The Daily Grind: Why are you still an MMORPG fan?

    
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It's sort of like progress.

No, MMOs aren’t dead. I just want to put that out there; there are millions of us still playing them, dozens (if not hundreds) of studios still developing them, plenty of old titles seeing continued development, and tons of new games coming down the pike.

But there’s this perception among the wider video game market that MMOs are dead — or if not dead, then dying or past their prime. I think that’s an unfair perception as well, as every gaming genre has experienced ebbs and flows as they went quiet and then were reinvented, but it’s certainly out there.

In a weird way, it makes me even more proud to be an MMO player in 2019 when it’s not the hot new trend then it did back in 2004 when everyone and their brother was playing and talking about these games. I’ll put this out to you today: In the current state of the genre, why are you still an MMORPG fan? What do you see in these games and what hope do you hold for their future?

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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MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Because I want to fly through space with the rest of you. I want to storm the castle and raid the dungeon with people like you. I like standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you when the gates fall and we must defend the breach.

But I don’t like any of you enough to want to do it in real life. So MMOs it is.

harbinger_kyleran
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harbinger_kyleran

Sure I still play MMOS, well as long as they were first released in 2003 or before.

Otherwise, not so much.

The Phoenix has risen.

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Rolan Storm

Because this genre still can and I believe will surprise. People look at mainstream MMORPGs and start this doom talk, but truth is genre still changing. I remember things people have done in this genre and I am looking at upcoming titles… Just you wait. Yeah, there is certain mainstream trend maintained, but there are also a lot of games developing that will be to my taste at the very least if not something memorable and interesting for everyone.

I always liked game exploration – like finding interesting mechanics, places and situations. For me whole development of genre is one big exploration game. With ups and downs, interesting and dull moments.

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Kvarin Sunermidst

Anthem is an MMO. The Division 2 is an MMO. The hunger is still there but it’s disguised to avoid being pigeonholed. Always online games with rpg mechanics and shared spaces qualify.

Yes, The Crew 2 is an MMO. Destiny. Sea of Thieves. You catch my drift.

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Adri

Most MMO games provide me with big maps, a lot to do and the nice feature to play with people I like (and sometimes people I don’t ..).

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Brown Jenkin

I think the genre really struggles to define itself and the player base isn’t helping. Folks want really dramatically different things out of MMOs and quite often what some folks love others hate. I think all of this contributes to the perception that the genre is dead or dying, since the big genre-defining game (WoW) seems to be in decline and there’s nothing likely to ever take its place. There’s some truth to it I think, folks still play ARPGs, turn based RPGs and both kinds of RTS despite none of those genres being as big as they once were, maybe MMOs are headed in the same direction? Hopefully there will always be MMOs in some form or another, but I do think we should reconsider what it is that really defines a game as an MMO.

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PanagiotisLial1

By the way, while I love turn based combat systems, they had practically almost disappeared on mmorpgs

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Skor

To be honest, I’m not anymore. They have changed so much that I hardly consider them the same genre.

I rarely check this site anymore. I haven’t played an MMO since Secret World legends destroyed my last shred of interest.

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Anstalt

I’m a fan of the genre for two primary reasons:

1) Massively Multiplayer

This is the only unique selling point of the genre, it’s in the title. Massively multiplayer, which to me means 500+ people in the same virtual environment, cannot be found anywhere else. If it was found somewhere else, then that game would also be an MMO!

The reasons I love massively multiplayer are first for the scale that it provides to the games, and second for the social/community side of things. Whether it is 500 people turning out for a base fight in SWG, or 150 people turning up to race chickens from the shire to rivendell in LotRO, or 800 people turning up for a fort battle in WAR, that sense of scale cannot be achieved anywhere else. Sadly, most of the industry has turned it’s back on this one unique selling point, many going so far that they aren’t even MMOs any more (looking at u swtor!). The community side should hopefully be obvious – games are better when played with friends and an MMO allows a community to spring up that makes the base game much more enjoyable that it otherwise would.

2) Mechanics / Progression

I hate stories in my games. They don’t work, the disconnect between my actions and the stories being told always make them suck. So, I focus on mechanics and progression and I take great pleasure in figuring out all the mechanics and then maximising my playstyle to the mechanics. Most of the MMOs I’ve played offer much deeper mechanics and much longer progression than I can find in any other genre and are generally a lot better than single player RPGs. Again, as with the MMO part, developers have turned their back on deep mechanics and long progression, instead turning to shallow action combat and really short progression curves. Whilst this has helped attract a wider audience, the churn rate for MMOs has also shot up and these changes have driven me away. I just get too bored with action combat, my brain barely has to function! Give me something intellectually challenging, not just a gear test and spam fest!

I don’t actually play any MMOs any more, for the reasons above. It’s been 6 years since SWTOR broke my MMO back and forced me to re-evaluate the genre and my choices. Since then, I’ve alpha/beta tested the big ones and tried out some of the smaller ones, but they all suck (for my playstyle).

So, why am I still here and what do I hope for?

The enjoyment I experienced at the best points of my MMO history (SWG pre-cu, vanilla LotRO and launch WAR) have never been beaten by any other forms of gaming. So, I long to experience that high of gaming again.

But, more than that, I see the potential of this genre. We haven’t even come close to achieving it, most developers aren’t even attempting to achieve the potential (because they’re following the themepark/story route), but the potential is there. Playing SWG back in 2003 very clearly showed the potential for a vast, virtual world in which all playstyles were acknowledged and valued. Sure, the game itself was buggy as fuck and unbalanced to all hell, but it was a glimpse of what is possible. When i then saw the deeper combat mechanics of lotro, or the massive fort battles of WAR, I began to imagine what would be possible in a true virtual world.

I know that hardly anyone is working to achieve this potential, but every now and again I’m offered a glimmer of hope. Whether it is a really deep article from Raph Koster about how to create ideal social situations in an MMO, or following the awesome work of the CSE team, these little things remind me that there are at least some people in the industry working towards a potential MMORPG of the future that will be truly epic.

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psytic

I’m still around between GW2, ESO and FFXIV you have the perfect game. I love the art style of GW2 although it has the worst optimized engine of the 3. FXIV probably has the best optimized engine but for me the least interesting world design with quite a bit of reskinned mobs that don’t appear to be organically in the world but placed. ESO is in between but has the worst Animations and features that same wierd floaty combat all Bethesda games have (its like there’s a senior animator that trains all the new interns to do it the same way).

GW2 has the best combat imo followed by FFXIV but then ESO has a great voice acting and questing that feels more organic than kill 10 rats with the justice and thieving system its even better. FFXIV has the best raid and grouping system but probably the most generic snd boring leveling expiernace. Some of the boss fights are very memorable and it has the nostalgia factor and a charm to it that people love. I do like that GW2 has capped gear so you can always jump back in snd you can do the living story in any order. FFXIV is the worst in this regard especially the much maligned msq road to Heavenward. I find the trinity system in FFXIV though still seems to flow better then the chrono druid meta that goes on in GW2 and the grouping in ESO is a bit of a mess to with dps able to queue as tanks etc. the system ends up more limiting.

In terms of things to do FFXIV has plenty of side activites racing, breeding, Blu mage, Gold saucer, triple triad, vermillion, housing, Gw2 has some fun ones to but most boil down to a form of racing but the combat snd exploration itself is more fun for just roaming the world. ESO also wins in this area but again the animations and flow of combat can be clunky but the voice acting and world is fun to roam around in especially after One Tamriel. Here I would give credit to BDO, I would love if these aformentioned 3 implmented the ability to generate revenue from property or the node system, caravaning/ running packs to other markets. I can’t give anymore credit to BDO however due to the grind fest and gear disparity in pvp. You really need to play all 3 to get your complete game fix.

When a game gets all these elements right that will be the next WoW/ genre defining mmorpg. I wait around for that game but I don’t see an indie dev having the funds to pull it off and all the major developers have had a crack at the genre already but I’m still here because between these 3 I get my fix.

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Bannex

I was a fan because that’s where I felt I was getting the most bang for the buck as far as development was concerned. That rapidly changed over time and now we’re left with a dying genre that keeps repeating its own mistakes.

I have games that I’m a fan of but saying you’re a fan of mmo’s is like saying you’re a fan of RPGs because you played baldur’s gate.