Why Oh Why Have Good MMORPGs Died?

flexy

Diamond Member
Sep 28, 2001
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154
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As so many others I played a bunch of MMORPGs and have a ton of good memories. After DAoC, at some time we (me and wife) got into WoW at the time of BC and it was a total blast. We first joined a friend's guilds but later one formed our own guild, wife was GM and we (almost) spent any free minute playing WoW and fricking LOVED it. We played it for years.

The big "shock" came with the advent of the fat pandas where me and my wife both agreed we would NEVER play a fantasy RPG/MMORPGs which for some reason seemed to have morphed into a game more appealing to Asian pre-teens. We haven't touched the Pandas yet and don't have any desire EVER to do so. This is really difficult to say for people who otherwise spent considerable time of their (non :) )-lives in that game - and I definitely often miss the "good" times and many experience, socializing etc. we did in WoW

The problem is that the current (or upcoming) alternatives don't look to good to me either... this is odd considering that many, many years back there was at least always one or two "good" MMORP, DAoC was good in its time and of course WoW, say, up until BC or if you will LK.

Some people say it's the "MMORPG burnout" that people simply get used to the genre and therefore lose interest - but I don't think this is true.

The reason is that a game which *per se* is good would still have its appeal TODAY. Say, if WoW would still be true to its roots I'd probably still play it.

Technicalities, say, like upgrading a game engine to the latest, state-of-the-art would be rather a non-issue, in my opinion AS LONG as the core of what a game actually made good would stay intact.

But this is exactly what happened. WoW is the best example where #+%!11ard literally removed all the good elements from the game with each and any expansion and instead put a bigger emphasis on the BIG, BIG negatives in the game, such as:

* GRINDING
* NEED TO RUN RAIDS
* GRINDING
* DAILIES

Instead of exploration, fun etc....it turned into an abomination where the "game" has become a task. Versatility etc. was also removed because they streamlined the game so that any idiot can play it, removed the ability to build interesting skill trees etc.. BUT AT THE SAME TIME increased the mandatory requirements for the grind.

This is what I don't understand because this has nothing to do with "burnout" but that the developer actively dumbed it down but at the same time made it more difficult in exactly such a way that it is only a turnoff.

As mentioned above, the problem is that it doesn't look good in regards to MMORPg alternatives either:

I read some reviews about GW2 and "in essence" it could be interesting, then people are complaining about things which are important to me, eg. the social aspect etc. which seems to lack in GW2.

So...the other option would be Elder Scrolls Online where I first assumed it would become the "uber MMOPRG" but now it looks it will only be what they call a "multiplayer TES game" where many of the interesting things which make a MMORPG will not even be included. A "TES game you can play with your friends" sounds underwhelming, to say it mildly.

For me the development in the MMORPG world doesn't make any sense, it doesn't make any sense why games which once were GOOD had to be made "bad". Because there are zillions of people who love(d) those games and KNOW what's good about them and why they played them. The genre is not exactly new. And i don't understand why in the many years ever since we didn't see any "real" competition to WoW which did all the things which WoW borked up WELL while at the same time leaving the good elements.

This for me is the same mystery why in the many years there haven't been, say, good space sims games where we KNOW that the concept itself works - but the games which were released all had one or the other problem....or companies didn't even release such games in the first place because they think they will appeal only to a very limited number of people.

So..this is the other reason..that game companies do not develop anymore with the gamer in mind and developing WHAT PEOPLE LOVE....but rather first look at the commercial aspect and how much money a game could them make. Blizzard was always good at that. I am pretty sure that MOST changes WoW has seen are because of exactly that, "Hey, let's make the game as easy and accessible for anyone" so it appeals to more people as opposed to only "the nerds"...and then while doing so having screwed up the entire game.
 
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Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
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In a nutshell, World of Warcraft happened. All original MMOs were stymied or tried to emulate WoW.
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,069
499
126
It was bound to happen these games grew stale. But I feel with the advent of digital distribution systems that dont require a big named publisher to get into the market there should be some hope on the horizon. I would say in the last 24 months with the rise of F2P models there have been some really fun games come out. It feels like the deadzone of the 05-10 is finally behind us.
 

Anubis

No Lifer
Aug 31, 2001
78,716
414
126
look into wildstar, its coming out sometime soonish and it might be up your alley
 

Mushkins

Golden Member
Feb 11, 2013
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Bateluer is in essence, right, but it's a little more complex than "WoW killed them." There was a lot going on in gaming when WoW came out back in November 2004. The stigma around playing video games was changing in the mainstream, they were finally starting to be seen as something other than a toy for basement dwelling D&D playing mouthbreathers. The bar for entry even in vanilla WoW was about 10 times more "casual friendly" as previous MMOs, there was no permanent item loss or real death penalty or anything. Just a few years later we're launching next-gen consoles like the 360, PS3, and most importantly the Wii. Smartphones start to take off, bringing "gaming" to the masses. We have celebrities like Mila Kunis going on late night TV telling everyone they play World of Warcraft in their spare time.

In this timeframe, we also had the rise of services like Myspace and Facebook, the entire social media boom. Socializing with people on the internet is no longer considered to be some taboo faux-communication, nearly everyone is glued to their facebook or texting with their phone 24/7.

Fast forward to 2013, and you'll now be hard pressed to find someone on a busy New York street that genuinely *hasnt* played a video game of some sort within the last week, from kids to wall street finance guys. Likewise, you won't find someone who hasn't used the internet to socialize in some way in that same timeframe.

Enter the MMORPG: a blend of both video game and online socialization. It's no wonder these games have changed so much in the past decade, their target audience has widened considerably as that many more people are potential customers, and those people are absolutely not going to buy into the old school exploration style game design or the harsh penalties for playing poorly. The new generation also grew up with that "easier" style of game and us MMO vets are getting older and simply don't have the time or dedication to really buy into the old designs no matter how fondly we hold the memories. The market for that kind of gameplay is simply dwindling, we're working with an entirely different playing field now.

WoW hit all the bullet points at exactly the right times to shoot the moon and ride the changing gaming environment to its utmost peak. Because of that, Blizzard made an absolute fortune off of it. WoW is the outlier here, but it undeniably played its part in pushing that landscape to change. We're not going to see any more really popular mainstream DAoCs or EQs or WoW:TBCs, the market has changed and we have changed with it.

If that's the fix you're still looking for, your best bet is smaller titles and indie/foreign MMOs. They just dont exist in the AAA market anymore and I doubt they ever will again.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,367
891
126
You know... I really get tired of hearing people complain about the Pandaren. Seriously, you people bitch and moan about Blizzard inserting Pandas, which already existed in the lore, into a game with bipedal cows. Let that sink in for a minute.
 

Markbnj

Elite Member <br>Moderator Emeritus
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Sep 16, 2005
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www.markbetz.net
You know... I really get tired of hearing people complain about the Pandaren. Seriously, you people bitch and moan about Blizzard inserting Pandas, which already existed in the lore, into a game with bipedal cows. Let that sink in for a minute.
Haha.

I'm an old-schooler (EQ1, DAoC) who still occasionally tries another game trying to recapture the good ol' days. I haven't so far, despite playing WoW for a year, and then Warhammer Online, Vanguard, Aion, Eve, etc. Friday night I started Rift, which is f2p now. It's a very polished game with a lot of interesting mechanics. I'm enjoying it, but I'm sure that will wear off pretty quickly.

Rift suffers from the same thing that all games currently suffer from: everything has to be packaged and served up on a platter or the current generation of players will lose interest. You never have to stop and figure anything out. There's never any real risk of negative consequences. It's just a theme park like all the others since WoW.

Welcome to the new age, to the new age.
 

darkewaffle

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2005
8,152
1
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There never were any really 'good' MMOs, but at the same time a lot of the most criticized ones aren't that 'bad' either. They always sacrifice gameplay/story/environment for the community aspect, which usually works in it's favor anyway because it introduces a social element to what is stereotypically an anti-social activity (staying at home on a computer playing a video game). Ultimately I think how much you enjoy an MMO depends more on who you're playing with than anything the game itself can control.

However I think the gaming playerbase overall is much louder and much more vitriolic than ten years ago. When MMOs were 'blossoming' people were willing to forgive more, but expectations have changed dramatically now.
 

Mushkins

Golden Member
Feb 11, 2013
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Haha.

I'm an old-schooler (EQ1, DAoC) who still occasionally tries another game trying to recapture the good ol' days. I haven't so far, despite playing WoW for a year, and then Warhammer Online, Vanguard, Aion, Eve, etc. Friday night I started Rift, which is f2p now. It's a very polished game with a lot of interesting mechanics. I'm enjoying it, but I'm sure that will wear off pretty quickly.

Rift suffers from the same thing that all games currently suffer from: everything has to be packaged and served up on a platter or the current generation of players will lose interest. You never have to stop and figure anything out. There's never any real risk of negative consequences. It's just a theme park like all the others since WoW.

Welcome to the new age, to the new age.
For the record, Rift is a *horrible* example. It's the WoW clone of all WoW clones. The *official advertising* specifically focused on how exactly like WoW it is. The entire design is pretty much copy/pasted as blatantly as possible, just with different art and different lore. If you're looking for an example of an MMO thats moved on from the WoW casual candyland, Rift is like the absolute worst possible choice next to WoW itself :)
 

Anubis

No Lifer
Aug 31, 2001
78,716
414
126
You know... I really get tired of hearing people complain about the Pandaren. Seriously, you people bitch and moan about Blizzard inserting Pandas, which already existed in the lore, into a game with bipedal cows. Let that sink in for a minute.
it was not the pandas that killed it for me but it was this expansion. focus shifted as the OP said to grind/daily insanity. where you basically were forced to do these things when they once were options

yes in OG wow there was quite a bit of grinding but aside from gringing out random (somewhat pointless rep) and a BG rank it was not nearly as tedious as the daily/rep grind BS they put in in this expac and i did grind to rank 14
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,367
891
126
it was not the pandas that killed it for me but it was this expansion. focus shifted as the OP said to grind/daily insanity. where you basically were forced to do these things when they once were options

yes in OG wow there was quite a bit of grinding but aside from gringing out random (somewhat pointless rep) and a BG rank it was not nearly as tedious as the daily/rep grind BS they put in in this expac and i did grind to rank 14
So, would you argue that there's too many "required" things to do in WoW? I played WoW back in vanilla as well, and one of the things that comes to mind is how much stuff we did just to do it. Remember all those PVP raids on Southshore or Tarren Mill? Back then, there was no such thing as an Honor System, so we raided the towns for the point of creating conflict with the opposing faction. We did it for fun. There was also a lot more competition between people. Remember all the fun with real outdoor raid bosses? If you were serious about taking them down, you had alts positioned in Azshara and The Blasted Lands to be able to check on Azuregos and Lord Kazzak (respectively). Kazzak would heal if anyone died... even outside of your own party, which meant that you had to kill any naked members of the opposing faction before Kazzak's AoE could hit them. Azuregos? You had to have some very quick people to deal with enemy rogues trying to gank the tank.

In trying to think of an interesting real-world comparison, it reminds me of all those movies with some carefree guy who gets picked up in the corporate world. In the beginning, the guy is having tons of fun doing what he's doing because he gets to do it his way, but once he's picked up by the suits, he is shoehorned into this predefined schedule. I guess you could say that WoW is sort of like that?
 

njdevilsfan87

Platinum Member
Apr 19, 2007
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Rift suffers from the same thing that all games currently suffer from: everything has to be packaged and served up on a platter or the current generation of players will lose interest. You never have to stop and figure anything out. There's never any real risk of negative consequences. It's just a theme park like all the others since WoW.
This. Themepark MMORPGs are so effing boring. I'd rather play a slower, more grindy, but truly DIY sandbox MMORPG that takes years to reach the end of your character's progression. This way players get forced into considering alternative routes of getting there, or maybe only become specialized in one or two things. Such a game would require a functioning player based economy as well. When I can run through the entire game and not have to visit the marketplace a single time, what the hell kind of a MMORPG is that? Players should be forced to constantly interact with each other via trading. But there has to be a reason for it, and there is no reason in the typical themepark.
 
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EDUSAN

Golden Member
Apr 4, 2012
1,358
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i wanted to give a new chance at mmorpgs when SWTOR came out. it didnt work out well.

I guess now ill just wait for the warhammer 40k MMO... and see how that one unveils
 

Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
27,730
7
0
You know... I really get tired of hearing people complain about the Pandaren. Seriously, you people bitch and moan about Blizzard inserting Pandas, which already existed in the lore, into a game with bipedal cows. Let that sink in for a minute.
When Blizzard announced the Pandaria expansion, 5 million people simultaneously checked their calendar's to make sure it wasn't April 1st.
 

clok1966

Golden Member
Jul 6, 2004
1,395
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76
am i wrong or did the OP say WOW had GRINDING (he said it twice) .... geez you can max a character in WoW in a week.. with some raid gear. there never was Grinding in WoW, its actually much easier to level now then it was. Even in the early days it was not a grind... err compared to all other MMORPG's at least, I guess we all have different ideas what Grinding is. There is a long play on Youtube of 1 -75 in 24 hours of played time (less actually, it was 23 hours and 40 some minutes, yes they had help).

MMORPG's became crap when they made leveling and gear mean NOTHING (like WoW) anybody who plays can get it.. Pubbing you can do hardcore .. unless you are 100% idiot there are pretty much no instances that cant be done.. Dont get me wrong. EQ (original) Instances that took Hours to complete and dropped 2 things for the 30 people there was not a good way of doing it.. but damn, when you got that Item, you felt like you had kicked some butt and did something.. standing around with that gear.. you didnt see 300 others with it..
 

hahallur

Member
Apr 17, 2013
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I think the reason why people might be excited for TESO is that it isn't your typical WoW clone, or here's to hoping.

I think one of the things that make a great MMORPG is actually making you have to work for things but not going overboard. I played WoW Vanilla for 2 months and had barely made it to lvl 40. Then to progress you had to play like 8 hours a day.
I recently played WoW again and there is no danger of pulling multiple mobs, you basically destroy everything, no thought involved.... why am I playing I thought. I remember when you had to be really careful and pulling two mobs your level could mean your death. You get a mount at level 20 for free, in Vanilla I had to save all my gold for those 2 months and when I got the mount it was a real rite of passage in the game.

There has to be a happy medium!
 

Nintendesert

Diamond Member
Mar 28, 2010
7,761
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You know... I really get tired of hearing people complain about the Pandaren. Seriously, you people bitch and moan about Blizzard inserting Pandas, which already existed in the lore, into a game with bipedal cows. Let that sink in for a minute.


Using an april fool's joke as actual content shows not only a lack of vision and imagination but straight up selling out.

Micro transactions and sparkle ponies is also a good sign of that too. :whiste:


WoW when it was released was like no other MMO, it had far more polish and ease of playability than any other game. It set a new standard. It wasn't WoW that killed the MMORPG, it was its success.

Other companies tried to mirror that success and instead of innovating and exploring new ways to expand on the MMORPG they all just started producing clones and poorly done clones.

At one point the greatest potential for the MMORPG was in line with Origin's motto, We Create Worlds. The virtual-world, with a fully fleshed out and vibrantly living world was dreamed about. The potential to live in a fully fleshed out interactive world that you've only dreamed about up till then was the genre's greatest potential. Hence the role playing part, it was a dream to actually be a denizen/character within that lore.

WoW's success and the attempts to emulate it though changed all that and instead of worlds we got themeparks.
 

railven

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2010
6,604
561
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I find a lot of the current complaints against WoW rather ironic.

I keep reading things like "they made it so easy that an idiot can beat it" and then I'm reading things like "ToT is too hard for the general population." Which is it? As a long time player, and not an uber elite who spends 30+hrs a week playing I can safely say - ToT is rather hard because of all the idiots who think they can play. Not sure who spread the mindset, but never have I struggled so much in a tier raid ONLY because of two or three bad apples. You were able to carry a bad player in Cata and allegedly that tier was "hard." In MoP I found one bad player was the difference between not meeting a DPS/Healing check and ultimately wiping on progression content of course until we overgeared it.

Anyways, did MoP become a grind fest? I dunno. Again, I'm not a super elite, but I was ToT geared, with an ilvl of 533. Never did any heroic raids this expansion and didn't feel I had to grind all the reputations outside of boredom. I felt there was less to do this time around than in Cata, but of course I ignored the Pokemon clone.

Anyways, I'm currently not playing WoW because frankly my guild couldn't get through ToT and after a collective sigh of frustration we decided to wait for 5.4 and give Flex raiding a shot (since we got a handful of weekend players and our guild is focused on fun, not slamming faces into keyboards.)

5 level 90s with ilvl 500+ and I felt because of LFR I didn't earn any of it. Haha. Just some good RNG and my toons alts never did a daily grinded an a rep, or world bosses.

If you feel the game is a grind-fest, you're doing something wrong. They literally give loot away this expansion to the point where - I've stopped playing even on my alts.
 

clok1966

Golden Member
Jul 6, 2004
1,395
13
76
Using an april fool's joke as actual content shows not only a lack of vision and imagination but straight up selling out.

Micro transactions and sparkle ponies is also a good sign of that too. :whiste:


WoW when it was released was like no other MMO, it had far more polish and ease of playability than any other game. It set a new standard. It wasn't WoW that killed the MMORPG, it was its success.

Other companies tried to mirror that success and instead of innovating and exploring new ways to expand on the MMORPG they all just started producing clones and poorly done clones.

At one point the greatest potential for the MMORPG was in line with Origin's motto, We Create Worlds. The virtual-world, with a fully fleshed out and vibrantly living world was dreamed about. The potential to live in a fully fleshed out interactive world that you've only dreamed about up till then was the genre's greatest potential. Hence the role playing part, it was a dream to actually be a denizen/character within that lore.

WoW's success and the attempts to emulate it though changed all that and instead of worlds we got themeparks.
lets not forget when they asked for the next race the PEOPLE spoke.. they voted for um (overwhelmingly, like 75%).. so basically you got what you asked for..
 

brandonb

Diamond Member
Oct 17, 2006
3,731
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It's rather simple actually.

MMORPGS are made to be massively multiplayer. But most games these days are completely solo-able, and in fact, grouping or playing multiplayer is actually a hindrance.

If someone knows what they are doing, and groups find a total idiot, it discourages people to group. So grouping needs to offer something to offer that eliminates that hindrance.

With insta-pug mechanics in games like Rift and WoW. Just leave and rejoin a new group. But most of the content is trivial anyways so it doesn't even matter if the group sucks, you will still win.

That's the problem. When everybody gets a trophy even when they lose, the game becomes dumbed down and when you've seen all the dungeons x20, have the epic orange gear for every slot, why continue to play? There is no community, no need for others. No need to really improve or play unless you NEED to have a 10 point higher gear score, or need to collect every mount in the game.

The most memorable MMO experiences for me were games that forced grouping. Two games that come to mind: EQ1 and Vanguard. When I look back throughout my entire MMO history those 2 games stand out for me the most, and completely overshadow the rest. Yes I played WoW and couldn't wait to quit. ;) I'd never use that as an example of a good MMO. Never.
 

AstroManLuca

Lifer
Jun 24, 2004
15,628
5
81
Good... MMORPGs? Has there ever been one? I'm pretty sure the very things necessary to make an MMORPG also prevent it from being a good game. Grinding, too easy ramping up to artificial difficulty as you progress, fetch quests, catering to the lowest common denominator. The problem is that with single player and to some extent regular multiplayer games, you don't have to be all-inclusive. You can say, "only certain types of gamers can play this game." Offer multiple difficulty levels and game modes and so on. But in MMORPGs, everyone plays together so everyone has to be able to play.
 
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hahallur

Member
Apr 17, 2013
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It's rather simple actually.

MMORPGS are made to be massively multiplayer. But most games these days are completely solo-able, and in fact, grouping or playing multiplayer is actually a hindrance.

If someone knows what they are doing, and groups find a total idiot, it discourages people to group. So grouping needs to offer something to offer that eliminates that hindrance.

With insta-pug mechanics in games like Rift and WoW. Just leave and rejoin a new group. But most of the content is trivial anyways so it doesn't even matter if the group sucks, you will still win.

That's the problem. When everybody gets a trophy even when they lose, the game becomes dumbed down and when you've seen all the dungeons x20, have the epic orange gear for every slot, why continue to play? There is no community, no need for others. No need to really improve or play unless you NEED to have a 10 point higher gear score, or need to collect every mount in the game.

The most memorable MMO experiences for me were games that forced grouping. Two games that come to mind: EQ1 and Vanguard. When I look back throughout my entire MMO history those 2 games stand out for me the most, and completely overshadow the rest. Yes I played WoW and couldn't wait to quit. ;) I'd never use that as an example of a good MMO. Never.
Spot on, killing Hogger isn't as much fun as it was when you had to spam LFG Hogger for half an hour :)
 

brandonb

Diamond Member
Oct 17, 2006
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Spot on, killing Hogger isn't as much fun as it was when you had to spam LFG Hogger for half an hour :)
Right... Because you couldn't just have people in your friends list who wanted to group with you to kill Hogger even if they have done it 100x already. But that's exactly my point. When you play games and find friends and play with people regularly you have much better time. When you think like a solo'r you need to spam LFG Hogger for half an hour.

I remember doing that exactly twice in Everquest before I made enough friends where I'd get an insta group within a minute of logging in "Hey come join us here!" Which is also why those games are the most memorable for me.
 

hahallur

Member
Apr 17, 2013
30
0
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Right... Because you couldn't just have people in your friends list who wanted to group with you to kill Hogger even if they have done it 100x already. But that's exactly my point. When you play games and find friends and play with people regularly you have much better time. When you think like a solo'r you need to spam LFG Hogger for half an hour.

I remember doing that exactly twice in Everquest before I made enough friends where I'd get an insta group within a minute of logging in "Hey come join us here!" Which is also why those games are the most memorable for me.
Yes, although some people just want to get away sometimes, and not have any interaction with other people. The games then stripped away the need to group completely in open world quests for those people. I'd rather just have hard quests that say: Hey if you don't feel like grouping right now, go kill a boar or craft a dress.
 

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