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Originally posted by mcrippins 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.
I'm perfectly objective about it
you want my $ - fit my needs
that's pretty objective
what people want is something different not a themepark wow clone... but they also want it done well..
As soon as devs realise this then we will start to see some good MMORPGs again. its slowly starting with a slow wave of sandbox style games in deveopment.. I think the next 5 years of MMORPGS are going to be a lot better than the last 10 years thats for sure..
"Let players in, let them tell you what works and what doesn't."
... and actually hear what they are saying.
How many times do we see games plagued with issues six months after release, when these very same issues were identified in beta only to have the feedback ignored?
Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now working in Network Security. I don't Forum PVP. If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident. When I don't understand, I ask. Such is not intended as criticism.
Originally posted by BMBender Also, using 3rd party IP's as a crutch for your game tends to bring a certain amount of false expectations. Name one of those that did well
Would also like to add that many MMOs disappoint from developers falling under the "Lust for what once was" category as well. Thinking that somehow the first game they made is something to build a new one on. That is the reason why the genre is stagnant and not really bringing enough "new". And yeah, I am pointing at TESO.
Originally posted by tommygunzII 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.
Wonderful post Voqar! I've felt this way for years now and know there are plenty of other similarly situated players out there. Currently my entire social circle isn't playing a mmorpg and we all started with either UO or EQ in the late 90's, however, in all honesty, I believe you might want to go a step further and stop supporting these doomed to fail games financially. That is, don't buy into the type of mmorpg that seems to get perpetually worse. It's the only clear message that registers with higher ups in the gaming industry these days.
If in 1982 we played with the current mentality, we would have burned down all the pac man games since the red ghost was clearly OP. Instead we just got better at the game.
Originally posted by Roxtarr I want an MMO to dominate my life again :P
Becareful what you ask for. You showed me Wushu one lonely night last November 1 month later /dominated for the past 10 months...
Originally posted by BMBender 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
Investor's want returns... the bigger the better. Money, money, money. They don't give a shit about the games.
Forget about the big publisher's, they will never go niche. We will see how Star Citizen turns out, that is my hope. Not the game itself but the way it is financed.
"Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee
Originally posted by laserit Originally posted by BMBender 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's ironic, because if they took a second to understand the market and go niche...they'd make a lot more money.
One point that people don't seem to look at to intently is the change in society. No, no I'm not saying all the young whipper-snappers are going to hell for listening to rap music and smoking weed. I'm saying 15 years ago not everyone had a computer. Those that did had one because they really wanted one. Now every house hold has 3 or 4. You can carry your computer in your pocket now. You can watch 2 girls 1 cup on the ride to school... if you want... All (most) the games are ADHD because (most) everyone playing is ADHD. Work? You mean I have to earn something? Just give it to me.. that other game gave it to me... So Devs have become ADHD themselves and created small risk, small effort, big reward games. But those big rewards don't feel big, and everyone has one already sooo big whoop. I remember when it was a big deal to go on some quests, you felt lucky to have a good group that worked well together. You also felt real accomplishment in the end. It also may have taken all night for one quest.
You can't have it all. Real gaming experiences take real time. Real rewards take real effort -- or at least they should.
There are no magic bullet points - no answer.
Interesting take on the current state of MMO gaming, for the millions of us now having invested years into the MMO genere of gaming.
That said, I have a couple of comments regarding the OPs article...
Longing for the Old Game we Left - This is a very familiar concept to me, and for many I'm sure. However, I think most people just don't long for a specific game, they long for a specific build of that game. In many cases, the reason people leave a game they have fond memories of is because the game changed significantly enough that it's no longer enjoyable, or resembles the game you originally formed fond feelings for.
So when I left Ultima Online, I left it because the constant need for publishers to update & "enhance" changed the experience in the game that greatly differed from when I had most fun playing it. So when I say I want another game like Ultima Online, I'm specifically talking about it in one of it's earlier states. No contradictions, and a lot less associated with rose colored glasses, there.
Unreasonable Expectations - Part of this problem comes from the "Big Tent" approach to MMO development, brought to you by Blizzard / WOW. Traditional MMOs served a smaller niche audience, that had a smaller set of common expectations & goals of what kind of experience they were looking for out of the game.
Blizzard was successful at "stream lining" the MMO experience, such that it is more palatable for the broader casual gaming audience, and most AAA class MMO releases since then have tried to go after the same lucrative playerbase demo.
The issue here is that publishers are dumping 10s - 100s of millions of dollars into these projects, making it financially impossible to appeal to a small audience. The game needs to do EVERYTHING for EVERYONE (or try) in order to appeal to the most people possible so that they can realize a profit & meet earnings expectations. Including this more diverse audience, who demand just about everything under the sun (see unreasonable expectations), sets up the publisher / developer for that old saying "When trying to appeal to all, you truely saftisfy no one"
Many of the solutions proposed makes a lot of sense. I'd just add that publishers / developers can achieve much of those recommendations by focusing on smaller niche audiences.
This means reducing the features & complexity of the solution, which will mean lower costs associated with development & maintenance. Catering to a smaller audience also means you can focus on their specific needs, and give them more attention (which improves business / customer relations & helps customer retention)
In addition, putting more of the content creation in the hands of the players reduces the burdon & need to constantly develop & update. Reducing expansions will reduce the risk associated with introducing changes to the game that require significant revisions to balance mechanics & losing existing players for reasons stated above.
And on top of that, these cheaper endeavors require less financial risks if things don't work out....which is good for everyone.
Just my 2 pennies...
Originally posted by DavisFlight Originally posted by laserit Originally posted by BMBender 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
I did not see this response chain before I commented......which seems in-line with my thoughts around the benefits of focusing on niche audiences.
I'd just reitterate that the other piece of the puzzle is to also reduce costs for the game. If you end up spending 10s of millions of dollars on an audience of 300k or so subs, then the game might fail due to financial reasons...no so much relating the quality of the game's experience itself.
There also seems to be a bit of back & forth around sandbox gaming. Focusing on smaller niche audiences can be beneficial for "themepark" type of experiences as well....but just be aware that the very nature of a developer driven & controled gaming experience will require additional costs for more frequent content updates / expansions.
Even still, I think these AAA publishers would have been luck delivering 3 different MMOs, for 3 different audiences, than trying to deliver one catch-all game. Yes, you'll have more over-head to develop & maintain 3 different solutions, but what cost savings with going with one game matter if you end up having to put the game on life support & eventually close the game after a few years of operation?
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.
How'd I get roped into this?
Michael "MikeB" BittonCommunity ManagerTwitter: @eMikeB
Originally posted by Lonzo - make the games challenging again! Go back to EQ1 and Vanilla-Wow games asap! Big worlds with hard challenges! Right now the industrie just cater to the facebookgamer crowd, not the original mmo crowd.
Wait, did you just put WoW and EQ1 in the same category? Vanilla WoW was a vanilla cake walk.
Originally posted by laserit
Tell me how that bigger better has been working out so far? Actually I don't think the sea change will be coming from within the mmo sphere big small or indie. My surmise is that it'll be SP games be design or by accident with the aid of the increasing footprint of social media and mods that start branching towards the untapped markets in the mmo sphere. Big devs/pubs are to blinded by "THE WAY" and small indies are too limited by cash flow. Successful SP's however have consistently proven the ability to identify, entice, and build systems around core complimentary play styles through discipline and having a plan.
Originally posted by BMBender Originally posted by laserit
As it pertains to the gaming Industry
If I want to make money I'll invest into something like GTA-VI or COD-XXVII
If I want to invest in rich, deep, and fulfilling game experience that strikes my fancy I'll slap a few bucks into something like Star Citizen or Camelot Unchained and hope for the best.
what made good games good is really simple
the three c's of gaming enjoyment.
you died and lost xp, yes LOST xp, sure it was frustrating, and occasionally annoying when you were soooo close to levelling, but it meant death had meaning.
when ordinary quests needed at least one other person, working with you, I still talk to people I met 10 years ago in pug's today. I watch one of my friends (when I go visit) solo everything in a certain popular MMO, he doesn't need other people to play the game which makes the M's in MMO kind of pointless and redundant.
It's all too linear, too scripted, too static, too pre-defined to fit the accountants view of xyz is successful only use that. There's no diversity, and little to no scope for individuality. Every player uses the same optimised perks, the same optimised skillsets, the same perfect optimised gear & equipment.
Actually I would say sites like this that overhype games play a big part in the problem.
Which is why I would recommend NOT getting your game out there until it is fairly well defined. Until it is mostly feature complete or at least the launch features have been firmed up and locked down and announced as such even if they haven't been fully implemented. You don't want people getting false hopes that you will be building in whatever feature they ask for, and also don't want people thinking you are taking the game in one direction and when you don't end up feeling like they were lied to.
Have a budget that is realistic and understand your market or niche. Be clear in your design, understand and clearly define what is important to the game and what kind of game you want to make. Don't oversell your game, be honest about the features, the direction, and the target market.
Originally posted by jbombard Actually I would say sites like this that overhype games play a big part in the problem. Which is why I would recommend NOT getting your game out there until it is fairly well defined. Until it is mostly feature complete or at least the launch features have been firmed up and locked down and announced as such even if they haven't been fully implemented. You don't want people getting false hopes that you will be building in whatever feature they ask for, and also don't want people thinking you are taking the game in one direction and when you don't end up feeling like they were lied to. Have a budget that is realistic and understand your market or niche. Be clear in your design, understand and clearly define what is important to the game and what kind of game you want to make. Don't oversell your game, be honest about the features, the direction, and the target market.
Now Playing: DARKFALL Unholy Wars "Return to Open World, Full Loot PvP, Conquest in a Sandbox MMO with player driven economy! Just like classic MMOs!"
I actually love Tera.Love the combat system.Thing is,you hit lvl 60 and then you must grind dungeons for better gear.So far, there's no talk of new content past lvl 60. I was off the game for almost 3 months,came back 2 weeks ago,and saw there was a patch of all new gear to obtain.While I am not big on parties,I must join them to try for a certain drop.Mostly they are adding more cosmetics,and skins. I don't know what it is,but maybe I've outgrown games online.
I logged on tonite and was so bored I logged off.
I started out years ago playing maple story.Fond memories of the people I met and played with.To this day I still talk to a few of them. That game changed to questing for levels and that killed it for me.I liked the grinding. It was a HUGE social game while grinding while doing large events.All 3 aspects appealed to me. Since then,I haven't found a game like that anywhere.
Tonite,I went through the game list here for maybe the 10th time. I looked at a few games and just went Sigh....
Nothing caught my interest at all.
Not even any worth paying a sub for.
Ideal game would be letting us build our house/apt,decorate it the way we want.Log in,leave our dwelling in our car,enter one of many doors that take you to an everchanging dungeon,quest... Allow us to bring back our loot,display it,wear it, sell it whatever,allow friends to come over and hang out, plan our pvp,let us choose from 3 different quests from npcs,etc....
What I'm completely sick of is the fantasy medievil,roman,ancient times in games.Why must it always be in the past? Chinese dynasty etc... You can still wield swords, magic,axes,what have you in a modern day setting.