The Daily Grind: What should MMOs do to facilitate your return?

Over the past weekend, I picked up Hearthstone after a year or two away from the game. I certainly didn’t remember where I left off or had been following the game’s development too closely, so I expected to have to wade through a mess when I returned.

However, upon start the game acknowledged that I had been gone a while and eased me back into the swing of things with a trio of PvE matches and a handful of free card boosters. By the time I had finished those matches and opened my packs, I felt like I had some momentum and found my footing. That’s a good feeling when you’re making a comeback!

It made me ponder what MMOs should do to help facilitate players’ returns after extended absences. I think that there should be some sort of catch-up informational post covering the highlights, and throwing goodies at returning vets is never a bad thing. What do you think? What should MMOs do to ease you back into their game worlds after a long break?

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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socontrariwise

I agree with the notion of a follow up tutorial so to say. Haven’t played EQ2 in years for example and I think it is probably by now so foreign a game … The game is too complex and layered to entice me come back and spin free without a clue. Of course add the level restrictions … I think ESO will have a much more graceful aging and pulling player back in with the One Tamriel approach. If you don’t get stuck in a deserted level range and have no equipment or get a boost and gifted equipment with the new gimmicks you don’t understand then easing back in looks to me a lot more likely and attractive.

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Robert Mann

Stop trying to cater to everyone. Be different from the crowd, and not just in polish. Focus some attention on things other than combat. Treat your customers decently, and enforce rules on behavior relatively strictly. Don’t balance around min/max, make combat less about numbers and more about different abilities, control, and thoughtful responses (for example, maybe the ‘best’ spell a mage has doesn’t work well against certain foes, or maybe a warrior’s sword slashes will be far less effective than thrusts against another opponent, and maybe just maybe foes will sometimes do things that surprise us like use an ability from another foe’s toolbox to throw us off!) Knock off the silly pop culture stuff for me, and focus more on writing that actually proves of interest.

Simply put, less of all this MMO stuff that we have had for so long. Just less of all of that. I can handle a lot of the little things, but something has got to change to draw my attention here, and the most important things are a mix of customer relations and a more involved world design (aka, not JUST combat focused.)

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NeoWolf

Stop trying to force me to play how you want and let me play how I want.. I’M paying for the game experience, not you. No forced grouping, no forced pvp, no pushing how you want people to play on others. CHOICE is key to mmos, and developers should respect their customers rights to choose for themselves. (This one is for EA and Square Enix)

Stop employing morally bankrupt, minimum wage, no education morons and using them as customer support where they proceeed to offend, alienate and infuriate your customers by being anything BUT customers support on any level. (this ones for NCSoft specifically).

Stop lying, be honest its not that hard and stop putting 90%+ of all new purchaseable content in am RNG gambling lockbox (Cryptic that ones for you)

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Alex Malone

Make the games better!

I always left MMOs because they had either been dumbed down / destroyed with expansions or patches, or because the games just simply were not fun enough to begin with. I’ve yet to play an MMO that got better with age, without fail the first 3-6 months have always been the absolute pinnacle and all have gone downhill from there.

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A Dad Supreme

Kept the core of the game that I loved before the same, while adding new content that didn’t require me to “re-learn” wholescale classes, jobs and playstyles all over again, which inevitably happens 9/10 times I return to old MMOs, and results in me re-quitting.

I personally feel that returning to an old MMO after an absence should feel like returning home to an old friend or family, but inevitably it feels more like returning to your 15-year High School reunion and seeing how everyone turned into weirdos you hardly know instead.

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Michael18

They should present those parts of the lore and the quests’ background story that I had unlocked in an accessible way that makes it easy to jump back in and pick up the story exactly where I left. Something like TES Morrowind’s journal.

And this applies to single player games, too.

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McGuffn

All I ask is a little rest xp and a star to steer by. And a refresher on control schemes for games that rely on combos and whatever.

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mistressbrazen

Having just returned to SWTOR recently after being away for three years or so, I could have used some kind of update on what has changed. I know there was some controversial re-balancing but have no idea how it impacted my character. If I was further along in the story line, I suppose some kind of “this what happened while you were away,” would be good. As it is, I’m still in the original story so what has happened since doesn’t really matter for me.

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Ukrutor

Exactly his. And when we are at it, some sort of “homecoming tutorial” would be nice.
Not only to learn the new skills, but to ease back into old ones, and the entire movement model as well.
Whenever I come back to an old game, I always spend first few hours or days dying to low level mobs and falling off cliffs, because my muscle memory is gone.

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Utakata

You know, anecdotally…I come back to games because I want to come back. I don’t expect games to roll out any red carpets catered precisely to my whims and wants. It’s nice that I come back to where there has been some significant improvements, but I don’t actually expect it.

As it is most games I leave for awhile is not because they’ve done anything really bad or awful. If they did, I would never come back. But because I get involved with other games that take my time, focus and energy away from it.

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Richard de Leon III

For me its significant solo play and progression.