Why Oh Why Have Good MMORPGs Died?

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Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
31,712
5,704
126
Look to DayZ, by the sound of it the creator would really love turning the stand alone version into the next evolution of online social interaction. The original premise behind MMORPG, before it turned into a static theme park.
 

orthancstone

Member
Oct 19, 2001
34
0
0
They literally give loot away this expansion to the point where - I've stopped playing even on my alts.
And thus the entire point is made. WoW is so set up to cater to players at this point that loot is essentially guaranteed; in addition, it becomes such a mundane process that players stop bothering after a while.

The spirit of adventure and exploration that permeated Vanilla (and, to be fair, much of BC) is long gone*.

Blizzard should just start all characters at 90 to further emphasize how much they and the player base have given up on non-instanced/non-loot-based content.

* - Note: That's not me crying for the old days as if they were magical. There was plenty of unpolished turd to Vanilla in comparison to BC and LK. But with more expansions has come the disregard for the world of Azeroth in order to push generic loot pinatas and strange mini-games.
 

TheUnk

Golden Member
Jun 24, 2005
1,810
0
71
Fingers crossed for EQNext to not be 99% solo content with .5% group areas and .5% raid areas.
 

akugami

Diamond Member
Feb 14, 2005
4,802
378
126
I am an old school player. Started out on MUDs and BBS games like Tele-Arena (if anyone remembers that). Transitioned to Ultima Online. Made the 3D jump in Everquest. UO and EQ1 are probably my favorite MMORPG's to date. At the very least they are the most memorable for me.

I was never a big WoW fan. Only played it sparingly. Tried EQ2. The changes to it just didn't interest me as much as EQ1. It wasn't a bad game, just seemed to be something missing. Played Anarchy Online, again, lost interest. Star Wars Galaxies. DC Universe Online.

Rift was probably the game that held my interest the longest after EQ1. It was very polished from day 1. If I had a major complaint about it, it's that things come too easy. Sure, some of the end content was difficult but from level 1-50, it was just way too easy. Like WoW, it was a rush to get to lvl 50 so you can raid or do higher difficulty dungeons. It's a shame that much of the lower level content is ignored because no one wants to do them? Why explore lower level content when you'll be 5-10 levels past that content in a week's time?

So let's jump back to UO. What made it great? I think it was the first Mass Multiplayer Online RPG that truly put the Mass in there. You had tons of people to interact with. You had a huge world to explore. You could be a good buy or a bad guy. You can be a crafter and not have to fight people. And it wasn't an easy game with the PvP'ing and traveling into the difficult dungeons to look for loot can get you killed quickly. I think what made it great was that you felt free to do whatever you wanted.

Jumping to Everquest. This was the first game that made the world feel truly three dimensional IMHO. You actually felt like you were running across the game world. In a way, this game is not as "free" as UO in what you can do, but it was way more immersive.

EQ1's difficulty was very high so you were forced to band together and interact with your fellow players. I think this fact made it one of the most memorable games ever for me. You actually had to interact and depend on your fellow players. This helped build a real community that IMHO is lacking in today's WoW clones.

Another thing was the "grindy" nature of the game meant that as zones got overpopulated, you had to travel and look at alternative zones. You were forced to band together with others to explore the game world. So you actually got to explore the lore of the game. Unlike something like WoW or Rift where you can ignore any lore and rush to 50. To me, the game suffers when that happens. Sometimes you had to travel through highly dangerous areas to get to the dungeon or outdoor zone you wanted. For example, crossing Kithicor Forest to get to the Plains of Karana.

In many ways the unforgiving nature of the game is what made EQ1 so memorable. More than anything, it is my feeling that we don't need to rush to level 50 if the game is designed to have quality content at various level plateaus. There is nothing wrong with spending 4 months in the level 20's if there is interesting content to consume both in solo, group, and raid settings. Design the game in such a way that the slow leveler still feels

And why in the hell is practically every quest's solution pointed out to you in games like Rift? What ever happened to actually thinking things through and looking for a solution based on the game world's lore and surroundings? Think about the awesomeness that was the class epic's 1.0 quests in EQ. People wracked their brains for months to figure them out. One of the best ever was the Enchanter Epic 1.0's. Great use of class abilities and you actually had to know the game world to figure out most of the quests objectives.

And let's get back Spawn Camping. Seriously, design it better so camps are not static but at least let us have a general area where we have to clear to get a rare spawn. Part of this is it builds community. I knew a lot of guys simply because we were in the same general area and camping a certain rare spawn creature. Part of it is also that it creates conflicts. You had to be competitive with your fellow players even while you required their assistance. Guilds would rush to take down a raid boss because failure meant someone else would likely take the raid boss down.

Have actual consequences to your actions, both negative and positive. For example, it was not unheard of for people to lose 2 to 3 levels raiding the Plane of Fear in the original EQ1 game. Factions also play a role. Killing certain mobs may raise one faction, but lower another. Death in today's EQ1 is minimal. You can just pay to have your corpse summoned. However, back then, if you were deep in a dungeon and you were in over your head, you might have had to enlist a group to literally pull your corpses back to a safe spot. I'm not saying we need to have extreme death penalties but there has to be some negative to a death.

As for classes. Let's have some differentiation. Require skill to play the game. Make each class unique and create situations where they shine. I also really hate the DPS monitoring that goes on in WoW and Rift. If you didn't put out certain numbers, people didn't want you in a group. You literally could find yourself booted from a group. This coming from an old school EQ1 Enchanter where I used skill to keep the group alive. Not DPS. Best compliments I ever received was people telling me they didn't expect to survive after we get hit with a train of about 10 mobs from another group high-tailing it to the zone out. This actually happened a lot in Sebilis in EQ1.

More than anything, the dumbing down and giving everyone a cookie for playing has removed the sense of achievement. For old school players you had a huge sense of achievement after killing a raid boss for the 30'th time you finally get your rare class drop or the rare mob finally spawns and you get the item you were camping for the last 15+ hours. I'm not saying that having time sinks is the only way to go about doing things but there definitely needs some sort of difficulty in obtaining new spells and equipment. Don't make it a cakewalk.

I'm keeping an eye on EQ Next. We'll have a good idea in 3 weeks what type of game it is. I think more than anything, we need a game that is not a cakewalk and one that forces us to interact with other players.

Man, this turned into a long rant...but EQ Next is likely the last MMORPG I try for the next 10 years.
 

Markbnj

Elite Member <br>Moderator Emeritus
Moderator
Sep 16, 2005
15,682
13
81
www.markbetz.net
also, you left camelot .. for WoW?
A lot of people did when WoW came out. DAoC was already getting long in the tooth, and many people were unhappy with the ToA expansion. So a lot of guilds, including mine, picked up and moved pretty much en masse. And for awhile right after launch it was a lot of fun.

Someone mentioned grouping. Grouping used to be one of the best and worst things about EQ and DAoC. I remember many, many times spending an hour or more in-game to get everyone to the same place, with the right stuff, so we could go after our objective.

As people got older time to play became harder to come by. Grouping became like organizing meetings at work, i.e. not much fun. So new games make it almost optional.

Btw, I am not one of those who feels that all the benefit of an mmorpg comes from grouping up with other players. The earth in real life is filled with billions of people and that no-doubt makes it a much more dynamic and interesting place than it would be if it weren't, but that doesn't mean I need to interact with many or any of them on a regular basis.
 

BrightCandle

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
4,762
0
76
MMOs are a great example of what happens when a games mechanics have to be designed in around the business model. The game isn't just sold it requires continuous subscription payments to keep the game alive. Thus "content" has to be artificially lengthened to slow the game to such a gradual crawl that the development team can put in place new "content" before most people reach the top of the last set. Put another way you would be mighty annoyed if in COD's campaign you had to grind out the missions 50 times before you were allowed to proceed in order to make the campaign a thousand hours long.

I feel the business model shows much of what is wrong with MMOs. Even the basic technical trade off where players can't really have an impact on the world fails to be a problem in comparison.

F2P is being lauded as the next way in which MMOs and other multiplayer games are funded but the issue with those is the same, the mechanics of the game must be artificially lengthened until they fail to be entertaining to many people in order to fund the game. It may well work on some but I think many people will find the experience quite hollow most of the time, because the game is a grind.

Grinding is the very opposite of telling a good story or introducing innovative mechanics. It is a business model that relies almost exclusively on the compulsion people sometimes get to play a particular game and to extract as much from the person as possible in the process. These are not nice products, they are highly manipulative and when you look at them objectively the compromise made to make the business model work results in quite a bad game. The only reason Wow exists still is the social aspect, the game is tired but the people aspect continues to be strong. Facebook relies on a similar abuse of peoples interconnections for its future.

I might play an MMO but the moment I find the fun is sucked out and I full the tug of manipulation I am gone, I just wont be abused in this way.
 

railven

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2010
6,604
561
126
And thus the entire point is made. WoW is so set up to cater to players at this point that loot is essentially guaranteed; in addition, it becomes such a mundane process that players stop bothering after a while.
WoW has always been like that. Frankly, any game has always been like that. You put the effort, you get the loot, once you have the loot the feeling of award is gone and thus not as rewarding.

Or you settle for Bronze, which is fine too.

The spirit of adventure and exploration that permeated Vanilla (and, to be fair, much of BC) is long gone*.
I find this statement rather ironic.

Vanilla: Nothing was centered in the town, had to go and explore the world, travel by foot/air.
TBC: Same as above.
WOTLK: Dalaran is now the central hub, no need to ever leave, throw a tabard on and farm a few dungeons.
Cata: Dailies are there for each rep, but you got a tabard screw that. Never leave Stormwind.
MoP: Jesus, no tabard, dailies are scattered every where...this feels familiar (personally to me, MoP is more reminisent of my experience with Vanilla/TBC than with WOTLK/Cata)

I personally miss the "Have Group Will Summon." I could start my raids on time. Now if we don't have a warlock scheduled or a few good raiders went ahead to wait at the stone, it takes 5-10 minutes to get the gang together.

Blizzard should just start all characters at 90 to further emphasize how much they and the player base have given up on non-instanced/non-loot-based content.
Sure, and then we'll have more of the "idiots" because magically the game is so easy no one needs any experience to play, just start at 90. Enjoy your LFDs (if you don't just do guild runs. Thank god for guilds, the less I sociallize with the average WoW player, the saner I remain.)

Last time I checked, everything everyone does in any game is for a reward. Loot is a type of reward, most often the one most seeked.

I'm reading complaints now about CRZ...because people choose low populated servers to be isolated. And also about LFG. Because people think it's too easy. And ToT. Because people think it's too hard.

*I swear, it's like most WoW players are bipolar or something.

*EDIT: I don't mean this at you. Here is an example; I have a guildie who is an officer and he voted for our guild to stop running ToT10. He felt we weren't ready, and that we should take a break.

Next week he signs up for a ToT make-up group by another guildie who disagreed with the officers and wanted to continue running ToT.

I mean, come on!
 
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JamesV

Platinum Member
Jul 9, 2011
2,002
2
76
In a nutshell, World of Warcraft happened. All original MMOs were stymied or tried to emulate WoW.
In a nutshell, very few companies can make a good MMO.

Most MMO's look like they have dated graphics, are bug ridden, and are about as user friendly as the DMV.

MMO's aren't bad because of WoW. MMO's are bad because management saw the money WoW was making, so they threw money at devs that can't make a good MMO. A good idea is only that; Star Wars sounded great... if Blizzard made it, I bet it would have been a hit.
 

Xed

Golden Member
Nov 15, 2003
1,453
0
71
Fingers crossed for EQNext to not be 99% solo content with .5% group areas and .5% raid areas.
While I am looking forward to the August 2nd reveal, I have a bad feeling it will cause me to put a bullet in my head (in an mmo sense).
 

orthancstone

Member
Oct 19, 2001
34
0
0
WoW has always been like that. Frankly, any game has always been like that. You put the effort, you get the loot, once you have the loot the feeling of award is gone and thus not as rewarding.
I agree with that.

I suppose I should have emphasized that I think time is an aspect of the journey. When it takes months to gear out one character (very much the case in Vanilla and BC) versus your main and all alts are geared out in nearly the same time, it gives you more reason to bail out earlier. Yes, the former situation involves a lot more beatings with the stick while the latter is a lot more carrots, but I think too many carrots makes the effort of gearing up too trivial (and, thus, too boring) eventually.

But inevitably, yes, once you've farmed everything you want, it is certainly much less rewarding.

Sure, and then we'll have more of the "idiots" because magically the game is so easy no one needs any experience to play, just start at 90.
After a few runs in the new dungeons that arrived with Icecrown Citadel, I was already convinced the idiots had taken over the game :D.
 

Bateluer

Lifer
Jun 23, 2001
27,730
7
0
In a nutshell, very few companies can make a good MMO.
A lot of developers are fully capable of making a good MMO. Most publishers aren't willing to front the cost of servers or commit to long term support. MMOs are not short term games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, where 90% of your profits are made in the first month of sales. MMOs require a developer and publisher to commit to potentially several years of content updates and server hardware to back it up. The publisher usually doesn't realize that they can have less than WoW-level profits and still be successful. But no, if the MMO doesn't have 10M subscribers in the first 3 weeks, even though it was forced to ship months early, they pull the plug. This also has the side effect of making gamers turn a more critical eye towards new MMOs, where we wait a few months after release for bugs and initial server woes to get patched up. Publishers look at this slow adoption rates as a failure.

Most MMO's look like they have dated graphics, are bug ridden, and are about as user friendly as the DMV.
Bud ridden, yep. Because they were forced to ship early, the publisher wanted profit NAO!
Dated graphics, shrug, there's more tolerance for dated visuals in a game that can take several years to properly develop, and that should be 'live' for several years after launch. The trick is to use an engine that's scalable as hardware improves/prices drop, and use an art style that can ages well. WoW's art style looks just as good and appealing today as it did in 2004, whereas EQ2 looked awesome at release but now looks dated as hell.

User friendliness is relative. I think there's a medium between the lobotomized gameplay of some modern titles and the DMV.

A good idea is only that; Star Wars sounded great... if Blizzard made it, I bet it would have been a hit.
Thats about as asinine as saying a personal electronic would be great if Apple made it. Face it, Blizzard isn't what they used to be. :(

Not only did WoW destroy so many other MMOs, but it also corrupted Blizzard. That, and their merger/buyout with Activision.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,377
126
I tried WoW twice, but couldn't get into it. Maybe 3 hours total? I will never play another MMO, not my cup of tea nor do I have that kind of free time.
 

Agent11

Diamond Member
Jan 22, 2006
3,535
1
0
I just bought secret world, I had a good experience in Anarchy so I trust funcom... But man, 40 gigs on the disk. Going to take a bit to dl. lol
 

irishScott

Lifer
Oct 10, 2006
21,568
3
0
I've never been into MMO's, I lack the dedication (and time) for them. But I am looking forward to the MMO portion of Star Citizen next year. Sounds like EVE-for-people-with-lives, and a lot more creativity.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,548
346
126
World of Warcraft is an incredible game, huge and rich. It's really incredible. But it does take a massive amount of time to get to top game content, and has a lot of 'grinding'.

MMO's have to pretty much - to need hundreds and thousands of hours, they have to have people repeat things.
 

justin4pack

Senior member
Jan 21, 2012
521
6
81
We need a true player driven sandbox like swg was no levels all based off of skills. And all is made an sold by players no cash shop bullshit. These studios need to grow a pair and make a game paid and then stick to it not make it f2p because everyone else is
 

JeffMD

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2002
2,026
19
81
I stopped playing WoW a few raid instances into pandaria. The need to do dailies was so much stronger in this expansion that it caused me to give up (i was a 25m raider since BT). I farted around in gw1 when i got bored so I was looking forward to gw2 and was not disappointing. It really did merge everything good about gw1 and wow into a wonderful game. Even if it does do away with large party raiding (not counting events which can gather over 40 people) I certainly don't miss it. The events are fun and dungeons are really entertaining and difficult. Also obtaining gear that you can really use is easy, you merely use dungeon and pvp currency for unique skins.

Plenty of full servers, plenty of active guilds, and plenty of things you can do on your own time, no need to schedule hours of specific days to do something. Also you buy the game once and thats it. And every month new stuff comes out.
 

diesbudt

Diamond Member
Jun 1, 2012
3,393
0
0
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.
So much this. I never touched a daily on an alt. Or did any "grinding", and never did any raiding outside of LFR. Gear literally fell out of the sky for my 510 mage.
 

diesbudt

Diamond Member
Jun 1, 2012
3,393
0
0
I stopped playing WoW a few raid instances into pandaria. The need to do dailies was so much stronger in this expansion that it caused me to give up (i was a 25m raider since BT). I farted around in gw1 when i got bored so I was looking forward to gw2 and was not disappointing. It really did merge everything good about gw1 and wow into a wonderful game. Even if it does do away with large party raiding (not counting events which can gather over 40 people) I certainly don't miss it. The events are fun and dungeons are really entertaining and difficult. Also obtaining gear that you can really use is easy, you merely use dungeon and pvp currency for unique skins.

Plenty of full servers, plenty of active guilds, and plenty of things you can do on your own time, no need to schedule hours of specific days to do something. Also you buy the game once and thats it. And every month new stuff comes out.
GW2 was a good game that tried new innovations. Only main issues I ahd with it were 2 things.

1. Early on all the server hopping so populations fluxuated to much based on WvWvW stuff.

2. Removing the "roles", while awesome in theory, made the game just a spam/dodge stuff fest. Which is the same as any MMO except strategy of tanks, healers and other things were removed. I looked forward to a world with no "roles" but I think Id like it better where any class could specialize into any of the 3 roles, than none and just people bum-rush things dodging stuff.
 

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