The Daily Grind: What’s the appeal of survival games?

    
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The Daily Grind: What’s the appeal of survival games?

It hasn’t escaped my attention that survival games have become an insanely popular video game market over the past few years. Titles like ARK: Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles are recycling and refining a formula that seems to revolve around building stuff, building more stuff with the stuff you built before, roaming around, dying to critters, dying to other players, and erecting player towns that are as ugly as they are functional.

As someone who has only lightly dabbled in the genre, I have to put forth this question: What’s the appeal here? Is it just the endless process of crafting? The pride of ownership? Living out fantasies as Bear Grylls? Running your own server fiefdom?

I’m not saying that these games are bad, but they do appear to be pretty much the same thing done over and over and over again. I’d love it if someone explained to me the appeal from the inside!

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!

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ApathyCurve
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ApathyCurve

Peregrine_Falcon 
Well said.  We live in a time of technological wonders but cultural stagnation.  A mere hundred years from now, private enterprise will open up off-world exploration very much the way the Spanish opened up the new world in the 16th century.  Humanity will have a new frontier to occupy our genetic imperatives —  one that is far, far larger than a mere continent.  Gene Roddenberry understood this way back in 1965.  My only regret is that I will not live to experience it, but I take solace in seeing the early baby steps now — watching rockets making full-powered controlled landings, for example.  That was quite literally Buck Rogers fantasy when I was growing up.  I truly envy those who will live in the next century.  They will see and experience events we can only vaguely imagine.

AGx
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AGx

I’m still looking for one I can really dig into but the concept interests me. It seems to be the type of thing I wish that a good MMO was built around. The social concepts, where all the elements are there but it’s up to the players to dictate everything. Like imagine Blade and Soul, combat and all, but no real main story. You’re dropped in that world and left to do whatever you want. There’s still dungeons and bosses and loot and crafting but there are no pre-determined factions. The factions are built out of groups of players getting together and deciding themselves to be for or against another group of people for whatever reason they choose. Maybe they want to dominate the market of a certain material and will kill anyone who comes to their area looking to fight and loot monsters. Maybe they just want to be bandits who kill and loot players. 

That type of gameplay is more dynamic and might sound boring but if you’re the type of player who can get into it, it has a lot more to offer you than a finite story and endless grinding for things that mean nothing. I’m playing B&S right now and as i get closer to the level cap I just feel like, why will I keep playing this other than to just get better gear and PvP in the arena. Those things aren’t bad but it’s just so limiting.

MaxSand
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MaxSand

SC_Deadline MaxSand Varoic PurpleCopper Argument from exception. Same with the poster below me. Arguing from exception does not disprove the normative claim.

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

MaxSand SC_Deadline Varoic PurpleCopper  Read up on Homer, and Herodotus. The whole fight was over piracy, raiding, and the slaughter of whole settlements just to steal a few girls. Achillies was pissed because Agamemnon stole his bi*ch, who he kidnapped by killing her whole family. So much for civilization.

MaxSand
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MaxSand

SC_Deadline MaxSand Varoic PurpleCopper Funny that was the case for most of human history and for the most part, people didn’t act like savages all the time…..they formed communities, economies, art, literature, philosophy, technology……….if people all ran around sociopathically killing all the time, you and I would not be having this conversation…….us having it is proof you are wrong tho :p

Denngar
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Denngar

For me, survival games, at least as a concept, seem to be what I want from an MMO- something social, that focuses on social dynamics rather than grind content. 

The problem, I think, is that they are still highly instanced, restricted to small maps, unfinished, and reset far too often, making the communities in games too impermanent to establish themselves. I also feel like free to play might be a good way to ensure their demise, as that means anyone could come in and ruin things for everyone else. I hesitate to suggest subscriptions would fix things, though it would (hopefully) ensure people uphold a certain degree of sociability, but the problem would be that there are so many cheap, easy-to-access survival games out there, that frustrated players would probably flock to those instead. Which, I guess, kind of feels like the state of MMOs in general these days.

Walpurgisnacht
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Walpurgisnacht

These survival games are what I thought MMOs were like after playing the .hack games and watching that South Park episode about WoW. I thought that MMOs were player driven sandboxes – virtual worlds where anything goes. Unfortunately, that is not the case with today’s MMOs. Maybe one day.

Geering
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Geering

Loopstah Geering “These may hop from game to game until they find one where they’re not ganked by naked hackers as soon as they log in.”

I covered that.

Loopstah
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Loopstah

Geering Wouldn’t the last category steer clear of survival games precisely because of the fact that you can’t actually “relax at the end of the day” in survival MMO games? Unless you’re only playing on a private server of course.

BryanCole
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BryanCole

Greaterdivinity Same here.  Ark looks enticing, but…I have so many other games on my list…getting to that one, I’d have to be in a huge game slump.  This isn’t the year for that, far too many games coming out that I want to play.  Many of them from Square, Ubisoft and Blizzard lol.