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Reader Comments (136)

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:16PM SnarlingWolf said

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That really is what it all comes from. I grew up on The Realm, UO, AC, DAoC, SWG, etc. I tried everyone that came out (back then that was actually possible) to see if it was an improvement over one I was currently enjoying.

The most fun I had out of the entire MMO market was definetly UO, AC, and DAoC. The least fun I had out of the original MMOs was EQ. I played it for a couple of months, but I didn't like it nearly as much as the open world do what you want aspect of the others.

I did play WoW when it came out and I leveled up to max on both sides back in the day. It didn't even come close to holding my interest or provide the long lasting gameplay I was looking for. It was definetly a more accessible and a more casual friendly game, and those are what led it to a huge success. There is nothing wrong with making games to target that audience and to want to make big bucks. But, every single MMO in the last few years has been designed around that model and essentially nothing else. No major company even tries to make a game that will target the old school style audience. They all want a piece of that WoW pie.

So of course those of us who hate that style of gameplay are going to complain when ever single major releases follows that model, and on top of that, do absolutely nothing new or innovative (even though every company uses that word. I do not think that word means what they think it means).

I don't want to play a F2P microtransactions game.
I don't want to play a level to max in a week or two and grind end game raids game.
I don't want to play a hand holding theme park.
So if companies make those games and only those games, I will certainly complain. Although clearly no one is listening since that is still all they're making and then complaining there isnt' a big enough MMO market.

There is a big enough MMO market, you're just ignoring half of it.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 4:37AM BigAndShiny said

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@SnarlingWolf
But to make a game with all the modern MMO features that you want (graphics, gameplay at AAA quality, enough quests) as well as all the sandbox features (housing, towns, crafting, open pvp, world bosses, ships, flying mounts, rp tools etc. etc.) would be so expensive.

So when I'm spending $150m on a game do I aim for the expectant hardcore audience who will only take the best who might be 1m players, or the casual audience who don't have time to complain about every single bug who number 10m players.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 8:49AM Aganazer said

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I have no need to leave my own comment. SnarlingWolf said it better than I could have.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 7:03PM emikochan said

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@BigAndShiny You don't need quests and a linear storyline if you have a good enough sandbox. Alas people don't have any imagination or drive these days, so you need to add the handholding.
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 12:57AM zolinie said

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@SnarlingWolf


The most fun I had out of the entire MMO market was definetly UO, AC, and DAoC


this
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 1:02AM zolinie said

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@BigAndShiny

how does this

sandbox features (housing, towns, crafting, open pvp, world bosses, ships, flying mounts, rp tools etc. etc.

equal sandbox???
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Posted: Jan 23rd 2012 2:05AM Jetflame3 said

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@BigAndShiny Do you know what a sandbox is? Just curious because

"housing, towns, crafting, open pvp, world bosses, ships, flying mounts, rp tools"

Is not what a sandbox is....

A sandbox is a game where you can do what you want/Invent what you want to do. The sense of adventure, the unknown. It's about what can't you do, not what can you do.
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:16PM Lethality said

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Great article Jef, I think you hit many nails on the head here. I'm an MMO fan... I'd even say MMO addict. But something forces me to pick on the things I don't like about new MMOs rather than the things I do. I was hoping it wasn't the "you kids get off of my lawn" syndrome creeping in!

Lately I've realized that I might be more interested in the making of these games, and the possibilities the MMO space holds than actually playing them. Odd, that.

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:17PM (Unverified) said

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I completely agree with you. I loved Ultima, SWG pre-NGE, AO, and Shadowbane, but developers simply do not make great games like that anymore.

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:19PM (Unverified) said

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I completely agree with you. I loved Ultima, AO, SWG pre-NGE, and Shadowbane. But developers don't make games the way they used to.

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:22PM Joshua Przygocki said

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Why can't devs realize that they need to make the perfect game for ME!!!???

It's not like anyone else actually matters!

Unfortunately, not everyone would enjoy the perfect thing for me. I'll never find the perfect MMO for me, and I'll never relive the moments of joy I've experienced prior. The only way to enjoy anything is to accept what you've got and make something out of it.

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:31PM Eliot Lefebvre said

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@Joshua Przygocki

Man, you're right. Here I've been looking for games that I like, but the games you like are clearly the right ones. Why aren't developers just making the sort of games you like to the exclusion of ones you don't?

Most developers would probably make more money if they just catered to your tastes instead of anything else.
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:35PM Joshua Przygocki said

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@Eliot Lefebvre Maybe if I sleep with their wives...
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:38PM Floop the Squirrel said

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@Joshua Przygocki

Shouldn't you be in a raid now?


You really didn't get the point of the article or any of the other comments. The "mememe" attitude you are ridiculing is found in exactly the players that caused the flood of themepark post-WoW games that are dumber than a sack of potatoes because no player should be left behind.

"The only way to enjoy anything is to accept what you've got and make something out of it. " Tell that to all the black people that fought against racism and slavery. Tell that to all women that fought for their rights. Tell that to all nations oppressed under foreign rule, fighting for their independence.
Accepting the Status Quo leads to stagnation. Speaking of stagnation... get back to your raid now.
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 4:18PM Joshua Przygocki said

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@Floop the Squirrel You sound kind of angry...
First of all: I don't play WoW.
Second: I don't think it was the "mememe" attitude that brought themepark MMOs upon us, it was the realization by the companies that there was tons of money to be made in the casual masses.
Third: Why do you assume that I enjoy themepark games? I could be a hardened EvE veteran or be looking for the next UO.
Fourth: Could you have stated your opinion on my comment without being a prick? Or are you just a jackass in general?
Finally: I said "accept what you've got and make something out of it." African Americans and women fighting for equality DID make something out of nothing. They took their status being considered lower than Caucasian males and worked to become equal. Besides, my comment is talking about MATERIALISTIC things, not ideas like rights and equality. There is a huge difference, and I was merely stating that most of us lack the ability to create video games. We can whine and cry all we want, but they are going for the money- it's their job. Their livelihoods depend on their ability to create entertainment that will bring in money.

When it comes to video games, unless you can make them, it's best to try and enjoy what is available.
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:28PM aurickle said

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Personally, I don't think it's that the genre has changed so much as that the genre HASN'T changed. Every game uses essentially the same mechanics and tropes that have existed since the earliest MMO's. As a result, it gets harder and harder to get over the feeling of, "Been there - done that."

New MMO's come out and immediately get panned because they're not innovative enough. Those people who do actually play and even enjoy them still have a sense that it's just putting on a different dress to go to the same old bar. We keep jumping from new game to new game in the hope that this one will somehow be different -- never mind the fact that at its core the game really is exactly the same as everything that's come before.

The bottom line is that we're jaded and it's becoming increasingly difficult to avoid facing that fact.

Those of us who understand computers and their logic understand that at the end of the day there are a limited number of things that computers can actually do within a game setting. So we understand that quests keep boiling down to "kill 10 rats", FedEx, "meet and greet", etc. But that understanding doesn't help. If anything, it frustrates us even more because we understand how significant the obstacle is that's standing in the way of any kind of revolution within the genre.

As for those who don't have a clue how the systems actually work, it's only marginally better. They aren't stuck with the understanding of just how hard it's going to be for the industry to get over the hump, but they're just as frustrated by the overall lack of progress.

So it really comes down to the old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:43PM Floop the Squirrel said

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@aurickle While I understand what you mean, i think the core problem lies in the "streamlining" of a specific sub-genre of the MMORPG (the themepark action) and over-saturation of it's core player base.

Let's face it.. Any game that's not a themepark is a minuscule indie project with low budget and no polish... or. and EVE.. but that's the exception that proves the rule by showing that there is a place on the market for "niche products"
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 3:29PM Maraq said

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The industry has now matured, but the products have not innovated enough to keep up with the maturing tastes of the consumer. Too much is being recycled and re-used.

The mmo market used to be exclusively for kids. Couple that with the age of the market itself, and the state of technology at the time, and its no wonder how easy novelty value and excitement would be to generate at that point in time. Our standards were lower then, as we had no previous experience of mmos to judge with.

Now, however, that is not the case. Most gamers nowadays have played a few mmo's at least, read a lot of reviews and watched many games come and go. Players now look for and spot derivative lazy design, and deceptive time sinks disguised as "content" but more accurately labelled as "grind".

We are not the wide-eyed innocents of the mmo gaming world that we used to be. Its time mmo game developers stopped trying to earn a quick buck and tried to create something innovative and genuinely immersive, instead of just another cash cow.

Game companies are free to create as many cash cows as they like due to the demands of business and shareholders. Just dont expect sincere adulation and loyalty from players for it.

A lot of hype is generated around up and coming games nowadays, not always because the games on the horizon are genuinely praise worthy. Most of the time i see its because mmo players are desperate for something ELSE. And there is a good reason for that.

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 8:51PM Budukahn said

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@Maraq

I'll agree with all you say except for the "MMO's were for kids" argument. Back when I started, you couldn't get an MMO account without a credit card, not likely to be had by many pre 18 year olds, and this was when unlimited monthly internet was a new thing.

I wasn't there in the days of pay per minute, but I remember reading that phone bills of $150 were not uncommon. Never mind the cost of a computer to actually play the things on.

If anything though, with the proliferation of game cards in highstreet shops and F2P games, I'd say the market has gone from targeting older folks to the younger generation. Hence a certain panda themed expansion to a certain major MMO...
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 10:19PM Maraq said

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@Budukahn

yes fair enough. I was being a bit flippant there i think, regarding the "for kids" comment. I did use dial up, and even on 1p per minute costs could sky rocket. Was really trying to highlight, maybe badly, that in those days you didn't have the demographic spread in the gamer community that you do nowadays, with players of literally all ages and backgrounds joining in.

Its probably very similiar to the internet dating phenomenon. Although exceptions would always have been there, the older generation initially struggled with the concept (but thought nothing of blind dates, or meeting people via random chance in bars and clubs). Nowadays, that stigma and embarassment has dropped, young and old get online for all sorts of reasons, gaming and dating.
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