Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Fuzzy Avatars Solved! Please re-upload your avatar if it was fuzzy!

[Column] General: Why So Many MMOs Disappoint

12357

Comments

  • JorlJorl SunderlandPosts: 257Member
    Originally posted by Razeekster
    Originally posted by Jorl

    Reason MMOs aren't that great any more is they're all the same pretty much, kill this, kill that. It's came to the point where people are starting to move away from MMOs or going back to the old ones such as EQ, EQ2 AO that are old and which are becoming popular from what I've seen. I may not bother looking at the new Everquest Beta because I'll know that I will find the last 2 more interesting judging from the stuff Sony is showing us, I'm not impressed.

    Another proof that MMOs are losing its popularity is the recent FF 14, lots of people were masturbating over this game and now people are leaving, give it another month or 2 and you'll find that people are bored, its starting to happen already.

    For those who want to play a "good" MMO I would suggest trying out the old school ones, if they're not your taste then old off for now, won't be any more decent ones for a while.

     

     

    I'm just going to wait for games like Star Citizen and the Repopulation. Games that don't have to depend on the huge companies for money so end up having to listen to the company on how to make their MMO. That's honestly my only hope right now because EverQuest Next is looking like Guild Wars 2 with parkour.

     

    Exactly, Guild wars 2 was the only different MMO out there which made a slight difference to the industry but now SoE wants to jump onto the wagon with Anets ideas and slap it onto their Everquest Next, they're ruining EQ's Reputation. .

    I think Star Citizen and the Repopulation seem promising and might start off a chain reaction with in the MMO industry, hopefully for the better but if big companies are wanting to make more MMOs they really should make something different and stop making copies of copies and bring up different, unique ideas. Rift for example is an alright game now and has improved BUT when it first launched it was just a quick buck WoW copy and lost players with in few months of release.

  • DavisFlightDavisFlight Talahasee, FLPosts: 2,556Member
    Originally posted by drivendawn
    Originally posted by DavisFlight
    Originally posted by drivendawn
    I think the reason is you just can't make everyone happy some people like sandbox some newer themepark, some old school themepark. You can't please everyone with your game it's impossible.

    Except only one type of game gets made these days, WoW clones. And those don't end up pleasing anyone.

    Sure whatever you say man.

    If someone wanted WoW they'd play WoW.

    They're obviously not pleasing anyone, because they're financial failures.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member


    Originally posted by Conley

     Let's try harder to make what we lovingly call "virtual worlds" actually feel like worlds.
    Especially this. This is lacking in many modern MMO that start to feel like clones after other clones. On the other hand GTA Online feels more alive and vibrant then any mmo on the market right now. Stop making clones and start to imagine new worlds that we want to "live" in and go on from there to imagine ways to entertain ourselves in that world and adventures to be enjoyed. I want to feel immersed again instead of arriving in mmo's that have the same checklist of features that all the other mmo's had but lack an imaginative and original scope. 
    Agreed here! But the vocal majority "don't need no stinkin' worlds!" (One poster comes quickly to mind here.)


    Originally posted by Kyleran
    I agree, no one is ever going to make a game exactly the way "I" want it. but would it hurt to have a few more options than standard theme park #234 and under funded Indy title (theme park or sandbox) #67?I'm just tired of the current options that are out there, and yes, for the record I did try a lot of titles both AAA and Indy and find the fun in them. Ended up spending anywhere from 1 - 3 months in each, and for the game hoppers this is great, goes well with their play style.But for the same reason I read very long novels instead of short stories, I prefer longer, more engaging MMORPGs where I might spend 6 months to 5 years in the same virtual world (perhaps on and off) and as of late, there's been few titles in this design category.Just like you really can't create a game with the perfect blend of PVE and PVP without making tradeoffs somewhere, I don't think you can make a title designed for long term retention and try to make it interesting enough for the short term game players out there at the same time.Developers keep trying, and so far the majority of the designs seem to favor the short term customer, would be nice to see a title or two designed a bit differently.Yeah, I know, it won't sell enough to justify the cost.Pity.
    In total agreement here :)

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • VoqarVoqar Phoenix, AZPosts: 498Member

    I'd say the problem with MMORPGs is pretty simple.  MMORPGs barely resemble MMORPGs anymore and this trend has been going on for years.

     

    When you design a largely single player game with a little bit of slapped on grouping and call some of that end game and call the overall thing an MMORPG, you haven't designed an MMORPG, you've designed a glorified single player game.

     

    MMORPGs originally were about challenge, danger, failure meaning something, and about grouping ALL the time.  Solo was often either not possible or so woefully inefficient that it was only something you did rarely - kind of like what grouping is for so many modern MMORPG players.

     

    The group vs solo dynamic has completely reversed.  MMORPGs used to be all about grouping ALL the time - now they are about solo almost all the time.  Grouping is now optional.

     

    The challenge level has completely flipped too.  It used to be hard just to do the eary levels.  It used to take months to level to cap.  Now if players aren't making 5-10 levels a day doing mundane trivial crap they spaz out and have an ADD seizure.

     

    The main thing that changed is the target audience.  MMORPGs used to be created for more hardcore RPG fans - or I should say, that's what they ended up attracting - and we loved it.  Smart players who thrive on challenge and danger who enjoyed the social side of grouping a lot - and the resulting strong community.

     

    For no good reason MMORPG designers decided they needed to go for "broader appeal" and appeal to "casual gamers" even though MMORPG gameplay wasn't suitable for that.  The answer of course, was to mutilate the games and genre.  Everything got easier, dumbed down, and the whole genre shifted from grouping to solo.

     

    FFXIV is kind of the summation of this - it's so utterly stripped down, dumbed down, and idiotically easy that it's an insult to the intelligence and the genre.  And people love it, or so they say, just IMO, it's the wrong people.  When the soloists and people who can barely eat without getting any on the bib love your game...what does that say about your so-called MMORPG?

     

    There was never anything wrong with the original MMORPG formula or games.  In fact, most of them are still chugging along and sub-based while the vast majority of MMORPGs with the solo ez-mode style of gameplay are now F2P, limp along, and are a shallow shadow of their intended greatness.  But hey, you can sell a couple million units and have a large number of players try your game that everyone considers a failure....that counts for...something...right?

     

    So yeah, we look back to the older MMORPGs and wish things were different - because they are different.  MMORPGs aren't made the same any more and some of us wish SOMEBODY would make an MMORPG that was...actually an MMORPG...something with challenge, where failure means something, and where grouping is mandatory - not optional.  Soloists, you can play single player games where you belong - k, thanks (you can always hop on to twitter to spew hate for lack of public chat).

     

    When all you're stuck with are bloated and glorified online single player games with minimal and optional grouping, where even when you TRY to play them like old MMORPGs, the games with their speed leveling, ultra easy content, and xp/gear welfare handed out like crazy, these games just don't keep you busy for long.  I mean, you can't really group outside of instances in most newer MMORPGs since even just a duo completely overwhelms solo idiot mode content designed for the least common denominator playing the weakest class in the game.

     

    The companies - they shoot themselves.  They design these fast playing games.  The spend YEARS making single player content players can obliterate in no time.  And they can't possibly crank out more content post release fast enough to keep players busy.  So once that couple of months of content is exhausted and there's nothing to do, those million+ box sales turn into a MUCH smaller number of people willing to stick around and hope you somehow deliver content.  Then your game is F2P, sells out its soul, and is a joke, since F2P MMORPGs are trash.

     

    All MMORPGs rely on progression and the endless gear carrot to keep players around and willing to pay a sub, but when your game is stupid easy and plays stupid fast, players blast thru it way faster than you can ever keep up with as a developer.  It's BAD design.

     

    The older MMORPGs had a much slower pace.  It took longer to accomplish stuff.  Even leveling took months instead of days.  Devs had way more time to put content out at a sustainable pace.  Most of those games, like EQ, didn't even do content patches - no need, you'd get your yearly xpac and be set for the next year.  That kind of thing could never work for the fast food style MMORPGs.

     

    The solution to me isn't to try to innovate new ways for soloists to tug it faster - it's to return the the genre's core - bring back challenge, bring back heavy grouping, and extend the life of the games.  Surely game designers are smart enough to come up with some ways to tweak the ancient formulas and innovate more ways to do grouping all the time with minimal solo.

     

    This is why games like FFXIV and soon to be EQN are such profound disappointments to me.  FFXI was one of the originals and FFXIV is a joke compared to it.  EQ is the mack grand daddy of the genre, and EQN is going to incorporate some potentially amazing ideas like procedurally generated content (potentially infinite "replay" value) yet EQN will amost certainly be all about solo and a slap in the face of its namesake.

     

    Designers need to change their approach.  Instead of using WoW as the basis for your game design and moving forward from there into single player gaming, go back to EQ and older MMORPGs and use THEM as your starting point for design.  Start with the brutality of an untamed wild, the challenge of simply leveling, the even bigger challenge of dungeons/dungeon zones, and mandatory grouping just to survive and level - and tweak from there.

     

    There never was that many big MMORPGs back in the day, just a handful of the best that we remember.  There's lots of room to tweak from THAT point in MMORPG history.  Clearly, the many variations on solo idiot mode mostly yielded the same result - play fast, play dumb, players buy in, players bail out early, game goes F2P = fail.

     

    IMO, a big problem is that instead of going ALL the way back to the still viable roots and improving on what was, too many designers are just continuing the evoloution of the solo side of the genre - and that side is the DARK side - it's crap - it's single player gaming, not MMORPG.

     

    Ultimately if casuals don't have the time to play, or if the games are too hard core for some people to handle, that's ok.  The MMORPG genre never needed such people to get started, and the gameplay was vastly superior back then even in its roughest possible forms, if some players have to be alientated for MMORPGs to be returned to glory, so be it.  I'm not sure why the MMORPG genre decided to be the genre to bend over backwards to try and fail to be the genre that caters to everyone, when most gaming genres stick to their cores.

     

    So yeah, we're always waiting for the next big thing.  That's what happens when so-called MMORPGs take 3-5 years to make but are so poorly designed that they end up yielding 3-5 months of content and gameplay, if that.  3-5 years vs 3-5 months leaves a lot of time to wait for the next one.

     

    I didn't even last that long with FFXIV - it's the first premium MMORPG I've ever bought and played where I didn't sub for a few months - there's no point - the game is clearly not worth a sub and you can either be done with it or close to it within the free time.  I don't have the numbers but I'd bet that I've subbed for shorter and shorter periods to every MMORPG I've played since WoW.  I lasted 6-7 months in Rift (granted, only left it to play SWTOR, not because I'd had enough).  Lasted 3-4 months in SWTOR and GW2.  Maybe 2 months with TSW.  Maybe 1 month total including phase 4 with FFXIV.  The more solo oriented MMORPGs get, the less they are worth playing for any length of time.  All of these games suffer from way too much solo idiot mode, way too little grouping, way too little endgame, no way for devs to crank out content fast enough (GW2 is different, but it's not really attempting to be an MMORPG, it's a blatant single player/pure solo game).

     

    I suppose some damned dev will one up this and come out with an MMORPG you can finish in 2 weeks, because MMORPG devs just seem to not get it.  MMORPGs are not single player games and as long as you design them that way, they will exist that way.  Singple player games aren't worth a sub and the only thing special about an MMORPG vs a single player game at this point is that one is online full time, costs a ton more to make, generally has lower quality content than a dedicated single player RPG, and has a lot of people playing it that you'd rather not ever have to encounter.

    Premium MMORPGs do not feature built-in cheating via cash for gold pay 2 win. PLAY to win or don't play.

  • DalanonDalanon Warren, OHPosts: 124Member
    Someone needs to make a game for us hardcore players that want a virtual world to play around in. You wont have as many subscribers as say wow, but just make it cheap with good hardcore pve content. Minecraft has an insane amount of players and some of the worst looking graphics of any game not on an atari. Dont spend $100 million on pretty particle effects, just give us fun gameplay we can adventure with our friends and a lot of content to explore .

    Not all who wander are lost...

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Boneserino
    Originally posted by BMBender
    Originally posted by Boneserino
    Originally posted by BMBender
    Originally posted by Boneserino

    BmBender

     Well there you have it, so you are telling all of us that  what we have  now  is the best we can expect.   Until hardware improves enough to support the massive amount of programming it will take to change games from having dull and lifeless NPC's,  to having them behave, at least with some semblance of rational thought.  

    I am not a programmer but that's kind of what I thought too.

    As Kyleran said:

    Pity

    IT is not a question of hardware/software it is a question of completely opposing desired results

    the exact same encounter a one demographic will want a certain result returned, while another will want something completely different.  player characters do not come with handy little flags to tell the AI witch demographic they belong too.

     

    as I stated earlier there are games that do exactly what you say you want but since every current developer is chasing the "all demographics" market the ai has to be toned down to match.

    Yea yea I get that.  But you are basically saying that things cannot change and therefore will not. 

    I have to disagree about the can not part. 

    Well everyone seems to think sandbox player driven content is the way to go but I feel that is also going to fail. 

    Time will tell.

    they won't change as long as games try to fit everyone under the same tent. or have you been asleep over the last decade?

    and I never once mentioned sandbox nor was I referring to it.  that's just one demographic among many

    Hmm a little testy aren't we?

    Yes I have done a fair bit of sleeping over the last decade.  Blah blah blah your statement is tired as well.  Yea its all bout catering to everyone, that is the problem with everything.   Sure.  But what about solutions.  You haven't offered anything in that respect.

    I only mentioned Open world sandbox because that seems to be the other style of MMO that people feel will revive the genre. 

    But you seem to have your own agenda here whatever that is.

    The solution? that's easy stop trying to cater to "everyone" and don't be afraid to be niche.  If I had an "agenda" that would be it I guess. but you don't want to hear that you want to hear  how everything can be crammed into one shiney product with perfectly polished feature sets from HCraider to smelltheflowerscasual; dynamic AI witch can determine one's play preference by some form of digital osmosis.   The type of AI you professed to want exists in certain games. Others and I have mentioned them, you chose to disregard them

    image
  • drivendawndrivendawn montgomery, ALPosts: 1,251Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Voqar

    I'd say the problem with MMORPGs is pretty simple.  MMORPGs barely resemble MMORPGs anymore and this trend has been going on for years.

     

    When you design a largely single player game with a little bit of slapped on grouping and call some of that end game and call the overall thing an MMORPG, you haven't designed an MMORPG, you've designed a glorified single player game.

     

    MMORPGs originally were about challenge, danger, failure meaning something, and about grouping ALL the time.  Solo was often either not possible or so woefully inefficient that it was only something you did rarely - kind of like what grouping is for so many modern MMORPG players.

     

    The group vs solo dynamic has completely reversed.  MMORPGs used to be all about grouping ALL the time - now they are about solo almost all the time.  Grouping is now optional.

     

    The challenge level has completely flipped too.  It used to be hard just to do the eary levels.  It used to take months to level to cap.  Now if players aren't making 5-10 levels a day doing mundane trivial crap they spaz out and have an ADD seizure.

     

    The main thing that changed is the target audience.  MMORPGs used to be created for more hardcore RPG fans - or I should say, that's what they ended up attracting - and we loved it.  Smart players who thrive on challenge and danger who enjoyed the social side of grouping a lot - and the resulting strong community.

     

    For no good reason MMORPG designers decided they needed to go for "broader appeal" and appeal to "casual gamers" even though MMORPG gameplay wasn't suitable for that.  The answer of course, was to mutilate the games and genre.  Everything got easier, dumbed down, and the whole genre shifted from grouping to solo.

     

    FFXIV is kind of the summation of this - it's so utterly stripped down, dumbed down, and idiotically easy that it's an insult to the intelligence and the genre.  And people love it, or so they say, just IMO, it's the wrong people.  When the soloists and people who can barely eat without getting any on the bib love your game...what does that say about your so-called MMORPG?

     

    There was never anything wrong with the original MMORPG formula or games.  In fact, most of them are still chugging along and sub-based while the vast majority of MMORPGs with the solo ez-mode style of gameplay are now F2P, limp along, and are a shallow shadow of their intended greatness.  But hey, you can sell a couple million units and have a large number of players try your game that everyone considers a failure....that counts for...something...right?

     

    So yeah, we look back to the older MMORPGs and wish things were different - because they are different.  MMORPGs aren't made the same any more and some of us wish SOMEBODY would make an MMORPG that was...actually an MMORPG...something with challenge, where failure means something, and where grouping is mandatory - not optional.  Soloists, you can play single player games where you belong - k, thanks (you can always hop on to twitter to spew hate for lack of public chat).

     

    When all you're stuck with are bloated and glorified online single player games with minimal and optional grouping, where even when you TRY to play them like old MMORPGs, the games with their speed leveling, ultra easy content, and xp/gear welfare handed out like crazy, these games just don't keep you busy for long.  I mean, you can't really group outside of instances in most newer MMORPGs since even just a duo completely overwhelms solo idiot mode content designed for the least common denominator playing the weakest class in the game.

     

    The companies - they shoot themselves.  They design these fast playing games.  The spend YEARS making single player content players can obliterate in no time.  And they can't possibly crank out more content post release fast enough to keep players busy.  So once that couple of months of content is exhausted and there's nothing to do, those million+ box sales turn into a MUCH smaller number of people willing to stick around and hope you somehow deliver content.  Then your game is F2P, sells out its soul, and is a joke, since F2P MMORPGs are trash.

     

    All MMORPGs rely on progression and the endless gear carrot to keep players around and willing to pay a sub, but when your game is stupid easy and plays stupid fast, players blast thru it way faster than you can ever keep up with as a developer.  It's BAD design.

     

    The older MMORPGs had a much slower pace.  It took longer to accomplish stuff.  Even leveling took months instead of days.  Devs had way more time to put content out at a sustainable pace.  Most of those games, like EQ, didn't even do content patches - no need, you'd get your yearly xpac and be set for the next year.  That kind of thing could never work for the fast food style MMORPGs.

     

    The solution to me isn't to try to innovate new ways for soloists to tug it faster - it's to return the the genre's core - bring back challenge, bring back heavy grouping, and extend the life of the games.  Surely game designers are smart enough to come up with some ways to tweak the ancient formulas and innovate more ways to do grouping all the time with minimal solo.

     

    This is why games like FFXIV and soon to be EQN are such profound disappointments to me.  FFXI was one of the originals and FFXIV is a joke compared to it.  EQ is the mack grand daddy of the genre, and EQN is going to incorporate some potentially amazing ideas like procedurally generated content (potentially infinite "replay" value) yet EQN will amost certainly be all about solo and a slap in the face of its namesake.

     

    Designers need to change their approach.  Instead of using WoW as the basis for your game design and moving forward from there into single player gaming, go back to EQ and older MMORPGs and use THEM as your starting point for design.  Start with the brutality of an untamed wild, the challenge of simply leveling, the even bigger challenge of dungeons/dungeon zones, and mandatory grouping just to survive and level - and tweak from there.

     

    There never was that many big MMORPGs back in the day, just a handful of the best that we remember.  There's lots of room to tweak from THAT point in MMORPG history.  Clearly, the many variations on solo idiot mode mostly yielded the same result - play fast, play dumb, players buy in, players bail out early, game goes F2P = fail.

     

    IMO, a big problem is that instead of going ALL the way back to the still viable roots and improving on what was, too many designers are just continuing the evoloution of the solo side of the genre - and that side is the DARK side - it's crap - it's single player gaming, not MMORPG.

     

    Ultimately if casuals don't have the time to play, or if the games are too hard core for some people to handle, that's ok.  The MMORPG genre never needed such people to get started, and the gameplay was vastly superior back then even in its roughest possible forms, if some players have to be alientated for MMORPGs to be returned to glory, so be it.  I'm not sure why the MMORPG genre decided to be the genre to bend over backwards to try and fail to be the genre that caters to everyone, when most gaming genres stick to their cores.

     

    So yeah, we're always waiting for the next big thing.  That's what happens when so-called MMORPGs take 3-5 years to make but are so poorly designed that they end up yielding 3-5 months of content and gameplay, if that.  3-5 years vs 3-5 months leaves a lot of time to wait for the next one.

     

    I didn't even last that long with FFXIV - it's the first premium MMORPG I've ever bought and played where I didn't sub for a few months - there's no point - the game is clearly not worth a sub and you can either be done with it or close to it within the free time.  I don't have the numbers but I'd bet that I've subbed for shorter and shorter periods to every MMORPG I've played since WoW.  I lasted 6-7 months in Rift (granted, only left it to play SWTOR, not because I'd had enough).  Lasted 3-4 months in SWTOR and GW2.  Maybe 2 months with TSW.  Maybe 1 month total including phase 4 with FFXIV.  The more solo oriented MMORPGs get, the less they are worth playing for any length of time.  All of these games suffer from way too much solo idiot mode, way too little grouping, way too little endgame, no way for devs to crank out content fast enough (GW2 is different, but it's not really attempting to be an MMORPG, it's a blatant single player/pure solo game).

     

    I suppose some damned dev will one up this and come out with an MMORPG you can finish in 2 weeks, because MMORPG devs just seem to not get it.  MMORPGs are not single player games and as long as you design them that way, they will exist that way.  Singple player games aren't worth a sub and the only thing special about an MMORPG vs a single player game at this point is that one is online full time, costs a ton more to make, generally has lower quality content than a dedicated single player RPG, and has a lot of people playing it that you'd rather not ever have to encounter.

    Well I respectfully disagree on XIV there is plenty of group orientated content if you choose to find like minded people to do leve's, dungeon's, party up and grind on mob's while doing FATES, company leve's, primals, guildhests and what not. In my opinion it seem very restrictive to force group play for basically everything that matters. I played XI for 4 years and it was fun but the lack of solo things to do got on my nerves, and the camping mobs for hours only to not get what you wanted because of the crazy drop rates. For example KA was a 24 hour spawn or 48 I can't remember with a 5% drop rate. Ridiculous if you ask me. 

  • lugallugal Escondido, CAPosts: 639Member Uncommon

    Part of the problem that Mike does not mention is that the press are to blame as well for issue he talked about.

    Far too often we all see game journalists over hype games by using catch phrases they know will drive interest. Also can not forget the history of game makers buying good scores as well. I still doubt the integrity of the media when they whore themselves to the very people they claim to scrutinize.

    Most of the problems however, reside within each gamer who can not keep themselves from pre-ordering games. If a large majority of gamers would no longer buy the hype, companies would be forced to get realistic.

    Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    The reviewer has a mishapen head
    Which means his opinion is skewed
    ...Aldous.MF'n.Huxley

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lugal

    Part of the problem that Mike does not mention is that the press are to blame as well for issue he talked about.

    Far too often we all see game journalists over hype games by using catch phrases they know will drive interest. Also can not forget the history of game makers buying good scores as well. I still doubt the integrity of the media when they whore themselves to the very people they claim to scrutinize.

    Most of the problems however, reside within each gamer who can not keep themselves from pre-ordering games. If a large majority of gamers would no longer buy the hype, companies would be forced to get realistic.

    Unless it has sexual overtones, they are quick to jump on the bash wagon then even if the play style may match a a different game they gave a high rating to.   :D

    image
  • ArakaziArakazi OxfordPosts: 889Member
    Originally posted by drivendawn
    Originally posted by Voqar

    I'd say the problem with MMORPGs is pretty simple.  MMORPGs barely resemble MMORPGs anymore and this trend has been going on for years.

     

    When you design a largely single player game with a little bit of slapped on grouping and call some of that end game and call the overall thing an MMORPG, you haven't designed an MMORPG, you've designed a glorified single player game.

     

    MMORPGs originally were about challenge, danger, failure meaning something, and about grouping ALL the time.  Solo was often either not possible or so woefully inefficient that it was only something you did rarely - kind of like what grouping is for so many modern MMORPG players.

     

    The group vs solo dynamic has completely reversed.  MMORPGs used to be all about grouping ALL the time - now they are about solo almost all the time.  Grouping is now optional.

     

    The challenge level has completely flipped too.  It used to be hard just to do the eary levels.  It used to take months to level to cap.  Now if players aren't making 5-10 levels a day doing mundane trivial crap they spaz out and have an ADD seizure.

     

    The main thing that changed is the target audience.  MMORPGs used to be created for more hardcore RPG fans - or I should say, that's what they ended up attracting - and we loved it.  Smart players who thrive on challenge and danger who enjoyed the social side of grouping a lot - and the resulting strong community.

     

    For no good reason MMORPG designers decided they needed to go for "broader appeal" and appeal to "casual gamers" even though MMORPG gameplay wasn't suitable for that.  The answer of course, was to mutilate the games and genre.  Everything got easier, dumbed down, and the whole genre shifted from grouping to solo.

     

    FFXIV is kind of the summation of this - it's so utterly stripped down, dumbed down, and idiotically easy that it's an insult to the intelligence and the genre.  And people love it, or so they say, just IMO, it's the wrong people.  When the soloists and people who can barely eat without getting any on the bib love your game...what does that say about your so-called MMORPG?

     

    There was never anything wrong with the original MMORPG formula or games.  In fact, most of them are still chugging along and sub-based while the vast majority of MMORPGs with the solo ez-mode style of gameplay are now F2P, limp along, and are a shallow shadow of their intended greatness.  But hey, you can sell a couple million units and have a large number of players try your game that everyone considers a failure....that counts for...something...right?

     

    So yeah, we look back to the older MMORPGs and wish things were different - because they are different.  MMORPGs aren't made the same any more and some of us wish SOMEBODY would make an MMORPG that was...actually an MMORPG...something with challenge, where failure means something, and where grouping is mandatory - not optional.  Soloists, you can play single player games where you belong - k, thanks (you can always hop on to twitter to spew hate for lack of public chat).

     

    When all you're stuck with are bloated and glorified online single player games with minimal and optional grouping, where even when you TRY to play them like old MMORPGs, the games with their speed leveling, ultra easy content, and xp/gear welfare handed out like crazy, these games just don't keep you busy for long.  I mean, you can't really group outside of instances in most newer MMORPGs since even just a duo completely overwhelms solo idiot mode content designed for the least common denominator playing the weakest class in the game.

     

    The companies - they shoot themselves.  They design these fast playing games.  The spend YEARS making single player content players can obliterate in no time.  And they can't possibly crank out more content post release fast enough to keep players busy.  So once that couple of months of content is exhausted and there's nothing to do, those million+ box sales turn into a MUCH smaller number of people willing to stick around and hope you somehow deliver content.  Then your game is F2P, sells out its soul, and is a joke, since F2P MMORPGs are trash.

     

    All MMORPGs rely on progression and the endless gear carrot to keep players around and willing to pay a sub, but when your game is stupid easy and plays stupid fast, players blast thru it way faster than you can ever keep up with as a developer.  It's BAD design.

     

    The older MMORPGs had a much slower pace.  It took longer to accomplish stuff.  Even leveling took months instead of days.  Devs had way more time to put content out at a sustainable pace.  Most of those games, like EQ, didn't even do content patches - no need, you'd get your yearly xpac and be set for the next year.  That kind of thing could never work for the fast food style MMORPGs.

     

    The solution to me isn't to try to innovate new ways for soloists to tug it faster - it's to return the the genre's core - bring back challenge, bring back heavy grouping, and extend the life of the games.  Surely game designers are smart enough to come up with some ways to tweak the ancient formulas and innovate more ways to do grouping all the time with minimal solo.

     

    This is why games like FFXIV and soon to be EQN are such profound disappointments to me.  FFXI was one of the originals and FFXIV is a joke compared to it.  EQ is the mack grand daddy of the genre, and EQN is going to incorporate some potentially amazing ideas like procedurally generated content (potentially infinite "replay" value) yet EQN will amost certainly be all about solo and a slap in the face of its namesake.

     

    Designers need to change their approach.  Instead of using WoW as the basis for your game design and moving forward from there into single player gaming, go back to EQ and older MMORPGs and use THEM as your starting point for design.  Start with the brutality of an untamed wild, the challenge of simply leveling, the even bigger challenge of dungeons/dungeon zones, and mandatory grouping just to survive and level - and tweak from there.

     

    There never was that many big MMORPGs back in the day, just a handful of the best that we remember.  There's lots of room to tweak from THAT point in MMORPG history.  Clearly, the many variations on solo idiot mode mostly yielded the same result - play fast, play dumb, players buy in, players bail out early, game goes F2P = fail.

     

    IMO, a big problem is that instead of going ALL the way back to the still viable roots and improving on what was, too many designers are just continuing the evoloution of the solo side of the genre - and that side is the DARK side - it's crap - it's single player gaming, not MMORPG.

     

    Ultimately if casuals don't have the time to play, or if the games are too hard core for some people to handle, that's ok.  The MMORPG genre never needed such people to get started, and the gameplay was vastly superior back then even in its roughest possible forms, if some players have to be alientated for MMORPGs to be returned to glory, so be it.  I'm not sure why the MMORPG genre decided to be the genre to bend over backwards to try and fail to be the genre that caters to everyone, when most gaming genres stick to their cores.

     

    So yeah, we're always waiting for the next big thing.  That's what happens when so-called MMORPGs take 3-5 years to make but are so poorly designed that they end up yielding 3-5 months of content and gameplay, if that.  3-5 years vs 3-5 months leaves a lot of time to wait for the next one.

     

    I didn't even last that long with FFXIV - it's the first premium MMORPG I've ever bought and played where I didn't sub for a few months - there's no point - the game is clearly not worth a sub and you can either be done with it or close to it within the free time.  I don't have the numbers but I'd bet that I've subbed for shorter and shorter periods to every MMORPG I've played since WoW.  I lasted 6-7 months in Rift (granted, only left it to play SWTOR, not because I'd had enough).  Lasted 3-4 months in SWTOR and GW2.  Maybe 2 months with TSW.  Maybe 1 month total including phase 4 with FFXIV.  The more solo oriented MMORPGs get, the less they are worth playing for any length of time.  All of these games suffer from way too much solo idiot mode, way too little grouping, way too little endgame, no way for devs to crank out content fast enough (GW2 is different, but it's not really attempting to be an MMORPG, it's a blatant single player/pure solo game).

     

    I suppose some damned dev will one up this and come out with an MMORPG you can finish in 2 weeks, because MMORPG devs just seem to not get it.  MMORPGs are not single player games and as long as you design them that way, they will exist that way.  Singple player games aren't worth a sub and the only thing special about an MMORPG vs a single player game at this point is that one is online full time, costs a ton more to make, generally has lower quality content than a dedicated single player RPG, and has a lot of people playing it that you'd rather not ever have to encounter.

    Well I respectfully disagree on XIV there is plenty of group orientated content if you choose to find like minded people to do leve's, dungeon's, party up and grind on mob's while doing FATES, company leve's,primals and what not. I played XI for 4 years and it was fun but the lack of solo things to do got on my nerves, and the camping mobs for hours only not to get what you wanted because of the crazy drop rates. For example KA was a 24 hour spawn or 48 I can't remember with a 5% drop rate. Ridiculous if you ask me. 

    I think we should differentiate between group oriented content and social content. Fates have been reduced to nothing than an xp grind. The social aspect of faes are nothing more than spamming LFG or LFM and clicking accept or inviting people into the group. You won't have to interact with anyone or get to know anyone. In fact in my two months playing ARR, nothing social has happened in these groups other than: "Hi. thanks for inviting me", "np :)".

  • drivendawndrivendawn montgomery, ALPosts: 1,251Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arakazi
    Originally posted by drivendawn
    Originally posted by Voqar

    I'd say the problem with MMORPGs is pretty simple.  MMORPGs barely resemble MMORPGs anymore and this trend has been going on for years.

     

    When you design a largely single player game with a little bit of slapped on grouping and call some of that end game and call the overall thing an MMORPG, you haven't designed an MMORPG, you've designed a glorified single player game.

     

    MMORPGs originally were about challenge, danger, failure meaning something, and about grouping ALL the time.  Solo was often either not possible or so woefully inefficient that it was only something you did rarely - kind of like what grouping is for so many modern MMORPG players.

     

    The group vs solo dynamic has completely reversed.  MMORPGs used to be all about grouping ALL the time - now they are about solo almost all the time.  Grouping is now optional.

     

    The challenge level has completely flipped too.  It used to be hard just to do the eary levels.  It used to take months to level to cap.  Now if players aren't making 5-10 levels a day doing mundane trivial crap they spaz out and have an ADD seizure.

     

    The main thing that changed is the target audience.  MMORPGs used to be created for more hardcore RPG fans - or I should say, that's what they ended up attracting - and we loved it.  Smart players who thrive on challenge and danger who enjoyed the social side of grouping a lot - and the resulting strong community.

     

    For no good reason MMORPG designers decided they needed to go for "broader appeal" and appeal to "casual gamers" even though MMORPG gameplay wasn't suitable for that.  The answer of course, was to mutilate the games and genre.  Everything got easier, dumbed down, and the whole genre shifted from grouping to solo.

     

    FFXIV is kind of the summation of this - it's so utterly stripped down, dumbed down, and idiotically easy that it's an insult to the intelligence and the genre.  And people love it, or so they say, just IMO, it's the wrong people.  When the soloists and people who can barely eat without getting any on the bib love your game...what does that say about your so-called MMORPG?

     

    There was never anything wrong with the original MMORPG formula or games.  In fact, most of them are still chugging along and sub-based while the vast majority of MMORPGs with the solo ez-mode style of gameplay are now F2P, limp along, and are a shallow shadow of their intended greatness.  But hey, you can sell a couple million units and have a large number of players try your game that everyone considers a failure....that counts for...something...right?

     

    So yeah, we look back to the older MMORPGs and wish things were different - because they are different.  MMORPGs aren't made the same any more and some of us wish SOMEBODY would make an MMORPG that was...actually an MMORPG...something with challenge, where failure means something, and where grouping is mandatory - not optional.  Soloists, you can play single player games where you belong - k, thanks (you can always hop on to twitter to spew hate for lack of public chat).

     

    When all you're stuck with are bloated and glorified online single player games with minimal and optional grouping, where even when you TRY to play them like old MMORPGs, the games with their speed leveling, ultra easy content, and xp/gear welfare handed out like crazy, these games just don't keep you busy for long.  I mean, you can't really group outside of instances in most newer MMORPGs since even just a duo completely overwhelms solo idiot mode content designed for the least common denominator playing the weakest class in the game.

     

    The companies - they shoot themselves.  They design these fast playing games.  The spend YEARS making single player content players can obliterate in no time.  And they can't possibly crank out more content post release fast enough to keep players busy.  So once that couple of months of content is exhausted and there's nothing to do, those million+ box sales turn into a MUCH smaller number of people willing to stick around and hope you somehow deliver content.  Then your game is F2P, sells out its soul, and is a joke, since F2P MMORPGs are trash.

     

    All MMORPGs rely on progression and the endless gear carrot to keep players around and willing to pay a sub, but when your game is stupid easy and plays stupid fast, players blast thru it way faster than you can ever keep up with as a developer.  It's BAD design.

     

    The older MMORPGs had a much slower pace.  It took longer to accomplish stuff.  Even leveling took months instead of days.  Devs had way more time to put content out at a sustainable pace.  Most of those games, like EQ, didn't even do content patches - no need, you'd get your yearly xpac and be set for the next year.  That kind of thing could never work for the fast food style MMORPGs.

     

    The solution to me isn't to try to innovate new ways for soloists to tug it faster - it's to return the the genre's core - bring back challenge, bring back heavy grouping, and extend the life of the games.  Surely game designers are smart enough to come up with some ways to tweak the ancient formulas and innovate more ways to do grouping all the time with minimal solo.

     

    This is why games like FFXIV and soon to be EQN are such profound disappointments to me.  FFXI was one of the originals and FFXIV is a joke compared to it.  EQ is the mack grand daddy of the genre, and EQN is going to incorporate some potentially amazing ideas like procedurally generated content (potentially infinite "replay" value) yet EQN will amost certainly be all about solo and a slap in the face of its namesake.

     

    Designers need to change their approach.  Instead of using WoW as the basis for your game design and moving forward from there into single player gaming, go back to EQ and older MMORPGs and use THEM as your starting point for design.  Start with the brutality of an untamed wild, the challenge of simply leveling, the even bigger challenge of dungeons/dungeon zones, and mandatory grouping just to survive and level - and tweak from there.

     

    There never was that many big MMORPGs back in the day, just a handful of the best that we remember.  There's lots of room to tweak from THAT point in MMORPG history.  Clearly, the many variations on solo idiot mode mostly yielded the same result - play fast, play dumb, players buy in, players bail out early, game goes F2P = fail.

     

    IMO, a big problem is that instead of going ALL the way back to the still viable roots and improving on what was, too many designers are just continuing the evoloution of the solo side of the genre - and that side is the DARK side - it's crap - it's single player gaming, not MMORPG.

     

    Ultimately if casuals don't have the time to play, or if the games are too hard core for some people to handle, that's ok.  The MMORPG genre never needed such people to get started, and the gameplay was vastly superior back then even in its roughest possible forms, if some players have to be alientated for MMORPGs to be returned to glory, so be it.  I'm not sure why the MMORPG genre decided to be the genre to bend over backwards to try and fail to be the genre that caters to everyone, when most gaming genres stick to their cores.

     

    So yeah, we're always waiting for the next big thing.  That's what happens when so-called MMORPGs take 3-5 years to make but are so poorly designed that they end up yielding 3-5 months of content and gameplay, if that.  3-5 years vs 3-5 months leaves a lot of time to wait for the next one.

     

    I didn't even last that long with FFXIV - it's the first premium MMORPG I've ever bought and played where I didn't sub for a few months - there's no point - the game is clearly not worth a sub and you can either be done with it or close to it within the free time.  I don't have the numbers but I'd bet that I've subbed for shorter and shorter periods to every MMORPG I've played since WoW.  I lasted 6-7 months in Rift (granted, only left it to play SWTOR, not because I'd had enough).  Lasted 3-4 months in SWTOR and GW2.  Maybe 2 months with TSW.  Maybe 1 month total including phase 4 with FFXIV.  The more solo oriented MMORPGs get, the less they are worth playing for any length of time.  All of these games suffer from way too much solo idiot mode, way too little grouping, way too little endgame, no way for devs to crank out content fast enough (GW2 is different, but it's not really attempting to be an MMORPG, it's a blatant single player/pure solo game).

     

    I suppose some damned dev will one up this and come out with an MMORPG you can finish in 2 weeks, because MMORPG devs just seem to not get it.  MMORPGs are not single player games and as long as you design them that way, they will exist that way.  Singple player games aren't worth a sub and the only thing special about an MMORPG vs a single player game at this point is that one is online full time, costs a ton more to make, generally has lower quality content than a dedicated single player RPG, and has a lot of people playing it that you'd rather not ever have to encounter.

    Well I respectfully disagree on XIV there is plenty of group orientated content if you choose to find like minded people to do leve's, dungeon's, party up and grind on mob's while doing FATES, company leve's,primals and what not. I played XI for 4 years and it was fun but the lack of solo things to do got on my nerves, and the camping mobs for hours only not to get what you wanted because of the crazy drop rates. For example KA was a 24 hour spawn or 48 I can't remember with a 5% drop rate. Ridiculous if you ask me. 

    I think we should differentiate between group oriented content and social content. Fates have been reduced to nothing than an xp grind. The social aspect of faes are nothing more than spamming LFG or LFM and clicking accept or inviting people into the group. You won't have to interact with anyone or get to know anyone. In fact in my two months playing ARR, nothing social has happened in these groups other than: "Hi. thanks for inviting me", "np :)".

    I'll admit that is a problem but they are working on that I hear. What  I mean is I have grouped up with friends and have battled mobs while doing the FATES around the area we were camping.

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,221Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by lugal

    Part of the problem that Mike does not mention is that the press are to blame as well for issue he talked about.

    Far too often we all see game journalists over hype games by using catch phrases they know will drive interest. Also can not forget the history of game makers buying good scores as well. I still doubt the integrity of the media when they whore themselves to the very people they claim to scrutinize.

    Most of the problems however, reside within each gamer who can not keep themselves from pre-ordering games. If a large majority of gamers would no longer buy the hype, companies would be forced to get realistic.

    You nailed it right on the head. There is a shared responsibility for expectations. The media and marketing ends of publishers, producers, community liaisons, and public facing developers need to be a lot more honest and humble about what they're creating and delivering. Bill already nailed down the consumer end pretty good so I won't pontificate there.

    The problem is there is really big money involved with a lot of pressure from the consumers. For every player mentioned above that is trying to "do it right" there are 10 more willing to say whatever to sell whatever, or in the case of the consumer, willing to throw money around.

    There could be a happy medium evolve as the industry matures. Right now I think there is a failure to meet those responsibilities on both ends (businesses and consumers), but at this point the power is in the hands of the consumer. The industry is over saturated with entertainment media. MMOs must also compete with every other game genre and platform, netflix, hulu, cable, blu-ray, and that's just digital media. I think DamonVille mentioned pre-orders. That would be a good place to start.

    edit: and seriously people, please edit out a long quote. it's just polite.

  • PopplePopple Utica, NYPosts: 167Member

    I call Bull shlt...If i can walk in with 80 million Dollars and got the best of the best Developers and told them how a game should be made and there should  be two servers one for PVE and the other PVP.. It would be a kick azz game that would put WOW looking like a pimple on a Dev. Azz..

     

    Sigh.....Cant blame a lady for dreaming...haha

     

    I retired retroactively..Haha

  • askanison40askanison40 Phoenix, AZPosts: 25Member
    Originally posted by DamonVile

    great article Bill. I often disagree with how you review games but tend to agree with the final judgment about them.

    I don't think the cure is all one sided and it's just the devs that need to change. Most vet players are negative people. Negativity is a disease that infects people and only gets worse over time.

    So many people here think they just have high standards or think they're doing some public service by always being the one to point out a games flaws but you can't see the good in things when you're only looking for the bad in everything.

    Being negative is like any other chemical addiction. The ones who have it the worst will fight the hardest to avoid seeing the problem. To them how they see the world is the right way to view it. It's hard to look at yourself and see you're part of the problem.

    TOTALLY agree with you. EVERY MMO I've played has something about it I dislike, but that doesn't make it a "bad" game (I mean it's ALL relative right?) Its the ENTITLED age we live in. SAYING something is "bad" just b/c it contains; or a lack thereof; something you personally don't like doesn't make it so. 

     

    For example, I personally LOVE SWTOR. Does it have it's issues? Of course it does (I dare ANYONE to name me a game that doesn't). And no I don't believe copying a working formula makes a game stale or "bad". I've been with SWTOR since Alpha and I still pay for my subscription to this day. From it's inception to now, the Devs have fixed A LOT of the things initially wrong with it. Only by sticking with the game and actually seeing those changes do I feel somewhat vindicated. It's still the best MMO I have yet to play (the mere scope of the game alone trumps everything else out there) but that's me. I bought GW2 and honestly, I don't get what all the overrated hype is about. GW2 is "meh" to me. That being said, I still play it now and then but I don't think the game is "bad". 

     

    It doesn't matter what game it is, someone somewhere will find an excuse to call it everything but a child of God. I have yet to play an MMO (or any game for that matter) where as soon as I turned it on the game just sucked on EVERY facet of game design. If a game doesn't fit that criteria, THEN IT ISN'T A "BAD" GAME. Its just a game YOU don't like (for whatever reason). All you whiners sound like lonely women looking for the PERFECT man. News Flash - there is no such thing as the perfect game. Much less an MMO. There are just many moving parts to an MMO for it to be PERFECT. And no - EVERQUEST was NOT perfect. It was a game where more experienced players just camped. Whoever claimed that was fun (mostly those who whine and complain about the new MMOs and the main reason they complain is b/c the newer games promote fair progression of everyone as opposed to the elite few looking down on everybody else and then having the unmitigated gall to call it "skill" - LMAO) needs to have their heads examined.  

     
  • BrynnBrynn Albuquerque, NMPosts: 345Member
    Posters are telling me that if I want to solo, I should play a solo game. Not many solo RPGs available anymore, and I don't own a console. If groups were more like old school groups, I'd be happy to group. So much has changed. Many of my friends have given up on MMOs. I just unsubbed from FFXIV, and nothing on the horizon until 2014, unless you want to return to games you've played and lost interest in.
  • deniterdeniter LappeenrantaPosts: 807Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Voqar

    I'd say the problem with MMORPGs is pretty simple.  MMORPGs barely resemble MMORPGs anymore and this trend has been going on for years.

     

    When you design a largely single player game with a little bit of slapped on grouping and call some of that end game and call the overall thing an MMORPG, you haven't designed an MMORPG, you've designed a glorified single player game.

     

    MMORPGs originally were about challenge, danger, failure meaning something, and about grouping ALL the time.  Solo was often either not possible or so woefully inefficient that it was only something you did rarely - kind of like what grouping is for so many modern MMORPG players.

     

    The group vs solo dynamic has completely reversed.  MMORPGs used to be all about grouping ALL the time - now they are about solo almost all the time.  Grouping is now optional.

     

    The challenge level has completely flipped too.  It used to be hard just to do the eary levels.  It used to take months to level to cap.  Now if players aren't making 5-10 levels a day doing mundane trivial crap they spaz out and have an ADD seizure.

     

    The main thing that changed is the target audience.  MMORPGs used to be created for more hardcore RPG fans - or I should say, that's what they ended up attracting - and we loved it.  Smart players who thrive on challenge and danger who enjoyed the social side of grouping a lot - and the resulting strong community.

     

    For no good reason MMORPG designers decided they needed to go for "broader appeal" and appeal to "casual gamers" even though MMORPG gameplay wasn't suitable for that.  The answer of course, was to mutilate the games and genre.  Everything got easier, dumbed down, and the whole genre shifted from grouping to solo.

     

    FFXIV is kind of the summation of this - it's so utterly stripped down, dumbed down, and idiotically easy that it's an insult to the intelligence and the genre.  And people love it, or so they say, just IMO, it's the wrong people.  When the soloists and people who can barely eat without getting any on the bib love your game...what does that say about your so-called MMORPG?

     

    There was never anything wrong with the original MMORPG formula or games.  In fact, most of them are still chugging along and sub-based while the vast majority of MMORPGs with the solo ez-mode style of gameplay are now F2P, limp along, and are a shallow shadow of their intended greatness.  But hey, you can sell a couple million units and have a large number of players try your game that everyone considers a failure....that counts for...something...right?

     

    So yeah, we look back to the older MMORPGs and wish things were different - because they are different.  MMORPGs aren't made the same any more and some of us wish SOMEBODY would make an MMORPG that was...actually an MMORPG...something with challenge, where failure means something, and where grouping is mandatory - not optional.  Soloists, you can play single player games where you belong - k, thanks (you can always hop on to twitter to spew hate for lack of public chat).

     

    When all you're stuck with are bloated and glorified online single player games with minimal and optional grouping, where even when you TRY to play them like old MMORPGs, the games with their speed leveling, ultra easy content, and xp/gear welfare handed out like crazy, these games just don't keep you busy for long.  I mean, you can't really group outside of instances in most newer MMORPGs since even just a duo completely overwhelms solo idiot mode content designed for the least common denominator playing the weakest class in the game.

     

    The companies - they shoot themselves.  They design these fast playing games.  The spend YEARS making single player content players can obliterate in no time.  And they can't possibly crank out more content post release fast enough to keep players busy.  So once that couple of months of content is exhausted and there's nothing to do, those million+ box sales turn into a MUCH smaller number of people willing to stick around and hope you somehow deliver content.  Then your game is F2P, sells out its soul, and is a joke, since F2P MMORPGs are trash.

     

    All MMORPGs rely on progression and the endless gear carrot to keep players around and willing to pay a sub, but when your game is stupid easy and plays stupid fast, players blast thru it way faster than you can ever keep up with as a developer.  It's BAD design.

     

    The older MMORPGs had a much slower pace.  It took longer to accomplish stuff.  Even leveling took months instead of days.  Devs had way more time to put content out at a sustainable pace.  Most of those games, like EQ, didn't even do content patches - no need, you'd get your yearly xpac and be set for the next year.  That kind of thing could never work for the fast food style MMORPGs.

     

    The solution to me isn't to try to innovate new ways for soloists to tug it faster - it's to return the the genre's core - bring back challenge, bring back heavy grouping, and extend the life of the games.  Surely game designers are smart enough to come up with some ways to tweak the ancient formulas and innovate more ways to do grouping all the time with minimal solo.

     

    This is why games like FFXIV and soon to be EQN are such profound disappointments to me.  FFXI was one of the originals and FFXIV is a joke compared to it.  EQ is the mack grand daddy of the genre, and EQN is going to incorporate some potentially amazing ideas like procedurally generated content (potentially infinite "replay" value) yet EQN will amost certainly be all about solo and a slap in the face of its namesake.

     

    Designers need to change their approach.  Instead of using WoW as the basis for your game design and moving forward from there into single player gaming, go back to EQ and older MMORPGs and use THEM as your starting point for design.  Start with the brutality of an untamed wild, the challenge of simply leveling, the even bigger challenge of dungeons/dungeon zones, and mandatory grouping just to survive and level - and tweak from there.

     

    There never was that many big MMORPGs back in the day, just a handful of the best that we remember.  There's lots of room to tweak from THAT point in MMORPG history.  Clearly, the many variations on solo idiot mode mostly yielded the same result - play fast, play dumb, players buy in, players bail out early, game goes F2P = fail.

     

    IMO, a big problem is that instead of going ALL the way back to the still viable roots and improving on what was, too many designers are just continuing the evoloution of the solo side of the genre - and that side is the DARK side - it's crap - it's single player gaming, not MMORPG.

     

    Ultimately if casuals don't have the time to play, or if the games are too hard core for some people to handle, that's ok.  The MMORPG genre never needed such people to get started, and the gameplay was vastly superior back then even in its roughest possible forms, if some players have to be alientated for MMORPGs to be returned to glory, so be it.  I'm not sure why the MMORPG genre decided to be the genre to bend over backwards to try and fail to be the genre that caters to everyone, when most gaming genres stick to their cores.

     

    So yeah, we're always waiting for the next big thing.  That's what happens when so-called MMORPGs take 3-5 years to make but are so poorly designed that they end up yielding 3-5 months of content and gameplay, if that.  3-5 years vs 3-5 months leaves a lot of time to wait for the next one.

     

    I didn't even last that long with FFXIV - it's the first premium MMORPG I've ever bought and played where I didn't sub for a few months - there's no point - the game is clearly not worth a sub and you can either be done with it or close to it within the free time.  I don't have the numbers but I'd bet that I've subbed for shorter and shorter periods to every MMORPG I've played since WoW.  I lasted 6-7 months in Rift (granted, only left it to play SWTOR, not because I'd had enough).  Lasted 3-4 months in SWTOR and GW2.  Maybe 2 months with TSW.  Maybe 1 month total including phase 4 with FFXIV.  The more solo oriented MMORPGs get, the less they are worth playing for any length of time.  All of these games suffer from way too much solo idiot mode, way too little grouping, way too little endgame, no way for devs to crank out content fast enough (GW2 is different, but it's not really attempting to be an MMORPG, it's a blatant single player/pure solo game).

     

    I suppose some damned dev will one up this and come out with an MMORPG you can finish in 2 weeks, because MMORPG devs just seem to not get it.  MMORPGs are not single player games and as long as you design them that way, they will exist that way.  Singple player games aren't worth a sub and the only thing special about an MMORPG vs a single player game at this point is that one is online full time, costs a ton more to make, generally has lower quality content than a dedicated single player RPG, and has a lot of people playing it that you'd rather not ever have to encounter.

    Excellent post, sir. One of the best i've read for years. If only designers and investors would realise this also.

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by deniter
    Originally posted by Voqar

     

    Excellent post, sir. One of the best i've read for years. If only designers and investors would realise this also.

    funny thing is a lot of people prob have more hrs in skyrim than the last 2 mmo's they played, so they didn't even get the SP  portion right...sigh

    image
  • daltaniousdaltanious waPosts: 2,145Member Uncommon
    I do not see where is problem to main question of OP. Ever heard about 2 people having exactly same taste and thinking? :-) Guess not. MORE there are players (maybe 100x more then 10 years ago) that play mmo games, MORE (obviously and logically) will be those disappointed. But at same time also more happy, but they are rarely so vocal as are disappointed one.
  • someforumguysomeforumguy HomePosts: 3,540Member Uncommon

    My impression is that the big budget studios are putting the lid on creativity. It is not a problem of designers not trying hard enough, it is a problem of suits not letting designers try hard enough. It is as if the the big budgets seem to be a curse sometimes. Preventing a company from trying something really new.  So the only new thing you get are some big shiny buzzwords in their PR, but the endproduct is as old and familiar as before.

    Call me cynical if you want, but I am expecting for the MMO industry to do the same with the word 'sandbox' for the coming games. Because this is the current new buzzword after 'dynamic content'. You will see more of the same too early released MMO's with 'potential' throwing the buzzword sandbox around and failing just as hard as the ones before.

    The only upcoming title that seems to be trying something really new is Everquest Next. But SOE's track record for polished releases is about non existant. Not to mention their buggy patch updates.

    I am just not getting hyped anymore. So yeah, back to our Minecraft server. :p

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 568Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by someforumguy

    My impression is that the big budget studios are putting the lid on creativity. It is not a problem of designers not trying hard enough, it is a problem of suits not letting designers try hard enough. It is as if the the big budgets seem to be a curse sometimes. Preventing a company from trying something really new.  So the only new thing you get are some big shiny buzzwords in their PR, but the endproduct is as old and familiar as before.

    Call me cynical if you want, but I am expecting for the MMO industry to do the same with the word 'sandbox' for the coming games. Because this is the current new buzzword after 'dynamic content'. You will see more of the same too early released MMO's with 'potential' throwing the buzzword sandbox around and failing just as hard as the ones before.

    The only upcoming title that seems to be trying something really new is Everquest Next. But SOE's track record for polished releases is about non existant. Not to mention their buggy patch updates.

    I am just not getting hyped anymore. So yeah, back to our Minecraft server. :p

    Big budgets and big teams give the illusion that they can actually design more feature sets/systems per hr/mnt/yr than is actually possible.  So they end up thinking no one else could BUT WE CAN make pve/pvp hybrid;  a game for  HC's casuals groupers & soloers; A game for everyone we can market.  This is compounded since  often with large pubs they only have to make a pitch at that level of funding, the don't actually have to provide a rational and detailed business and design plan.  Crowdsourcing titles can also suffer from this  lack a workable business & design plan but great ideas.  I'ts the whole reason they can't get real investment.

     

    then your in mid alpha and deadlines are closing and design compromises need to be made and 1/2 your systems become, just get it kinda working we'll patch later

    image
  • tommygunzIItommygunzII Roanoke, VAPosts: 321Member
    Originally posted by deniter
    Originally posted by Voqar

    I'd say the problem with MMORPGs is pretty simple.  MMORPGs barely resemble MMORPGs anymore and this trend has been going on for years.

     

    When you design a largely single player game with a little bit of slapped on grouping and call some of that end game and call the overall thing an MMORPG, you haven't designed an MMORPG, you've designed a glorified single player game.

     

    MMORPGs originally were about challenge, danger, failure meaning something, and about grouping ALL the time.  Solo was often either not possible or so woefully inefficient that it was only something you did rarely - kind of like what grouping is for so many modern MMORPG players.

     

    The group vs solo dynamic has completely reversed.  MMORPGs used to be all about grouping ALL the time - now they are about solo almost all the time.  Grouping is now optional.

     

    The challenge level has completely flipped too.  It used to be hard just to do the eary levels.  It used to take months to level to cap.  Now if players aren't making 5-10 levels a day doing mundane trivial crap they spaz out and have an ADD seizure.

     

    The main thing that changed is the target audience.  MMORPGs used to be created for more hardcore RPG fans - or I should say, that's what they ended up attracting - and we loved it.  Smart players who thrive on challenge and danger who enjoyed the social side of grouping a lot - and the resulting strong community.

     

    For no good reason MMORPG designers decided they needed to go for "broader appeal" and appeal to "casual gamers" even though MMORPG gameplay wasn't suitable for that.  The answer of course, was to mutilate the games and genre.  Everything got easier, dumbed down, and the whole genre shifted from grouping to solo.

     

    FFXIV is kind of the summation of this - it's so utterly stripped down, dumbed down, and idiotically easy that it's an insult to the intelligence and the genre.  And people love it, or so they say, just IMO, it's the wrong people.  When the soloists and people who can barely eat without getting any on the bib love your game...what does that say about your so-called MMORPG?

     

    There was never anything wrong with the original MMORPG formula or games.  In fact, most of them are still chugging along and sub-based while the vast majority of MMORPGs with the solo ez-mode style of gameplay are now F2P, limp along, and are a shallow shadow of their intended greatness.  But hey, you can sell a couple million units and have a large number of players try your game that everyone considers a failure....that counts for...something...right?

     

    So yeah, we look back to the older MMORPGs and wish things were different - because they are different.  MMORPGs aren't made the same any more and some of us wish SOMEBODY would make an MMORPG that was...actually an MMORPG...something with challenge, where failure means something, and where grouping is mandatory - not optional.  Soloists, you can play single player games where you belong - k, thanks (you can always hop on to twitter to spew hate for lack of public chat).

     

    When all you're stuck with are bloated and glorified online single player games with minimal and optional grouping, where even when you TRY to play them like old MMORPGs, the games with their speed leveling, ultra easy content, and xp/gear welfare handed out like crazy, these games just don't keep you busy for long.  I mean, you can't really group outside of instances in most newer MMORPGs since even just a duo completely overwhelms solo idiot mode content designed for the least common denominator playing the weakest class in the game.

     

    The companies - they shoot themselves.  They design these fast playing games.  The spend YEARS making single player content players can obliterate in no time.  And they can't possibly crank out more content post release fast enough to keep players busy.  So once that couple of months of content is exhausted and there's nothing to do, those million+ box sales turn into a MUCH smaller number of people willing to stick around and hope you somehow deliver content.  Then your game is F2P, sells out its soul, and is a joke, since F2P MMORPGs are trash.

     

    All MMORPGs rely on progression and the endless gear carrot to keep players around and willing to pay a sub, but when your game is stupid easy and plays stupid fast, players blast thru it way faster than you can ever keep up with as a developer.  It's BAD design.

     

    The older MMORPGs had a much slower pace.  It took longer to accomplish stuff.  Even leveling took months instead of days.  Devs had way more time to put content out at a sustainable pace.  Most of those games, like EQ, didn't even do content patches - no need, you'd get your yearly xpac and be set for the next year.  That kind of thing could never work for the fast food style MMORPGs.

     

    The solution to me isn't to try to innovate new ways for soloists to tug it faster - it's to return the the genre's core - bring back challenge, bring back heavy grouping, and extend the life of the games.  Surely game designers are smart enough to come up with some ways to tweak the ancient formulas and innovate more ways to do grouping all the time with minimal solo.

     

    This is why games like FFXIV and soon to be EQN are such profound disappointments to me.  FFXI was one of the originals and FFXIV is a joke compared to it.  EQ is the mack grand daddy of the genre, and EQN is going to incorporate some potentially amazing ideas like procedurally generated content (potentially infinite "replay" value) yet EQN will amost certainly be all about solo and a slap in the face of its namesake.

     

    Designers need to change their approach.  Instead of using WoW as the basis for your game design and moving forward from there into single player gaming, go back to EQ and older MMORPGs and use THEM as your starting point for design.  Start with the brutality of an untamed wild, the challenge of simply leveling, the even bigger challenge of dungeons/dungeon zones, and mandatory grouping just to survive and level - and tweak from there.

     

    There never was that many big MMORPGs back in the day, just a handful of the best that we remember.  There's lots of room to tweak from THAT point in MMORPG history.  Clearly, the many variations on solo idiot mode mostly yielded the same result - play fast, play dumb, players buy in, players bail out early, game goes F2P = fail.

     

    IMO, a big problem is that instead of going ALL the way back to the still viable roots and improving on what was, too many designers are just continuing the evoloution of the solo side of the genre - and that side is the DARK side - it's crap - it's single player gaming, not MMORPG.

     

    Ultimately if casuals don't have the time to play, or if the games are too hard core for some people to handle, that's ok.  The MMORPG genre never needed such people to get started, and the gameplay was vastly superior back then even in its roughest possible forms, if some players have to be alientated for MMORPGs to be returned to glory, so be it.  I'm not sure why the MMORPG genre decided to be the genre to bend over backwards to try and fail to be the genre that caters to everyone, when most gaming genres stick to their cores.

     

    So yeah, we're always waiting for the next big thing.  That's what happens when so-called MMORPGs take 3-5 years to make but are so poorly designed that they end up yielding 3-5 months of content and gameplay, if that.  3-5 years vs 3-5 months leaves a lot of time to wait for the next one.

     

    I didn't even last that long with FFXIV - it's the first premium MMORPG I've ever bought and played where I didn't sub for a few months - there's no point - the game is clearly not worth a sub and you can either be done with it or close to it within the free time.  I don't have the numbers but I'd bet that I've subbed for shorter and shorter periods to every MMORPG I've played since WoW.  I lasted 6-7 months in Rift (granted, only left it to play SWTOR, not because I'd had enough).  Lasted 3-4 months in SWTOR and GW2.  Maybe 2 months with TSW.  Maybe 1 month total including phase 4 with FFXIV.  The more solo oriented MMORPGs get, the less they are worth playing for any length of time.  All of these games suffer from way too much solo idiot mode, way too little grouping, way too little endgame, no way for devs to crank out content fast enough (GW2 is different, but it's not really attempting to be an MMORPG, it's a blatant single player/pure solo game).

     

    I suppose some damned dev will one up this and come out with an MMORPG you can finish in 2 weeks, because MMORPG devs just seem to not get it.  MMORPGs are not single player games and as long as you design them that way, they will exist that way.  Singple player games aren't worth a sub and the only thing special about an MMORPG vs a single player game at this point is that one is online full time, costs a ton more to make, generally has lower quality content than a dedicated single player RPG, and has a lot of people playing it that you'd rather not ever have to encounter.

    Excellent post, sir. One of the best i've read for years. If only designers and investors would realise this also.

    Great post, couldn't agree more. I'm playing FFXIV now and enjoying it for the most part but it's a far cry from FFXI in every aspect.

  • AgoniasAgonias Playa BlancaPosts: 11Member
    Good article. In my opinion they should focus on developing virtual worlds instead of what they´re doing 99% of developers right now.
  • Mors.MagneMors.Magne LondonPosts: 1,420Member

    I'm 40 years old and I've always loved games. 

    Now I've stopped playing games.

    What happens is that eventually the player grows up. This isn't a reflection on the games themselves.

     

  • MurlockDanceMurlockDance ParisPosts: 1,223Member

    This article gave me pause for thought about why I have been disappointed in the recent batch of MMOs. The last new MMO I have tried is GW2 and I don't really dislike it but I don't play it that often, certainly not as much as GW1 even though I was not a big fan of GW1. All of the post-WoW games I have tried have been either mildly disappointing or what I expected but not something I would play for years on end.

    I started with the first generation MMOs. Even though I found them fun, they had their problems for sure. I do not have rose tinted glasses at all about that time. I actually found the second generation of MMOs funner overall because they smoothed out a lot of unpleasant bugs and other unintended features that sometimes drove me mad. The best first generation MMO for me was DAoC because it was slightly less buggy and had a nice balance between PvE and RvR (pre-ToA).

    However what EQ2 and WoW brought to the table was so nice because they added so many great features, rich lore, world, and story, relatively fewer bugs than the old crop of MMOs and smoother gameplay. Classic EQ2 had a great balance between easy and difficult content, solo and group play, and better crafting than WoW, but WoW had/has funner combat, funner classes and a more interesting world overall. There was also a lot of character customization at least as far as the skills go in both games.

    What has disappointed me about the recent games is that they are too streamlined and are missing some of the magic elements of above that make for well-balanced and fully fleshed out gameplay. Many seem to have lore that has been sort of thrown together at the last minute without real thought about whether it works in the world or its delivery to the player (Rift). The experience is too on-rails and restrictive (Rift and SWToR), or the classes are even more dumbed down than WoW's current system (GW2). The dynamic features can be annoying as well because so many of them are same-y and if you don't happen to want to engage in them they can be hard to avoid and sometimes I wonder if they haven't been added as a bandaid for not fully fleshed out world zones.

    Lastly, the newer crop of MMOs are not as balanced as either the first or second generation games. Many are too solo-oriented, too fast, too action-oriented (this is an opinion for me because I dislike that style of combat), not RPG-ish enough or the classes are really bland.

    That being said, I still sometimes enjoy the newer MMOs from time-to-time but I mainly stick with the second generation MMOs with a foray here and there in DAoC every now and then. Until the time that someone gets a clue and goes back to well thought-out virtual worlds with fun game systems in them that are designed for longetivity, I will stick with what I know.

    Playing MUDs and MMOs since 1994.

    image
  • mcrippinsmcrippins Dallas, TXPosts: 1,071Member Uncommon

    Really good article, Bill. About time someone said it. You covered every angle I could think of and then some. I've always felt that player's expectations are entirely too high. It's a vicious cycle of players wanting more, and developers trying to give it to them, but failing in quality development. This is why I respect and appreciate Blizzard's standard - it's done when it's done.

     

    It really bothers me that these games are created at such expense, and then we just crap on them any chance we get. I am guilty, and a lot of others that attend these forums are as well. Fortunately, I learned to take a step back. Started playing more indi-games along with the AAA ones. They're both good. It made me realize that games don't need an infinite amount of features in order to commit to them for a while. They just need good game play. 

     

    I truly think that once people let down their guard a bit, and approach something OBJECTIVELY - they will most likely find themselves having a good time. It's those who go into a game expecting something revolutionary and amazing that will constantly be let down. Sorry ladies & gents, but the grass is actually greener over here.

Sign In or Register to comment.