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Should MMOs cater to all or to few?

2

Comments

  • RyphtRypht Henderson, NVPosts: 37Member
    I don't think any of the original successful games catered to any one.  They set out a world they wanted and people came on their own accord.  You can't make a successful game based on what people want, because people don't know what they want, the only way to do it right is to focus on the game and if people like it, you win, if they don't, you join a long list of games that just didn't have the magic.
  • allendale5allendale5 kansas city, MOPosts: 124Member

    Personally, I don't care much for the one-size-fits-all approach that has prevailed in recent MMO's.  It's obviously driven by the developer's desire to appeal to the largest market segment and thereby maximizing their subscription base, but in my opinion this approach detracts from the overall value and enjoyment of the game.  I do understand the reasoning behind it; it's just that I don't particularly like it.  I think that there should be a place for MMO's that cater to ten to fourteen year old players, but to integrate every demographic into one MMO causes the game to sacrifice some of it's personality and enjoyment.

     

    Selfishly speaking, I would like to see an MMO that is strictly suited for more mature players; a game without the carrot and stick approach, a game with a high degree of difficulty, a game that requires some intelligence factor, one that does not lead from point A to point B so easily, etc.  I feel that games should offer it's player base a true challenge, something to lose-- not just a bit of risk but a giant scoop of risk with every action or non-action taken.  

     

    Please, developers, stop giving players only one or two dialogue response choices [PS: what's up with all the games that give us only one NPC interaction response choice? How is that a decision on our part?]  I know you work your tails off to bring these games to market and I personally don't envy the thousands of hours of design and programming work that you have to do (most of which attracts endless criticisms and ire), yet I still yearn for the ultra difficult game with a plethora of choices to make; give us a game that requires human beings that play it well, don't give us a game that just requires human beings.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member

    Appealing to everyone seems to mean "make a WoW clone" and it has never once worked.

     

    Make a game that

    a) is specialized and appeals to a niche

    b) do it on a niche budget

    c) actually play to the strengths of an MMO, don't make a singleplayer game and charge for it (TSW, SWTOR, NW)

  • ReallyNow10ReallyNow10 Pile It High Town, LAPosts: 2,010Member Common
    MMO's should cater to player freedom.  The "rails" have to go.
  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Obvious the answer is "depends" .. .depends on the goals of the devs.
  • Skooma2Skooma2 Glenview, ILPosts: 694Member Uncommon

    An MMO that tries to appeal to everyone is "a jack-of-all-trades, and a master of none."

     

    Hedonismbot: Your latest performance was as delectable as dipping my bottom over and over into a bath of the silkiest oils and creams.

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    I've always thought a better question to this is, should players learn to accept that not everything in an mmo is there for them.

  • simmihisimmihi -Posts: 615Member Uncommon

    Games which "please everyone" end up being today's themeparks. In order to squeeze every cent from the audience, the devs slowly appeal to the following: going "free to play" thus destroying some good established communities, dumbing down, changing the game to be more "like WoW" because everyone played WoW and got used to its systems (instances and raids to gain tokens, spend tokens to get gear), the enormously stupid thing called "balance" (every damage class should be equal in numbers, every healing class the same thing, no flavor, no nothing - gone are the days when people played classes for their unique flavor, when some things could be done only by a few classes and only those) and other things like that.

    Games which appeal only to a small number of people end up not producing enough money, and the following happens: they turn in a very expensive version of F2P, they end up on life support (two people for maintenance, no new content ever) or they die.

    Really there is no good answer. It's very difficult when it takes years to create the content which is devoured in weeks. Sandboxes are not a solution, because the people got used to being "fed", people have less time and way more options. There are so many ex-p2p now freemium games on the market that you can play a good different game every day of the week and not get bored. There's no sense of belonging to one of those games once you realize that every one of them is designed to "end" when you "get the gear".

  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member
    Originally posted by Kaneth
    Originally posted by redcapp

    Yet another lacking poll.  Did not vote.

     

    It depends on the MMO.

     

    And I disagree entirely with your initial premise that the first few MMOs all catered to the entire community.

    I mean, look at the big three.  EQ, UO, AC.  All very very different, and very good in their own ways. 

    Agreed completely. The big three had very different and extremely loyal audiences. All three games were very different from one another as well. I would say that each game was specialized in many regards, additionally, I'd argue that the game that tried to really cater to all was WoW.

    Many mmos did specialize before the WoW era, and each of them was successful in their own right. The problem now is that too many believe sub numbers rule the world. I don't think AC had many more than 25k users, but it was considered successful. Hell, even EQ which peaked around 500k (iirc), would be considered a flop by today's standards. Unless you retain millions the game "failed".

    The answer to the question was already answered. It should have a target audience. It doesn't matter if that audience is niche or general, go for that audience and do what you can to retain them. As long as the game is fun, everything else will fall in place.

     I think you left off a zero. I believe it has always been said that both UO and AC had over 250k at their peaks.

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

    I've always thought a better question to this is, should players learn to accept that not everything in an mmo is there for them.

    Yeah .. apparently a lot of players don't understand that.

    Otherwise there won't be so much rant about popular features like LFD, LFR, auction house, fast travel, and so on.

     

  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,228Member Uncommon

    I agree with the premise that MMO's should find a niche they want to target and make a great game for that niche.

     

    Only problem I see is that it's more difficult than ever to identify a niche outside of themepark players. Everyone else has wildly different ideas of what constitute sandbox gameplay, WvWvW, PvP based and so on.

    If the customers can't even form a niche, then how are you supposed to design a MMO for them?

    Half the threads on mmorpg.com are arguments over what sandbox means. Of course you can't get a game targeting your niche, you don't have a niche. You have a buzzword that means something different to everyone who says it.

    Then you have phrases like, "meaningful pvp" lots of people claim to want some purpose to their pvp. Gear, titles, mounts, recognition are not meaningful to them though. What they want is to impact the world around them! Or wait, maybe it means player housing that people can destroy. Or wait, player housing indicates solo play, it should be sieges with castles that can be conquered! Or wait, they want the landscape to change. Two factions is too few, five is too many, three is just right!

    PvP should be open world, but with consequences for pkers, with a death penalty, but nothing too harsh, maybe being able to spawn children to alleviate the death penalty and let them inherit your gear! The best gear should be crafted, and everyone should rely on others for crafting, and gear should deteriorate, so it shouldn't be so good that you are upset when you lose it, but it should be good enough that people are willing to work hard for it and fight over it.

    Progression should be skill based, but also twitchy action combat that is slow and requires strategy and tactics, but the game should have at least 20 classes and 10 races, and the ability to switch factions and betray the others, but only one character per server. We don't want big shoulder armor or huge weapons, but we want high quality visually striking graphics and art style. There should be no scripted dungeons, but the dungeons should be open world with pvp enabled, and it should take a year to hit max level, but there shouldn't be levels at all just skills.

    And it goes on. So many mixed thoughts out there. 

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member

    Just for ppl reference because it came up

    EQ topped out at 430k in 2004

    AC 120k in 2002

    DAOC 250k in 2002

    UA 250k in 2003 ( first mmo to reach 100k subs )

    That's the most subs at one time, not everyone that ever played.

     

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

    Only problem I see is that it's more difficult than ever to identify a niche outside of themepark players. Everyone else has wildly different ideas of what constitute sandbox gameplay, WvWvW, PvP based and so on.

    I don't see such problem. Sandbox is not the only idea out there.

    PS2 does open world pvp game well.

    There are lots of instanced combat games (like MWO). There are lots of new ideas of "share world shooters" like Destiny and Division.

    Now some may not be traditional MMOs, but certainly devs are finding good new settings and gameplay styles.

     

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    Originally posted by nariusseldon

    There are lots of instanced combat games (like MWO).

     

    I think he meant games that didn't suck

     

    /laugh

  • ShadanwolfShadanwolf Posts: 2,114Member Uncommon

    You want to find a niche that you think is big enough to support your product.

    Being all things to all people = no identity= no reason why to try your product over someone elses.

     

  • simmihisimmihi -Posts: 615Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Rusque

    Only problem I see is that it's more difficult than ever to identify a niche outside of themepark players. Everyone else has wildly different ideas of what constitute sandbox gameplay, WvWvW, PvP based and so on.

    I don't see such problem. Sandbox is not the only idea out there.

    PS2 does open world pvp game well.

    There are lots of instanced combat games (like MWO). There are lots of new ideas of "share world shooters" like Destiny and Division.

    Now some may not be traditional MMOs, but certainly devs are finding good new settings and gameplay styles.

     

    I fully agree. I dont think the most important problem is the lack of ideas - it's money. Games just cost more to develop. If you spend 30-50 mil making a MMO and you expect it back with a profit, you need a damn good game and damn good subscription numbers (or people spending money in the shop, depending on whatever model you're using), In my opinion that's what's different, today's games are just a lot more expensive to create (better graphics, full cinematics, dynamic events, scripted bosses and so on), and naturally the companies / creditors want the money back with a profit.

  • RusqueRusque Las Vegas, NVPosts: 2,228Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Rusque

    Only problem I see is that it's more difficult than ever to identify a niche outside of themepark players. Everyone else has wildly different ideas of what constitute sandbox gameplay, WvWvW, PvP based and so on.

    I don't see such problem. Sandbox is not the only idea out there.

    PS2 does open world pvp game well.

    There are lots of instanced combat games (like MWO). There are lots of new ideas of "share world shooters" like Destiny and Division.

    Now some may not be traditional MMOs, but certainly devs are finding good new settings and gameplay styles.

     

    Don't get caught up in semantics, sandbox is just a pertinent example due to the nature of these forums. Shooters are definitely a niche and I'm surprised there hasn't been a really popular MMOFPS/TPS yet. Actually, just thinking about it reminds me of warframe (more of a co-op lobby shooter) but still pretty good.

  • simmihisimmihi -Posts: 615Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Rusque

    Don't get caught up in semantics, sandbox is just a pertinent example due to the nature of these forums. Shooters are definitely a niche and I'm surprised there hasn't been a really popular MMOFPS/TPS yet. Actually, just thinking about it reminds me of warframe (more of a co-op lobby shooter) but still pretty good.

    But there is. It's called World of Tanks. Extremely successful. Yes, it's a lobby game, but most of today's MMO's are.

  • exdeathbrexdeathbr colatinaPosts: 137Member Common

    Imagine this analogy:

    A guy is writing a book, he ask you and 3 of your friends to see what you would like in a book, and write a book based on your and your 3 friends.

    Now imagine this other situation make the same questin but your you, your 3 friends and more 50000 guys. And then make a book.

     

    Which book do your think you would prefer?

     

    Catering to everyone is ALWAYS worse, even if most people like it you will end with a product that most of the guys  would think that is worse than a product just based on his taste.

    When trying to cater everyone, you need to remove or change stuff that some part of userbase people love or would prefer because the other part would hate it.

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by exdeathbr

    Which book do your think you would prefer?

    If one book is trying to please me and one isn't, I'm not sure that scenario plays out the way you expect.

     

  • exdeathbrexdeathbr colatinaPosts: 137Member Common
    Originally posted by maplestone
    Originally posted by exdeathbr

    Which book do your think you would prefer?

    If one book is trying to please me and one isn't, I'm not sure that scenario plays out the way you expect.

     

    the first book is only trying to please your and your 3 friends, the second situation is trying to please you, your 3 friends and also 50000 other guys.

    Both are trying to please you, but the second situation I said, is trying to please at the same time more guys other than just you (and your 3 friends).

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member
    Originally posted by exdeathbr
    Originally posted by maplestone
    Originally posted by exdeathbr

    Which book do your think you would prefer?

    If one book is trying to please me and one isn't, I'm not sure that scenario plays out the way you expect.

     

    the first book is only trying to please your and your 3 friends, the second situation is trying to please you, your 3 friends and also 50000 other guys.

    Both are trying to please you, but the second situation I said, is trying to please at the same time more guys other than just you (and your 3 friends).

    If there are 50000 players, the odds that I'm the one person it's trying to please is almost zero.  And if there are 50 000 different games being made for each of us, each has an almost-zero budget.  It's the economies of scale that matter.

  • DMKanoDMKano Gamercentral, AKPosts: 8,523Member Uncommon

    OP - this depends on the Dev cost of each MMORPG.

    Example - 50mil Dev cost, game should appeal to many, 30k players can't carry the game, appeal to few model not viable

    5mil Dev cost - small player base can carry the game, so it can appeal to few and it can be viable

     

    Always consider the Dev cost of a MMORPG, that determines the player base size.

     

  • JemcrystalJemcrystal Champaign, ILPosts: 1,550Member Uncommon

    I went with "entire community" because that is my dream game.  It's never going to get created tho because it's in my head and not any dev's anywhere.  The idea I had was to make player specific zones.  I'm thinking a very big game tho.  Each zone would have it's own playing style.

     

    One zone would require armor to raise stats.  Another would require char develop for stat increase.  When you left a zone you would loose everything you gained in that zone (except money) - wipe clean slate - and return to what you were upon game entry.

     

    Maybe a better way of saying it is I want games within games within games.  Or a central hub connected to multiple games.  Like a space station central and each zone be a planet you can visit.  Each one with it's own rules and laws.  Some dev run and some completely player run.  And a shiz load of everything inbetween.  

     

    Even the graphics would vary.


  • OnomasOnomas Rock Hill, SCPosts: 1,128Member Uncommon

    You can not cater to the entire community as too many people want different things, half the community doesn't even know the difference between a sandbox and a themepark as example, and many have no clue what a real mmorpg is and thing games like LOL is the future of mmorpg's lol.

    But in all honesty, 500k subs and loyal gamers are much more worthy than 2 million active accounts with only 10% of them paying into the game. People say F2P games make so much more $$$ over sub based games. But look at the facts if 90% of mmo's today are F2P obviously they will make more money than the 10% sub games.

    The fact is the industry has tried to cater to everyones wishes, that's why we are in such a state od decay and a huge rut for the past 8 years. A loyal fan base and people that enjoy and love the game is much more important than 2 million screaming newbs crying about everything.

    Obviously my opinion.

     

    And the older games didn't cater to everyone, they made a game their way and we played it because we didn't have a huge selection as we do today.

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