Global Chat: Why do devs amputate content from MMOs?

    
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MMO blogger Yeebo Fernbottom tackled an issue that’s a standing pet peeve for me: When game developers take away systems, content, and fun toys that players loved. It’s like wee-ohh wee-oh the fun police is here to put a stop to you actually enjoying your game!

“For no sane seeming reason, MMO developers do this all the time,” Yeebo said. “Some developers seem to delight in ripping old content out of their games whether they need to do it or not. Forget about the old, it’s in with the new!”

Read on for more thought-provoking essays, including posts on the power of screenshots, building bases in Fallout 76, the Valheim phenomenon, LOTRO cosmetic pets, and more!

Virtual Bastion: Building a Brotherhood — and just building in Fallout 76

“Long story short, I learned two things from my shelter experience: I don’t like shelters, but I do like building! I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say, I have two big issues with shelters: (1) you can’t put ‘allies’ (friends found and helped in the wasteland) in them, and (2) loading into them is a pain. To the second point, the game’s load times are horrendous enough; having to load into my shelter each time I visited only added to the annoyance.”

Gamer Reverie: Learning LOTRO’s cosmetic pets

“One of the most popular features in MMOs is, hands down, cosmetic pets. Sometimes they’re tiny versions of NPCs or mounts, sometimes they’re crazy or thematic for a festival, and other times they’re just… creatures! Whichever variety floats your boat, today we’re going to talk about the ones in Lord of the Rings Online and how you can collect them!”

MMO Gypsy: Screenshot longings

“One of the safest ways to make me miss an MMORPG and make me want to jump back in, is when I see beautiful screenshots by active players. I love taking screenshots myself and browsing through old albums makes me feel very much like looking back on events that have happened in real life. I think that’s when games are at their most powerful: when you live the in-game experience and are fully immersed in the environment.

Nerdy Bookahs: Things I’ve never done in Guild Wars 2

“One other thing I have always been against was grinding for a legendary weapon. Much too expensive and I also never had a precursor drop for me. But since I’ve been looking at things I’ve never done in Guild Wars 2 – there are many, but also a lot that I am not interested in! – I figured that maybe it’s about time!”

24 Hours In: Also Playing Valheim

“Screenshots don’t do this game justice. Gameplay footage doesn’t do this game justice.  It has to be experienced. The world of Valheim is breathtaking and pulls off the same magic trick as Lord of the Rings Online in the way it creates amazing views out of simple graphics.”

Gnomecore: How to catch up with renown in Shadowlands

“Renown is a super important metric in Shadowlands , as it provides access to many, many things. Blizzard did a great work with catching up with Renown mechanics. You could easily make up to 10-15 Renown levels a week, so let’s see where it comes from.”

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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This comment section took an interesting and unexpected turn.

Code is a weak excuse for removing zones. The original Sharandar zones were functioning just fine before Cryptic decided to rip them out of the game with the launch of the new Sharandar content. It’s a peculiar decision – not least since the new content is a sequel to the original campaign.

Systems come and go but unless a zone or dungeon is broken (Cryptic has pulled a couple of dungeons out of NW for that reason) then I don’t see a reason to remove them. At least not a good reason.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Code is a weak excuse for removing zones.

Yes and no. If the zone requires something special to run then there’s an excellent chance it’ll break if it’s neglected.

Case in point: EVE Online’s Commander’s Quarters. It ran like crap, the instance was tiny, and it was part of an initiative to introduce their cash shop. Understandably a very tiny portion of the playerbase enabled the mode and their usage metrics reflected that.

Because of their metrics they effectively abandoned the feature but left it in. Then one day they made a minor graphical update that broke the other mode. CCP blamed the CQ code for that … OTOH it could have been a convenient excuse to finally ditch something that gave them a black eye in the past.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Should I give the smart-ass reply of ‘Because they can, because they have the power to do so.’?

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Bruno Brito

Yes, please.

I’m a MMO player, i’m addicted to being helpless and led by the nose.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I mean, anyone who’s participated on ‘suggestions forums’ for their games knows that even if you put forth great new ideas, or things that would fix something ‘old’ (That maybe lots of people are fine with), it doesn’t mean we really get a say in the direction it heads. They can go through and snip out what they want at will, and we just have to hold our cookies and go home…because there really is nothing we can do about it other than complain…and maybe hope we influence someone in some position that will listen to us…but that’s rare, and often shows favoritism towards someone or some idea, so they won’t listen anyway…unless you whisper it to someone behind the scenes, and when someone finds out it wasn’t the person’s idea, someone gets sacked…

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Denice J. Cook

It’s interesting how so many older MMORPGs like LoTRO, Lineage 2, WoW, Runescape, Everquest and Everquest 2 all have classic-era/old-time progression servers that are going like gangbusters these days. Clearly, these players feel their MMOs went wrong somewhere along the way (too stripped down/dumbed down over time? too many launch-era zones got removed? became too class-nerfed? too pay to win, or too cash-shop-rng-based? too high level or end-game raid based so they felt they’d never catch up? etc).

EQ2’s Kaladim PvE TL progression server is still the most populated in the game, with additional dev support planned for this year.

EQ2 is also launching a new launch-era (circa early Nagafen years) PvP TL progression server. Kander, lead dev, says they’re already working on it and it will be launched “sooner rather than later” (he’s hoping for a Q1 launch). It will be a “standalone PvP TL launch” with lots of dev backing and investment. More PvP TL and PvP beta server news due in with the next Kander’s Candor podcast due mid-March, so stay tuned! There’s a new PvP channel in the official EQ2 Discord that showed up Feb 19th with the announcement, and there are PvP sections of the EQ2 official forums if you scroll down toward the bottom of the main page there.

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Arktouros

As a non-gaming developer man that’s just how things work. No one wants or likes to do it, but everything represents time even from a maintenance perspective. As time goes on new technology gets implemented and more and more systems have to work with each other. If you got old content that less than 1% of your player base is using but still has to be accounted for/updated/adjusted each time you do an update that’s an extremely big ask to just leave it in.

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Bruno Brito

If you got old content that less than 1% of your player base is using but still has to be accounted for/updated/adjusted each time you do an update that’s an extremely big ask to just leave it in.

Simple question then: A long time ago, we got confirmation from Blizzard that only 10% of the population of WoW were into raiding. Yet, it became the core stay of their design, everything revolves around it.

Why is it that something that only 1/10 of the playerbase partakes in, became the entire reason why the game works the way it works, and affects the other 9/10 and they have the resources for that but they don’t have the resouces to adjust translation issues between old content and new design?

Because i am of the firm belief that multimillion dollar companies have the resources to fix said translation issues between new and old design instead of just blowing them out of the game.

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Arktouros

There’s multiple factors that go into answering that question.

Obviously, 10% of a population of WOW’s size is a significant number of people. Assuming even a conservative 4 million players at 10% and assuming they only subscribe 50% of the time (while having new raid content to work on) that’s millions of dollars to leave on the table easily justifying a development team’s time and effort. They’ve also taken significant number of steps over the years to make raids more accessible by scaling different levels of raid difficulty. I assume this boosted access to this content a bit but again I haven’t kept up with the game in terms of accessibility.

We also have to consider the play time and style differences of the user base. A power user who rushes to max level, gear and into raiding doesn’t have the same needs as someone who gets done putting their kids to bed at 9 and logs in for an hour before going to sleep to get up to work the next morning. That later player doesn’t need additional development content because the content already created (leveling, gearing, etc) is already too much content for them to be able to consume.

“Translation issues” as we’re calling it is no real net gain for the users when addressed. Like I have a number of applications that I’d just love to go back and re-write using methods I’d write a new one with but that’s time I’m not spending on writing new applications or fixing broken ones. There’s actually a pretty classic example of this with Planetside 2. A few months after the game launch they had to basically stop all in game development/updates and adjust the engine so it could work on a PS4 (they originally got a blank check from SOE to develop the game and have it ready for PS4 when PS4 launched…whoops). The game basically died as no updates caused everyone to leave after a few months. It was super bad for the game.

Throwing out terms like “multi-million dollar companies” is really glib. There are a large number of costs associated with running any business. Most game developers are compensated very well (despite misleading articles actually talking about tech support which are compensated like dog shit) and you can’t just snap your fingers and double your development team on a whim because “millions of dollars.” Even if you could operate like that, the issue remains that you’ll still likely get far more mileage by applying those developers towards active future projects rather than cleaning up old code.

However again if you’re actively pulling code/product/applications it’s almost always because of a lack of use scenario.

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Bruno Brito

Throwing out terms like “multi-million dollar companies” is really glib. There are a large number of costs associated with running any business. Most game developers are compensated very well (despite misleading articles actually talking about tech support which are compensated like dog shit) and you can’t just snap your fingers and double your development team on a whim because “millions of dollars.”

I agree to an extend. I think there is a way for smaller teams to do specific tasks of translating old content into new gameplay better, and let’s be honest here, most of these companies don’t run their studios optimally.

Obviously, 10% of a population of WOW’s size is a significant number of people. Assuming even a conservative 4 million players at 10% and assuming they only subscribe 50% of the time (while having new raid content to work on) that’s millions of dollars to leave on the table easily justifying a development team’s time and effort. They’ve also taken significant number of steps over the years to make raids more accessible by scaling different levels of raid difficulty. I assume this boosted access to this content a bit but again I haven’t kept up with the game in terms of accessibility.

I also agree to an extent. Sizeable or not, reality is that WoW lost a huge part of it’s playerbase, and while a lot of it can be attributed to age, it can also be attributed to direction. Classic’s success is a telling story. I don’t think Classic is the be-all-end-all, but it is a frame of reference that WoW players do miss the open world adventures. Catering to a smaller slice of the population and trying to make casual players into raiders is not a solution.

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Arktouros

If we’re “being honest here” then honestly none of us know how these companies are run or how they are managed. Our most common source of information tends to come from former, often disgruntled employees who are an unreliable source of non-biased information as they’re unhappy. However “honestly” speaking you have just as much reason to assume they’re run optimally as non-optimally and you likely lean to the later because of your own bias on the topic.

Similarly if we’re “being honest here” you don’t have any more data on why people have quit WOW than you do how game studios are run. You think WOW/Blizzard has failed because of their direction so you attribute people leaving due to that but where’s your data to back that kind of claim? More over it’s entirely faulty to point to WOW classic as a success story because it’s game play model of literally lurching from one raid content expansion (BWL -> AQ -> Nax) is the exact model you’re criticizing.

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Bruno Brito

Are you really telling me that SSG and DBG are run optimally? Because you know they aren’t and that’s a fact. Or that Trion was ran optimally?

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Arktouros

I’m telling you that if we’re “being honest here” we have no idea of the factors involved in how they’re run and why decisions are made the way they are because we don’t work there nor are we involved in their process. It could very well be the case that given those other factors they are all running as optimally as possible given those scenarios. It could also be they are not. We have no realistic way of saying one way or another and it’s kinda weird to imply we do outside of the context that our bias for (IE: fanbois) or against (IE: haters) makes us assume one way or another.

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AnanCuS

Raids are actually relatively easy content to develop, I think. Limited paths a player can take, static content, fixed mechanics. A more predictable situation, which is easier to develop for. And a very vocal group of players starts hating on games which don’t have raids, or don’t have good enough raids. So it’s both easier and will keep a noticeable fraction of the loudest players happy, win/win from a developer’s perspective.

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Schmidt.Capela

I don’t really care about the reasons; as soon as I find that a piece of content I would ever want to replay isn’t accessible anymore there’s a good chance I’ll be taking my game time, and money, somewhere else.

But then, as I often say, I chose games as my main entertainment venue because it’s something interactive where I can relive past experiences at will; the moment a game starts removing content, and thus making it impossible for me to relive past experiences, it loses most of its appeal for me.

Caveat: this doesn’t really matter with offline games, at least when it comes to both Steam and GOG, because both those platforms allow me to roll back game versions at will. If I want to, say, play previous Astroneer events, or go back to a version of No Man’s Sky with different mechanics, I can just roll back the game to whichever version has the content or mechanics I want to experience.

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Arktouros

I don’t really care about the reasons; as soon as I find that a piece of content I would ever want to replay isn’t accessible anymore there’s a good chance I’ll be taking my game time, and money, somewhere else.

On behalf of software developers everywhere, bye Felicia.

Your constant ultimatums when it comes to game design decisions, game design itself, inclusion of PvP or not PvP, the game monetization methods and the litany of other boldly declared reasons that will cause you to leave/quit/not bother with a game make you an undesirable customer. I mean I don’t even know why you go small with it. Why not boldly declare you won’t play a game unless it’s paying you to do so and they send over someone to give you a foot massage while you play?

Like with any product there’s always going to be a set number of people who refuse to take part or use it for a myriad number of reasons. Even at my job in non-gaming software there’s always at least a couple of people at a work place who are like this; refusing to use our software unless we add/change XYZ or bring back ABC. If a workplace of 80 people 77 are using the product and 3 refuse well too bad, so sad. I’m not going to waste my time trying to please the last 3 while ignoring the needs of the other 77. If people want to throw tantrums (some certainly have) or in your case throw out ultimatums then they’re simply making themselves irrelevant.

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Bruno Brito

If a workplace of 80 people 77 are using the product and 3 refuse well too bad, so sad. I’m not going to waste my time trying to please the last 3 while ignoring the needs of the other 77.

Would you try to convert the 77 into the group of 3? Because that’s my point entirely.

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Arktouros

Actually your point is myopic in that it tries to say all people are the same and those same 3 people are interchangeable with any of the other 77 people. However a realistic breakdown occurs:

8 people are power users who use the product constantly and in a single week will use the product as much as 10x as your average customer. In gaming, these customers also tend to be associated with things like streaming and otherwise that will attract more customers to my product.

69 people (nice) have average use of the product and while some are higher than others and some are lower than others for the most part these people are good with the product as is without the need for any extreme feature adjustments. The product works for them and don’t require any additional attention so long as it’s not broken.

3 people hate your product and refuse to use it unless you change the business model to suit one person, another person refuses to play unless you bring back that one time event you designed and make it a permanent feature despite the fact it would break the game’s economy, and one person who refuses to play unless you pay them and send someone over to give them a foot massage.

As a developer I can address the needs of the 8 people, which also will give future content for some of the people in the middle group of people to work their way into if they want. Some of those users will never grow into using the features at that level, and throwing them other content they can get into may be better (IE: 10 man dungeons, 5 man dungeons, hard mode dungeons, etc etc etc) but I’ll still probably never get 100% adoption for.

The final group of people, the 3, are undesirable customers. They’re undesirable because what they want will wreck or change other parts of the product (or business model) which will domino effect cause others to quit/stop using instead. Like if I demand full loot PvP, obviously that would drive other customers away if implemented. These people are not worth catering to and are not interchangeable with the other categories.

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Schmidt.Capela

another person refuses to play unless you bring back that one time event you designed and make it a permanent feature despite the fact it would break the game’s economy

Reminds me of how I hacked my copy of Astroneer to have all the rewards for one-off events unlocked (and a way to generate soil from nothing that breaks the dev’s all-so-precious soil economy), my copy of Sims 4 to have a toggle that allows me to turn on and off the server-controlled events at will, and my copy of Pokémon Shield to let me bring back past time-limited events whenever I want specific monsters.

Any time I get a game I will play it in whichever way I desire, by any means possible, regardless of what the devs think about it. There are a few lines I won’t cross in online games — I don’t want to ruin the experience for other players — but, apart from that, I have no qualms whatsoever about playing the game in ways the devs not only didn’t intend to but even actively sought to prevent; if I paid for the game, I will use it in whichever way I see fit.

And if I can’t do that? If a game I’m interested in has something that drives me away, and no way for me to hack and change it? I just drop it (or, more likely, don’t even purchase it) and go play one of the literally hundreds of games in my ever-increasing backlog. I don’t need specific devs to cater to my whims when there are literally hundreds of devs who, in one way or another, sometimes even unwittingly, already do so.

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Arktouros

And if I can’t do that? If a game I’m interested in has something that drives me away, and no way for me to hack and change it? I just drop it (or, more likely, don’t even purchase it) and go play one of the literally hundreds of games in my ever-increasing backlog. I don’t need specific devs to cater to my whims when there are literally hundreds of devs who, in one way or another, sometimes even unwittingly, already do so.

Okay bye then.

I mean you really try super hard to throw off the “I don’t care” vibe in your replies but the constant proclamations over the litany of criteria you have in regards to game and your willingness to pay and/or pay them really works against it. “I don’t need to be catered to…” he claims while then listing all the ways developers need to act to cater to him. It’s pretty weird messaging.

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Schmidt.Capela

“I don’t need to be catered to…”

Quite the opposite, I need to be catered to.

I just don’t need specific devs to cater to me; I bring my business to those whose products cater to my preferences and needs (or that I can adapt to do that) and ignore the rest.

And I don’t need devs to even intentionally cater to me. The Astroneer devs, for example, don’t want to ever bring back exclusive rewards for past events and are really against making most resources renewable (as it would break their oh-so-precious soil economy), which would usually be dealbreakers for me in a survival game, but their game can be hacked and modded, so I just hacked it to provide me with what I want even though it’s against the explicit wishes of the devs. When it’s a game that is an almost perfect fit for my preferences, and I can hack or mod it to close that last gap, I don’t really need the devs to do it for me (and at the same time I don’t care, in the least, about whether the devs are fine with me hacking their game or not).

This, mind, is why I consider a game console I can’t hack to be no more useful than a paperweight. And why having to choose for my Switch between online play or modding capabilities was a no-brainer, as a Switch I can play online but can’t mod the games inside isn’t useful for me. As I said before, I will play in whichever way I please, dev intent be damned.

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Bruno Brito

Your point forgets one simple thing: Raidlogging happens once a week. WoW has weekly lockouts on raiding. Which means the “power player” you mentioned spends less time inside the game than the alt-aholic casual.

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Arktouros

Once again it’s you who are actually miscalculating here.

When you look at the over all game content loop/design you might have say 100 hours leveling, 40 hours gearing, and then an additional 40 hours for raid gearing.

The power users in this scenario lets say play 50+ hours a week will be entirely finished with all the base repeatable content there in 3 weeks and then “raid log” as you say through the final amount. The regular users in this scenario lets say play 10 hours a week and will take 14 weeks to get there and those who play less at 5 hours will take half a year to get to the same spot.

So from this perspective of hours your power user group will be finished and potentially moving on to a different product because there’s nothing new for them to work on where as your average player group continues to log in because they still have existing content to work through. Over time this will not be the case, and new content will have to be designed and developed for both (which again you see regularly in games).

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Kevin Smith

Sometimes things are cut out because of coding. When you have high turn over like gaming companies do you end up with tons of different people working on coding over the years. Things become bloated. A lot of the time it is more cost effective to remove bloat than to rework it to match that newer faster working code you have with the new xpac. This is a horrible excuse for players, but in reality it is the one that most likely happens the most.

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François Verret

Another reason for axing old content, which I think is the case in Destiny 2, is wait times. If there are too many choices for which to queue and not enough players, it takes forever for anything to launch. By trimming the number of choices, at least where group content is concerned, devs make sure you can be matched with others in a reasonable amount of time.

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Kevin Smith

Wait times had nothing to do with Destiny 2. Were never wait times for any event in that game. Actually more wait times now because about half the player base revolted when content they actually paid for as DLC and xpacs were removed. They claimed it was bloated coding. Overall it was because of the time it would have taken for the recoding that they were doing with the last xpac. They would have had to spend a lot of resources and time to redo it all and they went the cheaper route.

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Arktouros

Most of the content that was removed in D2 was content no one did. There was no “wait times” for Titan or Io content because no one wanted to do Titan or Io content let alone Mercury or Mars content. All of those locations were super dead and no one went there unless they needed something extremely specific (IE: Exotic quest).

The reason they went away, as Kevin mentions, is they’re overhauling their coding for locations going forward for background purposes and these locations were not done. The locations we did keep (EDZ, Nessus) are likely heavily involved with the seasons this year (we see big things on Nessus already with Season of the Chosen and EDZ was heavily featured with The Crow/Hawkmoon).

And the benefits of them removing this content have been felt multiple times over. For one we didn’t get Destiny 3, wiping all progress and forcing a hard reset of everything like was originally planned. However also more tangibly they’ve been able to deploy hot fixes and updates out much quicker it feels like than previously which was really nice during the holidays (where before we likely wouldn’t have seen any changes).

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François Verret

All right, I put my foot in my mouth when it comes to Destiny 2 :p Still, it would be a legit reason to cut less-played or old group content in general.

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Bereman99

Benefits like the unvaulting of liked older content like the expanded Cosmodro…oh, wait.

Yeah, I think it’s way too soon to call the vaulting of so much content for Destiny 2 a success story. Faster hotfixes is nice, but we haven’t yet seen much additional benefits yet to outweigh the loss of content and Bungie doesn’t have the track record where we can just take them at their word that the promised expansions over the next couple years will be worth that exchange.

And now we’ve learned that they are adding more plates to balance, with cross-media elements like a TV show, plus a non-Destiny game they want to work on?

I’ll hardly be surprised if this comes crashing down on them at some point, and the decision to vault ends up being a glaring mistake rather than the start of something beneficial.

Also, as for wiping progress…the game essentially has that built in now with how it will effectively vault gear (via the caps) after a set amount of time…so half the benefit of not having a Destiny 3 has already been lost.

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Arktouros

I mean the fact we didn’t get Destiny 3 already pretty much makes vaulting 100% a success story. I started playing with New Light back in 2019, spent a solid year getting all the exotics, quest legendaries, and of course lots of skins (over 2k hours atm) and if you told me that I’d have to just start 100% all over again from scratch with Destiny 3 I probably dusted off my hands and walked away.

Saying that Titan, Io, Mars or Mercury of all places were “content” is an extreme stretch of the term. Each of these locations has been super dead for over a year outside of specific season involvement. They were content in their time, but post New Light and the “bounty grind era” they simply were irrelevant.

So lets say you have two plates in your hand and you’re balancing them. Then you decide to balance two more plates on top of that. Wow that sure seems daunting, until you realize you just get another person with two more hands to balance those plates. This is literally an announcement of a huge expansion to their studio, why imply that this would take focus away from what they’re currently doing?

You’ll not get much defending sunsetting out of me, as their implementation of what they said they were going to do vs what they’ve done has been terrible. However while it’s certainly depressing to log in each season and delete whole swathes of weapons and armor so far my exotics and skins remain which they certainly wouldn’t have in a D3 scenario. Then I’d sound like one of those D1 vets being like “When are you bringing back my Bungo?” If anything this move has made me more casual, find it hard to grind hard for legendaries that just disappear in 9 months.

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Shadex De'Marr

As counterpoint I notice that responses like to put the blame on the devs. Devs don’t want to update it, devs don’t want to maintain the storage space, devs took away our toys. Now as a person that loves the older content, I love to create new characters, relive the old stories, hang out in familiar areas, I am going to play both sides of the coin on this.

The players are also a large part of why old content could be removed. Modern players are in general all about the now, the new, the next. A generation where they will pull 2 week non-stop binges and then complain that the new expansion was too short. In a way they are like a child that tosses the toy aside on Christmas morning the moment the next present is opened.

Now there are so many layers and contributing facets one would have to unravel such as the current tragic game design model where new gear is only obtained by repeatedly doing the same dungeons over and over until the player snaps. Please don’t make me do that dungeon anymore! The devs can, through this very common design trope, make their players hate their own content.

Back to the players, attention window recently is on par with that of a cat that will paw at a toy for a few minutes before walking away bored only to flop down with a look of disdain for the universe. The unending need for instant gratification doesn’t leave a lot of room for continuing to enjoy old content as the buzz fades quickly to the same stimulus.

Here we can more understand games where countless zones remain completely empty for great lengths as these players only feel anything from the most recent ‘hit’.

Now we flip the coin again and the devs introduce free max characters or endless 2x, 4x, experience bonuses to catapult any new character immediately to the latest buzz of choice. Which is honestly extremely counter productive as it pushes any player that might have actually wanted to enjoy the previous content out of it so fast they leave a Wiley Coyote shaped hole in the leveling wall. But they want to play with their friends who are already max level, we hear, and there is no way on this Earth you are going to get a max level character to go back and do the previous content just because they are friends. For reasons mentioned above.

So there is culpability on both sides. Again I personally am part of the group of gamers that is sad to see the old content go. I am still putting pins into my Bungie doll. I like to take new characters through those original areas as they often are far more suited to learning the game. More so than ‘hey see you just bought the game, here is a 10x xp scroll so you can get yelled at by your party because you have no idea how to play the more complex and unforgiving content at end game where we and the player base are putting all of our focus.’

I continue to believe that our salvation lies in the indie developer. In the beginning there were only a couple baskets that players could be put into and dev teams had to do whatever it took to try and make everyone in those baskets happy regardless of their individual tastes. Now there are literally thousands of baskets where we can finally leave the homogenous, shallow, white bread design of the ‘we must cater to the lowest common denominator’ games. Now every day some new option crops up. So I say to my fellow gamers, support your indie brethren and the unique experiences they provide and play styles they support.

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Kevin Smith

Think you hit a lot of the issues, but left one out or I missed it. Publishers are at fault a good bit also. They push for things to be done on there timelines and a lot of stuff get cut out and removed to fit timelines.

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Bruno Brito

Companies. Not devs. The ammount of bad devs is actually small, and most of them are devs that lead, not the rank and file that work and has love for the game. But while players have some sort of responsability on how games are kept going, the ultimate decision lies with companies. Companies that have no gamers at their upper echelons and tend to have a bad track record of decisions towards their playerbase.

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Dankey Kang

Bloat, poor quality, irrelevance; there’s plenty of good reasons to remove old content. Just because it may or not have been decent once upon a time doesn’t mean it needs to stay there forever.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

No dev “delights” in ripping out old content. Non devs do not understand exactly how much maintenance it takes to keep every single feature up to date and functioning. Every single one is a tax on dev and test time. We hate when features we like get the axe, but the dev team has to balance new content… which we all insist on… or keeping old, often little used, systems going. And sometimes a compiler or security update will break something and the effort to fix it will just be too much compared to the importance of a feature. Hard choices have to be made some times.

This is also why you don’t get your dozen favorite features in every single MMO, no matter how many times you complain in the forums. Smart devs are judicious when adding new systems because they know they have to be maintained going forward.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

And remember, there is likely also some dev on the team who probably loves that feature too and has championed it in the past when there has been too much work in the plan and something has to go. There is only so much time in the day and you can’t work on all the things.

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Bruno Brito

which we all insist on…

No one asked for Titanforging. No one asked for Neverwinter’s scaling system. No one asked for GW2 raids. I get your point but let’s not pretend that there are some phantom voices asking for features that we KNOW are being set in place to gather other target audiences. GW2’s raiding was not some sort of long desired content, it was made to give WoW players a sense of progression. Neverwinter scaling was made because Devs didn’t wanna waste time revamping the entire game to make characters less powerful ( which is what ended up happening ).

These features aren’t always desired features. Most of the time they’re a catch to get more people with different interests inside the game. They also tend to spread resources thin and not having the desired effect.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

YOU didn’t ask for those things. Let’s not pretend you speak for anybody but yourself, another common conceit of the fan base.

I would bet cash money that everything you name is somebody’s favorite thing. Just because it isn’t you thing doesn’t mean much.

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Bruno Brito

YOU didn’t ask for those things. Let’s not pretend you speak for anybody but yourself, another common conceit of the fan base.

You can generalize, and i can’t? Interesting.

So, are you saying there’s a chance that you’re wrong and some dev out there may delight in taking content out?

Because that works both ways.

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Hurbster

I would doubt that Titanforging is anyone’s favourite thing.

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Zandohaha .

Players mostly don’t know what they actually want. That’s why it’s up to the developers to design systems that keep those players coming back.

Gamers are great at stating things with 20/20 hindsight but as far as knowing what’s best for the future of the game? They don’t have a fucking clue. Especially the hardcore gamers who assume the majority of the playerbase approaches the game the way they do when in reality they are completely out of touch with the majority of the playerbase.

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Bruno Brito

Sure, but you can look sideways and learn from your competitors and contemporaries. That’s my problem with WoW: We ( and Blizzard ) are still pretending they’re flying solo and blind. They are not. If there is one thing that the mediocrity from the MMO scene can be useful, is as reference.

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AnanCuS

Claiming that no one asked for GW2 raids is flat out incorrect. A very vocal and negative minority spent years complaining that GW2 didn’t have raids on Reddit and the GW2 forums.

allwynd01
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allwynd01

Because they want players to play the most recent content only. There is a big chance that the new content might suck and the majority of players to want to play the old one and it will make the developers look like asses.

A good example would be if WoW had its Vanilla content (and mechanics) and the Retail content (and mechanics) somehow magically put together in a single game entity. If most players stick to the 1-60 Vanilla content and refuse to touch anything beyond that, it will simply mean that the new content is inferior and the developers did a poor job creating something enticing.

In regards to that it’s the developers’ arrogance that they know what’s best and when someone stops being needed. They believe that they are “evolving” the game and “making it better”, but the existence of Vanilla private servers and official Classic server indicates the complete opposite.

That’s how I see it and that’s why probably 99.99% of the MMOs I ever played I have no desire to touch again, because of this “content amputation”. To list a few which I enjoyed playing that got butchered this way:

– World of Warcraft
– Perfect World
– Jade Dynasty
– Forsaken World
– Talisman Online
– Lineage 2

I’m sure there are more, I just can’t think of anymore right now.

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Bruno Brito

WoW didn’t amputate that much content. It changed it when their mechanics changed. But you can still do it. And saying that WoW mechanics nowadays are worse than they ever were is a stretch. WoW’s raiding has only improved as the years went by.

allwynd01
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allwynd01

Part of the mechanics are leveling in the overworld and that experience completely lacks challenge as in you simply can’t die the way you could in Vanilla. For me that’s part of the challenge and the adventure that makes the game fun, I could not care any less about end game raiding or whatever that results in repeating the same raids over and over until something of value drops, that feels like a job and I can do that in real life, don’t need a game to do it.

Also they changed the appearance, layout and quests of many areas with Cataclysm so in a way you can’t really experience the content as it was in Vanilla – WoTLK. Just because Elwynn Forest is still there, it doesn’t give off the same experience it did back in the day. Westfall is even more prominent in that. And Durotar and The Barrens – two very iconic zones look completely unrecognizable. In my opinion, they should have never touched old content other than replacing textures with more higher resolution ones and replacing assets with ones with higher polygon count, other than that, they should’ve left things how they were. I don’t know anyone who thinks any of the old zones that received revamps are better that way.

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Bruno Brito

I’m not talking about leveling. I’m talking about endgame raiding. WoW was always a game about endgame, starting after Naxxramas. Even Vanilla had several concerns about endgame quality.

This is something that WoW players will need to make peace with. WoW is a casualized version of EQ. EQ also had the same kind of endgame.

I don’t know anyone who thinks any of the old zones that received revamps are better that way.

Desolace is way better now than it ever was. Not every zone was changed for the worse.

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Zandohaha .

“cAsUaLiSeD”. Please, for the love of god, stop trotting out this tired, tedious idea that, for whatever reason, MMO hipsters are obsessed with.

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Bruno Brito

?

WoW is a casualized version of Everquest. Why are you getting hung up on that is beyond me. I’m stating facts.

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Zandohaha .

“that feels like a job and I can do that in real life, don’t need a game to do it.”

I’ve never once seen hanging out having a laugh with my friends as “a job”. I do not understand the mentality of people that choose an MMO as a genre then completely ignore the social aspects of it.

Its as asinine as saying that going to the same pub each week and drinking the same beer feels like a job. No, you go there with your friends because that’s fun. Why are you treating an MMO like a single player game? Just play a single player game.

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Bruno Brito

People have the right to play games as they see fit. Drop the gatekeeping.

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EmberStar

Speaking for no one but myself: I’m not playing it because it’s an MMO. I was never there for the social aspect at all. I’m there because (for example) SWTOR is the only game where I can make a custom character in the Star Wars universe with a choice of character classes, appearance and playable sci-fi species.

I play Star Trek Online to be able to make nearly any captain I can imagine, who can command any of nearly 300 different ships now, with a fully customized bridge officer crew.

I play Warframe because it’s the only game that exists where I can choose from 45 completely different cyber-organic space wizard techno ninjas, wiping out whole rooms full of enemies by running straight up a wall and raining down death from a bow that fires arrows made of explosive monster tentacles.

I most definitely do NOT play any of them to be amazed by the incredible exploits of XX_xx-Legolas-xx_XX and Girthy_Pickle_McHuge.

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Zandohaha .

You will never be anything other than an extreme minority. A game not progressing would be the quickest way to kill your game because better or worse, people want new content and they don’t care to get pissy about a bunch of removed stuff that they had already exhausted over the previous years of playing it over and over.