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Reader Comments (35)

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 8:32AM Seffrid said

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Group mentality? Old guard? New guard? Talking about design?

Sorry, but I don't have a clue what this discussion topic is supposed to be about. One of us hasn't had enough caffeine today, probably me!

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 8:54AM smartstep said

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Well this "discussion starter OP" is big unclear and confusing tbh.

Anyway - mmropg's playerbase is too big atm to have one type of preferred gameplay , business model ,etc

So some people will don't like P2P ,and others will don't like cash shops and freemium or f2p models and that's not gonna change.

Same with gameplay and even basic concept of what mmorpg is or should be about.

Of course that is not very good news to mmorpg devs especially to those biggest ones , cause it mean that "universal mmorpg concept for everyone" will have bigger problems to work for everyone.

It is like there is a push by some of devs to have freemium model (not pure f2p or p2p or any other mind you) as new model - so they can have microtransactions & sub be able to hold both of f2p and p2p crowd.

Well sorry that is not gonna work. Well freemium will and is able to be attractive to quite wide range of players but there are and will be sizeable audiences from f2p or p2p (or maybe b2p in future) "camps" that will not like it.

So one product will not have chance to be attractive to like 90% of mmorpg playerbase liek WoW did anymore.

Time to finally get that and live with it and stop trying to homogenize playerbase cause that is not working :)

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:04AM Lafajet said

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@smartstep
I'd agree with you with one caveat. I do believe that there is room for some mixed business implementations in MMO's, if they are donw right. Giving people options of how they pay for their game is a good thing as it opens the game up for more people. If players feel that how others are paying for their game influences their own enjoyment of the game, that is when it gets sour.

(And I don't mean "he bought an item/payed a subscription and now he's ahead of me", I mean "he bought an item/payed a subscription and now he can kille in two strikes". If it diesn't directly influence you, then you're just complaining for the sake of it)
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 10:04AM smartstep said

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@Lafajet

I never said freemium will not work. It works obviously.

it will never work for "everyone" though.

P2P was so dominating on western market that almost all mmorpg's were using it - I am just saying that any future business model be it freemium , f2p, b2p , p2p or whatever will not have kind of totally dominating position p2p once have.


--------------

Don't get your example though. Nvm - I have business models I like in mmorpg's and those I don't accept cause they influent gameplay or / and my immersion and that's simply does not gonna change.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 8:56AM Lafajet said

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I don't think that it's necessarily a question of a "new guard" against an "old guard", but I do believe that we as MMO fans tend to create false dichotomies around the games we play. It seems lately that you are either totally for a game or totally against it, with no space in between those positions, and the nuances of the game tend to get lost that way.

What I think it's important to remember is that there isn't really such a thing as "the best design" for MMO's (or games in general, for that matter). There are designs that are meant to create certain dynamics and aesthetics for the player, which may suit some better then others. Designs either work, which means achieving what it is they designers meant for it to do, or it doesn't. Of course there are degrees of how well it succeeds, but for the sake of argument let's keep it simple for now.

Whenever I get annoyed at a game personally, I either think "Why would the do that thing like this?" or "Why would they do that thing?". In the first case, I'm annoyed at a bad design choice that is ruining part of the game for me. In the second case, I'm annoyed at a perfectly fine design choice that just doesn't match what I want out of a game. I think that if more people separated their opinions of the implementation of a game and the basic ideas behind a game, the discussion would benefit greatly.

Man, that post became more fuzzy then I thought it would when I started writing it. Hopefully my point is coming through.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:17AM (Unverified) said

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@Lafajet
And its not enough to simply dislike a game. You have to tell everyone who does like it that their opinions are wrong (and possibly insult them)
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:50AM hereafter said

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@Lafajet

Loud and clear, and I totally agree. Unfortunately, critical thinking and self-examination are hard to come by, especially on the internet. But the state of online discourse is a broad and frustrating topic. There's too many opinions and too little pressure to formulate convincing arguments or understand the participants in a discussion. Added to that, every site has different ways of presenting user comments and oftentimes there's more reward (in terms of responses) in making short, broad attacks early on. For instance, on Massively the first to post get more exposure, as do the responses to those posts (this isn't always a problem, but it can be). I always see long, well-crafted posts lost and forgotten while controversy swirls endlessly around the worst comments. That we all like to argue and put others in their place only compounds the problem.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 10:06AM smartstep said

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@Lafajet

True , take notice it is not just fans / players - media and devs are doing same thing. There is constant flow of articles why some model is better and / or worse.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:04AM (Unverified) said

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The title of today's horribly written post is misleading. When I saw it I thought the topic would be group mentality, i.e. people all saying the same stuff because they hear other people saying it. Then the article goes off on a completely different subject, people's gaming preferences when it comes to MMOs. I'm totally lost here.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:06AM Borick said

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Market demographics change. To me, it appears that there is a prime division between those for whom immersion is tied to action mechanics and those who desire a more metagame approach through tab-targeting and icon-rotations. One thing I see as common lately is a general (though not universal) disgust at the thought of more tab-targeting and rotation-mashing.

There are plenty of other divisive issues, but I think we're just talking about the bigotry of opinions here. If the voices are getting louder I wouldn't put it down to a generation gap in the gamers so much as the natural backlash of a consumer base that is maturing and is tired of being exploited by the current reiterative mess that the big studios have created.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:25AM Irem said

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Yeah, I do think there's too much of that mentality in some cases, if I'm understanding the question correctly. Using Jef as an example (sorry, Jef!), he's well known as liking the sandbox model and being critical of themeparks, so anything he says about either is colored by the fact that Jef the Sandbox Guy said it, even if he's making a reasonable point. A little of that goes hand-in-hand with being critical of anything, but in MMO fandom its presence is strongly felt because we discuss things a LOT. Debates divided along the lines of, "This mechanic is for casuals, therefore it's useless and bad," or "You haven't raided yet, so why are you talking?" or "You played WoW, your opinion is invalid" are both common and extremely unhelpful.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:28AM (Unverified) said

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"In some ways, this can be helpful for discussion -- knowing that someone really prefers old sandbox games like Ultima Online means that you know right off said person won't enjoy DC Universe Online"
Uh, what.
And this comes directly after a paragraph about stupid generalizations, nice.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:29AM (Unverified) said

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"In some ways, this can be helpful for discussion -- knowing that someone really prefers old sandbox games like Ultima Online means that you know right off said person won't enjoy DC Universe Online"
Uh, what.
And this comes directly after a paragraph about stupid generalizations, nice.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 9:50AM Pointdot said

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the article is not absurd, is simply complex >>
http://gamification.org/
http://enterprise-gamification.com/index.php/facts
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O1gNVeaE4g
wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_mentality

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 10:29AM eLdritchZ said

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I do believe it is a big problem...

I know it's going to sound opinionated since I count myself amongst the "old guard" but I do believe the problem lies mainly with the "new guard" on this...

here's why:

I have personally played oh so many MMOs... players who are new to the genre, i.e. started playing MMOs when WoW came out or after that, have never actually played the older MMOs nor do they intend to ever touch them because they have "bad graphics". So anything they know about games like EverQuest or DAoC is purely hearsay they picked up along the way. So whenever you engage one of the "new guard" in a discussion and dare to compare systems in a new MMO like SWTOR to systems from an older game like, say, DAoC, what you get is "*groan* you're just all nostalgic about that game, you don't know what you're talking about"... here's the thing though... I actually PLAYED that game for years and he doesn't know jack about it apart from things he might have read on massively or whereever...

So yeah... I have found in my travels that it is impossible to have a rational discussion about MMOs and their systems, because you either talk to the "old guard" who agrees with most of what you say, which means it's not actually a discussion... or you are talking to someone from the "new guard" who doesn't know anything substantial, doesn't want to know any facts and brushes you off, gets personal and defensive and ends the discussion abruptly ^^

have I ever mentioned that I hate people? :P

Posted: Feb 6th 2012 7:39AM DarkWalker said

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@eLdritchZ

Lol, by your definition I'm the "new guard", even though I started playing MMOs over 6 years ago (Vanilla-era WoW) :)

BTW, while short-sighted positions abound in the current MMO player base, I believe most current MMO players only started in the genre due to WoW (and it's clones) removing most ways a player could ruin another player's game, even if it meant throwing out most things that made the old MMOs into living, player-driven virtual worlds. I'm one such player; I steer clear from any game where I would depend on the community not hampering me (or on the community actually helping me) for my enjoyment. Instead, I choose games that, while throwing the players in a huge shared world, allow them to progress - and even succeed - on their own.

It's an old issue with MMOs. True group players - those that will actually reach out to other players, form connections, help organize things, and turn sandbox games from possibilities into realization - are actually rare. Most players, while they might join a group if invited, won't reach out, no matter what the game devs do. So, either the game embraces those types - like WoW did back then - or it must content itself with being a niche game with a limited potential user base.

It's one of the big reasons I'm quite hyped about GW2. It's developers are operating under a "no griefing allowed" philosophy, and taking away most ways a player could use to hamper other players. From my point of view, ANet is aiming to "out-WoW" WoW itself, and on paper at least it looks like they will succeed.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 10:32AM DoctorFrank said

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New MMOs have no consequences. Even when you fail, you are rewarded. This is the kind of design news like, because they give excuses like "i have a job" or "i have a family" okay- the go raise your family, MMOs are not supposed to be part time social-networks.

Olds like me like games that do not hold your hand or your kiss your ass. Games should not be themeparks, they should let players exert their own influence and draw their own lines of territory. But mainstream MMOs have defined success as casual, because more casuals will buy boxes if they think they will be able to half-ass their way through content.

zzz, in closing, modern mmos are bad because they appeal to a larger group of people, who are also bad.

Posted: Feb 5th 2012 12:27PM jimr9999us said

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@DoctorFrank Actually the very thing that makes mmorpg's sticky is the fact that they are social networks:)

Finding the right balance between challenge/consequence and social functioning is right up there with business model in terms of issues facing the genre atm.

For me, my top 2 needs in a mmorpg are an open world and actual women who play :)
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 4:57PM (Unverified) said

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@DoctorFrank And you are exactly what the article was talking about; so staunch in your position that any other voice is stupid, ignorant tripe to you. You're incapable of seeing the other side because of how obsessed you are with the old days.

Meanwhile, there are people who enjoy having open, social MMO that don't require months of preparation to really begin enjoying, and there is nothing inherently wrong with their choice. You don't get to decide what an MMO is and isn't, and who should and shouldn't be allowed to play. Just because the earliest music was often used for religious rituals doesn't mean we're all "doing it wrong" because we just enjoy listening for fun. How the earliest MMOs chose to design their games has less bearing on modern design than you'd like to think.

It's important to look at what the older games did right, and not forget where MMOs came from. That doesn't mean why should drown ourselves in the past and not experiment with new ideas.

I think the biggest issue with with dichotomy that the article brings up is simply that older games used to dominate the market with complex virtual worlds. Now the casual themepart MMOs dominate. It will sway back at some point, or soar in a new direction. Just sit back and watch, and enjoy what you can along the way. No need to freak out that your MMOs of old are lost forever... after all, UO and EQ are still going.
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Posted: Feb 5th 2012 11:23AM (Unverified) said

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There certainly has been too much emphasis on "new guard" design when compared to "old guard" design as well as the large group that goes with the former. In casting the widest net many designers are churning out the same formula with a fresh coat of paint. They're not willing to do something different since no one else has the balls to do it either. And since many mechanics of old seem untenable to them, they rule them out all together in favor of the new design ethics. Yes, many design philosophies in older MMO's were abstract but not all of them. There needs to be more experimentation in the industry, and in my opinion, open world interactive elements contained in games like Ultima Online are key.

As for discourse on game design, either side has its issues. There will often be a majority on one side discussing a topic and shutting out the other as much as possible. These discussions require a bit more open-minded thought processes and less flaming. Topics aren't black and white; there's more gray to game design than is often presented by people. I love the user controlled content and possibilities contained in older games, but I also enjoy the sleek design and feel of newer games as well. I try not to be too critical on games, and I try to recognize the good in a game even if that game is not for me. Many people don't have that mindset though. They'll throw out the baby with the bathwater when talking about an MMO.

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