Massively Overthinking: Is the MMO genre facing an identity crisis?

MMORPG blogger and MOP commenter Isarii (@ethanmacfie) recently published an excellent video positing that the MMO industry is facing a “massive identity crisis.”

“The MMO genre has sort of walked away from the things that made it unique and has faced an identity crisis since then as MMOs have reinvented themselves as these big giant titles trying to appeal to as many people as possible,” he argues. “As a result, you end up with MMOs that try to do things that smaller scale games tend to do better while not doing any of the things that make MMOs themselves unique.”

The whole video is worth a look-and-listen as he pins down what exactly does make MMOs unique and which MMOs have excelled as actual MMOs (protip: It’s everything from EVE to SWG to WoW, so don’t think this is about subgenre elitism at all). What do you think? Is Isarii right? Is the genre facing an identity crisis? And how do we solve it? That’s what our writers will be debating in this week’s Massively Overthinking.

Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): Isarii has a lot of the same concerns I do, but I have to confess that after trying to be an MMOer in two cultures across a few generations, I’m starting to come to the conclusion that the MMORPG may be like the Moeritherium… or Eevee, since I don’t think MMOs are becoming extinct, but it does mean it’s given birth to genres that probably replace several of the niches it formerly dominated.

MMOs, unlike a lot of previous genres, weren’t just online, but hosting large numbers of players in single-ish, persistent worlds (across a few servers, rather than the thousands found in, say, FPS or RTS games). Unlike, say, Tribes 2, MMOs weren’t just ladder matches, but had built in progression systems, especially thanks to WoW. This wasn’t their core pursuit though. MMOs were about role play thanks to their connection to MUDs, another genre that gave birth to multiple genres but now languishes in near disuse. I’d argue that the modern MMO is less about creating shared player stories than it is giving people a sense of progression in a world shared with their friends. Looking at the fact that roleplayers are a minority in their own genre reveals just how far MMOs have gotten from their roots. This is probably why when a lot of MMOs try to incorporate certain play styles, they don’t do as well mechanically as smaller, tighter games.

When games do focus on story though, it’s pre-generated. You get dialogue trees. While it often creates tighter narratives, it’s nothing like the thrill of a well played, spontaneous RP scenario, though those are kind of the (somewhat attainable) grail of the RP experience, which again, doesn’t appeal to the vast majority of MMO players. Like any mass produced commodity, MMO story is streamlined to try to give a homogeneous, and hopefully quality, experience, but in doing so, people are chasing their own stories rather than trying to build a community one.

I’m going to suggest something very radical here. If the very core of the MMO genre wants to stand out from the rest of the genre, that means shedding a lot of the baggage created by being “everything boxes.” Stop chasing World of Warcraft. Embrace the graphical MUDs we started out as. Be story based. Have GM events. Think West World but with GMs instead of robots. Keep progression socially based, or limited to skins at best. Have player councils that vote in active story tellers as temporary GMs to host their own approved events (and or maybe monetize the process if you must).

Community cannot be held by mechanics. It should drive them. That’s why, despite having MMO divorced raiding games like the Monster Hunter series, or self contained Battle Grounds like Titanfall, people still look at MMOs. Our “lobbies” (the non-instanced world) are huge. The graphically visible strife between guilds vying for physical space in EVE is hard to ignore. You’re not going to be World of Warcraft, but you’ll have loyal customers. Find fair ways to monetize your game and reward them. Don’t be afraid to embrace what early Asheron’s Call did. It wasn’t the biggest MMO, but it was long lasting and historically significant in ways World of Warcraft only accidentally stumbled upon.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): The core of this debate is the question Isarii asks early on in the video of the MMORPG audience: Why the hell are we still here? After all these years, all the monetization bullshit, all the “unbundlings” and sunsets and dismantling of the genre, what is it we’re still playing for? It’s the “massively multiplayer” part — the shared community, not just a shared worldspace.

I’m with Isarii: MMOs aren’t dead. The bubble has simply burst, several years ago in fact, or that was my argument in ‘Multiplex monotony’ and the death of the mid-budget MMORPG, which is as true today as it was then. The rapid expansion of the genre following World of Warcraft caused the genre to bloat and chase blockbusters that had little in common with the genre they were based on, then implode to the point that AAA studios aren’t making MMOs, and if they are, they aren’t using the term anymore for fear of being typecast to the untenable definition of the genre they helped create. Along the way, we’ve seen the birth of several new subgenres: MOBAs and survival sandboxes in particular, as well as always-online ARPGs. I see those as good things, but the MMORPG itself has suffered.

Like Isarii, I have hope for the next generation of MMOs, most of them being built by fans and old-school devs and crowdfunded to avoid the investor-driven game design that crippled the industry in the first place. Buy them. Support them. I don’t think the first seven years of the genre before WoW were a fluke. They made huge mistakes (sup, forced downtime), but they also made magic because they tapped into something legitimately special: the online community. I want to see that magic return.

Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): When I first started listening to the video, I was told ahead of time that I would probably be nodding. I was not. Well, my head might have moved forward at some point. That might have been construed as a nod, I guess. Mostly I think I’m just tired. And if I wasn’t tired before, seeing the same thing trotted out yet again after seeing it at least twice a year for eight years now would have made me more tired. (I was already tired, though. I sleep really badly.)

It’s probably more often than that, though, because this is all bracingly familiar to me. It’s the same stream of arguments about how MMOs have lost their way, about how the genre no longer caters to the stuff that once made it unique. There’s more to go into there, but for the moment I’m going to focus on the core idea that MMOs have lost sight of what they’re uniquely suited to and what only MMOs can do. Which is, ironically, not so much missing the forest for the trees as it is missing the fact that it’s only a forest because of the trees.

MMOs still have a sense of what the genre does not just better than any other genre, but uniquely. And that’s found in EVE Online, and in Star Wars Galaxies, and World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy XIV, and The Secret World, and Destiny. All on down the line. It’s persistence, but first and foremost it’s not persistence of world. It’s persistence of character.

I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over in my mind recently why it took me so long to get back into Final Fantasy XI. Obviously, a lot of the changes made to the game to remove frustrations have a major impact on that, but the reality is that many of these changes have been made steadily and are changes I brushed up against before. So why do I own three accounts for the game, but I never really got back into the game until last year.

Because, I realized, last year was when I put the time and effort into getting back my original character, the first character I ever made in any MMO, the character who I had assumed was pretty irrevocably lost. I spent a bunch of time on the phone with Square-Enix customer support, we dug up my character, and lo and behold there she was again. And suddenly everything clicked, because that was my character.

There’s a uniform ownership and persistence in MMOs that you don’t get with anything else, and it transcends things like community-driven markets or community-made history or raiding or organized PvP. I’ve been playing the same character in FFXIV for seven years now, since the game first launched, and that character is not a PvP character or a dungeon character or a quest character or a crafting character. She does lots of things. She’s persistent, she’s existed, she hasn’t just ceased to be at some point. It’s a persistent character and persona.

And unlike any other game, these characters exist as part of a community wherein the very sharing of community is accomplished by playing the game together. I was excited to have a friend coming back to FFXIV just because it’s a chance for us to share and do something together. We can both play Mass Effect: Andromeda, but we can’t share in the moment-to-moment experience in the same fashion.

There’s no crisis of identity; there’s a continual process of refining and exploring the genre, discovering what can work to improve the experience of playing the game while removing frustrations. This was the whole reason instancing was initially created, to solve the (very real) problem of walking in to do content only to find an entire zone had been cleared by other players. It’s something that was being explored back in 2006. It’s still being explored by several games. There’s design space there, something worthwhile to mine out, a real examination of the difference between accessibility and disposability.

So no, I don’t think there’s any sort of identity crisis to speak of. After years of watching different games tackle different problems with different approaches, seeing problems and trying to solve them in new ways, I’d say the genre’s doing exactly what living and vibrant genres do. It’s just a bit slower than genres where new releases come out four or five times a year, because… well, an MMO is a lot of work. That’s pretty straightforward.

And no, the reason really has nothing to do with pandas.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): When I look back at the first decade of graphical MMORPGs, I’m often struck by the scary freedom that these games and their designers had in pioneering these new types of games. Figuring out how to take single-player settings and make them work on a larger scale presented all sorts of challenges and difficulties, yet it also forced the teams to be creative and imaginative in their solutions. However, when the industry shifted away from a variety of pioneering projects to a more standardized format. The risk aversion that came with big-budget, multi-year projects further encouraged teams to hew to the “proven” success.

Now that we’re past the WoW clone bubble, several interesting things are happening (and not all of them good). Some MMO studios are ditching the genre entirely, while brand-new start-ups are jumping right in to fill the void and demand. Some games are becoming more specialized and more limited in scope, while other indie projects are finding themselves free to be ambitious in a way that hasn’t been seen for many moons. We’ve also seen the term “MMO” become watered down from overuse (and misuse) as well as tarnished by bad games, bad business models, and notable failures.

Is the industry ready for a strong rebound? I certainly hope so. While we are certainly not seeing big studios taking on new MMOs, there have been plenty of smaller companies spring up to take on this challenge. Scores of projects that are rethinking the MMO tropes and designs have come into being, and there’s hope that at least a small handful of them will prove to be breakout hits. Plus, with the Kickstarter success storie we’ve seen from Crowfall, Chronicles of Elyria, and Ashes of Creation, we know that there’s still a hunger and a passion among gamers to see ambitious and varied games being made. So I kind of feel like we’re holding our breath as a genre right now, not quite sure what’s over the next hill — but it could be pretty exciting. I want to see the term MMORPG earn more respect and acclaim over the next decade, and it might take but for a single smash hit to do that… or a dozen smaller, modest success stories.

Larry Everett (@Shaddoe, blog): I’m as nostalgic as anyone for the “good ol’ days” of Star Wars Galaxies and even Tabula Rasa that were mentioned in the video, but the truth of the matter is that those gaming models are not sustainable in today’s market. Even the biggest of the big, World of Warcraft, has had to change up its model in order to sustain itself over the years. In fact, I would venture to say its flexibility is what has made this genre sustainable in the first place.

There are some things that would be nice to see again in another MMO: a more persistent world or a skill-based progression system. But I don’t think that’s what defines the MMO as a genre. I believe the ability to play the game online with a group of friends or strangers is the biggest factor defines the MMO genre. The other parts are kind of secondary — important, but still secondary.

Secondly, I believe that we still have games — AAA games — that are attempting to accomplish what the old MMORPGs were trying to accomplish. I believe Elder Scrolls Online is probably the best example of this. When it launched it was the furthest from what we would want to call an old-school MMO. But with the addition of One Tamriel and more skill lines, it’s really turning into an amazing blend of modern MMO and old-school MMO.

Just like a living language, the definition of MMO is ever evolving. I’m not sure that I would call a game like Overwatch an MMO, but many of the players who really love MMOs are the same players that are attracted to Overwatch. And if the audience is the same, there is probably some core element that Overwatch is pulling on that attracts the the MMO player, so calling it an MMO wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.

The bottom line is that we should love the past games and the communities there for what they were, but if we live in the past, the genre will never move forward. If we keep saying that we wish the MMOs in today’s market were just like some MMO in the past market, then the genre will eventually die. I want MMOs to keep living, keep growing, and keep expanding.

Your turn!

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68 Comments on "Massively Overthinking: Is the MMO genre facing an identity crisis?"

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Alex Malone

The unique selling point of MMORPGs was and always will be the ability to play with more people at the same time than any other genre.

On that front, I do believe that MMORPGs have lost their way. It used to be common to see 200+ people hanging out in the same zone, be it a large scale pvp fight, or an open world boss, or just a hub where people crafted, traded, socialised and formed groups.

Now, that hardly ever happens. Between instanced content, solo content design and technical limitations, large groups of people are now prevented from playing together. Even when nothing in the game design prevents it, large gatherings still cause problems due to technical problems, a result of chasing after superior graphics without investing in proper game engines to support massively-multiplayer.

The negative effect of this change is also easy enough to see. Social interactions increase retention – friends don’t let friends quit – and so it is easy to see that with a greatly reduced focus on multiplayer, and no focus on massively-multiplayer, social networks within games just aren’t forming, so large portions of players simply get the game, play through the content and then move on.

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Rottenrotny

I would agree that too many MMOs try to please everyone at the same time and as they spread themselves so thin the game ends up watered down. I suppose this is an attempt to rake in as much $ as possible, but often they probably make less $ due to the game failing to draw the player #s as a result of said watering down.

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Sally Bowls

Is it really the genre or the players who frequent fanstites that are having an identity crisis? The MMOs” identity seem fairly stable to me.

MMOs are what they are; some companies are keeping on, some are getting out of the business and almost all companies are not making large AAA MMOs. The size of the market has evolved but I don’t think MMOs are fundamentally different now than five or ten years ago, TBH, what Real MMO Players think Real MMO Should Be has not evolved much either. The Next Big Thing has changed from a specific game to Asian whatever to Kickstarter du Jour. (None of which seem credible or at least of interest to me. Who knows, could happen.)

It could be there is a Minecraft of MMOs and/or a MMO is a disruptive technology [q..v.] Mobile?
VR? But if I had to guess, I would see MMOs in five years without much change in identity: MMO market smaller, WoW and some others, upcoming Asian imports, dozens of Kickstarters with “old-school”, “community” in their pitch.

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Brown Jenkin

I think the genre has been going through something for a long while now, and yeah maybe an “identity crisis” is the right way to identify that thing. Fundamentally folks play MMOs for lots of different reasons, but I think the central one (even for those soloers amongst us) is the point made in the video about the world having tons of people and being alive. I’d love to see some of what @dengarsw suggested in moving away from the old MUD/WoW traditions in MMOs, and I hold out tons of hope that it could happen… there are some great games out there at the moment (GW2/ESO/BDO etc) but they’ve all got some sort of weird baggage. What keeps us playing is a good question that folks should consider in the future, I assure you.. it isn’t daily quests.

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Archebius

I don’t agree that the genre is experiencing an identity crisis. An identity crisis is a time of uncertainty and confusion about who and what you are, typically kicked off by a real or perceived change in your situation (e.g., hitting 40, getting fired, kids leaving for college).

The MMO industry isn’t having an identity crisis. It’s a happy, healthy genre that wobbled a little bit when that guy from high school became rich and famous and built a mansion down the street, but has now largely accepted that their life with a house and two cars and a moderate gambling problem is the right life for them. Sure, all the other genres in the neighborhood are doing a little bit better. But life is good – the MMO genre relaxes in the backyard with a beer, listening to the sound of distant traffic and kids playing. Everyone is happy.

Well, almost. We wouldn’t be talking about this if it weren’t for the discontent – and the perception of discontent – within the playerbase. But let’s be clear: MMOs are not undergoing an identity crisis. Older MMO players are experiencing a genre evolving, leaving the parts that they enjoy the most as vestigial organs strapped onto a gear grind and fetch quests, and sometimes excised altogether.

Not that this makes the situation better, but I think the perception is important. The genre itself isn’t in trouble; there are just a large number of players who aren’t happy with the current state of things. And this group isn’t homogeneous – there are some who want to return to the old days of open PvP worlds, there are others who want more of a community (a fragile and difficult thing to grow), there are some who think you need both together. Mostly, though, I think everyone just wants a world that feels more like a real place, and not a game you hop into for a couple hours a week to collect some shinies before jumping into another game.

This isn’t a problem that has an easy solution. People just need to keep supporting the games that are the closest to what they want, and stop supporting games that are moving the genre away from it. Build communities in the games you play, instead of waiting for a game that encourages them more. Engage yourself in the game as much as you can. Form long-lasting guilds with like-minded individuals.

If we don’t have time to support the features we want to see in the games we play, then we’ll never see a AAA company create a new game just for us.

borghive
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borghive

Not trying to sound negative here, but you got to admit the sad state of our online communities are kind of a reflection of the world we live in now. Granted, our games back then still had it’s share of toxicity, but things to me are a lot worse than they were 15 years ago.

I’m not trying to get all philosophical here, but people have changed quite a bit over the years and those good old days, I think are long gone, never to be revived, no matter how hard these developers try to rekindle community driven games.

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Rottenrotny

15 years ago only total nerds played PC games. Now it’s common to see “normal” people playing. There’s simply a lot more players playing online PC games now and with the rise in #s we see the rise in trolls.

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Robert Mann

Yeah, that’s a societal problem that we can address… but we have to start doing so.

capt_north
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capt_north

Those of us who have been with the genre from the start have vastly different opinions on which pieces of the past were core elements and which were horrible burdens that we are glad to be rid of. And we have always argued these points — the developer’s cry of “we’re going to make our own game and we’re going to do it RIGHT this time!” could probably be traced back to variations on prehistoric pebble games.

My take is that there are aspects of classic MMO design that I love, others that I loathe, but the core defining aspect of the genre is that there is are few constants. We’re designing and playing in virtual worlds. Worlds are not static. A world that is too static is a world that is stagnant, and it is a world that is ultimately doomed.

The genre has to evolve to survive, and evolution is a messy process littered with dead ends and fatal errors. I hate the push to mobile, because itty-bitty screens can’t give me the vistas I crave, but it’s part of the process. Maybe it peters out, or maybe the processors and peripherals evolve to give us a better experience than desktop. I can’t predict which. But I know I can’t freeze the MMORPG at any moment in time and play that moment forever. That’s not a virtual world. That’s a freeze-frame, and it is as still as the grave.

Sarigar
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Sarigar

MMOs, at their best, give players the chance to be someone else in an extraordinary environment. I feel like the more content compels people to fill a role, rather than play a character, the farther we all get from the true potential of MMOs.

I think that if MMOs want to be a truly distinct gaming market, they need to start moving away from railroad questlines, gear treadmills, and the trap of “endgame”, and move towards giving players what other games can’t: diverse, interesting environments, player-generated content, exploration with real risks and rewards, and encouragement towards player cooperation and support.

Imagine logging into a game city in which the inhabitants were all players: shopkeepers, peddlers, craftsmen, entertainers, as well as adventurers. Imagine gaining experience and skill solely by providing help and useful goods to other players (i.e. if you craft a sword, and another player uses that sword in combat, you get some XP if they win). Imagine being able to seek out adventurers in a tavern, send them on a quest (facing content of your own creation), and all of you reap the rewards if you succeed. There’s a lot of untapped potential in MMOs, and plenty of players waiting for something new and different.

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Orenj

MMOs, at their best, give players the chance to be someone else in an extraordinary environment. I feel like the more content compels people to fill a role, rather than play a character, the farther we all get from the true potential of MMOs.

This so much! It also ties into Eliot’s observation about the importance of persistence of character–our characters are so important in part because of who we’ve chosen to make them.

I’m pretty sure I’ve QQ’ed about this at length previously in massively comments, but every time a game (or other players, but that always turns out to be guided by the game’s design) demands that my character have certain abilities or worse be a certain class, I die a little inside. Raiding (or more generally, encounters that are all about combat performance in a very constrained situation) actively undermine the potential of MMOs.

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Melissa McDonald

“PvP sandbox” seems like this nightmare I am living in where all the game devs have been brainwashed to think this is what people want instead of actual content, quests, and other non-sociopathic things to do.
I’m sorry folks I know I constantly whine about PvP, but it’s like the games that I love, and the Kind of games that I love, don’t even bloody exist anymore.

Is it so much to ask that PvP be consensual? Really?

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Rottenrotny

I don’t understand this at all. There are just as many non-PVP MMOs as there are PVP MMOs.
And even within the PVP MMOs there are often PVE servers.

borghive
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borghive

Can you give examples of past MMOs then? I see you complain a lot about PVP gankboxes, but honestly there are a crap ton of games out there that really do focus on PVE. I mean I really don’t understand what you want that doesn’t already exist in the form of the glut of PVE themepark games we already have. There are also plenty of PVE sandbox games as well like Wurm online, Minecraft , survival games that use PVE rule sets.

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haishao

How are wurm and minecraft MMORPG?

borghive
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borghive

How are they not?

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haishao

Minecraft is not a Massively Multiplayer Online game and it’s not a RPG either.

I’ve mistaken Wurm for another game but suggesting her this game kinda contradict the idea that there are “plenty” of them. If the only thing you can find is a java game from 2006 that probably doesn’t even have 100k players.

The problem is that there are no modern one. They’re all either PvP or Themepark.

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Robert Mann

Agreed, although PvE sandbox MMOs are pretty rare right now… well, ones that don’t allow people to do everything and thus not need anyone and thus have no community.

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Danny Smith

Its not exclusively an mmo thing but more and more developers are explaining in interviews that company directors pushing for “wider market appeal” only drives away your core audience and never pulls in a significant number of new customers from other markets. Its somewhat like the modern “i’ll scream for this game to change because it offends me, but what do you mean buy it? i was never going to buy it” idea where games design is more and more treated like a committee design process to please as many people as possible. This naturally means even if you had a core audience you are now squandering it and they move on to greener pastures.

Theres a fascinating book called “the untold stories of japanese games development volume 2” where some developers give long interviews saying things like “you cannot make a horror game in japan anymore. The higher ups will tell you it needs to be an action shooter or westerners will not buy it, so we stopped making horror games because we dont want to make action shooters” and that kind of thing must surely also apply to the “design your mmo specifically like a mobage where drop in drop out whales play a little and spend a lot” and the like.

Because the crux of it is this: the bubble of novelty burst and devs need to learn the core mmo audience is once again all they have. Look at FFXIV. it is considered a success but flip flops between 300k-1mil players and SE judges that as performing more than adequately because thats how none WoW at its height mmo’s have always worked to be considered a success. Its not some survival crafting zombie sandbox buzzword fest designed to serve a dozen masters. Its a niche product that does things some like and others dont. But it doesnt try to change every update to pull in a hypothesised new catchment of a different audience to milk as well. That is really what lead to WoW going from the thing advertised by celebrities and name dropped on tv to what it is today. Make a game for a core audience and if they like it they stick. Keep chasing ‘wider market appeal’ and you are one of many bland melange’ of crap in a sea of white noise mmos like Rift or GW2 that in the greater marketplace have been pretty much forgotten by anyone but the ‘in from the start, out at the end’ die hards.

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MesaSage

Eliot hit on the main point about identity crisis. Character persistence. In order to play these “new” games, we have to continually recreate ourselves in whatever form that game allows. Everything from armor to weapons, to skills, mounts and cosmetics is new. It’s hard to retain identity when you constantly have to be reborn. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, we live the same day over and over again and “we’ve died so many times we don’t even exist anymore.”

My vision for some time has been a world where you create your character and keep him/her/it for as long as you’re in that world. The world is extensible, and studios can attach to this world to leverage your existing character. It doesn’t matter what the particular implementation is, MMORPG, FPS, ARG, whatever, you can keep your character and build him to adapt to the environment.

It will take someone on the order of Amazon to pull this off, but I hope they can. Somebody needs to create the world, make it open, and make it commercially viable for companies to create within that space.

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Melissa McDonald

SOE once tried to make a Universal Avatar that you could take from game to game, but the practical reality of it was that game engines vary so much they couldn’t really preserve that from game to game. It would take a graphical standard, a universal file type, (like jpeg or mp3 for example) that all game engines could render correctly to do it. It was a great idea but the tech simply couldn’t make it happen – THEN. I think it’s a worthy goal, even still.

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MesaSage

It would have to be more than an Avatar. What I was proposing was a worlds framework that other games attach to. Think of it as the Universe and the Games are Galaxies and Solar Systems.

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Orenj

I can’t imagine this ever working, because “modern” MMO designers don’t design worlds for characters to be in; they design a pile of abstract systems designed to keep players in a core play loop (to keep them spending money), with thin veneers of things like “characters” and a “playfield” over those systems. There really is no such thing as a character in these games beyond a particular point in the configuration space described by those systems, which are substantially different in every game. (English translation: You’re never going to find a reasonable mapping of all the stats and abilities of one game to those in another–that character from game A literally can’t exist in game B.)

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MesaSage

People are already building it, so I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it. I’m not talking about stats carrying from one game to another. As I said, you “build” your character to adapt to the environment.

Why is this different, you might ask?

I’ve been around long enough to have used online services such as Compuserve, The Source, The Well, etc. Back then I knew it was fruitless to continue such fragmentation. If you wanted to reach everyone you had to join a bunch of networks and manage a bunch of disconnected accounts.

My dream was that it was all connected. Then came the Internet and that dream came true. Everyone connected via the same interfaces and reachable on the same apps. You no longer had to reinvent yourself on every network.

Now take that example and apply it to the MMO space. If somebody can offer me a world where I can create a character that can share chat, exploration, combat, etc with anyone, everywhere – without them having to “Join” an new service and all that comes with that.

In the Metaverse everyone is connected. Other companies plug into that and your character just has to become skilled/outfitted to play in that world.

It’s not a difficult concept.

capt_north
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capt_north

I’d give good money for a solid multiverse framework where traveling between different dimensions and time periods was the core focus. I think it gives developers the cold sweats, because you’d have to have at least five or six full game worlds at launch, and that’s a huge investment. I think to make it work, you’d need to focus on the world-building toolset and core game systems, release that to creators, and leave content development largely to independents (for a piece of the action).

Everquest Next/Landmark and Second Life/Sansar/High Fidelity are pieces of the puzzle, but nobody seems to be putting it together. Yet.

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Modrain

“roleplayers are a minority in their own genre”

Modern MMO roleplayers are not the same than the roleplayers who birthed the genre. The moment electronic gameification happened, that the (role)players stopped being the ones enforcing the rules under the supervision of a game master, it allowed some to focus on a non-gameified roleplay part. But that roleplay is significantly different, as it does not include mechanics, and as far as I know, has always been a minor part of playing an RPG. Otherwise, it’s just “RP”.

There is a common ancestor between the average MMO player and the average MMO roleplayer, that is indeed known as a “roleplayer”, but who has as much of a “player” part than a “role” one. The genre does not belong anymore to either of those.

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Manastu Utakata

I think they maybe having a crises about having an identity crises, perceived, imagined or otherwise. o.O

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Manastu Utakata

Yeah…I could of said that better. Anyrates, what Mr. Eliot said. :(

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McGuffn

MMOs aren’t having an identity crisis, but they are changing. I think Bree once called MMOs an “Everything Box.” And my sense is that is certainly changing. If there was an identity crisis, perhaps the Everything Box was it. If you’re trying to be, in some sense, all things to all people you don’t have time to be yourself. And if games can decide one or two things to focus on, and innovate on, that will probably be more rewarding in the long run.

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diskonekted

When innovations in extracting money from players surpasses innovation in game play and world mechanics this is what you get.

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Melissa McDonald

That’s our own fault, though. People quit paying subscriptions. F2P was the only thing that would get people to come play the game. And they don’t do this for charity, so how are they supposed to make a living wage when their clients all expect everything for free?

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diskonekted

Perhaps instead of trying to make the same game over and over again for a decade they should have invested in making new and interesting products that people were excited to play. I’ve spent 3-400 bucks on single player games so far this year…I’ve spent 0 on MMOs.

For 60 bucks I got a full game in Neir, a full game that I’ve played through a couple times and still have a few more times to go. But every time I want to run through again I’m not hit with the bank space charge or the bag space fee, and the want to have a decent looking character tax…Oh and want to carry around all the bloated shit we added to the loot drops have some weight increase…Oh and would you like a pet? How about a cool looking mount? More cash please!

The problem isn’t the players wanting shit for free. The problem is the publisher wanting players to pay for the same thing over and over again.

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BalsBigBrother

If I could like this more than once I would and sadly that is the reality of the mmo genre at the moment. God I am so depressed :-(

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Witches

This only makes sense if you agree that SWG, EVE or other old school MMOs are the best MMOs, and even then, the best isn’t necessarily the most popular or your favourite, in most (if not all) forms of art, quality doesn’t mean popularity.

I think the real problem is people having an hard time accepting that their favourite game is not the most popular game, most people are happy playing the game they like, and their only concern is that the game doesn’t shut down.

CCP tries to keep EVE relevant and keep trying to broaden their portfolio, but they seem to get that being #20 in the ranks for many years running is as worthy as being #3 for a while and them plummeting down and eventually closing.

Brett
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Brett

Hmm, I think I would like a lot of the solutions proposed (Andrew’s sounds spot on to me in particular), but I don’t quite agree there’s an identity crisis in the genre.

I think the fundamental problem that has led to less and less emphasis on community in the MMO genre is a result of mislabelling MMOs as games in themselves. I would say instead that MMOs are shared, persistent and immersive spaces for communities of people to play in, and the actual game parts inside them – pvp combat, pve dungeons, exploration achievements, card game systems, collection systems, crafting minigames, and all the others are the bits that are actually getting better over time (or, as the video says, splitting off into focused sub-genres).

We have all this game design theory and experience now, tools to measure how much fun and engagement happens moment-to-moment, and huge teams of developers that are iterating on models that deliver very good gameplay experiences – but all of that is obviously going to focus on the easily identifiable ‘gamey’ bits. In all the early MMOs, that was primarily combat (pve or pvp), and occasionally things like crafting, housing, dungeons/raids, and story quests. It doesn’t surprise me at all therefore that we are getting new titles that focus on ever more streamlined mechanics to support those gameplay elements – the bits where you can test for fairness and balance and model systems mathematically – but often to the exclusion of the more esoteric ‘community’ shared space design.

The second big problem I think is that the particular form of gameplay that I lament being left out in most modern titles – the emphasis on building a unique role in a shared and dynamic social landscape, within a persistent world – I don’t think is actually that well understood. I guess I’d call this ‘identity play’, and the closest that modern MMOs usually get to it is by having expansive character customisation and cosmetic outfits to choose from. The ‘dress-up’ part is only a very shallow reflection of the gameplay I really am looking for, but even then, it’s usually considered something that is superfluous, readily locked behind paywalls for customisation since developers wouldn’t dare put the commodification on more popular gameplay elements like combat or crafting.

I sometimes think that it’s almost as though identity play has been externalised in MMOs – the ground has been ceded to ‘real’ social network systems like facebook, twitter, forums or discord rather than integrating it as another internal system for gameplay in the shared world of the game itself. And that’s a shame, because we know from those insanely successful social networks that in fact identity play and projection is extremely good at generating engagement, community and interesting cooperative outcomes.

Anyway, I guess my tl;dr version is that the problem is we need better forms of identity play IN our MMOs, alongside the very polished other forms of gameplay like combat and questing. It’s not that they don’t know what they are, it’s just that they’re too good at capturing some player motivations and missing others (a vocal minority that I think is just waiting to throw our money at the right game!)

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Melissa McDonald

You’re probably right that Facebook has damaged the MMO scene. That and WoW have sucked all the air out of the genre.

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rafael12104

Good comments. Even the long ones. :) The main thing, in my view is that we each feel strongly about what we think an MMO should be. But I think that we are not alone. I think devs feel the same pull, especially the old guard devs. Lol.

Look, I understand. I know that Bree herself has voiced her concerns about the genre and where it is headed. TSW:L being the latest example of old methods being scrapped for cash.

BUT, I also see games like Shroud of the Avatar, and Camelot Unchained just to name two of them. I also see old games resurfacing on Steam. Old pixelated stuff and new stuff too. Dead MMOS are coming back on Steam and finding an audience.

As I said, we will continue to have options, more and more options. You have to forget about yesteryear and all of those tropes. And I mean the tropes not the mechanics or the game play. Detach yourself from the idea that devs are heroic gamers making a game for gamers. Lol.

Look around and you will find your niche, and maybe in the process find other MMO types that are fun if even for a short run.

It is a personal crisis.

miol
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miol

Quote from video:

For far too long the MMO genre has been stuck in this post-WoW bubble.
It’s a great game, so it makes sense that people wanna copy it, especially if you consider its success.

But a lot of the things that made WoW great, particularly as it evolved over the years, weren’t necessary a part of that core MMO-experience.

I guess, it’s about of how you say it, compared to what I’ve asked 2 weeks ago! :(
But Eliot seems not to have fallen for that this time either! ;P

[btw.: I disagree, that MOBAs are an MMO subgenre! MOBAs are only their cousins, sharing those RPG elements from the older RPG genre! Rather it’s an RTS offspring (Starcraft, W3), having still those strategic elements as its core!]

Eliot Lefebvre
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Eliot Lefebvre

Yeah, if that rant wasn’t already 800 words long I would have fit in something about how MOBAs were very much an outgrowth of a very specific WC3 mod, a tangent to MMOs rather than a response. Heck, they only exist because LoL broke into widespread success… but that’s another lengthy explanation.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

?

VERITABLE QUANDARY.jpg
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Manastu Utakata

That was a tiger designed by a committee. They wanted make them a bit more friendly… O.o

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steve

We live in interesting times. Politics, economics, engineering, science and just about any established system humans have built is in a state of identity crisis. There’s a new industrial revolution going on and nobody seems to know what we’re going to do with all of the “unemployable” millions.

I only mention this in relation to MMOs because for a long time I’ve thought that we have yet to realize the potential for vast online worlds not just to give people an escape from dystopia, but as an untapped frontier for humans to work in and tackle many of the problems we face that AI and robots can’t solve.

Gamers solve problems. The development of those Nvidia processors that are ubiquitous in everything from your handheld phone to the supercomputers used in every scientific discipline weren’t developed because a group of eggheads got a grant. Those guys failed. Our most pressing military needs couldn’t drive their development. We the gamers created the market that drove that innovation because we demanded with our dollars more polygons and a faster framerate, and we needed no subsidies but instead generated vast amounts of wealth in the process.

I believe that online worlds and virtual/augmented reality has similar potential and lately I’ve seen more powerful players lining up with the same conclusion. Bezos isn’t gathering up all of those accomplished game developers just to build games, but to create new worlds, and I think the best is yet to come. In a decade or so I think the new blue collar job will be solving protein folding and DNA recombination problems and supervising AI and robots within simulations that look very much like that virtual world ideal the themepark developers gave up on long ago.

miol
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miol

Sorry to say that, but if it weren’t for major subsidized projects like Mercury & Gemini and the Apollo programs, having exactly those “groups of eggheads [who] got a grant” in the first place, there would never ever have been that explosion of innovations and the infrastructure of a Silicon Valley, which humanity is still heavily benefiting from! :)

Disney once tried that too privately, but the Epcot themepark is the only thing left from the original dream!

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steve

Those eggheads and their grant funding had more than a small part to play in computer science, as well. I didn’t intend to infer that gamers created faster, better computers but that gamers were able to fund and drive a market toward that goal from the bottom up.

Once you break the initial barrier of realizing a new technology or concept it’s important to find a market to drive and fund its development. I dare to say that NASA isn’t going to send us back to the moon. The people who want a Mars colony to save us from a cataclysmic extinction event aren’t the ones who will push us outward to the stars. The folks in private enterprise who want to exploit resources out there are the ones I’d bet on.

I don’t know enough about Disney or his utopian ideas to comment about that, but I believe the perceived identity crisis in MMOs will resolve itself, because there is untapped potential for markets to grow and resources to be exploited beyond providing simple entertainment.

miol
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miol

My point is that major innovation happens best, if whole countries are pulling together, subsidizing, as you called, “eggheads” and providing a infrastructure for private companies to latch onto (like Sillicon Valley), and digesting it even faster if countries are funding the companies own private projects directly! A perfect symbiosis! :)

Bezos, as you mentioned, and others, wont ever reach that same level by themselves, just like Disney! Sure, having such dysfunctional goverments, private companies felt compelled to take and carry that torch, but it’s still not this one single focussed effort, as it once was with the space race! :)

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steve

At least we can establish that opinions differ regarding the balance between a command economy and a market economy. :)

miol
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miol

Yet not every major progress in humanity is about economics! ;)

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A Dad Supreme

I think they (companies) tended to change MMOs by expanding the audience and offering things they thought that larger, new untapped potentials might like or even asked for.

The older based MMO audience (first wave) understood that MMOs were about LOTS of time and (sometimes) no reward or rewards for only a small few. It wasn’t unheard of and in fact, welcomed, that a team or guild would spend an entire evening working towards a ‘prize’ that only one or two people would get at random. Many times, we were told specifically a week ahead of time who was going to get it, and people still dutifully logged in to help without serious envy.

I think that over time, the newer people coming into MMOs saw this and decided they didn’t have the time to put in so in essence, MMOs were unfair and they demanded companies give them more ‘loot’ or they would quit (as threats go). Now, the “I quit” rarely happened… people continued to log in but they complained while they did it. It didn’t help when some of the people who received things bragged and lorded it over others, only to stir up the pot.

Companies realized they could make more money by basically giving people the items they sought, or (nowadays) allowing them to buy them outright with cash.

The same thing happened with content; people who didn’t have friends or were to ‘shy’ to make them felt it unfair that they were left out of the top-end content (and access to the good loot), so they demanded classes that allowed them to solo almost anything or content that was exclusively dumbed-down in solo form so they could play solo in a massively-multiplayer game where grouping was understood to be the preferred mode of play.

While the MMO genre didn’t start with instant gratification, that is indeed the final destination for MMOs due to the appeal of potentially more dollars coming in from those newer players who demanded it.

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Schmidt.Capela

I don’t think it’s so much players demanding solo content and quick rewards. Most players never complain; they just leave instead.

So, on that specific front, what I believe happened is that devs kept seeing players leaving the game, sometimes complaining of lack of content, while never having even touched raiding and similar group content. How do you solve this? Do you try to force those players into raiding, risking them leaving the game even faster? Do you create non-raid content for them to enjoy, redirecting resources that would be used for raids into producing solo and small group content instead? Do you let everything stay just the way it is, losing players due to lack of content despite them never touching a good part of the content you have? Different games tried to solve this issue in different ways, and the result is the MMO market we have nowadays.

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steve

I think you both make good points, and I think the answer to your question is to give the players tools to create and innovate within those worlds. There seems to be some progress in this vein. I would argue that the modding community drove innovation in World of Warcraft. The survival genre has done well by giving the players the ability to craft their own narratives. I want to see more of this.

If Cloud Imperium gave us those nifty tools for painting landscapes and cities (Along with some sensible curation) we the players could solve most of their content-creation backlog.

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Schmidt.Capela

Curation is kinda unfeasible in a game without a subscription, like Star Citizen; hiring people to curate player-created content gets expensive quickly.

Also, I’m not following Star Citizen closely anymore, but aren’t mods only available for private servers? Last I saw the idea was to allow private servers to change just about anything in them, while keeping mods out of the official server in order to prevent exploits.

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steve

I believe most of the curating can pay for itself if you manage it like a market. People will pay for real-estate just like they pay for spaceships. Let the market push the content.

This would require that the developers and our IP laws open up to allow players to have more ownership of their work. That Star Citizen doesn’t have an intelligent model for incorporating mods and player-generated content holds them back, in my opinion. If you want to solve the problem of thruster placement or HUD optimization in a timely manner, you need more people working on those issues in an environment where ideas can be shared and value/wealth can be generated.

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Schmidt.Capela

That assumes players are willing to pay for mods. Last time I saw a dev pushing for this (the Skyrim paid mods fiasco a few years ago), the backlash was strong enough the idea was canned and not tried again.

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Jason Revell

As someone who considers themselves a bit of an mmo outsider (here for Schlag and free stuff), and primarily plays single player rpgs and WoT lately, I feel like MMOs generally are terrible at doing a lot of things that video games do.
Games like EVE or EQ2 are fucking awful and boring games unless, and the key is unless you are really into RP’ing in them and have other RP’ers to interact with. EVE players don’t seem to like the label, but they are about as hardcore of RP’ers as it gets with all their shenanigans.
But the general gamer isn’t playing a video game to make up their own fun and own stories. They play video games to be entertained and have a fun experience provided to them. So to appeal to the casuls and chase $ they changed into the crap we have now. RP’ers can always RP in whatever massively online game is around really anyway right. I feel like FF XIV is a paradise for RP. You can raise your chicken and have your chicken fight with you, do chicken races, and even put cute outfits on your chicken, grow and farm consumables, craft crap, make a cute house etc. So go sub to FF XIV and stop thinking too much about everything.

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Orenj

So go sub to FF XIV and stop thinking too much about everything

I’m in the weird position of having fooled around in FFXIV 1.x just long enough to have qualified for legacy status, which got me a mount upon 2.0’s release, but didn’t get any of my chars past level 10 or so in that brief time. Cue 2.0, and when I tried it out, it won’t let me ride my mount until I’ve got to lvl 20 or something and completed some dungeon that I have no interest in.

So no, FFXIV is not a good game for random casualling–too much stuff gated behind leveling and completing content their way. It’s an on-the-rails themepark.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

From my perspective, Eliot’s argument is the most persuasive. I didn’t play WoW for 5 years, but I never forgot my green-haired Night Elf hunter. When I returned to WoW, there she was, with her pet right beside her. Three expansions behind, but still capable and ready to go.

And with her came the flood of memories of all the folks I had played with, now gone, and all the fun times we had.

When I first started playing MMOs, I was happy to play with other people because we were more or less on the same page and wanted the same things. Despite the open world nature of the game, we were headed in the same direction. Now, I rarely play with others, unless they are long time gaming friends, because the game world has expanded to such a degree that none of us are going in the same direction.

Game design is such that when you group up it isn’t an adventure or exploration any more, it’s all about the other people in the group being props for you to get the next piece in your progression. They are the followers you hired through LFG. And when you’ve got what you’re looking for, you move on to the next set of followers. You don’t have a relationship with any of these followers any more than you did with followers in Guild Wars.

If Isarii is correct, that the unique thing about MMOs is community, then the current design of MMOs, focused on end-game gear progression and LFG dungeon running has completely destroyed that. The idea of dungeon-instancing spinning off into its own genre is appealing, if only it will relieve the genre of the developers’ obstinate determination that the multiplayer facet of MMOs is only about dungeons and raids, literally forcing people to group and “socialize”.

Although I am not a PvPer anymore, I am still looking forward to Ashes of Creation simply because it looks promising for a dynamic world in which your contribution is more than just a gear score.

Until then, MMOs for me are my persistent characters, which move through the world accruing slightly more of this and that every time I log in and take them out for a spin.

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Orenj

When I returned to WoW, there she was, with her pet right beside her. Three expansions behind, but still capable and ready to go.

Really, in 5 years Blizzard hadn’t tweaked her into unrecognizability, taking away half her abilities, changing the way the other half work, to where even your equipment no longer was the right choice? If so I’m impressed, because Trion doing that every year or two to my character, in the pursuit of “balance” in a form of play I don’t even care about, was one of the things that drove me away from Rift…

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Robert Mann

I’ve been hoping that dungeons will return to being dungeons, instead of instanced murder tunnels, for a while… there’s no traps and danger from them. There’s no real cohesion where if you alert a guard station suddenly it becomes a problem. Nothing.

They are just a bunch of creatures and bosses, to be aoe’d down asap as people yell “go faster.” That’s not what dungeons were about in all those RP roots. The best dungeons were fiendish designs mixing combat with traps and puzzles. They made people think as well as just rush forward slamming buttons.

The current dungeon design belongs to the ARPG Diablo-style game genre. There’s certainly a time where that is fun. However, I really miss having dungeons that required careful exploration, teamwork, and a little patience!

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Loopy

I was going to go for a rant on why “old school” is not sustainable any more, and Larry pretty much nailed it in my stead.

Steely Bob
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Steely Bob

“Who made the first MMO” is always an hilarious point of chat that usually peppers the channels of any new MMO as it’s been a point of troll for decades now, but I’m always quick to remind myself that I’ve long felt regardless of the answer that Blizzard created the first MSO or MSORPG, the first Massive Single Player Online Role Playing Game. And that is the identity problem MMOs have had for a decade+.

What made MMOs compelling for me was that you had to work with others to get there, wherever there was. In EQ, just the basic act of leveling was not a reasonable expectation solo past a certain early point. In Warhammer Online, it was working with other guild mates to control battles. In Archeage (despite all it’s faults) it was much the same but also the politics of the server needed to be dealt with in a way that was totally engrossing. And while I appreciate that in the early days of WoW the same was true, and as you look around at other games they’ve made similar changes to make it more like WoW than before, the reality is you can get to max level in WoW in less than a month without any help or previous gear, and most of the player base only cares about end game, because that’s the only game there is left. Many of the “AAA” MMOs that have been launched in the last decade have the same orientation: focus on a largely single player arc of progression that ends in an end game where people will spend most of their time focused on goals that are largely achievable solo.

Logging in and seeing not only activity in chat but actual activity of players running around you, actually doing things, often together was that first tingle I got when I played MMOs for the first time. This was my very first experience in an MMO. EQ shortly after the Kunark expansion came out. I actually uninstalled the game after running the offline tutorial because I couldn’t believe how bad the graphics were, but went back a few weeks later after reading all about the hype.

Seeing chat where real, meaningful questions and transactions are being discussed was strange and wonderful when I first encountered it. Going back to my first days in EQ, you had chat in the East Commonlands because that was the trade hub for the game, and that chat was largely a trade chat, mindless WTS/WTB propositions peppered with the odd SOW pls or GRIFFON! /shout. That was all fine and useful, but the reality is if you went a zone over to a starting zone like West Freeport, you’d have a ton of chat there but that was more localized, Need a Bind, How do I get to BB, where’s the oven? stuff like that.

Then again, East Commonlands was also a zone where you could level from around 5-10ish in quick order if you knew what you’re doing and had the savvy to join a group working one of the orc camps. In my case it took me weeks to even figure that out. The incredibly slow pace of the game and the amount of the world you could actually get to (however perilously) meant I spent weeks in EQ before actually trying to level anything. It took me that long to even figure out that was a goal.

You can contrast this with the very well known West Barrens chat which had more of a “we’re pretending to PvP” sort of vibe which slowly mutated into a let’s just troll chat. These are days I sort of missed as I was playing EQ2 and not WoW at that point but I get what was happening there from other similar scenarios over the years in so many other games. I do think tho that this contrast was the first evidence of where one concept of MMO began to replace another and the repercussions of that conceptual change was not for the best. I don’t think it was intentional, and I can’t fault WoW for winding up in the space that ended up literally redefining the MMO into something wildly more profitable, yet somehow degenerative and more limiting.

I’ve got years invested in both games and their offshoots and evolution (EQ2 being where I spent nearly a decade playing and raiding hardcore, but with at least 6 odd years of WoW time as well) and I think in the end WoW has been a vastly superior game to EQ 1 and 2 in so many ways, I still think that WoW sadly is sort of responsible for degenerating the MMO genre into the sad state it’s in today, and largely because of it’s core business proposition which is we’re going to make the MMO for everyone.

WoW has – since day one – made itself much more accessible to the otherwise non-MMO inclined individual and in the process created some of the most amazing advancements in MMO ideas and constructs, yet many of these constructs in the end have created an MMO experience I enjoy less each time I play it. And it gets worse each time a company tries to recreate what Blizzard has done in the form of a business, instead of going back to what those early MMOs were more about – by which I refer to UO, EQ, and the many muds that preceeded them.

I was stuck in the starting apartment with like 10k other players on opening night of Anarchy Online when the world’s most hilarious launch went completely wrong, but I hung in there and played the game. That game was a real innovator by coming up with the idea of instances (mission instances). But that cold, cookie-cutter play that was kind of focused on over reacting to the busy non-instanced dungeons of early EQ was a result that left me bored and single yet again. The focus came back to is this a game you need to play with others (preferably lots of others) or is it a game where you can min/max your experience with just one or two others and burn through quickly.

Maybe I sound like a Brad McQuaid clone but really I’m just more concerned about that group experience. I want to run in large groups of people. Don’t really care what my job is, all I care is that when we all get on together there’s some kind of fun activity for us to do as a group of tens if not hundreds of players, and an equally interested group of perhaps thousands of players on the other side ready to engage us or challenge us or somehow play a game together.

That’s what an MMO used to be, and I’ve got my eye on a few upcoming titles that might pull it off or seem to have that particular goal in mind, but until we get there, until they are built and until there’s a playing community ready to run with it, it remains to be seen.

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ensignedwards

As happens often, I find myself entirely in agreement with Eliot’s views, and as a bonus, he’s also managed to accidentally but perfectly encapsulate why I’m probably not going to play Secret World Legends. Change the mechanics and I may be unhappy, but I’ll learn to live with it. Take away my characters, and the persistence is broken. I stop caring.

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Schmidt.Capela

Kinda like I feel about the new Star Wars universe, or the new World of Darkness setting: you make that kind of change, you need to win me over again.

That being said I’m willing to try SWL, though in large part it’s because I was already thinking about starting again before the SWL announcement came along.

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rafael12104

Hmm. I like the opinions shared and the vid. Thank you.

So, best to simplify to clarify. If there is a crisis, I think it is a personal one. What I mean is that many MMO players have no reference point with regard to what an MMO used to be or should be. The old guard, on the other hand, has a strict definition.

But, it is self created drama because there is plenty of room for all views as niche markets. So, there is no crisis in my view, but there are more options. I can play SOTA for an old school feel. I can play League or Overwatch too. I

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Robert Mann

Aye, MMOs can encompass everything new and old in the genre. We just need to actually see some variety, for the first time in years!

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Schmidt.Capela

The old guard, on the other hand, has a strict definition.

Or rather, each member of the “old guard” has their own, personal, strict definition.

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rafael12104

Yup. Agree. If you asked the question here the answers would be fast and varied. for sure.

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starbuck1771

M.M.O. : Massively Multi-Player Online says it all. Genre doesn’t really matter anymore. No there is no real crisis just people fearing the worst as they normally do when facing something new or unfamiliar.

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rafael12104

Exactly. And games change, they evolve. But even so, there is still a market for different types of games with in genres. No crisis.

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