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YES! Thanks for a great article. My first mmo was FFXI and it was brutal. I'm a relatively casual - and older - gamer and, after experimenting with a few classes to find the one I really wanted to level, it took me about a year to get to level cap. But the moment I hit 75, it was a huge accomplishment - but the journey had really just begun.
With games these days, it takes me - ME, with a wife, busy job, house to clean and fix, etc. - about 3-4 weeks to hit level cap if I don't mess around with side things. Unfortunately even those "side things" are becoming much fewer and far between. There is no joy in a zone - there is only the goal of completing a zone.
So I play most games for about a month and move back to World of Tanks until the new "next big thing" comes out.
And you might have achieved your goal - maybe I'll check out Firefall...
It all comes down to this quote, "...making sure that they never had to think..."
It is very sad but there is no longer a challenge to the new games, unless you include the challenge of 'can I make it to end game before I go brain dead with the boredom.'
There are still some old games out there where the journey is still key and it takes years to get to max level, if you manage to do it at all.
In today's games, you see the game go live and after a few hours you see youtube posts of people showing off their max level characters. Granted, they did not sleep a wink at all and just did the exp grind until they were mentally dead but hey... they got to max level. So What? What are they going to do now, start an Alt?
Personally, I would love to see a return to games that take several months to years to max out your character. Give people a chance to actually play their characters and learn how their classes actually work. Currently, we see people having to figure out how to play max level Raid content with a person who had their character power-leveled in one day.
Reduce the amount of loot that drops so a gold piece (if that is the currency) is actually worth something. Most game these days require your character to carry millions of coins to purchase a loaf of bread let alone something that you consider a gear upgrade.
While you at it do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to prevent people from running bots and any sort of Industrial scale farming.
These days, people just care about getting to max level as fast as possible. Nothing else matters to them, you might as well have an NPC in the newbie zone that says "Click Me To Be Max Level And Given End Level Raid Gear""; or you could save them even more time and after your newbie character enters the world just ding him to max level and have end game gear auto equip on him.
I would like to see systems in place like the SWG Bio-Engineering crafting profession. This was interesting, was a bit complex since you had to gather several things together and when you actually created a pet then the actual outcome could vary depending on several factors. Your pet could even turn out to be a rare mutation with a different skin. This one profession was one of the main reasons a lot of people played SWG.
Bring back the fun and the social aspects of games and get rid of the insta-gratifications we have these days. I would rather play with people who work on their characters instead of people who have the attitude of "Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie; Now, Now, Now; I Want, I Want, I Want".
Just my 2 copper.
Raptr link because it's the cool new trend:
I know it's easy to blame WoW for making leveling easy. But honestly, the alternative before WoW was so much worse. I don't consider spending 4+ hours grinding mobs to level hard, it was just tedious.
Other than your first character for a game where you actually spend time exploring etc. Any follow up character is going to be rushed to the end game.
End game is still as hard as you want it, and clearly the OP thinks the same since he only provided examples of getting to max level. I'd take quests all day vs grinding 4+ hours for 3 bars of xp.
WoW was always too easy.
Those of us that played Lineage 2 know the true value of levels. Those were the glory days of MMO's. Getting a level in L2 would take you a week to 3 weeks depending on what level you were and when you died you lost XP.
Originally posted by Cymdai The short answer: Yes, absolutely. A brief explanation (as I'm at work): There's no "checkpoints" anymore, because player skill isn't a factor. When I say checkpoints, I mean a point in the game where your ability as an individual/group need to be tested. That does NOT mean what every modern MMO acts like it means: a blatant gut-check on your gear. Gear, in fact, should have nearly nothing to do with it. Rather, it should be a tooth-and-nail fight that requires a lot of skill, and a little luck. You should be able to lose to more than "Whoops, I pulled 3 mobs instead of 2!" The only game that had anything like this in recent memory was FFXI. The Genkai quests were brutal, but in order to keep leveling, you had to complete them; 4 times! Then, if you wanted to keep leveling to the level cap, you had to defeat Maat; a vicious, 1 v 1 mirror match of your class vs. a substantially stronger foe. It was mind-numbing, but when you did FINALLY beat Maat, it was like "That... was amazing." It ensured you understood your class and it's limitations to the fullest. More importantly, pain-staking difficulty builds community. When you create prbolems that people can't solve by themselves, guess what they do? They interact. You can see this even in the most casual MMO's out there. "Hey, I need to kill this boss... help me out?" "Sure." You see it happen all the time. The problem is, once said boss is dead, there's absolutely no reason to continue grouping, so people don't. That relative ease for the 98% of the game conditions the solo mentality, whereas if it was 98% challenging content, group play would be more beneficial.
I wish every developer would read this quoted post, then games wouldn't be so damn boring.
Depends on the MMO. Besides, I've played Firefall and it sucks. Not due to difficulty, it's just flat out boring. Also, everyone seems to have a different idea of "challenging". Some think it requires more time, which I think is just silly. Casuals aren't killing games, lazy dev design is, if I thought games were being killed, which I don't. Get back to making "worlds" with "true" dynamic content instead of these arcade games with content pretending to be dynamic but still has static roots and are predictable. Examples of how to make games better is to take what we've learned works in older games and expand on them and make them staples.
Things like SWG's player cities and PVP, EQ2's guild system, Lotro's skirmishes and legendary items and mounted combat, FFXI's storytelling, one character all classes, incredible music and graphics and immersion, GW2s open tagging on mobs, FFXIV's level syncing to lower level public content, and so on.
By the by, WoW is failing because the talent tree system has been filtered down to the lowest common denominator, not because of casuals or quest systems, but because the devs got lazy and never could figure out how to balance the class system in that game.
Originally posted by SavageHorizon Nope OP, if you choose to play these simple mmo's that do the thinking for you ie GW2-NWN-RIFT and soon to be TESO. Play Age Of Wushu, Vanguard, WurmOnline the list goes on.
Savage, I don't think he was implying that every MMO that has ever been made is easy. Just that has there been a trend of late to develop more accessible, easier MMO's, which is obviously been the case.
I think most people are aware there are still some alternatives out there.
Originally posted by Bigmamajama Originally posted by SavageHorizon Nope OP, if you choose to play these simple mmo's that do the thinking for you ie GW2-NWN-RIFT and soon to be TESO. Play Age Of Wushu, Vanguard, WurmOnline the list goes on.
Savage, I don't think he was implying that every MMO that has ever been made is easy. Just that has there been a trend of late to develop more accessible, easier MMO's, which has obviously been the case.
Originally posted by LionShard "HAME MMOs BECOME TOO EASY?"
I noticed that too. Oops.
I wouldn't call MMOs pre-wow era hard, they were just more time consuming. Time consuming doesn't always equal hard. In my DAoC days, it wasn't hard to level, it was tedious. You had to find a group, then find a good spawn location that wasn't camped, then begin pulling mobs, as long as everyone was doing their job no one died and the xps rolled in. As a matter of fact, I hardly ever died in PvE in any mmo I played, and I started in '99 with Asheron's Call.
I played WoW from Jan '05 until about February of this past year. So I have literally been through every iteration of WoW up until Pandaria. I would say that from a gameplay perspective, the game became more fun as things changed. Better quests, neater looking areas, some pretty special events, etc. Leveling became less tedious, but then we have to think about the reason why leveling was made easier.
Mr. Kern, since you used WoW as an example of how you helped "kill the genre", well it wasn't because the game was made too easy. It was because of the utterly stupid narrow visioned focus on the Raid or Die mentality. You guys focused so much on the last level of the game in each expansion, that you completely forgot about the previous levels and zones. When roughly 90% of your game world is underpopulated because it's no longer useful, then you have a problem. There isn't enough focus on the journey, not because it's too easy, but because it's treated with disdain by the devs and the populace. All the work that was done on each and every raid zone, to become unused with an expansion pack or just a major content patch.
Where did all of this focus get you? Well, millions of subs and a ton of money, but at what cost? With each iteration of raising the level cap, all of the work done to the previous zones was pissed away. People didn't want to be in those zones because either they were dead, or they had done them a dozen or so times before. There was nothing rewarding about anything from leveling, aside from reaching the end level "where the game began". Why even bother then? Why not just create a bunch of zones, set the level cap at some low level and then allow the remaining zones to become active content zones for your players? Sure zones can become harder and you'd need gear from previous areas, but if someone wanted to challenge themselves they could. Asheron's Call worked much like that, and if that game had been given proper advertising and support from MS, I think it would have towered as a giant.
The question isn't are mmos too easy, but rather, why is there an extended leveling process and why are devs pissing away manhours on zones that don't get used?
Originally posted by Kuro1n Originally posted by xAPOCx Originally posted by Xarko Not necessarily easy, but they became SIMPLE.
I dont see the difference
Noncomplex vs hard. Complex might be more related to knowledge while hard means it takes skill to play properly etc... (well thats how I read it anyway).
MMORPG's aren't complex to begin with lol. Anyone that has played one, can usually jump right in to another.
These new aged games are just down right too easy and take away enjoyment, adventure, and reward vs risk from mmorpgs. You just don't feel like you earned anything. And when you can go from lvl 1 to lvl 80 in 3 days...................................yeah.
There is no skill in newer games, its simplistic as hell.
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Some. There is nothing easy about EVE or Wurm online.
There is an entire world of wrong with World of Warcraft on the other hand.
There are still good games out there, you just need to look.
No fate but what we make, so make me a ham sandwich please.
I think you really hit on something in the article.
"Loosing the Journey"
I think that possibly the biggest problem with today's MMOs is that there is no story. You are not "writing in a character" into a good book that you can chip away at. You are simply being cattle driven to max level by a series of quest points that many people don't read, and don't care, they simply want the XP and the quest rewards. More often than not, these quests (and the decisions you make in them) do not impact the world or your character (aside from the XP and items). So what is the point? Why not just make a really hard quest to find a magic potion that once you drink it brings you instantly to max level? Which is really what MMOs today are doing.
Now, I know time sinks, and I have spent a lot of my life watching mana bars refill so I know how frustrating they can be. But there was something about sitting there cross-legged on the ground that made me interact with my party members. I remember many times sitting there having discussions for 15-30 minutes while we waited. We got to know the people on the other side of the screen. It wasn't all go-go-go.
I personally feel that MMOs today have lost that.
I can load up Skyrim, say I am going to do a quest, and get lost for three hours in caves and carns that I find along the way. Where I can kill someone and take their house, and come back 3 days later to find it still empty. I guess I am looking for an MMO that provides that same experience.
He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.
- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The answer is ...
You are preaching to the choir on this site. I would say that over 90% of the posters would agree with you.
Not me. I like a challenge but I play games to have fun. I strain my brain and my patience at work , I do not want to do so in my leisure.
Interesting that you mention WOW. Vanilla up through WOTLK had the perfect formula. You make the ui easy to learn, leveling a simple challenge but deep dungeons hard and make even harder dungeons for the hard-core.
You and the rest of the site will be happy to know that developers are starting to agree with you. More and more of them are making just leveling a real challenge. What is happening is that the worm has turned. As more players are leaving MMOs the developers are turning back to the beginning - EQ, DAOC, etc. Look at the rise of "action combat". Tera, GW2 started the trend and I see one of the titles that I was REALLY looked forward to, Wildstar, is continuing the push. Action Combat is an attempt to bring the difficulty of consoles to MMOs.
I personally don't believe that returning difficulty to MMOs is going to gender an MMO population explosion. On the contrary more of the casuals will move on. Eventually the MMO numbers will be back to what they were before WOW. Then the hard-core will have what they wished for except for the fact that there will be a lot fewer MMO titles to choose from, a lot less money being spent on MMOs and sites like this one would disappear.