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Are players getting worse at MMOs? (The shift of trends)

laxielaxie PilsenPosts: 107Member Uncommon

I often like to look back at my early MMO-gaming years when games seemed to be a lot more fun. Whether it was exploring a world in Ultima Online, or making friends in Star Wars Galaxies, I really enjoyed my time. This got me thinking, are games getting worse lately? I don't think so.

These days people love to compare "new games" to the "old ones". Some look at the oldest games as holy grails, some say we are just dreaming up something that would today be considered a below-average product. When I look at the range of features offered, I feel like modern games put a lot more on the table. A lot more money is going into development, a lot more content is produced and the feature lists are growing with each year.

So if games are getting more elaborate, where is all the fun? When I proudly presented my father with all the MMO titles over the years, he always told me the same thing: "This is not for me. I don't care about shiny gear, I love an adventure!". 15 years ago, the MMO crowd used to be much smaller and much more following my father's ideology - excited to explore and to share fun adventures with others, no matter how many hours of vertical content the developers provided.

These days, the MMO demographics have changed quite a bit. What used to be as quite a niche area is now a game-theme that is mainstream and draws in virtually every gamer at one point or another. With this shift in the demographic, have the players of MMOs changed? I would say yes. Many young people come into MMORPGs as their entry point into gaming, not having the background in traditional RPGs, not understanding the adventure and not knowing what roleplay stands for in an RPG.

I am not saying these guys are evil or not the right players for the genre. Maybe they were never explained where RPGs come from. They approach a new MMORPG as a list of features and play it the way the world encourages everyone to live these days - to aim to the top the fastest way possible. To me it seems that RPGs were never designed for that kind of gameplay. They are not really meant to be a race to the goal, nor they are really meant to be packed with features that promote "gameplay" over the story. Most game studios follow this feature-driven template lately and most seem to fail because their array of features seems to either be lacking that one feature the brand new game has, or because they simply run out of content in months.

If you look at all the recent reviews of the upcoming MMOs, everyone seems extremely obsessed with features. Does it have an auction house, how many classes can you play, does it have endgame dungeons, how many people in a raid ... All these things are nice additions if you have a solid foundation, but why look at MMOs purely through the lense of features?

So my point and my question to you is: Are MMORPGs really meant to be what they are becoming? Is it all about features, about how many hours of vertical progression a developer can pump in and how many obstacles there are in place to slow you down?

Or have we started to look at games in a wrong way? Perhaps this race for features is not a sustainable one. Perhaps all these new games being released are quite fun at their core, just like they were fun 15 years ago. Perhaps games are not the problem and it is the approach we take that is flawed.

Should we put more pressure on developers to "add more features"? And if we do so, are we not signing a quick death sentance to the upcoming game that would have been fun if both the developers and the players tried to see the adventure and the roleplay instead?

Take a recent MMORPG you played and imagine it had 20 times more content stretched over 20 times more "levels". Would that make for a much more enjoyable game, or would it simply mean it would take you 20 times longer until you got bored of it? And if you did get bored of it, is it because of the game itself, or is it because of the way you travelled to the top?

So the next time you read a feature list of an announced MMO, or the next time you read a forum post on "a missing feature", take a moment to think what that actually says about the state of online games.

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Comments

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by laxie

    So my point and my question to you is: Are MMORPGs really meant to be what they are becoming?

    Yes.

     

    Games are becoming mainstream, and that means consumerism drives the features and sales now.

     

    No longer is it just a geeks paradise, grandma and grandpa are playing, too.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by laxie

    So my point and my question to you is: Are MMORPGs really meant to be what they are becoming?

    Yes.

     

    Games are becoming mainstream, and that means consumerism drives the features and sales now.

     

    No longer is it just a geeks paradise, grandma and grandpa are playing, too.

    MMORPGs are not "mean to be" anything .. they are just entertainment products, progressing according to market forces.

     

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by nariusseldon
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by laxie

    So my point and my question to you is: Are MMORPGs really meant to be what they are becoming?

    Yes.

     

    Games are becoming mainstream, and that means consumerism drives the features and sales now.

     

    No longer is it just a geeks paradise, grandma and grandpa are playing, too.

    MMORPGs are not "mean to be" anything .. they are just entertainment products, progressing according to market forces.

     

    Actually, anything in existence means to exist, otherwise they don't.

     

    It's consumerism that drives the content, which is what happens when products become mainstream.

  • iridescenceiridescence Elliot Lake, ONPosts: 1,486Member
    Originally posted by laxie

    Take a recent MMORPG you played and imagine it had 20 times more content stretched over 20 times more "levels". Would that make for a much more enjoyable game, or would it simply mean it would take you 20 times longer until you got bored of it? And if you did get bored of it, is it because of the game itself, or is it because of the way you travelled to the top?

    .

    Yes it would. 20 times more content and levels would mean 20 times more game. Sure you probably get bored of every game eventually but being able to play a game 20 times longer before you do is better, no? Plus you level up way too fast in recent MMOs so I'd be all over a game where it took 20 times longer to reach level cap. :)

     

    I don't get what you're asking for. Every game is going to advertise it's features to try to get people to play it. I mean the game that it sounds like you want (and I don't disagree) would probably advertise story features or role playing features or immerson 

     

    We should be asking if games have the best set of features possible and why certain features are being ignored in favor of others.

     

     

     

  • SiveriaSiveria Saint John, New BrunswickPosts: 1,200Member Uncommon

    I'd have to say yes, Take ff14 for instance, most of the boss fights are very easy as long as your able to dodge stuff that has a big red thing on the ground telling you what to dodge, however SO many players about 95% of them just completly fail at this, I mean its not that hard to mvoe a few steps to the side when you see an aoe circle under you.

    Same issue persists in rift but its not nearly as bad as ff14. So yeah I feel mmorpg's are dumbed down like crazy now, but alot of players just seem to be getting worse at playing them. Its a sad trend. Been many instances in ff14 where we lost a boss fight only because someone was to lazy or stupid to move out of the aoe.

    Being a pessimist is a win-win pattern of thinking. If you're a pessimist (I'll admit that I am!) you're either:

    A. Proven right (if something bad happens)

    or

    B. Pleasantly surprised (if something good happens)

    Either way, you can't lose! Try it out sometime!

  • centkincentkin Asbury, NJPosts: 943Member Uncommon
    I blame widespread voice chat.  People are following orders instead of learning how to play their classes. 
  • Flyte27Flyte27 Greenwich, CTPosts: 2,837Member Uncommon

    These are just my personal feelings, but just from talking to people about games these days it has a different feeling.  Many people look down on anything that is considered wasted time in this day and age.  Life is about taking care of responsibilities, getting married, making money, and all that jazz.  There is nothing wrong with that, but it also kind of saddens me.  I've always been a person who likes to have fun in life.  I put a lot of time into games because I thought they  were fun.  I didn't consider going on an adventure a waste of time.  For a long while I could talk to many people about games for long periods of time.  Now those same people tend to shrug of any conversations about games.

    The point I'm trying to make is people who were part of the D&D fad in the 90s were a fairly dedicated bunch.  They were like trekkis or people who are devoted to the original star wars movies.  They were more about creating a fun adventure.  Part of the fun of adventure was just silly things like spells that could make you grow or shrink.  The ability to use telekinesis to levitate items across a room.  Hidden places that were hard to find.  Riddles that were a challenge to solve.  There were lots of little things that had nothing to do with combat or power, but they were part of the fun/roleplaying aspect of things.  Those things seem to be all but removed from MMOs these days.   They are more about the graphics, combat, and items in the game.  The stuff that was pure fun imagination has been removed. 

    I guess people just have no interest in wasting hours on fantasy stuff these days or that since more people play MMOs now there are fewer with that mentality.

    I still have had a fair amount of fun in ESO.  It does have really nice graphics and the combat is pretty good.  It's only failings are it doesn't have the intangibles, but I doubt many people will care.  They are just looking for something to occupy a small amount of time here and there.

  • MagiknightMagiknight McKinleyville, CAPosts: 782Member
    The new games are terrible but not because they lack or have certain features. Whether a game has an AH or not, story or not, cartoon graphics or realistic graphics, has no bearing on how good of an MMO it is.
  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    Personally, my own MMO gamelpay has suffered :)

    With negligent death penalties, I find myself running into everything full throttle, not thinking or even caring about the outcome. Sneaking and scouting out the area before engaging has fallen to the wayside. Cautious play is a thing of the past.

    Today's games (MMOs AND single player games) no longer require thought before engaging the enemy.

    Want to avoid traps? Walk down one side or the other of the hallway. Traps infest ONLY the middle, usually. Doors no longer have an enemy waiting for your entrance. If I get into trouble, I can outrun most critters past their appointed AI aggro range. Sure there are some skills on my hotbar, but I want to kill it before it kills me, so "situational damaging skills/abilities" get used when they pop up, NOT when they are needed or intended. I usually end up taking them off of my hotbar to have strictly damage dealing skills/abilities, because that is the current name of the game.

    My gameplaying has gone downhill, for the most part. I wonder if I could even play a "hard game" anymore...

    - 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

  • SirPKsAlotSirPKsAlot bagong silangPosts: 224Member
    UO and EQ gamers were hardcore. They were definitely niche at the time. Nowadays everyone and their grandma can play mmo's with their all too easy questing system and dumbed down UI's.

    image
    Currently playing: Eldevin Online as a Deadly Assassin

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by SirPKsAlot
    UO and EQ gamers were hardcore. They were definitely niche at the time. Nowadays everyone and their grandma can play mmo's with their all too easy questing system and dumbed down UI's.

    Sure the Wright brothers were first, but would you really want to fly across the country in essentially a glider?

     

    I used to remember buying A&W at the fountain, lugging a gallon cider jug to have it filled for under 70 cents. Not only does the soda doesn't taste as good (corn syrup sodas taste nasty), it's hell more expensive. But now it's available everywhere, not if your city had a local shop.

     

    Progress is like that, things become refined and they become mainstream.

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,757Member Uncommon
    Multiplayer games are about the players, solo games are about the features.
  • AldersAlders Jack Burton'sPosts: 1,857Member Uncommon

    Combat wise they've gotten better, because they've had to.

    Figuring stuff out on their own wise they've gotten worse, because they haven't had to.

  • nariusseldonnariusseldon santa clara, CAPosts: 22,441Member
    Originally posted by Siveria

    I'd have to say yes, Take ff14 for instance, most of the boss fights are very easy as long as your able to dodge stuff that has a big red thing on the ground telling you what to dodge, however SO many players about 95% of them just completly fail at this, I mean its not that hard to mvoe a few steps to the side when you see an aoe circle under you.

    Same issue persists in rift but its not nearly as bad as ff14. So yeah I feel mmorpg's are dumbed down like crazy now, but alot of players just seem to be getting worse at playing them. Its a sad trend. Been many instances in ff14 where we lost a boss fight only because someone was to lazy or stupid to move out of the aoe.

    That is why difficulty slider is the answer. Most SP games have it ... MMOs should have it too.

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,941Member Uncommon
    Game players get better the Longer they play so ofc mmorg players are not getting worse. However the absolutely ridiculous strategy by blizzard (for e.g) to dumb down things like 5 mans means that new players don get pushed and so they learn bad habits whereas experienced players simply get frustrated or annoyed by pointless content. Stupid design by poor designers who do not understand human psychology.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • azzamasinazzamasin Butler, OHPosts: 3,066Member Uncommon
    I'd argue that MMO players on the whole were never good in the first place.  One cursory glance at the ESO forums and you'd see constant whines that the game isn't tab target with tons of hotbar keys.  things that make me shake my damn head.

    Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

    Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!

    Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!

    image

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,941Member Uncommon
    mmo and other types of gaming are not mutually exclusive

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • Cephus404Cephus404 Redlands, CAPosts: 3,675Member
    Originally posted by Scot
    Multiplayer games are about the players, solo games are about the features.

    All games are about having fun.

    Played: UO, EQ, WoW, DDO, SWG, AO, CoH, EvE, TR, AoC, GW, GA, Aion, Allods, lots more
    Relatively Recently (Re)Played: HL2 (all), Halo (PC, all), Batman:AA; AC, ME, BS, DA, FO3, DS, Doom (all), LFD1&2, KOTOR, Portal 1&2, Blink, Elder Scrolls (all), lots more
    Now Playing: None
    Hope: None

  • Mtibbs1989Mtibbs1989 Fredericksburg, VAPosts: 2,920Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by laxie

    I often like to look back at my early MMO-gaming years when games seemed to be a lot more fun. Whether it was exploring a world in Ultima Online, or making friends in Star Wars Galaxies, I really enjoyed my time. This got me thinking, are games getting worse lately? I don't think so.

    These days people love to compare "new games" to the "old ones". Some look at the oldest games as holy grails, some say we are just dreaming up something that would today be considered a below-average product. When I look at the range of features offered, I feel like modern games put a lot more on the table. A lot more money is going into development, a lot more content is produced and the feature lists are growing with each year.

    So if games are getting more elaborate, where is all the fun? When I proudly presented my father with all the MMO titles over the years, he always told me the same thing: "This is not for me. I don't care about shiny gear, I love an adventure!". 15 years ago, the MMO crowd used to be much smaller and much more following my father's ideology - excited to explore and to share fun adventures with others, no matter how many hours of vertical content the developers provided.

    These days, the MMO demographics have changed quite a bit. What used to be as quite a niche area is now a game-theme that is mainstream and draws in virtually every gamer at one point or another. With this shift in the demographic, have the players of MMOs changed? I would say yes. Many young people come into MMORPGs as their entry point into gaming, not having the background in traditional RPGs, not understanding the adventure and not knowing what roleplay stands for in an RPG.

    I am not saying these guys are evil or not the right players for the genre. Maybe they were never explained where RPGs come from. They approach a new MMORPG as a list of features and play it the way the world encourages everyone to live these days - to aim to the top the fastest way possible. To me it seems that RPGs were never designed for that kind of gameplay. They are not really meant to be a race to the goal, nor they are really meant to be packed with features that promote "gameplay" over the story. Most game studios follow this feature-driven template lately and most seem to fail because their array of features seems to either be lacking that one feature the brand new game has, or because they simply run out of content in months.

    If you look at all the recent reviews of the upcoming MMOs, everyone seems extremely obsessed with features. Does it have an auction house, how many classes can you play, does it have endgame dungeons, how many people in a raid ... All these things are nice additions if you have a solid foundation, but why look at MMOs purely through the lense of features?

    So my point and my question to you is: Are MMORPGs really meant to be what they are becoming? Is it all about features, about how many hours of vertical progression a developer can pump in and how many obstacles there are in place to slow you down?

    Or have we started to look at games in a wrong way? Perhaps this race for features is not a sustainable one. Perhaps all these new games being released are quite fun at their core, just like they were fun 15 years ago. Perhaps games are not the problem and it is the approach we take that is flawed.

    Should we put more pressure on developers to "add more features"? And if we do so, are we not signing a quick death sentance to the upcoming game that would have been fun if both the developers and the players tried to see the adventure and the roleplay instead?

    Take a recent MMORPG you played and imagine it had 20 times more content stretched over 20 times more "levels". Would that make for a much more enjoyable game, or would it simply mean it would take you 20 times longer until you got bored of it? And if you did get bored of it, is it because of the game itself, or is it because of the way you travelled to the top?

    So the next time you read a feature list of an announced MMO, or the next time you read a forum post on "a missing feature", take a moment to think what that actually says about the state of online games.

     I remain pretty good. The most recent games/expansions I've played in my guilds have achieved tremendous feats. Such as top 20 in the world for killing Twintania in FFXIV or Server 1st on Cactaur. The guild I created on DCUO achieve server first for the Batcave and Batcave 2 when the game first released; this was achieved on Death and Glory my guild was named Sovereign. Lastly my guild Ebonlore for many years maintains an extremely competitive force in both PvE and PvP. 

     These are just my experiences. However, I don't think that games are getting worse. I believe that the population is simply growing. Allowing for less skill players into the mix.

    image

    Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.
  • BlindchanceBlindchance WhywouldyouliketoknowPosts: 1,081Member
    Not really. It's a trend across all game types. Publishers are obsessed with accessibility as they believe it's the key to more money.  Unfortunately they often get accessibility wrong with simplicity and shallowness.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member

    I recently rediscovered the games Doom2, Hexen and Heretic.  I'm playing Heretic using the DoomsDay engine, which allows me to use a modern control scheme instead of the wonky mouse slidey scheme the games released with.  Within the games are difficulty level options and what they change is the availability of weapon ammunition, the number of monsters, and the availability of healing items.  The essential game play remains unchanged.  Is the game actually harder on the higher difficulty settings, even though the game's fundamental mechanics remain unchanged?  Yes.

     

    Whatever environment a player is learning to play a game in determines to a large part what they are going to learn.  If a child is not presented with the opportunity to learn to dance, then they will not learn to dance.  If players are primarily playing in an easier setting, then putting them in a setting that is made more difficult will present those players with more difficulties than players who spent time in those more difficult settings, even if the fundamental game play remains unchanged.  If you take players from the more difficult games and present them with the less difficult games, they will find the game play easier to deal with because they've learned in a more difficult environment. 

     

    However, the environments the players start in does not determine there skill level in the games, nor does it determine their level of success.  Someone who spent years playing UO, who finds WoW "easy", but doesn't complete any raids cannot say that they are a "better" player than WoW players who have completed raids.  The reverse is also true.  If the WoW raider has not killed a particularly difficult UO world boss in a PvP setting, they cannot say they are a better player than the UO player.  The better players are the ones we aren't going to hear from here, on these forums because they played UO, killed that world boss, and then went on the play WoW and completed all the content, and then went and did something else without bothering to stop here and complain about the process of having fun.

     

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Hephzibah, GAPosts: 1,946Member
    Originally posted by Bladestrom
    Game players get better the Longer they play so ofc mmorg players are not getting worse. However the absolutely ridiculous strategy by blizzard (for e.g) to dumb down things like 5 mans means that new players don get pushed and so they learn bad habits whereas experienced players simply get frustrated or annoyed by pointless content. Stupid design by poor designers who do not understand human psychology.

    Gaming now is mainstream, and that means everyone has to be served not just basement boys.

     

    If that's how Blizzard will keep millions of players, they'll continue doing it. Like any business would.

     

    BTW, Blizzard isn't even making but one round of dungeons now, they're concentrating on raids. The raids haven't been dumbed down, the difficultly has only been increased. Folks now do LFR instead of dungeons.

  • SpawnbladeSpawnblade Sandy, UTPosts: 203Member

    A big reason for the longevity of earlier games was their difficulty.  Nowadays companies make their content so easy that players are able to steamroll through and hit the end.  But I remember with Everquest it could take you years to reach the upper echelons of levels  (not even the last level,) and content was equally difficult.  There was no hand holding or guides to tell you where to go and what steps to take.  You certainly didn't have add-ons telling you when to buff, when to heal, what button to press (or in some cases *cough* Healbot *cough* even pressing the buttons for you.)

     

    If the content is 10x more difficult, it will take -at least- 10x longer to complete.  In Everquest, you had to find an exceptionally good group of mates, AND attempt a dungeon multiple times (possibly dozens,) before finally finding success.  There was a great deal of trial and error, rather than a guide telling you exactly what food buffs you should have running with what tier of gear you need with what enchantments and abilities slotted.  When you only need to run a dungeon once to beat it, of course it takes no time to blast through content and hit that state of boredom that comes with completion.

     

    This is why features are so important.  Because features mean the potential for dynamic content, and is why sandbox is the way of the future.  The expansion of the internet and the greed of people running these guidesites/fansites  (so long as people make money selling walkthroughs, they will exist regardless of what they do to games,) mean any static content is easily triumphed over.  It's worse, even, because the content is dumbed down to accommodate people who simply aren't good at games.  Dynamic content, on the other hand, is completely dynamic in difficulty.  That's one reason PvP has become so popular, despite not having much of a place in games years ago.  Sadly the PvP mentality has devolved with its rise, whereas there was honor in it back with UO... now its people getting their kicks from killing beginning players  (at least in open world scenarios.)   Dynamic content, thanks to not being repeatable, cannot be sabotaged by walkthrough sites or word of mouth.  It remains exclusive and a challenge for whoever experiences it.  The only way to really implement this, tends to be creating a feature foundation and allowing players to create and alter the content through their actions.  There have been games who tried to implement systems that would create content on the fly and have it be unique for every user, but as far as I've seen, none of those actually made it to publishing.

  • RydesonRydeson Canton, OHPosts: 3,858Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Scot
    Multiplayer games are about the players, solo games are about the features.

         Good way of putting it..  I look at MMORPG's the same way I look at golf and bowling leagues.. I'm there for social entertainment, otherwise I would go golf or bowl by myself..  Both leagues I have played in will not invite unsociable players back and for good reason..

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Bladestrom
    Game players get better the Longer they play so ofc mmorg players are not getting worse. However the absolutely ridiculous strategy by blizzard (for e.g) to dumb down things like 5 mans means that new players don get pushed and so they learn bad habits whereas experienced players simply get frustrated or annoyed by pointless content. Stupid design by poor designers who do not understand human psychology.

    Gaming now is mainstream, and that means everyone has to be served not just basement boys.

     

    If that's how Blizzard will keep millions of players, they'll continue doing it. Like any business would.

     

    BTW, Blizzard isn't even making but one round of dungeons now, they're concentrating on raids. The raids haven't been dumbed down, the difficultly has only been increased. Folks now do LFR instead of dungeons.

     

    Now that's interesting.  With the population heavily imbalanced towards damage dealing players, I wonder if LFR serves more players better than the LFD does.  If you add to that the open world nature or everyone is part of the group nature of the Timeless Isle, maybe we're seeing a shift in standard progression.

     

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

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