| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (24)

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 10:20AM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
First – anyone willing to pay $70 for a game that offers 8-10 hours of play and very little replay value is an idiot and actually bad for the gaming community as a whole. Supporting unfinished or crappy games is stupid, IMO. Gamefly is $15 a month and you get to play all the games you want, and can purchase any that are that good. Never waste money on games again.

Second – comparing the unique feel and presentation of say… the God of War series to any MMO is totally different. Platform games are made with putting the player in the seat as THEE ultimate hero/villain etc. You can’t have thousands of Kratos running around in an MMO. It’s got to be generic’d to create a feeling of being part of the ‘big picture’ over being the ‘center of attention’.

Third – As developers learn to manipulate and push the consoles (360 & PS3) the games become better and more intuitive over time on that console. Upgrading a console is as little as buying a new one, every 3-5 years. And, at the current rate of roughly $600. With MMOs that are (predominantly) made for PCs, there’s a constant need to upgrade hardware and software to compensate with the ever pushing envelope. B/c these games are on such a grand scale, they aren’t as graphically stimulating as console games. But, each year the developers are pushing the tech to new levels to “out do” the previous crop of games. Forcing gamers to play ‘keeping up with the Joneses’.

Forth – No. We don’t expect enough. There wouldn’t be 50 MMOs a year coming out if it wasn’t profitable. If gamers for one second are fooled into thinking that the developers and publishers are making these games for the “audience” and not b/c of the potential to make millions, they’re simple minded and blind.

So, since the consumer is their ultimate goal, I think the consumer should demand that they provide the best, most intuitive and creative piece of completed work possible. B/c someone out there will, and I’ll just take my money elsewhere if they aren’t willing to.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 10:25AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Oh absolutely. Most MMOs cost a month what you might pay for just a little filler game from steam or greenhouse. Yet for that petty amount you get a whole vast world with lots of complex interaction to explore.

Dare I say the large amount of new players that are coming into the MMO scene expect a nice, pre-packaged game with everything working 100% right from the get-go. An MMO is a living, dynamically changing thing that really doesn't get it's legs until a year into being live.

My point is that those who don't realize how an MMO functions do tend to expect too much.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 10:29AM Thac0 said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
awww poor mmo companies we ask too much Waaah! NOT.

Its about quality not quantity. I would pay 70 dollars for an amazing single player experience. Single player games have strong narratives and deliver an experience where you can vicariously feel the action and story. They also have innovative game play and graphics.

as opposed to....

50-70 dollars for a game that makes you grind mobs all day with sub par graphics (due to server performance), game play that is the same as EQ was 10 years ago and often does very poorly at making you feel a part of the game and fails to deliver an exciting story without having to work long hours for tidbits of it.

In other words who cares that you can grind mobs for years in an MMO if it sucks? I'd rather have a great time in a game with a shorter life span than a miserable time for a long time.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 10:39AM pcgneurotic said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I don't know, an SP game like HL2, Oblivion, Stalker or GTA # offers as much, if not *more* replayability than the average MMOG. Once you've 'done' a zone in an MMOG, that's it in terms of first-experience content untill the devs decide to freshen the place up, which doesn't happen too too often. Whereas these larger, more sandboxy SP games are increasingly easily moddable. PC gamers are their own devs in these cases, and can potentialy limitlessly freshen and change the experience for the SP gamer.

It's been, what, 3, 4, 5 years since WoW launched? So it's been that long since any of the early adopters had a fresh experience with, say for example, The Barrens. But now, just a few months after Fallout 3 went to retail, you can already play through it again and experience something almost 180 degrees different than the boxed experience. Other genres, beyond the RPG-MMORPG genre, have had this experience going on for years and years now - HL1, some of the Star Trek games, various flight and racing sims, the list is endless.

Maybe our over-high expectations of MMOGS come from our high expectations of our SP games - the opposite of what we're syaing in the article above?

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 10:41AM pcgneurotic said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Addendum: I've still got a multi-gigabyte Morrowind install on my computer, and that shit's getting oooold now in terms of publishing years, but I go back to it more often than I re-sub for some of my MMORPGs. :-D

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 10:57AM Wisdomandlore said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
It's all about the moment to moment experience. Sure, an MMO might have 10, 20, or even 100 times more content than a single-player game, but the the actual "fun" of playing the game over those 1 billion hours might be pure tedium. MMO's have sadly evolved little, and basically boil down to watching health bars, cooldowns, and clicking your skill bar. The recent crop of games (starting with EQII and WoW) have moved away almost completely from the kind of emergent gameplay that defined the early MUD's, EQ, and UO. Instead they've replaced it with a carrot-stick formula that's all about the next level, the next piece of gear, etc. It's like a glorified dungeon crawl.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 10:58AM Aganazer said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
It seems like every year people's expectations grows a little more beyond what is feasible with the technology and development funds. Its only made worse by the early marketing of new games. People will see that marketing, let their imagination run away with it, then end up disappointed in everything new coming out because it can't compete with what they are imagining a game coming out in two years might be like.

Comparing MMOG's to single player games is another strange dichotomy. Its interesting how the same person can be fine spending $50 on a single player game with 20 hours of gameplay, but will complain about a MMOG's that *only* lasts them three months. Why the double standard?

Back in the day (mid 90's PC games) I would judge a game based on the value per game hour and at the time 40 hours was standard. Now we're down to 10-20 hours. CoD4 that got nearly universal praise had something like 5 hours of gameplay. I thought the world had gone nuts when it was a top seller and got 100% reviews.

So now I judge my games the same way I did in the mid 90's. If I can get 40 hours out of a full priced box I am happy. I don't care if its a MMOG or single player. That is part of the reason I support these games that have limited content like DDO, Spellborn, and Champions. I honestly don't care or expect to be spending all my time on them for 6+ months. I've got other things I want to do. I don't think I want a game to last me 5 years like WoW did anymore.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 11:02AM Tom in VA said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
All I expect from an MMO is fun at a reasonable price.

And, no, that is not asking too much.

In terms of "fun factor" plus value, Guild Wars was the best value I ever came across. WoW, also, was an OK value (for a while), as was LotRO (for a while).

The problem with sub-based MMOs is that they are really only BOTH fun AND a good value if you play quite steadily and consistently. To me, sub-based MMOs are like paying for cable TV: if you watch a lot of TV, then it's great. If you don't, however, it's probably not worth the price.

It will be interesting to see what GW2 and APB do to the MMO market. I am guessing there are a lot of people that will love GW2 because it now competes (much moreso than GW1 did) with WoW and Aion in terms of game design (i.e., being a persistent world MMO) but offers a MUCH more attractive payment scheme for casual, "every-so-often" MMO players.

--There are several pretty good subscription-based MMOs (WoW, LotRO, Aion, etc.)
--There are way too many crummy no-subscription / F2P MMOs

But the player market is ripe for a really good, middle-ground, subscription-free MMO. I think GW2 (and maybe APB) may well fit that description.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 11:08AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Brooke, I think you partially answered the question. It's all about expectation. Gamers are willing to spend more for less if they know what they're getting. In addition, an MMO carries with it an expectation of significantly more time and investment. If that MMO sucks, we're much less likely to keep playing, with nothing to look forward to but months of "more of the same". Conversely, if that console game has a few fun moments, we might be more inclined to spend that 30 hours to beat the game and never return.

All this adds up to a lot of pressure on MMO developers to make a player's initial experience absolutely fantastically amazing. If you don't catch someone's attention right away, you're in danger of losing them and all of the people they *don't* tell about how amazing your game is.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 11:18AM postman said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
i didn't read the article but i think now i'm going to watch that movie to tonight to enjoy a mostly naked Gwyneth Paltrow

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 11:57AM Anticrawl said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
No.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 12:28PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I can think of some perfect examples, both Darkfall and Mortal Online are extortionate in their pricing. It works out as about $71 for Darkfall +Subscription fee which equals about $18 (If i remember rightly), which in my eyes is insane.

Mortal online is roughly the same price - Now these are games from companies that people have never heard of, I was really hyped for DF and MO, but when I saw the price my hypeomoter dropped from 70 to 10.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 12:32PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Developers hype these games beyond belief. And then when they're finally released almost zilch of the promising features they hyped are included or working, along with a host of other problems all wrapped up in a ten year old game. Too high expectations? Absolutely not. Maybe developers need to temper their own expectations. If they aren't going to do something innovative and well done, then maybe they should plan on surviving on box sales and 1 or 2 months of subbed time. I understand that mmogs evolve over time. But nobody wants to play a bad game for months on end in the promise that someday it'll be decent.

I also disagree with the idea that 10 hours of mmo time is equal to 10 hours of a single player game. 10 hours in a good single player game will let you see all the content, and all of it you'll enjoy if it's a good game. 10 hours in a mmo gives you very little, and much of it will be boring grind that'll make you question why you ever spent that much time on it in the first place. There's far more cost efficient ways to waste time, that doesn't mean they're enjoyable. I'd sooner pay 50 bucks to play Portal, a game that takes about 3 hours to beat but is an amazing experience from start to finish, than I'd pay 50 bucks to play CO or Aion.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 1:06PM Thac0 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
This man has it 100%
Reply

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 12:48PM Averice said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
There's a reason I don't buy 8 - 10 hour games, they aren't worth it. Give me a good 30-50 hour final fantasy with even more hours of side quest time thrown in and then I'll give you 60$ for the game.

That same reasoning follows why I don't pay 50$ for an MMO. If I'm not enjoying an MMO within 5 hours, I'm not going to enjoy it later on, that's not how this genre works. I'm not willing to risk 50$ on kibble bits kitten MMO just to discover I can't be a Siamese pirate cat like I always wanted.

Do I buy any console games then? Of course. The good ones offer either quality repeat play, like GTA 3, or a long storyline that I know I'm going to enjoy, like I mentioned earlier with final fantasy. And that's the same thing I look for in an MMO. The ability to entertain at a constant rate.

I feel that players are expecting more from all games in general. Every 5 years you expect graphics to increase a noticeable amount, and every 5 years I expect some sort of new Something in a game. What have we had recently? There was the leap to wide spread MMO, there was the leap to Sandbox games, and then earlier on we had the RTS genre jump up, the FPS genre jump up. I'm not sure what the next leap is going to be or if there will be one, but I do know that I am expecting a leap. And it's not the consumers fault tbh, the industry producers and marketers are as much to blame. Every time something new comes out they scream at us "It's new! It's revolutionary!" Even Blizzard is all "Our new MMO is going to be a completely new licence and will be a revolutionary new game." For Blizzard I actually half believe them due to their track record.

On a minor side note, which came first? The major sandbox game or the major sandbox MMO? "Major" being a relative term for the two industries as split entities.

I feel that many casual gamers do expect to get the same number of playable hours out of GTA 4 that they do a game like WoW. Probably nobody that ever comes to this website, but there are definitely casual gamers out there. There's also a discrepancy between the two systems, a casual PC gamer won't expect as much play time likely from an MMO then a hard core platform gamer does out of CoD or Gears or GTA 4, or hell, even Rockband. I can easily see many MMO gamers spending more time playing rock band then playing MMO games.

There's also the major time issue here that I won't go deep into. But basically, if you're a busy person what are you going to buy, Arkham Asylum in all its awesomeness? Where you can enjoy fast paced leveling, non stop fighting/action, a high quality game. Or WoW and hit level 20. Where because of your time constraints you just missed out on the entire game. This really goes further, back to the whole issue of why do people only play one MMO at a time? And the oft said line "I actually save money by playing an MMO and not buying a new xbox360 games every 2 weeks."

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 12:51PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I've been waiting for years for a company to design an MMO from which much can be expected, with it being monthly priced accordingly. $10-15/month is nothing, that's a good pizza or movie. I'd happily pay $25 or even much more per month for a game that used that money to hire the quantity and quality of people necessary to provide more content, more testing, and better customer service. Many of us MMO players have graduated from scraping money together during college and are willing to pay more for our entertainment. As many hours as I play MMOs, I understand that even an hourly rate of $50/month would be a whole lot less than most of my other options.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 2:03PM wjowski said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
A 50$ a month MMO wouldn't last past the first fiscal year, if that long.
Reply

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 1:51PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
There is a huge difference between SP and MMO. Apples and oranges IMHO.
we don't expect too much from MMO's rather we have been expecting MMO's to catch up to and surpass SP games in terms of engaging gameplay/narratives/mechanics and everything else.

Instead MMO's have stagnated with grinding on "kill 10 rats". As most of us are basically fans of the genre here, we endure hoping that eventually someone will begin moving things along.

It's happening slowly but surely. Grind will eventually have to be replaced with gameplay as traditional P2P are a dying breed. Why pay when you can choose from many F2P that offer the same thing if not more? Grind your levels do some endgame. Runes of magic has pretty much demonstrated this.

The "only" marketable strength MMOs have over any other genre is persistent multiplayer worlds, that's it. In just about every other respect (combat / stories and even graphics...ext) MMO's for the mostpart are inferior to other game genres.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 2:29PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Torak- "The "only" marketable strength MMOs have over any other genre is persistent multiplayer worlds, that's it. In just about every other respect (combat / stories and even graphics...ext) MMO's for the most part are inferior to other game genres."

That's an interesting point. Why is this? The first thing that comes to mind is that persistent worlds are more or less unchanging. Since everyone is in the same world, it limits the impact a single player can have in world changing events. In single player games it seems like you can experience very dramatic events and story flows well. I think that type of experience has been limited to date in MMOs, but I think phasing is a promising development.

The second thing I think that's limited MMOs is the depth of combat and other gameplay systems. There are so many different classes and class interactions that the items and upgrades are fairly boring. A new item is not going to let me perform new abilities. The devs are forced to balance gameplay around spells and abilities so much that it's harder to constantly introduce new and cool things. Gear in a single player environment can often be game-changing. In MMOs, it's typically just a stat adjustment.

Posted: Aug 26th 2009 3:31PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Sure, I agree with your points. I was just coming more from the perspective of the social aspect.
Meaning to me anyway, the advantage over SP is you get to play with friends (real or online) and characters and accomplishments ingame are persistent in that gameworld.
I can't share my game experience in say Mass Effect or Fallout 3 with my wife but we can in Warhammer which IMHO is an inferior game to those two in gameplay BUT I can only play it alone which, let's face it, is dull. Once be become accustom to multiplayer play, it's very difficult to to truly go back to SP.
Reply

Featured Stories

The Stream Team: Vanguard's final week

Posted on Jul 26th 2014 11:00AM

WRUP: This is why we can't have nice things

Posted on Jul 26th 2014 10:00AM

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW