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The MMORPG genre started out as a somewhat hardcore genre that featured a lot of grouping and a lot of challenge. It was never a genre everybody could get into, because some people just can't handle it, or don't have the time for it. And that's ok.
The early games like EverQuest itself, DAoC, and FFXI defined this genre and those games are STILL successful today, have always been successful, and have always been sub-based with P2P boxes and xpacs.
Since then we've had the fluke of WoW. And since WoW, for reasons that defy any kind of reason, the genre has shifted away from the thing it does best, and the thing that's unique about the the genre, the grouping, and has shifted towards solo gameplay. At the same time it has shifted away from challenge and reward towards giving away rewards for every trivial little action.
Achievement in the early MMORPGs meant something. You really had to work at stuff and when you were done you felt good about it. In MMORPGs now there are grinds - which are miserable - but the overall challenge just isn't there and rewards are handed out like candy for doing nothing. It's so much more hollow and shallow. Worse yet, in F2P you can just buy your achievements for cash - nice sense of accomplishment there. Where'd you get that cool XXX? I bought it from the store. Oh. Nice. You are so uber.
And all the clones that have come out with this formula of solo ez-mode? Failures. They pay for themselves, but ultimately they are failures because they fail to stay sub-based and fail to retain players. Whereas the older MMORPGs had/have loyal players for years and years, the newer MMORPGs can't even keep people around for a whole year. Because solo ez mode isn't worth a sub and there's no reason to stick around games where you exhaust the solo campaign in days and there isn't much else to do.
These games have to go F2P, which is an abomination and the worst thing to happen to (real) MMORPGs, but it's a model that works for solo/casual/light games that aren't worthy of a sub. For real MMORPGs players, F2P games aren't even worth playing.
I realize the EQN dudes want to do something different. That can be good. But how about as part of being different, you take the genre back to where it started WITH EVERQUEST, and return the MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER to MMORPG. Massively multiplayer isn't a bunch of soloists sharing a world and generating intelligence insulting public chat. It's people doing things together. Not PvE or PvP zergs. Grouping. Raids. Community forged by grouping MOST OF THE TIME. Developing player reputation. Seeing the same people. The stuff that made the original MMORPGs some of the best gaming ever.
Solo should be something you do when you have little time and can't group - and should be something that's horribly inefficient. Grouping should be the way you get things done. Like in the older MMORPGs. Don't like it? Don't play. It's very simple. A bazillion single players and every failed F2P MMORPG are there for ya. Flip it around. Most newer MMORPGs are like 90% solo and 10% optional grouping. Lets flip it so that you group 95% of the time with solo barely being there.
This idiotic trend of making solo heavy MMORPGs boggles my mind. There was never anything wrong with the early MMORPGs. Why do MMORPG devs keep making MMORPGs that attempt to cater to everyone EXCPEPT the people who helped create the genre and who love the genre? So many newer players just complain endlessly about the gameplay you mutilate to suit them - they don't even really like MMORPGs but you keep trying to suck them in. Why keep chasing casuals and soloists when those types of games do not succeed and those players will not be loyal or stick around?
Sadly at this point it would be radical and different to make an MMORPG that is group heavy and anything but stupidly easy mode. It's so sick and wrong that it's come to this. But it's a chance for SOME dev...you know...like maybe the company that was part of establishing the genre in the first place, to return the genre to its roots and bring back the magic.
The other thing is that for that magic to work, you have to ditch the F2P travesty. F2P is simply garbage for MMORPGs. It works if you wanna make a game nobody gives a crap about and for players who flit between games and have no loyalty, or worse, are bottom feeders looking for a free ride. F2P is good for casual games - and no truly good MMORPG has ever been casual. Sub-based is the only way to create a truly quality gaming experience - and if you make a game WORTH a sub, people will pay. They did in the early days and for those games that are actually worth a sub, they still pay.
Pay to win is shit. All MMORPGs with F2P have some element of pay to win. All players should be paying the same amount. All cool stuff should be earned by playing, not paying extra. All players should have equal potential to earn rewards by beating challenges - by playing - and where success is determined by how you play, not how much you're willing to pay. That is how the genre started. That is why those games are still the best the genre has produced. You charge a sub so everyone is on the same footing for amount paid, and let the players forge a path from there BY PLAYING.
The solo ez mode games that are F2P cater to scrubs who want no challenge, reward for doing nothing, or to flat out buy their way thru games akin to having console cheat codes in single player games - except they're so much more losers that they'll pay to cheat.
So yeah, make a game that's different. Make a game worth a sub, that is group heavy, and that has nice amounts of challenge. Put the MM back in MMORPG. Return the genre to the glory of the early years.
The last thing the MMORPG genre needs is yet another steaming pile of F2P solo ez mode crap.
Premium MMORPGs do not feature built-in cheating via cash for gold pay 2 win. PLAY to win or don't play.