The Daily Grind: Do you think MMO worlds are too bloated and big?

    
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A couple of months ago, I saw an interesting topic on Reddit that deserved more love than it got. User RuccFeddit (<3) posted what he suspected was his unpopular opinion: that “newer MMOs have worlds that are sized too big” – but go to waste, unused, as players level up. “There is nothing wrong with having a big world essentially, like in WoW, but that [builds] up over time.”

Personally, I think this is a big problem in older MMOs too, not just newer ones: Any level-based themeparky MMO that sets zones to a specific level but doesn’t introduce scaling or even farming mechanics that make older zones relevant is going to fall prey to this problem, constantly adding new zones on top of the pyramid while the base decays.

On the other hand, that kind of a world – a way-too-big world with gobs and gobs of zones to explore – is unbelievably enticing for new players to the game. What’s past content for existing players is future content to new players. I love that feeling of going into a new game (or even an older game I’ve not been back to for a while) and knowing I have endless territory ahead of me to explore.

Do you think MMO worlds themselves are too bloated and big? Which games suffer the most from this problem?

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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psytic

FFXIV came to my mind too. Ever since they have added flying its just big expanses of nothingness for the most part with color swapped enemies. I miss the tight unique sub areas in maps in ARR.

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BigAngry

FFXIV is entirely too large, with needlessly giant, sparsely-used zones. I’m REALLY hoping they dial it back a bit for Shadowbringers, but I don’t hold too much hope.

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Bruno Brito

Not really. I find them nowadays extremely linear, don’t really use the world well,and most worlds feel caustrophobic because of linear progression questing, lack of exploration and overall lack of immersion.

xpsync
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xpsync

HUGE! It’s one of countless reasons SWG:L is my top game.

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Hisham Alhubaishi

What about mixing stuff up? Having a world with many zones, each with a different average level of difficulty, but each with mobs and challenges that are appropriate for near end-game? You could, for example, have access to an endgame dungeon behind a flooded tunnel that either requires high level water breathing equipment or just high enough stamina to get through to the other side without dying.

Alternatively, as a low level adventurer, you cleared the upper caves from bears and other critters, but on your return as a veteran adventurer, you go deeper and root out the dragon’s servants before taking on the dragon itself.

Occasionally, there might even be a way for lower-level explorers to discover an easier but limited access to high-level content, for example requiring adventurers to use stealth and other mechanics to loot some areas of an end-game dungeon without engaging the entire force guarding that location.

I think these suggestions give players reasons to revisit older zones, try out alternative leveling paths through a wider range of possible zones, and avoid the ‘I’m not getting stronger’ problem of level-scaling. I don’t think these ideas are new.

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squid

Do you think MMO worlds themselves are too bloated and big? Which games suffer the most from this problem?

I’d wager there are some EQ1 zones on regular servers that haven’t had a single player zone in for a month or more.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t play on the non-TLP servers…population aside, I just can’t comprehend trying to figure out or work my way thorough what’s got to be hundreds and hundreds of zones.

kjempff
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kjempff

No, the opposite .. too much content cramped in to a small space. Makes the themepark problem even worse; add to that .. scaling, urgh.

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Alex Pepper

I don’t think its the world. It’s the players. Everyone is in a rush to endgame. They don’t want to stick around and do every quest. They’ll do the minimum required and then push on to the next zone.

When I started playing MMOs (My first being Asheron’s Call) their design was you have to do A, B then C before D. Now we have more options, good or bad in my personal opinion I love big open worlds to explore.

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

I really don’t think that world size matters. It’s all about the design of the game. SWG is a great example of huge maps done well (for the most part). Any number of competitive games could say the same of small maps.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Look at WoW Classic map, and then look at the WoW Retail map. It went from 2 continents to almost 7 continents. Players demand new landmasses to explore and conquer, even if it means isolating and fragmenting the playerbase.