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Reader Comments (136)

Posted: Jan 17th 2012 9:30PM Daeths said

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So true. Now, was it just me or did the cats keep getting smaller and cuter. Stupid cats trying to lure us into false senses of security!

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 5:25PM digitalheadbutt said

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Well, like I said, if they take their valid concern and word it or set it up poorly then it can be construed as just hating or trolling. I down-vote some valid comments on various sites because the poster doesn't take the time to qualify their statement, oversimplifies an argument or generally isn't providing anything worthwhile to the discussion. Saying that you personally hate something doesn't make it actually bad. If they say, it is bad because compared to xxx other game that did the same thing well they failed ot meet that watermark, then we have something to have an objective conversation about. Hell sometimes I am in a shite mood and i just want to dump on something because of how much it failed to please me but those don't usually make it to the submit button because I realize I am not really saying anything. I wish more people would either realize what they are about to post isn't worthwhile and either abort or fix it.
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Posted: Jan 17th 2012 10:40PM (Unverified) said

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Negativity generates more traffic.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 8:54AM happyfish said

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@(Unverified) I think this pretty much sums up my thoughts too. Happy people play games, cranky people comment on forums.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 1:11AM RoninBlade said

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Part of this is just the Internet's tendency to complain and argue about just about everything. But another part of it is that MMOs offer multiple playstyles that directly conflict with each other, in the sense that someone who enjoys one is likely to hate the others. Theme park vs. sandbox, PvE vs. PvP, RP vs. non-RP, harsh death penalty vs. light death penalty, solo friendly vs. required grouping, quick travel vs. time-consuming travel, gear-centric vs. non-gear-centric, crafting-oriented vs. non-crafting-oriented, simple NPC merchants vs. player-driven economy, cheap respec vs. expensive respec, etc. There's no possible way to keep everyone happy.

In some ways this is similar to single-player vs. multiplayer in shooters, but the difference is that in shooters, you can simply ignore the gameplay style that you dislike. In games like CoD, the single-player campaign and the multiplayer are effectively two completely different games shipped on the same disk. In an MMO, the things you hate are constantly staring you in the face.

I love SWTOR. It is exactly what I was looking for in an MMO. I was never into WoW. I wanted to like EVE, but never actually could. AoC started out strong but turned into a grind at higher levels. Aion is beautiful, but it's non-stop grinding from day one. Tabula Rasa had a lot of potential, but that potential was never fully realized. Fallen Earth was my previous favorite MMO, but for me the compelling thing was the world and larger story arc behind it. Finally, I tried SWG and found it incredibly boring -- with the caveat that this was in the final months before SWTOR, so the game was probably already dying.

I get that EVE is the perfect game for some people, and that SWG (at least pre-NGE) was the perfect game for others. I get that people are pissed that a game that had everything they liked (SWG) has been replaced by one that has almost nothing they like (SWTOR). I would be equally pissed if a game like SWTOR were replaced by a game like SWG, though that's based on minimal experience with the latter.

What irritates me are the people who assume that whatever they hate is automatically bad. I hate opera, country music, and broccoli, but I don't assume that people who like these things are idiots.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 1:26AM (Unverified) said

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@RoninBlade - I'm not sure that we actually disagree with each other!

Saying traditional three-panel or four-panel strips are still worth doing, or that the linear one-word-after-another book is still worth doing, is like saying that themepark MMOs are still worth doing - which is very much what I AM saying!

The point I'm trying to make is very much that it's OK for a game to be a conventional themepark MMO. It's OK for it to guide players around with quests, it's OK for it to be solo-friendly, it's OK for it to be more game-y than world-y.

You don't need to harken back to the sandboxes of old and have full-loot open PvP. You don't need to give players complete freedom to do whatever they want. Just, if you're going to make a fun-times casual themepark MMO, please, don't feel you have to copy so many of the fine details from WoW, EQ2, LOTRO, Rift, SW:TOR, etc.. That would be like doing a three-panel strip with characters that look and act almost identical to those in a previously successful web comic!
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 1:49AM RoninBlade said

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@(Unverified) I see what you're saying. Personally, my feeling was that RIFT was an example of same-old same-old, where SWTOR is not. SWTOR is ground-breaking in the areas that I care about -- character and story -- even if it's derivative in the areas that I don't care about -- color-coded gear, "The Trinity", health bars, etc.

I also disagree that story-oriented "theme park" MMOs are necessarily casual. Instead, I agree with what Tycho writes in the most recent Penny Arcade:

http://penny-arcade.com/2012/01/16

SWTOR is actually a much more involving game, for those who like character-oriented games, because the dialogue choices force you to think hard about who your character really is. Of course, that's only if you care. Just like you can just skim a great novel without become involved (say, because it's on a final tomorrow), you can just hit "1" over-and-over again without thinking, if you choose -- but then you're missing the entire point of the game.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 10:10AM (Unverified) said

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@RoninBlade The only thoughts I have when presented with a dialogue choice:

Will I get light/dark side points?
Will I get affection points?

When confronted with linear as linear could be progression, limited dialogue choices, limited gear appearances, and a need for phat lewtz to stay competitive for endgame raids, the notion that my character actually matters falls apart. The only point I see is glossing up ye olde level & raid treadmill.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 1:05PM RoninBlade said

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@(Unverified) That's your choice. I don't care about the endgame and I don't care about PvP so "phat lewtz" is secondary.

There's an option to display the light side/dark side points next to each dialogue option. I intentionally leave it turned off, because I want to respond based on my concept of my character rather than just min-maxing.

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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 1:25AM Nepentheia said

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"Since I started liking them, though, they've changed.

A lot."


Yeah. That's pretty much it. *heavy sigh*

Though perhaps its not so much 'changed' as MMOs have become homogenized. There's not much variety or diversity in what is offered anymore.

There's not much out there in the newer MMOs that's been developed for more than a very few play styles.

But as you've said, eventually the pendulum swings back--and not a moment too soon!!

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 1:49AM UnSub said

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Jef, no matter how hard you argue the point, nostalgia infests a lot of discussions about MMOs. When you see players argue about the glory days of EQ (or Anarchy Online, for that matter), about how great corpse runs where, about how being forced to line up to fight a named mob created game communities, about how great PvP and ganking n00bs was and so on, it is painting a rosy glow over a lot of features that drove players away from those titles.

It's a subjective call. It is a lot of "assigning a personal value judgment to one set of features over another" with time having knocked off a lot of the rough edges. (Which is one of the reasons your car is a poor analogy to why you don't suffer from nostalgia - it sounds like you currently own the car, rather than talking about it in the past tense. It would be exceptionally difficult to be nostalgic about something you have ready access to.)

It's also this idea that "the blogosphere has taken a turn toward the negative" holds the nostalgic view that the previous versions of the blogosphere were somehow less negative towards MMOs. They were incredibly negative and cynical, with every new announcement howled down as ruining the game (sound familiar?).

Gamers commenting about games is almost always negative, and the sites that sprang up around MMOs - Lum the Mad springs to mind, and there were others - were always highly critical of MMOs / games of their time to the point of brutality. "Die in a car fire" as an insult comes from that time and it certainly wasn't an aberration.

At the end of the day Jef, if you are waiting around for features that were last done well (in your view) 8 years ago and believe that "the design pendulum is going to swing back toward the type of game that I enjoy" then you may be under a greater influence of nostalgia than you think.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 2:47AM (Unverified) said

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I miss the days of ye olden mmos.

I miss not having amap in everquest and dying 30 times at level two while not being able to find anything.

I miss the staggering death penalties of Final Fantasy 11 where one death would set you back roughly 3-5 hours.

I could keep going but I wont. Most of the crap old MMO's had that people(read: masochists) still cling to is silly. They want a "harder" game, but all "hard" equates to is time. Very, very little can be skill based in an MMO outside of pVp content. What most people are asking for are things that will waste their time. They desire this because when they finally reach the endgame they can feel better about themselves because they stuck with it when others didn't.

I LIKE what wotk did to WoW, and love SWTOR. Now, I will say I do miss old SWG pre nge, but only certain aspects of it. I'm a big fan of player owned structers, but unfortunatly eve isnt my thing.

Anyways TL:DR Old mmos are dying because the vast majority of people don't like obscene death penalties and prefer having a vast plethora of quality of life features.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 2:47AM Sean D said

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Great article, Jef. Don't listen to the naysayers. I'm with ya.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 10:09AM Laren said

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@Sean D

Of course you are. Massively has always been about hate, and hate is the easiest to blindly follow.

When I first came here a couple years ago to see "what else is out there", the hate for wow was atrocious. They even stopped reporting on it. It was the "in thing" to trash the game.

Now the "in thing" is to trash the next big AAA theme park mmo. On Massively, you are cool if you hate theme park MMOs. You are cool if you hate successful MMOs. You are cool if you love the little guy (deserved or undeserved).
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 11:42AM Sean D said

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@Laren

I think your appraisal of my three short comments is a little dramatic, no? Jef is a good writer. As I've been following Massively and his articles for years, I can say he's also a critical thinker. I praise good writing and critical thinking and I will continue to do so in the face of the larger population of gamers (and people) who prefer to proliferate melodrama and make uninformed snap judgments.

In regards to yours and Jef's comments on MMOs, well, there are very few MMOs that I hate. Just as well there are very few I like well enough to continue playing them for the long term. In my opinion, they all have their good qualities. Their bad qualities, however, stand out because their bad qualities are the same bad qualities that nearly every top-tier MMO exhibits, such as level-based progression, uninspired UI design, and a lack of real consequence. The trend away from consequence in particular is gaining speed. In general, I'm disappointed because the newest MMOs show no real evidence of any effort made toward incorporating the qualities of online gaming that people like Jef and I value.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 4:14AM Samael said

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I love Jefs writing.

But he is extremely biased against anything themepark. The only reason why SWToR is bashed by him right now is because it just released. Let newer themeparks come out and he will on that like bee to honey.

In all of this he does have a point though. We need more sandbox games out there. I believe everyone should be happy with gaming. I remember when I used to have an Atari (don't ask me which one), and man was it fun watching those pixels move on the screen.

My point is, gaming should be fun and thats that.

For all of you sandbox fans out there itching for the next UO or the next DAoC, I sincerely hope you get a modern version of it sooner rather than later. Will it be big budget? Not any time soon, maybe in a few years or so. Look this is a numbers game. Games cost money to make and people who make the games do not have the money needed to make games. So other people put up the money. And when all is said and done, those people that put up the money want a return on that money which is greater than the interest that they would have earned if they kept the money in the bank.

Those people that put up the money are seeing that its highly profitable to make themeparks and hence they are only giving their money to people who are making that kind of game.

A little advice if I may: Put your money where your mouth is. Support the games that lacks polish but has the features you like. Support them, because that is the only way that they will get better. Stop giving money to polish and shiny; start giving money to features that you like.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 9:03AM Seare said

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Negativity on the Internet is epidemic. I read several news sites and sci-blogs and the comments are almost always negative. It seem the negative are the most likely to post comments on the internet. It gives the false impression that they are the majority, but the opposite is true. The fact is, you can rage on the Net all you want but money speak louder than words.

You may have hate the Star Wars prequels with a passion, but there were plenty of people who liked them. The people who like them don't give a damn what you think about the movies or them. LucasFilms doesn't care because they made a nice profit. Certain people raged when Firefly was canceled and sitll rage, but the movie Serenity (which I like BTW) didn't make that much money. You may hate WOW, but Jane Doe likes it and she doesn't give a damn what you think about it. Blizzard is making huge profits, so they don't care what a few, vocal complainers say.

So go ahead a rage about how no modern MMO is as good as what you use to play. The only way anyone is going to listen if if you and a big majority put their money where your mouth is. And like it or not, complainers on Blogs are not the majority.

Posted: Jan 18th 2012 9:04AM Seare said

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@Seare

Ugh I wish we could edit.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 10:18AM (Unverified) said

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@Seare By that logic you could rip Jef for driving a Mustang instead of a Taurus. Or stopping by a local grill for a burger instead of getting a Big Mac like the other billions and billions served.

Mass consumption makes money, sure, but some of us still prefer quality.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2012 10:31AM Seare said

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@(Unverified)

I'm not knocking Jef at all (not this time). If he prefers a Mustang, than by all means buy one. Support the brand with your hard earned cash. What's the point in getting mad at Ford for discontinuing the Mustang because it's not making enough money (hypothetical)? What's the point in getting mad at Ford for making more Fusions because they have more consumer demand than the Mustang?

A psychotic thinks 1+1=5. A neurotic know that 1+1=2, but can't stand it. There are a lot of neurotics in the MMO community.
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