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Five Assumptions that are Killing the MMO

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  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member
    Originally posted by Greyface
    Originally posted by jpnz

     

    I'm not suggesting that you can't play your preferred type of game.  All I want is a chance to play mine.  If the status quo works for you, then great.  Go nuts.

     

    The overarching view point of this thread is that the 5 assumptions are 'killing the MMO'.

    The 5 assumptions (and others) are what made the MMO mainstream, are what made the MMO genre make insane $$$ for various companies and is one of the largest genre right now.

    Yes, due to its size there will be a niche market for a minority of players that this genre doesn't quite get it right for.

    Yes, the MMOs have changed (not neccessarily to the preference of a small minority of people) since 8 years ago but those changes brought huge successes.

    To suggest that we should change what made MMOs the industry it is today doesn't make sense.

     

    If the vast majority of players don't like the 'community building' part of the MMO, why should anyone be surprised (or demand) that companies go contrary to that?

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

  • elockeelocke Manassas, VAPosts: 4,205Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Greyface
    Originally posted by Loke666

    The story is important, TORs problem is that it focused the story on the single player instead of the guild, the town or the world.

    A game with no story is just a bunch of pointless randomencounters unless you have a Minecraft sandbox where nothing is prebuilt.

    A great story can save an average game, but the story needs to be about the entire world. Players should add their own touch to the story in games with sandbox elements of course but MMOs is a group thing, not a single player experience.

    Still, story is important and games like UO actually had a rich story. 

    That's exactly what I was saying.  My header was deliberately provocative -- I apologize if it was also misleading.  Single-player type stories, with cut-scenes, personal instances, and mary-sue heroics have no place in an MMO.   Having a voice actor tell you that you're a special little pony does not make it so. 

    However, a game world absolutely needs story -- but it needs to be told in a way that acknowledges the fact that the space is being shared by thousands of other players.  And within that context, players need the tools to make their own stories.

     

     

    Sorry, my 2 favorite MMOs:  FFXI and Lotro both have personal stories, cutscenes, personal instances and heroic actions and to me that is what truly sold me on them as being the best MMORPGs I've ever played.  Having this stuff doesn't detract from a game.  That's like saying that extra red icing on top of the white icing on a piece of cake ruins the cake.  Doesn't make much sense to me.

    image
  • GreyfaceGreyface Detroit, MIPosts: 390Member
    Originally posted by jpnz

    The overarching view point of this thread is that the 5 assumptions are 'killing the MMO'.

    The 5 assumptions (and others) are what made the MMO mainstream, are what made the MMO genre make insane $$$ for various companies and is one of the largest genre right now.

    I've really tried to be respectful of your point of view, but you're talking out of your lower intestine.

    Yes, WoW has made scads of money.   But it peaked years ago.  It's anointed successor, SWTOR, was a gigantic flop. EA had to shoehorn the game into one of the most predatory F2P models I've seen outside of Farmville.  DDO and Anarchy Online each lasted 3 years as subscription-only.  The late, lamented City of Heroes lasted 7.  SWTOR? 11 months.

    EA stated that they need 500,000 subscriptions to make a profit.  They didn't get them.  How do I know that?  If they had, EA wouldn't be trying to sell action bars to people.  EVE, the most impenetrable of sandboxes, has 400,000.  Who's the majority again?  I have news for you bub, the majority has moved on.  They're not playing MMOs anymore because MMOs have become boring.  

    WoW is nearly a decade old and it's the last game to make a dent in the market.  The entire genre rests on the shoulders of an aging giant that barely manages to keep its subscriber base level.  Animals that fail to adapt to go extinct -- you can invent all the statistics you want, but the MMO as we know it is a dinosaur.

  • SouldrainerSouldrainer Elmer, NJPosts: 1,857Member
    Point #1 I largely disagree with. Designers should listen to gamers, absolutely... but what they often do, and should never do, is take complaints at face value. If a player says "this game sucks. It's so hard, I can't even have fun." What the player might mean is... "monsters have too many hp." "AI os poor" "the game lacls proper itemization" and/or "the control layout isn't accessible." It is the primary duty of a good designer to find ways to correctly interpret these complaints. They almost never do.

    Error: 37. Signature not found. Please connect to my server for signature access.

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member
    Originally posted by Greyface
    Originally posted by jpnz

    The overarching view point of this thread is that the 5 assumptions are 'killing the MMO'.

    The 5 assumptions (and others) are what made the MMO mainstream, are what made the MMO genre make insane $$$ for various companies and is one of the largest genre right now.

    I've really tried to be respectful of your point of view, but you're talking out of your lower intestine.

    Yes, WoW has made scads of money.   But it peaked years ago.  It's anointed successor, SWTOR, was a gigantic flop. EA had to shoehorn the game into one of the most predatory F2P models I've seen outside of Farmville.  DDO and Anarchy Online each lasted 3 years as subscription-only.  The late, lamented City of Heroes lasted 7.  SWTOR? 11 months.

    EA stated that they need 500,000 subscriptions to make a profit.  They didn't get them.  How do I know that?  If they had, EA wouldn't be trying to sell action bars to people.  EVE, the most impenetrable of sandboxes, has 400,000.  Who's the majority again?  I have news for you bub, the majority has moved on.  They're not playing MMOs anymore because MMOs have become boring.  

    WoW is nearly a decade old and it's the last game to make a dent in the market.  The entire genre rests on the shoulders of an aging giant that barely manages to keep its subscriber base level.  Animals that fail to adapt to go extinct -- you can invent all the statistics you want, but the MMO as we know it is a dinosaur.

    Majority? Okay.... how about WoW has 10M subs, SWTOR has 500-1M subs and GW2 sold millions?

    These are all facts and numbers from 6months ago and not 'my guild died in MMO X so MMO X is clearly dying!' example that you make.

    Yeah, people sure are abandoning the genre. /sarcasm

    If you don't like those facts and numbers, tough. Facts don't change cause someone doesn't like them.

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

  • GreyfaceGreyface Detroit, MIPosts: 390Member
    Originally posted by jpnz

    Facts don't change cause someone doesn't like them.

    That's one point we agree on, at least.

  • NCPilotNCPilot Concord, NCPosts: 49Member

    Actually, while The Secret World had a rough start, it is now one of the more popular MMOs and on MMORPG.com, it is the second highest ranking MMO behind GW2.  So I wouldn't call TSW a "failure". 

    /nitpick.

    Yo

  • MMOdad72MMOdad72 Hoover, ALPosts: 93Member
    Originally posted by NCPilot

    Actually, while The Secret World had a rough start, it is now one of the more popular MMOs and on MMORPG.com, it is the second highest ranking MMO behind GW2.  So I wouldn't call TSW a "failure". 

    /nitpick.

    Financially , it's a failure.

    Per Funcom themselves.

  • MMOdad72MMOdad72 Hoover, ALPosts: 93Member
    Originally posted by jpnz
    Originally posted by Greyface
    Originally posted by jpnz

    The overarching view point of this thread is that the 5 assumptions are 'killing the MMO'.

    The 5 assumptions (and others) are what made the MMO mainstream, are what made the MMO genre make insane $$$ for various companies and is one of the largest genre right now.

    I've really tried to be respectful of your point of view, but you're talking out of your lower intestine.

    Yes, WoW has made scads of money.   But it peaked years ago.  It's anointed successor, SWTOR, was a gigantic flop. EA had to shoehorn the game into one of the most predatory F2P models I've seen outside of Farmville.  DDO and Anarchy Online each lasted 3 years as subscription-only.  The late, lamented City of Heroes lasted 7.  SWTOR? 11 months.

    EA stated that they need 500,000 subscriptions to make a profit.  They didn't get them.  How do I know that?  If they had, EA wouldn't be trying to sell action bars to people.  EVE, the most impenetrable of sandboxes, has 400,000.  Who's the majority again?  I have news for you bub, the majority has moved on.  They're not playing MMOs anymore because MMOs have become boring.  

    WoW is nearly a decade old and it's the last game to make a dent in the market.  The entire genre rests on the shoulders of an aging giant that barely manages to keep its subscriber base level.  Animals that fail to adapt to go extinct -- you can invent all the statistics you want, but the MMO as we know it is a dinosaur.

    Majority? Okay.... how about WoW has 10M subs, SWTOR has 500-1M subs and GW2 sold millions?

    These are all facts and numbers from 6months ago and not 'my guild died in MMO X so MMO X is clearly dying!' example that you make.

    Yeah, people sure are abandoning the genre. /sarcasm

    If you don't like those facts and numbers, tough. Facts don't change cause someone doesn't like them.

    Show me these official EA figures where SWTOR is even possibly in the 1 million sub range ? 

    You can't.

    Completely pulling that out of your ass.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Greyface

    WoW is nearly a decade old and it's the last game to make a dent in the market.  The entire genre rests on the shoulders of an aging giant that barely manages to keep its subscriber base level.  Animals that fail to adapt to go extinct -- you can invent all the statistics you want, but the MMO as we know it is a dinosaur.

    No. There are 50M MMOs players in the US .. wow has had a minority. Most are playing F2P MMOs.

    In fact, just look at LOL ... even when it is a MOBA, it has eclipse WOW in active users. WOT is a success. So if you count those as variations of MMOs, the genre is doing fine.

    However, your point about "animals that fail to adapt to go extinct" is right on .. that is why some of these recent successes are not proper MMOs.

  • RajCajRajCaj Lafayette, LAPosts: 693Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Greyface
    Originally posted by aesperus

    Problem is, this isn't a real solution. What exactly is a 'jerk', and would you honestly want a game in which everyone who did something mean was banned? What happens if you have a bad day, do something that might be considered 'mean' and get banned for it?

    The sad truth for designers is that games are going to have jerks whether you like it or not. There are more trolls in all games now, than there have ever been. You simply can't get rid of crappy people. It doesn't matter how well a game is designed, no game will cure the human condition. What this means, is that developers are forced to design games around this fact.

    I don't remember calling for a game where people get banned for being grouchy.  There are other solutions.  One example was proposed on the developer blog for Pathfinder Online: EBay style ratings for players.  It's only one possibility, and I'm sure there are others. 

    There's a lot of room between letting players torture one another and treating them like kindergartners.  Unfortunately, those are the only two approaches that have been tried.

    I, like the OP, also played Ultima Online...and I did experience many instances of players greifing for the sake of greifing....

    While it was fustrating on many occasions, with the right infrastructure, it also provides an opportunity for other styles of play.

    There were bands of player killers (or REDS) in UO that sought nothing but to kill other innocent players.  The existance of this group prompted the creation of a guild that existed for the sole purpose of killing other player killers.  They were the "good guys" that got tired of getting worked over by a-holes and banded together to exact player justice.  The only way they were able to do this was BECAUSE of the Free For All PvP system.  It also provided for an opportunity to role play the hero & do-gooder. 

    Having played both UO & WOW for 4+ years, I can say that without a doubt, I've experienced more A-Holes & Trolls playing WOW than I did Ultima Online.  Why?  Because in WOW I can't do anything about it if they were on the same faction as I was.  They could steal my monsters, ninja loot, and do everything they could (within the rulset of the game) to cause me greif and I couldn't do much about it.

    However, in UO.....you typically didn't start something you couldn't back up, because the you knew the other guy would give you a dirt nap and take all your crap if you went shooting your mouth off.

     

    As the OP said, there has to be some fair balance (as it was in Ultima Online's noteriety system)....but in my experience, limiting or constraining play options in the game tended to have the opposite effect than desired.

  • NCPilotNCPilot Concord, NCPosts: 49Member
    Originally posted by MMOdad72
    Originally posted by NCPilot

    Actually, while The Secret World had a rough start, it is now one of the more popular MMOs and on MMORPG.com, it is the second highest ranking MMO behind GW2.  So I wouldn't call TSW a "failure". 

    /nitpick.

    Financially , it's a failure.

    Per Funcom themselves.

     

    I doubt that's the case, it's bringing in some money to Funcom and most likely turning a profit.  If it was a finanical failure, they would've closed it down. 

    Yo

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    A very nice post, and yes, I did read all of it.

    Here is my reply.

    1. I disagree whole heartedly. Having heavily beta-tested since Meridian 59, I have actually found the opposite to be true. MMORPG makers actually listened to tester feedback far MORE pre-SWGs Raph Koster speech about how game makers need to tell players what they like...while at the same time going on about how games should give players the tools to play the way they want...lol. Ever since WoW was released its been hard pressed to find a game maker that actually listens to the playerbase BEFORE the game is in trouble. It was Koster himself that actually was the kick in the pants in that department for EQ2, he did such a poor job that after being fired his replacement actually went to the community and asked what needed to be done to get them playing, an expac followed that brought EQ2 it the top of its popularity. SWTOR was not a product of listening to players, it was a product of IGNORING them which is why the playerbase dropped off a cliff. It was the same with TSW, how many beta testers SCREAMED and were not heard? Now, now we see what the game is like, what its MISSING and it turns out, it was the things testers SCREAMED about.

    The players are the ones PLAYING, to say they shouldnt be heared is crazy, the consumer should be the focus, its the POOL of opinions that need to be looked at...because I sure didnt hear much about wanting raids and dailies during my beta testing...it was mostly crafting and other mini-things to do that was being asked for.

    2. This is situational depending on the game but for the most part you are correct.

    3. Yes again I agree with you completley here. The idea that the two cannot exist together comes from the small minded viewpoints of player experience and personally believe that a game can have both. An open main world being sandbox and all storyline/themepark aspects being instanced, outside that main world.

    4.  Story is important, but that doesnt mean it needs to be the main focus. Using SWTOR and TSW as examples of story fail does not mean story is not important. Look at WoW, you can claim story isnt important in WoW yet look at how many people complained about story related issues over the years...Heck, in Asherons Call 1, you had to LOOK for the story, actually look for books laying around and click on them to READ it, in EVERY part of the game, yet I knew of only a few people that DID NOT know it...and that was a "sandbox" game.

    Its important, it just shouldnt be such a big focus that the rest of the game is pushed to the back burner like in SWTOR.

    5. Yep, this is one of the bigger mistakes hurting the genre.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon

    Loved the infinite levels with diminishing returns. It requires some fleshing out, but it's the only innovative MMO idea I've seen in a long time. Bravo

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • MeriliremMerilirem Port AugustaPosts: 77Member
    Pretty good pretty good, but it's hard to talk to people without some sort of terminology that they understand. Which is why sandbox and theme park were created, it's all just gameplay but sandbox represents a future we have yet to reach. People seem to have gotten the misunderstanding that sandbox are a fleshed out form just like theme parks. Theme parks have been worked out over the years as the optimal form, which is true when you have limited capabilities. At the moment we are quickly approaching a full fledged freeborn game, however we are nowhere close to it and are only being slowed further by the stagnation. Players also don't know what the he'll they actually want or enjoy. A lot of them are idiots when it comes to such things. The world works best when people balance themselves, all you need is guidance by a soft hand. The journey is the best part of life and games, when your finished, you lose gleeful ambition among other magical aspects. Story is important, voice acting is not. First you need a good base then you work on the pretty stuff. No one likes glittery fecal matter that talks.

    If a butterfly learnt to speak, to live in human society, paid its bills, had a job, lived in a fancy house and married a human, is it human?

    Now what if that same butterfly knew how to write code better than any human and had years of experience in the game industry, would that make it a game designer?

    If u wouldn't let a construction worker design your house, then why let a programmer design your world?

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,752Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by apocoluster
       Disagree with #4...I do want to be the special little pony.  

     #4 was spot on...Couldnt agree more and both games were terrible MMOs...Bot hshould have been made as single player games and both would have been more successful if they had.

  • daltaniousdaltanious waPosts: 2,145Member Uncommon

    Well I do not agree on #4 with OP, I'm kind of player that love good story. On #5 many do rely on this, but I'm altholic, I just enjoy leveling and playing vs pve evironment and what were company able to put together.

    But I see only ONE SINGLE problem to any game. Haters. Games are destroyed by them and they should get life time ban access to internet and problem would be solved. But such people they do not limit their hatred to games, they do to other areas of human existance, in games they just flourish because is so easy to bully via safe distance and use of keyboard.

    I call them haters, sickos, ... whatever because they bash, follow some game on all forums, all posts with incredible hate toward this or other game. If you do not like some game LIVE AND LET OTHERS LIVE. But not, because having problems with space between ears this will not happen. 

    Thare are games I dislike, had terrible experience (for one known had even to change credit card as they continued to charge me despite dozens of emails), I do not like, .... many times I might use them as bad example (here we go for few: Rappelz, Aion, ...). But I will NEVER chase this games forums with my posts. Game is not for me? Great, will try another one but will FORGET about disliked one.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by RajCaj

    Having played both UO & WOW for 4+ years, I can say that without a doubt, I've experienced more A-Holes & Trolls playing WOW than I did Ultima Online.  Why?  Because in WOW I can't do anything about it if they were on the same faction as I was.  They could steal my monsters, ninja loot, and do everything they could (within the rulset of the game) to cause me greif and I couldn't do much about it.

    That is certainly not true. You can steal their monsters. They cannot ninja loot if they are not in the same group as you. If they are, you *can* kick them out, or quit the group.

    Note that there is no loot ninjaing in LFR, just like in D3, because you roll your own loot.

    There is actually little griefers can do. In UO, they can camp you all day. In the beginning of UO, often griefers will camp where newbie come into the game. You can't do that in WOW.

  • jinxxed0jinxxed0 columbia, SCPosts: 838Member

    Yes yes and yes!

    Number 4 is pure truth all the way.

     

    Look at guild wars 2, TOR, TSW, etc. Being this "one special person who is the most gifted and is best friends with this one NPC" along with hundreds of other people just cheapens the over experience. Little by little, we're all figuring out why these MMOs have been so dull lately.

     

    Most MMOs now days cater to being anti social and soloing, having story meant for a single player game, have goofy cash shops, start out as a subscription game with a fully developed system in place for going freemium. After all this shady and dodgey practice people are turning to sandboxes with the hope that sand bax devs are different from mainstrain themepark devs. I hope so, but even if they are, eventually they'll notice the masses will still buy mediocre games and stand by them for whatever reason. Likely to save face.

  • GreyfaceGreyface Detroit, MIPosts: 390Member
    Originally posted by jinxxed0

    Look at guild wars 2, TOR, TSW, etc. Being this "one special person who is the most gifted and is best friends with this one NPC" along with hundreds of other people just cheapens the over experience. Little by little, we're all figuring out why these MMOs have been so dull lately.

    I wonder how much of this is a generational thing.  There was an interesting article posted on Kotaku the other day that speaks to this point.  It's worth reading in its entirety, but I want to quotet a couple of passages here:

    "Over and over I was told that I was special, but I am not special at all. My story isn't even that unique. The reality is, the hardships of life shatter the fantasies we are told in childhood about our future. Greatness is not preordained. Except in video games. In video games greatness is inevitable."

    "Like so many others I feel like I was lied to. In the real world I am still a nobody. It is only in video games, the thing I was told most often to avoid growing up, that I feel like I have lived up to my destiny. Instead of becoming a bestseller I have saved words, rescued princesses, and slayed dragons. In video games I am loved."

    Maybe the aversion to Sandboxes -- even the kind of Sandbox-lite I've been advocting -- has something to do with the fact that there's a large subset of people who don't like being reminded that they are not special.  Pre-packaged story lines in MMOs are the equivalent of trophies for participation.  Finishing one of these stories isn't an indication of any special achievement.  All you did was show up.  Here's your gold star. 

    Mind you, I'm not usually one of those people who complains about that sort of thing.  It feels good to get a pat on the head once in a while, deserved or not.  I get that.  But in the context of a massively multiplayer game, any validation you get from being Special is undermined by all the other Special people running around the game world.  Somehow, hollow accolades are worse than none at all.  If I want to be Savior of the Universe, I play single-player games.  They do a much, much better job of creating the illusion of consequence.

    But it goes beyond the question of inhertly poor execution.  Scripted MMO stories get in the way of the kind of authentic experiences that these games are capable of creating.  Back in school, we were all told how much potential we had.  It was a big lie.  But our old friend, the MMO, really does have extraordinary potential.  It's time we stop letting him get away with doing the bare minimum.    

  • PhramePhrame Philadelphia, PAPosts: 29Member
    Originally posted by Greyface

    Assumption #1 Developers should listen to the players:  

    Assumption #2 Players are the problem:   

    Assumption #3 Sandboxes are sandboxes, theme parks are theme parks: 

    Assumption #4 Story is important:  

    Assumption #5 The Endgame is all that matters:  

    One of the best threads I've read on this site in a while. You've pretty clearly articulated my frustration with recent MMOs. I agree with every point, but #4 could be rephrased to say "Personal Story is important". You've already elaborated on that though. 

     

    Developers are at the root of this problem, for the most part because they need to prove that their game will be profitable before anyone will invest in their project. But with this model of the MMORPG (the "WoW" model) beginning to die out as subscription numbers fall, games shut down and so on, there is hope that developers are beginning to realize that some calculated risks need to be taken before they produce another MMO. And it's likely that most developers will stay away from the genre altogether until someone creates the new standard (i.e. another huge success comes along and major developers will clone that just as they did WoW). There's simply too much financial risk involved. 

     

    Man, I wish I were able to develop an MMO myself. I'd hire you right away! 

  • KothosesKothoses GalwayPosts: 760Member Uncommon

    Disgree strongly with the storyline part, But if you are hand holding players through a storyline, clever design would be an equally effective way to progress through that stage of your game without it.

     

    Story, and setting to me are very important, the parts of MMOs that stand out the most to be are the well executed set plays, storylines or such.  In a game like eve where the players evolve the universe you dont need story as much but you still need setting, you still need antagonists to get the players motivations clear in their own minds and then allow them to branch out into their own mythos.

     

    For me story is very important and when I am playing a game with story that is well written it really adds something to the experience.

    Promoting thought a new Gaming video blog http://www.youtube.com/user/quinnthalas discussing games, gamers and the internet with gameplay footage as background.

  • NinjaGazNinjaGaz MacclesfieldPosts: 53Member Common

    I think the biggest bad assumption is that players like the WoW winning formula and want more of it, with some tweaks.

    The problem with the MMO is that the vast majority are, essentially, the same. New setting, new story, same classes, same grind, same raids, same PvP etc. It's been suffering for a long time and has been a failure after failure.

    In some ways, though, they're only a failure because they are compared to WoW. To play a game for 3 months should really be considered a successful game, but compared to a 10 year old 10m subscriber game - 3 months seems pathetic.

    I don't even follow MMO's any more because they are all just exactly the same and make me bored just reading about them! I used to expect them to be the same, but try them anyway and I have been disappointed so often that i really have no desire for them anymore.

    Perhaps Blizzard will change things with their next incarnation, or maybe they will go where the money appears to be and fail us all.

    The company that invents the next gen massively multiplayer game will do extremely well, but it is proving incredibly hard to do so.

  • BanaghranBanaghran HuisoPosts: 869Member
    Originally posted by NinjaGaz

    To play a game for 3 months should really be considered a successful game

    The only success there is that the media spin trying to downplay recent quickly tanking mmorpgs has convinced you that a box + 0.5 * box in subs is a success for a game that probably cost 3+ times as much to make (and run) as a singleplayer game (even if some of them could put moderns mmos to shame in regards of content).

    Flame on!

    :)

  • drivendawndrivendawn montgomery, ALPosts: 1,247Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Greyface
    Originally posted by jinxxed0

    Look at guild wars 2, TOR, TSW, etc. Being this "one special person who is the most gifted and is best friends with this one NPC" along with hundreds of other people just cheapens the over experience. Little by little, we're all figuring out why these MMOs have been so dull lately.

    I wonder how much of this is a generational thing.  There was an interesting article posted on Kotaku the other day that speaks to this point.  It's worth reading in its entirety, but I want to quotet a couple of passages here:

    "Over and over I was told that I was special, but I am not special at all. My story isn't even that unique. The reality is, the hardships of life shatter the fantasies we are told in childhood about our future. Greatness is not preordained. Except in video games. In video games greatness is inevitable."

    "Like so many others I feel like I was lied to. In the real world I am still a nobody. It is only in video games, the thing I was told most often to avoid growing up, that I feel like I have lived up to my destiny. Instead of becoming a bestseller I have saved words, rescued princesses, and slayed dragons. In video games I am loved."

    Maybe the aversion to Sandboxes -- even the kind of Sandbox-lite I've been advocting -- has something to do with the fact that there's a large subset of people who don't like being reminded that they are not special.  Pre-packaged story lines in MMOs are the equivalent of trophies for participation.  Finishing one of these stories isn't an indication of any special achievement.  All you did was show up.  Here's your gold star. 

    Mind you, I'm not usually one of those people who complains about that sort of thing.  It feels good to get a pat on the head once in a while, deserved or not.  I get that.  But in the context of a massively multiplayer game, any validation you get from being Special is undermined by all the other Special people running around the game world.  Somehow, hollow accolades are worse than none at all.  If I want to be Savior of the Universe, I play single-player games.  They do a much, much better job of creating the illusion of consequence.

    But it goes beyond the question of inhertly poor execution.  Scripted MMO stories get in the way of the kind of authentic experiences that these games are capable of creating.  Back in school, we were all told how much potential we had.  It was a big lie.  But our old friend, the MMO, really does have extraordinary potential.  It's time we stop letting him get away with doing the bare minimum.    

    Yes as you say life is harder more tragic and less rewarding so keep them out of my game. Im not saying I want easy mode either but sometime I do because I have a job, family, and obligations. Story in games are key to me as well I don't see any problem with personal story in an mmo as long as its good. I am so tired of people on this site dictating what an MMO is "supposed" to be. You like sandbox games great im not gonna tell you your wrong for it but dont tell me that personal story doesnt belong in mmo's or any story at all for that matter becuase that is your opinion.

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