Video essay attempts to identify how MMOs lost their way

    
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Is the MMO genre dead, or has it simply lost its way? In a recent video essay, YouTuber TheHiveLeader makes the argument for the latter. He points out that it’s a complicated question to answer, as various issues such as monetization, copy-catting, the MMO bubble bursting, and a loss of social and RPG aspects have all contributed.

But what’s the one overriding aspect that caused the downfall of MMOs? He says that it is us, the player community that set the trends and drove the market with our money. “We helped cause a lot of these issues,” he said, “and we need to take responsibility for our actions.”

Give the essay a watch after the break and let us know in the comments if you agree or not!

Source: YouTube

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Veldan
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Veldan

I agree that it’s the players’ fault, it definitely is. Even more than it is devs’ fault in my opinion. However, I do not agree that it is mine.

The problem with most F2P monetization is that it usually relies on whales. People with too much money to spend. Not only does this create a situation where a small % of the playerbase is responsible for a large % of the revenue, it also means that “vote with your wallet” is just not a thing. Because whales don’t care. They’re often very wealthy people that can afford not to make careful well thought out decisions about their spending. They see something shiny, they buy it. They see an armor that makes them more powerful, they buy it. Etc.

So even if 90% of the playerbase does vote with their wallet, if the 10 (or less) % highest spenders in a game are still careless with their spending, none of it matters, and companies will feel zero pressure to change direction.

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Robert Mann

Sure, we are indeed partially responsible there, more in the continuing to support very bad practices line than any of the rest.

The issue is not nearly so simple, because the changes that came resulted from our outrage over bad deals. Subscriptions are not a good deal as a monetization method when the game is very successful and doesn’t get reinvestment for that success. F2P wasn’t super-terrible at first either (and games still made money off the early models of that), then the lockboxes and overinflated prices and gacha and so on came into play. Why? Because enough people still bought that stuff.

Nobody is to blame for the companies taking on such foul tactics other than the companies. That is where this video falls apart to me. For those tactics being successful enough that they can continue, sure, many are to blame, but not for the initial appearance of those tactics, whether in F2p or Sub model games.

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rosieposie

Absolute rubbish. Corporations encourage and drive trends towards being able to monetize their ‘games’ more and more. There is still a great demand for high quality 3A single player games, but the big publishers want you to believe that SP is dead, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Why is this demand rejected, i.e. the ‘you think you want it, but you really don’t’? Because certain genres are more difficult to monetize than others. That is literally all there is to it. The only reason why MMO’s appear to be dying is because 3A industry is not interested in making a MMO that there would be a demand for. It would be profitable, but that’s not actually enough these days. It wouldn’t show the investors the same growth as other games.

kjempff
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kjempff

Yup, I tend to agree that it is not the consumers that are driving the change, but rather the companies. I cringe when I hear the argument that “they are just following the demand, giving us what we ask for” – It is like all the big lies, complex and partly true but omitting to mention the parts and facts that goes against the agenda.

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mpandu.nky

Coming from Asia I am completely baffled by this premise. Asian MMOs are stronger than they’ve ever been.

In Asian, Oceanic, CN, and SEA servers we have tons of new players every single week even for old MMOs.

Millions of families own home internet for the first time in their lives and getting into gaming.

Asian gaming publications are brimming with positive news & new launches every week!

Now games like Lost Ark & Ascent IR are launching exclusively in Asia and I think that’s a testament of how publishers realize that market shift.

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Oleg Chebeneev

“MMOs are dead” bullshit is just a way of some MMO players to protest against how MMOs evolved. They dont like the changes so “MMOs are dead” for them. Even if more people playing MMOs right now than ever before and there are more MMOs now than ever before.

This bullshit is pretty old, Ive started hearing it since like 15 years ago

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Obi Wan

I don’t know if you’re suggesting that because of your experience in Asia, the same must be true for everyone (a pragmatic fallacy), but what the author speaks of here has absolutely been my experience. And that includes Asian MMOs. There is very little innovation anymore. Whatever drives the most profit is what ends up in our MMOs these days.

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mpandu.nky

Not at all. But as you rightly said – Western players may believe the genre is dead, but the same is not true for the rest of the world.

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Obi Wan

Just so I’m clear, are you suggesting that Western players think the genre is “dead”?

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mpandu.nky

:) the video does

You’re trolling. Have a nice day.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

the mmorpg genre *is* dead. the mmorpg label is toxic af, both in terms of fandoms attracted and in terms of market potential.

what killed it? listening to the same people over and over again that kept wanting the same shit that a large fraction of the audience for virtual world open world type games wasn’t interested in.

publishers gave up on it for a reason. even if theres still walking dead publisher mmorpgs out there. kickstarter mmorpg’s were just another brick in the wall.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

and for the record it’s not the people who gave that feedback’s fault. it’s the developers who fell over backwards to listen to them to the point of self ruin over and over and over and over and over again.

design by social media ethos involved here is entirely on developers. it was not a publisher decision. it was a developer decision.

and no matter how many times it was demonstrated rather publicly to be a course towards certain doom… here we are, because everyone in a position to steer the course of their project took the quickest google maps route to the same destination over and over again no matter how visible the lack of interest in that destination has been amongst consumers.

throw in writing the book on tying monetization to grind/progression with subscriptions gatcha mechanics and beyond… well… it’s every r/games top comment thread meme come true years before reddit was even a thing.

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Oleg Chebeneev

Dude talking for 10 minutes about some boring obvious thing in such tone like he is revealing the greated mystery.

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TheHiveLeader

Obvious, and yet people continue to deny it. Weird eh?

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Oleg Chebeneev

Deny what? That companies follow popular trends?

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Mark Jacobs

A combo platter with a heapin’ helping of blame contributed by players ->devs ->publishers. More than enough to go all around.

But, I think that there are better times coming.

And no, as usual, I’m not referring to Camelot Unchained as The Next Big Thing/The One Ring/etc. :)

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Bruno Brito

Everytime a “next gen MMO” comes out and the PR is “we made the game we wanted to play”, i ask myself:

“What kind of self-respecting douchebag would want to play this ill-monetized dumpster fire?”

Not talking about CU, of course, that didn’t even came out. Mostly a generalist thing about MMO imports, and this blighted age for MMOs we seem to be living right now.

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Mark Jacobs

Hehe, BB, I knew that, no worries. And the “ill-monetized” part is something I agree with 100% as you know. Whether some folks like it or not, the monetization models of games are going to change again. FTP will not be dead, but publishers/devs will have to adapt to the legislation that will be coming over the next few years. Once the countries have spoken, the pressure will be on the pubs/devs to figure out how to proceed under the new rules. I hope it leads to better models. And change it will, and I hope it will be for the better.

After all, it was only a few years ago that people called sub-based gaming dead and now almost all (if not all) of the major publishers are hot for “games as a service”, all-you-eat gaming buffets, etc.

Circular the game industry is, umm circular.

:)

deekay_000
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deekay_000

could just sum up the whole history of the genre in those 4 words : ill monetized dumpster fire.

it’s something the mmorpg industry excels at. and no need to blame publishers anymore when kickstarters have amply proved otherwise. all bases covered.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Not only does it sum up the genre, it pretty much summarizes the entire industry.

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Mark Jacobs

So the thing is that most games/films/tv shows/etc. fail to become big hits, yet things keep rolling along, albeit like a roller-coaster at times. If you draw a comparison to the film industry, I bet you’d find a fairly similar failure rate in terms of making a profit (real profit, not the fake accounting tricks kind). I’ve said in the past that MMOs did and would have a higher failure rate because of the degree of difficulty involved especially when you want to create something really special like SC (I am not being sarcastic).The big difference though between games and films is that unlike film, the game industry has the challenge of also keeping up with and expanding tech while it is also trying to create the games. Hollywood rarely changes the technical underpinnings of film making in any major way. That’s very different from what happens with game, yet game makers rarely get the credit some deserve for trying to push the envelope both technically and artistically (story, art, etc). Yet, when games and game-makers fail, people are quick to judge the games, and sometimes the individuals as failures themselves. This is also unlike film/television where an individual who helmed a failure can get multiple chances, especially if they once had a hit. It doesn’t work the same way in games in general, though it does at times of course.

This is not to defend the games that have failed, nor the predatory monetary practices that I hate so much, nor the developers who have done terrible things while making games but rather to offer some perspective. Gamers can be very quick to blame individuals when a game doesn’t meet their expectations, which is why so many game devs don’t want to be in front of the camera, especially women. And this is our fault as gamers. If we pilloried the makers of film/television in the same way so many gamers do game-makers, they too might take a seat in the background more often or just not bother. As someone who has gotten bomb threats, death threats, etc. for things like the infamous “left-ax nerf”, customer service banning a guy for cheating, etc., I have certainly seen the darker side of a small percentage of gamers. And just as only a small percentage of gamers sink to that level, so does a small percentage of developers also sink to that level of awfulness. Historically, being creative is not easy. Being creative in a way that people of your time appreciate seems to be even harder (what’s the cliche of artists having to die to become famous?). Most game devs work really hard to make people happy, to create something that people enjoy and when they fail, even if they had the best intentions and did things the right way, well, sometimes some gamers get very angry.

Again, not defending the really bad stuff that does happen in the industry but sometimes a little perspective helps.

Just something to think about.

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Bruno Brito

I’ll just say, it was pretty much what was PR’ed at F76. “We made the game we wanted to play”.

Would any self-respecting game designer want to play that buggy shitshow?

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Robert Mann

Very true. One thing I would note is that all too many players have this push for the ‘most cutting edge graphics’ in MMOs… and yet they always run like crud the moment that happens.

I’m really hoping we get some “Yeah, this looks decent and acceptable if a little bit dated” offerings. Ones that actually run well with more people around. It’d be refreshing to have a 3d open world MMO with that type of setup, tbh.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

As a former modeler/animator, I have had a glimpse of the industry from the inside, and I understand the hurdles they need to overcome. I tend to give developers the benefit of the doubt when a game is released with a few flaws. Sometimes things don’t turn out as well as you’d like them to, and I understand that.

As for blaming individuals, I have never jumped on that train, and I’m not a fan of people who do. The majority of games are made by a team, and if a game fails, it was the team’s failure (even when it has someone’s name on the game, like Sid Meier’s Civilization VI; because we know Sid wouldn’t release a game in that state if it were up to him); and sometimes that failure is not within the control of the development team. If anything, I tend to blame the publisher before the development studio, because its easy to tell when a game was rushed to meet a deadline (hello mountain of buggy, unfinished games released in November/December), when a game doesn’t get the post-release support that it should, or when a game is released without key features, only for them to be added into paid expansions and DLC. I won’t get started on the technology side of things, or how games are a fraction of what they used to be, or we’ll be here all day. ;)

Luckily, we have a thriving indie scene that is kicking out a stream of great games, and I’d even say that the AA studios are still going strong. Plus, there are a number of smaller, focused, indie MMOs in the pipe as well. I’ve been keeping an eye on Camelot and Crowfall while enjoying my time in Gorgon.

semugh
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semugh

people should be pointed at your eurogamer interview. I usually summarise it that the mmo genre peaked with wow. And story ends you believe what you want to believe.

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Mark Jacobs

Yeah, WoW’s success changed so many things in the MMO industry, and still does today. Once WoW’s numbers went into the stratosphere, publishers/devs went chasing after that even when folks internally (and sometimes externally) told them not too. But that’s how the game industry (film/television too) operate. Somebody has a huge hit and people/money rush to try to duplicate that success. Usually that ends up limiting innovation and focuses the risk on trying to do something just like they did. We see it all the time, MMOs or not.

But, now that WoW isn’t the force that it once was and technology is changing, I have no doubt that MMO-style games have a great future. And as mpandu.nky says above, it’s also different in Asia. This may not happen in the next few years but it’s coming. Those that have any doubt of that should just look back over the last 30 years in games/film/television to see all the times that a certain genre was supposed to be dead and then it returns for all sorts of reasons.

But as always, time will tell. :)

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Schmidt.Capela

This didn’t happen only with WoW, or even only with games, mind. For example, Science Fiction fans as old as I am will remember how after Star Wars became a commercial success, in 1977, nearly everything with a big budget in the SF genre, across multiple media, seemed to range between highly inspired by Star Wars to outright Star Wars clones, a state that persisted for nearly a decade.

Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Yup. Its pretty much a trend in all entertainments. Look at the games market after Wolf3D and Doom were released, or when C&C and Warcraft were released, or how almost every movie tried to go 3D after Avatar.

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Anstalt

Camelot Unchained is actually what gives me hope that better things are coming in the future!

Not that I think CU is going to be particularly big – it’s focus on PvP will likely prevent it being anything more than niche – but you guys at CSE are the first developers I’ve seen in years who seem to have taken a step back and asked yourselves: “What does it mean to be massively multiplayer? What systems would facilitate being massively multiplayer?”

Almost all MMORPGs just seem to have taken single player RPG mechanics, put them in their game and then let you play it with other people. It doesn’t work! You guys seem to have recognised that and are making changes that will (hopefully!) filter out into the rest of the genre.

Highlights of what you guys are doing that I firmly believe will improve the whole genre:

  • An engine that actually supports being massively multiplayer! It seems ridiculous, but the only unique selling point of our genre is being massively multiplayer and yet hardly any games have the engine to support it. I’m hoping that once we, as a community, see that it is actually possible then we’ll start wanting more of it. Even outside PvP it would be amazing!
  • Horizontal Progression! This is something I’ve been shouting about for many years now. This is the massively multiplayer genre. We’re supposed to be playing together, but the single-player mechanics that we have now just create barriers between us, and vertical progression is the main culprit. I can’t wait to see how your horizontal progression turns out, but mostly I can’t wait to see how the community to reacts to a progression system that is genuinely engaging and not just built around numbers getting bigger. Once this idea starts to spread, the genre will be infinitely better than it is now.
  • Real player agency (aka building stuff)! It’s always pissed me off that I can sink so many hours into an MMO, kill everything, beat every boss, but yet I never have an actual effect on the world. I love that in CU I’ll be able to design and build my own structures, put them down in the world and have other people interact with them. I’m sure I’ll be pissed if the enemy knocks it down, but I get to knock theirs down too. I really can’t wait to see how the world end ups looking, what with islands moving position and players building tons of stuff everywhere.
  • Deep combat mechanics! I’m so fed up of shallow, spammy action combat. It’s the primary reason I don’t play MMOs at all anymore. Even amoungst tab-target games, finding deep combat mechanics was still difficult: most were just complex (i.e. had skill bloat) rather than deep. Even those that were once deep (like LotRO) have been nerfed into oblivion. Deep combat mechanics allow for so many different setups and tactics, I can’t wait to see what the playerbase comes up with and I look forwards to a looooong learning process!

I still predict that we’ll have to wait until 2025 or beyond for “the next big thing” in the MMO genre, but we’re only going to get there because of your work (and the few others in the industry who seem to “get” MMOs). You guys are like the trailblazers – innovating by yourselves with tight budgets and assuming all the risk. However, once you’ve “proven” that it works, then the big guys will coem and steal your ideas and put them into a massive game with the budget and marketing to make it the One.

Then, ofc, after “the one” has come along, then other devs will copy them and the core, brilliant ideas that you had will get continually watered down and the cycle will repeat…

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Castagere Shaikura

I definitely feel gamers have a hand in what we get. I just have to look back at the promise of GW2 being something different and the first thing gamers started posting on forums was it wasn’t like Wow and it should more like it.

John Artemus
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John Artemus

This is where I’m coming from when I say we are to blame. Some people are saying we are to blame by continuously buying half-finished games or what not. That’s part of it. But the big thing is, gamers have no idea what they really want. And any time a developer actually does try to do something different, no one plays it.

I’ll use myself as an example. I had been pining for an MMO that took place in a modern setting that didn’t have elves and orcs and was more about a very mysterious dark world that you could delve into. That literally describes The Secret World. I played it gleefully for like a couple months, then dropped it.

I then began pining for a genuine sci-fi MMO other than SWTOR or STO to sink my teeth into. Along came WildStar. Once again, I played it religiously for like a couple months, then dropped it.

Those games provided everything I claimed to want in an MMO, but I didn’t stick with them. And now one of them isn’t even around anymore.

I am partly to blame for the current state of MMOs.

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Randomessa

Good start to a discussion! But do you know WHY you didn’t stick with them? What was unsatisfying about them? What was on the other side of the fence for you? Or would you have liked a game that was “like” them but with one or another feature from some other game? Did you chafe under the idea that now that you had the game that had the features you’d asked for, that had to now be THE game that had those features, never to be improved upon or attempted again?

John Artemus
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John Artemus

I could say in the case of both TSW and WS, that I found them more difficult than what I was used to in games like WoW, LOTRO and SWTOR. Those latter games were very solo friendly and the group content wasn’t particularly hard, unless you were doing hard/heroic modes or something like that.

In TSW once you left Solomon Island and hit Blue Mountain, the difficulty spiked quite a bit. And in those days of the game (this was before their soft “re-launch”) there wasn’t a whole lot of hand-holding for your builds. It was mostly trial and error. You would just get brutally murdered by mobs and then have to go back to the ability wheel and figure out where you messed up.

The game gave players a LOT of agency when it came to playstyles and builds. I have no idea if it still does because I haven’t played it in years. But I just felt like the game was a slog, despite the fact that I loved the lore and dark setting.

With WildStar I just felt like I was the “filthy casual” the devs had no interest in. I played the game right at launch and they were clearly going for the hardcore gamer back then. Soloing wasn’t too bad, but the first time I ran a dungeon, I was like, “Okay, this isn’t for me.” So I quit the game. This one was particularly bitter for me because I actually liked WildStar quite a bit, and am still so sorry that it was shut down.

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Randomessa

And then some people, like me, who had not played nor enjoyed WoW but had cut my teeth on Guild Wars 1, took umbrage with that attitude and doubled down on wanting nothing to do with that toxic mindset necessitating the trinity.

It wasn’t until I got into FFXIV that I saw some method to that particular madness, and the importance and synchronization of roles in a well-tuned dungeon. And yet this didn’t make me go back in time and think, by gosh, WoW had it right all along… It made me reconsider whether any particular game mechanic is the be all and end all of a game, and whether we need to have just one, or even three, to fill the niche of EVERYONE who finds that mechanic useful.

You start asking, well, all these people who think WOW had the trinity right, are they happy with WOW, or not? If they’re happy then what are they doing in this other game’s forum telling its members what ought to be in their game? And whom should the devs be trying to appease?

(you wanna know how you get raids in your MMO that said it wouldn’t have raids? That’s how you get raids in your MMO that said it wouldn’t have raids)

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Michael18

One of my favorite examples for how players contributed to the problem is Icecrown (the WoW zone).

I’ll never forget how good it felt to level there for the first time. To just follow the quest chain without thinking much and without being afraid of running out of quests or overlooking some important ones. And on top it allowed for a more coherent story that was easier to follow. As far as I remember pretty much everyone liked it at the time and I’m sure Blizzard took note of that.

Then, with Cata and the later expansions they turned more or less the entire game into a single, linear quest chain you could follow without thinking much. And you realized that too much of a seemingly good thing that players loved at first can be very bad for a game.

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NeoWolf

For the most part I agree with some of the videos points. I agree it was largely us that has caused most of the issues that now afflict the MMO genre.
BUT I don’t agree that it was the masses. Developers look for feedback mostly in thier own communities, and social medias as well as analytics… but this is problematic for a number of reasons.
Firstly communities are largely dirven by noisy minorities not the silent MAJORITIES.. so what a noisy minority wants may seen indicative of a communities “wants” but really it is only inidicative of what the noisy minoirty wants.
Secondly social medias suffer the same issue and rarely allow for the space or means to elaborate on this issues you make or support in order to clearly definie your EXACT stance on something.
And finally Analytics just give numbers how many did what, when, how many succeeded, what abilities they used, what class/race mixes they had etc..etc… its facts without specifics.. Noone is asking why those classes, why those abilities, why those race,s why thos places and those things and why not others its just looking at the numbers and making best guess assumptions based on the numbers alone.

Occassionally developers send out Surveys but these suffer similar issues rate X on a scale of 1-10, but rarely is their a space to expound upon your score and tell them WHY you rated it what you did, what you see them doing right and wrong etc.. and again they fall back to being just about numbers.. if X saids its fine it must be fine right?… wrong..

I also do not agree with the videos comment that the MMO’s genre’s bubble burst. I don’t think it has ever burst, but people ARE definitely sick and tire of the goal posts for what is an MMO from to the next actually means.. their is not a huge amount of innovation in the MMO space in relation to say the desire to rinse and repeat someone elses good idea with a shiny new face on it in the hopes of also cashing in on it themselves..

But nevertheless the point about it largely being down to us is right on the money, we enable them with our purchases and our rampant fandom and our apathetic tolerence of the blatantly unacceptable and wrong into providing us bad yet pretty, half finished, often very broken MMO’s that lack in any real substance or thought and are just really barely passable attempts to get what companies and shareholders really only care about and that is..our money. Seemingly gone are the days of making them provide something worthwhile FOR that money as we’ll tolerate just about anything and any abuse provided a game as at least “something” we like about it.

The so called loss of social space by being more solo friendly is a misrepresentation also as MMO’s have ALWAYS been largely solo friendly and soloable for the majority of thier content until endgame.. that has been an MMO design standard since inception for the most part, it isn’t new or a failing. And as I have made the point a gajillion times you simply do not NEED to be grouped to be social. If you want to interact, INTERACT.. it isn’t dependant upon you doing the same activities.

The loss of RP mechanics? Have we though? stories, quests, progression systems, itemisation, group play options, etc..etc.. all the RP stuff is their in almost every MMO… no guaruntees as to the quality of any of it mind.. but it is there.

The main reason I see it, that we have allowed MMO’s to lose thier way is by no longer demanding better standards and more creativity in the crap we allow them to SELL us (thats right its a transaction) we should be expecting and demanding better for our buck. Then we wouldn’t have half arsed games that our little more than blatant over monetised cash grabs, or beta for sale, or half finished broken game sbeing sold to us for large sums of money etc..etc.. not to mention listening to ALL our customers, not just the noisy fews who kick up the most fuss and MMO’s would be fine.

And for the love of god developers please STOP trying to mix MMO’s with every other genre in existence… traditional was just fine. Thier is a reason WOW was and IS still the top of the pile and it wasn’t that they thought it would be an awesome idea to blend thier game with an FPS etc..

xpsync
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xpsync

So many factors influenced all of it.

Greed is the only real reason though.

Once suits/accountants basically corporations got involved as in having their say, it was all over. Devs do what they are told to do within corps.

mmoprg’s were a cool small niche place for peeps whom loved worlds to disappear into the creative imaginations of developers, you could feel the love.

Then wow happened… i think i’m done here, nuff said lol :)

Players don’t want to play they want to one hit everything, STUPIFY EVERYTHING!!! WAIT they don’t want to play they just would rather pay cash for it CASH SHOPS!!! are born. Man love the imaginations of corps, such cool worlds, just throw your wallet in there and you’re king.

The amount of crow i’m eating every time i bash wow because i’m playing f’ing wow lmao.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

kickstarters without suits have well proved otherwise than it’s the suits and accountants to blame for the shitty monetization schemes that are the foundation core and heart of this genre.

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Robert Mann

Greed is not limited to the business executive, but the business executive getting involved certainly limited the freedom of most of the developers in the late 90s-early 2000s (maybe mid 2000s for MMOs).

deekay_000
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deekay_000

i mean its 20 years later and mountains of public demonstrations to the contrary but sure… the developers who designed these shitty monetization driven design models long before execs showed up are compltely blameless.

hell ofc its more the players fault ofc! everyones fault but the people making the games and making them this way. absolutely! why not!

i mean how dare anyone put faith and financial support into them in the first place amirite? its definitely business execs that came up with all the shitty gambling and skinnerbox mechanics that innundate this genre too right?

probably because players demanded it! so again clearly everyone elses fauly but the people doing the designing and taking the credit for yet another mmorpg masterpiece!

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Robert Mann

It is true that there are a plenty of people who will do such things without the driving force of the business executive behind them.

It is also true that many developers have lamented the business executives (publishers) that have pushed games to release before they are ready, push additional monetization, etc.

My reply was meant to note that the first is something that exists, but the second is an epidemic in the industry that changed the landscape to where it was commonplace instead of being an outlier. The difference is that you are comparing people in the era of such monetization, and we are talking about what brought the era into existence. IF we were talking about nothing but the last few years, then you would most likely find us all on the same page.

As to the models being around long ago… there were scams and shady stuff thousands of years ago. Same story, different millennia! Yet again, the point was that instead of being rather infrequent the design paradigm changed around a certain time in gaming and MMOs (and it was when the big companies started really looking to get $$$$$ out).

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Michael18

Very good point about the analytics.

I always say that if they look at my data, they see I’m not running dungeons much and very few raids. So it seems as if that form of content wasn’t relevant to me. But the prospect of having challenging end-game content at my disposal as an option is actually very important to me as a long term goal and to give some meaning to leveling and gear grind. Also it gives more meaning to guilds even if, in the end, you do not actually end up joining the raid team.

And I’m speaking from experience. At some point LOTRO announced they would no longer release group content because too few people are actually using it, and immediately everything in the game except the story quests felt bland and irrelevant.

So no matter how important group content is to you personally, it is an example how misleading analytics can be.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Additional data point: I loooove group content. I also have enough social anxiety that running anything remotely challenging stresses me unless I’m running with a static group. The last group I had we’d run dungeons, pvp instances, and raids nightly. It took a total screw-up by the studio (SW:TOR’s infamous 5.0 patch) to shatter that group. Without one I have a much harder time convincing myself to queue.

Without that context somebody looking at my activity is going to think: He hates PvE instances and tanking which is very far off the mark.

Analytics can work if those depending on them have one or more people that are experts at root cause analysis. Unfortunately that seems to be yet another core skill that the games dev industry seems to be hilariously bad at.

srmalloy
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srmalloy

The so called loss of social space by being more solo friendly is a misrepresentation also as MMO’s have ALWAYS been largely solo friendly and soloable for the majority of thier content until endgame.

Unfortunately, this is only true for Western MMOs. When the first Asian MMOs were released, the average home system there didn’t have the graphics capability to run them. The publishers made deals with the internet cafes to supply computers that could if they’d make their games available on them. So while the Western MMO experience was going home, logging in to the MMO, and either soloing or joining groups once online, with Asian MMOs you got together with a group of friends, went down to the internet cafe, sat down at adjacent computers, and gamed together until time to go home. Asian MMOs are, almost without exception, heavily group-oriented once you’re out of the starting area, often to the point where it is virtually impossible to do the content unless you are in a group.