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[Column] General: The MMO Isn't Over - It's Evolving

13

Comments

  • GuyClinchGuyClinch Sunnyvale, CAPosts: 485Member

    The MMO market is becoming saturated now with every concievable variation of the current MMO technology being available to players. Future titles though - if they can manage to find a way to jump forward and create more immersive and varied worlds - remain almost dangerous in their potential to take over the gaming community and grow it to unprecedented levels.

    Its just a really hard task from a software standpoint..MMOs are incredibly large and complicated projects that we haven't been able to improve in the last 10 years or so..

  • Dr_ShivinskiDr_Shivinski Seattle, WAPosts: 260Member Uncommon

    Evolution is not the word I would use here. MMORPGs were supposed to be social virtual worlds with RPG gameplay. They have became third person action adventure games with zero incentive to group up and meet people.

    Just the other day I was playing TSW and noticed someone was doing the same mission as I was so I tried to invite him/her to a group. They didn't just decline the invitation they proceeded to berate me for even wasting their time by making them press the decline button. 

    Things like this were not how MMOs were supposed to "evolve", and I would love  to see a developer make a themepark or sandpark MMO with content and incentives conducive to group play.

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  • DeddmeatDeddmeat StanwellPosts: 358Member Uncommon

    MMO's are not evolving, devolving maybe, stagnating

    Yes people have less time, that does not mean the WHOLE genre has to change, the PERSON has to accept they can't play a game that requires that much time & commitment any longer and moves on to one that they can fit in with their 15 minutes.

    I've read of people who have hectic lives with jobs, kids, courses and they still manage to log on and play .. they don't moan and require the entire genre change to allow them to log on, play for 15 minutes to half an hour the log off.

    That sounds more like the person should have a single player game or maybe D3

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  • loulakiloulaki PatrasPosts: 918Member Uncommon

    the MMORPGs have evolved yes, but something different to this they were prior to 2004.

    Now they have lost the RPG element. People connect to one account and to one character, those who still do it they don't play effectively and someone else will call them dinosaurs ... The social interactions become more mechanics rather than need.

    i think that MMORPGs these days they are, just reflecting a society of lonely people .

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  • QuesaQuesa Sacramento, CAPosts: 1,246Member

    There are really different discussions happening here.

     

    One discussion is the social interaction and interdependency discussion where a lot of this interdependency has been removed so that players can more easily consume content as opposed to pseudo-forced grouping which is a key mechanic in the formation of good communities and true world progression.  In many respects, this is true.  A lot of today's MMO content has been tuned to accommodate the solo gamer and this has drastically broadened the potential player base.  To the old-school MMO player, this might be a negative but I really see this as a long term positive as now indie developers, who enjoy making, what old-schoolers deem as, niche game developers have a much wider audience to pull from.  

    Many of those who say that the MMO is over might be right, in a way.  The way headlining MMOs are developed are no longer for those niche communities, they are for the masses.  Yet, there still are those niche games out there that do serve the old-school players.  I would think Eve Online would be a good example of a niche game that's been around for quite a long time, in typical PC gaming life cycles.  I think the major issue, in this regard, is that people are either too impatient to wait for the next title that tickles their narrow fancy or just give up if they find an MMO that doesn't meet every expectation they have.  Maybe the inevitable answer is that those types of gamers no longer sit atop the mountain, claiming majority voice in the gaming community while the large influx of potential PC gamers look for more instant gratification instead trading massive amounts of time and energy in the pursuit of a victory over content.  (Not that it's necessarily a bad thing)

     

    The other discussion I keep seeing is regarding innovation and evolution.  The most curious part about this is that they see WoW as the one who innovated the industry but that's a false premise.  Many, if not all, of the mechanics displayed in vanilla WoW were already seen in other games such as EverQuest or UO.  My memory generally blurs with those games because it was so long ago and I was primarily playing Earth and Beyond then Eve Online but I don't think there isn't much in WoW that wasn't present in those games already.  WoW popularized the MMO genre through brilliant marketing, a cult-like fan base and astounding and solid work on their code/game.  

    While these mechanics have been around for years, they have evolved and it's really hard to deny it.  The only real debate would be the degree of innovation or evolution of the mechanics.  The problem with innovation and evolution is that the new mechanics may not be popular.  For instance, look at the evolution of Windows from, say, XP to Vista.  Rather large change that wasn't well liked at first but after a time, and a few iterations (Windows 7), many of the core systems were widely accepted.  Then we look at Windows 7 to 8 where a very large margin of PC owners hated the change and continue to revolt against it and in the end will likely be regarded as a worse failure than Vista as the community rejected it on a whole.  So, innovation and evolution was realized but not accepted.

    Things like this can be rejected in today's games too.  Lets take a look at the guild and AH system in ESO, clearly a change from the norm and thought to encourage inter-guild cooperation creating communities and micro economies but overwhelmingly rejected by the player base.  In this regard, ESO evolved those two mechanics but they ended up being failures.  Some current systems/mechanics are really good and have been evolving from their original implementation for many cycles.  There are games out there that are creating more regionalized markets and storage warehouses, for example Black Desert.  This IS an evolution on current mechanic so we do see it.

     

    I think, in the end, that companies are going to develop products that realize the highest profit, in general.  Yes, there are plenty of indie developers that develop something they love but in the end, they want to make money with their product.  While there isn't a need for gamers to evolve with the genre, it's disingenuous to suggest that the MMO genre is dying because games aren't being developed for said niche gamers.

  • BMBenderBMBender Nowhere, NCPosts: 570Member Uncommon

    @OP Mmo's evolved alright, into the smallest % of gaming market share...well done.  My interpretation of evolve obviously differs from yours.  

     

    oh wait those crossword puzzle books at the grocery store may draw in less annual profit as an industry, maybe.

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  • SuilebhainSuilebhain Lutz, FLPosts: 46Member Uncommon
    Dinosaurs were very successful for a very long time, until a disaster of global proportions wiped them out, so using dinosaur as a descriptor for people like me is very appropriate. What disaster, you might ask? The current player base who does not see value in developing in-game partnerships that last longer than a single mission. The reason MMOs are dying is because they have developed into single-player games with a multiplayer component, and no SPMMO is equal to a single player game in depth of content or playability. NPCs generated by mods offer better company on an afternoon of questing than the majority of people one might find in a PUG - not so back before WOW came and dropped its big stinking load right in the middle of the community. The WOW model replaced that set down previously by games like UO, EQ, DAOC, and SWG and set the expectations of true interaction lower. Some might refuse to see this point and say "join a guild" but what is a guild these days except a big chatroom that MIGHT bother to help you if they are in the mood. Thing is, back before WOW, you didn't have to ask for help. You hung around in certain locales, like the well at  Tir na M'beo and recruited people for your party to fight curmudgeons/Sheevra/whatever. To some of us, that is the tall tree with the good fruit, or the juicy brontosaur waiting to be plucked. Until a game designer makes a major conscious effort to restore the need for teaming, the true MMORPG will be considered dead.
  • TheQuietGamerTheQuietGamer brightonPosts: 317Member

    mmo's have evolved into single player games with the ability to watch other people playing their single player game, and some lobby based group play.  

    I would say that for all intents and purposes mmo's have already died.  

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    I disagree that MMO's have evolved. They are, in fact, on life support for one simple reason.

    They are no longer Massive in the true sense of the word as it was first applied to the genre.

     

    While you have games that do have millions of subscribers/active accounts, we no longer see the Massively Multiplayer side of things. We now have Multiplayer Online RPG's for the most part. Even WoW is guilty of this with the 40 man raid which then dropped to 10 or 25. That isn't Massive, it's just Multiplayer.

     

    Now we've had a couple of MMO's more recently that have made attempts to turn this around, namely GW2 and ESO with their large scale PvP implementations, but as far as PvE is concerned we've devolved even further to group content by and large.

     

    People say the term MMO has changed but it hasn't really. No matter how many people apply the term incorrectly that doesn't make them right, that's just a lot of wrong people. Most games that call themselves MMO's today just aren't MMO's if they don't have literally hundreds of people participating in the same game space together. Putting a pig in a stable doesn't make it a horse.

     

    So yeah, MMO's are dieing. What we have now are MOBA's, Lobby based Multip[layer games and the like all calling themselves MMO's incorrectly and giving the illusion that the genre is "evolving". By that logic you may as well say that any CoD or BF game is an MMO.

     

    I usually enjoy Christina's articles but in this case, completely wrong.

  • ArglebargleArglebargle Austin, TXPosts: 1,419Member Uncommon
    A lot of folks here could use a primer on 'evolving' and 'evolution' .    I don't think those words mean what you think they mean.

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

  • kjempffkjempff AarhusPosts: 885Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Darwa

    The title and premise is wrong; MMOs haven't evolved, but they have changed.

    If you swap the word 'evolved' with 'changed' throughout the article, then it makes a good read.

    Yup changed is the correct word to use. Evolved would imply that better versions of existing features have emerged, and that is mostly not the case. Instead new features and game philosophies have taken over, and this is natural because the playerbase is different now. As such, I would argue that mmorps aren't really made anymore, atleast not as a mmorpg was defined 10 years ago. Or You could say the definition has changed. In any case games are different, because the audience changed, and ofcourse demand controls what comes out.

  • PyrateLVPyrateLV Las Vegas, NVPosts: 1,096Member Common

    "Evolved" implies forward growth. Betterment and positive progression.

    MMOs now days havent evolved. You cant evolve into a pile of crap.

    Mutated would be the correct term

    There has been no forward evolution in MMORPGs in over 10 years.

    Tried: EQ2 - AC - EU - HZ - TR - MxO - TTO - WURM - SL - VG:SoH - PotBS - PS - AoC - WAR - DDO - SWTOR
    Played: UO - EQ1 - AO - DAoC - NC - CoH/CoV - SWG - WoW - EVE - AA - LotRO - DFO - STO - FE - MO - RIFT
    Playing: Skyrim
    Following: The Repopulation
    I want a Virtual World, not just a Game.
    ITS TOO HARD! - Matt Firor (ZeniMax)

  • DeddmeatDeddmeat StanwellPosts: 358Member Uncommon
    What should have happened is a different genre or off-shoot genre was made, then you would have been able to have developers create either mmorpg's we were used to in the sense of UO etc or they could make the bastardized off-shoot ;-)

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  • AzzudyenAzzudyen St. Albans, WVPosts: 11Member
    Soulless is the quickest way to describe todays MMORPG's IMO. They really need to break the MMO description into sub categories. So people know what to expect and wish to change. Not just make all MMORPG's fast action combat games with a 1 to 3 month lifespan.
  • Colt47Colt47 Naperville, ILPosts: 310Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Azzudyen
    Soulless is the quickest way to describe todays MMORPG's IMO. They really need to break the MMO description into sub categories. So people know what to expect and wish to change. Not just make all MMORPG's fast action combat games with a 1 to 3 month lifespan.

    I mentioned this before, but MMORPGs are at their best when the actions of others produce a tangible effect on other players.  It is an observation that flies in the face of what the current MMO landscape seems to have embraced, where everyone is the special snowflake that gets to experience the one carefully laid out grand adventure and other players are simply proxy side kicks or scenery.  Really, a lot of these games would do better as single player titles with a coop component.

  • VyethVyeth Fayetteville, NCPosts: 1,459Member

    I think the biggest issue is that they are trying to tell stories now. The whole MMO is about YOU being the savior or the ultimate hero. The basis of single player games have now become the basis for MMO's, hence why now they are nearly single player games. Look at that MMo Swordsman that PWE just released. It is a clear cut single player game. Sure, you can see other people and occasionally interact with them, but YOU are the ultimate chosen hero and will quest and do 90% of the game solo besides detached dungeons and situations. Age of Wushu is a little bit of a different beast because MANY of the games systems RELY on those around you, such as crafting and the kidnapping system. THAT creates a more socially focused and cooperative setting. Even training or cultivation in AoW is best when done with a group.

    Like Brother Ludwik said near the beginning. Players don't want to play MMO's anymore. They want to jump in for 30 minutes "beat the game" so they can check it off their "to do" list and finish their real life issues. Best way to do that? Make it so that they can do it all by themselves.. 

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  • FoobarxFoobarx Poway, CAPosts: 451Member
    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck... it's a duck.  Call it what you want but that thing is still a duck.  Put a hat on it, it's still a duck.  Roast it in the oven, it's still a duck.  Train it to use kitty litter, it's still a duck.  The only one not trying to be a duck is the duck itself.  Last time I checked, the duck has pretty much stayed a duck for a very long long time.  Apparently they don't need an extra eye, foot, wing, or liver.   The duck is just fine the way it is.  But mankind thinks the duck could be better... we will rebuild it... make it stronger... faster... queue in the six million dollar man music... if you don't know what I'm taking about then you're too young to get the joke... ask your grandpa... he'll understand... right after he tells you the story about walking to school, everyday, in the snow, uphill, both ways.  This is real life here.  We can't be messing with the duck.
  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    No, it is devolving. Ever since release of WoW the MMO genre has been devolving into glorified single player games with some tacked on multiplayer. ESO is the latest, an MMO which is best played solo.
  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by Foobarx
    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck... it's a duck.  Call it what you want but that thing is still a duck.  Put a hat on it, it's still a duck.  Roast it in the oven, it's still a duck.  Train it to use kitty litter, it's still a duck.  The only one not trying to be a duck is the duck itself.  Last time I checked, the duck has pretty much stayed a duck for a very long long time.  Apparently they don't need an extra eye, foot, wing, or liver.   The duck is just fine the way it is.  But mankind thinks the duck could be better... we will rebuild it... make it stronger... faster... queue in the six million dollar man music... if you don't know what I'm taking about then you're too young to get the joke... ask your grandpa... he'll understand... right after he tells you the story about walking to school, everyday, in the snow, uphill, both ways.  This is real life here.  We can't be messing with the duck.
     

    Kill the duck, start over and create a dragon instead.

  • TheQuietGamerTheQuietGamer brightonPosts: 317Member
    Originally posted by kjempff
    Originally posted by Darwa

    The title and premise is wrong; MMOs haven't evolved, but they have changed.

    If you swap the word 'evolved' with 'changed' throughout the article, then it makes a good read.

    Yup changed is the correct word to use. Evolved would imply that better versions of existing features have emerged, and that is mostly not the case. Instead new features and game philosophies have taken over, and this is natural because the playerbase is different now. As such, I would argue that mmorps aren't really made anymore, atleast not as a mmorpg was defined 10 years ago. Or You could say the definition has changed. In any case games are different, because the audience changed, and ofcourse demand controls what comes out.

    No, evolved is the correct word.  

    Evolved only means that something has adapted to best suit its environment.  That is pretty much what has happened to mmo's whether we like the results or not.  

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    Originally posted by lizardbones
    Originally posted by Nurf3duk
    Originally posted by Ludwik
     
    We live in a world where free time is divided into short, little increments. 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there, maybe an hour if we're lucky. Asking people to sit in queues, organize raids, grind away on mobs just isn't feasible anymore.

    Sorry what is different to how busy people are now days compared to 14 years ago? People still have jobs, kids and responsibilities how you came to the conclusion that life has suddenly become so busy I don't know. The only thing that has changed  in gaming is the people wanting "Instant gratification", MMO's used to be niche games and the people who played them all understood that the game was for the long haul.

     

    People spend more time working now compared to 14 years ago.

    The internet has created alternative avenues for the type of social interaction that existed in MMORPGs, but nowhere else.

    The internet has created alternative avenues for social interaction that simply didn't exist prior to 2006 or so.

    The internet has created alternative avenues for entertainment that would have been impossible 14 years ago.

    Cell phones are ubiquitous now, bringing the alternative methods of socialization where ever the person is.

    It is a combination of things, but the "ADD Gamer" is not a myth.  They may not have ADD, but their attention is certainly divided between more things than it was 14 years ago.  Watching a movie involved going out and renting it.  Now it involves bringing up Netflix or hitting the "On Demand" button on the remote.  Instead of only being able to talk to people on AOL or in your MMORPG, people just surf to Facebook, or scroll through a Twitter feed on their phones.  Even books are easier to carry around with the Nook or Amazon e-Readers.  And people are spending more time working than they did 14 years ago, though that might not be the biggest factor.  The people and the environment is not the same compared to 14 years ago.

     

    Maybe in US, but in Europe the average work week has gone DOWN. So we, on average, work less. So no, we aren't more busy than we were back then. We are however more lazy and want things handed to us.

  • DeddmeatDeddmeat StanwellPosts: 358Member Uncommon

    It's not longer working hours, it's to many people now being used to things just being a button push away or handed to them.  If people truly want the real mmorpg they find time, sure it means groups may need to stop at times as someone has an urgent call or a baby to sort out etc but thats the sort of thing everyone works around when playing.

    Btut no, that is now to hard for people and it's just easier to change a whole genre to suit their needs. When most things change, a new genre or branch is made, mmorpg's instead become some mutated offspring of what they once where.

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  • JDis25JDis25 Posts: 737Member Uncommon
    Playing a game with thousands of players within the game-world is over.... ok... then I quit gaming forever.
  • JDis25JDis25 Posts: 737Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Dauntis


    I think the more correct statement is MMORPG's are dead... MMOs are alive and kicking. FPS and MOBAs are taking over and RPG's are slipping away.

     

    MOBA's aren't what I consider an MMO, they are a lobby game, with some persistent qualities in regards to your "summoner level".

  • coretex666coretex666 PraguePosts: 1,928Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Dauntis


    I think the more correct statement is MMORPG's are dead... MMOs are alive and kicking. FPS and MOBAs are taking over and RPG's are slipping away.

    Cannot agree more. There are plenty of MMOs in the market and saying the genre is dead would be far from truth. However, the RPG elements got somewhat eliminated from MMOs within this evolution process.

    Many elements from other genres, such as FPS infiltred the MMO"RPG" genre and became a standard that is now demanded by the players.

    There is a pressure on current MMOs to be action, arcade, skill based (=more about players and their skills rather than the character you are playing and the extent / level to which you managed to develop it by investing your time and energy into it), balanced (related to skill based, only maximized balance allows for competitive PVP/PVE which is also a standard now in the "endgame" generation of MMOs). Graphics and gameplay have become more important than complexity and RPG elements for most players.

    As an RPG player, I believe I would still be able to adapt to this, I just dont want to...

    Waiting for L2 EU Classic

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