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In your opinion what are some common Bad Game Design decisions that tend to get overlooked in MMOs?

13

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  • SteelhelmSteelhelm Member UncommonPosts: 332
    action combat
    drastic power levels
    questing
    minimap and map markers
    AlBQuirkyHluill
    Talking about games where thousands of players exist simultaneously in a single instance and mechanics related to such games.
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 21,555
    The problem with flagging is that if you want risk vs reward, one way to do it is to not allow flagging in certain areas and everything is PvP
    Problem with flagging is it can be exploited. Every flagging system has been exploited in some way.

    The only system I've seen work well is the Lineage Lawful/PK where fighting back removes the PK flag from the fight. It doesn't try and pretend to be a PvE only game. It's a PvPvE game where you don't have to fight, but you can't stop one either. Running is an option. Standing there and ignoring it is not.

    PvP MMOs that try and pretend they aren't one if you "flag" just don't work for me. It fractures an otherwise unified server community in ways that don't comfortably overlap.
    AlBQuirky
    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,243
    The problem with flagging is that if you want risk vs reward, one way to do it is to not allow flagging in certain areas and everything is PvP
    I disagree. Running around flagged is risk enough since you can be attacked even if you minding your business. That's a risk. 
    Hatefullbcbully

    image

  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,243
    Torval said:
    The problem with flagging is that if you want risk vs reward, one way to do it is to not allow flagging in certain areas and everything is PvP
    Problem with flagging is it can be exploited. Every flagging system has been exploited in some way.

    The only system I've seen work well is the Lineage Lawful/PK where fighting back removes the PK flag from the fight. It doesn't try and pretend to be a PvE only game. It's a PvPvE game where you don't have to fight, but you can't stop one either. Running is an option. Standing there and ignoring it is not.

    PvP MMOs that try and pretend they aren't one if you "flag" just don't work for me. It fractures an otherwise unified server community in ways that don't comfortably overlap.
    I disagree. Flagging system allow pvp players and pve players to still play together on the same maps instead of having dedicated maps and resources to go to that for a few handful of pvp only maps. 
    I am playing Archeage Unchained and the way PvP is in that gane is straight up garbage. Normally it's not a fair fight and just ganking simulator of low levels. I rather have the option to opt out of that mess while leveling up especially when my Faction don't have adequate population in the map to help counter enemy gankers. 
    Hatefull

    image

  • Hawkaya399Hawkaya399 Member UncommonPosts: 611
    edited October 2019
    This thread has more to do with what kind of games each of us enjoy to play more than it does design. Even for designers it frequently boils down to that as well. They may try to dress it up more with scientifikism, but in all truth they're just wanting the outside world to confirm their legitimacy.

    If i had to pick one thing that I think is bad game design in the modern MMORPG industry, I'd say not specifically targetting your audience well enough. Being too broad. Maybe publishers or investors want to be broad, but I think in the modern gaming industry, there's just sooooo much entrenchment and so many options, it's darn stupid to be broad. Entrenched players just want to play what they always have. They won't admit that because they starve for something new, but they almost always end up playing what htey always have or playing something almost exactly like it. And of course therer'e soooooo mahy games to play now, especially if you're ok with playing an amateur or old or emulated game, new games better offer something nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the multitutdes of games, and yet that's not exactly easy to do. Graphics are easy to beat, and maybe the first choice, but they won't make a game stand out enough. So the end result of all this, is you have to make yoru game or MMO specifcially for a particular audience and you have to know them really well. You have to design your product so it fits them like a glove. Smooth and easy. No discomfort. You make htem feel like they're leaving the sinking titanic. They're not irritated or hesitating. They're joyous. if you fail at this, you will be bitten by mediocrity. You will fail somewhere. Mayube by a thousand cuts.

    REally, we're all different and want to paly different things. Generally, games for different players are going to be made differently. Sure, there're some commonalities. Loops in differnt peices of code and in diffferent languages have strong remsemblances. And most players tend to share about the same tolerance for the ability to go without reward. However, they get rewards from different things. What's not a reward at all for one player can be a reward for another, meaning one player loses the will to play while anther is still happily smacking moles. The designer might not have intended it that way, or to that extreme. So anyway, I'm done. Different design principles and different games for different players. Period. End of story. Shouldn't have to say anbyting more unless you're not intending to be truthful. Sadly, it's normal to twist things around. Even science, our most powerful institution, isn't immune to human nature.

    I did say don't make an MMORPG for everyone. It's a mistake. It's a no no. HOWEVER, sometimes there exist different kinds of hybrid MMORPG players and if you understand them well enough then ti's perfectly possible to craft an MMORPG specifically for them. SPECIFICALLY. They might like to do everytihng, or maybe they like to combine genres. So in their case, it might be ok to mix things you normally would avoid.

    And yes, WoW was and is for a specific audience. It's not for everyone. It's not and never was the holy grail of MMORPGs. Each and every MMORPG, whether it's intended or not, has its own unique assembly that caters to a specific group of players. The players do not need to be aware of it, neither does anybody else. Evenb the smallest most despairingly despicable MMORPG is something special to someone.
    Post edited by Hawkaya399 on
    AlBQuirkyHluill
  • bcbullybcbully Member EpicPosts: 10,730
    Torval said:
    The problem with flagging is that if you want risk vs reward, one way to do it is to not allow flagging in certain areas and everything is PvP
    Problem with flagging is it can be exploited. Every flagging system has been exploited in some way.

    The only system I've seen work well is the Lineage Lawful/PK where fighting back removes the PK flag from the fight. It doesn't try and pretend to be a PvE only game. It's a PvPvE game where you don't have to fight, but you can't stop one either. Running is an option. Standing there and ignoring it is not.

    PvP MMOs that try and pretend they aren't one if you "flag" just don't work for me. It fractures an otherwise unified server community in ways that don't comfortably overlap.
    I disagree. Flagging system allow pvp players and pve players to still play together on the same maps instead of having dedicated maps and resources to go to that for a few handful of pvp only maps. 
    I am playing Archeage Unchained and the way PvP is in that gane is straight up garbage. Normally it's not a fair fight and just ganking simulator of low levels. I rather have the option to opt out of that mess while leveling up especially when my Faction don't have adequate population in the map to help counter enemy gankers. 
    Wushu did flagging the best. It’s a ffa PvP world. You’re flag was more like a safety on a gun. Unflagged (safety on) you could not attack. Flagged you could attack anyone.

    The flagging system did not protect you from being attack at all. Other systems like bounty hunters, jail, and prison did.
    TorvalAlBQuirkytzervo
  • CryomatrixCryomatrix Member EpicPosts: 3,218
    Sovrath said:
    "new player areas" that aren't relevant once you leave them.

    I find the whole magic ring, necklace "earring" method of applying more stats ridiculous.

    So, every person in the land wears earrings and necklaces and rings?


    If they made you survive better than everyone would. Hell, if i lived in a fantasy game world and i could get stats on a nipple ring and tongue ring, id do it. 
    AmarantharAlBQuirkyHluill
    Catch me streaming at twitch.tv/cryomatrix
    You can see my sci-fi/WW2 book recommendations. 
  • AldersAlders Member RarePosts: 2,200
    I'd like to add a second bad design element that i can't stand: Catch up mechanics

    Back in my day catch up mechanics were called guilds and friends. That's the way it was and we liked it!
    AmarantharAlBQuirky
  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,243
    Alders said:
    I'd like to add a second bad design element that i can't stand: Catch up mechanics

    Back in my day catch up mechanics were called guilds and friends. That's the way it was and we liked it!
    so whats an example of a catch up mechanics?

    image

  • iixviiiixiixviiiix Member RarePosts: 2,256
    Alders said:
    I'd like to add a second bad design element that i can't stand: Catch up mechanics

    Back in my day catch up mechanics were called guilds and friends. That's the way it was and we liked it!
    so whats an example of a catch up mechanics?
    I think most troblesome catch up mechanic is easy to get gears , it kind of ruined the economic of game by add strong gears that have nothing to do with original design mechanics
  • ZoeMcCloskeyZoeMcCloskey Member UncommonPosts: 1,372
    Can't walk up a two foot tall pile of dirt because it is the edge of the zone.
    AlBQuirky

    image
  • HatefullHatefull Member EpicPosts: 2,409
    Torval said:
    The problem with flagging is that if you want risk vs reward, one way to do it is to not allow flagging in certain areas and everything is PvP
    Problem with flagging is it can be exploited. Every flagging system has been exploited in some way.

    The only system I've seen work well is the Lineage Lawful/PK where fighting back removes the PK flag from the fight. It doesn't try and pretend to be a PvE only game. It's a PvPvE game where you don't have to fight, but you can't stop one either. Running is an option. Standing there and ignoring it is not.

    PvP MMOs that try and pretend they aren't one if you "flag" just don't work for me. It fractures an otherwise unified server community in ways that don't comfortably overlap.
    I played L2, lol that system does nothing to prevent PK's, you are correct, it does not pretend to be a PvE game at all.

    Anyway, I guess I am ignorant, so please explain to me how the flagging system in SWG was exploited? Because I have been under the impression that it was one of the few things that worked very well and I was not aware of any exploits.

    Flagging work better than the L2 auto flag system, imo. Having played both, extensively.

    If you want a new idea, go read an old book.

    In order to be insulted, I must first value your opinion.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member EpicPosts: 6,940
    Hatefull said:
    Torval said:
    The problem with flagging is that if you want risk vs reward, one way to do it is to not allow flagging in certain areas and everything is PvP
    Problem with flagging is it can be exploited. Every flagging system has been exploited in some way.

    The only system I've seen work well is the Lineage Lawful/PK where fighting back removes the PK flag from the fight. It doesn't try and pretend to be a PvE only game. It's a PvPvE game where you don't have to fight, but you can't stop one either. Running is an option. Standing there and ignoring it is not.

    PvP MMOs that try and pretend they aren't one if you "flag" just don't work for me. It fractures an otherwise unified server community in ways that don't comfortably overlap.
    I played L2, lol that system does nothing to prevent PK's, you are correct, it does not pretend to be a PvE game at all.

    Anyway, I guess I am ignorant, so please explain to me how the flagging system in SWG was exploited? Because I have been under the impression that it was one of the few things that worked very well and I was not aware of any exploits.

    Flagging work better than the L2 auto flag system, imo. Having played both, extensively.
    Not being devious, I guess, how does any flagging system get "exploited?" Who would exploit it and why?

    I thought it was a simple "PvP"/"NO PvP" thing. Is my PvP ignorance showing? :blush:

    - 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


  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,749
    edited October 2019
    AlBQuirky said:
    I thought it was a simple "PvP"/"NO PvP" thing. Is my PvP ignorance showing? :blush:
    I'm in the pvp ignorant camp as well (one of my bad design decisions listed was forced pvp), so I only have a limited experience on the matter, still I agree with Torval: every flag system I've met, without exception, was exploited.

    You're correct in it should be a simple pvp/no pvp thing. I believe that's why Torval used the term exploit, since design and implementation don't walk side by side all the time, and when a player flags themselves for "no pvp" and suddenly finds himself/herself ganked, it surely feels like an exploit.
    The few cases I've experienced, without pointing fingers at games (since some of those were bugs and fixed, some are still in the game) were included:
    some ground-target AoE powers deals damage to the flagged player and removes the flag,
    a certain aura from a player shares flag status (so a pvp flagged player runs into the town and toggle everyone there for a target to his ganking buddies),
    mob hugging since a fairly popular power's AoE tick could apply to pvp players and with it un-flag the mob-hunting PvE player,
    ninja invite to group or guild, and while the interaction window was up the player was free target for ganks (was the easiest to prevent, just switched ninja invites to auto-reject)
    party finder turned on pvp flag if a candidate had the flag, regardless of actually get into the instance or not (gankers were sitting in the queue and when it popped just hit decline - flag had a cooldown, after such a failed pop players were free pvp targets for several minutes)
    AlBQuirky
  • AAAMEOWAAAMEOW Member RarePosts: 1,482
    You can craft things instantaneous by clicking a button.

    Crafting should take times so 1 crafter can't flood an entire server worth of item.
    iixviiiixAmarantharAlBQuirky
  • RungarRungar Member RarePosts: 527
    ill tell you why i think raids and when I say raids I mean generally private pve raids. This is not meant to knock anyone who currently enjoys that activity.  This is just an observation from pretty much EQ to ESO.

    The real problem with it is that it tends to concentrate a certain kind of player aka the hardcore player, who is usually also very vocal on the boards ( this may not be you!). Over time through a process i call raidculture these voices overwhelm all other voices and the game begins to change toward a game more suitable for these voices to the detriment of all the other voices. Some developers resist these voices to some degree. 

    eso's great example is dlc dungeons which prior to fall 2017 many people completed on vet mode, but the "we need extreme challenge" folk  got their way and suddenly what was endgame aka new dungeons simply disappeared for alot of players! Then it was a choice between doing something that was too easy and no reward or a choice between too hard and way too hard. 

    EQ of course was not initially a raiding game as there were only 2 dragons to kill so i dont think they planned it that way but it became a hardcore raiding game, maybe the most hardcore raiding game of all time because people listen to those voices. 

    So here we are many years later and the gameplay for a mmo hasent really changed much since EQ , often worse, and the same things keep happening. Certain players keep petitioning for more hardcore content even though most players will likely never see it and depending on the developer they get their way. 

    the next aspect is that because raids focus on bosses things like crowd control and other gameplay tend to become redundant because the encounters would be too easy. So the games adapt too and since other viewpoints often arent included, things like crowd control take a general back seat and all of a sudden the only thing that matters in your game is dps. 

    now we have a real problem because this translates through the game to the point where everything is either too easy or too hard based solely on your dps.  

    Raid based gameplay is a dumbing down force for the rest of the game, even though the opposite is usually claimed. All the tools that should be at the disposal of a player are whisked away and whittled down to only include those tools that finish the boss most effectively. 

    you either have the dps or you dont. If your wondering why no game has matched Eq's basic game ( not the raids). This is why. Your toolshed is empty. Daoc had it right in some respects but even that was overwhelmed with trials and destroyed. 




           
    AlBQuirkyAnskier
    .9 of a second to midnight
  • Viper482Viper482 Member LegendaryPosts: 3,573
    edited October 2019
    Gear grind endgame where you repeat the same content over and over in order to get high ilvl gear to grind the same content only with an increase in difficulty. This is just 80's arcade level design. You don't get more powerful, the gear is just a gate keeping you from going to that next level. It doesn't make you more powerful. All artificial bullshit designed to keep you subscribed longer.
    SovrathultimateduckAlBQuirkyAmaranthar
    Make MMORPG's Great Again!
  • MMOExposedMMOExposed Member RarePosts: 7,243
    Here something that really bothering me as bad game design.

    In a so called PvP MMORPG, why the heck would it have PvE Level Grind in a PvP MMO? didnt Warhammer do this as well? and Archeage? Terrible game design.
    SteelhelmAlBQuirky

    image

  • AdamantineAdamantine Member RarePosts: 4,451
    IMHO bad game design choices:

    - lack of player cooperation / competition elements
    You always needs sufficient amounts of player cooperation and player competition in a MMO, otherwise I would have a hard time qualifying it as a MMO, even if it otherwise would fit the definition. I feel that Fallout 76, while being a disappointment in other areas as well, also demonstrated this problem.

    - instancing / cross server grouping / "phasing" / ...
    Sure, it saves network traffic, and it avoids certain problems. But this completely kills the MMO experience for me, because you no longer live in a defined world with a defined mass of players. I WANT these problems like everyone waiting on some boss to spawn because that gives me the actual experience of competing with other players over a resource.

    - too strong focus on graphics alone
    MMOs should put world size / amount of content over the prettiest most recent graphics. Great graphics are fun for an half hour or so, then you have forgotten they are even there. A game with longterm motivation needs substance, that means quality of course, but also sheer quantity.

    - "immersion"
    The only game that ever managed to keep me so immersed that I couldnt sleep because I kept thinking about it was ... chess. Is chess realistic ? Not at all. But its a very well designed game for sure. Thus a game can only be immersive if its well designed *as a game*. Otherwise "realistic" elements quickly turn into "pointless superflous repetitive timewasting" elements.

    - free to play, game shop, microtransactions, ...
    Everyone should play under the same outer conditions.

    - enforced first person perspective
    Some people loooooove this for "realism". But sorry - unless you play a mediveal knight, who with many helmets had a very surprisingly limited view, this is NOT actually a realistic viewing perspective. Also I really enjoy looking at my own character. Or not ... in that case, I dont like playing them, though.

    - dumb, non-sportive PvP
    If theres PvP, it should be fun for everyone participating. For example outright newbie ganking should be made impossible; if you attack somebody you should ALWAYS have a good chance you die yourself.

    - full loot PvP / lack of item focus
    This removes one area in which you can progress your character. For a game with longterm motivation, thats a really bad idea.

    - no crafting / no housing / ...
    Again this removes an area in which players can progress. Bad idea if you want a game with longterm motivation.

    - best gear only from raids
    Getting best gear should include all your gaming spheres. I.e. adventuring, crafting, raiding. Also PvP, if thats available.

    - permadeath
    EVE has a good implementation, that on paper allows permadeath but in practice still doesnt. Unless you have something very complex and refined like that, its a really bad idea that will lead to very justified /ragequit's of the player after they lost the character they've been working on for months if not years.

    - permanent item decay
    This leads to treatmill gaming that requires getting the same gear again and again. Thats really bad for a game that is supposed to have longterm motivation.

    - Lack of classes
    Classes allow you to have a character following rules no other character has to follow, unless they belong to the same class. This encourages playing alternate characters and thus adds to longterm motivation to play the game.

    - To little or too much balancing
    All classes should be worthwhile to play. Thus there should be some balance. On the other hand classes should have flashy abilities that really make them stand out.

    - race (or, worse, gender) restricted classes
    Oh I'm all for making race a substantial choice that changes your gameplay fundamentally.

    But I dont see how not allowing certain classes for certain races would actually archieve that. A sentient race would logically be able to fulfill ANY possible job.

    Sure, if you have a very good reason - for example I find the reasoning in Dragon Age: Origins why Dwarves cant be Mage is understandable. Still a very bad idea, like so many things about this very limited rulesystem, but at least it makes sense.

    Gender restricted would be only even worse; I can see rare, justified examples like Valkyr (rides unicorns, can thus only be female) or Eunuch (male only, for while you can sexually cripple women, too, it really only is a mutilation for them, but male Eunuchs are really different than regular male people), but not a general limitations, like only male Paladins.

    - Items that only stay until you log out
    Theres no problem with items gone after a server reboot. But if you are forced to stay logged in merely because you dont want to lose your temporary items, thats bad design.



    AlBQuirky
    Please set a sig so I can read your posting even if somebody "agreed" etc with it. Thanks.
  • HluillHluill Member UncommonPosts: 159
    Hluill said:
    Numbers.  Get rid of the numbers!  Use some color-coding or titles. 

    I am tired of playing with percentages to raise my DPS or surviveability.  Dungeons and Dragons made this mistake back in its Pen and Paper days.  Instead of just living and adventuring in a game world, we started min-maxing.  Now that's the game and the graphics and the story become nigh irrelevant. 

    I watch videos of gamers and their screens are filled with menus.  They're are not watching and interacting with the game world; monitoring spreadsheets of numbers.  The popular MMOs today actually have worse animations than ones decades older.  Sure, these new games are pretty with awesome graphics but the actual animation of an action is a quick flash of three ridiculous poses.   Many don't even seem to notice because they're too busy trying to manipulate numbers on a spreadsheet.
    soooo how it would work without numbers? visual novels?

    I don't think the number and % are the problem in games, unless its something like 0,01% of drop of something everyone want for they build

    Well, like I wrote "use color-coding or titles" instead of opening a spreadsheet that has all these statistics on it.

    How immersive is it to look at a weapon and read how it will increase this stat or that stat?  Why is this considered a viable mechanic?  What makes one weapon better than another?  Good kit is important but not the difference between munitions grade and custom is pretty negligible compared to training and talent.

    But most games focus on gear scores.  

    It would be nice if more of these games were like visual novels...

    TSW, LotRO, EQ2, SWTOR, GW2, V:SoH, Neverwinter, ArchAge, EQ, UO, DAoC, WAR, DDO, AoC, MO, BDO, SotA, B&S, ESO, 

  • HluillHluill Member UncommonPosts: 159
    Sovrath said:
    "new player areas" that aren't relevant once you leave them.

    I find the whole magic ring, necklace "earring" method of applying more stats ridiculous.

    So, every person in the land wears earrings and necklaces and rings?


    If they made you survive better than everyone would. Hell, if i lived in a fantasy game world and i could get stats on a nipple ring and tongue ring, id do it. 
    Yeah, that's my problem: how does a nipple ring make me more powerful?  Based on experience, a friend's painful experience, nipple rings, and most jewelry, are a detriment in combat.  And combat should be dangerous even in the newbie areas, even while wearing magical nipple rings.  

    TSW, LotRO, EQ2, SWTOR, GW2, V:SoH, Neverwinter, ArchAge, EQ, UO, DAoC, WAR, DDO, AoC, MO, BDO, SotA, B&S, ESO, 

  • Panther2103Panther2103 Member EpicPosts: 5,671
    Time gated content. Like an exp cap on something or you can only make X progress per day but it's required to do endgame. At least when people start hitting it remove the system, but most games seem to just keep them in. Like the cape in the previous wow expansion. 
    TorvaltzervoAlBQuirky
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 21,555
    AlBQuirky said:
    Hatefull said:
    Torval said:
    The problem with flagging is that if you want risk vs reward, one way to do it is to not allow flagging in certain areas and everything is PvP
    Problem with flagging is it can be exploited. Every flagging system has been exploited in some way.

    The only system I've seen work well is the Lineage Lawful/PK where fighting back removes the PK flag from the fight. It doesn't try and pretend to be a PvE only game. It's a PvPvE game where you don't have to fight, but you can't stop one either. Running is an option. Standing there and ignoring it is not.

    PvP MMOs that try and pretend they aren't one if you "flag" just don't work for me. It fractures an otherwise unified server community in ways that don't comfortably overlap.
    I played L2, lol that system does nothing to prevent PK's, you are correct, it does not pretend to be a PvE game at all.

    Anyway, I guess I am ignorant, so please explain to me how the flagging system in SWG was exploited? Because I have been under the impression that it was one of the few things that worked very well and I was not aware of any exploits.

    Flagging work better than the L2 auto flag system, imo. Having played both, extensively.
    Not being devious, I guess, how does any flagging system get "exploited?" Who would exploit it and why?

    I thought it was a simple "PvP"/"NO PvP" thing. Is my PvP ignorance showing? :blush:

    Since this thread got necro'd... :lol:

    In every flagging systems I've encountered so far there are mechanics which can flip the flag. It differs from game to game, but in all of them those mechanics can be leveraged or exploited to get that flag flipped to advantage of one side or the other.

    RPG PvP isn't that great in my opinion. It's all about gaining and exploiting unfair advantages to prey on weaker opponents. PvP players cry all the time about fair fights, but RPG systems are inherently unfair by design. They're all built on power progression curves. Players who like this sort of PvP really aren't looking for fair fights.

    The "fair" sort of PvP happens in horizontal progression games with little to no power curves, like FPS like Call of Duty, Battle Royale games, some moba and arena games, and a few RPGs that offer pvp build structures like Guild Wars 1 or maybe Crowfall (i'm not 100% certain about this last one).

    As a result, MMOs/MMORPGs that try to build PvE RPG elements into a PvP game are pretty much inherently flawed in my opinion.
    AlBQuirky
    traveller, interloper, anomaly, iteration


  • ScorchienScorchien Member LegendaryPosts: 8,269
    This.................

    WoW Papercraft - Quest Icons  Paperkraftnet - Free Papercraft Paper  Model  Papertoy
      And also the conning of mobs and/or marking with color difficulty , Why , just why , why the fuck would you want to know if you can beat the mob , why bother even playing a "Game" at all If you need to see " You will win this battle easily "

      Never could wrap my brain around that , it makes no sense , a crutch for weak players IMO
    AlBQuirky
  • TheocritusTheocritus Member LegendaryPosts: 8,673
    Vertical Progression

    Thats the biggest design mistake I can think of that gets repeatedly made. It's a single player and coop mechanic that should never have made its way into multiplayer games, let alone massively multiplayer games. Some of the problems it causes:

    • It segregates the community. For the MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER space, anything that segregates your playerbase so that they cannot play with one another should generally be avoided, but vertical progression specifically breaks up the playerbase into really small segements. There maybe 10,000 players on your server, but if only 150 of them are in the right power range as you, and only 50 are online, and only 10 want to play together......
    • It makes 99% of the content redundant as soon as you've completed it. What a waste of resources! All those millions of dollars spent building this amazing content, but the majority of it I'll only ever see once. Just plain dumb!
    • It makes balancing content impossible. When the power level of your playerbase can be so varied, it becomes impossible to balance content. This is why we generally only have challenging content at endgame - thats when the power curve levels off
    • It ensures the game is all about acquiring power (leveling up, getting gear, learning skills) and hardly any of the game is about learning to use that power (because if something is challenging, you can just come back once you've got more power, rather than having to learn to play better). That's not a good thing to be teaching us, but once you've seen this pattern it stops becoming fun.
    • Following on from above, for a lot of people, hitting the top of the power curve becomes a goal, which means once they achieve it they quit.
    • Naturally, it completely screws up PvP because not only are player skills widely different, now their character power is also widely different. This makes the experience unenjoyable for most people, but also cuts off the supply of new blood because they don't want to get pounded for weeks/months whilst they try to reach the top of the power curve themselves.

    There is only one benefit to vertical progression in an MMO: it gives clear goals to the playerbase. But that's it! Can devs really not think of an alternative progression path that will still give us goals?! Are they that set in their ways that they can't envision something other than acquiring power in an RPG? Lots of other genres have figured it out, yet for some reason MMORPGs havent.

    Other common problems that I won't go into as much:
    • Poor game engine choice - we see this time and again, but for some reason devs keep choosing game engines that won't support massively multiplayer gameplay
    • Action combat - easily accessible (which is good), but it's shallow so players get bored quicker (resulting in lower retention).
    • Holy Trinity - tends to dramatically restrict player choice by forcing certain group compositions and tactics. Give the players more options and it'll keep the game fresh, allowing for emergent behaviour
    • Focus on themepark - It is simply impossible for devs to release content rapidly enough to satisfy the playerbase. Even WoW with it's millions of subs couldn't achieve this. Yet, some MMOs neglect to add much sandbox stuff to it and as a result, lose a lot of players very quickly.
    • Focus on story - just a massive /facepalm at this one. Games are bad at telling stories, partly due to poor writing (the stories are so generic!) and partly due to the medium. Multiplayer environments are the worst, as not only do my own actions contradict the story, but so do everyone elses. Also, stories end...
    • Escalating stories - this is common across all media and is a problem everywhere. games are actually not too bad, but MMOs suffer from it due to lengthy operation time. Stop making each new enemy even bigger and badder than the one before. It's not needed. The more you escalate, the less I can empathise.
    • Loot-based economies - again, another single-player mechanic that shouldn't have made it into MMOs. It forces players down specific routes in order to get gear, but that can piss off a lot of people. Give your playerbase multiple routes to their goals and you'll retain them longer (e.g. boss-loot, plus crafting for yourself, plus buying from others).

    So what MMO that does not have vertical progression is any good?
    AlBQuirky
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