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Why do developers of MMOs release products that have design flaws in such numbers?

MMOExposedMMOExposed lalal land, DCPosts: 6,255Member Uncommon

over the past few weeks we had threads talking about this issue on poor game design in MMOs by the development party.

And I have to totally agree with the Original Posters of those threads in many ways.

 

But what I dont tend to understand, is how can developers of the same genre keep making the same mistakes.

how is it that they can go from the structure coding, to the alpha, to the beta, and not see these flaws that many of us here on a forum like this could have pointed out before hand would be an issue, just from how they(the developers) describe the game features.

One such thread was about how developers behind themepark MMOs tend to make their games trying to get a piece of WoW's numbers yet they always leave off something thats an important element of gameplay from  WoW.

 

Take Rift for example. Simple themepark mmo at its core, with dynamic events, faction pvp, raids, etc. But unlike WoW, its PvP was never expanded on to be something worth other than an additional grind. Nobody does City PvP Raids in Rift like they did in WoW. World PvP was more of a joke in Rift. Also the leveling pace was slowed down in their expansion. Feels more grindy in return. Well I been a follower of Rift since beta, and I remember the number 1 complaint about it was the grindy leveling feel the game had. Why make that more grindy? Now in return the masses have left sadly.

 

GW2 also wanted piece of the WoW Pie. But if you wanted that, why would you leave off Raid Dungeons? Raid Dungeons wasnt something I believe most people in WoW didnt like. it was just something most people didnt like trying to get a group of players together for. Well having the lesser trinity system that they originally described could have solved that issue. But instead they when with this "DPS> All" roles system  which makes people less likely to play non damage roles. less roles, mean less ways to play the game. PvE becomes very zergy. Melee in large scale PvP becomes useless with out tanking/healing being a key factor. Events cycle, but in a way that is pretty obvious. After lauching months after Rift, you would have at least expected them to have picked up on the flaws of Dynamic Events and how to address those flaws. They have their Meta events on timers unlike Rift's Meta events which were controlled by population or other dynamic elements. this created an element of suprise. Most of these meta events just arent that well designed ether. What is their purpose of eliminating Raids, if they were going to replace them with this.

 

I could say a whole lot on SWTOR, but point there is self explanatory.

 

I am sure many other games have something to say about, but too many to go on.

Why do these developers make these MMOs with flawed game design if others can easily point out these issues beforehand?

Looking at a few upcoming titles, like Archeage, The Elder Scrolls Online, etc etc. Lets be real here, I am sure most of us, even the fans see the upcoming flaws that will plague these games.

 

Yeah I know hype sells as well as developers trying to sell hope. But really is it that hard to do a little digging into these things before designing a game? Also wouldnt developers make more money with a game that was more polished in its design than just trying to make a quick buck on hype?

 

Calling@Loktofeit

Calling@Quizz

mind sharing with us what the developer's view on this is and what clouds your vision during game design phase?

 

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Comments

  • AmjocoAmjoco Layton, UTPosts: 4,774Member Uncommon

    I'm not sure being different is a flaw. 

    I understand where you are coming from, but just because GW2 doesn't have raids, and Rift doesn't emulate WoWs PvP doesn't make it a bad thing, it is just different.

    I love WoW, but I also need something different or I get bored and move on. 

    Death is nothing to us, since when we are, Death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.

  • GroovyFlowerGroovyFlower RdamPosts: 1,245Member

    That most publishers hope for numbers WoW have is logical, but this dont mean they should try implement same as WoW have, then we get indeed copys of wow.

    GW2 wanne be different and this aspect they have succeeded for most part raid dungeon dont belong in GW2 that would be huge mistake GW2 is just way to different game and try be different in that gameplay aspect also.

    If Zenimax gone road of original bethesda game design like solo games one big open world as sandbox and freedom solo games have plus a server for free for all pvp ala Dartide Asheron's call have game would be awesome but they go for complete different game that becomes a themepark for casual and prolly be alot same as WoW.

    Unless there will be publisher make a superb game thats different from WoW but still high quality in sandbox style im affraid this will continuing for years devolepers trying piece of WoW PIE they keep failing and where standing still sinds 2004:(

    When sandbox is made by independed developer, gamers they eather cheat or ask for safezones and can't deal with pk's(buy free for all full loot game but can't handle the pk lol) and ezmode its in general gamers themselfs who bring this craptastic decennium of mediocre mmo's on thmeselfs.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,636Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Amjoco

    I'm not sure being different is a flaw. 

    I understand where you are coming from, but just because GW2 doesn't have raids, and Rift doesn't emulate WoWs PvP doesn't make it a bad thing, it is just different.

    I love WoW, but I also need something different or I get bored and move on. 

     

    image  MMOEx, just because a poster on MMORPG.com considers something a flaw, that doesn't make it a flaw, so your premise is, well, flawed. :)

     

    If you went by the posters here:

    - GW2 should have had raid dungeons

    - the gaming industry is failing

    - subscription MMOs are more popular than F2P

    - WOW is a terrible MMO

    - MMO are dying

     

    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

  • DeniZgDeniZg ZagrebPosts: 669Member Uncommon

    I'm not an expert, but I believe that design flaws are related to certain limitations that exist or are imposed upon MMO developers. I'm talking about either time limitation, money or know-how.

    I feel that Anet for example had plenty of know-how, but were a bit short on money and/or time to deliver even better product. Bioware on the contrary, had plenty of money and likely time, but didn't have the knowledge to deliver a decent MMO.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by MMOExposed

    over the past few weeks we had threads talking about this issue on poor game design in MMOs by the development party.

    And I have to totally agree with the Original Posters of those threads in many ways.

     

    But what I dont tend to understand, is how can developers of the same genre keep making the same mistakes.

     

    Because MMOs aren't made by game loving developers anymore, at least not the creative direction behind it. They're run by publishers, suits, who are trained from birth to look at what is winning in the market, and to copy it. 

    You see it when companies start getting too big for their britches. Turbine was making a sandbox MMO called Middle Earth Online, but as it grew, it hired a bunch of developers fresh out of college, broke off from Tolkien Enterprises, and changed it to LotRO, and made it a WoW clone. The people that were passionate about MEO got moved to other projects. 

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,636Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DavisFlight 

    Because MMOs aren't made by game loving developers anymore, at least not the creative direction behind it. They're run by publishers, suits, who are trained from birth to look at what is winning in the market, and to copy it. 

    You see it when companies start getting too big for their britches. Turbine was making a sandbox MMO called Middle Earth Online, but as it grew, it hired a bunch of developers fresh out of college, broke off from Tolkien Enterprises, and changed it to LotRO, and made it a WoW clone. The people that were passionate about MEO got moved to other projects. 

    You don't see how you are basically being very insulting to developers there? We'll just gloss over how your entire reply is opinion stated as fact, horribly incorrect fact at that. The insulting generalization is something that I wish you and others would really take a long hard look at, because on one hand you want your voice heard but on the other you are both hostile and insulting to those who you want to have listen.

     

     

    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

  • C_GlassC_Glass That one place, MEPosts: 29Member
    Games are flawed because they are made by flawed humans, this quest for 'perfection' has made many a bitter person in these forums, whom will continue to look for their perfect game and not find it, whom will continue to choose to be bitter than enjoy seeing the fun in these flawed products.

    Right now I'm playing through a game that has received universal below-average reviews, and I'm enjoying the heck out of it, why? Because I understand the effort that went into parts of it, and the composition of the whole game which is a great achievement on it own. Sure there are parts that I think could be ALOT better, but then there are parts that I think speak of sheer brilliance... There are alot of gems inside of 'bad' games, that you can seek out and enjoy.

    Making a videogame is already an ambitious goal for a flawed human, but then making one with restraints such as deadlines makes it even harder. Devs are trying their best with the tools and environment that's given to them. But as consumers, looking for perfection is going to lead you no where because the perfect game doesn't exist; they all have their flaws, bugs and limitations. 
  • BadSpockBadSpock Somewhere, MIPosts: 7,974Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by Amjoco

    I'm not sure being different is a flaw. 

    I understand where you are coming from, but just because GW2 doesn't have raids, and Rift doesn't emulate WoWs PvP doesn't make it a bad thing, it is just different.

    I love WoW, but I also need something different or I get bored and move on. 

    image  MMOEx, just because a poster on MMORPG.com considers something a flaw, that doesn't make it a flaw, so your premise is, well, flawed. :)

     

    If you went by the posters here:

    - GW2 should have had raid dungeons

    - the gaming industry is failing

    - subscription MMOs are more popular than F2P

    - WOW is a terrible MMO

    - MMO are dying

    If you went by posters here, the largest/most successful MMO in the world would have 100-150k subs and would be a 3D modern GFX subscription based UO with pre-Trammel rule set.

  • DisdenaDisdena Troy, NYPosts: 1,093Member

    A game is more than the sum of its features. If you're a good developer, you don't just tack on more features and assume that makes the game better. There has to be a coherent vision bringing it all together. The game is designed to do certain things a certain way, and then everyone works hard to implement all of those features.

    Leaving out a feature that exists in another game is not an oversight, it's a necessary part of game design. When a game tries to do everything that all of its competitors do, it shows... and it's not pretty.

    image
  • deniterdeniter LappeenrantaPosts: 802Member Uncommon

    Lots of people don't like this '59 level tutorial, then the fun part begins' -mentality.

    Also, in early WoW most players didn't raid and they still kept playing for years.

    I think it's only a good thing we are finally getting some diversity within this genre. Not every game has to be a copy of the others. We need more top quality niche games, not copies of the same game.

  • EverwestEverwest Como, MOPosts: 75Member

    Most game designers don't really know what makes a good game any better than other people in their player demographic.  They like games a lot, they play them, they take note of what they like--if they're really passionate, they might be well read on game design theories.  Even going to a game design school doesn't teach you how to make a fun game.

    To me, it's a pretty simple problem: if you want to make a good game, you need to understand the way player's think.  Not players as some sort of special species of human, but players as humans.  Humans find all sorts of things fun, and there are decades of research on what motivates people to behave the way they do--there's a lot of insight out there into what makes things fun.  Game designers never read it, because it's all hidden away in psychology academic journals with thick jargon and statistical analysis.

    In short: the information that you need to understand about the player's mind in order to make a good game is available, but inaccessible to game designers. 

    ---

    Now, having an absence of that information, a great many game designers take a "feature-based" view of game design.  They think about what features the game should have in order to be good.  But the fact is, features are not what make a good game.  Most of what makes a game successful are the numbers in the code, the behind-the-scenes information that is invisible to players. 

    I like to use a hamburger analogy.  Lots of restaurants out there make hamburgers... why are some better than others, even though they have the same features?  It's because of the invisible things--things that a master chef understands about the human palate, that an amateur does not-- you can't see the spices or the preparation methods, and some of us can't even tell if a tomato is ripe.  Then, consider the fact that there are scientists in labs right now finding ways to make more addictive hamburgers by exploiting the human mind.

    There's a reason that McDonald's is so successful despite using subpar ingredients.  WoW is very similar to McDonald's in that regard.  Features are important, but if they don't enhance the game by blending well with the total experience, you might as well put ice cream on a McRib and then wonder why it doesn't sell.

  • MuntzMuntz Minneapolis, MNPosts: 332Member Uncommon

    One man's design flaws are another man's features. 

  • EverwestEverwest Como, MOPosts: 75Member

    Right, and some people probably think putting ice cream on a McRib sounds delicious.  But if you're trying to design a game that appeals to a lot of people, it pays to note that not everyone even likes the McRib, and putting ice cream on it won't make it sell better.

    When it comes to opinions, an individual is subjective, but a population is virtually objective, because it's all the subjects.  i.e., "Pizza is great," is my opinion.  "Three billion people like pizza," would be a fact.

  • ZorgoZorgo Deepintheheartof, TXPosts: 2,226Member

    - lack of funds

    - lack of time

    - lack of innovation

    due to:

    -- corporate interference

    - greed

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by DavisFlight 

    Because MMOs aren't made by game loving developers anymore, at least not the creative direction behind it. They're run by publishers, suits, who are trained from birth to look at what is winning in the market, and to copy it. 

    You see it when companies start getting too big for their britches. Turbine was making a sandbox MMO called Middle Earth Online, but as it grew, it hired a bunch of developers fresh out of college, broke off from Tolkien Enterprises, and changed it to LotRO, and made it a WoW clone. The people that were passionate about MEO got moved to other projects. 

    You don't see how you are basically being very insulting to developers there?

     

    People who make products do not deserve praise or to have their feelings spared. And no, what I said is not inaccurate.

    Also, it may not really be the devs fault, but they're shackled by the bad publishers that run these companies into the ground.

  • vonryan123vonryan123 Not home, MIPosts: 151Member Uncommon

    TBH one of the main reasons is community pressure and even more so the over head pressure from investors and your boss.

    Thats pretty much it. I mean some co's like AV do cause they just plain suck at programing. But most AAA mmos or game IP's get released to early from budget's running low or in some cases run out all togeather. I can't say all Devs do this but most do and don't have a whole lot of choice on the matter.

    image
  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by winter

     Hey Op I got a idea why don't you develope and release a MMO?!!

      

    Haha this is the weakest argument of them all. You don't have to have the means to make an MMO yourself to be able to critique them.

  • vonryan123vonryan123 Not home, MIPosts: 151Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by Loktofeit
    Originally posted by DavisFlight 

    Because MMOs aren't made by game loving developers anymore, at least not the creative direction behind it. They're run by publishers, suits, who are trained from birth to look at what is winning in the market, and to copy it. 

    You see it when companies start getting too big for their britches. Turbine was making a sandbox MMO called Middle Earth Online, but as it grew, it hired a bunch of developers fresh out of college, broke off from Tolkien Enterprises, and changed it to LotRO, and made it a WoW clone. The people that were passionate about MEO got moved to other projects. 

    You don't see how you are basically being very insulting to developers there?

     

    "People who make products do not deserve praise or to have their feelings spared. And no, what I said is not inaccurate."

     

    Then why would anyone in there right mind bother to make any game ever again.....don't be so closed minded and you are insulting devs this is also not "inaccurate" (grammer police say thats a dbl negative )

    image
  • EverwestEverwest Como, MOPosts: 75Member
    Sounds like some folks could use a dose of this cracked article
  • GormogonGormogon Waukegan, ILPosts: 188Member Uncommon

    I think there's plenty of room for successful product differentiation in the genre.   Many of the things I like about the original Guild Wars, GW2, TERA, and TSW are the things that make them different from WoW and each other.  It's okay to do things differently or even leave things out, but the reasons for doing so should be part of the vision for the game, not an excuse.

     

    I do agree with the OP in the sense that as a game is being developed, there are always things a non-trivial number of players will tell the developer is not what they want or should be included or is not having the effect the developer wanted.  A developer should generally not compromise their overall vision to accommodate the players IMO, but often changes that would not greatly transform what the developers are trying to accomplish but could greatly transform the players' enjoyment of a game are ignored.

     

    Unfortunately, every major MMO has a legion of players who will reject every player suggestion in an effort to defend the developer as if the developer's feelings get hurt every time someone tells them their game could be better if they do X.  Even players who will offer suggestions for other games will reject any suggestion that something could be done better when it comes to "their game."  Yet if they developer does change something, these same fans will then religiously defend the change too, even if it directly contradicts their earlier position.  Even otherwise seemingly logical people engage in that behavior.  For a developer to separate actual support from blind support can be difficult, so it's not always easy to determine if X is really just fine or if it's something that needs to be looked at.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon

    In many, many situations in game design, there is no "this is the right way to do it".  Rather, there are only trade-offs.  You can do this, or you can do that, but you cannot do both.  Some of your players will want you do have done this, and others to have done that, and many on each side will think it is obvious that their side is right.

    Let's take the examples in the original post.  Some people liked being able to raid enemy cities in WoW.  Others got annoyed that they couldn't progress until the enemy griefers got bored and decided to leave.  Some people liked raiding in WoW.  Others disliked raiding for its own sake and hated how the only way to get the best gear was to schedule their real-life around an activity that they hated.  Would Guild Wars 2 be more successful if it had WoW-style raiding?  It's likely that it would be less.

    Sometimes the trade-offs are more subtle.  Some people around here want a seamless world.  It's pretty easy to make a seamless world if that's your top priority.  But there are trade-offs, and loading screens aren't added to the game because developers think players like to sit and stare at loading screens.  If you don't have loading screens, then you can't assume that players can have arbitrarily much stuff loaded.  Having to limit what the client can load and how quickly limits what you can do in a bunch of different ways.

    And that's even if we ignore the budget.  There are a lot of things that one could say, yes, that would be cool.  But it would add $1 million to the cost to make the game.  That's fine if you believe that adding the feature will bring in another $2 million in revenue, but not if it will only bring in another $100k.

    -----

    Now, there are some things that are not a result of trade-offs in intentional game design, but are simply bugs.  And some games are a lot better at fixing those bugs than others.  But I don't think that you're mainly concerned with bugs.

  • IkifalesIkifales tucson, AZPosts: 261Member Uncommon
    What gets me is that things we beg for in beta get ignored. Then it launches and we were right and the game joins the list of bad MMOs.
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,765Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by dumpcat
    What gets me is that things we beg for in beta get ignored. Then it launches and we were right and the game joins the list of bad MMOs.

    That depends on what you're begging for in beta.  If you find glaring bugs that get ignored, that's one thing.  If you want them to scrap half of the game and redo it to change the entire thrust of the game, it should be obvious why that's not going to happen.

  • IkifalesIkifales tucson, AZPosts: 261Member Uncommon
    It is cheaper than having to do a realm reborn salvage.
  • JimmyYOJimmyYO Columbus, OHPosts: 520Member
    Fanboi's uptalking games that are clearly bad because they think the power of delusional optimism will somehow transform a awful game into a good one.
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