The Daily Grind: Which problems is the MMO industry never gonna solve?

    
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Earlier in June, Wilhelm of The Ancient Gaming Noob posted a provocative article about the three problems MMORPGs are never going to solve. Fighting words, right? His three turn out to be levels, grind, and launch fiascos. Now, you might disagree with his choices (I would argue with the first two!), but I thought it would be more interesting to come up with more to add to the pile rather than nitpick his musings (which still have a lot of merit).

My three would be:

  • Toxicity: Studios make a lot of money from toxic players and will always stop short of spending the money necessary to stamp it out.
  • Dynamism: There’s no amount of dynamic live event content funding that will actually reach or satisfy all of the players in an MMO worthy of the name MMO.
  • Inflation: Exactly zero MMOs, even the ones with economists, have solved the runaway economy problem, and cash shops deter the solution even more.

Which other problems will the MMO industry never solve?

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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kjempff
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kjempff

One should be careful about the word “never”.
However I doubt there will ever be a mmo that successfully combine pvp and pve, making both player segments happy within the same game world.
Theoretically it is not impossible, but it is a balance on a knifes edge that is bound to go wrong at some point. Not to mention creating such a game fully featured, advanced and big scaled for all kinds of players taste…that is like two aaa mmos in one game; and considering the small size (well ambition) of mmos these days I don’t see who would attempt such a project (EqNext was probably the last attempt at ambition that we saw).

About Toxicity… I see no reason why that should be unsolvable. To me it is one of the simpler things to solve as it is all about rules, systems and game design.. Those things directly control player behaviors. Obviously if you are not going to change the failed game designs of modern mmos, then you can’t fix toxicity either… Just saying the fixes are there for picking if there is a will to change the status quo.

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Toxophile

While toxicity can never be solved fully… we ARE human, after all… but I think it can be reduced pretty seriously if we strip away most of the anonymity players have. The danger that a wacko is going to hunt down someone IRL and do harm to them is a viable consideration, but it is not a given. It takes a very disturbed individual to do this sort of thing, and there are plenty of places like Facebook and Instagram that already provide these disturbed people plenty of data if they wanted to be evil IRL.

I think that revealing most of a person’s actual legal name, gender, and a recent headshot-type photo to the game community-at-large would help to curb much of the nastiness we see in chat channels and in PvP. I don’t believe giving out this basic info about players will be enough to trigger this sort of danger. We don’t ever hear stories about people being murdered who were traced through Facebook, and it would be even less likely in this situation.

But the positive effects of it could be enormous. People would suddenly be facing the possibility that screenshots of them being assholes in-game will be made public and linked to them IRL. This could lead to these people self-moderating, which is the same thing people do IRL.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Every problem has a solution. The catch is each solution has its own problems. Be careful what you wish for–you might just get it.

Yes, as long as toxicity makes money it’ll (likely) be allowed. When it costs money, then you’ll get the crack down. But how onerous will be said crackdown? How fairly applied will it be? I believe ArenaNet got into a bit of hot water over those various issues in its attempts to deal with toxicity.

Didn’t CITY OF HEROES address levels with sidekicking and down-leveling for missions so your character can be automatically leveled up to join you on missions of a higher level than them or to lower your level when doing a mission beneath you? Or did the writer of that article want a skill-based system instead of character levels?

Or in the words of Spock: Having is not always so pleasing a thing as wanting. It is illogical but often true.

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Zero_1_Zerum

The biggest one for me is PVP vs PVE content. MMOs tend to sacrifice one for the other, instead of treating them as completely separate things. I have no interest in PVP, and PVE things shouldn’t suffer because they don’t work in PVP. And vica versa, I guess.
It probably wouldn’t take much to have a different build just for PVP and one exclusively for PVE on the same character.

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Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Doesn’t Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 treat PVE and PVP separately even having separate PVE and PVP versions of the same skills?

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Arktouros

Some of the best PvP games I’ve played over the last 20 years actually had separate systems. In fact EverQuest 2, which had no PvP at game launch, came out with one of the most interesting and balanced PvP systems I’ve seen in a game to date. Abilities like taunts would make it so you couldn’t change targets while detaunts would make it so the person couldn’t target you. Every skill had a separate version from PvE so they could keep their bojillion damage abilities like Ice Comet while still keeping it reasonable damage for PvP. Guild Wars had similar, but they cocked it up in GW2 because they wanted the characters to “feel similar” in each game mode or whatever nonsense they were spewing at the time.

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Does not check email

Don’t forget to list the other deadly sins too while you’re at it

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styopa

Assholes. Because they’re endemic to humans being human.

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Sray

I think game inflation is a solvable problem, it just requires a slightly artificial solution. Quite simply, just have the devs manually scoop the majority of money and high end items out of the game on a regular basis. Build an in-game, lore based reason for it to happen. It could work well for a game that is built around the community’s collective progression as opposed to the laser focus on the individual’s progression that most MMOs have.

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Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

Financials. If you go sub only, people will bitch. If you have a cash shop, people will bitch. If you don’t have content, people will bitch. The situation is unsustainable. I’ll give them though, if you look at a lot of MMOs, they’ve gotten really good at efficiency, doing more with less, in comparison to their little brethren like Destiny or Anthem

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Fervor Bliss

People that are not playing MMO’s thinking they are a complete waste of time.
Don’t care how many studies show otherwise.

miol
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miol

Which problem will the MMO industry never gonna solve?

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