Monetization expert: MMOs are dying because of clueless design, not insufficient demand

MMORPG players just love it when somebody declares the MMORPG dead, right? All those games you’re playing, all the games we’re writing about and sustaining us? Zombie games! You’re imagining it all! Thanks, mainstreamers!

Today’s somebody, admittedly, is Ramin Shokrizade, an economist and author well-known for his career and expertise in gaming monetization specifically, and he doesn’t mean literally dead in today’s piece on Gamasutra, in spite of its title. “What Killed the MMOG?” is an excerpt of an unpublished paper he penned in 2009 on RMT: real-money trading/transfer and gold farming, a problem developers told him “had no solution.”

Shokrizade describes the “industrialization” of RMT in factories run by massive organizations in China dedicated to making black market botter cash off the burgeoning MMO market in the 2000s. “Since the accounts are optimized for profitability, they tend to bring in perhaps ten times as much coin per hour as a maximum level account played for entertainment purposes, and hundreds of times as much as an account at half the level cap or less,” he wrote. Consequently, paying for in-game cash from RMT companies was just a logical move for buyers.

The problem, of course, as Shokrizade defines it, is that RMT devalues other in-game items, harms the economy, causes psychological damage, wrecks the currency balance, and sucks prestige out of play.

Since the paper is from 2009, it also includes a section on the not-then-dominant studio-sponsored RMT, suggesting that it had not yet yielded much success.

“A final point is that when money that a consumer has budgeted for gaming goes to an RMT site instead of the company that produced their game of choice, that money is removed from the development cycle. Some estimates have put this amount as high as 50% of the total spending by online gamers. This money does not go to paying developers, producers, stock-holders, and other investors and thus does not promote future product development or advances in interactive media technology. Some producers are aware of this problem but since they have already surrendered to the RMT industry, their countermeasures have mostly taken an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach which has to date yielded limited if any success.”

In other words, he was effectively arguing that RMT, one way or another, killed the MMO. Accordingly, his modern addendum to the paper points out that the “massively multiplayer” game has been surpassed, in part because it turned out that “developers would not wait for third parties to kill their economies” but instead did the destroying “themselves through the use of microtransactions and other methods.”

Moreover, “solving those problems was the goal of the 2009 Sustainable Virtual Economies and Business Models paper,” he posits. “MMOG’s have not been failing commercially from lack of consumer demand. They fail because they are thrown together almost randomly (what I call ‘Frankenstein Style’) without an understanding of the requisite systems for success.”

Even if you disagree, it’s still a fantastic overview of the RMT issues facing gaming, historically and in the present.

Source: Gamasutra
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129 Comments on "Monetization expert: MMOs are dying because of clueless design, not insufficient demand"

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Kevin McCaughey

Totally agree. MMO’s are eating themselves.

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David Harrison

The reason that the MMORPG industy has had so many bad games is because the designers/developers that make them do not actually play them. They have no connection to the worlds they create. Instead, it is “just a job” for many of them.

Games like Everquest (when it originally came out) were made by people that were passionate about the game and the industry itself. This is why Pantheon has a real chance of succeeding. Brad McQuaid genuinely has believes in the game, and wants to make something that HE WOULD WANT TO PLAY.

The days of mass market MMORPGs may not be numbered (because there is an idiot billionaire ready to throw money away every year), but the success of mass market driven MMORPGs are long gone. The gamers have been screwed too many times.

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Kevin McCaughey

I would not be surprised at all if Pantheon turns out to be a pile of shit. I hope it isn’t, but I just think the MMO industry died with Everquest at some expansion where they started do generic cookie-cutter stuff just to get it out the door. You are right, people are no longer invested in their games. Including Brad and the other people trading on his name from VC’s. Sorry to be so cynical.

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Orenj

This discussion made me ill:

As an example let us assume you are the only person on a server with a horse or a battleship, and you worked very hard for this prestige, then you can feel a tremendous amount of pride and self-esteem from such an achievement. People with talk about you with respect and even gather around to watch you if you enter a public space. Having the only such item in a virtual world makes it almost priceless. Once a few more players have the same achievement, the value of the item drops a bit but generally that loss is filled by some camaraderie, and the new guys still know you were first. Once 100 players have this item it becomes common and now of relatively little value. Once everyone has the item it becomes almost worthless, especially if there is a better item that players are upgrading to.

When a farmer floods the world with an item you have, they strip your item of its value. This causes you direct economic, and probably psychological harm. If you find a ruby, at first you might feel a rush as you realize you are rich! If you go to your friend to brag and he pulls out a bucket filled with rubies and says “Oh yea, I got a bunch of those, do you want some more?” you are likely to feel instant ego deflation as you realize that a ruby in this world is a common item and that you are not rich. In the real world as I write this the economy is suffering greatly from deflation of housing prices which is quite painful to those already with houses.

Feeling a sense of accomplishment because you worked hard and achieved something? That’s great!
Needing some signifier (that horse or battleship) to show that achievement off to other people to feed your ego, and consequently feeling miffed when other people get that item without that same effort because you think they’re signifying that they put in as much work as you, that’s less than great. Let them enjoy their item for what it is.
Feeling like the item is worthless because a lot of other people have it–as if its core value is that others don’t have it–well, you’ve straight up got some moral failings that you need to address.

It really pisses me off that this author is treating this as normal and something to be catered to, but then again it feels like the same kind of predatory thinking that seems to drive most F2P design, so maybe it fits right in.

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Slaasher

As much as I like your utopic thinking and maybe on paper I agree with it but we don’t have to dig too deep into basic human behaviour to know that how he is describing things is a reality. Many people are like this. Entire businesses models have been built on it
Everybody needs to feel special… that’s the thinking behind it. And modern day culture has gobbled it up.
In defense of the author I think he is talking about how things are and how people react and behave not how they should be.

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hardy83

I imagine cost has stifled it more.
Not many people are willing to do $15/month anymore, SE and Blizzard can get away with it but others can’t. Most are going the B2P route.

So managing servers and security isn’t cheap, so I imagine most companies find it flat out unrealistic to make MMOs anymore. At least ones with massive open worlds. Going more for the GW1, Destiny models where there is some hubs, but everything else is instanced.

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Reselect Name

I disagree.

What has stifled MMOs has been stigma and games people dont want to play.

Repeated WoW clones, what a great idea!

Reader
Arktouros

Would you say that making repeated WOW clones would be….clueless game design? :)

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Matt Redding

Ironically, City of Heroes became more profitable than it had been previously when it converted to a free to play with limited microtransactions. However, it did not become massively more profitable than it had been before. It was killed by the corporate ownership as an internal political move even though it was an active revenue stream. This is just one example of bad decisions being made at high management levels.

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Arktouros

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/returnoninvestment.asp

There’s even a handy video to explain why just being profitable isn’t always good enough.

Brett
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Kickstarter Donor
Brett

It’s a complex problem that probably doesn’t have a simple solution, but my suggestion would be to link tradeable virtual currencies with activities that intrinsically enrich the game and its community, not to try and crack down on unauthorised player RMT.

As long as you can earn virtual gold simply by repeating actions or staying logged in, bots and farmers are always going to accumulate it faster. That’s only a bad thing though if there’s no intrinsic benefit to the game when they do so.

If instead virtual wealth was generated through creating additions to the game world that other players can enjoy (building, designs, artworks, lore, etc), by performing community-oriented jobs (newbie welcomes, mentors, neighbourhood event managers), or by completing tasks that help keep the world running smoothly (what if players helped with reviews, moderation, etc), what does it matter if a bot does those instead of a casual player?

I don’t know, I think tying virtual currencies to real ones is a good move – RMT isn’t inherently a a bad thing. We just have to get away from the idea that they are underpinned by virtual ‘effort’ alone, which isn’t an equitably distributed and accessed resource.

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Patreon Donor
Veldan

Though I disagree with the notion that RMT is not inherently a bad thing (in my opinion it is, for game quality), I like where you’re going. Do away with all the meaningless rewards, and give out currency only for stuff that actually matters in the game world. That could work really well, but would require a different audience than most MMOs have nowadays.

Brett
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Kickstarter Donor
Brett

Agreed on that last point. But I swear that potential audience is out there!

Reader
Robert Mann

Well, his initial point is only valid so long as ‘gold’ is worth something, which in most MMOs is only true in terms of epeen for players who hoard it, or consumables for the players who somehow manage to always be flat out broke (how in the blue blazes that happens, I have no clue!)

The newer point, with microtransactions, is quite valid. Some games do a decent job of not making it totally painful. Others kill themselves with it. It is… not the only design flaw at work, but a big one in a number of titles that were otherwise anticipated. It was bound to happen, though, given the massive spending on the cruddy facebook/mobile games that offered people convenience for credit card max outs.

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Utakata

So this person is saying that the MMO industry is being tripped up by lockboxes and mini-police cars on the cash shops? I can see how this would turn many players off…while fueling those who have no real interest in gaining items via ingame activities. I presume the latter is becoming unsustainable…

…it’s been a long way from that “wave of the future” that became the wave that cramped the industry, I see. o.O

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Tithian

Nah, he’s saying that illicit RMT was what started the downward spiral, because development money was being thrown to 3rd party sites. Which is why in turn the devs turned to lockboxes and in-game cash shops and the like.

Keep in mind that the paper is from 2009, so in-game cash shops and F2P were not as prevalent as they are now.

Mule Skinner
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Mule Skinner

That’s the problem with being an Economist studying MMO economies. If you write a good paper on real-world recessions, you can make a whole career out of it. If you write a paper on MMO hyperinflation, its obsolete 5 years later, no matter how good (or crappy) it is.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I guarantee people will continue to pay money to play new content.

Problem is that no MMO can introduce new content continuously.

plasmajohn
Reader
plasmajohn

I dunno. During my brief return to SW:TOR (tail end of the 4.x cycle) I was having a blast with the flashpoints (dungeons) and operations (raids). The key was that most of the group content was playable by a wide spectrum of levels. End-game folks could mix with levelling folks and still get something out of it.

It wouldn’t have taken a lot to have kept the momentum there. 2-4 new flashpoints, a raid, 1-2 battlegrounds (arenas can die in a fire), some love for GSF (starship pvp), and a modest story (eg. Shadow of Revan arc). Any reasonably staffed production team should have been able to create and polish that much content in a year.

Instead management decided that what players really wanted was a severely alt-hostile grind plus a story that pretty much abandoned the known Star Wars canon.

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GiantsBane

depends on how you define “continuously”, is that every day? Week? 1-2-3-4-5-6 months?

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Alexander Smith

They could it just requires a more diablo like approach. I mean WoW is moving towards this things keystone dungeons and the loot system. Or, there is the other option let the players make the content (like whatever that one D&D one was that came out on consoles as well not to long ago). The issue with this model is preventing it being abused.

But, the larger games are pretty good about coming out with content somewhat steadily(WoW, FFXIV, ESO, etc). The issue is the smaller games who can’t afford a dev team to put out a good sized patch every few months. The other issue most people simply aren’t going to do the highest end content or all of it. Like WoW has more stuff to do than most people would ever be willing to do. The issue is it takes dev time to put things like that even if you don’t do them. Like pet battles is something most wow players don’t put a lot of time into but if you really wanted to get them all, level them all, etc that is a lot of time to all that.

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Melissa McDonald

Or make dungeons spawn randomly just like Diablo. That gave it endless replayability.

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Tithian

The problem is that with the tech we have today, procedurally generated content sucks ass compared to hand-crafted dungeons and stories. It works for Diablo and ARPGs in general, because they are not MMOs (in the traditional sense).

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

I love how every idiot out there claims themselves an expert in things they barely knows anything about. I bet this dude doesnt play MMOs much yet talks about them dying.

Fact is today there are more people playing MMOs then ever before, and there are way more MMOs then 5 years ago. There are hundreds of MMOs we never even heard about that are hugely popular in Asia. MMOs are at the very beginning of their life cycle now. They wont die tomorrow or in 100 years. But they will evolve and change, especially after VR hits mass market.

As for RMT, I didnt see a single MMORPG that was critically hit by this (to the degree of dying). Yeah, gold farmers are annoying sometimes, but most studios do pretty well againt that. When MMOs evolve into VR worlds and economics changes from P2P/F2P to official real money-virtual money transfer (and I think this is MMO model of future along with ingame advertisements), RMT will become irrelevant.

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Iain B

“I love how every idiot out there claims themselves an expert in things they barely knows anything about. I bet this dude doesnt play MMOs much yet talks about them dying. ”

The guy has a degree in Economics and has had multiple jobs in monetization for multiple game companies.

But he’s the idiot…

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Bob Smith

+1 for reading comprehension
Did you even bother reading past the title? let alone the article being referenced

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Patreon Donor
Schlag Sweetleaf

.

poor design indeed.gif
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Loopy

Weeee

Observer Stair Climbing Wheelchair 2.jpg
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McGuffn

Brilliant.

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Jay Power

Game developers and publishers are idiots when it comes to combating the why of rmt and keeping their players money. They leave so much money “on the table” and cannot seem to grasp what the paying players want and how to give it to them. Then it becomes a vicious circle of “we cannot put it in the game because it doesn’t sell” Star Trek online and Craptic/PWE are experts at shooting themselves in the foot financially, repeatedly, for years.

Like, you’re surprised someone went outside the game to buy the lock box ship for $150 so they could have it 100% guaranteed instead of blowing hundreds on box keys and possibly never getting said ship instead? Idiot slaves to their terrible business models.

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McGuffn

The solution is staring us in the face. We need to remove any sense of progression from MMOs.

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Robert Mann

Clicker MMO? No thanks. XD

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Arktouros

That’s just a giant 3D Chat room. Which also already exist.

MMOs are persistent and constant progression.

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Patreon Donor
Veldan

I think it would be preferable to find a solution that would still leave us with games worth playing…

Reader
McGuffn

I think we can live in a world where we buy completed rubik’s cubes from chinese farmers.

Line
Reader
Line

Monetization is a thing… but the social aspect is trillions of times more important.
“Incomplete” or not, LoL’s economic model is just irrelevant at this point: it’s LoL, you play because your friends, your grandma and your cat play LoL.
Same for the survivors in MMOs: WoW and Lineage still exist because they are WoW and Lineage. Big IPs also work fairly well, small ones not at all.

The best game in the world for the smallest price will still fail without marketing and people that want to play it.

Having a strong social image is the defining factor.
And MMOs hate to be social. Gotta keep dem group grinds and solo play, why would players be allowed to do whatever they with whomever they want? That’s heresy. Don’t give them tools, don’t let make servers, give them cut scenes, QTE and afk farming.
That’s the way to do it.
You know like in… all those dead and dying MMOs that are totally not dead because Tencent will release 25 copy/pasted MMOs this year, with an expected life of around three months for each.

plasmajohn
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plasmajohn

Big IPs also work fairly well, small ones not at all.

I disagree rather strongly. Big IP’s will prop up a failing title (eg. SW:TOR) but it’s not a requirement to survive. Wildstar should have been huge but it floundered hard for reasons other than its IP.

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Jack Kerras

Also design issues, I find; Wildstar was convinced they could make a big, brassy game for a section of the population too small and too antisocial to sustain a big-population MMO in the long term. They’ve pivoted enough now that it’s not -as- bad, but you really can’t release games these days with awful leveling curves, many-stage keying processes, and brutal fucking unlocks that take weeks and months of running the same fucking crafting daily (literally just ‘go talk to this dude’, same every day).

They had all kinds of things that were meant to extend the ‘life’ of the game and appeal to hardcores, but the life of the game was literally ‘run stuff that no one who queues can clear’ and ‘do the same crafting quest twenty-seven times to get one stage (not even the final stage) of one of six slots of your type of armor unlocked’.

The leveling took forever and changed things up pretty much not at all as the process went on. The mobs ramped up so much faster than you did that you were eventually left with the problem that the game displayed in the beginning of alpha (IE it takes yonks and yonks to kill every single thing you pull and you need a long rest between each pull, with white damage being more of a concern than telegraph damage even if you participated -heavily- in the telegraphs). The keying process was brutal and it split people into a vast myriad of tiny groups, all trying to get a certain portion of the damn thing done. Regular-mode dungeons fucking -exploded- groups of newbies on the reg; even playing with one rando and all others guildies, if that one rando didn’t fucking get what CC armor did, you were fucked over and over again because they couldn’t do their job.

It would have been a great game… if they stopped conflating ‘takes a long time’ with ‘is hardcore’, and started realizing that you need to have some content that will make regular people happy as well as content hard enough to challenge the fraction of a percent of people who will actually WANT to do a 40-man raid.

They tried to do old-school and didn’t kill enough of their darlings.

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Robert Mann

Mostly, although playing games simply because they are popular is like stabbing yourself simply because you have knifes. There’s no real connection there. It isn’t like most MMOs that aren’t stupid huge have some ultra-tiny player base, and as for LoL the fact that it is a MOBA should and likely does keep a significant number of people away (who don’t like MOBAs, such as myself!)

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Sorenthaz

It’s funny because the social argument for WoW is actually the reason why I can’t really stick with it anymore – all of the friends I made on it are largely gone and my desire to find/build up a new group of friends on there is simply nonexistent.

The only reason I’ve gotten back into it here and there is because one of my friends got back into it very briefly during the end of Mists of Pandaria, and then a coworker at my previous job was huge on WoW so I got back into it and joined his guild… but I never really clicked with the guild much since I’m a casual player vs their hardcore raiding environment.

Gameplay-wise it’s literally the same game I played years ago but now it’s much more streamlined and focused on the numbers. I actually enjoyed WoW more when I didn’t care about numbers as much, but numbers is all that it’s about nowadays.

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Robert Mann

Indeed. I had a lot more fun with the game when it had more… creativity. Everything anymore feels like it has been boiled down to a very minimal set of mechanics, with the primary being “Don’t be bad and stand in bad.”

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Dug From The Earth

The title of this article, IMO, is more accurate than the article its actually referencing.

deekay_plus
Reader
deekay_plus

yeah as i read the actual article i felt the headline was more accurate than what the guy was saying.

and it’s not that he’s wrong that mmo companies looking to fill in the role of RMTers by monopolizing the RMT trade for themselves are undermining their own economies to an extent (i feel personally by tuning their economies towards that RMT instead of what they traditionally did, not that wat was going on before econ tuning wise was great). ultimately it’s clueless design that is driving people away from this genre that otherwise want to play in it.

and while monetization is a big part of that (look at archezage for example), there’s so much more to it than just monetization. look at wildstar’s launch state – they “listened” to their most rabid customers and testers and gave them everything they wanted – to the point of self injury. and the game sold poorly because most players of the genre don’t want a nother raid or die game. they want virtual worlds and innovation.

look at open world mp games that sell gangbusters like ghost recon wildlands, and think about how that compares overall to your typical mmo. the game is just so much satisfying and constantly rewarding without putting a constant stream of hoops to jump through.

which when i think of what it’s like to level and progress in an mmo in that context, all i can describe it as is a lot of work.

or compare to gtao which has been at the top of the steam sales charts every week since it launched how many years ago. when you consider that game’s multiple aspects comapred to your typical mmo, it’s clear the mmo companies are halfassing it in every regard – from design to content update cycles.

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Arktouros

I see what he’s talking about with the game design. MMOs used to be colossally huge time sinks that you could devote hundreds or thousands of hours towards game progression towards. Anyone who grinded to 50 in EQ vanilla or the glory days of unlimited progression (even past that 255 level cap) in Asheron’s Call meant for near limitless character depth and game play.

Most of your modern MMOs are shallow kiddie pools that have lots of graphical bits but lack immersion because you can’t immerse yourself in a game that has no depth. When I boil most games down they’re still just yet another quest grinder where I go from hub to hub knocking out quests even if the objectives of said quests are slightly different. The problem with these games is you eventually hit a cap where you’re no longer really progressing your character. You’re level X and you have all your Y level dungeon/raid gear and you’re done and now waiting for the developer to give you more content so you can keep progressing.

This is what I attribute to the (wait for it…) brilliant and resounding success of Black Desert Online (haha). Consistent and constant character progression for all play styles. Hell, they’ll even let you do it AFK. While soft caps certainly slow down progression to the point it feels like it’s halted Pearl Abyss does a fantastic job with content releases with consistent content updates and releases for the game that there’s almost always something new or fascinating to get into. There is no Frankenstein of half-baked, shallow systems. You might go check out that new hotness and PUBG for a month but in the end you come back because you didn’t finish. You can’t say you beat the game and there’s still stuff to accomplish. Maybe it’s get that T8 horse or finish M2 trading or achieve level 60 or get those TETs there’s always a new things to push for with T9 horses coming or M10 trading for ocean trading or level 61 for new levels or finally eyeballing PEN.

MMOs are progression. If you don’t allow players to have a constant source of character progression whether because you had poor game design and people capped out too quickly or because you sold it to them via a cash shop that’s why people stop playing these games.

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Robert Mann

Eh, BDO has a lot of shallow there, but it does have progression I agree. That… may be enough for some, but if we are giving credit for such a thing GW/GW2 have been doing it longer.

Personally, I’m looking for that game world that has more depth than just being another mostly solo grinder outside a few dungeons/pvp areas. As in, crafting that is actually complex and unique (BDO touched slightly on complex, but avoided unique entirely.) As in, extremely massive such that exploring it entirely is a chore that could take an insane amount of time. I basically want something with a virtual world, and could care less about progression. I just want the entire world to feel consistent, persistent, and evolving.

Progression as a constant is great for the achievers out there, and probably for the killers… but the other styles of play with an interest in MMOs, the social and the explorer, could really care less. Which is where I lean toward, and probably why I disagree on what will really keep me in a game.

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Arktouros

One of the biggest complaints about people from GW2 is the lack of character progression. Not everyone cares for the “Fashion Wars 2” style model of chasing only after cosmetics. That’s why below I acknowledge there is progression, but at the end of the day it’s character progression people crave.

What’s more important in a crafting system is that it’s useful and viable as part of the game rather than actually interactive or fun to get on with. While the later would certainly be nice, the former is absolute necessity. Even if there were some sort of ultra realistic crafting system complete with all the steps it’d take to really craft something in real life if what you’re making is useless garbage that serves no one.

Progression can actually apply to all kinds of gamers and again BDO is a great example of it. BDO provides numerous forms of character progression, one of them being Energy and knowledge. For the explorers out there who want to know all the Lore and find out all the knowledge and explore all the spots there’s character progression there for them as well. A good system will support all the kinds of players.

Corey Evans
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Corey Evans

I really agree with the ‘many different kinds of progression.’

In most MMOs every form of progression is somehow tied to combat. Crafter? Make better combat gear. Gatherer? Make potions for combat. FFXIV does a neat job with crafter / gatherer specific gear, and (I think?) crafter / gatherer specific active skills. That’s a really good idea. Having BDO’s stuff as you mentioned (never played that game so I didn’t know about it personally) is great too.

The one other big thing for me is the time to progress out of the boring slog stuff. Most MMOs are boring and unengaging for 90% of the game.

“Oh, this mob will literally never kill you unless you stand in its telegraphed AoE for 4 seconds too many, 4 times in a row. But don’t worry, the end game, which you’ll reach in 1 week to several months, is SICK.”

Imagine if the latest CoD entry had a 40-hour campaign, but the AI only shot at you once every 3 seconds and more or less stood still for 30 of those hours, to better prepare you for the ULTRA DOPE last 5 hours of gameplay. What a fuckin’ joke! That would never happen; it couldn’t become a game. It would get shut down.

I would love to make new classes and try out new things in MMOs that are more or less vertical progression systems, if it didn’t take such a stupidly long time to progress out of the unfathomably easy garbage that is early game in MMOs.

Line
Reader
Line

In a way, the EQ model never died.
Because every single Asian MMO is just that.
Fake infinite progression with RNG upgrades on top of that, and jsut grind grind, and grind more. Especially if you want to PvP. Or just pay money to get stronger, like it works everywhere, especially Lineage.

We never took out the trash. We just dumped it in Korea.
Garbage never dies, it just smells forever.

But maybe one day we’ll have other things than shit “progression” MMOs with +1 to nothing at all, to fight +1 monsters doing nothing at all.
Meanwhile, other genres swooped in and ate what was left of the SOCIAL aspect that never even existed in the DikuMUD infested rot that is MMOland.

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Arktouros

But, again, progression is the heart and core of what MMOs have always been. People have tried other things. Games who tried to focus on a narrative story telling ultimately just had their content consumed and then were abandoned (SWTOR). Games that tried a flat character progression but still offered account/cosmetic progression just moved the progression from character power to elsewhere (GW2). Focusing on chat rooms and social aspects you just end up with MMOlites and the equivalency of 3D chatrooms which honestly are done better elsewhere.

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Robert Mann

SWTOR had nothing but the story, and in a game around story people are usually done when the story is done. Very low replay usually, although SWTOR does have the other class lines. Meh.

GW2 I addressed elsewhere, but yes, it is as you say. And it does fairly well, with regard to the killers and achievers. I’m betting most of the socializers and explorers got tired of it very quickly though (which I noted as the flaw of it and BDO in regard to your ‘progression is everything’ above.)

If it is all just social stuff, yes, you end up with chat rooms. There has to be more to the world than just social gathering, which… well, most MMOs have avoided like the plague. When a game works with strong social aspects beyond “Group up or you won’t get your content!” (whether PvP or dungeon/raiding) comes along, and also has a strong world design with things to do and see… then we can see how that turns out. I suppose second life would be the closest, and it has a pretty large following (not my cup of tea, personally) so I’d guess that, with activities and social interaction being a focus, another MMO could do very well.

Line
Reader
Line

Nope.
And I mean that literally, MMOs were created to be social gatherings.

And then they evolved into plenty of other things.
But the one’s that is struggling hard, and that see doom&gloom everywhere and funds being put to better use than keeping them alive?
Yeah, that one’s the MMORPG we all know and talk about.

As for progression… there’s a reason why the only parts of MMORPGs that are actually working are not the group activities.
SWTOR ain’t dead, FFXIV has zero content but plenty of people that love a Final Fantasy story (and as I said, brand is more important than anything, it hits the same part of the brain that religions make use of), and WoW is the ever shining beacon of solo story play, instead of being the insane grind of old.

WoW having twenty times the subscribers than the old western king Everquest is more than proof.
People don’t give a shit about grinding and waiting for respawns. Or PvP.

The entire MMORPG genre was expanded when your creed died with the newcomers cleaning up house.

As for virtual chatrooms?
That’s still by far the number one use of the entire internet. We just call them Facebook&co now.

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Arktouros

If you want to equate “ain’t dead” to “successful” by all means but none of that really refutes what I said. You can call WOW the shining beacon all you want and when the pre-expansion content lull hits their subscriber numbers still take a dump. When do games like SWTOR or WOW get more subscribers again? When they release an expansion with more content and more progression for players to consume.

WOW keeps the numbers they do because virtually no games have really tried to contest their game play model and those who attempt to emulate it simply fail to understand what Blizzard’s model is. From the game’s very release they always establish a plateau of character progression that they simply erode over time by making XP faster and loot easier to acquire. They carefully manage players progression which increases longevity to their game. It’s really quite brilliant of them.

For people supposedly not giving a shit about grinding, waiting for respawns, or pvp it sure seems that millions of people seem to be doing those very things as the sole basis of the games they play. I mean reality just doesn’t really line up with your opinions on them.

My creed of progression is alive and well, it’s simply yours of favoring social features have moved on to platforms, as you mention, such as Facebook etc.

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Robert Mann

But MMOs haven’t even gone there, so how can we judge that? (Except SL, which is… different.) Those that might have were never really MMOs, and those that weren’t MMOs can’t tell us the fate of such an MMO since they were never MMOs.

Again, I find progression to be dull and boring. It kills games for me, when that is all there is. I am done sooner rather than later. A goal is good, but without more than just some random ‘I haven’t done this thing that requires me to… do the same things I have done for hours for no reason other than this little in game badge’ I’m out.

There’s a reason why different games and people line up, and your vehement denial of those differences possibly being successful (without MMOs have even really tried) is just painful. It’s the same kind of obstinate ‘everyone is like me!’ that doesn’t work anywhere else either.

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Arktouros

Well “Stuff to Do” and “Progression” are two separate topics.

Like for example in ESO there’s lots of “stuff” to do but nothing particularly interesting or motivating to do. My character won’t get stronger because I’m already at the gear/CP cap right? There’s nothing to strive for.

My vehement denial is based on a large number of games that have released with shallow game play and a shallow model and simply have not seen the level of success they could have seen. SWTOR arguably launched with the most content I’ve ever seen in a MMO at it’s launch and it was wasted because of mismanaged character progression where you could cap out in T2 gear within the first 30 days of the game rendering vast majority of that content pointless.

If you want to show me a game that has had resounding success with constant sources of progression, by all means, but I think you’ll find every title that sees success offers near continuous progression of some sort. Those that don’t see severe population drop offs or in base case scenarios large population drops in between expansion (new content/progression) lulls.

borghive
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borghive

A lot of modern gamers don’t have the attention spans to play games like this anymore. I think what you are seeing today in game design is just a reflection of our society and the developers trying to cater to a modern audience.
F2P, relying on the whales is the way most of these games survive now because modern gamers don’t stick around very long. Sub based games I’d wager are mostly supported by veteran gamers.

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Castagere Shaikura

Today its all about the time your willing to put in. My first mmo back in 2000 was Anarchy online. the game had 200 lvl’s and if you weren’t willing to do it you didn’t play mmo’s. It was more about the social aspect of mmo’s that todays games just don’t have. Players today want it easy and the new games today reflect that. Why do you think they give out max lvl boost like candy.

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Arktouros

Okay, that’s fair, but then why does that model repeatedly fail over and over? The answer is because even if you casually play most of these games usually they have around 40-60 hours before you cap out. And while we see those kinds of hours out of people who max out in a week and burn out, you see that same burn out rate when the more casual people hit that same point in 4-6 weeks.

In fact that’s the very reason why F2P arose in the first place. Games would come out that you could beat with a very low hours invested and played and just weren’t worth keeping subbed to. Even WOW experiences this in between expansions where people drop until the next expansion. F2P bridges the gap by removing the barrier to entry and allowing players to spend unlimited funds in their short duration of hours played ultimately making more money than in the subscription model where they got $60 but never got that monthly sub afterwords.

Ultimately it all comes back to good game design.

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Jack Kerras

I honestly think that this flame-out period has more to do with the fact that most MMOs swap gears into Nightmare Mode when you hit max level.

I feel that most MMORPGs are so entrenched in the ‘leveling as a slow tutorial, endgame as the real game’ schtick that they don’t even try to introduce important parts of the game, and then you hit the end and WHAM fifty fucking currencies and caps on Goddamn everything and you can’t just do the thing that you enjoy doing anymore because now crafting an item takes weeks of grinding to open up a new version, and you can’t run dungeons because the easy ones give you nothing and you get tossed out of the hard ones because the difficulty curve is -unreal- compared with the happy fun casual petting zoo you’ve been playing in up ’til then.

I don’t have that problem; I tank, I murder the fuck out of dungeons, I’ve been charging through FFXIV lately and I haven’t even wiped except when the DDoSers kill my fucking healers, and even then sometimes I stay up (woop woop Warrior sustain!).

I personally can’t fucking stand the petting zoo; FFXIV’s MSQs fucking destroy me because they just HOLD ME BACK forever, and all I want to do is be in a place that isn’t shitty boring kiddie-pool town. I like the deep end and I don’t feel like grinding for 200 hours to get there!

That said: I have played tens of thousands of hours of video games. Most people are not like me; they run into hard shit and they feel dumb and stop. If you want an MMO with a population, you kinda can’t hit people like that, and just about every MMO on the market does, because the idea of holistically designing a game to -feel like itself- from start to end is just not in anyone’s wheelhouse.

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Robert Mann

Because the games are progression based, but don’t have any further progression (which is the point I agree with you on as to why some games that don’t have the IP backing have been more successful.) That doesn’t mean progression is the only solution, but when your game is based around it, you better have more progression if you want retention!

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kjempff

…. And they are dying because …monetization (aka f2p)

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Sray

The MMORPG isn’t dead or dying: it’s simply been absorbed by other genres and become something different… ish (see Destiny, GTAO and The Division). What may be “dead or dying” is the games/genre that constitute the narrow definition of what so many here call an MMORPG.

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c00lit

It may be old fashioned but I still prefer paying a sub and having everything available ingame by putting effort in plus you don’t need to deal with the f2p/b2p cash shop BS. It’s just a pity there are only 2-3 games out of 100’s even worth a sub these days.

Lack of outside the box creativity, poor release quality and ridiculous cash shops is why the genre is stagnant and losing popularity in my opinion.

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Melissa McDonald

I know it’s stupid, but I always turn my mind back to that glorious day when SOE had Dave Georgeson step up on stage to announce EverQuest Next. We were all slackjawed at the game he outlined. And then Sony just gave up.
Et tu, Sony? Et tu?

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Space Captain Zor

If he were to get back on stage now and tell everyone he still wants to do it but has to crowd fund it, would he be the next Chris Roberts?

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Robert Mann

He might just be… but first he’d have to get legal permission which I do not see happening. :(

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Steely Bob

Just as in the past, the moment something genuinely new or compelling comes out in the MMOG sphere, there will be a huge crowd ready to eat it up. I’ve played virtually every single MMO that’s come out since 1999 (which is something like 30 games) and only 10% of those held my interest for longer than a month. But the ones that did hold my interest also got a solid $15-$30 from me every month, with probably 80% of that time since 1999 having me on a subscription or some kind of monthly spend.

There have been quite a few games that have been identical to predecessors with a different skin and those usually lose my interest quickly (along with all my guilds). There has definitely been the slow change of turning MMOs in MSOs (Massively Single-Player Online) as WoW shaped a big chunk of the industry for decades, but that tide has shifted greatly now and we’re headed back in the other direction (or so it seems) as we find more and more companies looking to steer away from theme parks and turn back toward super-grinds, sandboxes & RvR style concepts (Pantheon, SC, CU & Crowfall come to mind as real indicators of the near future of MMOs).

There’s also the reality that a ton of “playing with other people” – which to my mind is really what MMOs are all about – now occurs in MMOs that aren’t MMORPGs, from MOBAs to shooters to survival & battle royal games. And we’re bound to see more integration of those other fields into future MMORPGs I think.

I’m a die hard fan of MMORPGs and always will be but I’ve not really played one other than Eve and a good romp in the first season of a EQ1 prog server (both mostly just to reminisce), much in the last two years because what’s been on the market just hasn’t been very interesting.

I am hopeful that in the coming two years we will see some good additions to the fold from the kickstarter world, as I’ve lost most of my faith in the AAA developer world ever having a chance at coming up with a real winner. Destiny/The Division are about as close as I’ve seen AAA studios come to attempting something close, but in both cases I don’t see those games sustaining the audiences that WoW once did (or perhaps still does albeit nothing like its hay day). AAA studios just don’t seem able to have a unique thought, they do whatever the original formula was and stick to it, either that or they steal someone else’s.

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MesaSage

I don’t disagree with what you said, except “I’ve played virtually every single MMO that’s come out since 1999 (which is something like 30 games)” I think you might be missing a 0 on the end of that 30.

Steely Bob
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Steely Bob

hehe i was going to edit that to say 30+ for me personally =p but yeah…

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Sally Bowls

The article, like most 2009 articles, suffers greatly from being examined with the lens of eight years later.

1) The RMT gold argument is mostly outdated. The large majority of illicit “Gold” now comes from account hacking, not the “gold farmer” meme. People getting their accounts hacked is not because your MMO is a derivative PvE themepark with too much grind.

2) “‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach which has to date yielded limited if any success.” may have been true in ’09, but today I think the EVE PLEX and WoW token have been huge successes and the fact that almost all other MMOs added RMT capabilities show that it is very popular with customers and devs alike.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

Point 1: RMT was originally brought into some game to take control of gold value away from gold sellers. Hacking is just their work around. It’s all related.

Point 2: Is that you miss the point. Wow is a completely different game engineered to capture a totally different audience based on their meta-marketing approach for all their modern games. They want one homogenized mega-audience. This means they tossed out the game formula and the audience that launched Wow in favor of the rotating Blizzard product audience. This is the very point you are blind to: RMT changed to very design and audience of the mmorpg so much that the original design cannot even exist within the model.

You say current players like it? That’s like polling the people who eat in McDonalds every day if they like the food there.

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Melissa McDonald

re: gold farming / hacking – I think you’re wrong. Or have never played an Asian MMO. They’re rife with it, even in this Year of Our Lord 2017.

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Sally Bowls

1) was in regard to the author’s “Since the accounts are optimized for profitability, they tend to bring in perhaps ten times as much coin per hour as a maximum level account played for entertainment purposes, and hundreds of times as much as an account at half the level cap or less,” the fact that hackers are more optimized to farm gold than amateurs isn’t as relevant now that said hackers are more using hacks than optimized toons to acquire gold.

2) I don’t see the correlation with RMT; it seems to me a post hoc ergo propter hoc; people who don’t like RMT blame it for all negative-to-them changes. Big companies or blockbuster movies or big anything need big revenue. And big audiences are always going to get characterized as “mass market” and “homogenized” by the I-liked-the-band-until-they-became-successful crowd. I don’t see that Blizzard or McDonalds made the product and then tried to persuade the customers to buy it. Blizz has the big data to see what players actually do and can tailor their product to it. I get why commenters can say “most customers want x but I think the company should not do x because I don’t like X.” But I can’t see why the company would choose a few commenters opinions over millions of their customers.

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Schmidt.Capela

Regarding 1, the extra efficiency isn’t (just) from hacks, but from treating the game as a job. It’s like comparing how many shoes a hobbyist leatherworker makes in a day with how many a professional cobbler makes. And the comparison gets even more absurd when you take into account how a gold seller can recruit “players” in countries where the minimum wage is about a tenth of what a US worker earns, which means you can get in-game gold that would take you hours to farm by paying real money that take you minutes to earn.

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Sally Bowls

Yo be clear, the hacks I am referring to becoming the majority, at least for WoW, are account fraud not hacking the game. I.e., not hacking the game to allow teleporting to resource nodes, but stealing their password and emptying the account of the existing gold.

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primal

plex is good for the selling of Game time codes but websites do still exist to buy things like ships and weapons and stuff and PLEX wasnt designed to fend off gold farmers it was mainly designed to have an official system to support people that wanted to buy GTC with cash and sell for ingame money. I used to do that for years. Was how i funded my PvP career and selling them over the forum could be dodgy. Ive had people claiming my code was invalid and they wanted a refund so you had to contact a GM/support and ask them what time and date was the code activated and funnily enough it was activated minutes after i gave them the code. Lying mofos, so the system was built for that cus i bet they were inundated with requests for that type of stuff

Tamanous
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Tamanous

The soul reason for the indie mmorpg movement and the argument I’ve nearly lost my mind debating for years. Hopefully those who bought into this system start to wake up and become enlightened.

I’ve become very annoyed at the “rose coloured glasses” excuse people. They swim in a cesspool preaching the glory of modern gaming. They have no reference … no history to make any judgement, while their consumer control of the industry was stolen right from beneath them.

Every time I see a post from someone asking if a new game will be F2P so they can play it for free I read the truth behind the statement, “Will the game be corrupted exploiting others to pay for me while I ignorantly and selfishly watch the industry go to shit?”.

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primal

To my knowledge there are only 3 subscription based MMOs left and thats WoW, FF14 and Eve-online (yes i know it has a free to play mode now but you are quite limited in your advancement in the game until you pay for a subscription). I played Rift for about 2 years i think when it was subscription based and it was different enough from WoW to keep me interested but it went free to play with a cash shop i think because it was bleeding players. Its kind of like how WoW player base goes up and down when new content comes out people do it all get bored and stop .

a sandbox game like Eve-online trumps something like WoW, FF14 etc etc in my opinion because your making your own goals and can do what ever you want wihtin the limits of it. in classic MMO’s your mainly limited by the content unless your heavily into PvP arena matches or something then that could potentially sustain you until you max out. Obviously theres people like guild masters etc who are there to guide the n00bs and such so keeps them going longer by always having something to do but for the average person your probably done after youve done it all and have gotten bored.

Anyway i feel alot of MMOs are just cookie cutter designs mainly following the wow model cus it was so succesful and sure they have there own twist on it or try something a bit different like Firefall or Wildstar being about guns and that instead of the usual swords and magic.

theres just to many of what is a very similar game out there trying to compete.

something like kingdom come deliverance might shake things up abit but i dont like itll be mega successful cus its to medieval and may cater to a more niche audience. Saying that though as long as they make decent monmey and can keep the lights on it’ll be a success for them, oh and having it on xbox and playstation will help with the numbers although i bet there no cross play…. damn cross play in that game would be awesome because i doubt there will be an advantage playing with KB+M, i played whole of witcher 3 with an X1 controller and that was superior to KB+M cus you didnt need any specific aiming really so a pc player would only have the advantage in, well framerate unless the net connection sucks!

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Veldan

Yeah I think you are right about RIFT. I played at launch too, but I’m also part of that “bleeding players”. I think I played for 8 months before I said my goodbyes. It’s very hard to keep having fun for longer than that in an MMO with a traditional content cycle (based on expansions).

So yeah if many players leave that way, F2P can be a necessity. I don’t think Trion was ever open enough about player numbers or finance to know for sure, but based on what I saw and heard I think a necessity is what it was.

It also doesn’t help that Storm Legion released a few months after GW2 release, and many ex-RIFTers (including me) were occupied with that.

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primal

well main thing an MMO brings to keep you going is the people you play with. my guild was awesome, the guild leaders recruited my to there guild cus think i was soloing it at the time and they used to accidentally get in dungeons with me while i was drunk to hell playing a tank and crushing these dungeons and was having a laugh with them and had a massive laughs all the way through while i was in there guild.

After a while doing the same stuff over and over just got to much. got fed up with it plus the fantasy genre isnt really my thing anyway. im more of a space guy to be honest thats why i like SC concept so much. The first MMO i played was called Earth and Beyond made by Westwood studios… yeah its funny how an RTS company can make such a brilliant space MMO, then EA shut it down per there contract agreement when EA bought westwood, then played Eve-online for 5 years then off and on, WoW 2 years rift 2 years, tried Firefall wildstar and FF14, just same stuff different day.

Elite dangerous is boring to me cus i dont like trading and dont like exploring and thats pretty much all there is to it. combat is weak, apparently CQC is good but i cant be bothered with it. maybe when they have atmospheric planets in i might revisit it id like to see what venus looks like under neath and there trying to make the generation as close to reality as what it should be. so yah

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Sally Bowls

MMORPG players just love it when somebody declares the MMORPG dead, right? All those games you’re playing, all the games we’re writing about and sustaining us?

Cmon. Yes,MMOs are clearly not dead or even close to it. This is, perhaps unintentionally, confusing dead versus dying. Look at the coal industry: it is much bigger than MMO industry with many customers and multibillion dollar companies. There will be a coal industry when Bree and I are dead. But the revenue, customers, investment in new capability, the desirability of coal company investment are forecast to continue their decline. The coal industry – or newspapers or malls or non-Amazon bookstores – are all bigger than MMOs but there are cogent arguments that they are “dying” but obviously not dead.

tl;dr: “I am not dead yet” is a cute Monty Python quote but not a defense to “I’m not dying.”

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McGuffn

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Veldan

I don’t even think MMOs are dying. Player numbers per game may not be spectacular with a select few exceptions, but there are many MMOs nowadays. And some even manage to continue to grow, like RuneScape.

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Sally Bowls

Wilder/Cagney’s wonderful “One, Two, Three” had the line “the situation is hopeless but not serious”

MMOs are in pretty good shape. I see being able to MMO for the foreseeable future. In the last year, I saw positive developments in LotRO and WoW. It is not a disaster.

But looking at the revenue, customers, market share of the gaming market, investments in new MMOs, desirability of MMO company investment, I would prefer to argue on the affirmative side of “MMOs are in a secular decline.” It is just coloration as to whether one wants to characterize “past the peak and in decline” with the more emotional “dying.”

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Veldan

Well one can hardly say they died, plenty of MMOs are alive. Do I think they could have been more succesful? Yes. But I don’t think staying sub based would have helped. There are plenty of MMOs still running that started out sub based, but were pretty much forced to go F2P to save their game. Like RIFT and Aion. Maybe SWTOR too? I’m not sure how well it was doing before its conversion.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, though I absolutely hate F2P and all it has done to MMO design, in particular the legalized RMT, letting games die in their sub era would not have been any better for the genre.

F2P is here because the sub model didn’t cut it for many games, and F2P offered the solution with an increased playerbase because of all the free players and increased revenue because of whales. I greatly respect MMOs that have set out to do an oldschool sub model (like Camelot Unchained), but I don’t think it’s realistic, or even desirable, for the whole genre to return to that.

Now about MMOs “dying” because of clueless design, that I can get behind. There’s a reason I haven’t played an MMO in quite a while (over a year). MMOs aren’t exactly an example of good game design. It’s one of the reason that I upped my Camelot Unchained backer tier a few times. Those design principles Mark Jacobs wrote early on are proof that there’s at least one studio that does try to combine “MMO” and “good game design”. I’ll support that over the next F2P P2W RMT game any day.

Siphaed
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Siphaed

Well just look at how game studios have answered that question since 2009. GW2 for example had it’s own studio-driven RMT “Gem Store” with a partial reverse conversion from in-game to store currency as well. They furthered with an employee positioned to specifically dealing with the game’s economy features so as to make sure it stays within reasonable balance and doesn’t inflate too drastically (though the gradual inflation has been more than visual).

The biggest problem right now is that game studios aren’t monetizing their game’s currency system post-launch. They’re monetizing the Alpha and Beta test versions of their conception game prior to it ever launching. This kind of sly backhanded way of dipping hands into the gamers’ pockets has caused a mistrust with the developers to a point that any type post-launch RMT systems become even more alienated by the player base.

styopa
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styopa

“Death” is an intrinsic part of evolution.

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johnwillo

Yes, but are we talking about the death of an animal or the impending extinction of the species?

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Robert Mann

If the particular species that is carbon copy MMOs dies, then I could, honestly, care less.

There’s great potential in MMOs, but the same old things don’t really hit where I want them to. They only deal with half the Bartle styles very well, the other two are left with minimal attention at best. That other half is… where I am.

So if the thing that dies is the ‘everything in this style’ species, I’m cool with that. I doubt that MMOs (given the wide demand for online games, and for virtual worlds) will go down as well.

borghive
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borghive

You know who is to blame for the state of the MMO genre today? Us players plain and simple. Stop supporting these garbage companies, vote with your wallet! Stop throwing money at these cash grabs and these horrid F2P games.

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Tobasco da Gama

Closing your wallet does nothing. Somebody else is always willing to open theirs, and it only takes a small number of whales to keep a free-to-play game afloat.

Until players open their wallets to throw money at games that do things right and treat them fairly, the “good” games are going to wither on the vine, leaving only the “bad” games behind.

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Robert Mann

Both are beneficial. Closing the majority of wallets to the whale hunters limits their success, which in turn makes publishers and developers less interested in making more such games.

Supporting good new ideas is also a requirement.

Without both, you either leave bad, lazy, ez mode design too attractive… or don’t make good design attractive enough to equate to that bad design.

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Veldan

Well, I think the point here is that unless you are a whale yourself, closing your wallet will not have any effect, because your spending is so small compared to theirs that you will not have any effect on the system.

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Robert Mann

It may not have a huge impact from one person, but with enough people doing it, it has a large impact overall.

I agree, it likely won’t shut down a game. It can, however, tip the balance from games seeing that catering to whales is more profitable than not, when combined with people supporting other designs.

My point isn’t that closing my wallet as a non-whale will immediately make the company regret chasing whales, but rather that unless we do the spending levels (whale + non-whale) leaves every business suit saying “That’s what we MUST do.”

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Veldan

This!

If you want good games to be made again, support those that try to make it happen. Yes, that includes kickstarter and other forms of crowdfunding.

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Melissa McDonald

I’ve said it is dying, but maybe the better word is “culling”. Natural selection at work. 2017 has seen old MMOs move to consoles and find new life, but that doesn’t really help PC gamers much, although it could mean an old favourite won’t die off as quickly. 2017 has seen devs abandon projects in favour of Mobile gaming, which seems to be where the actual money is lately.

I think content and design is the problem, though, yeah. I think many of us are tired of generic medieval games, castles, orcs, elves, etc. I think the “PvP sandbox” has hit critical mass and I’m not alone in decrying it.

Games with something even modestly new to offer like Wild West Online garner immediate attention and interest, although design philosophy can still sink them.

It simply isn’t time yet due to technological hurdles, but I think the next big thing, the next WoW, the next juggernaut, is likely to be a VR game. Visors will have to become smaller, lighter, and wireless, and that is happening incrementally. I tell people who seem perfectly content to give Star Citizen 5-7 years to make a launched game that VR will have come a very long way in that same time span. I’ve already seen it. The ecosystem that existed when Google launched Cardboard and the first affordable modern VR experiences became available, compared to what exists today, is miles ahead of that humble beginning. Oculus has their server tech down to the extent that apps and experiences no longer have to be downloaded, they stream in real time, very fluidly, without lag. First-gen visors will soon see successors that are smaller, lighter, and wireless. New ones just announced will have 45 times the current resolution, pushing way beyond 4K.

Perhaps by the time Star Citizen launches we’ll see our heads turned to a new VR game or app that becomes the impetus for what will be a truly new paradigm.

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Robert Mann

I agree somewhat, although some points I disagree on. The biggest agreement, though, is that more companies that were in MMOs are going to mobile. In large part, this is to benefit us, though (imo.) Those companies were always out for a cash grab, so leaving to mobile for that makes MMOs for PC/Console more likely to be made for better reasons than a pure and quick cash grab.

Also, I think as the tech in other games comes out into the genre (which has been in stagnation there due to the status quo design issue) we will see big improvements toward the next things. I’m still curious as to whether some things will pan out with some games that are a little off the radar right now.

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primal

the new VR headsets have 45 times the resolution of of current gen??? so your talking 90 million pixels…. yeah dont think so somehow!!!!!

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Melissa McDonald

comparison to current Oculus Rift. In a way I don’t like this because the Rift honestly looks better than this, but I think the comparison in quality is important, it just needs to be explained that the Rift doesn’t look this bad, either. This is for comparison of resolution.

varjo.JPG
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Melissa McDonald

VARJO just announced their 70 megapixel visor, called the “20/20” because it roughly equates to the resolution of human eyesight. Current gen only 1.5 megapixel.
https://www.engadget.com/2017/06/19/varjo-promises-a-vr-headset-with-human-eye-resolution/

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primal

i still dont get how it has low computing requirements check this out

“The company adds that the system has low computing requirements thanks to “foveated eye tracking.”

That suggests that the 70-megapixel resolution is limited to what you’re looking directly at, while anything in your peripheral vision renders at a lower resolution.”

thats what multi resolution/rate shading in nvidia and amd gpus do. The peripheral vision is rendered in lower resolution and stuff in the center i.e. what your eye sees is rendered in full. nvidias pascal tech actually takes it one step further to, forgot the name of it but basically a sreen is rendered in a square/rectangle well there tech basically doesnt render anything that isnt in the circle of your eye. so like a piece of paper take something circular draw around it, cut the circle out and throw away the rest.

so i dunno how it can render in that high of a resolution i really dont

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Melissa McDonald

Foveated eye tracking is based on the reality that what you are immediately focused on is what is IN focus, and other things are actually out of focus. They leverage that truth to concentrate the high-res graphics on what you’re actually looking at, and they don’t have to render the full 360 bubble in HD, simply put. so the 70 megapixel image is reserved for whatever you’re actually staring at, not what is behind you. This economy of rendering creates a much more lenient environment for the graphics card.
Edit: I think you actually just explained it to yourself, now all you have to do is believe what you just said. :)

miol
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miol

They leverage that truth to concentrate the high-res graphics on what you’re actually looking at, and they don’t have to render the full 360 bubble in HD, simply put. so the 70 megapixel image is reserved for whatever you’re actually staring at, not what is behind you.

I think they meant what your eyes are looking at inside the 100° display, hence eye tracking and not head tracking!

But that adds another source for lag (but this time at least only a low res lag instead), since your eyes are way faster than your head!

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Schmidt.Capela

If I understood it correctly:

– 100° is the full FoV of the headset (which is less than the 114° of stereoscopic vision the typical human has, and less than half the total 200°+ field of view of humans). Everything in those 100° is being shown all the time, both in the traditional headsets and in this one. Anything outside those 100° is not shown in either kind of headset.

– The innovation is that the headset tracks the eye and provide very high resolution image in a very small area that matches where you are currently looking at. That area is likely just a few degrees in radius, so despite the much higher pixel density, the total number of pixels rendered isn’t so high.

– The 70M number is what would be the resolution if the whole display was displaying the higher resolution image at once.

BTW, I’m getting dèjá-vu. I’m fairly certain similar tech is already used in military HMDs, like those used by fighter pilots.

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primal

well the thing is i wasnt using my eyes to look around because basically your eyes have to be looking through the center of the lens otherwise things get a bit blurry and out of focus. when i tried the vive i dont think i could sit it on my face properly when my eyes werent through the center of the lens so some stuff was a little blurry or it slightly slid down my face. Oh i remember trying battlezone VR and at a game show using PSVR and i did actually use my eyes to look down and it was rank as crap around the center but even if it did shift performancer performance would still be same

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primal

“so the 70 megapixel image is reserved for whatever you’re actually staring at, not what is behind you”

what lmao, even normal games dont render what is behind you lmao

thats how the tech work s now. maybe you havnt tried VR but i have, ive tried the Vive and ill tell you something now you always turn your head so you are always looking through the center. the tech in gpus and software now already render your peripheral vision in lower quality. dont you understand that?

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Melissa McDonald

Just trying to explain to someone who said they didn’t understand, “lmao”. Let me know when you figure it out, “lmao”.

miol
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miol

The human eyesight comparison lags a little bit behind, as it still only has a 100° field of view, just like Rift and others. :/

You’d think, they would already have started trying with those bendable displays…

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Melissa McDonald

Which, honestly? Is pretty good. In a good VR experience your mind quickly (astonishingly quickly, IMHO) accepts what you are seeing as reality, and things like FOV, ‘screen door effect’, etc., are dismissed as you immerse yourself.

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Schmidt.Capela

It might be because I’ve worked with professional headsets with a larger FoV in the past, but I consider 100° to be very lacking. It’s like using blinkers/blinders.

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johnwillo

I read that as, “I think the ‘PvP sandbox’ has hit critical mess and I’m not alone in decrying it.” And I was okay with that.

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camren_rooke

Ramin has a further explanation in the comments section. Not quite sure how to link it.

I don’t know if I agree or not, because economics make my head hurt, but in any case it more than likely means I am less and less inclined to spend time AND money in modern F2P mmo’s.

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steve

I did agree with the author’s comment:

“Our focus now as developers is not how to create massively social experiences, because we fear these environments that we do not know how to control or use. We limit the allowed actions and interactions of our players, and intensely study their actions using business intelligence, hoping to get an extra 5% out of them. In going this route we have lost much more than 5%, and our ability to generate huge revenues is limited.
Even our creative aspirations are limited by the choices we have made in adopting 1st Gen F2P business models. The business model dictates what we can and cannot do. So some of our previously most successful designers are really struggling in the current environment because they are being told to create products they don’t want to make. “

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life_isnt_just_dank_memes

these kinds of musings always make me wonder how game companies haven’t set up their own gold selling businesses on the side. you know, set up dummy websites totally unaffiliated with the game maker that someone high up at the studio ships gold to. i mean the gold can literally be manufactured out of nothing and given to whoever and then those sites can sell the gold in game. free money and you don’t even have to do the nefarious stealing of accounts that buy gold from you.

also, i always laugh at the gold bots that say “100% hand farmed” as if the gold on their bot account is some sort of organic, hand tilled and harvested vegetable brought to your door by loving farmers.

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Thomas Zervogiannis

Some studios have been accused frequently of having some sort of corruption of this kind. Some studios have even appointed external auditors to fight against that (like Blizzard).

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Nicholas Shively

I disagree with this on a fundamental level. There are definitely some parts that are true, but it has more to do with game design than payment models. Most F2P games simply aren’t as well-designed as subscription-based MMOs.

There’s still a major demand for sub MMOs, but there are rarely any games that come out now that are worth paying monthly for. WoW and FFXIV fans obviously have no problem paying a sub, and WoW has had to deal with RMT for a decade. Even WildStar shot up to the 2nd or 3rd most popular MMORPG for the first ~6 months of its life. It only failed due to bugs, flawed designs, and a lack of non-hardcore content (Warlords of Draenor launching shortly after didn’t help things either).

So I don’t think it’s the F2P policies that are causing the problem, it’s the games they’re implemented in. They simply aren’t interesting enough to hold the attention of players or don’t have enough value to be a good game. Sure, F2P is seen as a bit of a plague in the MMO genre, but would most of those games actually be any better if they were B2P or P2P and didn’t have microtransactions? For the most part, the answer is no.

Instead of needing better payment models, we need better games.

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Jeremy

Many of us have been saying this for half a decade. Sub or don’t play, you cheap bastards.

miol
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miol

Wait, this is the guy, who came up with World of Tanks’ monetization model?! o.O

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Melissa McDonald

WoT is a heck of a lot of fun. that trumps all. #AndThatAintFakeNews

miol
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miol

Still not a fan of paying for premium and finite ammunition, though!

The pinnacle of what F2P converging with P2W ultimately stands for! ;P

#Nickel&Diming

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primal

well to be fair they need to make money some how so its a valid money when you dont even pay for the game in the first place. i dont play any of them although i did download WoT to see how it did at 4K on my system which was still 60+fps max settings and found myself playing for like 3-4 hours hahaha. it is a good game. i did play world of warships for a while but never bought anything though. they are good games for the people that like that stuff. one of my mates plays world of warships all the time and has bought some ships and stuff

miol
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miol

well to be fair they need to make money some how so its a valid money when you dont even pay for the game in the first place.

Even without that, they’re selling more different things than any other game that I know of, if you’ve cared to notice! ;P

Selling premium finite ammunition is pure greed infused in every shot you do or you’re hit by, aiming at those who are competitive, for whom this game was made for, every single time!

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Sorenthaz

That last bit was well put tbh. Most f2p games just want to do everything and have so many random pieces thrown together while monetizing anything and everything they can.

As a result they steadily kill themselves by trying to do too much to the point where there might be a variety of activities but little to no depth. And then the stuff with depth tries to nickel and dime you like crazy.

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Greaterdivinity

And bookmarked for later reading.

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CloakingDonkey .

yes. F2P is indeed a cancer on this glorious genre. ;)

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