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Empty worlds

jusomdudejusomdude Member RarePosts: 2,706
This is a problem I see too often with MMO games and wonder why more developers don't focus on fixing it. Low lvl content becomes a wasteland with very few or no players in it after a game has been out for awhile. They may as well delete the low lvl zones, especially when games are starting to offer catchup boosts with their new expansions or w/e.

I know they can't force players to go to these zones, but the issue is that they don't have a reason to. This isn't an issue in all MMO games but it is in a good portion of them. Seems like a waste of time to make all that content when it's just left by the wayside. I'd like to see future developers do something about this, but current developers could too. Make your worlds alive and not just a means to an end!
SteelhelmFrodoFraginsGdemamipantaro
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Comments

  • btdtbtdt Member RarePosts: 523
    Developers didn't start out designing MMOs with the idea that people would still be playing them 10 years later.  

    Civil engineers didn't design the interstate system thinking that they'd be packed bumper to bumper with 5000 cars each day during rush hour either.

    At the time, they seemed adequate enough.

    Have either been improved upon knowing what they know now?  Not really.  They just continue to do what they always do.

    Scaling has been the only real attempt to make all areas equal in terms of level.  The big issue with dead zones is that they are level based.  Once you pass that level, you have no incentive to return because everything is face roll to you and of little value (i.e. ore nodes, loot, et al are scaled to level you have long since past).

    They release a new expansion (say Battle for Azeroth)... instead of creating content around the existing Azeroth, they create some new land out of thin air and have everyone congregate there, literally, for the entire expansion.  All resources are found there, all quests, raids, et al, occur there.  It's like everyone took a one way ticket to the moon.

    Convenience also kills the rest of the world.  You started out traversing the old world on foot.  It took you nearly the whole expansion to get a mount.  You spent most of your time traveling somewhere.  No the world is so large, if the same system were in place, you'd never travel anywhere out of the sheer travel time.  You know, like in the real world where going from one part of the world on foot to another takes a great deal of time.  It's a big world after all.  In the game world, instead of getting bigger, it keeps getting smaller because you are herded into small places rather than large ones.

    Imagine if that new resource, Azerite could be found anywhere in the world, not just the new zone?  What if quest chains involved the whole world and not just the new zone?  What if out in the world, you were just as likely to get dismounted or killed as you were in the new zone?  

    This false sense of player power is what has killed the world.  In the real world, you are just as likely to get killed in a school zone as in a desert.  Some 10 year old could gun you down.  An 80 year old can run you over.  But in the game world, only things equal or greater to you can kill you. And they all congregate in one place.  All the new features only affect the new zone.  You end up playing in a vacuum.

    We don't need to design a road for a million people, we'd never have a population of a million people in one place.  That's just insane.  There are 130,000 people here now, we only need a road for 150,000 and there will never be any traffic.

    Consider for a moment that planned obsolesce is about ensuring future sales.  They can build a washing machine that will last forever, they choose not to for their own financial security.  Each year they promise a new machine that "actually gets clothes clean" unlike what is out there now.

    Games aren't about making worlds alive... that is a marketing gimmick... games are about making money.  The the less you are given, the more you are willing to buy.
    GdemamiVelifax
  • deniterdeniter Member RarePosts: 1,367
    I would blame the current trend of story driven game design. These games are like books now, once you have read the first chapter you won't go back ever again unless you read the whole book again and that won't happen anytime soon.

    Scaling makes even less sense in said design style. Why go back to those starting zones, the plot has progressed far away from events that have taken place simultaneously with those you experienced at the beginning.

    The only way is to narrow the gap between 0 - max, and give up the story mode design and leave it for single player games only. Zones exists for technical reasons, mainly for limited memory and loading time, but they have now become like chapters in a book in modern MMOs where you complete zone 1 before you can access to zone 2. That's how arcade shooters used to work in early 80's.
    [Deleted User]Steelhelmdelete5230Gdemami
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,603
    Well, they are either making "stories" or "games". If it was a world then there very well could be places for players to revisit. I personally don't mind having dangerous areas that "noobs" have to avoid or else they get killed.


    AlBQuirky
  • AAAMEOWAAAMEOW Member RarePosts: 1,352
    It is only a problem if the low level area isn't soloable.  I can't imagine low level going through the zones if it is group only and area is empty.



  • AmatheAmathe Member LegendaryPosts: 7,364
    There are things that can be done to keep lower level zones alive.

    - Making them a center for trade.

    - Making them advantageous for crafting and crafting materials.

    - Have collectibles in the game that can be found there.

    - Put quest mobs there as part of higher level quests.

    - Have world events there.

    - Put things there to be purchased, like stables for horses.

    - Have lower level craft mats included as part of higher level crafting, so those things are still needed

    - Have achievements there that people go back to get if they missed them before

    - Have buffs that are available somehow that people want and may go back for


    jusomdudeiixviiiixPhaserlightmgilbrtsnGdemami

    EQ1, EQ2, SWG, SWTOR, GW, GW2 CoH, CoV, FFXI, WoW, CO, War,TSW and a slew of free trials and beta tests

  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,586
    So, the core issue is vertical progression, an issue that has arisen because developers have copied mechanics from single player games and tabletop RPGs and applied them to a massively multiplayer environment. 


    Vertical progression - the continual increase in power - enforces a design style that matches up the player's power with the power of the landscape. It results in all content becoming obsolete except the content at the top of the power scale, but that then becomes obsolete with the next expansion. 


    There are short term solutions to make a zone "feel" more relevant - scaling is one option, but only works if your content is non-linear. Putting in social hubs, auction houses, crafting stations etc also attracts more people to the zone, but if they're in that zone it just means they aren't somewhere else. You can mix high and low level content together but that does nothing to improve availability of players for grouping and unless that high level content is endgame content, it won't actually help. 


    The solution is horizontal progression and non-linear content. Horizontal progression ensures everyone is at the same power level, so everyone is "on level" and could group up. But, thats only half the story, you have to design your content to support it. If you still have very linear content driving that progression (i.e. questing....) then your players will still follow the quest path and old zones will still be empty. 
    MendelSteelhelmLokero[Deleted User]GdemamiVelifax
  • KnightFalzKnightFalz Member RarePosts: 1,135
    The solution is horizontal progression and non-linear content. Horizontal progression ensures everyone is at the same power level, so everyone is "on level" and could group up.
    If characters always remain at the same power level there is no progression.

    But they aren't staying at the same power level, are they? Whether the power of characters is escalating through the strengthening of abilities or broadening with a larger number of on par abilities, it is still greater the longer a character develops.
    Steelhelm
  • Void425Void425 Member UncommonPosts: 170
    They can just instance the newbie zone that will be created if someone needs to use it.  Then actually take the zone space that is currently a permanent zone and change it with some type of meta invasion or something for higher level players to revisit.
  • Zeppel80Zeppel80 Member UncommonPosts: 74
    edited March 2018
    jusomdude said:
    This is a problem I see too often with MMO games and wonder why more developers don't focus on fixing it. Low lvl content becomes a wasteland with very few or no players in it after a game has been out for awhile. They may as well delete the low lvl zones, especially when games are starting to offer catchup boosts with their new expansions or w/e.

    I know they can't force players to go to these zones, but the issue is that they don't have a reason to. This isn't an issue in all MMO games but it is in a good portion of them. Seems like a waste of time to make all that content when it's just left by the wayside. I'd like to see future developers do something about this, but current developers could too. Make your worlds alive and not just a means to an end!
    I think ESO found a rather elegant solution to that with their One Tamriel approach.
    SlyLoK
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,897
    So, the core issue is vertical progression, an issue that has arisen because developers have copied mechanics from single player games and tabletop RPGs and applied them to a massively multiplayer environment. 


    Vertical progression - the continual increase in power - enforces a design style that matches up the player's power with the power of the landscape. It results in all content becoming obsolete except the content at the top of the power scale, but that then becomes obsolete with the next expansion. 


    There are short term solutions to make a zone "feel" more relevant - scaling is one option, but only works if your content is non-linear. Putting in social hubs, auction houses, crafting stations etc also attracts more people to the zone, but if they're in that zone it just means they aren't somewhere else. You can mix high and low level content together but that does nothing to improve availability of players for grouping and unless that high level content is endgame content, it won't actually help. 


    The solution is horizontal progression and non-linear content. Horizontal progression ensures everyone is at the same power level, so everyone is "on level" and could group up. But, thats only half the story, you have to design your content to support it. If you still have very linear content driving that progression (i.e. questing....) then your players will still follow the quest path and old zones will still be empty. 
    This highlights another peculiarity of the MMORPG market.  Customers tend to appear in one great burst, and then progress together.  An exceptional game may get subsequent waves of customers, frequently this has occurred when new content / expansion and marketing occurs.

    This invariably leaves older level-based content empty; all existing players have moved to more advanced content and there are no new customers to replace them.  This hurts games that rely on box sales, the lack of a continual stream of new customers means no on-going income.  I heard this from a potential investor in 2003.  There needs to be a more steady revenue stream for games to attract investors.  I feel strongly that this early reliance on box sales and subscriptions are in part the reason why we have cash shops today.

    Horizontal progression *might* alleviate this phenomena, but I don't feel that it adequately addresses the underlying cause, lack of new players.






    wanderica

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • Octagon7711Octagon7711 Member LegendaryPosts: 8,967
    Aion added high level quests in the starting zone so new players do see high level players coming through a lot.  ESO opened factions so players can level in any and all starting zones.  SWG at first had starting zones at the major cities.  so a lot of games have been doing things to add to starting zones.

    "We all do the best we can based on life experience, point of view, and our ability to believe in ourselves." - Naropa      "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."  SR Covey

  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,586
    The solution is horizontal progression and non-linear content. Horizontal progression ensures everyone is at the same power level, so everyone is "on level" and could group up.
    If characters always remain at the same power level there is no progression.

    But they aren't staying at the same power level, are they? Whether the power of characters is escalating through the strengthening of abilities or broadening with a larger number of on par abilities, it is still greater the longer a character develops.
    You can still progress without getting more powerful. Its called specialising / customising. 

    So, as I progress through the game, I unlock new skills/abilities/stats/gear/whatever, but with each thing that improves you balance it against something that diminishes, leaving overall power the same. 

    Taking DPS as a prime example, you'd start out in the game with an all-rounder. As I progress, I unlock options for raw dps, crit chance, crit multiplier, dots, utilities etc. As I choose to specialise in some areas, I get worse in others. So, I might go full glass cannon, having the best possible burst dps but at the cost of smaller health, mitigations and utility. Maybe I want to be an AoE specialist, unlocking lots of aoe abilities but making me terrible at single target damage. 


    This sort of progression still gives people tons of things to unlock and really allows them to find their perfect playstyle, without screwing up the power balance. In some situations, sure, one build will be superior to another, but overall it balances out. It also means that difficulty can no longer be balanced against gear, because power is flat. So, difficulty has to be achieved through gameplay alone, so we might actually start getting higher quality content. 


    It's not perfect by any means, but vertical progression is truly terrible for a massively multiplayer environment. You don't want to keep segregating your community, we have 1000s of years of human history to prove that it doesn't work but that is what vertical progression does: segregate the community by power. 
    MendelLimnicGdemami
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,663
    edited March 2018
    AAAMEOW said:
    It is only a problem if the low level area isn't soloable.  I can't imagine low level going through the zones if it is group only and area is empty.



    Which begs the question: Can a game like Pantheon actually pull off group based gameplay for any length of time? Sure it will be great teh first couple of months when there are many others to play with, but what about after that?
    SlyLoKAlBQuirky
  • kitaradkitarad Member EpicPosts: 5,943
    The idea of progression is to experience new things in the game. Why would I go back to an area I finished and did all the quests in ?

  • delete5230delete5230 Member EpicPosts: 6,512
    The game has to be large. 
    The game has to have many starting zones and races. 
    The game has to have slow leveling where your 1-10 of a few days.  

    This is gone in mmorpgs
  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member RarePosts: 4,526
    My saddest moment in an MMO was when I tried alganon when it went F2P.  I didn't see anyone for two hours, which is OK for me, but right when I was about to log out someone found me and wanted to group.  they were so excited to find someone and I had to go.
    PhaserlightSlyLoKKyleran
  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Member RarePosts: 4,526
    edited March 2018
    It would be kind of cool if you had teh option to be serverless until you hit the level cap.  That way you could group all levelers onto the same virtual servers, as opposed to what WOW does with limited crossrealm servers
  • deniterdeniter Member RarePosts: 1,367
    kitarad said:
    The idea of progression is to experience new things in the game. Why would I go back to an area I finished and did all the quests in ?
    That's exactly what i was talking about on my post above. You just don't "finish an area" and move to a next one. There could be a locked door or a cave sealed with magical barrier which you can have access later in a game, or there can be a camp of high level mobs and a dungeon inside it right next to a starting place.

    Zones don't have to be set for certain level range. Every zone in a game can have mobs and quests for various levels and players will learn quickly they don't want to mess with powerful foes.
  • kitaradkitarad Member EpicPosts: 5,943
    deniter said:
    kitarad said:
    The idea of progression is to experience new things in the game. Why would I go back to an area I finished and did all the quests in ?
    That's exactly what i was talking about on my post above. You just don't "finish an area" and move to a next one. There could be a locked door or a cave sealed with magical barrier which you can have access later in a game, or there can be a camp of high level mobs and a dungeon inside it right next to a starting place.

    Zones don't have to be set for certain level range. Every zone in a game can have mobs and quests for various levels and players will learn quickly they don't want to mess with powerful foes.
    That is just it I'm not interested in places I have been in. Even if you place high level monsters there I may visit it once again but generally I want new experiences and areas.

  • time007time007 Member UncommonPosts: 1,061
    jusomdude said:
    This is a problem I see too often with MMO games and wonder why more developers don't focus on fixing it. Low lvl content becomes a wasteland with very few or no players in it after a game has been out for awhile. They may as well delete the low lvl zones, especially when games are starting to offer catchup boosts with their new expansions or w/e.

    I know they can't force players to go to these zones, but the issue is that they don't have a reason to. This isn't an issue in all MMO games but it is in a good portion of them. Seems like a waste of time to make all that content when it's just left by the wayside. I'd like to see future developers do something about this, but current developers could too. Make your worlds alive and not just a means to an end!
    well this is a problem mainly in themepark games.  so do away with the quest hubs etc.

    IMPORTANT:  Please keep all replies to my posts about GAMING.  Please no negative or backhanded comments directed at me personally.  If you are going to post a reply that includes how you feel about me, please don't bother replying & just ignore my post instead.  I'm on this forum to talk about GAMING.  Thank you.
  • SovrathSovrath Member LegendaryPosts: 28,603
    kitarad said:
    deniter said:
    kitarad said:
    The idea of progression is to experience new things in the game. Why would I go back to an area I finished and did all the quests in ?
    That's exactly what i was talking about on my post above. You just don't "finish an area" and move to a next one. There could be a locked door or a cave sealed with magical barrier which you can have access later in a game, or there can be a camp of high level mobs and a dungeon inside it right next to a starting place.

    Zones don't have to be set for certain level range. Every zone in a game can have mobs and quests for various levels and players will learn quickly they don't want to mess with powerful foes.
    That is just it I'm not interested in places I have been in. Even if you place high level monsters there I may visit it once again but generally I want new experiences and areas.
    There's nothing to say that you can't have a new experience in a previously visited area. Maybe a dungeon or cave or temple has deeper areas that are for much higher levels.


  • iixviiiixiixviiiix Member RarePosts: 2,131
    edited March 2018
    They do so to sell things , ether expansions packs or P2W items . If the game have more contents in all levels then players will not focus on end game and things don't sell well .

    Long and short , modern game making like killing the cow for meat instead of raise it for milk .
    The problem is if the meat don't sell well then there are no more .
  • XodicXodic Member EpicPosts: 1,138
    It's the Columbus effect.
    When you're out of continent.. uhh, content.
    AlBQuirky
  • Flyte27Flyte27 Member RarePosts: 4,574
    It is true that older games did have people return to the old zones and for reasons that have been mentioned.  

    In Ultima Online there wasn't really leveling or any specific order of progression.

    In Everquest mobs of different levels were scattered throughout the zones.  People of varying levels sometimes came to kill those mobs.  People of high level might come to buff low levels players or buy regents like bone chips or bat wings off them (used for spells).  Someone might be selling buffs or teleports to make money for expensive spells or items.  Most of it was reliant upon interdependence, lack of instances, lack of story, meaningful buffs, and meaningful items in low-level areas.

    I have to agree that story is a big part of what kills MMOs in this area.  Story equates to playing the game as having a start and a finish.  That means once you get past something it makes no sense to go backward in the story.
    MendelSteelhelmAlBQuirky
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,897
    Xodic said:
    It's the Columbus effect.
    When you're out of continent.. uhh, content.
    How far into the game must a player go before they realize they are incontinent?




    AlBQuirky

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

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