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[Column] General: Player Choice & the Decline of Interdependence

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

Called "MMO", the games we play are designed for interdependence with other players. In our latest Social Hub, we take a look at how player choice may have led to a decline in that interdependence. Check it out before heading to the comments.

Once upon a time, a popular consideration was whether or not your chosen server would have a good community (at launch or if you joined up later). Would there be a healthy population over time? Would there be helpful, skilled players to team up with? Would there be a good class distribution ratio? And for some, whether there would be active roleplayers (or RP servers). Classes and gameplay and choice were all important, as they are now, but somehow it seems like for myself and most people I know that have played MMOs for a while, the mindset of planning was with a more group-oriented mind. You didn't want to roll on a server with a severe imbalance of, say, mages, making groups hard to find. Nor would you want your home server to have just a handful of crafters. Designers too knew that there was potential for wildly uneven numbers at times, but communities sprung up and often took care of themselves. That's not a rose-colored glasses statement, as having to reroll a character was more painful then, so knowing the community composition and being able to settle into your groove mattered.

Read more of Christina Gonzalez's The Social Hub: Player Choice & the Decline of Interdependence.

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Comments

  • Sajman01Sajman01 Member Posts: 204

    Enjoyed the article, nice read.

     

    All players want to, at their core, play with other players. But nobody wants to play with 'that guy'. Now 'that guy' is different for each person, some people dislike the careless newbie that watches cut scenes while others dislike the elitist player that berates the careless newbie.

     

    Playing with other players is what makes this genre entertaining but you can't just throw everyone together and expect players to get a long. Developers have to do a better job of separating the different player types and allow players to find like minded players.

     

    Guilds are a good way to do this but are not the end all solution. Players have loyalties to their friends and family both in the game and in the real world which may prevent them from moving into a guild that would be more suited for them. You also don't necessarily always have guild mates available to you.

     

    Guild Wars 2 does a very good job with its LFD tool. Many players blast it as being over simplistic but giving players a line of text to stipulate what they're looking for in group mates is a great idea. It keeps elite players on one side of the dungeon and newer players on the other.

     

    I believe games that launch with multiple servers should attempt to separate differently minded players right at the start. Label some servers as 'Friendly' while labeling others as 'Hardcore'. This way players only have themselves to blame if they ended up having to do content with people they don't like.

     

    Once players are separated into like minded groups, everyone will want to start grouping again and we can get to working on building stronger communities and better games.

     
     
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910

    I did not read the article, because I'm lazy and have ADD, but was there any reference to this recent post on the forums?

    title said something about player interdependance

    Not judging, just curious. People have the same sorts of ideas at the same time all the time.

    I've always assumed that the decline in explicit interdependence between players was a response to players getting tired of having to wait for other players to do fun things. It is very much a single player mentality, and something is definitely lost, but at the same time something is gained too. More players get to engage in game activities rather than waiting to engage in game activities.

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

  • JerYnkFanJerYnkFan Member UncommonPosts: 342

    Good article Christina.  You've become my favorite columnist on the site.  I miss the interdependency of SWG (didn't play UO or EQ so don't have them as a reference point). I use to like going to player city malls to see who had the best equipment or playing a Ranger and taking orders for a specific type of meat for doctor buffs.   However it seems as if those days have passed especially now with games like FFXIV where you can master every profession yourself so with enough time except for dungeons you never even need to see another player.

  • FoomerangFoomerang Member UncommonPosts: 5,619

    Your articles are frustrating to read. You turn a blind eye to so much that went on, is going on, just to make a point.

    Interdependence is alive and well. Leveling up can be done solo, but the meta game is all about grouping. Take FFXIV for example; yes you can be all things with one character, but to actually do all things with one character is such a monumental task that it encourages you to buy and trade with others. Leveling is just a drop in the bucket now compared to older mmos and the interdependence flourishes at endgame.

    Something you did not mention was that older mmos which limited your choices with one character only spawned countless alts and people with multiple accounts. How exactly did that help community when everyone had a dozen characters that could fulfill every need? Armies of alts so that you didnt have to depend on anyone.

    Id prefer it the way it is now simply because a community can grow from players being compelled to stick around with one character. I didnt have to know all of Joe's 27 alts in order to see what he was up to. At least now, you can feel like you're progressing the way you want with one character, which creates more permanence in the game world, which helps build that precious community.

    Then the second half of your post tangents off into downtime which isnt really about what you were talking about. Just seemed like a side rant that should have been edited out tbh.

    Im just saying all this junk because these are topics that are actually interesting to discuss but just like every other trollish thread about it on the main forums, we get official columns that arent much better than the lopsided bait threads we see every day.

    Anyway, keep up with the writing and it will improve. And thank you for sharing.

  • MindTriggerMindTrigger Member Posts: 2,596

    I personally believe that these games are LESS lucrative than they could be.  I mean, if most people are playing your game for 30-90 days before they get bored to death and jump ship, how much more lucrative would it be if the game was designed more for longevity than simplicity?

    I still say a lot of gamers who came along post-WoW launch have no idea what they are missing in these more complex MMO models.  They simply haven't even experienced one, and they cut their MMO-teeth on simple, single player focused MMO games.  Those of us who have been around long enough know how much more rewarding it is to have the larger community be a key part of your gaming experience.  Other people are the best content out there, if the game gives them the tools.

    A sure sign that you are in an old, dying paradigm/mindset, is when you are scared of new ideas and new technology. Don't feel bad. The world is moving on without you, and you are welcome to yell "Get Off My Lawn!" all you want while it happens. You cannot, however, stop an idea whose time has come.

  • RocknissRockniss Member Posts: 1,034
    Let the lore of games be the driving force, it's the only way to get a passionate community anymore.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910


    Originally posted by Foomerang
    Your articles are frustrating to read. You turn a blind eye to so much that went on, is going on, just to make a point.Interdependence is alive and well. Leveling up can be done solo, but the meta game is all about grouping. Take FFXIV for example; yes you can be all things with one character, but to actually do all things with one character is such a monumental task that it encourages you to buy and trade with others. Leveling is just a drop in the bucket now compared to older mmos and the interdependence flourishes at endgame.Something you did not mention was that older mmos which limited your choices with one character only spawned countless alts and people with multiple accounts. How exactly did that help community when everyone had a dozen characters that could fulfill every need? Armies of alts so that you didnt have to depend on anyone. Id prefer it the way it is now simply because a community can grow from players being compelled to stick around with one character. I didnt have to know all of Joe's 27 alts in order to see what he was up to. At least now, you can feel like you're progressing the way you want with one character, which creates more permanence in the game world, which helps build that precious community.Then the second half of your post tangents off into downtime which isnt really about what you were talking about. Just seemed like a side rant that should have been edited out tbh.Im just saying all this junk because these are topics that are actually interesting to discuss but just like every other trollish thread about it on the main forums, we get official columns that arent much better than the lopsided bait threads we see every day.Anyway, keep up with the writing and it will improve. And thank you for sharing.

    There is a difference between needing "somebody to heal" for a dungeon and needing a Discipline Priest for every dungeon. MMORPGs are not the solo affairs that some people like to moan about, but they don't require nearly the interdependence among players that they used to. There is a social aspect of the game that is lost when players do not have to depend on each other. There is a social aspect of the game that is gained too.

    It's the "forced grouping" discussion from a different angle. Is it better to force people together for the greater good, or is it better to allow people to do things on their own, coming together when they choose to do so?

    Financially, the answer is fairly obvious. If it made better financial sense for developers to go the interdependence route, they would.

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

  • FoomerangFoomerang Member UncommonPosts: 5,619


    Originally posted by lizardbones

    There is a difference between needing "somebody to heal" for a dungeon and needing a Discipline Priest for every dungeon. MMORPGs are not the solo affairs that some people like to moan about, but they don't require nearly the interdependence among players that they used to. There is a social aspect of the game that is lost when players do not have to depend on each other. There is a social aspect of the game that is gained too.

    It's the "forced grouping" discussion from a different angle. Is it better to force people together for the greater good, or is it better to allow people to do things on their own, coming together when they choose to do so?

    Financially, the answer is fairly obvious. If it made better financial sense for developers to go the interdependence route, they would.

    I want to believe that. And maybe it is partially true. But my first hand experience tells a different story. A good community was just as rare as it is now. Different servers had different vibes. Same exact game. I dont attribute that to varying populations of healers or crafters but of the individuals who shaped the atmosphere of an entire server. Server pops were relatively small back then, and good folks had a huge influence. More than we give them credit for today. We would rather attribute it to the magical game mechanics long forgotten that made us hold hands around the campfire.

    Personal experience showed me soured communities more often than not. Wanna know how these cynical old mmo vets got so bitter? They've been practicing for 15+ years. Pissing and moaning about every little detail. Look at the backlog SWG forums in 2003-2004, long before and CU or NGE. Its a nightmare. The self importance, indignation, and utter contempt for developers was worse then than it is now.


  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910


    Originally posted by Foomerang
    Originally posted by lizardbonesThere is a difference between needing "somebody to heal" for a dungeon and needing a Discipline Priest for every dungeon. MMORPGs are not the solo affairs that some people like to moan about, but they don't require nearly the interdependence among players that they used to. There is a social aspect of the game that is lost when players do not have to depend on each other. There is a social aspect of the game that is gained too.

    It's the "forced grouping" discussion from a different angle. Is it better to force people together for the greater good, or is it better to allow people to do things on their own, coming together when they choose to do so?

    Financially, the answer is fairly obvious. If it made better financial sense for developers to go the interdependence route, they would.

    I want to believe that. And maybe it is partially true. But my first hand experience tells a different story. A good community was just as rare as it is now. Different servers had different vibes. Same exact game. I dont attribute that to varying populations of healers or crafters but of the individuals who shaped the atmosphere of an entire server. Server pops were relatively small back then, and good folks had a huge influence. More than we give them credit for today. We would rather attribute it to the magical game mechanics long forgotten that made us hold hands around the campfire.

    Personal experience showed me soured communities more often than not. Wanna know how these cynical old mmo vets got so bitter? They've been practicing for 15+ years. Pissing and moaning about every little detail. Look at the backlog SWG forums in 2003-2004, long before and CU or NGE. Its a nightmare. The self importance, indignation, and utter contempt for developers was worse then than it is now.





    I don't think I'd argue with anything you said. I would add that socializing (communication) and a social system (personal interactions) are different things. A social system can exist with very little socialization. In the case of different factions that can't talk to each other, the social system exists in the absence of socializing.

    I can understand players wanting things to not change, and at the same time want new things. I'm the same way about comic book movies. I have thirty years of comics that the movies need to pay homage to, but I still want the movies to do something new. It's not something I'm bitter about, but I can understand wanting something new that is faithful to what I already know.

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

  • FoomerangFoomerang Member UncommonPosts: 5,619


    Originally posted by lizardbones

    I don't think I'd argue with anything you said. I would add that socializing (communication) and a social system (personal interactions) are different things. A social system can exist with very little socialization. In the case of different factions that can't talk to each other, the social system exists in the absence of socializing.

    I can understand players wanting things to not change, and at the same time want new things. I'm the same way about comic book movies. I have thirty years of comics that the movies need to pay homage to, but I still want the movies to do something new. It's not something I'm bitter about, but I can understand wanting something new that is faithful to what I already know.

    That makes a lot of sense and is a valid point. I really don't think there are any blanket solutions. It really just comes down to hits and misses and all the stuff inbetween and how we choose to "deal" so to speak. I wish the author of this column would have dug deeper than the typical go to tropes, though.

  • methosxmethosx Member UncommonPosts: 7
    Thanks for the article, Christina. I agree with most of what you said. I've been playing MMORPGs since EQ. For the last couple of months I've been playing FFXIV. I don't think I've talked to a single person in the game. I just don't need to - the dungeon finder and market boards eliminate that. Even in the forced groups for advancing the main story, I don't talk to anyone. I've tried. People just don't seem interested in socializing any more. I haven't capped any jobs yet, but I have a few in the 30s and 40s. I just started wondering last night why I'm even playing the game. It's like work, grinding each job up, mostly by myself. I think it might be time for me to quit the genre altogether. It's just not the same as it was back in the day, and I find myself not really wanting to be a part of the new setup. 
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910


    Originally posted by Foomerang
    Originally posted by lizardbonesI don't think I'd argue with anything you said. I would add that socializing (communication) and a social system (personal interactions) are different things. A social system can exist with very little socialization. In the case of different factions that can't talk to each other, the social system exists in the absence of socializing.

    I can understand players wanting things to not change, and at the same time want new things. I'm the same way about comic book movies. I have thirty years of comics that the movies need to pay homage to, but I still want the movies to do something new. It's not something I'm bitter about, but I can understand wanting something new that is faithful to what I already know.

    That makes a lot of sense and is a valid point. I really don't think there are any blanket solutions. It really just comes down to hits and misses and all the stuff inbetween and how we choose to "deal" so to speak. I wish the author of this column would have dug deeper than the typical go to tropes, though.




    They have to leave us something to argue about. :-)

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

  • tman5tman5 Member Posts: 604
    Originally posted by lizardbones


    Financially, the answer is fairly obvious. If it made better financial sense for developers to go the interdependence route, they would.

     

    This is THE response.  Developers do not want my money because they have all the money from those that enjoy solo play.  There's more of "them" than there are of "us." 

    That's sad, for me, but I've come to accept it

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk Member RarePosts: 1,567

    I remember a few articles ago when Christina commented on the Trinity forming community, an article I completely disagreed with. In my reply to that article I argued that grouping and downtime was mostly responsible for the communities that formed in older MMO's. Coupled with a lack of a cross server Dungeon Finder and the need to actually not behave like a c**t so people put you on their ignore list and you'd never ever get a group.

     

    Amazing how many people thought I was an idiot for suggesting such a thing.

     

    This article I agree with completely. We have definitely lost something along the way as things have become more solo friendly, more casual friendly, some might say easier. This will only get worse, in my opinion, if we allow MMO's to make the move to consoles. The restrictions of the controllers will demand an even easier, more simplified game than we see today. We've lost enough already and I hate the thought of things getting worse.

  • finnmacool1finnmacool1 Member Posts: 453
    Originally posted by MindTrigger

    I personally believe that these games are LESS lucrative than they could be.  I mean, if most people are playing your game for 30-90 days before they get bored to death and jump ship, how much more lucrative would it be if the game was designed more for longevity than simplicity?

    I still say a lot of gamers who came along post-WoW launch have no idea what they are missing in these more complex MMO models.  They simply haven't even experienced one, and they cut their MMO-teeth on simple, single player focused MMO games.  Those of us who have been around long enough know how much more rewarding it is to have the larger community be a key part of your gaming experience.  Other people are the best content out there, if the game gives them the tools.

    Nonsense. If wow had released at the same time as eq1 it still would have had 20 times the subs. Eq1 would have been lucky to top 100k subs at its high point. Im all for niche games and think there should be a lot more to satisfy all types of gameplay. All you people that advocate interdependency seem to forget that the only reason people endured it initially is because there was no choice. As soon as the choice was offered, you see what happened.

  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910


    Originally posted by MindTrigger
    I personally believe that these games are LESS lucrative than they could be.  I mean, if most people are playing your game for 30-90 days before they get bored to death and jump ship, how much more lucrative would it be if the game was designed more for longevity than simplicity?I still say a lot of gamers who came along post-WoW launch have no idea what they are missing in these more complex MMO models.  They simply haven't even experienced one, and they cut their MMO-teeth on simple, single player focused MMO games.  Those of us who have been around long enough know how much more rewarding it is to have the larger community be a key part of your gaming experience.  Other people are the best content out there, if the game gives them the tools.

    Most players don't even want to play a twenty hour campaign. What makes you think they'll stick around for a six month leveling curve or a game with indefinitely timed game play?

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

  • gjsfaungjsfaun Member CommonPosts: 34

    There were a lot of downsides to the older systems.  People tend to look with rose-colored glasses, but the reality of playing back in the beginning was, for many people, hellish.  Hours waiting for groups, losing everything you own trying to just get from point A to point B, losing 4 levels because you happen to choose a race/class combo that sucked at solo'ing and there weren't enough people your level to group with, getting bad groups and wiping a lot (but not wanting to leave because, well, it took 6 hours to get this one!), starting on a server that ended up being bad for whatever reason (community sucked, or didn't have enough people, or had too many people, or some imbalance), etc.  

    You had to have time to play, and put in that time, and get lucky enough to find great people to play with. For someone that had less than 30 hr a week to put into the game, sucks for them.  Or someone that started the game after the initial rush - find someone to help power level or suck.

    It did have it's strong parts and it's fun parts, but ultimately it was the community that made is fun.  I had a lot of fun grouping in non-traditional groups (because we had to) and figuring out how to make it work.  But it still sucked. It was finding cool people to play with that made it tolerable. Then it sucked again when level differences or play times changed or some other factor was introduced.

    I like where things are going - games should focus on allowing me to play with friends, focus more on us having fun together, doing things together, etc.  Less time trying to find each other (alts, distance, etc), less time grinding out level differences, less time worried about difference in the amount of time I have to play vs. my friends, less time worried about matching the right classes (play what you want!), more quality time doing things we enjoy together.

    The treadmill model has always sucked - fighting low level goblins until you are strong enough to fight high level goblins, just so you can feel weak forever and ever. Force a group dynamic in order to be successful (or at least less sucky).   I welcome new ideas and games that go beyond this.  Change up the system and allow the community to build itself in ways that have never been possible before.

  • ropeniceropenice Member UncommonPosts: 588
    Originally posted by gjsfaun

    There were a lot of downsides to the older systems.  People tend to look with rose-colored glasses, but the reality of playing back in the beginning was, for many people, hellish.  Hours waiting for groups, losing everything you own trying to just get from point A to point B, losing 4 levels because you happen to choose a race/class combo that sucked at solo'ing and there weren't enough people your level to group with, getting bad groups and wiping a lot (but not wanting to leave because, well, it took 6 hours to get this one!), starting on a server that ended up being bad for whatever reason (community sucked, or didn't have enough people, or had too many people, or some imbalance), etc.  

    You had to have time to play, and put in that time, and get lucky enough to find great people to play with. For someone that had less than 30 hr a week to put into the game, sucks for them.  Or someone that started the game after the initial rush - find someone to help power level or suck.

    It did have it's strong parts and it's fun parts, but ultimately it was the community that made is fun.  I had a lot of fun grouping in non-traditional groups (because we had to) and figuring out how to make it work.  But it still sucked. It was finding cool people to play with that made it tolerable. Then it sucked again when level differences or play times changed or some other factor was introduced.

    I like where things are going - games should focus on allowing me to play with friends, focus more on us having fun together, doing things together, etc.  Less time trying to find each other (alts, distance, etc), less time grinding out level differences, less time worried about difference in the amount of time I have to play vs. my friends, less time worried about matching the right classes (play what you want!), more quality time doing things we enjoy together.

    The treadmill model has always sucked - fighting low level goblins until you are strong enough to fight high level goblins, just so you can feel weak forever and ever. Force a group dynamic in order to be successful (or at least less sucky).   I welcome new ideas and games that go beyond this.  Change up the system and allow the community to build itself in ways that have never been possible before.

    Agree with most of your point, but the problem as I see it is in games are developed to cater to extremes. Why can't they give a bit of both? I hated waiting for the boat in EQ and was glad to see those types of time-sinks go the way of the Dodo, but other "improvements" seem to take away from the game enjoyment or community. Such as how fast it is to level makes the whole process of leveling seem useless, why not just have everyone start at lev cap and be done with it if leveling is so tedious. A solution could be to make leveling fun and then maybe we wouldn't need to speed ahead to the inevitable gear grind raids.

     

    As for interdependency, why couldn't they just tweek it until a good balance instead of just eliminating it. Maybe you need cc, support, heal but instead of only cleric or one class providing it, have multiple classes that get same effect with different skills/spells so you don't have to wait for one specific class, but can choose from some others, but keep the specialization of certain classes. Ex enchanter with traditional cc (maybe best at it), but also have a rogue that can cc enough to get through content as well, but a little tougher, or a melee with some knockback, stuns, etc.

    I just don't see why they can't balance mechanics of convenience and long-term game play.

  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,998
    Originally posted by gjsfaun

    There were a lot of downsides to the older systems.  People tend to look with rose-colored glasses, but the reality of playing back in the beginning was, for many people, hellish.  Hours waiting for groups, losing everything you own trying to just get from point A to point B, losing 4 levels because you happen to choose a race/class combo that sucked at solo'ing and there weren't enough people your level to group with, getting bad groups and wiping a lot (but not wanting to leave because, well, it took 6 hours to get this one!), starting on a server that ended up being bad for whatever reason (community sucked, or didn't have enough people, or had too many people, or some imbalance), etc.  

    You had to have time to play, and put in that time, and get lucky enough to find great people to play with. For someone that had less than 30 hr a week to put into the game, sucks for them.  Or someone that started the game after the initial rush - find someone to help power level or suck.

    It did have it's strong parts and it's fun parts, but ultimately it was the community that made is fun.  I had a lot of fun grouping in non-traditional groups (because we had to) and figuring out how to make it work.  But it still sucked. It was finding cool people to play with that made it tolerable. Then it sucked again when level differences or play times changed or some other factor was introduced.

    I like where things are going - games should focus on allowing me to play with friends, focus more on us having fun together, doing things together, etc.  Less time trying to find each other (alts, distance, etc), less time grinding out level differences, less time worried about difference in the amount of time I have to play vs. my friends, less time worried about matching the right classes (play what you want!), more quality time doing things we enjoy together.

    The treadmill model has always sucked - fighting low level goblins until you are strong enough to fight high level goblins, just so you can feel weak forever and ever. Force a group dynamic in order to be successful (or at least less sucky).   I welcome new ideas and games that go beyond this.  Change up the system and allow the community to build itself in ways that have never been possible before.

    But your talking about Everquest.   There are many different types of gaming experiences like UO or DaOC that essentially were abandoned to get the WoW money.  

     

    And to those who think WoW would have had a ton of subs back in the day is wrong.  I doubt WoW is even playable on dailup like many of us were doing in the early days.  Even less people had internet let alone broadband a near 6-7 years before WoW.  It was different reality.  

     

    World of Warcraft believe it or not was far more old school (semi-harder and slower leveling(not EQ level), open world, mass raiding etc.  World of Warcraft success laid with a popular already online IP and an online cult like following of fans that brought the MMORPG to the mainsteam.  It remained successful because it was the first MMORPG to true bring playability to the genre.  EQ the top dog at the time was dated in the days of Voodoo 3d cards with a clunky interface.  Its not surprise that WoW stole its people.  Do you really think if WoW had EQ1 level graphics, interface and no popular IP it would have been as successful based on its features alone?

  • EhliyaEhliya Member UncommonPosts: 218

    Good article.  Put the finger right on why I play less and less MMOs now...you might as well just play single player games.

     
  • Servant-XIIServant-XII Member Posts: 34

    I agree with Christina. The whole idea of MMO is that the world is populated with many people, hence the term massive multiplayer online. We've pretty much dropped the RPG moniker that goes at the end and that I believe was a sign of the decline of community in MMO games.

    It was mentioned earlier that once the interdependency was dropped, look what happened. I say "Amen" to that. Look what happened: lack of community, lack of socialization, a reaffirming of the solo attitude. It's hard to even get people to team and you have to ask the question why some of the people play MMOs at all. It would be better if they just downloaded the game without the MMO capability and simply play by themselves because it's what they do now.

    This new direction of MMOs may be the thing that tabletop RPGs need in reviving communities where the experience is the story and the social aspect. There's also that certain flexibility that you will never get from an MMO. The concept of the MMO is good in theory, but you have so many things to consider, and when money is king, many things often suffer.

    CoH Supergroup: The Millennium Paladins

  • DaessarDaessar Member Posts: 204

    Seems like a lot of these articles are popping up lately, and on many different sites. I wonder if there is a subtle message there somewhere.

    Sure, if you put a bowl of candy outside of a gym, it won't be very long until its all gone, even though everyone there knows it's not good for them. I'm sure somebody could proclaim the majority of gym members took candy from the bowl, so therefore it must be a good thing.

    We'll see if the MMO industry and developers will continue to try and keep pace with the "majority" of content locusts, or will decide that the 3 month burnout design model just isn't sustainable and comes at an additional cost of employee retention.

  • HaitesHaites Member Posts: 69

    Good article Cristina and you point out things that many of us have been bemoaning for a long time.

  • citadellicitadelli Member Posts: 36

    I think it's kind of an evolution of gaming. As MMO's become more mainstream, they are also reflecting more real life attitudes. Some people like being in a big world with others anonymously but I could see there's a sort of "comfort?" others are around. Some of those like grouping a lot and it's one of their only ways to really socialize given work/family schedules or perhaps social shyness. Also growing demographics.

    What I never understood about MMO's was the class restriction thing for the most part. The set in stone you're this... you can hold these weapons and do these things... Why can't a caster class pick up any weapon like a 2 handed hammer and use it? Sure they may be weak and not have agility to use it well, but they still could in real life. Why can't a tailor be a woodworker also?

    I can do my job, cook diner, build a fence, fix my car or whatever I want. I may not be good at some of them (caught my Torino on fire 3 times LOL) but I can still try and keep working on it until I'm more proficient or at least complete a project.

    I think restrictions should be limited to defining elements such as stats (Int/Sta/Str/Agi etc), racial/ethical - for example as in EQ's certain classes couldn't access certain classes (abilities), such as you couldn't be a High Elf Necromancer.

    Unlike my girl friend who is an alt-aholic in every game we've played I keep a small crew. Only to see what play style I like, or research others for pvp. Having more flexibility in a single toon doesn't hinder game play, it just lets you actually get more into the game and make a more holistic and embedded toon. I usually find a style I like and stick with it. I do like other things about others, but don't want to waste my time investing in that - that time doesn't exist to keep max leveling every character type for it to be an efficient toon.

    I also think a big portion of the MMO community is an aging one (I KNOW RIGHT?! How did I get to 40?!), and an even larger one is the younger crowd who is even more used to easy mode - (point A to B, when in doubt look it up on Youtube - or like my son skip A and B go straight to Youtube). There's also a large part of communities that are even the older ones (retired etc) than me who like to take it even slower but enjoy the fantasy rich social aspect and have been some of my best virtual friends. 

    At least for me on the older side (I think which is still the core of most MMO's - heck UO is still kickin), MMO's are one my biggest social and entertainment outlets. But given family, work, and life responsibilities, time is of a premium and limited.

    My current game of choice is GW2 since launch - love it! Play style is pure WvWvW, in one of the top guilds and even command from time to time. For me, I found my own little sweet spot of friends and play style ;-)

    I'm probably down to 20 hours a week which is still a part time job! But how much time do non MMO'rs watch TV? To me it's not like a couch potato there's so much more - mental/intel/social and emotional interaction. It's a changing genre.

     

  • NovusodNovusod Member UncommonPosts: 912

    Interdependencies died for a reason and I will tell you why. The biggest problem was that all interdependencies are 100% artificial rather than organic. The game developer would say Class A works best with Class B and Class C and hard code it as the form of stat synergies. Stat based interdependencies are ultimately very anti-social because they pigeon hole people in niche roles so their class doesn't work outside of its' intended role.

     

    An example of organic or social dependence would be three real life friends start playing a new MMO and two pick Class B while one picks Class C. If there is no stat interdependence then this works fine. Even if all the friends picked class B it would still be fine. The problem is the developer steps in and says "NO, NO, NO you can't do that. You are playing the game wrong." You have to play by the artificial rules that only Class A, B, and C go together and nothing else works. It is akin to the developers saying to the Three Musketeers that will never work. There can only be One Musketeer and the other two have to pick a different professions.

     

    It is always boggled my mind how MMO communities would just nod their heads and accept this. How many times would I hear "oh if you don't like your class you should play something else." Well maybe we didn't want to play a different class. Or the ever famous "go play a single player game." It turns out this was just the voice of loud minority. The silent majority of gamers simply suffered in silence or didn't play much. Did they not realize that it is possible to enjoy group content or even raid content without forced dependencies.

     

    The reality of artificial dependencies was actually much worse because most MMOs had more than 3 classes usually in the range of 10 or more. This made whole communities unbalanced as there was often a massive abundance of Class A while a shortage of D or E. This lead to MMO players being forced into roles they hated. Players were faced with the grim reality that if they played class A they would likely be shut out of the end game. Not only would the hypothetical group of three friends not be allowed the classes they wanted but that they would also have to bring in outsiders if they wanted to get things done. This seems to always work out badly.

     

    Recently things have changed as dependencies have begun to disappear. The developers were finally listening to the silent majority who can be seen voting with their wallets. Sure there will still be old school MMORPGs but there will also be MMOs for players who don't want to deal with dependencies. From now on there is going to be choice. The old days of dependency monopolies are over.

     

    Today I drink a toast: To the Decline of Interdependence. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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