Global Chat: Is it time to get rid of MMO factions?

    
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No one weekend should have all that power.

Factions in MMORPGs are a “love ’em, hate ’em, or largely ignore ’em until the studio remembers it has ’em and decides to shove ’em in your face all of the sudden” affair. Tyler over at MMO Bro certainly is not the first to deem them irrelevent, especially in PvE games, and call for their dissolution.

“Factions really don’t add much to the experience of playing MMOs,” he writes. “They’re unnecessary, at best. The chief argument that seems to be put forth in favor of dividing players into factions is that it instills a sense of pride and faction identity, but I’ve never heard anyone clearly articulate why that’s actually a good thing. Mostly it just seems to feed toxicity between players.”

As you chew on that, head on for more MMO essays, including a review of Final Fantasy XIV’s latest patch, aging out of World of Warcraft, praise for disliked games, and more!

Unidentified Signal Source: What is Elite: Dangerous?

“In reality Elite is only as multiplayer as you want it to be. I personally choose to play in Open, but honestly human pilots are pretty rare unless you’re engaging in current even content. My experience with other humans has been very mixed so far. I had a ‘lol noob your not worth my time’ sort of experience once before and much more recently a ‘sorry it’s just business’ sort of encounter when a player from an opposing faction dropped in on the home system and fried me with a hold full of goods. Honestly the vast majority of people don’t interact and if you’re in transit you may not be in the system long enough to notice.”

GamingSF: Should healers have to deal damage in dungeons?

“Back when I played Final Fantasy XIV it was a norm among many players that healers should dps as much as possible. If you weren’t using cleric stance (I read this has changed) to enhance your damage spells in-between bouts of healing then you were a lazy White Mage/Scholar! It’s not something I ever adjusted to and I swapped mid way to cap to mostly play Bard partially because of this. I’m not that great at multi-tasking to be honest so any gameplay that involves switching playstyles repeatedly is likely to tire/confuse me quickly.”

Aywren Sojourner: FFXIV Patch 4.4 story impressions

“It was fun to experience another bout of ‘role play’ battle with Y’shtola — it was neat to see her again throughout this entire episode, in fact. But after I wiped again, and saw that I’d have to go back through Sadu’s fight, I put it down for for Sunday night. Yesterday, I was able to clear it the first try, so it could have just been the effects of having been on a plane all day Sunday. That being said, I was glad to be done with that part of the story.”

you wanna sell or what

Alunaria’s Avenue: Is there such a thing as getting too old for World of Warcraft?

“How on earth do you tell a story — and design a game, that appeals to these two player segments at once? And which player segment is going to bring you the most income to your game? Which one should you focus on the most?”

The Ancient Gaming Noob: The lesson of Club Penguin Island

“I thought Disney had enough muscled to force Club Penguin Island to be a success. I was wrong […] Basically Disney betrayed their installed base, switched platforms, and offered an inferior experience, but thought it would all work out just fine. It did not and yesterday the company officially announced that Club Penguin Island would be shutting down.”

Through Wolfy’s Eyes: Nice things about disliked MMOs

“To get the bad out of the way first: the classes in ESO are probably some of the most yawn-inducing choices I’ve ever experienced in any MMO ever. In spite of that, however, I’ve got to say that The Elder Scrolls Online’s sidequest gameplay is top tier. In fact it’s so good, I can ignore the hum-drum classes.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.

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Matthew Yetter

Factions for the purpose of dividing the player base are not something I’ve ever liked. Factions for the purpose of furthering story are another matter entirely. Done right, they can provide a sense of agency in that you are siding with a group that you identify with and seeming to influence the unfolding story from that decision. I always feel that one should be able to switch factions as well. It doesn’t have to be easy and it shouldn’t be free from repercussion but it should certainly be possible. Which of course also furthers that sense of player agency.

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Thomas

The only advantage of two factions, as far as I’m concerned, is that they generally lead to two completely different leveling tracks, with different stories and different quests and (for a while) different zones. Consider leveling up as a tauren versus leveling up as a gnome in WoW, for example. For an altaholic like myself, that’s a real plus.

But games really don’t need factions to accomplish that. GW2 accomplished the same thing with its different race storylines.

Unfortunately, after level 20 or 30 or so, all distinct storylines tend to merge into one storyline anyway (including in GW2), so most of your “personal story” (in GW2 and other games) is exactly the same as every other player’s “personal story.”

This is too bad, in my opinion, though I understand games are designed this way to save money. This is true for any game (such as SWTOR) where you start a character in a unique zone feeling somewhat “special” for the first 10 or 20 levels of the game. After that, though, all you have left is your avatar looking a bit different and that’s it.

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Bryan Correll

The chief argument that seems to be put forth in favor of dividing players into factions is that it instills a sense of pride and faction identity, but I’ve never heard anyone clearly articulate why that’s actually a good thing.

Because the Templars and the Blue Man Group suck! Dragon for life!

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MrNastyButler

I dislike locked factions. They should be changeable at the players choice.

Alyn
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Alyn

Yes! Let the gamer decide how to move through the story. I recall in EQ 2 you could change between the so called factions. That’s a good idea in many ways. I just feel as though choosing sides before you even learn much about the race lore and history is assuming too much.

kjempff
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kjempff

Yes the betrayal quest was nice.
Though I prefer the more versatile way of Eq1, without a strict definition of good vs evil but more of a web of factions. That way players could pick and choose, and have more of a true personal story..because the developer did not put a strict predifined good/evil horde/alliance red/blue/green definition on them. Of course Eq1 was far from perfect but a good start – Why oh why can’t we have just one new mmorpg that continue that amazing concept.. Go away you story driven on rails simplistic mmos, you were a fun little passtime, now give me a real complex mmorpg that give me freedom (and I don’t mean pvp or builder games freedom).

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IronSalamander8 .

I don’t like the fixed factions we see in WoW and other games. I don’t mind the NPC/world factions such as EQ1 had as it gives your character some depth as far as how the world and its inhabitants react to your presence but yeah, not a fan of the ones that strait-jacket you.

kjempff
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kjempff

If by factions you mean the Horde vs Humans or tri faction types or factions that are only there to split up pvp players…then yeah sure, there must be a better way.
If you mean npc factions, races, npc guilds and alliances, religions etc, and all the lore, conflicts, and everything that brings to make a mmo world live… Then yeah sure, lets kill of the last thing that makes a mmo (sarkasm).

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kalech

I like the idea of factions for lore or character purposes, but when push comes to shove I can’t really say I’ve ever missed them when playing games that don’t have any, and I also can’t really claim that their absence stopped me from feeling like a game has good world/character lore.

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Toy Clown

I’m not a fan of them, mostly because my friends tend to pick factions opposite to what I want to play and I inevitably end up with characters that get ditched, and eventually the games do, too.

I was raised, gaming-wise, on UO, EQ1 and SWG. While they all had factions (to varying degrees) and you could be KoS in some areas, you could still meet up with and play with your friends. When SW:TOR came along, talk about dividing a community that rolled over together from SWG’s shutdown and going haywire as everyone tried to stick together. I only know one person still playing that game. Everyone else ditched!

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jinarra

Short answer: Yes.
Slightly longer answer: Holy mother of Zod, all of my freaking Yes.