesome and should never stop coming, but MMORPGs are all about adding systems and keeping players in the game.  Somewhere along the way, this core idea has become lost and needs to make a reappearance fast.

    This is how Bill writes his colums. Reading here in Forum. Its not something he thought about himself. Im not saying its bad what hes doing either. Keep it up Billyboy.

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member
    Originally posted by Larsa

    Well, Bill, you're quite late to the party, welcome anyway.

    So, the Problem No One's Talking about? Looks like you never read you own forums. We, the regular posters here, are talking about the very same thing since years. You would have no problems to find 1000s of posts telling you so. The Problem No One's Talking about? Smedley from SOE talks about it, Funcom makes noises in the same general direction, Cryptic as well - it wasn't that no one talked about the problem - it was that no one at MMORPG.com wanted to hear anything about it. You guys rather prefer to praise the longevity of these same games ... wasn't it you who rewarded GW2 with a 9 for longevity a few weeks ago? :)

    You, sir, win the internetz.

    Worms from can have been removed they have. Put them back in box they cannot. image

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

  • FreezzoFreezzo EnschedePosts: 235Member
    I somewhat (with others) enjoy my own system... Roleplay ^.^ Don't need content patches for that :)

    "We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
    And for MMORPGs ever so true...

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member

    Erectile Dysfunction? Painful Hemorrhoids? Jock itch? Toenail fungus?

    Oh, thank god Bill, for going somewhere else entirely.  The title's like an intro for one of those commercials.

     

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • BeansnBreadBeansnBread PshPosts: 5,498Member Uncommon
    Just for the record, I am also pro-features. I thought everyone was.
  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member
    Originally posted by colddog04
    Just for the record, I am also pro-features. I thought everyone was.

    Gamers have been conned into thinking million-dollar cut scenes and one-time content were what we really wanted.

    Now, where are all the devs who come here to scan these articles?

    Bueller... Bueller... Bueller...

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

  • Sora2810Sora2810 New Columbia, PAPosts: 567Member

    I agree with this. Some other points is that MMO companies should be realistic about game design. An MMO doesn't need millions of players to be successful. Most servers by popular standards house 3-4 thousand players at a time. They can make design risks and build a niche core within themselves.

    That's the problem I've seen. Many MMO's these days are afraid to jump into uncharted waters (pun, intended). They haven't tried to push theirselves because they belive an MMO requires an extensive sum of money to develop; they are falling into AAA category that doesn't need to be brought.

    Played - M59, EQOA, EQ, EQ2, PS, SWG[Favorite], DAoC, UO, RS, MXO, CoH/CoV, TR, FFXI, FoM, WoW, Eve, Rift, SWTOR, TSW.
    Playing - PS2, AoW, GW2

  • ZekiahZekiah Aurora, COPosts: 2,499Member
    Originally posted by Sora2810

    That's the problem I've seen. Many MMO's these days are afraid to jump into uncharted waters (pun, intended). They haven't tried to push theirselves because they belive an MMO requires an extensive sum of money to develop; they are falling into AAA category that doesn't need to be brought.

    But the thing is, those waters have already been charted and sailed successfully. There's plenty of gaming systems out there ready to be reborn and improved upon.

    UO, SWG, EQ, DAoC, etc. etc. There are wonderful systems in those titles alone that could easily be improved upon.

    It's up to us, the gamers, as to where the future of MMO development takes us. Do we continue paying for subpar games designed around box sales or do we say enough is enough and DEMAND developers to take notice?

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

  • TamanousTamanous Edmonton, ABPosts: 2,125Member Uncommon

    Ever since Smedley talked about sand box elements and then clearly took EQ into that direction, this has been just about the major topic of the day. I've been preaching it for years amongst the many others here chatting over fundamental flaws of themepark games. Some of the largest threads over the last few months have been about the whole themepark/sandbox debate. Simply look over my post history (from a modest post count person) and see the amount of thread content I've posted in on this very subject. I'd say this topic is the fundamental theme (outside if individual game subjects) on these boards and others for months which leads to the massive coverage of upcoming sandbox games and the obvious change in mmo design direction by both indie and AAA companies.

     

    Now let's look at the title of this articile: "The Problem No One's Talking About". Perhaps it should be changed to: "The Problem No One's Talking About: Short Term Memory Loss".

     

    You stay sassy!

  • MMOwandererMMOwanderer LisbonPosts: 415Member
    Originally posted by Larsa

    Well, Bill, you're quite late to the party, welcome anyway.

    Yeah, i was thinking "You guys only figured this out now?" all the way while reading the article image.

    Regardless, i completly agree Bill. I don't hate story, questing, dungeons, cutscenes, voice-overs, etc at all (expect "personal" stories and voiced pc's). I think they bring good things to the game and give it greater quality. It's developers abusing them and turning them into the main focus of the entire game by 90% that angers. Once you're finished with it, it's over and there's nothing left to achive and play.

    More "systems" and "non ending" activities are necessary and fortunatly, it seems quite a few devs are figuring this out. Let's hope mmorpgs like these are coming in the future.

     

  • adam_noxadam_nox hays, KSPosts: 2,073Member Uncommon

    I consider myself the typical mmo gamer, one that plays for one or two months.  In the past, you actually had more GOOD options, CoH, DAoC, EQ, or WoW.  Now that all of those games are aged and one is going to be closing, the real options for mmorpg fans are slimmer by the day.

     

    It's actually quite sad.  For over ten years I've seen the potential of mmorpgs squandered.  I wanted a virtual world that satisfied my different needs.  PvP, creation, adventure, social interaction.  But in most those areas, every mmo fails in some way. 

     

    While I only played any mmo for a month or two at a time (subscribed to CoH 18 months which is only 20% of it's lifetime), I would have played the 'right' mmo for ten years straight.  I say 'would have', because I'm getting old and life is getting busier and more complicated, and my desire to stay plugged into a game 20+ hours a week is waning.  So in a way, any new great game that finally gets it right is too little, too late.  The genre failed me, end of story.

  • BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing Editor Berea, OHPosts: 2,356MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon
    Originally posted by MMOwanderer
    Originally posted by Larsa

    Well, Bill, you're quite late to the party, welcome anyway.

    Yeah, i was thinking "You guys only figured this out now?" all the way while reading the article image.

    Regardless, i completly agree Bill. I don't hate story, questing, dungeons, cutscenes, voice-overs, etc at all (expect "personal" stories and voiced pc's). I think they bring good things to the game and give it greater quality. It's developers abusing them and turning them into the main focus of the entire game by 90% that angers. Once you're finished with it, it's over and there's nothing left to achive and play.

    More "systems" and "non ending" activities are necessary and fortunatly, it seems quite a few devs are figuring this out. Let's hope mmorpgs like these are coming in the future.

     

    I suppose I actually should have said, "The Problem Few Devs Are Acknowledging" but this seemed catchier.  :)

    In regards to GW2, I still think the game's fantastic... in fact, I love themeparks as much as I long for a good quality take on the Sandbox (Malu and EQNext I'm particularly looking forward to, as well as Darkfall:UW's PVP-oriented take).  But a Theme-park can have quality longevity, just the same.  For millions, WoW does the trick.  I don't know how, but it does.

    However, WoW (as the article states) is a fluke. It can afford to take time and sustain itself because of its insane amount of subscribers.  As we've seen lately, that model just doesn't work with any other title. 

  • evolver1972evolver1972 Port Orchard, WAPosts: 1,118Member
    Originally posted by Ozivois
    They need to slow down level progression - that will add more time to subs.  Lower experience gain to a minimum so that players have to spend inordinate amounts of time in every area of the world. Offer raids for every ten levels. Limit daily experience gain.  Make it so that rare level 20 armor is worth looking for because you will be able to use it for another month as you work your way to level 30...

    Why do they need to slow down level progression?  So they can bilk you out of even more money?  So the game can just become tedious?  No thanks.

     

    I got an idea when it comes to longevity of a game.  Stop playing games like they're a second job.  Does anyone hear realize how ridiculous it is to spend 5-6 hours per day playing a computer game?  Maybe slow down the amount of time you play and you won't finish a game in 2 months.

     

    To Bill's article, I think you need both.  You need both the content to keep people happy and the systems.  Just one of those won't be enough to keep people coming.  Especially those who have apparently massive amounts of time every week to waste.

    image

    You want me to pay to play a game I already paid for???

    Be afraid.....The dragons are HERE!

  • immodiumimmodium ManchesterPosts: 1,574Member Uncommon

    IMO they should get rid of the whole "the world revolves around me" feeling you get from most, if not all new MMO's.

    Combat shouldn't be the only main aspect of the RPG experience. Crafting and socialising systems should be on an equal footing as combat.

     

    image
  • immodiumimmodium ManchesterPosts: 1,574Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by evolver1972
    Originally posted by Ozivois
    They need to slow down level progression - that will add more time to subs.  Lower experience gain to a minimum so that players have to spend inordinate amounts of time in every area of the world. Offer raids for every ten levels. Limit daily experience gain.  Make it so that rare level 20 armor is worth looking for because you will be able to use it for another month as you work your way to level 30...

    Why do they need to slow down level progression?  So they can bilk you out of even more money?  So the game can just become tedious?  No thanks.

     

    I got an idea when it comes to longevity of a game.  Stop playing games like they're a second job.  Does anyone hear realize how ridiculous it is to spend 5-6 hours per day playing a computer game?  Maybe slow down the amount of time you play and you won't finish a game in 2 months.

     

    To Bill's article, I think you need both.  You need both the content to keep people happy and the systems.  Just one of those won't be enough to keep people coming.  Especially those who have apparently massive amounts of time every week to waste.

    When you say job are you implying people hate what they are doing? What if they find their job immense fun? Is it wrong to have immense fun for 5-6 hours a day? :)

    image
  • KalafaxKalafax Gainesville, FLPosts: 521Member Uncommon
    I agree with what your saying, and really this is why I'm a sandbox player and not a themepark player, the heart behind a sandbox MMO is that it has content such as storyline and questing, but it also has tons and tons of systems that allow you to do whatever it is you enjoy in a game.

    Mess with the best, Die like the rest

  • moguy2moguy2 Saint Peters, MOPosts: 337Member
    I was thinking about food and I think I missed what was going on in this thread
  • AeliousAelious Portland, ORPosts: 2,853Member Uncommon

    I agree on both point completely.  Yep, EQN is coming image

     

    Look to EQ2 for addresses to both issues and it's "testbed" role for EQN.  The pricing model is already there, will be better still in the future when cosmetics are craftable, and it has more features than you can shake a stick at.  Granted, the dungeon maker feature is not as involved as NW looks to be and the dungeon finder is a bit buggy with 29 different classes but you have all these features in one game.  Level scaling, housing, good crafting, deep character advancement, various quest types, SoEMote and even 3DTV.  What's my point?

     

    EQ2 itself ends with raid progression but if you look at the tools it has built over the years the good ones have been built into EQN from the start.  Apply that to the Forgelight engine and a tout of "biggest sandbox style MMO ever created" and we may very well see a resurgence of long term player retention among new MMOs based on your two great points.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,195Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by colddog04
    Just for the record, I am also pro-features. I thought everyone was.

    Well the other half of this coin is many of the "features" or systems in discusssions seems to revolve around ffa pvp.  As much as themeparks need to realize systems are important to depth, non-themeparks need to let go of the idea that a systems centric design doesn't need to have pvp permeate everything.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,183Member Uncommon

    Wow that was probably one of your bests articles.   So true.  All that content in SWTOR for example is useless, people have been through it few times and moved on.  F2P people will find out the same.  

    I do think your comments about Neverwinter are misplaced.  Cryptic has never made a decent game ever, what makes you think they can do it with this title.  Secondly as I have mention a few times before, PW is well know to abuse players with a necessary item shop.  I just don't see them making everything about the foundry free.  Not going to happen.

     

  • fenistilfenistil GliwicePosts: 3,005Member

    Yeah overall article is right and even business model wise is also right.  There is no chance that in example 30 subsciption only mmorpg's (not countining very small indie ones) would thrive.

     

    Still does not change fact that I will never again personally play freemium, f2p or similar model.

    It might work for industry generally speaking but It does not really work for me.  Microtransactions suck enjoyment out of me due to my specific reasons why I play mmorpg's in first place.

  • FoomerangFoomerang Portland, ORPosts: 5,565Member Uncommon

    Yes we all bask the the epiphany right now. Just remember in two months we will be voting for all the various mmo awards of the year. Will you be surprised when it reads: themepark, themepark, themepark, themepark....

    Btw, plenty of people have been talking about this issue for years. Moderators make it seem like nobody is though >_>

  • yorkforceyorkforce DoncasterPosts: 160Member

    Sorry to bring in the sandbox/themepark take on the article but isnt that what makes sandboxes have longer longlivety? A Sandbox generally by its nature has many many systems, while a themepark has one or very few.

    My problem with most recent games is the way they are telling me how to play, telling me what system i can use and when i can use it or making each system so similiar to one another that it doesnt matter which one im using, if im looking for a story, ill watch a film or play a single player game, they just dont work well in MMO's because of everyone else, if i want to play a game however I want choices, lots of them which in turn requires alot of different systems.

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