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Why is Combat Almost Always 90% or More of MMORPG Content?

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  • DistopiaDistopia Member EpicPosts: 21,180

    DMKano said:



    Distopia said:





    Venger said:



    I'd love to find a game that offered a balance.  One of the things I really liked about UO.  If I didn't feel like fighting I could harvest, fish, craft, or decorate there were options.






    You can do all of that in ESO. :)





    You can do all of that in a lot of games....


    Sure I didn't mean to imply otherwise. It was just an example.

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson


  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992

    Distopia said:



    Venger said:


    I'd love to find a game that offered a balance.  One of the things I really liked about UO.  If I didn't feel like fighting I could harvest, fish, craft, or decorate there were options.




    You can do all of that in ESO. :)


    But I can earn a living off of those things, progress with little to no need for combat, and/or make any kind of significant impact on the world through my endeavors?
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992

    Mendel said:

    Combat is the only mechanism to resolve conflict because that's the only system that D&D developed.  Anything beyond combat was left to the DM.  DM's do not scale to the world of massive multiplayer, and no developer has broken from the 40 year-old ideas on what types of conflict and how to abstract these conflicts.  I don't see the entire RPG genre moving forward until this is tackled and someone comes up with a means to resolve things beyond swords and sorcery.

    The big argument against something like a system to resolve debates is that automating a legal debate, for instance, takes away from the role-playing elements.  That is true, at least as long as role-playing is at least acting-based.  We don't mime fighting moves to resolve physical conflict, why do we hang onto the idea that we can't abstract verbal arguments into a closed resolution system?  Removing the acting from role-playing would allow a developer to automate playing a trick on the goblin guarding a door, sending it on a wild goose chase as opposed to simply fighting it.  The DM in a face to face game would have no trouble with this solution, and could award XP for things other than fighting the goblin guard.

    My idea has been that we either change role-playing to remove the player's communication abilities from the character, or to develop the AI or other mechanisms to allow resolve non-physical conflicts.  No one has tried, because D&D didn't do it, and trying costs a lot of money.  I think that the original reliance on the human DM is holding the genre of automated RPGs back.


    Automating some of these things could work.  And you know, it's a sad world, sad world where thieves in most games can't even pickpockets or pick locks.

    Also, imagine if mobs in a lot of these EQ/WoW clones actually bled?  If blood splattered from their wounds and dripped or poured all over the ground.  The environments in a lot of zones might be drastically effected.  Red everywhere.  Massive amounts of iron in the soil.
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992

    maxlance said:

    I don't go into the philosophical debate because even the oldest of games have at their core the jungle law of kill or be conquered and worldwide market demand saw MMO theme preference pretty much shook itself out a decafe or two ago. Pure intellectual and exploration MMOs will likely always be niche because most of us are wired carnivores though "exploration-combat-conquer" MMOs like Civilization do prevail. In my view most all MMOs make it TOO easy to kill baddies en masse. I think they can whittle down hoards of monsters to less than a wily one or deadly dozen that demand some strategy and perseverance to kill,  sort of like hunting elephants with a bow and arrow. You can cut down the bloodshed without cutting the thrill of violence.  If I knew the solution I'd be running a game firm instead of...


    I wouldn't want pure intellectual and exploration.  Just the option in games to be something other than a blood-soaked mercenary. 
  • DistopiaDistopia Member EpicPosts: 21,180




    Distopia said:





    Venger said:



    I'd love to find a game that offered a balance.  One of the things I really liked about UO.  If I didn't feel like fighting I could harvest, fish, craft, or decorate there were options.






    You can do all of that in ESO. :)




    But I can earn a living off of those things, progress with little to no need for combat, and/or make any kind of significant impact on the world through my endeavors?


    The criteria was just other things to do for downtime, I'm not sure decorating translates well to a mainstay in an MMORPG. . There's always a tale in the desert if you wanna craft with no focus on combat. 

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson


  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992

    Quizzical said:



    Eldurian said:






    Quizzical said:




    Because not enough people play the ones that aren't over 90% combat.








    That's because of a failure of MMOs to produce compelling ones that aren't.

    The success of Minecraft did not come from it being a superior combat title. Harvest Moon, Sims, Sim City etc. are also all non-combat series that did exceptionally well.

    With a vast amount of genres and concepts that haven't taken off in the MMO sphere it isn't so much because there is no market for them or they aren't viable concept for them.

    It essentially all boils down to this:

    Q: Why aren't there so few people playing MMOs that aren't WoW Clones?

    A: Because there are so few MMOs that aren't WoW clones.

    If games that are different don't exist, people won't play them... because they don't exist. Simple as that.

    MMO investors are apparently cowards and people struggle to make anything good without investors. That doesn't mean the market doesn't exist.




    There have been some good games that weren't mostly about combat.  For example, Uncharted Waters Online.  If it had been hugely successful, we'd have seen other MMORPGs make exploration and trading into major game mechanics.  But so long as most MMORPG players won't play games that aren't mostly combat, that's what most games will be.


    But did Uncharted Waters also have good ship-to-ship to combat, or the ability to pillage ports?  I don't know, I never played it.
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992

    Distopia said:








    Distopia said:







    Venger said:




    I'd love to find a game that offered a balance.  One of the things I really liked about UO.  If I didn't feel like fighting I could harvest, fish, craft, or decorate there were options.








    You can do all of that in ESO. :)






    But I can earn a living off of those things, progress with little to no need for combat, and/or make any kind of significant impact on the world through my endeavors?




    The criteria was just other things to do for downtime, I'm not sure decorating translates well to a mainstay in an MMORPG. . There's always a tale in the desert if you wanna craft with no focus on combat. 


    I don't want a game with zero focus on combat.  I like risk and danger.  War and strategy games are probably tied with MMORPGs for my favorite genre of games.  At times, I've enjoyed strategic war games far more than MMORPGs.  But I bet my mother or sister might be more willing to play a game that wasn't 90% combat.  And I'm also tired of being forced to resolve practically every conflict in a game with violence.  If we acted the way in real life that we act in games, most of us would be in prison.
  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 19,275




    Distopia said:





    Venger said:



    I'd love to find a game that offered a balance.  One of the things I really liked about UO.  If I didn't feel like fighting I could harvest, fish, craft, or decorate there were options.






    You can do all of that in ESO. :)




    But I can earn a living off of those things, progress with little to no need for combat, and/or make any kind of significant impact on the world through my endeavors?



    In ArcheAge Ive leveled my alts via crafting to max level without ever killing a single mob.

    Crafting is actually the fastest way to level up, but it does use your labor points.

    I make money via trade packs - zero combat involved.

    There are people that play AA without ever fighting, they craft, trade and play the auction house market.

    You can decorate your house to your hearts content can even import your own textures for certain things... but I am not into any of that, there are people who spend a ton of time doing it.

    As far as "significant impact on the world" - have never seen a MMORPG that qualifies
  • aRtFuLThinGaRtFuLThinG Member UncommonPosts: 1,327
    There used to be more element in old school mmos that are less combat-oriented, such as manufacturing and city planning in SWG, politics in Vanguard, etc.

    But they gradually get phased out I think because WoW has showed how successful a combat focused mmo can be.

    I think non-combat element in mmo seems to be slowly making a comeback though.
  • hatefulpeacehatefulpeace Member UncommonPosts: 621


    Aren't humans capable of doing other things besides killing each other (or monsters or demi-humans or robots or whatever)?  Isn't killing normally the last resort in any given situation for most reasonable human beings?  Just saying.


    Ask the bankers. 
  • Loke666Loke666 Member EpicPosts: 21,441

    Quizzical said:

    Because not enough people play the ones that aren't over 90% combat.


    Not a good argument, we have very few examples of it and you could probably do it in many different ways.

    It would be more productive to figure out what fun ways of none combat activities you can have in a MMORPG, the more fun thing to do the better your chances are. Combat is a fun thing to do so clearly do a game offering combat and some boring alternatives do worse then a game offering just combat.

    But if you offer combat and other fun things to do you have good chances to keep people entertained longer.

    One thing most MMOs have but usually fail making fun is crafting. Some "smart" people thought a while that adding minigames were fun but that failed since simple minigames are not fun when the grindy mechanics forces you to repeat them thousands of times to become good at crafting.

    Some games like SWG at least have acceptable crafting and gathering but I wouldn't call it really fun, if someone could figure out mechanics that actually made crafting and gathering really fun you would gain a rather large advantage just by that.

    I do play a lot of pen and paper roleplaying. I think the percentage of time in combat in them is around 20-25% when I plasy and it is usually far more fun then MMOs. Not all P&P activieties would allow themselves to be translated into a MMORPG but I think some will.

    Cutscenes is however not one of the thing MMOs need more of, while they take time away from combat most of them are uninteresting or plain boring.
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992

    Eldurian said:

    Definite exceptions to this rule exist.

    In Runescape there were "Skill pures" who made a point of getting super high in crafting skills without ever raising themselves above the lowest combat level.

    In Wurm the majority of combat is simple survival combat. You get attacked by a bear and have to fend it off. You go out hunting deer because you need meat and hides. Combat isn't any more of a focus than it is for a homesteader in the wild (Though admittedly the density of hostile creatures is WAY higher.) The more intentional forms of combat are purely optional and many players rarely if ever participate in them.

    Second Life. Enough said. XD

    In EVE there is mining, exploration, trading etc. People who choose these professions tend to actively avoid combat as much as possible. The danger of combat might provide a thrill but there again they are simply trying to survive as they accomplish another objective.

    I definitely do prefer games where combat is not the focus for everyone all the time. As much as I enjoy combat people who opt out of it in order to take part in a more peaceful life give more of a feel of a living breathing world.

    I may try Wurm.  Couldn't get it to load/work when I tried before awhile ago.  Not sure what the problem was.

    But, yes, a living, breathing world.  Where not everything is scripted and not everyone is a hero or even an adventurer.
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992

    DMKano said:








    Distopia said:







    Venger said:




    I'd love to find a game that offered a balance.  One of the things I really liked about UO.  If I didn't feel like fighting I could harvest, fish, craft, or decorate there were options.








    You can do all of that in ESO. :)






    But I can earn a living off of those things, progress with little to no need for combat, and/or make any kind of significant impact on the world through my endeavors?





    In ArcheAge Ive leveled my alts via crafting to max level without ever killing a single mob.

    Crafting is actually the fastest way to level up, but it does use your labor points.

    I make money via trade packs - zero combat involved.

    There are people that play AA without ever fighting, they craft, trade and play the auction house market.

    You can decorate your house to your hearts content can even import your own textures for certain things... but I am not into any of that, there are people who spend a ton of time doing it.

    As far as "significant impact on the world" - have never seen a MMORPG that qualifies


    I may try Arche Age again.  Decided I won't try BDO though.
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992


    There used to be more element in old school mmos that are less combat-oriented, such as manufacturing and city planning in SWG, politics in Vanguard, etc.

    But they gradually get phased out I think because WoW has showed how successful a combat focused mmo can be.

    I think non-combat element in mmo seems to be slowly making a comeback though.


    I think WoW just shows that it's hard to knock a giant down.  World of Warcraft is often the first game people hear about when they hear about MMORPGs.  It's success and popularity helped it to remain popular and successful.  But I believe a large amount of its initial success had to do with it being the biggest, and possibly best MMORPG available to play in the early 2000's when a larger percentage of the population was gaining access to the internet than ever before.  And one of the reasons Everquest 2 didn't do as well was because it asked people to buy a more powerful and expensive computer at the time.
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992
    edited May 2017




    Loke666 said:









    Quizzical said:





    Because not enough people play the ones that aren't over 90% combat.










    Not a good argument, we have very few examples of it and you could probably do it in many different ways.

    It would be more productive to figure out what fun ways of none combat activities you can have in a MMORPG, the more fun thing to do the better your chances are. Combat is a fun thing to do so clearly do a game offering combat and some boring alternatives do worse then a game offering just combat.

    But if you offer combat and other fun things to do you have good chances to keep people entertained longer.

    One thing most MMOs have but usually fail making fun is crafting. Some "smart" people thought a while that adding minigames were fun but that failed since simple minigames are not fun when the grindy mechanics forces you to repeat them thousands of times to become good at crafting.

    Some games like SWG at least have acceptable crafting and gathering but I wouldn't call it really fun, if someone could figure out mechanics that actually made crafting and gathering really fun you would gain a rather large advantage just by that.

    I do play a lot of pen and paper roleplaying. I think the percentage of time in combat in them is around 20-25% when I plasy and it is usually far more fun then MMOs. Not all P&P activieties would allow themselves to be translated into a MMORPG but I think some will.

    Cutscenes is however not one of the thing MMOs need more of, while they take time away from combat most of them are uninteresting or plain boring.




    Engineers and architects are another example of very useful professions in a medieval fantasy role-playing game.  Castles and siege engines don't get built by themselves.  Also, most people don't like to spend most of their days foraging for food, so hunters, farmers, and millers come in handy.  Goods don't get carried from town to town by semi-trucks or trains in most fantasy worlds.  Merchants and caravans, as well as the soldiers or mercenaries hired to guard them can certainly come into play.  Ships need sailors and shipwrights, horses need horse breeders and grooms.  Maps need cartographers.  Anything is possible in a game if it can be made fun.

    Or just think of all the jobs you need done by villagers when playing an RTS game like Age of Empires.  All those jobs could be done by players if they could be made into mini-games that weren't just another grindfest.
    Post edited by cantankerousmage on
  • pkpkpkpkpkpk Member UncommonPosts: 193
    edited May 2017
    As graphics go, the online game is a fashion product.  The consumer: children and mental lightweights. There were 50 boxed shooters, strategy and  MMORPGs; then 50 digital downloads shooters, strategy and  MMORPGs; then 50 free to play shooters, strategy and  MMORPGs. 

    I will pass.

    Adult gaming begins here: http://www.mudconnect.com/

    For me, till 2000, online games meant text: BBS Doors, MUDs and free-form role-playing. Seeing as these are the only online games before 2000 still around, text is the only tradition online gaming has. 
    Post edited by pkpkpk on
  • cantankerousmagecantankerousmage Member UncommonPosts: 992
    edited May 2017


    pkpkpk said:


    As graphics go, the online game is a fashion product.  The consumer: children and mental lightweights. There were 50 boxed shooters, strategy and  MMORPGs; then 50 digital downloads shooters, strategy and  MMORPGs; then 50 free to play shooters, strategy and  MMORPGs. 

    I will pass.

    Adult gaming begins here: http://www.mudconnect.com/

    For me, till 2000, online games meant text: BBS Doors, MUDs and free-form role-playing. Seeing as these are the only online games before 2000 still around, text is the only tradition online gaming has. 




    I've played MUDs in the past.  Are there any without level and gear progression?  Are there any that have progression through the advancement of one's family/community/tribe/clan/nation and perpetuation of one's family line in a fair and competitive open dynamic pvp world with opportunities for true role-playing?  Where I can play one of my children if my character dies?  How about being able to train skills and abilities through training and repetition, but without the ability to master everything?  Penalties for dying?
    Post edited by cantankerousmage on
  • pkpkpkpkpkpk Member UncommonPosts: 193
    edited May 2017
    Few serious role-playing MUDs have levels or classes.  When you say family, "Faery Tale Online" comes to mind. They have a long application process where you have to wait for a mother to be pregnant to be born into a family. It can take a month, I read. Permanent death is common on role-playing MUDs, because it does not make sense to die and come back to life. However, most with permanent death require character applications.  Most serious role-playing MUDs have open PvP.

    The best RP MUDs  I have found that do not require applications are The Inquisition, The Burning Post II, and New Worlds (in Southlands). These all have open PK, enforced role-playing and permanent death. The MUDs that have applications (called "role-playing intensive") are stricter. These are Harshlands, Shadows of Isildur, Armageddon and one other I forget.

    Then there a few interesting combat MUDs: Hardcore BatMUD (permanent death, open PK but not role-playing) and Carrion Fields (full-looting, open PK, role-playing, but permanent death only happens with age or 30+ deaths). I include these only as a point of comparison (they have levels). Lots of MUDs and lots of role-playing, but not many players, is the problem.

    Of course, you can find much more than I can tell you on Mudconnect. I am sharing what I have learned in my research for the benefit of anyone who reads this. MUDs are a dwindling art form and many MUDs and information about them now are erroneous,
    Post edited by pkpkpk on
  • pkpkpkpkpkpk Member UncommonPosts: 193
    Oh, and MUD1 (British Legends) from 1978. An adventure MUD with permanent death and open PK. The first MUD ever. It is mostly empty, I think.
  • routesmanroutesman Member UncommonPosts: 66
    Honestly... and people are going to hate me for this answer: Because WoW.

    And let me explain why I say this.  Look at pre-NGE Star Wars Galaxies.  In pre-NGE, you had one character per server per account (unless you unlocked your Jedi, then you got one more slot on that same server).  Characters had a limited number of skill points to spend on what they wanted to do.  Want to be pure combat?  Hey, that's great... but you ain't crafting anything.  Want to be a crafter, AWESOME... you'll suck in combat.  But the game gave every type of player something to do and not only that: it forced them all to interact.

    Pure combat characters needed crafters to make items for them, they needed medic type characters to heal and buff them, they needed to interact with the social players who played entertainers for buffs and to remove battle fatigued.  The crafters needed the combat characters to buy their items and to sometimes provide resources like bones, meat, etc.  The crafters needed the entertainers for buffs as well.  The entertainers needed the combat characters to tip them money so they could buy the cool clothing they wanted from the crafters.  For all its bugs and issues, pre-NGE is one of my favorite MMOs of all time.

    Then, WoW hit with its MILLIONS of subscribers.  And SOE said: we have an awesome IP with SWG, why don't we have millions of subscribers?  There are a lot of reasons and if you want my list, message me as its not relevant to this subect.  So, SOE decided to make SWG like WoW... and in comes the NGE and instead of crafted items being what you used, it became a loot driven system.  Crafters were no longer needed... entertainers weren't either.

    SWG gained more subscribers than what they lost from this... New Gaming Experience... but in my opinion, that's when SWG lost its luster... and died.  So, why is combat so common in MMOs?  Because video games are made by corporations.  Corporations exist to make their shareholders money (and there's nothing wrong with that).  But those shareholders all want WoW like numbers (which is an anomaly in the MMO world) and so everyone tries to be like WoW.
  • pkpkpkpkpkpk Member UncommonPosts: 193
    Wurm Online, A Tale in the Desert, Salem, etc. would never do it for me. Yes, they are non-combat, but they are non-challenge, too. That is the MMORPG for you. And no one will role-play in them. The rarest online game around is one that is challenging, has permanent death, and enforced role-playing. I have never found all three in  one game.  Games with challenge and role-playing (Carrion Fields) don't have permanent death. Games with role-playing and permanent death (Burning Post II, New Worlds) don't have challenge. 
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 19,719
    I thought, let's get away from MMORPGs for a moment.  Let's see what else there is out there in single player games.  I've got dozens of old console games, so let's see what else there is.

    Basically, there's sports and there's combat.  And that's nearly all I've got.  There's a big difference between the combat of Super Mario World versus SimAnt versus Liberty or Death versus Zelda II versus Pokemon.  But those are all heavily based around combat of sorts.  Civilization and Europa Univeralis II perhaps aren't pure combat, but combat does play a major, driving role that you really can't ignore.  And most of the games that weren't combat were sports.

    What else was I able to find?  Tetris and Picross are puzzle games, which is still a thriving genre in the mobile space.  But beyond that, not much.  SimCity certainly isn't combat.  Aerobiz Supersonic isn't combat, either.  I debated whether to lump Marble Madness in as a racing game and therefore sports, but I'll list it here, anyway.  And Uncharted Waters: New Horizons has combat but isn't primarily about combat.

    So perhaps the question shouldn't be restricted to MMORPGs.  Apart from puzzle games and sports, why are most video games period about combat?
  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Member RarePosts: 6,472
    I would say its because typically all the best stories are about beating someone or something through violence. Star wars lotto mythology every Bible story...

    We tend to like it.

    That's why most of the popular games are about killing not just Mo's.
    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is bad.
  • AoriAori Member EpicPosts: 4,055
    Depends on what you consider content. I can spend half my time simply marketeering if the game is built for it. I also spend a lot of time socializing if the systems are in place and facilitate it. Player politics, adventuring and exploring are all things that can take a lot of time. While not so much anymore, crafting used to be a dedicated class/job in MMOs. Once upon a time avoiding combat was a thing as well. Now not so much anymore as you can just steamroll through most open world content in any current MMO.
  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,150
    It's basically the winning path of the genre.  EQ and then WoW to define main street.  As genre with great diversity the mainstream path is very narrow.  
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