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So I'm sure we're all actuely aware of the current trend for new titles in the MMO genre: action-orientated combat systems.
TERA did it. GW2 did it. Raiderz did it. TESO is about to do it. Neverwinter is doing it.
There seems to be this prevalent belief from developers that the problem WE have with MMOs isn't to do with the fact that MMOs have been serving up the same content, the same incentives, the same motivators for the last 10 years without any apologies or attempts to move beyond them. It is instead to do with the combat systems.
I think this is totally the wrong conclusion to come to.
I had GREAT fun with WoWs combat system. When I go back from time-to-time to check out how the game isn't doing anything interesting, I always note how fun it is to play (especially in PvP). Warhammer Online had a great combat system (once you got over the fact that Mark Jacobs thought inventing "Mythic Time" was a good way to solve lag). Star Wars: The Old Republic also had a great combat system. I can't say that I enjoy any of those games any more; they come with a "been there, done that" feeling: they all want me to raid, they all want me to run instances/group quests, they all constantly bribe me to play with new tiers of gear, and they all bog me down under a time-crunching grind that I'm just not interested in anymore. They all have enjoyable (sometimes brilliant) combat systems however.
Now don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that I don't WANT action-orientated combat in my MMOs. I love The Elder Scrolls and The Witcher 2, and - like many other people - enjoy action-RPGs (and action games in general) thoroughly when they are done well.
It does feel however that some studios are relying on a change of combat system to sell their games entirely. Take The Edler Scrolls Online, for example: beyond the shallow alterations that come with a change of setting, it very much sounds like World of Warcraft... with action combat. I'm not saying it's a WoW clone; it isn't. I am saying that the basic formula they are using for content is as near to as identical to WoWs formula. It's the same formula that games like LotRo and SWTOR use, and Everquest before them. It's a formula that has been in play for over a decade, and it hasn't changed very much at all. As I said in another thread, it's more accessible now than it was, and there's more of it than there was, but it's still broadly the same as it was "back in the day". TERA is another prime example of a game that relies entirely on its combat system to stand out.
My personal feeling is that MOST of us aren't bored of the genre as a whole because of the combat systems these games use. Instead, I think we're bored of being offered the same incentives, the same motivators, the same form of entertainment game-after-game without any sign that the genre is moving forward.
Developers approach MMO development as "long term" projects. They expect us to stick around wholesale for end game. When end game - the actual game - hasn't changed in a decade... do they really think we'll actually stick around anymore? Either developers start making MMOs designed for short term play, or they do something to diversify (or change) how they are structured.
The genre is stagnant and boring, and it has very little to do with the combat.