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

Reader Comments (114)

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:07PM (Unverified) said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
You don't understand that if players don't support innovative games that try new things NOW, there will be no reason for companies to think 'different' games will be worth funding IN THE FUTURE either. And what 'innovative control schemes' have to do with gameplay is something I'm not getting, sorry. Input is input, game content and genre conventions are separate from input device technology. You can have a pure 'Virtual Reality' game input device and use it for 'kill ten rats' gameplay. Don't confuse technological advancement with GAMEPLAY DESIGN advancement, because they're not the same thing at all.

"It is infantile to consider that the current status quo is a sustainable market."

Who says it is? The market is in decline actually. When the number of games in a genre that die miserably hugely outnumbers the ones that succeed? That's not a 'healthy market.' What we had in the years after WoW was people trying to copy what seemed to be successful and failing because they were just that -- copies, of a game that did all those things already.

"Player ownership and liberty within their gameworld is a worthy enough ideal to hold the corporate engine to task with."

The 'corporate engine' and 'worthy ideals' are mutually exclusive concepts. Corporations are not interested in giving players 'ownership' of anything -- just read their EULAs. Unless more people talk with their WALLETS when pontificating about how they want 'something new', then corporations couldn't give less of a damn about their gaming 'ideals'.

You can't eat your cake and still have it -- you aren't going to get bleeding edge innovation in MMORPGs that cost millions of dollars if companies do not see any pattern in consumer behavior that shows they're interested in that kind of thing. Which is my entire point.
Reply

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 6:00PM Borick said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified) I agree that we need to vote with our wallets, but it's more than our wallets that are at stake here. I play with my friends and family, and while I do support and play all kinds of indie games, I keep my family and friends in the gorilla themepark and wouldn't expect them to be a bleeding-edge MMO advocate as I am.

So I rail my displeasure at the MMO gods from the peanut gallery while, yes, investing in the indie set (Vendetta Online, Minecraft, et cetera), but I don't think that it's futile to encourage the AAA guys to change up their model a bit.

"You can have a pure 'Virtual Reality' game input device and use it for 'kill ten rats' gameplay. Don't confuse technological advancement with GAMEPLAY DESIGN advancement, because they're not the same thing at all."

Gameplay design has less need of advancement at this juncture. Killing ten rats is boring in 8-bits or on a holodeck, as you indicate, so perhaps what is needed is a step away from strict gameplay design and more investment in the forsaken arts of group building and social integration?

"Who says it is? The market is in decline actually."

Talk to Zynga about that. I understand that you and I may not consider Farmville and Mafia Wars to be 'MMO', but given your pragmatic viewpoint toward corporate investment you should agree that their cash flow is talking.

The 'social' human element is the big elephant in the room. Investment is key, and that comes down to player empowerment as much as market dollars, and I think the AAA studios know that better than you or I.
Reply

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 4:42PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I don't agree that sandbox is a solution either. I have to say I sadly agree with most of what you said about endgame, much as I'd like to wish you were wrong.

Anyone who plays a monthly subscription game has to have a certain tolerance for repetition and has to hope that the community that supports that game and plays it keeps them entertained and slogging along. It works fairly well for me as long as my guild is active and we are doing enough new things to give me goals. It eventually stopped being enough in WoW, but they got a lot of my money and time before it did, so they'd call their game a big success.

I sure hope I'm not just done with MMOs and upcoming games will be able to entertain me and my friends for a long term. Otherwise, we'd spend all that money from the monthly fees just buying new games and finishing them, with no one around to talk to while we do it. I'm not happy with that idea either.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:12PM Pingles said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
Dark Age of Camelots Relic system (where PvP Conquests effected the available content for PvE) and Allods Astral Ship endgame content are the two systems that I felt were worth progressing to.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:17PM Ghostspeaker said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
Didn't you just write a Soapbox article about how saying that people only like older games because they were their "first one" is condescending and just plain wrong? Well, here's a newsflash for you. Saying that players don't like the current batch of sandbox games because they require effort is just as condescending and wrong.

People don't like the current sandbox games because they're not fun. EVE is no less a spreadsheet with pretty graphics than WoW is. Hell, it's more of a spreadsheet because 99% of the time I'm looking at the UI and not at the graphics. I don't actually fly my ship, I use a menu to tell my computer to tell it where to go. I don't feel connected to what's going on on the screen in any way. Even combat is cold and disconnected most of the time. It all just falls flat for me. It's got more of the feel of a MUD than an MMORPG.

Darkfall is crap mostly because of its community. Really, if I wanted to hang out with bunch of /b/tards I'd go hang out in /b/. Maybe some people like that and it's fine, but most people would prefer the community of LotRO over that, treadmill endgame or no.

Wurm is maybe the closest to what I'd enjoy. Good community, decent gameplay. But since it is the indiest of indie games it lacks polish in a big way. I can get past that if it's the only option, but when I also have fun playing theme park games which actually have all that polish I enjoy, I'll stick with the theme parks, thanks.

The only other sandbox I've been tempted by is Xsyon. Unfortunately it sounds pretty rough around the edges still in terms of playability. Honestly, I'd probably look past that and give it a whirl anyway but I just can't afford another game right now. Ah well. That's life.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:22PM Ghostspeaker said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Ghostspeaker

"It's got more of the feel of a MUD than an MMORPG."

Actually, thinking about it, that's not fair to MUDs. I felt way more connected to MUDs than I ever felt to EVE.
Reply

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:27PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@author

I can't believe how condenscending this whole article is.
Just because you run after the "gear carrot" doesn't mean everybody do so. You know what? I actually ENJOY raiding, for the challenge, the setting and, yes, the story.
But the idea of someone enjoying such vile content must be out of reach of your far superior mind. Only greed for more gear can motivate people in your little world.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 6:51PM Pingles said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

You don't get 100 comments with "Endgame is fun for some people and some people don't like it!"
Reply

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 7:34PM Graill440 said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

You need to make sure your own article is not condescending or you might look like a hypocrit, just saying , hint, hint.

That aside i am going to have a bit of fun with you, you state you love raiding for the challenge. I must say i ocassionally like to spend hours and hours opening and closing the front door to my house at different speeds, the gratification of hearing that click is amazing.
Reply

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:33PM Wisdomandlore said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think people really get out of jack about endgame. Simply put, it's where vertical advancement ends and horizontal advancement begins. It's when you master your character, craft diverse items, explore all the various systems the game has, etc etc. A true sandbox game itself might be be entirely "endgame" in that sense.

The mistake game developers have made (starting with WoW) is trying to turn endgame into another layer of vertical advancement. through grinding gear and tokens.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:41PM Palebane said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Most online RPG players are achievement-oriented. Not surprisingly, the developers decide to cater to them.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 5:56PM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
IMO this article is what is absurd. Everything has limitations, and an element of repetitiveness in unavoidable in any game. The same arguments that you use to dismiss endgame could be used to describe just about any aspect of any game, beginning, middle, to end.

Meanwhile you're romanticizing sandbox games. I don't understand it. What's so different about the endgame as opposed to any other part of an MMO?

The things that makes "endgame" enjoyable (aside from community) is the difficulty and thrill of overcoming the challenges of raids and pvp battles as well as the rewards. The reason that the "end" in "endgame" is necessary is because it's harder to set up and implement the challenges and the rewards during leveling. That's just due to the nature of character progression. It's inevitable that some people will burn out and get tired of this at some point, but that doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with it. It's unavoidable.

If anything, I think the problem is that too many MMO's aren't focused on the endgame enough. I think more games should take the guild wars approach and sacrifice more of the character progression grind (leveling) and focus more on "endgame". They spend so many resources building up leveling content that when people hit the cap, the endgame really IS lacking. And it isn't lacking because "it's all the same". It's lacking because it was an afterthought during development.

Posted: Jun 8th 2011 10:10AM Floop the Squirrel said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@(Unverified)

Might i suggest you abandon RPGs for Shooters, considering your preferences?
Reply

Posted: Jun 8th 2011 10:40AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Floop the Squirrel

Why do you say that? I enjoy rpg's due to the gameplay. I'm having fun playing the MMO's that I subscribe to. What about my "preferences" says that I should do otherwise?
Reply

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 6:42PM Ordegar said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
Over the years I've found that most players fit into one of two types.

One is the, "the fun is the journey" crowd, into which category I fall; they are the people who enjoy the leveling game, and tend to be explorers and/or prefer sandbox game-play over follow-the-handrail game-play, or at least massive worlds such as Everquest, Everquest II, and Vanguard which give the player so many options as to boggle the mind.

The other is the "hurry to max level to see what's there" crowd, which seems to be the majority these days thanks to hold-your-hand games like World of Warcraft and The Lord of the Rings Online. These people prefer to ride the fast-track of quest-chains as quickly as possible to get to cap level so they can experience the "end-game".

Developers are learning, as you did, that the latter group cannot be pleased, though they scramble to attempt this impossibility. Why is it impossible? Because they need completion; an end to the game such as is found in single-player games like Dragon Age. MMOs were originally intended to never end; and as such are much more suited to the former group rather than the latter. The latter can not find happiness in a game with no end, as they can never "beat" the game, which is their sole motivation for playing. They race to what they believe to be the "end", only to find a continuation in another form (raiding or pvp), or continuation in the form of an expansion and (usually) a level cap increase. So developers pull their hair out trying to create this end-game to attempt to please the unpleasable, when what they should be doing is making mmos for the first group and single-player versions for the second group.

Posted: Jun 8th 2011 2:37AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Ordegar I agree with you 100%. I think you sum up the dichotomy that modern MMORPGs are struggling to reconcile very well.
Reply

Posted: Jun 8th 2011 11:04AM (Unverified) said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Ordegar

Whether the fun is in the journey or at the "end" is up to the way the game is designed and what the player finds fun. City of Heroes is a good example of a game where I found the fun to be in the journey. This is largely because the entire game is built around grouping, which is the core of what I find fun in a multiplayer RPG.

Wow... not so much. I can enjoy solo questing when there's a fun quest or a good story, but these are usually fleeting moments in a long grind. And if you're leveling up a second character, it becomes that much more boring. In WoW I play to raid and to do pvp arenas. The story is also important

I disagree with your assessment that players rush to a cap because they want and "end" to the game like in a single player game. It's largely because of the notion that the "good stuff" is at then end, which there is some truth to.
Reply

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 7:25PM Graill440 said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
Great piece Jef.

Developers are scared of what untapped/unkown talent is out there, so in stating that player genereated content is "A" solution you open the door to the possibility of someone getting replaced by some unkown wonderkin, the good ol boys in the industry will not let this happen and will do everything in their power to stay where they are, we see the result in the abundance of crap MMO's and spin. To include theft of intellectual property, done by developers reading blogs or forums and taking those ideas fee of charge.

The money model and the timeframes in which devs want to work is also a huge issue in how an MMO is made, i would bet the vast majority of developers want cruise control over interaction any day of the week, themepark, grind, etc.

No dev wants to spend alot of time or money no matter how much they spin the i love subscribers or have passion for the game mantra, the developers depend on deception, spin, and hype to form that hazed glassy look on folks getting them to buy into their game and their way of thinking.

Sanbox, with official dev guidance not interference, no level anything, exploration, experimentation, uniquness to each character (random generator) for skills etc, no two folks are quite the same. This would all be too much work for a dev today because of the profit margin, not because it isnt possible.

Sadly until the lemmings band together as lemmings do most of the time and close their wallets the rest of us will have to put up with the tripe that is released, and we will need to take our time to sift through the garbage.

Folks stating something new is needed, i have seen that statement to many times to count isnt going to solve any issue, its not giving developers your money, as hard as that may seem to folks that will force that "something new".

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 7:56PM bonkbonks said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
That's why I like MMO's with an unimportant shallow endgame but lots of other things to do, get or see instead.
Less of an endgame focused game and more of a GTA experience with lots of mini games around.
You get to play at your own pace and do many things that never get old.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 8:39PM toychristopher said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Yes! Please more articles like this. MMOs need more criticism of this nature.

I have some high hopes for some upcoming games, especially ArenaNet and Guild Wars 2.

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW