The Daily Grind: What older MMO systems do you wish devs would upgrade?

Perhaps few things bug me so much as when developers introduce a meaty gameplay system into an MMORPG only to neglect or abandon it by the time the next expansion rolls around. Lord of the Rings Online’s skirmish system, World of Warcraft’s garrisons and class order halls, or Star Trek Online’s exploration system are but a few examples that have rankled my sensibilities over the years.

It’s frustrating because players latch on to these systems and find enjoyment in them, even years after their introduction. It’s doubly frustrating because with some refinement and updates, these systems could become relevant and even better than before. But no, they’re shoved back under the bed so that devs can play with their new shinies.

If you had your pick, what older MMO systems do you wish your game’s developers would take the time to upgrade today?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

59 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What older MMO systems do you wish devs would upgrade?"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
Alex Malone

Excellent question!

1) Game Engines

Probably not the sort of system you were looking for, but it is rare to find an MMO that can actually support massively multiplayer features. Most tend to slow down too much once you reach 30-40 players on screen and most die with 100+. To me, that is unacceptable in a genre that is supposed to be about 1000s of players interacting with one another.

2) LotRO’s Fellowship Manoeuvres (conjunctions)

For those that never played, these were party-based skills. When someone initiated a conjunction, every member of the party would get a popup where they could select one of 4 skills – red (dmg) yellow (dot) green (health) blue (power). The choice of selection as well as the order of the 6 party members would determine the group skill. So, you had the common easy ones : GGGBBB (gives health plus power to all members), RRRRRY (big damage with a lingering DoT) but then you had more complicated ones like RYGBRY which would do all sorts of things, including damage, dots, a bit of health, but might also stun then or add a slow.

3) LotRO’s class/combat design

I’ve never played a game with so much depth to its combat system. Everything I’ve played since has seemed so shallow and easy by comparison. I recognise that the pacing was a bit slow and it wasn’t very flashy. The depth also didn’t come out until you were facing challenging group content. I’d like to see someone design a combat system that gave us similar amounts of depth but for the whole game.

4) Collision Detection

I’m not entirely sure why this isn’t used more in MMOs, except that it’s usually done badly. I’d love to see collision detection implemented well and become impactful during combat.

5) SWGs player cities

I think CU is going to achieve something much better so we may see this evolution for real soon, but it’s a great concept.

6) RvRvR / open world PvP

This, imo, should be the ultimate goal of an MMO. It is the epitome of a massively multiplayer feature – 100s/1000s of players coming together to fight for their team against multiple opponents, fighting over territory or keeps or resources or whatever. Most games stick with 2 realms so instantly fail. A lot of games just let you pvp in the world which just turns into gankfests or zergy meat grinders. We want proper objectives, proper rewards, choices in how and where to fight, as well as appropriate protections for those who do not wish to pvp.

Reader
Jeffery Witman

SWG’s resource system and most of its crafting system/classes were pretty great. It let you play a non-combat character without it being a total grind.

SWG’s ground/space split combat systems were great, too. STO took a bit of that for itself.

TSW’s investigation missions were a great addition to the standard MMO combat missions. More of those should be included in MMOs in general.

The Foundry in Neverwinter is a fantastic tool for player creations, but sadly there’s no real incentive to use it because it doesn’t give appropriate rewards for the time and difficulty. I made a few small encounters in it years back and the editor is robust and complex enough to do so much, but there’s no reason for players to make or play through them. A lot of other games could use such a system in them. Combine this with TSW style investigation missions as well as combat missions with good rewards and you could have endless player generated content instead of endless gear grinds for end game.

Reader
jinarra

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest ‘pet battles’. Less because Blizzard hasn’t done anything with them, which is almost certainly not the case, and more because I want all the games to have pet battles, which is absolutely NOT the case at present.

Reader
socontrariwise

For me hands down the Vanguard Diplomacy ingame card game. But hey, even Vanguard is gone by now. But man do i still mourn what this could have become if they had more time and resources to give it attention.

Reader
cruzader

I never got that much into Vanguard, but the Diplomacy system was a stroke of genius.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

Is Gorgon tackling the old Asheron’s Call skill system? I liked it although it was awfully easy to break.

Reader
Timber Toes

EverQuest

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I wish WoW would upgrade the graphics entirely its looking real old and tired now.

LOTRO again Graphics

I pretty much want everything to have the graphical quality of BDO, Archage or Bless online these days lol

Minimalistway
Reader
Minimalistway

WoW new content graphic is great, but that’s my opinion, BDO graphic style is not for everyone, prefer WoW to be honest :-)

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

BDO’s was one example I cited.. the point being it could REALLY use modern graphics not graphics that are 16 years old. ;)

But then I would expect a Minimalist to want less not more lol :P

Reader
Thomas Zervogiannis

GW2: rework on and increase the scope of WvW. For example: Just reusing the Tyria maps, in separate instances, possibly with GvG capture mechanics, would spice things up a lot without spoiling the PvE experience (because, instances) and introduce some guild content.

E:D Powerplay. Making it more interesting would bring me (and I believe many more) back to the game.

Reader
Randy Ward

EQ2 without a doubt. Such a massive game with depth that has needed a graphical overhaul and update for a long time.

Reader
Oleg Chebeneev

EVE Online – missions system. More dynamic, more story based, more fun and more intervened into PvP.
WoW – battlegrounds. Bigger scale. More objectives and interesting dynamics.
TSW – lore section and achievements. Make lore prettier with more art and better font. Make achievements interesting instead of “kill x”.
Age of Wushu – quests. Needs total revamp. Also how skills are aquired.
AoC – open world PvP. I want to see it more brutal, hardcore and motivating.
Archeage – talent trees. Dunno if they changed anything, but several years ago talent trees and talents were just bad.
LoTRO – animations. Cmon already.
EQ2 – combat which is a joke in this game.

All MMORPGs in general. Start getting rid of leveling and levels.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Vunak

FFXIV – sloooooooooooow combat system needs an update.

TERA – Engine Upgrade, PvP and Class Balance (also revert my Sorc back to how it was before revamp… it sucks now)

Lineage 2 – go back before the class crunch into 8 classes

GW2 – lets get actual GvG

BDO – PvE, enchanting system and trading. relocation of servers to a more centralized location for NA players. BDO’s enchanting system is so horrible.

Reader
Dug From The Earth

GW2’s entire WvW system.

SWTORS ability system (bloat – hate needing 20 fingers, and having so many skills on cooldowns longer than 5 seconds)

WoW’s Talent system (its horribly dull and despite what they say, does not at all allow for you to customize your character to your liking)

Star Trek and DC Universe’s graphics system (does this even count?)

Every MMO’s system for skill cooldown notification. I absolutely HATE having to look down at my ability bar to know when something is off cooldown. I want to look at the middle of my screen, where the action is going on. Things like Weak Auras (for WoW) are a godsend, but unfortunately many mmorpgs dont have something like this to help where developers have fallen short.

Reader
Utakata

Another “where to begin” question. :(

…but here’s a start though, TERA’s character animation department. Where players can roll the new classes regardless of the gender they’ve chosen for their character.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

It’s not that I would directly benefit from having them updated, as I don’t think I will ever return, but WoW has its full share of systems that fell by the wayside, or will son fall. Quests done using flying mounts, air defenses in places where players shouldn’t be able to approach by air, the farm, the garrison, artifact weapons, class halls, and so on.

IMHO WoW would be a much better game if the dev team approached new features as things to be kept and expanded across future expansions, perhaps even backported into older content. Take flight, for example; it would be far better if flight mechanics were made harder to control (so it not only became less of a tactical advantage, but also felt more like flying and less like swimming in air), with old content changed to accommodate that, and newer content made to use things like strong winds, towers, archers, and flying mobs to make aerial incursions into so protected places even harder to pull off than approaching on foot.

Reader
rafael12104

Hmm. Well, there is SWTOR’s Conquest system. A system that is the Frankenstein’s monster of ways to deal with the games biggest problem.

Let’s cut to the chase. SWTOR can’t do large scale RvR. It can’t even do medium open world PvP. That modified Hero engine just can’t handle it. Ilum, their open world pvp planet was a total disaster. Seriously. Not hyperbole. They had to stop using it as such a few months after launch. Now the planet is barren except for the occasional event and a few leveling missions.

So, how is it possible to conquer planets and defeat a large number of players then? It’s not possible. How can they claim to have a Conquest System? By stringing together a bunch of activities together that have nothing to do with a real conquest.

I’d rather not go into the intricate details as it would take too long, but the short version is your guild crafts, runs flashpoints, Operations, and 4v4 PvP, for points. If you have the most points at the end of one week, you “conquer” a planet! It is the most ridiculous system I’ve ever seen in a game in that it claims to be something that it is not.

I could go on about the capitol ships, the fake orbiting of planets in your bid to conquer as other players do the same thing with absolutely no confrontation, for example, but I’ll stop right here.

TL;DR: I present to you SWTOR’s Conquest System. There is no conquering, there is no actual confrontation with opponents. Welcome to the shit-show! Lol!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

Personally, I would pay real money to see Star Trek Online implement a new exploration system.

The old system was very, very limited — randomly-generated planet surfaces, with roughly ten generic random missions triggering planetside — but I wish they’d left it in place, because now we have nothing at all, and I prefer something over nothing.

I remember that the exploration system they planned to use to replace the original one never survived past the concept-design stage, but it has literally been years now. Try again, please.

A Star Trek game without an exploration mechanic just feels fundamentally wrong to me, as much as I love STO in general.

Cheers,

Reader
rafael12104

Agree. The very premise of the Star Trek universe is built around exploration.

Reader
Bryan Correll

The City of Heroes login screen needs to be updated. It hasn’t been working right in years.

Reader
thirtymil

Someone had to go there.

Reader
Utakata

You almost say that as if it where a bad thing. :(

Reader
Bryan Correll

Of course. Especially when the end of this month will be the fifth anniversary of the shutdown. And some of us still can’t let it go!

Polyanna
Reader
Patreon Donor
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Polyanna

SWTOR is the king boss of this. Pretty much every major system added to the game after launch has been left half done, never revisited to resolve nagging issues or expand the concept to realize its full potential. Meanwhile they keep chucking more systems on top that will be equally neglected within six months after they first appear.

Reader
rafael12104

Don’t disagree. But some of the systems have some merit. The starfighter add on is pretty good for what it is, a minigame. Lol. And housing as been fun, at least.

See above for my big gripe.

Reader
Melissa McDonald

I guess I don’t see a problem with LOTRO’s skirmishes. They’re just instant-action battle scenarios and add a whole other dimension to the game than exploring, questing, crafting, etc.

Cyclone Jack
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Cyclone Jack

Instances. Foregoing the part where I would like to see them scale to group size, at least randomize the dungeon a bit. Shuffle mobs around, randomize what individual mobs are in a group, move patrols around (and bring patrols back). Give bosses three times as many abilities, but only have them use a third of them in any given fight, so that bosses mix things up a bit. Get players thinking on their feet, instead of following some ancient manuscript written ages ago by someone who already ran the instance.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Serrenity

Kinda like Fractals meets legit dungeons — but maybe more randomization in bosses / layouts etc

Reader
Hirku

Agreed, that’s why I’m interested in Battle for Azeroth’s islands. Anything to add some unpredictability to the endgame grind.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Tobasco da Gama

Speaking of LOTRO, the relic system for LIs doesn’t so much need a rework as a full-on replacement with something else. I think that the Essence system achieves most of the same goals in a less ridiculous way, so I was a little surprised that Mordor didn’t just rip out Relics and replace them with Essences entirely. At least for Imbued weapons. (As I understand it, the code for classic LIs is way too spaghetti-ish to make any big changes to anything other than Legacies.)

borghive
Reader
borghive

Lotro’s skirmish system for sure needs an update, but I doubt that is going to happen now. I’d rather SSG focus on making real instances, since many of the skirmishes were pretty boring to begin with.

Reader
Carebear

I would like tbc/wotlk talent trees and profession perks in wow.

Reader
Utakata

…a case where better systems where eventually replaced with poorer ones. /sigh

Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Suikoden

Not sure if this counts, but one of my favorite guild systems was in MxO. Your “guild” was called your crew, and it maxed out at like 8 people. Then your crew could join a fleet (a.k.a. Alliance). The fleet also had ranks and there was an admiral at the head. There has been other alliance systems, but I’ve never seen one so integrated, and I liked the crews being capped at a small number, because it made you tight with your crew members and gave your crew a sense of identity, while also making it imperative that you reach out to your alliance to do things, rather than just inside your crew. Wonderful system, that never gets enough credit. The perfect type of game to bring this back, in my opinion, would be a super-hero game. You could have your own little crew of super heroes maxed out at around 8, but you could be part of a greater allegiance of heroes maxed out at say 64. That would be awesome.

Minimalistway
Reader
Minimalistway

Crafting in WoW, the whole system needs updating, but i think Blizzard will keep adding more to it in each expansion while keeping the old crafting items as they are without a change, not even in stats.

I just wish a little more depth added to the system, i don’t know how they can do that, but i’m sure it is not quests for dungeons, the crafting itself should change.

Reader
Tia Nadiezja

I’ll join the chorus on STO exploration.

Also, GW2 would probably rope me back in if they turned home instances into actual, y’know, housing.

Reader
wratts

NPC morale systems, and AI more generally. I find it really surprising that my first MMO, EQ, had systems where you had to watch for when enemies would flee and try to get help, but that’s disappeared. Broadly speaking, I also wish that NPC packs had AI more intelligent than “follow x attack script when player character detected in y area”

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

I don’t think this will change, at least not for mainstream games. One of the main power fantasies games sell is how the player is able to defeat seemingly more powerful enemies, which is done is by making enemies dumb as doorknobs.

Just look at any raid boss. If the boss merely ignored tanks and went after healers — as any beginner PvPer knows is the overall best approach against a group — raids would be impossible to complete. Raid bosses are intentionally made dumb so their power level can be inflated to impressive heights.

Reader
Armsbend

This WoW news seems to have had a positive effect on Massively. The WoW effect 12 years later still in play.

Reader
TheDonDude

Character customization. And by “update”, I mean “go back to 2004 and copy City of Heroes”.

quark1020
Reader
quark1020

Even a third of what City of Heroes could do is better than most MMO’s these days.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
BalsBigBrother

Not a game specific one but a genre one. For the love of someone please update crafting. Standing in place watching a bar go across the screen is not an engaging game play mechanic or even remotely fun imo.

For something that is supposed to be an integral part of mmos I find it somewhat shocking how little it has changed over the years or that no one has even made any real attempt to try something different.

Oh and adding more recipe components is not an improvement all that does is delay the time it takes before you get to watch that bar go across the screen, Yaaaawwwn

Reader
Hirku

A greater variety of activities would be nice, but don’t even think of taking away my progress bars. I live for those.

borghive
Reader
borghive

FF14 has some of the best crafting I have ever seen in a MMO, the animations a long with the mini game you have to do for each crafted piece.

Reader
Herro Mongorian

The stitching mini game you had to play in order to craft a clothing item in Mabinogi is still the greatest thing I’ve ever encountered in a decade of playing MMOs.

Reader
Hirku

I agree with STO’s exploration system. A Star Trek game without any exploration and discovery isn’t Star Trek at all no matter how many red shirts and pointy ears you throw into it. The system they had in place years ago when I was playing was clumsy and repetitive, but it wasn’t a bad little diversion and it at least captured the spirit of the IP.

Reader
FreecczLaw

In FFXI they allow gear swapping in combat so that each ability can get affected by the best item suited for it. I like this system, but it is so extremely cumbersome when it comes to macros to make it happen.

It would have been nice if they actually made the system work without having to make extremely long macros. I would like a similar system in newer horizontal games too tbh, but instead of making it gear swap maybe you could choose which items stats should be used for each ability by just attaching them to each other. I don’t know, I like the system, but it should be less of a pain to set up.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

If animations to match were provided it would be interesting. For example, your character could pull and wield specific and different items or weapons for each different ability.

It would kinda remind me of the newest Zelda with its quick swapping of weapons. For example, I can open up with a boomerang, switch to a throwing spear as I’m closing in, and then alternate between a heavy two-handed weapon to swat away whichever shield the opponent is holding and a more agile one-handed weapon to do fast combos while maneuvering to not let the enemies surround me. Tying different items to different abilities would allow something similar without having to pause in order to switch weapons.

wpDiscuz