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Reader Comments (21)

Posted: Dec 4th 2009 8:53AM Wisdomandlore said

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If Shadows of Mirkwood doesn't inject some much needed life into Lord of the Rings Online, I will probably quit it for good in the next few months.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 8:53AM VanishedNine said

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I have given up on Wow, no matter the newness of the content...it is still a grind. In reality, everything you need to know about MMO's you can find on a shampoo bottle. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 1:40PM Anatidae said

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WoW lost me when I had my first daughter. Then I realized that raiding on the schedule of 25-40 other people really sucked. I want to be able to log into my game, play with others, and log out.

I don't even mind committing to x hours. Heck, every night I will run a LFD2 map and those take less than an hour. But since raid dungeons have lockouts, there is no such things as PuG groups - which there would have been just like the old 10-man UBRS days.

Yet, in WoW, at some point the only way to advance at a decent speed is to raid. Grinding similar epics (when they exist) through non-raid content takes months and months longer. It sure is hard to put in more game hours than your guildmates to get lesser rewards and then be called casual.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 9:02AM (Unverified) said

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I'm always willing to revisit stuff I've enjoyed (City of Heroes, and Age of Conan for me) but grew a little tired of, to see if updates have breathed some new life into them. I just usually find that if I truly didn't like something when I first tried it, no manner of updates or expansions is going to magically make me like it.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 9:44AM Gel214th said

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I think that people accept far too much mediocrity and masochism from these MMORPG games.

A lot of what they present as gameplay is not fun, and would not be viable in a Single Player genre. Not because of any inherent reliance of this gameplay on having other people around, but simply because they are not fun.

Developers cannot properly balance powers and systems correctly. They just can't. I think as humans we just are not able to wrap our minds around the problem that balancing these games presents. Yet developers seem to insist on extremely complicated formulas to drive everything, which makes the problem worse.

The resulting Nerfs compounded with the fact that a lot of what you are doing is not fun, means that it really doesn't take that much to turn me off an MMORPG.

I've hoping that the next Star Wars MMORPG with its focus on story changes things, but I've hoped before. Champions Online was a disappointment (they are now picking up, and its ironic that you use what seems to be a screenshot from CO in this article), Secret World is pushed back to who knows when, Hero's Journey is delayed indefinitely....there really isn't much in the MMORPG realm that interests me at the moment.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 11:12AM lazymangaka said

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I'm actually going to contend some of your comments for a second, although I must say I find your thoughts refreshingly coherent and well-put.

"A lot of what they present as gameplay is not fun, and would not be viable in a Single Player genre."

The thing is, the gameplay that is the backbone of MMORPGs--that overarching concept that is 'The Grind'--has been around in single-player games for years. The idea of a 'dungeon hack' wherein gamers venture into often randomly generated dungeons for experience and loot has been central to the western (and to a lesser extent, eastern) RPG markets since the first graphical games debuted on PCs. As games morphed into the MMORPGs that we know and love today, this concept reared its head again, manifesting with quests and mob kills in that neverending quest for experience and loot.

"Developers cannot properly balance powers and systems correctly."

I think it is perfectly possible to balance powers and systems, as you put it, in a single environment. It is perfectly possible to balance every class in an MMORPG on the head of a pin if you're only focusing on, say, PVE. The problem with class balance only rears it's ugly head when PVP is brought into the mix, because what works for one doesn't necessarily work for the other. This is because the system that balances PVE--the classification of Tanks, DPS, and Healers--doesn't lend itself well to a PVP environment. A game based solely on PVP could be entirely balanced with that in mind, but would likely have mind-numbingly bad PVE content. Will there ever be the perfect balance? Probably not. But as long as developers make a point to focus on one over the other there can and will be balance.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 12:03PM Gel214th said

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@lazymangaka,

The gameplay that you speak of has been in many ways deprecated in the Single Player realm in favor of carefully crafted, story based games and unique environments. Sure there are Diablo, Mythos, and in some respects Borderlands to speak of in the RPG space that perhaps represent the style that you describe. However look at Jade Empire, Fable, Baldur's Gate series, KOTOR, Mass Effect etc. The focus isn't go out and kill X and deliver to Y, rinse and repeat.

The frenetic and constant motion of Action RPGs is not what we have in say World of Warcraft. In a game like Diablo it works, in my view, in Single Player.

I tried this a while ago - in Neverwinter Nights I downloaded a Persistent World meant to replicate an MMORPG in the NWN game engine. It was the most boring thing I had played,after the third kill X creatures and return to NPC quest I was shaking my head and wondering what was it about adding MMORPG to the gameplay that made me want to endure this.Yes, Co-Op adds a lot to the game, and then there is PVP, but I'm referring to PVE.Solo PVE just...isn't acceptable. Co-Op makes the gameplay style marginally better.

Regarding Development, I think a lot of what you are referring to comes back to Budget as well. City of Heroes and Guild Wars have showed that you can successfully separate the effects of powers between PVE and PVP to achieve balance. Yet many MMORPGs even recent ones do not do this. We hear lots of silly excuses such as it will confuse players, which is utter rot. The fact is that it would take a bit longer, and incur higher development costs. That said, I still am not convinced that for a purely PVE or PVP game that developers are capable of balancing powers. By that token Star Trek Online should be very balanced at launch, since afaik the PVP aspect is limited to the Klingon side. The Federation is all PVE. I would bet, however, that this will not be the case.

I don't think that MMORPG development companies hire the correct Mathematical and structural minds that are required to address balance issues. I would guess that such people would more likely be found at Universities doing research than in the market for game programming jobs, or coming up through the ranks of Quality Assurance. I don't know how many of them would be willing to be hired to assist with balancing systems through the development life of a video game, or what their charge for such a service would be. Probably a lot lot less willing and come at a far higher cost than Ghostcrawler, for example (said without any aspersions to Ghostcrawler's work). So I think that Cost and Budget plays a factor here as well.

So I still don't think that Development companies have the motivation to get things right the first time. And I think that in general it may well be a task that is beyond the capacities of the average human team.And Specialists will cost too much.

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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 9:54AM (Unverified) said

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Burning Crusade. Vanilla WOW was wonderful. After BC it all went to sh*t.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 9:53AM (Unverified) said

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I quit City of Heroes 6 months ago because I had to shelve the monthly fee because I wasn't playing enough. I've logged in twice under trial accounts since then, and it tastes like ash in my mouth. I can't see the badguys as criminals in a city anymore, I see them as punching bags on a cardboard plane, meager roadbumps to level 50. That's when I realized I'm not playing the game for the game anymore.

New zones, new baddies and a new gameplay angle might bring me back, but I don't think we'll see that kinda shift until Going Rogue lands, and that's a year away, by which time I might just have buried the hatchet too deep to dig it up again.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 10:10AM GenericPerson said

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After my last stint with Warhammer Online I don't see myself going back again. I just can't get over some of the minor things still left unfixed since release. I can't seem to understand why something this new and deemed a flagship MMO can't fix graphics glitches a year after release. I'd go on about things in this game that bothers me, but they've been hashed and re-hashed in previous articles.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 10:31AM (Unverified) said

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I've tried a few different mmorpg's after playing wow for 4 years. I've found lots of great games, lots of content to explore but I'm just not enjoying these games as much as i once did. This was really bumming me out until I realized the problem wasn't with the games but with me. I remember having fun grinding up a profession and running dungeons with pugs. Grouping with newbies was no problem, in fact it was just plain fun! Having one of them wiping the group because they forgot to heal the tank while they were wanding down a boss caused me to lol, no really laugh out loud then type in a few words of encouragement before we tried it again. It was just plain fun. But then somewhere while playing things changed, things started becoming competitive. Nobody wanted to group with a newbie (including me). Getting low geared alts into pugs became difficult even within my guilds. I even remember a tank being dropped mid bosses fight because he wasn't holding enough aggro. yeah he was a kid, yeah he didn't have the best gear, yeah he hit the wrong button and bubble himself. But, He had just spend 2 hours with us getting there and he was dropped... It wasn't that much fun anymore. At that moment i decided to make a few game goals and stop playing wow when i achieved them.. I joined a hard core raiding guild and finished uldluar 25 man. I then quit wow and started looking for another mmorpg that would be fun again. After trying 3 different games i realized it wasn't the game... it was me. Maybe in a year I'll try again to find a game that's fun to play, even fun to play with newbies.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 11:54AM GenericPerson said

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I hear ya. I've primarily been stuck to WoW, but have tried numerous different MMO's only to realize that I'm a person that will probably never be happy with the current state of things. I recently re-subbed to WoW yet again when I realized that if I'm going to spend the money I want the best option available that gives me the ability to have quality fun whenever I log in. Yes there is grinding and yes people are competitive, but the game itself always seems to bring me back in.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 1:32PM Nimrod said

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I put down MMO's for a while. I played WoW pretty seriously for a while, but clearing the most recent content (25 ToGC) was literally a chore. The amount of sleep I missed every night because of my commitments to the guild and repetitiveness of re-clearing the same content over and over again sucked all of the fun out of the game. It also tore our guild apart socially and made it a much less fun group of people to spend my evenings with. I tried a couple of the new, popular MMO's that came out, but levelling characters in them felt more like a chore than a game (Aion and Fallen Earth).

That being said, I am looking forward to SW:TOR, Global Agenda, and Secret World. Playing an MMO with friends after work is one of my favorite ways to relax, so hopefully one of these games provides the gameplay necessary to hold my attention. In the meantime, I have been playing in the Heroes of Newerth beta. It's a lot of fun.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 12:08PM Heraclea said

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I gave up World of Warcraft. You get your character to max level, and a series of raids open up. They become progressively harder, requiring grinding to get the gear from previous ones, which has a chance of dropping from elaborately choreographed boss fights, where a single player out of place can wipe the raid. This process poisons the well of in game friendships, in my experience.

I gave up on Age of Conan, mostly because I spent several weeks laboriously grinding out the last ten levels on gathering skills and the mobs that spawned in them. I liked the basic game. I might go back. Some day.

I gave up LoTRO. I saw high level characters finishing low level quests in the opening areas, so they could acquire trait points. I could see the writing on the wall.

I gave up Champions Online. My characters built to melee fell behind the ranged characters. My characters built to be tough were not tough.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 12:33PM (Unverified) said

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Heh Herac I had pretty much the same issues with wow eventually. After having played for almost 5 years it finally sank in that all I was doing was busting my hump for marginal improvements in gear that would be sub-par to the green mob drops in the next expansion, due out whenever blizzard runs out of gold plated yachts.
In all honestly the level up to get better gear so its easier to level up later gerbil wheel has driven me away from MMO's lately. I think I started leaning away after my aion cleric was sitting gaining mana back and I had a EQ1 flashback and started looking for the Ancient Cyclops hahaha. Seriously though, it seems they keep recycling the same boring things in mmo's and rarely break out of the current accepted mold. Hell even little things like the asherons call character development process or anarchy onlines implant system could be easily incorporated to at least make it feel like i am not just playing wow with different skins.
I think the next couple years is going to see a mass migration away from the MMO genre and back to modable single player RPG games like Dragonage (there is a group of guys currently making a Shadowrun mod for it!!!!). I enjoy multiplayer games but the constant demands to min/max my characters in order to be accepted by the lemming masses has taken all the roleplaying out of it for me and inserted a massive amount of "meh".

Posted: Dec 2nd 2009 8:32AM yojibalinese said

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My trick to fun with WoW is not to raid. Every once in awhile the urge will hit but I don't need to see the end game content. I like doing 80 dungeons, but I like to level too. I log in here and there, get a level on the mage, play the warlock for two levels, try the rogue, reroll on horde, make another druid...

^__^ I like wow as a mostly solo game thrown together with some pugging dungeons and, like the holiday, an onyxia raid with a pug was awesome on my priest.
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Posted: Dec 1st 2009 12:50PM monkeybones said

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I have dropped lots of MMOs once you get to a point in the game where lots of grinding is required. I don't mind the mindless grind, but if I am stuck at the same level for days on end, fighting basically the same mobs, its time to move on.

I have had a lot of fun Beta testing new games. Its usually for a couple of days/weeks and then the server is wiped and you move on to another. If the game was fun, I might stick around, until the grind factor sets in.

I could spin an alt with a new class, but once a game becomes a grind, I lose all interest,

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 3:52PM Graill440 said

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Give up? You mean evaluate and decide whether the game is worth your time and money? This can all be done in a matter of minutes, longer if your a fan of the genre and like the punishment of a poorly executed product.

Why people would hang around during the open houses these MMO companies hold i have no idea. During the last year i have participated in a few of these open houses, betas are for working products, open houses are to see what the public thinks and to see the tolerance level of what the devs can get away with on opening day, or at least try to get away with.

Clearly the vast majority of MMO players have no clue as to what a smooth running game is and because of this lack of knowledge have very low standards. This equates to subs that never should have been, and give false metrics to devs and companies reinforcing the current way to do business.

If you dont evaluate a game properly, and let these monkeys understand the last ten years and change of doing business isnt going to cut it, you then give them the base in which to continue to put out poor product, business as usual.

The first thing you need evaluate is this, is the product working as intended? This can be determined in a few minutes. Are you having too much fun beating the crap out of everything? If so you should realize your entertainment value will be dropping into the basement very soon as the monkeys are watching for happy folks. Classes should already be balanced, if they are not the monkeys did not do their jobs in development.

Second we can see if the particular product is the same as all the other product out there, fedex quests etc, this can also be done in a few minutes, again your environment will affect your judgement so tell your father to shut off the water heater and clear your mind of those toxic gasses before making a decision, that and clear the air of the whacky smoke that makes you feel every MMO is worth playing.

Third, is the customer service (CS) up to snuff? Does the company have a bad track record? You should check forums or use past experience to determine this. One of the best clues is past experience, when opening an email from a cs starts like: "Please use the below links to determine your solution....." or words to that effect, this indicates outsourced, ignorant monkeys that have no clue what the game is about and are simply following flowcharts.

Do you "need" to get tired of grinding before quitting an MMO, even one you like? Nope. However, making informed choices may limit you to high standards and having to live real life and only partake of MMO's for entertainment from time to time, be warned.

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 4:02PM (Unverified) said

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So tell me something Graill.... what is your MMO of choice atm? :-)

Posted: Dec 1st 2009 4:21PM Aetrix said

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I've bailed out of WoW for any reason I could find over the past couple of years. I always say I'm never going back, but sooner or later curiosity (and sometimes alcohol) gets the better of me and the account goes back on. There's nothing particular about the gameplay of WoW which draws me back time and time again. So why is it that WoW gets continual rebound love while I have no desire to give AoC or PotBS or Darkfall or CO or LotR or WAR or FE or Aion a second look?

I got mixed up in WoW first. I've been playing it for years, and that's where all my friends are.

The only exception is EvE. On Friday, my WoW sub expires once again and I'm ready to jump into EvE for the 3rd time to check out the new expansion. The reason for this affair on the side? EvE offers something unique in the sea of carbon-copy fantasy MMOs
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