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[Column] General: Don't Wanna Win

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,572MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

There is a thought ghosting around the edges of the MMO community that somehow these massive games we play are supposed to be 'winnable'. But is that reasonable? Find out in today's Devil's Advocate why we don't think so. Join the conversation in the comments!

That realization is that when I play MMORPGs, I don't want to win.

I know that, for many of you, that might not make any sense, so today's Devil's Advocate will discuss exactly what that means. 

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: Don't Wanna Win.

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

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Comments

  • erictlewiserictlewis Cottondale, ALPosts: 3,026Member Uncommon

    This is why swtor failed.  You reached end game with all your companions at level 50.  There was no more story left.  All that was left was meaningless pvp, and enless dailies, and the ocasional raid.

    You don't want to win your mmorpg because when you do your done.  Kind of like playing a console game. 

     

  • BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing Editor Berea, OHPosts: 2,356MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

    It's funny, because Victor and I think a lot alike. Horizontal progression helps, but even that can end. It's the worst feeling. A world, a game, that's not supposed to end... and then it does.

    I mean, yes, you can keep going but often times for me... I just don't see the point. It's why I plan on campaigning for games to start trying to experiment with endless progression, systems based-design, and less focus on content and level caps.

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BillMurphy

    It's funny, because Victor and I think a lot alike. Horizontal progression helps, but even that can end. It's the worst feeling. A world, a game, that's not supposed to end... and then it does.

    I mean, yes, you can keep going but often times for me... I just don't see the point. It's why I plan on campaigning for games to start trying to experiment with endless progression, systems based-design, and less focus on content and level caps.

    What do you mean by "system based-design"?

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  • BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing Editor Berea, OHPosts: 2,356MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

    Avoid relying on content like quests, dungeons, and scripted events that take thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, and instead get it right from the start and put the power in players' hands.

    Quests, dungeons, and all that? Love 'em. But relying on them as a designer is like forcing yourself to run uphill at full sprint with a 3,000 lb. semi strapped to your back... and expecting to be able to do that for years and years even though you age and the money you need to do it inevitably shrinks.

  • KuppaKuppa Boulder, COPosts: 3,292Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BillMurphy

    Avoid relying on content like quests, dungeons, and scripted events that take thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, and instead get it right from the start and put the power in players' hands.

    Quests, dungeons, and all that? Love 'em. But relying on them as a designer is like forcing yourself to run uphill at full sprint with a 3,000 semi strapped to your back... and expecting to be able to do that for years and years even though you age and the money you need to do it inevitably shrinks.

    I think I understand what you mean. Do you have an example of a sucessfull system that is not somehow related to pvp? Besides stuff like mods and pure content creation by players(which can be fun, but it's not for everyone and the level of entartainment from them can vary greatly), I can't think of a single system that could be player driven and at the same time be only pve.

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  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,181Member Uncommon

    I think all games you eventually get bored with, some sooner than others.  I know I eventually grew bored with UO, bored with SWG, even though they were in the sandbox mold I desire.  I did go back to them though more than once though.  Theme park games though I can quickly get bored with, even Wow.  Cataclysm lasted about 3 months for me because I have a lot of alts, have not even thought about trying the new expansion, just do not believe there is any fun left in that game.

    I don't think any of the current games can keep people's attention for long these days.   So many of the upcoming sandbox games think you need ffa pvp to be a sandbox, which is far from the truth.   Ok having such in some areas, but not throughout the game, it is a death knell to do so.  To be a good game you need casual areas along with the dangerous ones.

    Levels are to me one of the biggest indicators that your time in the game is short when you reach the top tier.  Developers should get rid of them or minimize them, like Turbine did in AC1.  You need an extensive skill system to do so I believe.  Good systems will keep people playing too, they are extremely important.

    Just have to take a wait and see attitude for these future games, hoping that at least one of the development teams gets it.

     

  • simmihisimmihi -Posts: 615Member Uncommon

    Great article! This happens to me too, since forever. As a kid, i hated when cartoons series ended. As a teenager, i did not want to finish books. As an adult with a kid's heart, i don't want the video games "to end". For example, i loved TSW. Loved it so much that i've ran through the content in two weeks, and felt incredibly bad when all "ended". The feeling that "ok, now it's done, you have to gear up and grind instances, WoW-like" was the worst feeling i've got lately from a game.

     

    @Bill

    Yeah, i feel the same. To have the right systems in place is a much much more important thing for me than actually having sick ammounts of new content. I've realized that the "content" lately became just something annoying which i only do just to "get rid of. I want to be a part of something alive, something linked by those systems, and not some guy who gets his thrill from +30 sta and +20 int on that new piece of gear.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,896Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BillMurphy

     Quests, dungeons, and all that? Love 'em. But relying on them as a designer is like forcing yourself to run uphill at full sprint with a 3,000 lb. semi strapped to your back... and expecting to be able to do that for years and years even though you age and the money you need to do it inevitably shrinks.

     

    Not to mention the reality that a full team working 2 years can generate enough content for about 3 months (or less) of high effort content consumption.

     

    Either expansion packs need to be made faster, or content consumed more slowly.  I don't see either happening.

     


    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
  • MuffloMufflo StockholmPosts: 30Member

    I fully agree with this point of view you have brought up. Eve online as mentioned is a fine example of this. 

    Upcoming MMO WildStar is probably pushing the genre to that viewpoint, catering different kinds of players with different kinds of playstyles, especially showing that it's possible to not focuse on combat but building and achieving things in other ways. 

    Three cheers for a world built by its inhabitants.

    The sylvari ordered Rice n chicken in a bar. The waiter asked him: "exploded or intact?" He angrily answered: "Intact of course! Do you take me for a fool?"

    Those were his last words.

  • bliss14bliss14 eleva, WIPosts: 565Member
    Originally posted by BillMurphy

    Avoid relying on content like quests, dungeons, and scripted events that take thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, and instead get it right from the start and put the power in players' hands.

    Quests, dungeons, and all that? Love 'em. But relying on them as a designer is like forcing yourself to run uphill at full sprint with a 3,000 lb. semi strapped to your back... and expecting to be able to do that for years and years even though you age and the money you need to do it inevitably shrinks.

    C'mon Mr. Murphy.  Get your facts straight.   A semi truck weighs approximately 15,000 to 20,000 pounds. Depending on the truck, the cabin can weigh between 9 to 12 tons. With trailer it can tip the scales at 30,000 lbs when empty.

    I think it adds more weight to your example though.  :P

  • Blasted489Blasted489 SPosts: 4Member
    Yeah getting Sword Art Online mmorpg ideas to make this thread, too bad sword art online doesnt exist in real life ^^
  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by BillMurphy

    Avoid relying on content like quests, dungeons, and scripted events that take thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, and instead get it right from the start and put the power in players' hands.

    Quests, dungeons, and all that? Love 'em. But relying on them as a designer is like forcing yourself to run uphill at full sprint with a 3,000 semi strapped to your back... and expecting to be able to do that for years and years even though you age and the money you need to do it inevitably shrinks.

    I think I understand what you mean. Do you have an example of a sucessfull system that is not somehow related to pvp? Besides stuff like mods and pure content creation by players(which can be fun, but it's not for everyone and the level of entartainment from them can vary greatly), I can't think of a single system that could be player driven and at the same time be only pve.

    Lineage was pvp based, but offered a pve only server.  People still did a lot of pvp though, but it's wasn't 24/7 ganking even on the modified open pvp server (Lands of Aden).

    What made that game so open ended, even though it had a level cap, was a combination of very slow leveling, potentially endless gear enhancement with a risk of gear loss, player made factions instead of contrived factions, some dungeon access was player control while others were totally open, all public dungeons, and the ability to do content with 1+ people.

    There is a tradeoff for systems like that though.  They have to be open with limited direction and constraints.  Lineage wasn't really even a sandbox or a themepark.  It was just totally open and free in that you could do what you wanted with your character in the world.

    I think it could happen in pve or if pvp was different.  Instead of actually "killing" a character in pvp make the pve component competitive.  It's still player versus player competition, but not in the explicitly stabby sense.  If systems could be designed around that and participation in the actual competition not negatively impact those who aren't at the top we would have a winner.  And by not affecting the 90% of player base I mean that they could still enjoy progression and pve, but the nicest things would be resource limited.  Hell, if it was well designed someone could compete through different methods.  Maybe some would adventure for the rare items, while others crafted, while others worked the trade system to obtain rare items.  Allowing players to become powerful through the methods they like to play is key in my opinion.

  • NephaeriusNephaerius Baltimore, MDPosts: 1,539Member Uncommon
    I play games to win.  It's all about competition for me.  If there's no challenge or competition to be had I'm moving on.  Reaching cap or the end of progression if you will in an MMO is hardly winning the game IMO as a competitive PvP player.

    Steam: Neph

  • Segun777Segun777 Jade Dynasty Correspondent Lemont, PAPosts: 97Member
    +! Sword Art Online!
  • NorseGodNorseGod Behind Enemy Lines, FLPosts: 856Member

    There is an entire generation coming into their 20's now that were brought up getting a trophy for last place.

    The "Everybody is a Winner" Generation is going to be nothing but trouble for every aspect of our lives. It has already started.

    No thought. No effort. Just show up and get a trophy. That is what games are like now. Games like Wow brought them into the genre by the millions. The gaming industry is now ran by bean counters and will never go back to the way MMORPGs use to be.

    We need a MMORPG gamer to develope an old school MMORPG with the acknowledgement that, that said game will not have millions of players, but will be badass for the tens of thousands that are waiting for such game.

    Censorship is intended to create an illusion that one side of the debate is correct and unopposed. Silence is not consent.

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    After defeating lich king I lost all interest, then deathwing came after I beat him I lost all interest I'm sure the same will happen in mop.
  • FreezzoFreezzo EnschedePosts: 235Member
    Originally posted by Kuppa
    Originally posted by BillMurphy

    Avoid relying on content like quests, dungeons, and scripted events that take thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, and instead get it right from the start and put the power in players' hands.

    Quests, dungeons, and all that? Love 'em. But relying on them as a designer is like forcing yourself to run uphill at full sprint with a 3,000 semi strapped to your back... and expecting to be able to do that for years and years even though you age and the money you need to do it inevitably shrinks.

    I think I understand what you mean. Do you have an example of a sucessfull system that is not somehow related to pvp? Besides stuff like mods and pure content creation by players(which can be fun, but it's not for everyone and the level of entartainment from them can vary greatly), I can't think of a single system that could be player driven and at the same time be only pve.

    How about player housing? Combined with a complex crafting and exploring (for gathering) system it works like a charm. Of course not everyone will enjoy it. I play RIFT (mostly dimensions, which is housing) and some people literally asked me "why do it when you don't get any gear from it?". But it is a system put in place where there's limitless content (you can pack up your dimension and restart/build in another one you purchase) with a lot of freedom (here's space, here's legos, have fun) and it doesn't modify the game. It's no content other than social.

    Crafting is another system put in place that, combined with gathering and item decay and item/material rarity, gives a lot of content and things to do. Let's just say you want your awesome chestpiece repaired or you'll lose it due to it falling apart, you'll have to visit a skilled armoursmith and maybe he can repair it, else you'll have to find the materials for a new one. This also gives a vibrant economy. (No auction house would also help community interaction, but that's up for debate). The crafting system would have to be way more complex than let's say WoW/RIFT/SWTOR/Aion/Tera/everything themepark. I think GW2 recipe discovery is a step in the right direction, but the crafting overall is pretty meaningless.

    That's 2 examples of systems. A third one (which does have pvp) is making the higher level zones forced pvp and add a system for open world pvp that gives faction bonuses, direct ones. I played a game called Shaiya. It was a Korean grinder/pvp game, but the pvp system was great. Every x amount of kills you got more stat points, which made you stronger (tiers at 1,50,300,1000,5000,10000, etc... up to 200k kills). Also there was bless, a system by which you had to kill altars to claim them for your side and get favor from the goddess you fought for. This was a constant battle and came with nice bonuses (less xp loss on death, higher crit chance, higher hp/mp/sp, etc...). Eventually the faction-wide bless bar was full and for 10 minutes you became god-like superstrong. The other faction lost it's bless and after those 10 minutes all altars were set to neutral. Destroying an enemy altar lowered their bless whilst upping yours. Don't play the game though, it's hugely pay to win :P (unless you're into that stuff)

    That's 3 good systems. Put them in a nice world with good combat and I'd be playing

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

  • FreezzoFreezzo EnschedePosts: 235Member
    Originally posted by NorseGod

    There is an entire generation coming into their 20's now that were brought up getting a trophy for last place.

    The "Everybody is a Winner" Generation is going to be nothing but trouble for every aspect of our lives. It has already started.

    No thought. No effort. Just show up and get a trophy. That is what games are like now. Games like Wow brought them into the genre by the millions. The gaming industry is now ran by bean counters and will never go back to the way MMORPGs use to be.

    We need a MMORPG gamer to develope an old school MMORPG with the acknowledgement that, that said game will not have millions of players, but will be badass for the tens of thousands that are waiting for such game.

     

    I think it's more that the whole gaming market and the MMO market has been opened up to wider audiences, who have the time nor the interest to invest into the world and their characters. I know plenty of people that play MMORPGs casually and like the rewarding systems and what's not, but fear a more complex game takes too much of their time or doesn't lead to fast fun. Most of these people are working/parents/whatever and not the generation of 20-year olds (I'm 21 FYI) that you claim them to be. As far as I know most of them play LoL and CoD. I'm sure it's spread over the whole spectrum, because I'm sure I just haven't met those of my age yet that only do stuff for rewards. And for the last statement I do agree and that's why it's probably best for an indie dev to pull something like that off.

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

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    Great article! I have felt the same way myself. I lasted almost 9 or 10 years playing MMORPGs without ever reaching level cap. I never desired to get there. I knew that game would end for me if I ever did.

    They don't call it "end game" for nothing :)

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • NikopolNikopol The ZonePosts: 626Member Uncommon

    I remember at last convincing my real life friends to join me in an MMO. It was, WoW, of course. :) They did get hooked, put a lot of hours in and got to cap. I remember them getting there and asking me in guild chat:

    - So, what do I do now?

    - You run the high level dungeons.

    - But I've already done that!

    - You run them again!!!

     

    Boy, was that a disappointment for them. :)

     

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,592Member Uncommon

    This is actually the Holy Grail of gaming... Barring some SERIOUS advances in software technology (close to GAI as one example), I doubt that we are going to see any real solution to this problem, any time soon.

    Most of the better attempts I've seen leverage player conflicts with other players to extend game play.  That coupled with various creative out lets is about as far as it goes right now.  But that approach has some serious down sides.

    There have been attempts at procedurally generating content, but that is limited in its application and quality.

    So far, the attempts at side stepping the content creation bottle neck that I've seen have been more smoke and mirrors, than any real substance.  Some have been quite clever, but nothing has stood up to large numbers of players hammering on the system.

    Human nature comes into play in some of this.  There is a good reason that many people are turned off by the sand box approach.  That can be summed up in one word; Goonies... ^^

    There will always be people who get their jollies from ruining other peoples play experience.  Attempts to mitigate that have had limited success at best. 

    Taken all together, this problem needs not just *a* solution, but multiple solutions that can be applied across the various types of games involved.  Its going to be fascinating watching people attempt to solve these problems.

  • victorbjrvictorbjr Quezon CityPosts: 185Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by BillMurphy

    Avoid relying on content like quests, dungeons, and scripted events that take thousands of man hours and millions of dollars, and instead get it right from the start and put the power in players' hands.

    Quests, dungeons, and all that? Love 'em. But relying on them as a designer is like forcing yourself to run uphill at full sprint with a 3,000 lb. semi strapped to your back... and expecting to be able to do that for years and years even though you age and the money you need to do it inevitably shrinks.

    Victor here,

    Bill has excellent ideas regarding this, which I remember from an article of his regarding MMO systems. Can;t find the article though. :(

    Player-created content (such as foundry missions in STO or NEverwinter in the future) is great, but those also need to be curated or at the very least, the method of gaining power has to change so that the emphasis is less on growing stronger (or min maxing through easy foundry missions) and instead on experiencing a world. :D

    A writer and gamer from the Philippines. Loves his mom dearly. :)

    Can also be found on http://www.gamesandgeekery.com

  • NorseGodNorseGod Behind Enemy Lines, FLPosts: 856Member
    Originally posted by Freezzo
    Originally posted by NorseGod

    There is an entire generation coming into their 20's now that were brought up getting a trophy for last place.

    The "Everybody is a Winner" Generation is going to be nothing but trouble for every aspect of our lives. It has already started.

    No thought. No effort. Just show up and get a trophy. That is what games are like now. Games like Wow brought them into the genre by the millions. The gaming industry is now ran by bean counters and will never go back to the way MMORPGs use to be.

    We need a MMORPG gamer to develope an old school MMORPG with the acknowledgement that, that said game will not have millions of players, but will be badass for the tens of thousands that are waiting for such game.

     

    I think it's more that the whole gaming market and the MMO market has been opened up to wider audiences, who have the time nor the interest to invest into the world and their characters. I know plenty of people that play MMORPGs casually and like the rewarding systems and what's not, but fear a more complex game takes too much of their time or doesn't lead to fast fun. Most of these people are working/parents/whatever and not the generation of 20-year olds (I'm 21 FYI) that you claim them to be. As far as I know most of them play LoL and CoD. I'm sure it's spread over the whole spectrum, because I'm sure I just haven't met those of my age yet that only do stuff for rewards. And for the last statement I do agree and that's why it's probably best for an indie dev to pull something like that off.

    So basically, because people decide to have a kid, my gaming experience has to be dumbed down? Don't you think that you have enough MMOs to choose from already, that you allow one good MMORPG? We're not playing your games anyways, so it's not like you're forcing us to migrate to yours or that you'll lose population.

    You are correct though. I can't argue with your points made.

    I'm just asking for someone that loves MMORPGs to make a good one for the few that have been waiting years. Not by a gaming company that only makes MMOs for the money.

    I'd rather host a game that has 450K dedicated MMORPG gamers (which was the norm back then), than host a WoW clone, hoping to make WoW income but only have 50K players at best and on the edge of shutting down or going F2P every single quarter (which is what is going on today).

    Yes, in reality, you are correct. But, let me tell you my opinion in regards to what you are describing.

    Ever seen the movie Casino?

    Remember when they started out in Vegas? There was a niche group of people that went to Vegas. They wore expensive suits, drove expensive cars. They ate gourmet foods. The management demanded high quality and the customers just assumed to get high quality.

    At the end of the movie, the hotels were demolished and turn into themepark hotel casinos for the masses. Remember the scene when the huge gaggle of fat people, wearing Wal-mart clothes, kids, picking their noses walking through the doors? The quality went to crap, all-you-can-eat buffets in every casino, etc etc. I actually felt a sense of death in that scene.

    That's what I think about when I read the "progress" of MMORPGs turning into MMOs to become more accessible for the lowest common denominator. Which by the way, when you cater to the lowest common denominator, you have to lower the bar.

     

    Censorship is intended to create an illusion that one side of the debate is correct and unopposed. Silence is not consent.

  • gaeanprayergaeanprayer Somewhere Out There, PAPosts: 2,320Member Uncommon
    Opposite end for me. I don't want to be going constantly and never getting anywhere. I actually enjoy feeling like I "beat" a game....for now. Then I put it down and go do something else, usually something more productive, until an expansion comes out. I can understand how some people want to make a game feel almost like a home where they're simply always in it, doing something, but I can't empathize with that. I've been gaming for almost 25 years now, and even to me that seems like a gigantic waste of time and life.

    "Forums aren't for intelligent discussion; they're for blow-hards with unwavering opinions."

  • RollgunnerRollgunner Champaign, ILPosts: 59Member Common

    I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes from the movie Avalon, in which a Game Controller confronts one of the players in the game :

     

    Which is the greater challenge?
    Which is the better game?
    Which would you choose, given the choice?

    The sort of game that you think you can win, but cannot,
    Or, alternatively, one that seems to be impossible, but isn’t?

    Maintaining a precise, delicate balance somewhere in between,
    throughout every level of the game – That’s what keeps it going.

    And it is all up to us.


    - Game Controller “Avalon” (2001)

     
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