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[Dev Journal] General: Have MMOs Become Too Easy?

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  • byron1848byron1848 BirminghamPosts: 10Member

    The thread seems to me to be a little schizophrenic - one flow is from the OP and subject (are MMOs too 'easy' - a word which clearly means different things to different people) the other flow is about a perceived decline of Group Content. Both are perennial subjects and are not going to go away; people have different expectations and hopes and that is fair enough. My only strong objection is to those who insist that the very words Massively Multiplayer somehow imply or demand a lot of group content; no-one has ever shown me why this should be so. Multiplayer can equally well mean a large number of people playing solo. I reiterate I am NOT criticising those who call for/prefer group content, just asserting there is no linguistic basis for this and it is absurd to pretend there is.

    Much stronger in fact would be a linguistic argument which said that very few current MMO's are genuine Role Playing Games. How many players really think about this? I mean devise a persona for their character and speak and act accordingly? Precious few in my experience. But I  wouldn't be sniffy about this - I am just reiterating the point about not falling back on linguistic rationales.

    Many excellent points have been made about the difference between being 'hard' and being time-consuming. This seems a clear one to me on one level. Some games (and I suppose they may be ARPGs) are very hard for an ill-co-ordinated old man like me - Vindictus springs instantly to mind. To a young computer savvy kid it is easy. So where those kind of game mechanics are concerned one person's hard is another's easy. Time-consumption is another matter - I mean to achieve max levels in every skill in Runescape takes (unless you cheat or they have changed the game a lot in the last two years) a massive amount of time. But I am not sure whether it is hard in the sense people mean?

    My point is that there should be MMOs for every sort of gamer; I am genuinely sorry if people can't find something they enjoy playing. Me I'm overrun but then I am probably easily satisfied!

     

     

  • GrabblerGrabbler Bielefeld, AKPosts: 7Member Uncommon

    I want my Anarchy Online back. 220 Levels and you wanted EVERY SINGLE ONE of them. Depending on how much you play it took you a full year or even more to get max level.

    Nowerdays you get max within a week! And you dont need to drop a single thought about your gear. You get it automatically while rushing towards the endgame.

    MMOs these days look like: Create Char -> Follow Quests and pick Rewards -> get Maxed

    There is NOTHING you want to do between level 1 and endgame then rushing XPs because its not rewarding, or feels so.

  • FlyByKnightFlyByKnight Algo Star SystemPosts: 651Member Uncommon

    Developers also equate:

     

    Time = Challenge

     

    Why? I thought people played games for gratification, not to be reminded there isn't enough hours in the day to entertain themselves.

     

  • Attend4455Attend4455 BirminghamPosts: 161Member
    Originally posted by Heretic451

    The final nail in the coffin for WoW was the complete simplification of the talent tree. Instead of figuring out our own spec

    while I agree with most of what you said I would like to point out that figuring out your own spec was only really viable for people with a deep understanding and competent guild mates.

    Theory crafting in the style of Elitist Jerks meant that there was almost always an optimum build (aka cookie cutter) and to deviate from that (which was sometimes valid, as per your point) you would have to try to explain hard concepts to people with limited knowledge.

     

    I sometimes make spelling and grammar errors but I don't pretend it's because I'm using a phone

  • BamboozledBamboozled Minneapolis, MNPosts: 29Member
    Originally posted by byron1848

    My only strong objection is to those who insist that the very words Massively Multiplayer somehow imply or demand a lot of group content; no-one has ever shown me why this should be so. Multiplayer can equally well mean a large number of people playing solo. I reiterate I am NOT criticising those who call for/prefer group content, just asserting there is no linguistic basis for this and it is absurd to pretend there is.

    Well stated, and I have no issues with a mechanic like Guild Wars 2 has toward public events and the "heart system".

     

    I really enjoyed the fact that I was hoping for more people to show up to the event so that it would become harder. It truly felt like you were "coming to the rescue" when you rolled into an event taking place. The whole aspect of "Shout LFG -> Get Invited to Group -> Wait for the party to fill up with appropriate classes -> Wait for someone to enter the instance -> Click OK" seems like a mechanic that needs some work. It was one of the good aspects of Guild Wars 2, I think rift implemented that as well.

     

    It's a good point to bring up, I just would like to see more grouping in MMOs, whether it is through "auto-grouping" or through more traditional means doesn't really matter to me. But working with others to accomplish a goal seems like a core concept for MMOs. Perhaps its just my undying need to meet and play games with fellow gamers that needs to be satisfied. :-)

    “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

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,478Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Kezzadrix

    damn, I fell for it.  I believed this was an article regarding one of the biggest problems plaguing current MMOs but it was really a clever way of misleading me into an advertisement for Firefall. 

     

    Excactly what I was thinking.

    It went from a interesting artical to a "my game is better then that other game"

    Though reading what he had to say about Firefall does make me wonder if I might try the game once more.

  • Riposte.ThisRiposte.This Toronto, ONPosts: 192Member
    Yes

    Killing dragons is my shit

  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by furbans

    Originally posted by Doogiehowser MMOS were never tough or difficult. They were just too time consuming. Unless people equate time sinks with challenge?
    ^^^ This person deserves a cookie. MMOs were never difficult only time consuming.

    Using that logic, might one conclude that the only hard part of running a marathon is the marathon, itself, which is four or more hours? And the months of training that led up to that was time-consuming and not difficult?



    Originally posted by Kezzadrix
    damn, I fell for it. I believed this was an article regarding one of the biggest problems plaguing current MMOs but it was really a clever way of misleading me into an advertisement for Firefall.

    I noticed that too.

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • MondoA2JMondoA2J Henderson, NVPosts: 258Member

    You had me until you started selling your game. Then you came off "Car salesman" type.

    On the other hand, I agree with your article and believe levels should be abolished in all MMOs.

    Another problem that comes up in raising difficulty though is, the casual player. People enjoy jumping in for an hour or half hour and doing some quick butt kicking. If you make it more difficult this may turn the casual off. It could also entice him to play harder or learn to play better but I am betting on peoples laziness more then passion.

    Maybe I am a cynic. ;)

    Everyone is watching the horizon and alot of Sandbox MMOs are on there way. If the solution doesn't present itself then. We have a major problem in the market.

    Beyond difficulty, beyond design, beyond innovation. The genre will choke and die.

    I honestly feel that it may happen no matter what. Cause we started with sandbox MMOs and we moved on from them. I don't know if taking a step backwards is going to fix the current genre's problems. We will see.

     

    MMORPG Gamers/Developers need a reality check!

  • moosecatlolmoosecatlol Boring, TXPosts: 1,172Member Uncommon

    Preparing to have fun is never challenging and thus never difficult. You can bash on WoW all you want, but the fact is that it had the highest guild shut down ratio upon new content releases.  Something that you will NEVER see again in the west, due to developer cowardice.

    On another note, STARS that infamous raiding guild that cleared all of BC in 52 days while wearing T3, is now dominating the east's most competitive PvE scene. Unfortunately each of their "raid" members characters have at least $2000+ USD put into them in order to achieve that level of success.

    It's funny to think now that everyone sees WoW as the most casual game to have ever existed, while the same time factually realizing that it still holds the title of most hardcore PvE game to have ever existed and it did so without the crutch of perma-death or exploding gear.

     

    Also about the comment of "It's not the end game that we should be worried about it's the journey." well it's a nice saying, but no one has managed to accomplish this, not Guild Wars 2, and certainly not Firefall.

  • caetftlcaetftl Los Angeles, CAPosts: 358Member

    :Looks at OP and thread:

    :Sees typical "ours does it right":

    :Sees blast against wow:

    :Sees third person shooter:

    :OP loses all credibility:

    Your entire game is based on the dumbing down of gaming in general, not just the MMO genre.  Third person shooters are all the rave because of the dumbing down of a genre (fps)

    I appreciate the edgy little bite you are trying to give your game by being so outspoken against the big bad giant mmo.  But I think one thing the hardcore mmo community, which has been let down by tons of devs making the same claims you now make, has learned is that we will let the product speak for itself.  Less gimmick advertising, more real content plz. 

  • NephelaiNephelai SydneyPosts: 184Member Uncommon

    The real problem is the business model. MMO's really need to move away from a volume model to a higher charging niche model. In life the normal distribution curve fits almost everything - it terms of players that means you have some people on the higher/lower end and a very large amount of people in the middle or so called average. If your business model relies on low margin and chasing as many people as possible then you have no choice but to go after average. Once you take that step everything becomes average because that group then drives the revenue and has the loudest voice to tear down anything hyena style.

     

    Times have moved on and MMO's really haven't increased in price if anything they have further decreased to go even further in the average direction to try and capture even more average players. An MMO that focuses on timely unique content and charges me appropriately would have me throwing money at it rather than flicking loose change to the present ones drip feeding me ground hog day.

     

  • EhliyaEhliya Washington, DCPosts: 199Member

    I think it is generational.  The original generation of fantasy game players were raised on Dungeons and Dragons pen and paper.  A slower pace was part of that - if you reached level 15 you were really something.  It was group and social oriented - you played with other people not solo against the system.  This original generation influenced the way the early MMO were designed and played.  Creating your own content, not fancy graphics, was the emphasis.

    The younger generation didn't have this experience.  So they have bought into the marketing strategies that tell them better means faster, quicker, and prettier.  Having to rely or depend on other players is considered an imposition, so the MMO now are basically solo games.   

    As a result, the genre has gone backwards.  People are sick of every IP being turned into yet another cookie-cutter rat race theme park.  The FTP cash shop model has made things worse - the games are basically backdrop for squeezing money out of the players.

  • GranDuxGranDux Phoenix, AZPosts: 70Member

    The gameplay experience is being exchanged in appeal to gain more and any numbers in main-stream commercialization.

    The difference between current mmo's now and the mmo's created is that the older mmo's didn't mind taking risks despite their technical limitations. The mmo's now only focus on easy-mode with predictable gameplay in order to appeal to the demograph of the soccer-mommie friendly players and casual players. One of the reasons so many lame clones and fail-titles have flooded the MMO genre because developers simply stop trying to make their games different and followed the commercial-cookie cutter appeal<majority of current mmo's now keep mentioning of competing with WoW of course, ironically cutting back on the quality of experience for their players in the process>. This may have brought in more numbers but it is killing off the integrity of gaming in MMO's. Less thought involved and more emphasis on easy-mode and hand-holding with very little rewarding experience.

    It's no longer experiencing and living through the gameplay and the mmo world but the experience exchanged in favor of mass numbers and e-sports. MMO's first came around off of board-games like Dungeon and Dragons <which was basically played by nerds> which did involve risk-factors in the gameplay even back then. Now half if not almost all the risk has been taken away as well as the challenge. Time will only tell if MMO's return to their origin roots <the emphasis on actual quality over quantity> instead of the redundancy seen now.

     

  • cyriciancyrician perthPosts: 161Member Uncommon

    Yes way to easy I mean god forbid people have to use their brain to play a mmo and the worse thing is when mmo devs actually bring a challenge to their games. 8times out of 10  they are are scorned for doing so . I still remember when tsw came out and people had to actually use their brains to work out the puzzles and didn't have little arrows pointing to quest destinations.

     

    Current games;
    Star treck online
    Rift
    Eve online
    Firefall

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,752Member Uncommon
    You dont have to look any further than quests to know that MMOs are much easier today than they were in the past (well since WoW anyway).......I think most children 5 and above could solve the quests in most mMOs today......They simply dumbed the games down so much that there really isn't much of a challenge not does it take much intelligence to play them anymore.
  • kadepsysonkadepsyson sun prairie, WIPosts: 1,937Member
    Originally posted by caetftl

    :Looks at OP and thread:

    :Sees typical "ours does it right":

    :Sees blast against wow:

    :Sees third person shooter:

    :OP loses all credibility:

    Your entire game is based on the dumbing down of gaming in general, not just the MMO genre.  Third person shooters are all the rave because of the dumbing down of a genre (fps)

    I appreciate the edgy little bite you are trying to give your game by being so outspoken against the big bad giant mmo.  But I think one thing the hardcore mmo community, which has been let down by tons of devs making the same claims you now make, has learned is that we will let the product speak for itself.  Less gimmick advertising, more real content plz. 

    Did you find out who wrote this feature yet and what they worked on previously?  Or still figuring that out?

    El Psy Congroo

  • TheJodaTheJoda chicago, ILPosts: 467Member
    One word, yes!

    ....Being Banned from MMORPG's forums since 2010, for Trolling the Trolls!!!

  • NovusodNovusod Lakewood, NJPosts: 892Member Uncommon

    Have MMORPGS become too Easy? Yes, YES, and absolutely YES. Where was this article ten yes ago when the dumbing down tend first started. Reading this article now is like shutting the barn door after the horses ran away.

     

    I would like to see a game that is so hard you can't even get to the level cap without decent social skills. Game developers often only think in terms graphics, numbers, experience gain, and damage ratios. That is fine when you are making a single player game but in a MMO there is a social puzzle as well. The problem starts with player characters being so powerful they can solo everything to the point there was no need to interact with other people. Design niche classes again so players can't do much on their own and have to party together to get things done. After a decade of instant gratification gamers actually need to be socialized again. We don't need gear checks or even skill checks. Games need socialization checks. Putting up a socialization check is akin to putting a huge sign up that reads: No TROLLS beyond this point.

     

    Take the Everquest Epic for example. No anti-social TROLL ever got their Epic because no one would help a ninja-looter or someone who mouthed in public chat. Committing to do the EPIC quests required a large time investment and lot of trust between different people working together to help ONE person get an update. Reputations mattered as much or even more than gear did. That is what is missing from modern "easy" MMOs reputation and social standing doesn't matter anymore. There has to be trust that the friend would reciprocate the action and help you when your turn came. WoW on the other hand is populated by the worst of the worst of the XBOX live crowd. Foul mouthed little 14 year olds or adults acting like 14 year olds with no manors get decked out in full purple gear because the game is so easy and rewards their anti-social behavior.

     

    Please stop catering to the instant gratification crowd and make socialization games again.

  • johnjecjohnjec Veradale, WAPosts: 18Member
    Very well written article and clearly gets to the heart of the matter. Here's the thing though. Most are not going to understand what you are writing about because they never played EQ. They never experienced real death. They never lied dead in the middle of a mob infested region hoping and praying that someone would rez them and get them the hell  out of there. I have never felt the sense of accomplishment that I felt in those early games. Only one question remains now. When we say that we want a real experience today, do we really mean it? Will we be able to deal with losing our life or maybe even a level? We have fostered such an environment of spoon fed gaming that I don't know if we can ever go back to reality. What a shame.
  • johnjecjohnjec Veradale, WAPosts: 18Member
    Originally posted by Novusod

    Have MMORPGS become too Easy? Yes, YES, and absolutely YES. Where was this article ten yes ago when the dumbing down tend first started. Reading this article now is like shutting the barn door after the horses ran away.

     

    I would like to see a game that is so hard you can't even get to the level cap without decent social skills. Game developers often only think in terms graphics, numbers, experience gain, and damage ratios. That is fine when you are making a single player game but in a MMO there is a social puzzle as well. The problem starts with player characters being so powerful they can solo everything to the point there was no need to interact with other people. Design niche classes again so players can't do much on their own and have to party together to get things done. After a decade of instant gratification gamers actually need to be socialized again. We don't need gear checks or even skill checks. Games need socialization checks. Putting up a socialization check is akin to putting a huge sign up that reads: No TROLLS beyond this point.

     

    Take the Everquest Epic for example. No anti-social TROLL ever got their Epic because no one would help a ninja-looter or someone who mouthed in public chat. Committing to do the EPIC quests required a large time investment and lot of trust between different people working together to help ONE person get an update. Reputations mattered as much or even more than gear did. That is what is missing from modern "easy" MMOs reputation and social standing doesn't matter anymore. There has to be trust that the friend would reciprocate the action and help you when your turn came. WoW on the other hand is populated by the worst of the worst of the XBOX live crowd. Foul mouthed little 14 year olds or adults acting like 14 year olds with no manors get decked out in full purple gear because the game is so easy and rewards their anti-social behavior.

     

    Please stop catering to the instant gratification crowd and make socialization games again.

    Very well put sir.

     

  • zellmerzellmer Fakesville, WIPosts: 442Member

    The original/basic idea of the story, yeah, MMO's have become absurd and almost "Console like' in how fast the content is blown through with no challenge..

    MMO's that try to rely on being a community or run by them usually fail because they're so casual.. 

    "Work together and meet people.......for the 3-10 minutes you group with them" 

    or

    "Party with and meet new players....for an hour before you all gain 3-10 levels and never see each other again"

     

    Even the few games that changed todays casual formula eventually adopted it in expansions and the like sadly..

    Same for the EQ servers that where going to keep the original "hardcore" EQ, and only add in further expansions as the current patches big boss was defeated on the server.  Only took a few months before the expansions where back to the WoW like changes...

     

  • johnjecjohnjec Veradale, WAPosts: 18Member
    I thought of one more example that I wanted to bring up. You know we blame WoW and even EQ2 for the dumbing down of the original gaming experience but it has gone well beyond even those days. Let me quickly illustrate. When i started playing WoW and EQ2 I still had to have a second screen available to look up how to finish particular quests. Some were actually challenging. Granted they were not EQ but they were still challenging. Fast forward to today. I started playing Neverwinter Online about 1 week ago. I hit 60 last night and I wasn't trying to hurry. How many times did I have to ask someone for help or look up a strategy to get past a certain point? A big donut hole! The quests have no body to them. Hack and slash, pop a potion, hack and slash, etc. It is no wonder why people are drawn to the professions because it's the only thing that actually takes time to do and will provide the gamer some sense of accomplishment. It's so frickin sad! Please, will someone in the industry listen and grow a set and build us something that doesn't insult our intelligence?
     
  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,417Member Uncommon

    The real problem I see is one of few alternatives.  Given the cost of development, companies have to go for a large group of players.  With obvious design effect.   The folks who want a particularly different style or difficulty level have far less choice of things to patronize.    Of course, if you don't subsidise anything, nothing is what you'll get. 

     

    If you are going to go for a game style that appeals to a smaller player base, there are going to have to be corners cut still further to make it doable on a smaller budget.  I see people here, all the time, complaining about game animation or art style, big swords or bad magicks.....  You are going to have to put up with some deficiencies if you want to be able to play a game with a less broad appeal. 

     

     

    If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.

  • sanshi44sanshi44 BrisbanePosts: 1,088Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by me0n

    Yes and no. EQ was (is) very special, it's the only mmo that has literally had me on the edge of my seat. It also had a bucket load of sitting around waiting though. Serious hours upon hours of waiting, and grind groups where you barely think.

    EQ did a lot of stuff right though. As you mentioned in the article, dying in the noob zones was something that happened lots and that was great. It also had mobs that would follow you across a zone, and the way the zones were laid out this invariably meant you weren't invis and would aggro other mobs, and this added to the excitement. On that, there were "trains to zone" where some poor sucker would have dragged half the zone to a zone exit, escape, leaving a bucket load of angry mobs wandering back to their starting points, usually eating players they found on the way.

     

    I like what WoW has,  in the structured missions that lead you through, I'd just like to see the gameplay changed to make it more exciting, make everything less safe. I liked going to one of the non combat zones in EQ to chill, but in any zone with mobs, you were always at risk.

    When is WoW 2 coming btw? It must be due.

     

    Titan was there next MMOP and it was delayed till 2016 at the earliest, EQN is the next thing to look forward to imo.

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