Perfect Ten: My MMO hate list

One thing that I strive for in my professional career is basing things on sources more robust than my own biases. That’s not to say I believe I can remain entirely dispassionate and objective at all times; it just means that while I might have my biases, I need more than just that bias to say something is good or bad. I may not like gender-locked classes, for example, but if a game with gender-locked classes does well for itself, there’s more going on there and it’s worth examining.

But sometimes you just need to rant about stuff.

Hence, this list. This is not an objective list in any way, shape, or form. These are just things that tick me off about MMOs  and have always ticked me off about MMOs, and their absence will often give me a more positive impression of a game no matter how little it may be justified. In the words of George Carlin, I don’t have pet peeves; I have major psychotic [REDACTED] hatreds, and it makes the world a lot easier to sort out.

This is really World of Warcraft's fault, but I have to be comprehensive here.

1. Official forums

Forums are inevitable. Forums are going to happen. But official forums aren’t something I’ve ever cared for much, especially as they turn into ever-more-toxic cesspools filled with people who get in solely on the basis of spending money on the game to complain about the game. Annoying enough in and of itself, but it’s always complaining about the dumbest things.

And it’s somehow made all the worse by the fact that these are, again, the official forums. It’s like walking into someone’s living room and then claiming that they don’t like you. You’re being given a space to talk, and what you use it for is complaining and whining about every little change.

It’s not just that the complaints are dumb. It’s that somewhere there are actual good ideas being drowned under a tide of rampant nonsense. And since the official forums are, well, official, the voices of sanity and community wind up never really branching off to form more intelligent debates. So it’s all the negatives of the days before official forums, and it brings a whole crop of shiny new problems, too.

Also, half of your forums require me to register separately while still requiring me to use my game account information. What the hell, people.

I'm going to go ahead and blame Star Wars for this one. You gave us music called 'jizz' so you can absorb a lot of spite for vocabulary.

2. Half of the terminology in our hobby

I’m not talking about terms that no longer mean anything or have no good use left; I’ve covered those. I’m talking about the fact that half of our chat looks like someone dying of terminal vowel deficiency. And severe head trauma. I don’t care if it’s “just chat”; hitting the Shift key is not an arduous task, nor is using punctuation.

Yes, I know where the term “mob” comes from. It’s still stupid. You cannot convince me that there’s an advantage to typing “mob” over “enemy” or “target” or “bag of hit points” or anything else. The word “mob” has an actual meaning, and one boar does not count as a mob. (A group of them doesn’t either; it’s a sounder. That’s your fun fact for the day!)

You can also type something other than “toon” like, say, character. Are you being called away for open-heart surgery in a moment? Are those extra letters going to ruin your day? On a related note, “GG” does not mean “goodbye” and “qq” actually means “I have no observation here other than the fact that you are upset but want to mock you and see my name in chat again.” I’d say we’re not all 13 years old, but I didn’t like this stuff when I was 13, and I sure as hell don’t like it now.

This guy is decked out in armor. THAT is a talent, even.

3. Pet classes

We’re going to use Final Fantasy XI as an example here because that’s the game with the class that really crystalized this loathing. Every job in FFXI has a special talent. Dragoons have a bond with a wyvern and the ability to jump for damage, along with being masters of the spear. Samurai use a weapon no one else can use effectively and can focus their minds into weapons, allowing them to create elaborate webs of weaponskills no other job can match. White Mages can cause wounds and ailments to vanish with unmatched potency.

And Beastmasters can… tame an animal. So they can ask someone else to do something.

Asking someone else to do something is not a talent. It’s begging. Getting wild animals to fight one another, something animals are pretty well inclined to do anyway, means that the animal is the one doing the work. You’re just standing there and stealing from it. You are literally less useful than a helper because you are actively getting your pet to do all of the work.

If you’re a purely pet-centered class, then why not just play the pet who’s doing all of this stuff? At least City of Heroes said “this is dumb” and actually made its pet class have a whole damn army to fight through. Commanding an army is a talent. Commanding a dog is not. If the dog is the one who’s doing all the work, your character is the pet.

Asura are not cute. Why have we agreed to pretend they are?

4. Short races

All right, people, it’s time to sit down and have a serious discussion about this. I see far too many people playing the Designated Short Race in games where it’s an option. And it’s always the DSR, not just “races shorter than average.” I don’t have a problem with, say, Dwarves in World of Warcraft. But then we get to those of you playing a Lalafell in Final Fantasy XIV, and we’ve got a problem. Because you always seem to fall into one of three categories.

The “I Am So Cute” squad: Listen, buckaroo, nothing makes something not cute so fast as being told over and over how cute it is. Cuteness thrives when it isn’t forced. Quaggan are cute; Asura are not. Kittens don’t jump in your face and speak in perfect English about how cute they are. Thus far, the only person I’ve seen successfully manage the “really cute” status almost by accident is longstanding MOP commenter Utakata and her pink pigtails. She gets to keep her race. The rest of you need to rely on something other than childlike proportions.

The “I Am A Tiny Force Of Nature” squad: This group seems to think that what makes playing a tiny race great is that you’re physically powerful when no one expects it. “Everyone expects the huge races to be a physical threat,” you say. And that’s true. Do you know why? Because it makes sense. You are basically playing Yoda at the end of Attack of the Clones. Remember how stupid that was? It was stupid because it missed the whole point. That’s your character basis. Great work.

The “I Don’t Take The Game Too Seriously” squad: See next item.

Not paying attention is not a mark of honor.

5. People who don’t take the game seriously

Here’s the problem: No one who says this is saying it because of a couple of jokes. No, this comes from the guy who taunts things off of the tank despite having a health bar measured in picometers. This is the healer who keeps letting people die because he’s too busy dealing damage, or the teammate in PvP who just keeps charging in the exact wrong direction and feeding the other team kills. “It’s just a game, don’t take it so seriously!”

The problem isn’t taking it seriously here; the problem is taking it with the minimal seriousness necessary to actually accomplish something. I love screwing around with games as much as the next guy, up to the point where my brother and I have timed out on New Super Mario Bros. stages because we were too busy picking one another up and flinging each other into pits. It was really funny. But that was with two friends, not a bunch of strangers, and it was by agreement. When we wanted to actually clear something, we stopped screwing around and focused on playing the game.

Congratulations, you don’t take the game too seriously. But you don’t play Scrabble by making illegal words and then claim you’re not taking it seriously. If that happens, no one wants to play Scrabble with you any more. Respect the time and attention of other people, dude.

You are not actually special.

6. People who take the game way too damn seriously

What, you thought this was the side I fell on? Please; this is just as bad as not taking the game seriously at all.

This comes in many flavors, and every single one of them is dumb. The old tabletop equivalent was Game Smart, Life Stupid, a guy who knew every D&D spell by heart but couldn’t find his home state on a map. That exists in MMOs, too, as does the guy who basically runs everything with an intensity level more suitable for the climax of a Rocky film or the lady who insists that having better gear makes you a better person.

My least favorite within the ocean of stupid, though, is the person who does not get the idea that the highest edge of content in the game is basically irrelevant. Content that 95% of the playerbase does not see may as well not matter at all in terms of balance or serious consideration. If most players never see it, who cares? Most players won’t encounter it at all. If you tell me “this class is useless because once you get into best-in-slot territory it scales badly,” what you’re really telling me is that in the game of ego-stroking that only a tiny number of players participate in, something doesn’t look as good as it does in the remainder of the game.

Your elite hardcore raid group is not the majority of the game. It’s not even the most dedicated group of players in the game. It’s a minority of a minority.

This is a game. It’s supposed to be fun. Yes, you owe it to yourself and others to make the effort required to have a reasonable chance of victory, but you also owe it to yourself and others to not be a humorless elitist toolbox. There are a lot of other points on the scale. Try some of those.

This honestly seemed smart at some point.

7. Fake ‘insight’

This is the stuff that people clearly think is some enormous shocking revelation when it’s immediately obvious to anyone with firing neurons and a pulse. You know that guy who gets stoned and exclaims with shock that you’re naked under your clothes? He’s inhibited by pot. What’s your excuse?

“All of the stuff you’re doing is going to be obsolete in five months when new gear gets released!” Thanks, genius, that’s why I’m doing this now instead of five months from now, so that doing it again in five months will be easier. “You’re just repeating the same cycle!” Yes, just like every time I fire up a Metroid game I’m following the same cycle of acquiring power-ups, beating bosses, and then clearing the game. “You aren’t going to be automatically ganked in open PvP!” I would like to never be ganked at all under any circumstances, thanks, that’s why I don’t like open PvP.

Here’s the reality: If people are doing something, they have most likely realized what they’re doing and what the implications are and have good reasons for doing it. You may not agree with those reasons, but you can at least start from assuming that those reasons exist. Heck, you can ask before dropping your “insights” on someone. Insight is a great thing, but let’s remember that the central horror wasn’t shouting that Soylent Green is made of people; it’s that everyone heard and didn’t care in the first place.

Look at all the craps I don't give.

8. E-sports

First of all, that term looks stupid no matter how you format it. We accepted a format and we stick with it but every variety looks dumber than using your mattress as a sled. That doesn’t help things.

Even without that, though… man, the reason I dislike football is not the rules of the game; it’s the collection of relentless egos, nasty behavior, drug addiction, and unearned celebrity. And now we can get all of that in the middle of video games, something that I liked having no association with that nonsense! How could I go wrong?

Beyond that (and I have to move beyond that because I’ve already made my point and from here I just repeat the same points with more profanity unless I do), it sucks down resources and development attention. Do you know how much time and money Guild Wars 2 sank into making the game into an e-sport? I don’t either, but I’m going to bet it wasn’t no $3.50. And that worked out real well when the whole thing collapsed, didn’t it? Bree thinks it’s a matter of critical mass, but I’m increasingly wondering if a commenter from weeks ago didn’t have the right idea that there’s not so much an e-sports scene as a few games that the same basic community latches on to. You don’t see people scampering to Hockey II Super Tournament Edition or whatever.

Fun thing is, though, that it doesn’t actually matter which one of us is right because we’ve seen it repeated multiple times. Putting money into making something a popular e-sport is e-moronic. It doesn’t e-work. It’s a waste of real money in pursuit of e-popularity that usually doesn’t earn much goodwill among your actual e-players.

It also seems tailor-made to avoid all of the benefits that actual professional sports offer, such as… well, an uptick in domestic abuse cases, I guess? And Terry Crews. Terry Crews is pretty wonderful.

Yes, very nice, I'd love to be able to log in and see if it's interesting.

9. Server queues

Here we are, a bit more than a month out from the next Final Fantasy XIV expansion, and I’m excited. I want it. I want to play it. I don’t want to sit in endless chains of login queues just to get in and play the game because they’re seriously frustrating as hell. They’re too short to leave and do something else, they’re too long to avoid filling me with rage, and they’re just annoying all the way around.

Yes, I recognize that there’s not really much to be done about it. Who was talking about doing something about it? This is a hate list, not an action plan.

You know what? Let's just look at some lizards. Those lizards.

10. Self-appointed defense squads

It’s like the sun rising in the morning. When you say something negative about a game, factual or not, justified or not, regardless of any and all extenuating circumstances, people will jump in to defend it with a ferocity usually reserved for their favorite athletic teams during championship seasons. How dare anyone imply that World of Warcraft has never really recovered from the subscription loss it experienced at the start of Cataclysm, or that The Secret World has awful combat, or that Final Fantasy XIV has a lot of story quests to go through.

Guys, seriously, Blizzard is not going to be your friend because you say nice things about World of Warcraft. If someone says something negative about the game, rather than jumping to the defense of the multi-million-dollar title, maybe you should take a step back and figure out if it’s accurate first? Just an idea. These games do not need you to defend them, and you actually look worse for doing it.

This is a game. It’s not your identity. Someone can say negative things about your game, accurate or otherwise, and you can just move on with your life. Heck, you might as well have a sense of humor about it. If someone tells me that Final Fantasy XIV has a bunch of story quests to get through, well, that’s true. I consider that a positive thing, I agree that some of the patches and parts of the game are gratuitous about it, and I’m not going to be sad if that drives you off from the game.

It’s a game. It’s not my life. It’s not part of my identity. People can make fun of the games I love or even be wrong about them without it affecting my life in the slightest. They’re games. I don’t feel the need to defend against every perceived potential slight because I’m more secure than that.

If you don’t own stock in the company and don’t design the game, you have no need to defend it. And even if you do, you probably don’t need to defend it.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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107 Comments on "Perfect Ten: My MMO hate list"

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GiantsBane

1.) Prelaunch Hype
2.) MMO’s that refuse to add quality of life improvements like group / dungeon finders into the game.
3.) Time gated content, aka your character can only gather x number of berries per day and he needs x to get 1 piece of epic gear so it’ll take him x weeks of gathering every day religiously to obtain it. It’s lazy fucking game design that needs to go in the toilet.

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Roger Edwards

It would have been a lot quicker and easier to write “some MMO players are assholes”, wouldn’t it?

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Jack Pipsam

I actually really dig official forums, they’re great fun. Maybe not in the way they’re meant to be, but I indulge in them.

I have ever since the SWG forums where there was two-pages of replies of users telling me I was a total idiot for asking if there was an in-game clock.

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Mush V. Peets

Yay, I’m not the only one who doesn’t appreciate the spam of short-race characters. I know that MMOs aren’t typically built or played for immersion (which seems ridiculous to me) but spam of Asura and Elin just looks stupid and breaks whatever shred of immersion that would be present otherwise, and – for the last time – isn’t cute.

As for everything else, I mostly agree, but why the hate on pet classes? The thing with lots of MMOs is that the action of ‘doing stuff’ is mindless anyway; for some reason, despite massive advances in the fields of AI and programming, so tasks like killing 10 mobs are better done by bots than humans because the AI is essentially nonexistent. Generally more active tasks like boss fights require you to ‘do stuff’ just as much as any other class.

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Mari Nugent

Asura aren’t meant to be cute by design however. There’s the options for a more cutesy-appearance, but most of then are grouchy, haughty scientists that just want to do their work in peace.

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Mush V. Peets

Yes; that is not why people make them, though. And realistically I don’t see so many Asura out there fighting stuff as we do anyway, compared to other races.

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Jack Kerras

Artificial progression stops.

I think they’re mainly awful at this point because daily-grinding has become the new daily XP cap.

Destiny’s daily missions weren’t there to give you bonuses while you played the game, they were essentially the whole scope of progression. The grind once you got through all the missions was INTENSE; the amount of XP you got for killing hundreds of enemies over the course of several hours doing Strikes was roughly equivalent to the amount you got from the ten-minute killquest you did when you logged in.

I COULD get more XP, purples, etc. purely by playing extra hard, but the amount of XP and progression I got back in vanilla Destiny when I was playing TURBO HARD was about two hours’ worth. One hour’s worth of dailies, and fifteen hours’ worth of playing Destiny normally, which rewarded about the same amount of XP. :|

Dailies are being used as a soft progression lock instead of a fucking activity you can engage in at this point; you can’t get more Marks without doing Dailies, and you only have X amount per day, so no player will be able to get enough Marks to get The Golden Foozlemount until at least January…

Time-based progression locks are -bullshit-. If I want to play hard, please get the fuck out of my way; I will -never- stay in your game for an extra-long time because of a mechanic which requires I sign in for at least ten minutes a day; at this point, as soon as I discover I’ve started to do that, I unsub and uninstall on the spot.

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Alex Malone

I was a bit worried with the start of the list, but it got better as it went on.

I actually love official forums. I love forums in general as a means of online communication, I find them vastly superior to comments sections like this site, or instant messaging or facebook groups and the like. Official forums, in my experience, are almost always superior to unofficial forums. They have less abuse and more constructive threads. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that official forums tend to attract people from a broader playerbase of the game, whereas unofficial forums tend to be populated by a smaller, more hardcore playerbase.

From your list, probably my biggest issues are with e-sports and the defence squads. I’ve never been a fan of watching sports and have always found it dull, but watching other people play computer games? I simply can’t comprehend it. It utterly baffles me – if you’ve got the time to watch it, wouldn’t you rather be playing it?

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Bryan Correll

Thus far, the only person I’ve seen successfully manage the “really cute” status almost by accident is longstanding MOP commenter Utakata and her pink pigtails.

You’re only saying that because she frightens you.

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Utakata

:(

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Megalus Doomslayer

Oh god! She’s here! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!1!11111

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Suikoden

Best rant ever!

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Nordavind

I like official forums!

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Bryan Correll

At least they aren’t Reddit!

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Zen Dadaist

That was a good rant! I, too, tend to waver between ‘eh whatever’ and outraged fiery burning anger of a thousand suns as a response depending on whether the thing is as a result of mere happenstance, or outright bullshit.

Official forums are kind of my guilty pleasure. They’re useful for communication to/from the Dev teams and keeping up with what’s what. There’s usally a degree of cesspool-cleaning that goes on as well, which can be harder to find on unofficial sites. I can tell if I currently give a crap about a particular game by whether I find myself browsing their official forums while bored at work or not. Sometimes I might even get involved for a lack of anything better to do for those 5 minutes. I can’t be arsed to chase down half a dozen unofficial sites, two subreddits, a catalogue of youtube channels and podcasts and a discord when I want an actual dev quote and then wading through a hundred meme/screenshot/complaint/my completely random idea threads. I’d like it all neatly packaged up in one place thanks.

I am also an anti-toon snob. It’s a character! Maybe it’s a main, or maybe it’s an alt, or maybe it’s just a mule. But unless the game is literally saturday morning cartoons, it’s not a stupid ‘toon’. UGH.

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GamingSF

An enjoyable read Elliot, and I agree with all of the points!

Forums are a particular bugbear of mine as for the first few years of my MMO gaming, before I got into blogs and blogging, I read forums obsessively as the only real outlet I knew of for keeping up with the gossip on the genre. But the forums for games were (and still are) such awful cesspits of egos/trolls/endless meme repetitions that it was often quite a draining experience. Thesedays I avoid them almost entirely. I still have vivid memories of the EU forums for DDO and LOTRO during the Codemasters days, so much angst…

Points 5 & 6 are equally apt. It’s great the genre attracts so much variety among players but that causes so much friction as well! Perhaps the answer to both is “respect your fellow players a bit more regardless”.

4 is an interesting one as I avoid small races generally (except Asura) not because I dislike cute things, but because I generally find the lower-to-the-ground viewing angles an absolute pain. This was a notable problem for me in WoW, even on Dwarves I found it harder to play melee/tank and as for Gnomes, I just couldn’t get used to it.

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CloakingDonkey .

QQ

(yeah I went there. wot of it?) :P

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Ben Stone

I love pet classes and short races, preferably at the same time. Hobbit beastlords yassss. My biggest pet peeve is personal story. Its always so hamfisted and eye roll inducing. I would prefer it if they would just go away and we could go back to community achievements rather than everyone being a special snowflake.

Leontes
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Leontes

Coming late to the party, Isee…

Great article. Not only that it hits spot-on major annoyances of my own … It’s just great writing!

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Bruno Brito

I’m not cute, buckaroo. I’m drop dead gorgeous.

And puh-lease. Why would i break my fingernails on those tough mobs over there? Let my pink moa pet deal with them accordingly.

I love petclasses. Managing a pet is fun, and if you don’t want to, you don’t have to. I can be lazy.

So i have more time to focus on my outer beauty.

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Modrain

1. Official forums PvP is best PvP.

2. I don’t use strictly the same MMO terminology since I’m not an english native, so I can’t really relate to this point. For example, never in my life have I ever used the word “toon”. It’s usually “perso”, shortcut for “personnage” (character). Similarly I never use the word “alt” except when commenting here, it’s always “reroll”, similarly to tabletop RPGs.
Well, it can also be dumb in its own way, since most of the terminology is still mostly made of english words, but used by people who don’t know what they mean or confuse them with other words. That’s how you hear people claiming they’re “stunt”.

5. 6. So much this. The it’s-just-a-game crowd is actually considerably more annoying to me than the too-serious one, since they can spawn virtually anywhere at at any time and ruin whatever you’re doing at that time. On top of that, they usually think they’re “cool dudes” that are totally in the right and in their right to impose themselves upon other players. Being told “it’s just a game” as a game developer certainly doesn’t help to improve how I perceive these people, too.
People playing with their lives at least usually stick with people of similar mind, since they assume that they’re superior to other players. From my experience, they’re also a lot less common encounter in MMOs than the other category (while they’re everywhere in MOBAs).

10. Welp, I unfortunately remember encountering quite a few around here.

Brett
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Brett

Brilliant article – but I have to kind of disagree with you on #10.

My list of pet hates would actually have almost the reverse of that point:

Dismissive player stereotypes: the awful pejorative collective terms like ‘white knights’, ‘fangirls/boys’, ‘locusts’, ‘carebears’, ‘griefers’, ‘SJWs’ and so on. Disagreeing with a certain perspective doesn’t mean you need to ascribe some kind of shady/ignorant/malign ulterior motive and lump them into a category you can dismiss without actually listening – that’s surely the definition of attacking the person rather than the substance of what they say. Sometimes people just have very different values/ideas about a game. ‘Legitimate criticism’ is entirely subjective – and while sure, it’s far better to be able to acknowledge shortcomings at the same time as emphasising the positive, I haven’t encountered any players who believe their favourite game is 100% perfection incarnate.

Marketing hype that assumes players are morons: Why does every new game have to be the one that’s going to ‘revolutionise’ the genre, or fill that one Big Thing Missing From All Other MMOs? If I have to hear one more time about how THIS game is the one that finally brings ‘consequences’ to your actions, or the one that will REALLY let you be whatever you want to be, or that will totally deliver an intense, visceral combat that rewards skill and taking risks… Bleeeuuurrrgh. Why can’t they just list their actual points of difference in mechanics terms and have the courage to let them be judged on their own merits, not spinning wishy-washy philosophy that could often apply to every. single. game.

‘World’ games that are marketed/designed almost entirely for young, white, (presumably straight) men: I’ve lost count of the number of MMORPGs that all seem to have the same mold of cover hero-art. An impossibly winsome yet buxom girl who just happens to be caught in an almost-but-not-quite-scandalously-revealing movement. Ditto on the character customisers/outfits that have a billion combinations of ‘young and pretty girl’ set against ‘tough and hardened man-warrior’ options, plus the endless defaults to typical causasian male with a sprinkling of ‘exotic’ alternatives. Then there is the endless obsession with how aggressive and dominating your game’s PvP system is, how intrinsic ‘might-solves-all-problems’ is to most story/character development, and how ‘pay-to-win’ hysteria (ha) is used to position hardcore combat as the sacrosanct gameplay while customisation, identity, and exploration are superfluous, gamifiable little side shows. MMORPGs are fundamentally worlds first – and trying to cater to a single homogenous playerbase means they end up being the shallowest, least interesting and ridiculous caricatures of what a diverse and complex world is all about!

Anyway. I could probably rant about that last one for hours, best not to try though, because I know it’s an unpopular opinion.

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Melissa McDonald

Hey man, Shaka Zulu Online is yours for the making. I feel complaints about “too many white people” is just reverse racism.

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Utakata

“Thus far, the only person I’ve seen successfully manage the “really cute” status almost by accident is longstanding MOP commenter Utakata and her pink pigtails. She gets to keep her race. “

…I think I’ve come late to this conversation. o.O

BTW, I prefer the term “small” race. As it covers the cute, ugly, creepy and all points in between and beyond. As I play both “cute” to the ugly…because I like my races/species small. /shrug :)

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Sally Bowls

1) I don’t approve of official forums. OTOH, as bad as they are, I prefer Reddit and so can just avoid the fora.

2) :-) IMHO, For me, it was decided in the podcast discussion, Jessica Rabbit ( and Kathleen Turner ) are hot; it’s toon.

3) I like pets; for one thing, I would rather be a manager, even of a pet or two, than an entry level employee.

8) I don’t like esports or their clientele, so can’t disagree with a lot of the shots. I can agree with “Putting money into making something a popular e-sport is e-moronic.” My joke is that it is like a spouse, it is easier to replace them than improve them. But I agree with the argument that rather than investing in trying to esport up a MMO, a tough sell, it is better to spend the effort on an Overwatch or MxM instead of a WoW or Gw2.

But IMO it is only slightly harsh to say that a game company that invests in a MMO instead of eSports is moronic. I can’t recall anyone recently who has described MMOs as a growth industry. And I can’t recall people – outside of this site of course – who don’t describe eSports as a growth industry. Just today I was flipping through CNBC and Jim Cramer, in praising nVidia an EA stock, was saying nice things about the business of eSports even though there was a “even worse than playing” type comment.

10) I am old-fashioned and think that if someone says something, negative or not, multibillion-dollar game or not, maybe you should take a step back and figure out if it’s accurate first? Just an idea. Having done that, hereabouts the odds seem quite high it is not accurate – Occam’s Razor, which is more likely to be right, the professionals at a multibillion dollar game (flawed as they are) or commenters here?

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Droniac

The e-sports rant seems a bit overblown. The number of MMOs that have had any inclination of catering to an e-sports segment can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The notion that e-sports necessarily brings with it a host of nasty egotists is a little misguided. Nevermind the reality that the most e-sports focused titles (StarCraft 2, Quake Live) and genres (Arena FPS & RTS) also have some of the least toxic communities in online gaming.

Its games that are primarily targeted at a mass audience, by means of a low barrier to entry, that have have problems with toxicity, egotism and elitism. Among shooters, that’s Counter Strike. Among MMOs, that’s World of WarCraft. Among MOBAs, that’s League of Legends.

I do agree that developers are wasting their time and money when they try to force an MMO into becoming an e-sport. That kind of small-scale intense competition is not the competitive format that works for MMO games. Large-scale PvP is. A game that’s designed to service thousands of players with large-scale environments and encounters can’t just casually be turned into a top-tier small-scale competitive game. The core design and engineering solutions required to service those giant zones with hundreds of players will directly conflict with the solutions required for small-scale competitive play. Not to mention the balancing nightmare, particularly when PvE is also involved.

Also, basic logic serves to discount the idea that the e-sports scene consists of essentially the same community that latches onto a couple of games. In the past 5 years CS went from under 80k daily concurrent peaks to 600k, DotA 2 from 0 to 900k, LoL from not-even-WoW to rivaling Steam, Overwatch from 0 to 25 million accounts. These people couldn’t have transferred from other e-sports, because StarCraft 2 and Quake Live weren’t anywhere near that large and those are the only notable scenes that saw cross-over with the aforementioned games. Viewership on Twitch has similarly exploded, primarily on the back of e-sports. So how is it possible for a scene to consist of essentially the same basic community, when it has grown exponentially and the overwhelming majority of its participants are brand new? Easy: it can’t.

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Mush V. Peets

Its games that are primarily targeted at a mass audience, by means of a low barrier to entry, that have have problems with toxicity, egotism and elitism. […] Among MMOs, that’s World of WarCraft.

No, currently, among MMOs, that’s any MMO with a significant population, in my experience. It’s almost inherent to the format.

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Crowe

Well, the original pet class in City of Heroes was the Controller which had zero control over their own pets (other than the choice when to summon and then later they added a dismiss feature). Masterminds had to wait until City of Villains came out.
And Yoda in Attack of the Clones? That was likely the only good part of the whole movie. Eliot, perhaps you’d prefer to just loop the scenes where Padme and Anakin are talking… but I’d just want to skip to the Yoda fight scene.
However, I do completely agree about esports. That’s just stupid and is playing itself out predictably.

Reader

So normally I don’t respond to the columns I read here, but this one I felt a need to respond to.

While I enjoyed the writing and agree with many of your points, I have an issue with your e-sports points in regards to the wording you used against athletic sports. Speaking of them in such light is, to me anyway, just as bad as a “jock” claiming that all MMO players live at home with the moms in the basement and are virgins. While I cannot defend some of the actions that today’s athletes do, it doesn’t feel right to simply bash a whole sub culture. Just as gaming can be a positivel and negative force in people’s lives, as someone who has played athletic sports at a higher level, I have seen lots of the benefits they can impart on individuals and communities.

I am not trying to make this a rant or a whiney complaint, as I won’t say your opinion is wrong in anyway, just as someone who enjoys the columns here and respects what your writers put out, it doesn’t seem fair or appropriate to have it put that way.

Nick Martin
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Nick Martin

I hate the term for the same reasons that Elliott listed above for hating the word “mob.” I don’t even mind the “e” part, it’s the “sports” part I take issue with. I believe it cannot be a sport if you can look like me and do it. It’s competition, challenge, whatever, but sport denotes something inherently physical.

You’re right, though, on the whole pigeonholing all athletes as a terrible is as bad trying to do the same for gamers. That being said, there is certainly a culture around both that is pretty toxic, and it is worse for sports since they are also so much of a part of our overall culture.

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NeoWolf

I can agree with all your points Eliot except 3.. I LOVE pet classes :P

Definitely not a fan of the rodent races (which is what I call the shorter species).

styopa
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styopa

I object to your characterization of all small races as ‘rodent races’.
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django857
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django857

Mixing PVP with PVE. Forced PVP as end game content. P2W in mmo’s because of PVP.

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Crowe

Yeah, that would have made my list. WAY before “official forums” would even be considered.

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Robert Mann

A few of these depend on the severity involved, but for the most part fairly solid.

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Roger Melly

Are Dwarves cute ?

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Ryuen

No.

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Karma_Mule
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Karma_Mule

Good list Eliot!

My biggest category of gripes w/MMOs are often due to the compromises they make for the multiplayer nature of the game.

On the top of the list: respawning within my immediately visible area. ESPECIALLY when it involves the local boss/heavy/fiend you just killed. Nothing like being told “OMG JoJo the Cruel is raising undead, please stop him!”. You go kill him, and while still checking out whatever drop you got, POP there’s JoJo again leaping to the attack. Yeah, that makes me really feel like I’m affecting the world.

Or, the lazy way respawning is done in general, with mobs just popping into existence around you. I’m always appreciative whenever a game takes the time to at least wave a hand in the direction of believability, e.g. undead respawn by clawing their way out of the ground rather than just appearing like Endora from Bewitched.

Another one is too obvious re-use of assets, for example the cookie cutter NPCs of Black Desert, or the all-to-predictable layout to 95% of the delves in ESO. When I hit the delve in Thieve’s Guild that actually made you look around and work to get to the dungeon’s skyshard it felt like a revelation. Why couldn’t they do that sort of thing a little more often?!?

And, yeah, my misanthropic side could go on a nice long rant about all the “charming” people you encounter, whether in toxic zone/area chats or in random annoying behavior. No, it is NOT amusing when you use your ability that causes my character in town to draw his weapon for the 5th time in a row.

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Fervor Bliss

My big one:
People that will defend anything a corporation does to customers.
We are not just garbage for corporations to kick around.

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mcsleaz

What rock have you been living under? That’s exactly what we are, just ask the politicians those Corps Bankroll.

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Sixuality

If the dog is the one who’s doing all the work, your character is the pet

Quote of the Week for sure.
Actually sums up one of the things I dislike about SWTOR, especially since the companions were buffed into god mode at the start of KOTFE.

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bereman99

My big one is:

“X feature/change is easy to implement/do, the developers just don’t/won’t because they are lazy.”

It’s rare that it’s actually true (and, with the internet at our disposal, we all should be better informed about the process and how complex it can be for any given game), and frustrating to see come up in a discussion because you can’t disprove it in that person’s mind unless you’re actually part of the development (and aren’t likely to comment), and even then the developer’s explanation isn’t always accepted.

On your #10 – I’m occasionally guilty of this, particularly when it comes to story elements of games…but only as a response to specific things. Person think the game has too much story and it pushes them away from the game?

“Unfortunate, and perhaps there will be future developments that make it easier to maybe skip that stuff if that’s your thing. Best of luck.”

But anything like “Most/99% of the story in x sequence is just useless pointless filler that was just added to waste our time and they could easily [*hmmm…side-eyes above MMO hate*] trim it out and the game wouldn’t lose much/anything” and it’s like a little switch pops in my head and I’m all “Now wait just a darn tootin minute there chief…”

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Ryuen

Now this has definitely earned a spot in my ‘top 10 MMO rants’ list.
Great and enjoyable read just after a busy work day.

Concerning official forums tho, I am alone in subconsciously reading the title of ‘gameplay forum’ as ‘whineplay forum’? Or is that a sign of a deep seated trauma from earlier days?

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Sray

Slowing down because you’ve entered combat is my biggest pet peeve. It’s a gigantic load of crap: any combat vet will tell you that when the shooting starts, the last thing that you’re going to do is slow down and take ‘er easy.

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Sray

Additionally, I love calling my characters toons, and I always have: it just feels natural to me.

But, speaking of moronic MMO phrases, I do hate it when people use “races” when we’re obviously talking about “species”. Discussing two different type of elves? Races. Discussing some type of elf and some kind miniature panda people? Species.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I’m going to throw in some extra “toons” just to annoy Eliot now! <3

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Crowe

Make them short.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Tiny, cute pet-class toons who post on forums and really like e-sports!

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Ryuen

Who also don’t take the game seriously, obviously.

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Zander

Almost all of this is tolerable if there is communication and truth.
Lack of Communication / silence or lies from a developer. Nothing angers me more when a developer knows there is an issue and ignores fanbase outcry. Even more so, knows that the problem cannot be fixed and denies that it’s a priority or says they are looking into solutions but know there really isn’t one without restructuring the entire game. Just tell us like it is and it may get better sometime in the future. Quit dragging us along, hoping one day you’ll publicly address it. Some may say that’s publicity suicide but it goes a long way in deciding if I’m going to ever buy something from you as a developer, again.

Pay To Win
Cosmetics, convenience items, boosters, RNG boxes I can tolerate. It’s games that say “We will never sell stat items.” or make you grind for an item only to sell it in the cash shop nine months later”. Fuck you. I earned this and now you want to make a quick buck.

Don’t tell us one thing and do another. Don’t restrict an item or mechanic and then add it to the cash shop or an expansion as apart of a pre-order perk.

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nobleeinherjar

This was an enjoyable read.

The only term that really makes me grind my teeth is “toon.” They’re characters! .. Characters!! I actually love a good pet class. The problem I had with Beastmaster in FFXI was just that pets weren’t permanent, so it never felt like I had a bond with any of them; I was just forcing them to do my bidding. I can say a lot of negative things about WoW, and the Hunter class specifically, but I always enjoyed having my pet by my side, working in tandem. Who doesn’t love the fantasy of having an unspoken bond with an animal? (Love you, D-Dog.) Then there’s something like Necromancer in GW2, which is one of those classes that brings out the side of me that laughs maniacally as I tear through mob–err, enemies–with my weird pets and dark powers.

Many years ago, when I was still into WoW, I was playing with a (at the time) good friend. I’d just gotten some new gloves from a dungeon. But I was only one dungeon run away from having enough tokens to buy my set gloves or whatever, which were even better. So I didn’t take the time to gem/enchant the new gloves. Which apparently was a grave sin because she went on a tirade about “I just don’t understand why you don’t want to be the best you can be, all the time.” That’s always what I remember when I think of people taking a game too seriously.

I’m gonna withhold my own rant about sports/e-sports and defense squads, though. This comment is already getting long enough.

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Melissa McDonald

This chewing on what to call your player reminds me of an old Steve Martin skit where he describes all the slang terms for a woman’s breast. he says those names are completely undignified, then suggests we use the respectful moniker, “golden bozos”. ROFL

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Dab

Spot on! I agree with most of the points here. My one to add is the wait times that seemed to plague many of the groups I used to game with – people going afk, bio, etc. when trying to enter an instance, or dungeon, etc. That wait time seemed to increase the older I got – maybe it’s just a function of age. ;)

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Teh Beardling

I have to say, while I don’t share all the same hates in mmo’s as you do, I found your explanation of them quite enlightening. Especially the one about official forums. I had never thought about it like that. So good on you sir.

PS. Lalafell for life!

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Rolan Storm

Did not expect article on this topic to be good. Sharp, lots of points I agree with.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Oh, wow. An Eliot rant. I loved every word of it.

1) Official forums. When I first started gaming I thought the forums were for exchange of information. Ha-Ha-Ha. Now that I understand that they are PvP by other means, I enjoy them a lot more.

2) Terminology. Save me from another toon that after 20 years of gaming calls me a noob.

3) Pet classes. Oh, snap. Bad pet class is bad. Good pet class is great. Hunter in WoW used to be a great pet class. Now it is a lousy pet class. Done.

4) Short races. Yes, yes. I enjoy playing short races for all these reasons. Wait, was that a negative?

5) and 6) Un-serious/Serious Yup, a personal dislike as well. Don’t be getting up every 5 minutes in the middle of dungeon to go take a smoke or get a beer. The “humorless elitist toolbox” is evidence of the strident win at any expense sports mentality in gaming.

7) Mr. Obvious. Can we mug these people in world chat?

8) E-Sports. I keep wondering what D3 would be like if Blizzard hadn’t kicked it off the bus because it couldn’t E-sports. Hate the term; hate the idea; really hate the impact on gaming.

9) Server queues. Equally bad as server mergers. Stuck with an either/or here.

10) White knights. Ugh. It’s impossible to have any conversation without one of these riding in to defend the Love Of His Life.

My strenuous dislikes:

1. Skill bloat. Putting a stupid, useless skill in the skill tree because something needs to go there.

2. Inventory trash. Designing crappy buffs/crafting items to fill up minimal inventory space to force players to buy more.

3. Tiny inventories.

4. MMO Means Socialization; therefore, Forced Grouping. News flash, nobody ever socializes in LFG or LFR groups they run just for achievements or to get past a content gate. Just stop.

5. PvPers who are unable to think of an alternative word to “butthurt” when they try to trash you for rejecting their form of fun. Give yourself away there much, boyo?

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Oleg Chebeneev

>My strenuous dislikes:

Now that is valid list. Other then #5 I approve.
I would also add subscription model. Its sucks

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Crowe

I prefer the subscription model.
But I do like Ashfyn’s list!

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Melissa McDonald

I saw Demi Moore in my mind’s eye, “strenuously objecting” in A FEW GOOD MEN.

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Melissa McDonald

I had a good chuckle reading this. well done. ;)

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Oleg Chebeneev

(Deleted by mod. Consider this your very last warning to stop with your personal attacks against our authors.)

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Oleg Chebeneev

(What part of last warning didn’t you get? -Bree)

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vinicitur

For the longest time I’ve always stayed away from short races but it started to change with the Asura in GW2. Heck I recently rolled a minstrel hobbit in lotro for the first time and I’ve been playing that game for over 6 years.

I also have a big issue with games having cartoon style graphics. They are pretty hit or miss for me and the one I really can’t stand at all is WOW. I can’t get past the art style they have and that has always been the case for me since vanilla. I know part of it is the exaggerated features and it shouldn’t matter that much but I can’t sit and watch that more than a couple of minutes without getting mad.

And lastly anthropomorphic animal races. Now I can get behind a race like the charr because they have a different look and posture compared to humanoid races but having, for example, a race of moose men/women where they have the body of humans but with fur and an animal head… Sorry, not interested.

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Rottenrotny

1) I like official forums. It’s a nice place to gather info and connect with other players while not worrying about site adds, poor performance, viruses etc. Additionally, it really grinds my gears when a game Dev has official forums but makes all their announcements and player interaction via a 3rd party site like Twitter or Reddit.

2) I enjoy the terms. qq more Elliot, you noob! ^_^ Although I’d agree that some people use the terms too much and it becomes annoying.

3) I’ve said it on here 9999 times. I haaaaaate pet classses. The only ones that never annoyed me was Warlocks in WoW back when you just kept an imp with you on passive so you could steal his mana. He’s small and doesn’t get in the way when I’m trying to click something.

4) Short races… Yeah, I’m with you on that. I’ve tried to play a lot of them all at some point, but the closest I’ve gotten to actually sticking with one was a Goblin Shaman in WoW. When I do PVP in WoW Gnomes are always the first ones I’m targeting. (-:<

5) My roommate. We'll start playing the same MMO and group up. Play for about an hour and he says "Well, I'm done." I'm like "That's it? One hour?" How can you get anything done in an MMO if you don't want to put in the time? Baffles me that players want, nay DEMAND, to get in the game, play and hour and get rewarded. Modern MMO game development caters to this play style now, leading to an overall dumbing down of the genre. THANKS ROOMMATE.

6) Don't really care one way or the other about this. I find the world first races to be a bit dumb though Those dudes did a lot of the content already in beta and then brag about being first in live. Ok.

7) I have no opinion. Were you just struggling to come up with 10? haha

8) I enjoyed WoW arenas for a bit and it was kinda fun to watch my friends and guildmates PVP, but I have no interest in watching strangers play Overwatch or whatever and make way too much $ doing it. E-Sports is stupid and I don't know anyone who's into it, yet Blizzard and whoever are all trying to cram it down our throats. YOU WILL LIKE E-SPORTS. No.

9) I've never in my long MMO career every had an issue with server queues. So… yeah. I could see that being annoying though if it was common.

10) White knights. This will probably always be a thing. Everyone wants to be a part of a team. Team WoW vs Team FFXIV! White knighting can be annoying though. Sometimes a well thought out and logical forum post critique of a game get derailed and nullified by white knights foaming at the mouth and drowning out the honest, critical thinkers. No matter how much I like a game I'm always willing to acknowledge it's problems.

The things that I find annoying are more basic game design things I guess. Like pet classes.
I can't stand:
-Instancing
-Invisible walls
-Maps that look open world but are pathed and corridor-y to death (Cough FFXIV)
-Instanced housing
-Raising the level cap over and over leading to ridiculously high numbers in health, dmg etc.
-Forced level scaling
-The same dungeons/raids over and over but with different difficulties
-Looking for group.dungeon tools that auto-group you and teleport you to the dungeon/raid
-Megaservers and cross server grouping. This has all but eliminated server communities.
-Cash shops that sell ANYTHING other than cosmetic fluff for IRL $.
-F2P
-MMOs with zero open world PVP
-Action combat (Not all but most)

I could probably think of more but I think this comment is beyond long though! ;)

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Melissa McDonald

That’s one of the things people loved about Galaxies. There weren’t really borders, boundaries, etc. See mountain? Climb mountain, if you wish. And your avatar would adopt a slow trudging animation when forced to do so. Damn, we miss that game.

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Rottenrotny

Yeah I’m a big fan of big open world with no stupid boundaries like bushes. Should be able to hit autorun and walk away from the keyboard for 5 mins, come back and you’re still moving forward… if something didn’t kill you that is. Sadly, this is extremely uncommon these days. I call it lazy game development.

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Jack Kerras

I don’t think it’s laziness, really. It occurs to me that the average player finds this degree of freedom paralyzing rather than invigorating, and that putting them in dumb little corridors with !s and ?s in plain view is the best way to get them started.

I loved Galaxies for this, but… I don’t see it coming back. :/ The kind of person who likes this stuff is not common enough to keep the lights on at even smaller devs’ houses.

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Harry Koala

-Invisible walls
-Maps that look open world but are pathed and corridor-y to death (Cough FFXIV)

Those are two of the biggest things that turned me off FFXIV. If I can’t go somewhere, don’t show me the damn place. I think it was my first FFXIV instance that featured a large open cave that you had to follow a narrow winding through because of invisible walls and no -go areas. It infuriated me.

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Rottenrotny

Yes. FFXIV and and just about all MMOs these days are awful in this way.
Name one big name MMO that this isn’t extremely prevalent in. I can’t think of any.

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Melissa McDonald

I also hate “front end” software. Isn’t one Steam program enough? No, all of them now have to have some kind of launcher, front-end, program, or crap that wants to load on startup. We can’t just install the game and click on its shortcut, Heavens no. We need a “store” program, many megabytes in size, that is completely superfluous.

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Angel

Yeah I dislike this as well, I wish they would all just use a central launcher.

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Harry Koala

Be careful what you wish for: you might end up with something more like the Games For Windows Live, or worse (hard as it is to credit something being worse than GFWL) uPlay, rather than something at least marginally useful like Steam.

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Minimalistway

I thought Justin is the writer, then read the point about pet classes and short races .. check the writer? ahh i see :-D

I agree on most of these points, #10 is spot on, true for gaming or anything else, people get too attached to things they love.

Justin Olivetti
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Justin Olivetti

I also say toon quite often. It’s why Eliot and I casually fling knives at each other in the office now.

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Tobasco da Gama

10/10 would hate again.

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Jeff

Good article I generally agree.

I would have added MMO’s that gate the main story behind raiding (I’m looking at you WoW)

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Dug From The Earth

Dont always lump “Short” races with “cute”.

I love playing dwarves, they are anything but cute.

Im also in the “Dont like my character blocking most of my game view” club. Short races let me see more of the game, and less of my character.

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Greaterdivinity

1. Other players.
2. Other players.
3. Other players.
4. Other players.
5. Other players.
6. Other players.
7. Other players.
8. Other players.
9. Other players.
10. Other players.

Am I doing MMO’s right?

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Sray

“Hell is other people.”

Zander
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Zander

Serious question: I see others giving a thumbs up so there are underlying reasons for hating other players in an MMO. Can some of you explain the reasoning, whether its what others do or if its yourself? If it’s annoyance or anti social behavior, I’d like an honest insight as to why it’s difficult for players to enjoy the game with others. This genuinely makes me curious.

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kidwithknife

It’s easier to click on the thumbs up on Greaterdivinity’s post than to type “I dislike the way in which the increasing size of MMO communities and the shift toward solo play have all but eliminated the social consequences poorly-behaved players risked in older games like early Everquest, thereby allowing stupid and spiteful assbutts to dominate communities by drowning out sensible players, with no meaningful cost to themselves. This is not helped by the timidity of many official forums’ moderators.”

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Greaterdivinity

My post was primarily in jest and not intended to be taken purely at face value. I’ve made plenty of friends and had plenty of wonderful experiences with other players (guildies, groupmates, randoms etc.) over the years and look forward to many more.

At least on my part, I was poking fun at the usual gripes regarding PUGS in MMO’s, especially considering my apparent poor luck on that front as I frequently find myself in groups that are either filled with elitests/assholes or folks who seem like they’re playing the game with their tongue. Mix that in with some of the more obnoxious elements of zone/world chat and there are definitely times in MMO’s where I wished/pretended I was playing a single player game instead.

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Zoe

Upvoted for “playing the game with their tongue”. Made me lol. :P

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MesaSage

A much more succinct and to-the-point list. Thanks, I should have skipped to the comments first.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Oh so right.

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Melissa McDonald

my big hates are pretty simple,
1) non-consensual PvP
2) server queues
3) wipes and rollbacks
4) lazy coding/invasive software (stuff like Star Citizen leaving a 40GB folder on my hard drive after I deleted the program)
5) 3rd party software like anti-cheat programs being obligatory

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Vunak

1. I hate imbalance and new classes that make old classes irrelevant.

An example of this is TERA. I have been playing it for years now. I’m considered one of the best Sorcerers in the game if not the best, I have been playing the same Sorcerer since the game released. I have been rank 1 in PvP arenas. Yet whenever a new class rolls out in that game it doesn’t matter how much experience someone has with the game they get curbstomped by someone completely new to the game playing one of those new classes because they are nuclear levels of broken. Every time. It has driven a boatload of people away including myself with this last class that has been released.

2. Performance Issues, Lag and/or stupid server locations.

If you have the most amazing MMO or game on the planet but it runs like the two rodents on the wheel are about to keel overy it doesn’t matter how amazing the game is.

Server location, is a huge deal. All servers should be centralized in somewhere like Chicago or Houston if it’s an NA service. California does not make sense as according to populations densities the eastern and north eastern parts of the US and Canada are the most populated. It just creates more strain than needs to be on servers. This is of course if the game don’t offer multiple locations and only has one server hub.

2. People that cry about getting ganked in an OWPvP game or try to change a games rules to fit them.

Makes no sense to me. You play the game, you agree to be PvPer within the confines of that games rules on PvP. You don’t like being ganked, don’t play the game.

Can’t stand it when I see on forums “we need a PvE server”. No, you dont. You need to find a new game to play. Why? Because I don’t go into PvE games like FFXIV and expect some sort of amazing environmet for PvP. Does it have it? Yeah it does but it is by no means some amazing feature that draws hundreds of thousands of players like it’s PvE does. Same goes for a PvP game. Looking at you BDO.

3. Really bland classes.

Wildstar. Very uninteresting classes. Very basic mechanics for all classes. Caused me to quit the game because it’s so limited in build function.

4. Elitists.

It’s alright to be really into a game. It’s not alright to be really into a game and put down people that might be new to the game and don’t know what is going on or makes mistakes.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

My main complaint about official forums is when a studio decides that it is fine to disseminate important, game related information there and not as news items on their main page or their news feed or other channels we’ve grown to expect. Don’t make us wade into the forums or track every dev post just to be able to keep up with the game.

Otherwise official forums seem to be a necessary evil. They are often toxic with complaints, but it is also often the only way users can see to give feedback. Meanwhile, if the studio controls the forums, at least they can reign in the complete dev hate that can develop. Everybody hates when their own post gets deleted, but sometimes that is the right move. If a company lets some other place become the official forum, like Reddit, then they run the risk of having a place people see as official that is out of control with toxicity.

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