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Reader Comments (11)

Posted: Sep 30th 2009 7:04PM (Unverified) said

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It's a difficult balance to strike, but I feel MMOs used to do it about 5-6 years ago quite easily. The only reason I can see is that items used to:

1. Mean a lot more back then (either took a very long time to get, was very good and/or a lot of people wanted it)
2. You wouldn't be upgrading it next week when you progressed on to the next raid or whatever

The longevity of the items was what made for better team play, now people want items and want them fast, so they can progress and get more items faster. Whereas I seem to remember a day when people used to work together and spend literally weeks (sometimes months) helping someone in their guild (or even just a friend) get an item so that it helped everyone out.

I don't have a solution, but maybe having less items is better rather than more.

Posted: Sep 30th 2009 7:12PM (Unverified) said

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Having fewer items probably would benefit group play, but a game like WoW will never do it because the gear grind is part of their retention policy. Many of the players addicted to WoW would quit the moment they didn't have another shiny to strive towards, thus the developers constantly add additional items, keeping the gear churn going and the subscriptions active.
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Posted: Sep 30th 2009 7:15PM MewmewGrrl said

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I wrote about this same thing on a blog on a major gaming site earlier this month *looks around suspiciously*. Although I didn't give many suggestions in my blog, I mainly talked about why people were not grouping as much and pointed out the problems of arguing or bickering for loot etc. Many of the same things they spoke about. It's probably just a coincidence I guess.

Posted: Sep 30th 2009 7:22PM Graill440 said

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No MMO out today can say that when you pay your monthly fee you have access to all content, it simply isnt true.

Most MMO's today are run as businesses with ignorant raid guides spazzing "join this or that, be geared, have this, and know how to do this or that" stupidity mixed with rote action. The sad little kings of their sad little hills thinking they are having fun. Pathetic.

The last time someone asked me about todays MMO's (that was of any importance) what i thought a customer wanted in an MMO i said this, They want "stuff" or "bling" or whatever you want to call it for that monthly fee, they want to be able to get it themselves OR in a group so when the time comes they can contribute OR not, its their monthly fee. Still everyone wants to stand in that courtyard showing off the "stuff". This has been reiterated for over a decade.

Building MMO's as they have for years around the pay to play and get one piece over time to keep subs is for the weak minded, I wont pander to idiot devs nor will i play an MMO that has some spastic child or adult wailing because someone didnt didnt do something on time in some ignorant dev created raid to get a piece of something for 1 or 2 folks out of 50 or whatever number it is today.

You pay a monthly fee, you should have access to everything, attainable by one or fifty. Weakminded robots (hardcore players to you and i) can pay extra money for raids and get that really, really neat stuff. I refuse to pay or play these business models.

And OP, the folks delving into the "mysteries" of MMO's, seeking solutions or providing ideas today for "problems" look extremely foolish as they are a decade plus late in giving any legit ideas or solutions that havent already been presented before many many times. Hard heads, soft asses.

Posted: Sep 30th 2009 7:59PM Psychochild said

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Mewmew wrote:
It's probably just a coincidence I guess.

Probably. :) As I wrote in my piece, these posts came from Ferrel and my in-game discussion. I can't speak for Ferrel, but I don't remember reading a similar post previously. That's one of the reasons why I said we should post our thoughts.

Feel free to stop by my blog and leave a link in the comments to your post. I always enjoy further discussion!

Posted: Sep 30th 2009 8:15PM Minofan said

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Got to say, I also didn't rate that article.

Firstly it seemed rather more 5-years-ago than would be appropriate to today's industry: 50 man-raids and repair bills?
You don't see those kind of 'features' outside of WoW (/FTPs modelled on WoW) anymore, and even WoW is now keen on smaller & smaller raid groups along with eliminating ammunition, reagents, etc.

This whole paragraph pretty much makes it clear what the blogger is skirting around:

"But, even if someone has no interest in raiding, if he or she wants to improve a character at max level he or she has to get involved in end game raiding. People who don't find raiding all that interesting may still take it up if they don't feel like playing with alts. This type of person is going to be more interested in the loot than actually participating as a team. This attitude can be frustrating to the rest of the guild. Someone willing to put in the time to achieve a win may be frustrated if the person who couldn't make the progression attempts suddenly shows up and expects the experienced raiders to drag him or her through farm status bosses to get the gear he or she wants."

They want the old MMOs back - presumably with modern sheen - and they don't want the post-WoW crowd sullying it with their 'consumer gaming' demands rather than living-sleeping-breathing it as a social phenomenon.
Which is fine!
But that's what Darkfall, Mortal Online and the like are already doing - so I don't see what the point of the article is beyond a plea for AAA developers to stop making mass-market games and switch to niche ones?

Posted: Sep 30th 2009 8:45PM Dblade said

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I really didn't get that sense from brian's article. I think you miss the point, it's more about how to deal with the need for people to raid due to gear grinds, and to make it reward the group instead of individual players who really only are there for the gear. It has nothing to do with past is better, because the same problems exist in modern and past games if they have any form of gear grind.

What you quoted has nothing to do about bringing the past back, its about a raid experience which doesn't promote any reason for group loyalty, and leads to players just in it for themselves. As a raider that attitude is very corrosive, and is the reason a lot of guilds break up and reform, because there is no real reward to benefit everyone, just individual players.

Brian's a very good critic about MMO related issues and a designer, and even though I disagree with him about things at times he never goes for the cheap, reductionist solution like you describe.
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Posted: Sep 30th 2009 9:34PM (Unverified) said

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It's kinda sad that game designers have to trick and con players into having fun today. We're becoming more like babysitters than anything else.

For me, I would love a game where every single top level item was available for free from a menu. Just get it over with. You want epics? Here, have epics. Free. Go strut around in Dalaran and show them off to everyone now.

Then leave the PvE and dungeons for people who want to play them for the fun, the challenge and the teamwork.

I play WoW to enjoy teamwork in a group and the mental reward from overcoming a challenge together. I really couldn't give a toss about the loot. As far as I'm concerned, it's all just pixels.

Unfortunately 90% of the players I will end up grouping with just want to burn through the content as fast as possible to get more badges and more loot. I find it rather sad and pathetic.

I don't really think there is a very effective game design solution to this issue. It's a human problem, not a technological problem. Forcing or cajoling people to work as a team rarely works and usually ends up being unpleasant for everyone.

Posted: Oct 1st 2009 1:11AM (Unverified) said

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The competitive side of the game is working in the opposite way.

What I would consider a 'pure' pvp style of FPS and fighters is being replaced through the MMO game model by a competition model where no individual characters/classes bring the full suite of pvp abilities, (unless they do) and are forced to cover each other limitations just to function in pvp. This is amazingly aggravating for anyone familiar with the more customary pvp model of fighters, where every class is supposed to be capable of handling every situation, even if it's in an unusual way.

I don't believe that competition is logically possible in a group format. The entire process devolves into rote memorization and co-ordination exercises. Any innovation spells disaster for the team. (please, spare me the real life sports comparison) Frankly, the old model of enforced teamplay simply isn't going to work if they player has no intention of grouping socially, and no amount of design can change that. The design must be centered around the individual, with additional, optional, and heavily streamlined group activities actually providing more fun rather than better progression or gameplay.

-Haply

Posted: Oct 1st 2009 1:37AM (Unverified) said

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Make the loot too hard to get.

Best team games are ones where perseverance and patience rewards those who work* for the loot. Game mechanics imo should be unbalanced in pvp against eachother (as in every class, when tweaked/customized/equipped well, is extremely effective) and in pve the unbalanced players should play against unbalanced pve, as in PVE is difficult even when you are tweaked, moreso when you are not.

This creates a learning curve that excites and motivates players to enjoy improving themselves. The one thing you work on in an MMO is YOURSELF, you self improve, and once you have reached a or the plateu of self improvement, interest in the game diminishes.

Such is the reason why high learning curve games last longer than expected, balance is for strategy games. MMO's everyone should be a shotgun if they work hard enough to be one, why else does counterstrike allow a slow reload sniper rifle to kill someone when they are shot in the foot? And why do we love it? Because its a skill game, skills measured in how well you can improve oneself. Play Anarchy Online~

Posted: Oct 1st 2009 4:33AM cray said

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Here's an idea, How about assigning a unique XP value to a loot item. Lets say a legendary sword is elite item. Let say player A1 in a group has the sword already and it's randomly assigned to him as a loot drop. Lets give the sword a unique value of 5,000 XP. Any player can only receive that particular 5,000 XP once.But if he chooses to keep it he loses -15,000 XP for double dipping the same loot item. However player A1 can be rewarded if he chooses not to pick up the loot and assigns it to player B2 who doesn't have the sword, both players would be rewarded 5,000XP.

This encourages giving, and penalizes farming. It also balances the loot's resale value.

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