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[Column] General: Why Nostalgia is Necessary

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

It’s a very common sentiment to hear from people that they want more complex, hardcore MMOs. This is something that even though the age of the hardcore, demanding MMO, where things took forever to happen, where fast travel wasn’t happening, and where lines built up around other players or in-game areas for buffs or completion, is mostly locked in player nostalgia these days. modern players, not just MMO veterans, but those who are now living in the current world where nearly everything is online somehow, commonly express annoyance at efforts at real interdependence.

Read more of Christina Gonzalez's The Social Hub: Why Nostalgia is Important.

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Comments

  • BattlerockBattlerock Member CommonPosts: 1,393
    I'm just going to shout out for a more fun game, that's all I want. In my opinion an overly complex game does not equate to more fun for me. Exploring, achieving, reward, helping others - I associate that with fun, and it doesn't mean it has to be so complex that only hard cores have the time to truly grasp the concepts
  • serreniteiserrenitei Member UncommonPosts: 19

    My opinion, there should be space for both. I think the problem with your argument here assumes that all the newer players know they prefer the less complex experience to a more complex experience, which I don't think either you or I can say with any confidence. I think they like less complex because that's what they've been exposed to most often. 

    My really fun metaphor for this (as I sit eating lunch): 

    Old Gamer: I realllllly like ham.  I want all ham, all the time

    New Gamer: I really like chicken. I've never tried ham, but I do really like the chicken

    Devs: Hrm, you want to try ham?  Here's some spam, it's kind like ham, just without some of the less necessary parts.  Like the pig part, for example.

    New Gamer: This is interesting, but I think I still prefer chicken

    Old Gamer: You call this spam, ham ? REALLY?  Spam is nothing like ham 

    Devs: Well, it's easier to make than ham, and people say they prefer chicken over spam, so we don't want to invest in more ham. 

    So in that case, how could the chicken lovers know they like ham if they've ever only had spam to compare to the chicken?  

     

     

  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 4,707
    Originally posted by serrenitei

    My opinion, there should be space for both. I think the problem with your argument here assumes that all the newer players know they prefer the less complex experience to a more complex experience, which I don't think either you or I can say with any confidence. I think they like less complex because that's what they've been exposed to most often. 

    My really fun metaphor for this (as I sit eating lunch): 

    Old Gamer: I realllllly like ham.  I want all ham, all the time

    New Gamer: I really like chicken. I've never tried ham, but I do really like the chicken

    Devs: Hrm, you want to try ham?  Here's some spam, it's kind like ham, just without some of the less necessary parts.  Like the pig part, for example.

    New Gamer: This is interesting, but I think I still prefer chicken

    Old Gamer: You call this spam, ham ? REALLY?  Spam is nothing like ham 

    Devs: Well, it's easier to make than ham, and people say they prefer chicken over spam, so we don't want to invest in more ham. 

    So in that case, how could the chicken lovers know they like ham if they've ever only had spam to compare to the chicken?  

     

     

    Chicken tastes better than ham and is better for you. Just saying.

  • TimassinTimassin Member Posts: 14
    Honestly I don't consider games more complex from my childhood. Most of the time they were less streamlined. The issue I find is that most new MMO players want to be guaranteed a reward for completing something. ex.. I kill "big boss 1" I get  "big boss item 1", I kill "big boss 2", I get "big boss item 2". To me this ruins most of the re-playability and everyone ends up wearing the same 2 different gear sets.
  • ArglebargleArglebargle Member RarePosts: 2,608

    Until you put your money where your mouth is, it's just talk. 

     

    As skeptical as I am over Star Citizen, it and Elite Dangerous have revitalized  space gaming prospects by showing a serious market.  

     

    If one of these Nostalgia-MMORPGs had raised 65 mil on presales and pre-cash shop, you could bet there'd be interest in following it up with different iterations on the theme.   Of course, if the game has to be perfect for you to invest in, well.....

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

  • AeanderAeander Member LegendaryPosts: 4,707

    The point of argument between the old and the new seems to be focused on "roadblocks." These elements (like slow leveling, gear grind, slow regeneration rates, long travel times, and others) essentially block the player experience and gate content. On the positive side - and this is where the nostalgia comes from - these roadblocks are a means of forcing (and thus building) community interaction. On the negative side - and this is where much of the new-style MMO audience crowd is coming from - these mechanics are simply unfun and dreadful in that they add tedium and waste time without doing anything to directly improve the gameplay experience.

     

    So here we have a split - one side is mechanically awful and yet facilitates a flourishing community (which is essential to an MMO), while the other side is more mechanically efficient and yet doesn't have the capacity to breed community nearly as well.

     

    The ideal answer to this dilemma is further experimentation on the new. Not copying. Experimentation. How can community interaction be fostered through mechanics that don't hold players back? How can we make all content accessible, fun, and rewarding at all times? How do we implement travel in a way that encourages exploration and cooperation without wasting copious amounts of time? 

     

    There may be a large number of possible answers here, but we aren't seeing any of them become a reality because MMOs have been so conservative and one-note in recent years.

  • nbtscannbtscan Member UncommonPosts: 862
    Originally posted by Battlerock
    I'm just going to shout out for a more fun game, that's all I want. In my opinion an overly complex game does not equate to more fun for me. Exploring, achieving, reward, helping others - I associate that with fun, and it doesn't mean it has to be so complex that only hard cores have the time to truly grasp the concepts

    I think Xenoblade has been the best game I've played in the last 10 years.  But then again, I am a bit of a JRPG junkie.

  • AreteoAreteo Member UncommonPosts: 30
    There is no new game on the market that caters to what I like.  So I'm voting with my feet and dollars and playing nothing, despite being very eager for a game I could enjoy (I played and liked EQ, EQ2, Vanguard, WoW, LOTRO, Rift and GW2...enjoying each less than the one before it).  I have friends in the same boat.  I want an immersive experience with a social component, not something that feels like a monetized "game" for a phone scaled up to the PC.  It amazes me that a significant portion of the potential market is being ignored in this way...that's a lot of money being left on the table.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 8,483
    Originally posted by Aeander

    The point of argument between the old and the new seems to be focused on "roadblocks." These elements (like slow leveling, gear grind, slow regeneration rates, long travel times, and others) essentially block the player experience and gate content. On the positive side - and this is where the nostalgia comes from - these roadblocks are a means of forcing (and thus building) community interaction. On the negative side - and this is where much of the new-style MMO audience crowd is coming from - these mechanics are simply unfun and dreadful in that they add tedium and waste time without doing anything to directly improve the gameplay experience.

     

    So here we have a split - one side is mechanically awful and yet facilitates a flourishing community (which is essential to an MMO), while the other side is more mechanically efficient and yet doesn't have the capacity to breed community nearly as well.

     

    The ideal answer to this dilemma is further experimentation on the new. Not copying. Experimentation. How can community interaction be fostered through mechanics that don't hold players back? How can we make all content accessible, fun, and rewarding at all times? How do we implement travel in a way that encourages exploration and cooperation without wasting copious amounts of time? 

     

    There may be a large number of possible answers here, but we aren't seeing any of them become a reality because MMOs have been so conservative and one-note in recent years.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this.  Downtime did foster player interaction.  I wouldn't necessarily say it forced it- players could still be quiet and short even during downtime- but it provided ample opportunity to interact for those who wished it.  However, I'm not so nostalgic that I do not think it could be improved upon.

     

    Something as simple as a regen buff titled, "Good Rapport" that was granted when players were carrying on a conversation in party chat.  Obviously, that's a little half-assed and impulsive (as it took me mere seconds to think of it), but the point is developers need to start thinking outside the box to provide such encouragements and opportunities for interaction.  Marry in-character (I use the term loosely to mean within the game's "universe," not necessarily roleplaying) enhancements and tools with out-of-character (as in, chat, UI, things that don't really "exist" within the gameworld itself) applications and activities.

    image
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 12,911

    I guess I must have evolved right along with the genre because I was there at the beginning but I see the evolution of mmorpgs as generally a good thing and have no desire to go backwards.

     

    I see a lot of threads here posted on a daily basis with all kinds of strange ideas about forcing 2014 players to behave like 1998 players did... get rid of quests ans stories... make grouping mandatory... and I shudder imagining what spending time in that amorphous mess with the types of people who play MMOs these days would be like. Boring and annoying is what comes to mind.

     

    What we need are new things that move the genre forward not wallowing in luddite fantasies about how wonderful it'd be to roll back the clock.

     

    We don't need to be artificially forced to group. We need new and better incentives for grouping and group mechanics that make us WANT to group because it's more fun and more rewarding than not. And we need better ways of weeding out the disruptive group trolls that ruin it for the rest of us. 

     

    We don't need to get rid of quests. We need better epic quests that take days or weeks to complete without the sprinkling of boring pointless ones that are there only to feed you a steady stream of experience, gold and loot several times an hour.

     

    Things that excite me are NPCs and mobs with independent goals and lives that intersect with our gameplay as in EQN and Citadel of Sorcery.

     

    And when all is said and done, nothing is going to magically re-create the communities that existed at a time when IM. FB, VOIP and smartphones didn't exist or were only used by just a few of us nerds... and at a time when there were only thousands of us interested in mmorpgs instead of the millions that it now attracts.

     

    We live and play in different times with players that are much different than the ones we played EQ, UO, AC, DAoC and SWG with. Nothing.... nothing... is going to bring those "good old days" back.

    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED
  • grimgryphongrimgryphon Member CommonPosts: 682

    Personally I think nostalgia is a blocker to living life in the present. It's a useless emotion. Many psychologists believe it contributes heavily to a growing unhappiness in society. If the general negativity in these forums coupled with the "it was so much better back in the day" mentality is any indication, that most certainly is true.

    Actually I take that back. Nostalgia isn't as much an emotion as a disease.

    Optional PvP = No PvP
  • grimgryphongrimgryphon Member CommonPosts: 682
    Originally posted by Aeander
    Originally posted by serrenitei

    My opinion, there should be space for both. I think the problem with your argument here assumes that all the newer players know they prefer the less complex experience to a more complex experience, which I don't think either you or I can say with any confidence. I think they like less complex because that's what they've been exposed to most often. 

    My really fun metaphor for this (as I sit eating lunch): 

    Old Gamer: I realllllly like ham.  I want all ham, all the time

    New Gamer: I really like chicken. I've never tried ham, but I do really like the chicken

    Devs: Hrm, you want to try ham?  Here's some spam, it's kind like ham, just without some of the less necessary parts.  Like the pig part, for example.

    New Gamer: This is interesting, but I think I still prefer chicken

    Old Gamer: You call this spam, ham ? REALLY?  Spam is nothing like ham 

    Devs: Well, it's easier to make than ham, and people say they prefer chicken over spam, so we don't want to invest in more ham. 

    So in that case, how could the chicken lovers know they like ham if they've ever only had spam to compare to the chicken?  

     

     

    Chicken tastes better than ham and is better for you. Just saying.

    Hello...bacon?

    There are only two kinds of meat, pork and the crap everyone else eats. ;-)

    Kidding aside, the processing of pig meat is the most environmentally friendly of all the meats, except for the processing of insects for food. Chicken is dead last, aside from the massive amount of hormones and antibiotics pumped into it. Even beef is better.

    So chicken might keep you alive longer, but it's killing the planet faster. And for guys, too much chicken and you might wind up with moobs. Just saying.

    OK, that was totally off-topic. *blushes*

    Optional PvP = No PvP
  • sketocafesketocafe Member UncommonPosts: 950
    Just so long as the people making the games understand that the crowd which eschews nostalgia are gypsies gamers. You can put whatever you like into your game to entice them in, and come they will, but don't bank on them staying because they simply won't. 
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 12,911
    Originally posted by sketocafe
    Just so long as the people making the games understand that the crowd which eschews nostalgia are gypsies gamers. You can put whatever you like into your game to entice them in, and come they will, but don't bank on them staying because they simply won't. 

    And how many MMOs have you played over your gaming life I wonder?

     

    I'm assuming from your statement that you started with EQ1 and have never left or played anything else like us gypsies.

    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED
  • RolanStormRolanStorm Member UncommonPosts: 190
    I don't know about nostalgia in general, but an idea of rebuilding an old MMORPG model is much better then copying WoW's. We had a window when WoW numbers started to drop and a lot of developers started projects different from MMORPG model that became standard in 00's due to WoW. I am glad that it happened, but I think while it is nostalgia a certain extent that moved those games forward in truth it is all about innovation. I do not think people who cry about SWG miss walking Tatooine desert on foot. I am glad that SWTOR introduced one-person flashpoints you can finish without group (hate forced grouping, want it to die). Repopulation developers state that in their game player don't have to fight if he doesn't want to or do it at minimal amount. Little things, you know. And a lot of good things were in old games, too. As for complexity: some people have half an hour to play, others 24/7.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Member CommonPosts: 10,910

    I think Nostalgia works best when it's referenced, rather than relived.  I think the Marvel movies are a good example of this.  There are lots of things in there to feel nostalgic about, but the movies generally stand on their own without the nostalgia as well.  Marvel made something new, and referenced something old, and it works.

     

    This could work with games too.  Create something new, but reference the old material.  Of course, as the response to the Marvel movies shows, this isn't going to please everyone.  Some people would rather relive old stuff, even if they've been through it several times rather than experience something new that reminds them of the old stuff.  I think referencing the old stuff works for more people though.  Since I'm one of those "more people", I'm OK with this.  :-)

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

  • black7and7goldblack7and7gold Member UncommonPosts: 6

    I feel the pull of nostalgia.

    I want the "Oo's and Ah's" of first entering Ultima Online back in 1997.

    Is it possible to recapture that magical feeling?

    The world has changed drastically since the early MMO days.

    People don't play PC games the same anymore. Example, TeamSpeak versus typing.

    In 2014, one third of all people replaced their PC with a tablet.

    I wonder what PC gaming will look like a few years from now as SmartPhone & Tablet growth continues?

    Playing a "new" game with "old" game mechanics won't recreate that magical feeling.

    A time machine won't even help,  because at the heart of the issue, I have changed too.

    Cheers!
    †

  • Superman0XSuperman0X Member RarePosts: 2,185
    Originally posted by MadFrenchie
    Originally posted by Aeander

    The point of argument between the old and the new seems to be focused on "roadblocks." These elements (like slow leveling, gear grind, slow regeneration rates, long travel times, and others) essentially block the player experience and gate content. On the positive side - and this is where the nostalgia comes from - these roadblocks are a means of forcing (and thus building) community interaction. On the negative side - and this is where much of the new-style MMO audience crowd is coming from - these mechanics are simply unfun and dreadful in that they add tedium and waste time without doing anything to directly improve the gameplay experience.

     

    So here we have a split - one side is mechanically awful and yet facilitates a flourishing community (which is essential to an MMO), while the other side is more mechanically efficient and yet doesn't have the capacity to breed community nearly as well.

     

    The ideal answer to this dilemma is further experimentation on the new. Not copying. Experimentation. How can community interaction be fostered through mechanics that don't hold players back? How can we make all content accessible, fun, and rewarding at all times? How do we implement travel in a way that encourages exploration and cooperation without wasting copious amounts of time? 

     

    There may be a large number of possible answers here, but we aren't seeing any of them become a reality because MMOs have been so conservative and one-note in recent years.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this.  Downtime did foster player interaction.  I wouldn't necessarily say it forced it- players could still be quiet and short even during downtime- but it provided ample opportunity to interact for those who wished it.  However, I'm not so nostalgic that I do not think it could be improved upon.

     

    Something as simple as a regen buff titled, "Good Rapport" that was granted when players were carrying on a conversation in party chat.  Obviously, that's a little half-assed and impulsive (as it took me mere seconds to think of it), but the point is developers need to start thinking outside the box to provide such encouragements and opportunities for interaction.  Marry in-character (I use the term loosely to mean within the game's "universe," not necessarily roleplaying) enhancements and tools with out-of-character (as in, chat, UI, things that don't really "exist" within the gameworld itself) applications and activities.

    The biggest issue is really in where the value lies.

     

    In many old school games, accumulating levels were the result of having had many successful adventures. They were a way of getting players to move on to new places (and adventures).

     

    In many new games, adventures are the result of having accumulated many levels. They are a way of wrapping the leveling process to give it greater meaning.

     

    If you are not in a hurry to move to a new location, change to killing new mobs, or off to do quests elsewhere... then much of the old style of gameplay makes sense. You only move on when you have too... with wistful memories of the time you have spent.

     

    If you are constantly moving to new locations, killing different moves, or off to do quests elsewhere... then much of the new style of gameplay makes sense. You don't want to stay in one place, but rather are looking for as broad an experience as possible.

     

    The older gameplay style is slower paced, and more social. It appeals to those that want a challenge beyond what they can do themselves, and that requires some personal growth to attain. The new style of gameplay is faster paced, and more achievement oriented. It appeals to those with less time, and those that want to meet individual challenges (even if in a group). It is not about personal growth, but personal fulfillment.

     

    Neither of these approaches is 'better' than the other. However, the faster, more achievement oriented gameplay reaches a broader playerbase (not everyone has the time, or commitment for the older style) and as such is generally more popular (even old style players like a quick fix once in a while).

  • BladestromBladestrom Member UncommonPosts: 5,001
    Originally posted by Superman0X
    Originally posted by MadFrenchie
    Originally posted by Aeander

     

    The biggest issue is really in where the value lies.

     

    In many old school games, accumulating levels were the result of having had many successful adventures. They were a way of getting players to move on to new places (and adventures).

     

    In many new games, adventures are the result of having accumulated many levels. They are a way of wrapping the leveling process to give it greater meaning.

     

    If you are not in a hurry to move to a new location, change to killing new mobs, or off to do quests elsewhere... then much of the old style of gameplay makes sense. You only move on when you have too... with wistful memories of the time you have spent.

    If you are constantly moving to new locations, killing different moves, or off to do quests elsewhere... then much of the new style of gameplay makes sense. You don't want to stay in one place, but rather are looking for as broad an experience as possible.

     

    The older gameplay style is slower paced, and more social. It appeals to those that want a challenge beyond what they can do themselves, and that requires some personal growth to attain. The new style of gameplay is faster paced, and more achievement oriented. It appeals to those with less time, and those that want to meet individual challenges (even if in a group). It is not about personal growth, but personal fulfillment.

     

    Neither of these approaches is 'better' than the other. However, the faster, more achievement oriented gameplay reaches a broader playerbase (not everyone has the time, or commitment for the older style) and as such is generally more popular (even old style players like a quick fix once in a while).

    Agrree with everything you say here. How can you have an emotional attachment to anything if you are constantly looknig ahead to the next thing.  RE Thread, you dont need Nostalgia for a game, but I think nostalgia is a side effect of a great game.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • DragonsclawDragonsclaw Member Posts: 1

    It is totally based on People's Likes.. Some people like PVP the most . Some people like PVE the most .But What most of the people love can be seen based on the ratings of the game. I Love open world adventurous games.Complexity should be there in all games but not in the beginning. Because newbies like me prefer to slowly get in game experience.

    I m still in the quest for searching adventurous MMORPG game that is Free-To-Play. Im totally a newbie here.

  • WhySoSeriousWhySoSerious Member UncommonPosts: 156
    I continue to believe Vanilla WoW is the best MMO ever made. It's just nostalgia! Some might say. So then I start playing Vanilla again and realize it's not nostalgia. I genuinely enjoy Vanilla WoW more than current WoW. It's still, to me, the best MMO out there.
  • TheAmirTheAmir Member UncommonPosts: 433

    I do not like the way the genre is heading.  It's not nostalgia.  It's the fact I don't like how volatile the "community" has gotten on these MMOs (if anyone even bothers to speak at all - when they do, it's pure garbage or disgusting crap coming out of their mouths. No, it did -not- used to be that way. Acting that way in old games would get you blacklisted by the community, as well it should) and how "streamlined" the games have gotten. Streamlined meaning the game basically plays itself and tells you exactly what to do and when and oh, here's a prize for doing it.  It's like the "no child left behind" law applied to the MMO world.

    No thanks. I've come to the conclusion that I have to stick with old games, private servers, or just wait and see if anything ever again releases that has more depth to it than the typical FPS kiddie can handle. I'm currently in "wait and see" mode, but I'm not very hopeful these days.  But whatever. If this is what the kids want, then I guess this is the direction the market is going in. I'll find something else to do with my time and money.

    image
  • Incarnatus2009Incarnatus2009 Member CommonPosts: 5

    I find it interesting that you make reference to The Repopulation as one of the games that are trying to catch segments of the mmo community, as I myself am intent on playing this once it has launched.

    I used to subscribe to Stars Wars Galaxies prior to Sony's CU and the NGE disasters. They had convinced themselves that the game was not what subscribers wanted so they changed it from a complex sandbox into a simplified theme park to make it more of a console game. To say that was a disaster is an understatement. But it is the way most if not all games have gone since.

    To me the reason is quite apparent. Gaming companies wish to make as much profit as possible. SWG was not making enough profit. There was a huge untapped market that had to be accessed. The console market. However console players did not want to play a PC game and PC players did not want to play a console game. Little has changed.

    Now add player greed to the gaming company greed and enter the cash shops. Good example is TRION. I also played RIFT and loved it. However, RIFT needed an expansion and expansions can be expensive, which eats into profit. So the expansion was two continents of garbage and then came ftp. Disaster.....

    What is the point of all this? We are simply a resource to be exploited by the majority of gaming companies. They owe us nothing. So we buy their hype and play their substandard games believing those that wish for better are idiots.

    It is nice to see that The Repopulation is a game that is not going down that route and that quality sandbox mmorpg's are not dead.

  • ScottgunScottgun Member UncommonPosts: 528

    [Quote]I don’t agree fully with her point that the people mainly interested in things like open world, full loot PvP are those who just want to be jerks toward others. Some people truly love the genuine challenge of taking on other players in a battle of skills and would like a rich reward system for doing so and winning. Some people thrive on competitive play and honing their skills[/quote]

    The motives for PvP seem irrelevant to me. If someone wants to be a jerk, so be it. Just make sure the players are empowered with jerk-thwarting skills/tools. The more player-centered the these means are the better as opposed to omnipotent town guards/concord dispensing nanny-like infallible justice. When other players are a threat but a manageable threat, the game is more exciting and every quest, trade run, etc. successfully completed is a victory.

  • BladestromBladestrom Member UncommonPosts: 5,001
    That's only exciting if you find it exciting, For others having someone force pvp on you (regardless of tools) is deeply annoying, that's why games that mix pve & pvp should seperate it into zones ( only if they want pve only players to join ofc).

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

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