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MMORPGs are bad game design

1356

Posts

  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Why do you assume I don't enjoy WoW?

    For that matter, why do you assume I'd be doing something more worthwhile?

    Quid on
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    When I was playing WoW, I was primarily playing because I wanted to do something with my cousin and his girlfriend after they moved across the country so I couldn't see them. That was a pretty valuable thing for the three of us and we had a ton of fun doing it.
    Similarly, I never understood the long-term attraction to games like SimCity, The Sims, or FarmVille.

    It's like, at what point are you done? What is the goal? My wife rushes home from work every day to make sure her crops get watered, and I'm all, "Why? What the fuck for?"

    I felt the need to answer this. Sandbox games are all about creating a goal for yourself and then achieving it. Build a city with a certain restriction (no roads!) or what not. I tend to input those kinds of goals into other games with actual winning conditions. Two favorite: turning every planet in a huge galaxy to a Gaia in Master of Orion 2 (this takes a long time, but is totally doable... requires a lot of Stellar Converting though) and building all 28 Wonders in one city in Civ2 with 6 opponents (this is super hard, even on Warlord).

    enlightenedbum on
    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
  • CalixtusCalixtus Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Tetra wrote: »
    My problem with MMOs is that their PVP design seems intentionally shallow and flawed. What do I mean by that? Well, in almost every other game that pits you against another human being, both players are intended to start on an equal playing field (not counting skill). In Poker, you start with the same number of cards; in Chess you start with the same number of pieces; in Starcraft you start with similar initial buildings and workers, etc.

    MMOs, though, willingly allow players the option to bypass these conditions -- to gain a one-up over their competitors -- usually by investing more time (hence more money) into the game. And when this happens, player versus player interactions usually become one-sided and frankly boring. Now, maybe when both players invest the same amount of time into the game and are on an equal footing, the game starts to regain an interesting dynamic, but in every MMO I've tried that rarely happens. You just get different tiers of players, and higher tier players beat up the medium tier players who beat up the poor schmucks who might as well not even show up. Group vs Group interactions (perhaps) have a little more leeway in this regard, but in general the advantage gained by investing more time makes fights incredibly skewed.

    For me, a person who enjoys going head to head against other players in any game, this is absolutely rotten core gameplay, but it works for the purposes of making the company money. I'm not even sure that an MMO that didn't adhere to this policy could be profitable, which is why I've sort of just written off MMOs for now. I know a few games tried to level the playing field a bit, but in the end it seems they always come back to the "invest more time in me and I'll make it worth your while" schtick.
    I would argue that the problem lies in poor matchmaking/tiering of the playerbase. Poker isn't neccesarily the most entertaining activity if you match the "So there are 52 cards in a deck, right?" player with the world champion either, but MMOs tend to do a very poor job at making it easy for players to fit themselves into PvP that's appropriate for their ambition/skill/experience/playing time.

    Character progression is a "neccesary evil" in MMO PvP, making the guy with 5 years of PvP experience play with or against the guy who just got the game last month absolutely isn't.



    And zerg rush, does that article mention playing with other people at any point? 'cause I totally agree that if you're playing an MMO and you don't give a shit about who you're playing it with, then it's probably not the game you should be spending money on. I mean, really, if "going out" counts as improving yourself, but a social activity like an MMO doesn't, you're not playing your MMO right.

    Calixtus on
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  • PwnanObrienPwnanObrien He's right, life sucks. Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GObOZd9x04

    Also, 5 Creepy Ways Video Games Art Trying to Get You Addicted

    I wouldn't say MMOs are an addiction or bad design, but I doubt anybody who gets off on greed can't read this....
    The Chinese MMO ZT Online has the most devious implementation of this I've ever seen. The game is full of these treasure chests that may or may not contain a random item and to open them, you need a key. How do you get the keys? Why, you buy them with real-world money, of course. Like coins in a slot machine.

    Wait, that's not the best part. ZT Online does something even the casinos never dreamed up: They award a special item at the end of the day to the player who opens the most chests.

    Now, in addition to the gambling element, you have thousands of players in competition with each other, to see who can be the most obsessive about opening the chests. One woman tells of how she spent her entire evening opening chests--over a thousand--to try to win the daily prize.

    She didn't. There was always someone else more obsessed.

    ...and not get a boner.

    PwnanObrien on
    WrIiiPW.png
  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Quid wrote: »
    Why do you assume I don't enjoy WoW?

    For that matter, why do you assume I'd be doing something more worthwhile?

    Are you just asking for the sake of argument or do you genuinely believe those assumptions are incorrect?

    Feel free to elucidate me on why you have nothing more worthwhile to do in your life than play an MMO. Or how you actually do enjoy running the same dungeon for the 25th time. For now though, I would say those assumptions are correct for the overwhelming majority of the population.

    zerg rush on
  • UrQuanLord88UrQuanLord88 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I think any Massively Multiplayer game is simply more complex than any other genre in gaming, purely because it has to take into account social interaction as part of the gameplay mechanic. There are just too many factors to consider when you have to make it accessible to a large audience and profitable as well AND have consistent entertainment value.

    As such I highly doubt that any one team of designers would be capable of pulling off anything less than what modern MMOs can offer. As MMOs get better, so must the number of teams of people working on the problem to make sure that every single area is well covered/designed just to keep up with peers.

    Personally, I've seen that MMOs have come a long way. From my experience, beginning from random 'korean grind/PK fests' to the vanilla version of the WoW, to the various expansions and finally to the latest Cataclysm incarnation, you can definitely see that one is different from the other, albeit in small ways. This is why I think that Blizzard, in particular to my experience, is arguably the most innovative while being the most sustainable in this genre, if you consider WotLK an overall flop.

    UrQuanLord88 on
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  • YougottawannaYougottawanna Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    EVE IS the MMO that breaks the mold, and I feel like I should say a few things about it:

    First, EVE is opaque and has a steep learning curve, but that's not a prerequisite to making a game with that style of player-driven PvP metagame. EVE players often say things along the lines of "EVE would be a great game if it weren't so terrible." (I actually think EVE is deceptively well designed, but it definitely has flaws)

    It would be entirely possible to create a game with a similar dynamic and player-driven metagame without the steep learning curve and spreadsheet-heavy gameplay. The one is not a requirement for the other. And considering that EVE has been at least a modest success while so many other MMO's have flamed out, I don't quite understand why more people aren't trying to copy it.

    Not only is it something different, it avoids one of the biggest endgame dilemmas of any subscription-based model: no studio can create content as fast as players can play it. And so long as you're charging a monthly fee, players feel justified in asking "why should I pay to play this game if there's nothing more to do?" WoW tries to solve this problem by having a huge team and turning the grind up to 11 once you hit the level cap. In EVE it's solved in a much different way: the PvP focus basically ensures that the players create their own content.

    It's true that most EVE players don't participate in the 0.0 game in EVE (where all the cool stuff happens). But almost all of them are spectators of it and entertained by it that way. And the barriers to entry to the metagame are not that high. You don't need to be an elite whatever to fly in a 0.0 fleet, I did it despite being pretty much clueless.

    Yougottawanna on
  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    And really, the RPG makers basically admitted this when they started coming out with features like the ability to hit a button and have the battles go on autopilot. Basically, the game was offering you a way to not have to play it. And this was considered progress. There are a lot of great games from back then, but they were mostly great games in spite of the combat system, not because of it. Everyone kind of just assumed combat was boring and lame left it at that.

    Speaking of brilliant game design?

    Farmville.

    It does the same: you can pay money so that you don't have to play it.

    I have a great article somewhere I'll dig up later that goes through Farmville on its merits as a game. Or lack of merits, as it were.

    Basically, you need X clicks to manage a farm of Y size. But you can buy things that automate steps! They make you pay to not play it! Brilliant!

    Echo on
    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Why do you assume I don't enjoy WoW?

    For that matter, why do you assume I'd be doing something more worthwhile?

    Are you just asking for the sake of argument or do you genuinely believe those assumptions are incorrect?

    Feel free to elucidate me on why you have nothing more worthwhile to do in your life than play an MMO. Or how you actually do enjoy running the same dungeon for the 25th time. For now though, I would say those assumptions are correct for the overwhelming majority of the population.

    They are incorrect.

    Stop projecting.

    Elldren on
    fuck gendered marketing
  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    Here's that article.
    Even Zynga’s designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow. As you advance through Farmville, you begin earning rewards that allow you to play Farmville less. Harvesting machines let you click four squares at once, and barns and coops let you manage groups of animals simultaneously, saving you hundreds of tedious mouse-clicks. In other words, the more you play Farmville the less you have to play Farmville.

    Echo on
    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Echo wrote: »
    Here's that article.
    Even Zynga’s designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow. As you advance through Farmville, you begin earning rewards that allow you to play Farmville less. Harvesting machines let you click four squares at once, and barns and coops let you manage groups of animals simultaneously, saving you hundreds of tedious mouse-clicks. In other words, the more you play Farmville the less you have to play Farmville.

    Well I hate Farmville too, but surely that argument could be applied to numerous games?

    In Civ I can get infantrymen which have Str X, or I can research Elite Knights which have Str 4X. So the more I play Civ the less units I have to make!

    In an FPS I can get a more damaging gun that kills enemies quicker. So the more I play the less time I have to spend killing each enemy!

    Isn't that the same?

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Here's that article.
    Even Zynga’s designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow. As you advance through Farmville, you begin earning rewards that allow you to play Farmville less. Harvesting machines let you click four squares at once, and barns and coops let you manage groups of animals simultaneously, saving you hundreds of tedious mouse-clicks. In other words, the more you play Farmville the less you have to play Farmville.

    Well I hate Farmville too, but surely that argument could be applied to numerous games?

    In Civ I can get infantrymen which have Str X, or I can research Elite Knights which have Str 4X. So the more I play Civ the less units I have to make!

    In an FPS I can get a more damaging gun that kills enemies quicker. So the more I play the less time I have to spend killing each enemy!

    Isn't that the same?

    Yeah. That argument equates mouseclicks with playing the game, when that simply isn't the case. APM does not translate directly into how much you are playing a thing, as any game is more than the sum of its inputs.

    Elldren on
    fuck gendered marketing
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Elldren wrote: »
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Here's that article.
    Even Zynga’s designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow. As you advance through Farmville, you begin earning rewards that allow you to play Farmville less. Harvesting machines let you click four squares at once, and barns and coops let you manage groups of animals simultaneously, saving you hundreds of tedious mouse-clicks. In other words, the more you play Farmville the less you have to play Farmville.

    Well I hate Farmville too, but surely that argument could be applied to numerous games?

    In Civ I can get infantrymen which have Str X, or I can research Elite Knights which have Str 4X. So the more I play Civ the less units I have to make!

    In an FPS I can get a more damaging gun that kills enemies quicker. So the more I play the less time I have to spend killing each enemy!

    Isn't that the same?

    Yeah. That argument equates mouseclicks with playing the game, when that simply isn't the case. APM does not translate directly into how much you are playing a thing, as any game is more than the sum of its inputs.

    Tedium is definitely one of the negatives that all videogames, even the greats, use in the risk side of their risk/reward matrices. However some games are great despite having boredom in them and some games are... boring.

    I'm not sure whether it's some aspect of how tedium is apportioned in the game or just that the fun parts make up for the dull parts. When I say 'dull parts' I don't just mean the bad parts of the game. I mean that the fear of having to redo a level of SMB2 or slog back from the spawn point to the frontline in TF2 are part of what makes them fun.

    poshniallo on
    I figure I could take a bear.
  • TheOrangeTheOrange Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Why do you assume I don't enjoy WoW?

    For that matter, why do you assume I'd be doing something more worthwhile?

    Are you just asking for the sake of argument or do you genuinely believe those assumptions are incorrect?

    Feel free to elucidate me on why you have nothing more worthwhile to do in your life than play an MMO. Or how you actually do enjoy running the same dungeon for the 25th time. For now though, I would say those assumptions are correct for the overwhelming majority of the population.

    I believe you've been spoiled by being in a top 10 guild; that means that, skill wise, you were already covered and the only barriers that they can put in front of you are gear checks.

    Normal players are challenged by a boss that throw rocks with only 1.5 second warning and 2 seconds of incremental damage, players of top 10 guilds would only need 0.5 seconds probably and you would've been shielded by your competent healers even if you were a bit slow.

    In my experience, we never killed a new boss at the same week, never finished all content of an expansion and trying to avoid killing each other on grull's shatter was still a challenge up 'till the end of TBC. We were bad players probably, but that made the game kinda fun.

    TheOrange on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Why do you assume I don't enjoy WoW?

    For that matter, why do you assume I'd be doing something more worthwhile?

    Are you just asking for the sake of argument or do you genuinely believe those assumptions are incorrect?

    Feel free to elucidate me on why you have nothing more worthwhile to do in your life than play an MMO. Or how you actually do enjoy running the same dungeon for the 25th time. For now though, I would say those assumptions are correct for the overwhelming majority of the population.

    Considering WoW subscription numbers?

    Really, your entire premise is based on the idea that:

    People could be doing something "more worthwhile" with their leasure time. (Why is Halo 3 more worthwhile then WoW?)

    People don't enjoy WoW. (Stop projecting)

    You only need time in WoW to be better at it (Have you met the WoW playerbase? People weren't failing at H LK 25 because they weren't playing enough)

    shryke on
  • UrQuanLord88UrQuanLord88 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Echo wrote: »
    Speaking of brilliant game design?

    Farmville.

    It does the same: you can pay money so that you don't have to play it.

    I have a great article somewhere I'll dig up later that goes through Farmville on its merits as a game. Or lack of merits, as it were.

    Basically, you need X clicks to manage a farm of Y size. But you can buy things that automate steps! They make you pay to not play it! Brilliant!

    Reminds me of this article way back in 2007 about one particular Chinese MMO: http://www.danwei.org/electronic_games/gambling_your_life_away_in_zt.php

    Very disturbing read into how far these 'social games' that have a payment option can lead unsuspecting individuals astray, dumping entire life savings into virtual goods for online status. I would be wary to hail this sort of pay-instead-of-play scheme as some sort of brilliant idea for a video game.

    UrQuanLord88 on
    http://steamcommunity.com/id/urquanlord88
    urquanlord88.png
    Streaming 8PST on weeknights
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Tetra wrote: »
    My problem with MMOs is that their PVP design seems intentionally shallow and flawed. What do I mean by that? Well, in almost every other game that pits you against another human being, both players are intended to start on an equal playing field (not counting skill). In Poker, you start with the same number of cards; in Chess you start with the same number of pieces; in Starcraft you start with similar initial buildings and workers, etc.

    MMOs, though, willingly allow players the option to bypass these conditions -- to gain a one-up over their competitors -- usually by investing more time (hence more money) into the game. And when this happens, player versus player interactions usually become one-sided and frankly boring. Now, maybe when both players invest the same amount of time into the game and are on an equal footing, the game starts to regain an interesting dynamic, but in every MMO I've tried that rarely happens. You just get different tiers of players, and higher tier players beat up the medium tier players who beat up the poor schmucks who might as well not even show up. Group vs Group interactions (perhaps) have a little more leeway in this regard, but in general the advantage gained by investing more time makes fights incredibly skewed.

    For me, a person who enjoys going head to head against other players in any game, this is absolutely rotten core gameplay, but it works for the purposes of making the company money. I'm not even sure that an MMO that didn't adhere to this policy could be profitable, which is why I've sort of just written off MMOs for now. I know a few games tried to level the playing field a bit, but in the end it seems they always come back to the "invest more time in me and I'll make it worth your while" schtick.

    Yeah, I've come to the strong conclusion that persistent progression in a PvP game is just a bad idea.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Too many interesting-looking articles to read! Aaaugh!

    Seriously, though, I appreciate all the stuff people are linking to.
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Or how you actually do enjoy running the same dungeon for the 25th time. For now though, I would say those assumptions are correct for the overwhelming majority of the population.

    The following post was just a little bit above yours! Did you not bother to read it, or did you just discount the opinions contained therein because they didn't mesh with your pre-existing notions?
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    If there were a game that gave me that 5-man heroic dungeon dive experience, without the focus on slogging through progression, I would totally play it.

    Oh my yes. I loved L4D for just this reason. If someone could give me that same fighting experience with classes that can be modified I'd be all over that shit.

    Oh god. First-person fantasy dungeon delve on XBox Live, multiplayer co-op, with a long-term rich levelling system and a sidekick system to allow inexperienced players to enjoy playing with experienced ones?

    My legs would atrophy and I would die of dehydration.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Pixel Poppers: Awesome by Proxy: Addicted to Fake Achievement

    I want to share this article. This is one of my favorite articles on the subject of RPGs and MMOs. It was one of the driving forces behind finally quitting WoW after being a hardcore (as in top 10 guild) raider. Here's the meat of the article, but I urge you to read the whole thing in the link above.
    Then, one day in a Child Psychology course, I learned something interesting.

    It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform - to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master - to improve their skill or knowledge.

    This reminds me a little bit of the psychographic profiles in Magic. I don't know how scientific they are. I think they were developed by Wizards market research.

    http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr220b
    Timmy

    The first question I always ask of a profile is: what does this profile want when they play Magic? Timmy wants to experience something. Timmy plays Magic because he enjoys the feeling he gets when he plays. What that feeling is will vary from Timmy to Timmy, but what all Timmies have in common is that they enjoy the visceral experience of playing. As you will see, Johnny and Spike have a destination in mind when they play. Timmy is in it for the journey.

    Johnny

    So why does Johnny play Magic? Because Johnny wants to express something. To Johnny, Magic is an opportunity to show the world something about himself, be it how creative he is or how clever he is or how offbeat he is. As such, Johnny is very focused on the customizability of the game. Deck building isn't an aspect of the game to Johnny; it's the aspect.

    Spike

    So why does Spike play? Spikes plays to prove something, primarily to prove how good he is. You see, Spike sees the game as a mental challenge by which he can define and demonstrate his abilities. Spike gets his greatest joy from winning because his motivation is using the game to show what he is capable of. Anything less than success is a failure because that is the yardstick he is judging himself against.

    The article goes a little deeper into subtypes of these profiles.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    zerg rush wrote: »
    Quid wrote: »
    Why do you assume I don't enjoy WoW?

    For that matter, why do you assume I'd be doing something more worthwhile?

    Are you just asking for the sake of argument or do you genuinely believe those assumptions are incorrect?

    Feel free to elucidate me on why you have nothing more worthwhile to do in your life than play an MMO. Or how you actually do enjoy running the same dungeon for the 25th time. For now though, I would say those assumptions are correct for the overwhelming majority of the population.

    They're incorrect. WoW's a perfectly pleasant game that becomes especially fun when playing with other people. As far as nothing better to do with my time than play an MMO, I'm not seeing how my time's any less wasted than when I play other video games.

    Quid on
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited April 2011
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Echo wrote: »
    Here's that article.
    Even Zynga’s designers seem well aware that their game is repetitive and shallow. As you advance through Farmville, you begin earning rewards that allow you to play Farmville less. Harvesting machines let you click four squares at once, and barns and coops let you manage groups of animals simultaneously, saving you hundreds of tedious mouse-clicks. In other words, the more you play Farmville the less you have to play Farmville.

    Well I hate Farmville too, but surely that argument could be applied to numerous games?

    In Civ I can get infantrymen which have Str X, or I can research Elite Knights which have Str 4X. So the more I play Civ the less units I have to make!

    In an FPS I can get a more damaging gun that kills enemies quicker. So the more I play the less time I have to spend killing each enemy!

    Isn't that the same?

    I've never played Farmville, so I don't know how well the criticism applies to it. But generally, progression in a game doesn't involve playing the game less. In a lot of games, in fact, the power your character gains is pretty much illusory.

    You run around killing things with a sword, for example. You can kill an average enemy with five hits. But wait, ooh, you leveled up! You do twice as much damage with your sword! Except now the enemies you fight have twice as many hit points. It still takes five hits to kill it. You're "stronger" in some sense, but the upshot is that nothing has really changed.

    Same thing happens in FPS games. You get a stronger gun to use against the stronger enemies. Or in RPGs. Your new fireball spell does more damage so you can defeat the monsters with more hit points.

    Generally this holds until the end of the game, where (in most epic RPG type games, anyway) you become so strong that you can pretty much wipe the floor with any enemy in the game. Everything dies with one hit and you can flatten fields of foes with a single magic blast.

    Better games do actually realize evolution in gameplay as you progress through the game. But generally speaking, the bulk of the game doesn't get simpler or quicker as you're leveling up.

    ElJeffe on
    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    IMO, ideally, progression should involve unlocking new strategic options for the player. WoW kind of does this - they introduce you to your basic abilities from level 1-10, then at level 10 they give you a new strategy (warlocks/hunters get a pet, druids get a new form, shamans a new totem, etc.). When they increase leveling speed, they evaluate whether doing so is going to result in high-level players of mediocre skill - because those players would have spent less time practicing each ability. In some ways, levels 1-50 are basically a long tutorial mode.

    Also IMO, the primary purpose of flat stats upgrades in an MMO - now you do 100 damage instead of 10 - is to maintain a sense of danger when exploring the world. Don't go too far into the woods - that's the wilderness! (Only the 'wilderness' is a level 50 zone when you're level 20.)

    Flat stats upgrades in a linear game, like a JRPG or an action game, are somewhat pointless. Well, not entirely... if a game gives you the choice between upgrading your basic punch damage versus learning a roundhouse kick, or increasing your damage output versus your HP, then that's a chance for the player to express some creativity over the game. You're letting them choose their strategy, which increases engagement and replayability. I felt like Prototype was a pretty good example of this, giving you fighting styles to unlock alongside the option to improve fighting styles already unlocked.

    Some games, though, go too far in that direction. That was my primary complaint about Torchlight - too many of the talents were just numeric stats upgrades. Just looking at the talent tree made me bored.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • WMain00WMain00 Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Truth be told, I haven't met an MMO yet that has kept my entertainment going for the full game. The result is I don't have a max level character in WoW whatsoever, my highest being 61, which I achieved only recently.

    MMO's progressively get tedious for me. After a while it becomes the same old grind affair.

    WMain00 on
  • HappylilElfHappylilElf Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    Tetra wrote: »
    My problem with MMOs is that their PVP design seems intentionally shallow and flawed. What do I mean by that? Well, in almost every other game that pits you against another human being, both players are intended to start on an equal playing field (not counting skill). In Poker, you start with the same number of cards; in Chess you start with the same number of pieces; in Starcraft you start with similar initial buildings and workers, etc.

    MMOs, though, willingly allow players the option to bypass these conditions -- to gain a one-up over their competitors -- usually by investing more time (hence more money) into the game. And when this happens, player versus player interactions usually become one-sided and frankly boring. Now, maybe when both players invest the same amount of time into the game and are on an equal footing, the game starts to regain an interesting dynamic, but in every MMO I've tried that rarely happens. You just get different tiers of players, and higher tier players beat up the medium tier players who beat up the poor schmucks who might as well not even show up. Group vs Group interactions (perhaps) have a little more leeway in this regard, but in general the advantage gained by investing more time makes fights incredibly skewed.

    For me, a person who enjoys going head to head against other players in any game, this is absolutely rotten core gameplay, but it works for the purposes of making the company money. I'm not even sure that an MMO that didn't adhere to this policy could be profitable, which is why I've sort of just written off MMOs for now. I know a few games tried to level the playing field a bit, but in the end it seems they always come back to the "invest more time in me and I'll make it worth your while" schtick.

    Yeah, I've come to the strong conclusion that persistent progression in a PvP game is just a bad idea.

    I think it depends on what the progression gets you.

    Planetside did a pretty good job of it I think. You started off (assuming you dicked around and picked up the tutorial exp) enough certification points to fill any role the game had to offer. The only thing additional battle ranks did for you is let you fill additional roles without having to completely wipe and redo your certifications (which had a 24 hour cooldown).

    HappylilElf on
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    How is that even a criticism? Yes, you will have to kill things to get rewards. Generally speaking you will have a quota of things to kill as opposed to a perfectly granular distribution of rewards across individual kills. Yes, NPCs will exist in the gamespace and by necessity will be either stationary or moving in defined patterns. Yes, there will be times and places in the game environment where events occur that attract players. Yes, your character will have progressively more powerful skills/abilities/spells/whatever that are exclusive and which the player can select and customize in some way.

    You're criticizing the gameplay at such a fundamental point that it seems kind of useless, to me. I mean if all of those things should be changed for the sake of innovation, maybe we've been doing this the wrong way all along. Maybe counterstrike was/is the best MMO.

    I lost three and a half years of my life to Counter-Strike.

    To date, I've never spent more than an hour playing any of the MMO's that I've tried. Just can't bring myself to come back after the first session due to boredom.

    So, to me, CS is most definitely the best MMO, insofar as you can call it one. Plus, it had no monthly subscription cost.

    Xenogear_0001 on
    steam_sig.png
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I strongly feel that it is not only possible, but ethically preferable, for MMO developers to take steps to reduce the addictive power of their games... without sacrificing either their profits or how enjoyable the game is.

    (Addictive does not equal fun. There's some overlap, sure. But it's been observed, in gambling addiction for instance, that the severity of a person's habit is not directly related to how much fun they're having.)

    WoW's rest experience bonus is a very good example. It discourages marathon play sessions and encourages people to turn off Warcraft occasionally and go do other things. And it has the nice side effect of drawing out subscription periods, because it's better for Blizzard's profit margin for people to finish 100 hours of content across 10 weeks at 10 hours per week than it does over 10 days at 10 hours per day.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    This is a pretty silly topic, but to answer the question of whether or not MMOs are stagnating, the answer is not only yes, but hell to the yes!! Other than the graphics and some minor architectural/gameplay changes MMOs have not substantially changed since Mudding in the early days of the 'Net. For more than 15 years the basic MMO model has been pretty unchanging, just more expensive as more servers were required and MMOs began to be developed by mainstream game makers, instead of random hacker collectives.

    Except no, since MMORPGs have been improving and experimenting for ages now and are still continuing to do so with new releases. (The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 being 2 notable examples coming up).

    The thing is, alot of those experiments have failed. Most of them in fact. But that's the way it goes, especially for an MMO type game that relies on grabbing and retaining players and generally involves players who can only play so many games at once.

    The only thing that might be confused to be "stagnating" is there are lots of commenalities between many of the large scale big-budget MMOs, but this isn't stagnation. (and these things aren't universal anyway) This is a combination of "This works so we use it" and "If you change this, you are skipping into a different genre", so it's not that they don't' exist, it's that they are over there in a different pile.

    shryke on
  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    shryke wrote: »
    hanskey wrote: »
    This is a pretty silly topic, but to answer the question of whether or not MMOs are stagnating, the answer is not only yes, but hell to the yes!! Other than the graphics and some minor architectural/gameplay changes MMOs have not substantially changed since Mudding in the early days of the 'Net. For more than 15 years the basic MMO model has been pretty unchanging, just more expensive as more servers were required and MMOs began to be developed by mainstream game makers, instead of random hacker collectives.

    Except no, since MMORPGs have been improving and experimenting for ages now and are still continuing to do so with new releases. (The Old Republic and Guild Wars 2 being 2 notable examples coming up).

    The thing is, alot of those experiments have failed. Most of them in fact. But that's the way it goes, especially for an MMO type game that relies on grabbing and retaining players and generally involves players who can only play so many games at once.

    The only thing that might be confused to be "stagnating" is there are lots of commenalities between many of the large scale big-budget MMOs, but this isn't stagnation. (and these things aren't universal anyway) This is a combination of "This works so we use it" and "If you change this, you are skipping into a different genre", so it's not that they don't' exist, it's that they are over there in a different pile.

    It's also a question of perspective. If you're not a fan of a genre or sub-genre, it's a lot harder to see any progression taking place unless it's really incredibly blatant. Someone who doesn't enjoy or "get" FPS games probably thinks the basic FPS model hasn't changed that much (other than graphically) since Doom, since all of the major and minor gameplay changes that have shown up in the genre since then haven't changed the broadest definition of an FPS game: aim at things and shoot them.

    Lawndart on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    So basically, by your definition, every genre is stagnant.

    shryke on
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    First, I'd really, really like to avoid the addiction argument. Referencing the gameplay mechanics which drive players to want to complete the same tasks over and over is legitimate. The addiction argument has been done to death, though, and is only going to impede discussion of the OP topic.

    Now, back on topic: Certainly stagnation, by some definitions, isn't the sole concern. Obviously MMO's have not remained unchanged, and there have been changes to the games.

    What I'm saying here, though, is that the primary "fun" factor of MMO design only exists in the multiplayer, collaborative efforts against an abstract puzzle. The actual design of the abstract puzzle, the gameplay design, is poor. MMO's are not fun "games" in and of their gameplay components. They are definitely fun, I am not disputing that, but the fun comes from the unique, multiplayer components. My argument is that games could be better designed, with more interesting and enjoyable gameplay elements, while also leveraging the multiplayer capabilities.

    A metaphor: If Monopoly was the only board game you had in the house and you played it with your friends, you'd still have fun. However, there are better designed games, with better gameplay elements, that you could play with your friends and have MORE fun. Currently, our house only contains monopoly: MMO's clinging to the same design concepts (clunky interface challenges, repetitive completion of nearly identical tasks, unengaging storyline poorly interwoven into events).

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    I strongly feel that it is not only possible, but ethically preferable, for MMO developers to take steps to reduce the addictive power of their games... without sacrificing either their profits or how enjoyable the game is.

    (Addictive does not equal fun. There's some overlap, sure. But it's been observed, in gambling addiction for instance, that the severity of a person's habit is not directly related to how much fun they're having.)


    It is an interesting argument, to be sure, that MMORPGs from WoW to things like FarmVille practically have predatory addiction-seeking business models, and are a lot more intrusive and loosely regulated than things like organized gambling.

    It's not exactly apples and oranges, as MMORPGs are offering goods and services instead of betting like a casino does, but it's not hard to say that the business model of all forms of video gaming has taken on a much more cynical "service plus" mantle.

    Atomika on
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    First, I'd really, really like to avoid the addiction argument. Referencing the gameplay mechanics which drive players to want to complete the same tasks over and over is legitimate. The addiction argument has been done to death, though, and is only going to impede discussion of the OP topic.

    Now, back on topic: Certainly stagnation, by some definitions, isn't the sole concern. Obviously MMO's have not remained unchanged, and there have been changes to the games.

    What I'm saying here, though, is that the primary "fun" factor of MMO design only exists in the multiplayer, collaborative efforts against an abstract puzzle. The actual design of the abstract puzzle, the gameplay design, is poor. MMO's are not fun "games" in and of their gameplay components. They are definitely fun, I am not disputing that, but the fun comes from the unique, multiplayer components. My argument is that games could be better designed, with more interesting and enjoyable gameplay elements, while also leveraging the multiplayer capabilities.

    A metaphor: If Monopoly was the only board game you had in the house and you played it with your friends, you'd still have fun. However, there are better designed games, with better gameplay elements, that you could play with your friends and have MORE fun. Currently, our house only contains monopoly: MMO's clinging to the same design concepts (clunky interface challenges, repetitive completion of nearly identical tasks, unengaging storyline poorly interwoven into events).

    But they aren't clinging to these designs. They are constantly working to improve on them. From more engaging stories, to better UIs, to better challenges, etc, etc. These are all the areas where MMOs are constantly improving and experimenting.

    Some issues though, like repetition, are simply a fact of the basic design. You can't make content faster then people can consume it.

    And again, many do find MMOs fun. The gameplay itself will make or break your game most of the time, as so many dead MMOs can attest. Multiplayer gameplay that is crap doesn't keep subscribers.

    shryke on
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    Meh. No one would ever put up the kind of money required to make a MMO and then also reduce their audience by reducing the addictiveness of the games, ever, period. That's like expecting the tobacco companies to suddenly make cigarettes that are less addictive (ie: have less tobacco): it will never happen, because that behavior would damage their ability to make money, thereby threatening their very existence.

    Also, exactly how would you go about reducing the addictiveness of any game? As far as I can tell, only boredom and real life concerns mitigate video game addictiveness, so when you say "reduce the addictive power" I hear "make them more boring" and "make them fail". You are forgetting one of the basics of addiction: there has to be both a subject and an object of addition. People are natural habit formers particularly when there is rewarding reinforcement like "fun", and when you give someone "fun" or "happy" with anything they are possibly going to get addicted to the source of "fun" or "happy". Only by reducing the "fun" or "happy" component of the source of addiction can you reduce addictiveness, that's why hardcore drug addicts and alcoholics have to hit rock-bottom before they seek to change their ways.

    This is completely wrong and I directly addressed both of these arguments above. Rather than simply copy & paste my post I'm going to suggest rereading it.
    hanskey wrote: »
    Again, fundamentally MMOs ARE the same as they've always been since the 'Net's inception.

    MUDscreen.jpg

    215712-neverwinter-nights-dos-screenshot-in-front-of-the-city-neverwinter.png

    UOPlayerInteraction.jpg

    raidh.jpg

    Totally fundamentally the same.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    MMO's are not fun "games" in and of their gameplay components. They are definitely fun, I am not disputing that, but the fun comes from the unique, multiplayer components.

    I don't understand this distinction. Are you saying that MMOs would not be fun if they were single-player? Maybe (though I think that's debatable), but neither would chess or Carcasonne.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • ElldrenElldren Is a woman dammit I'm a good person yes it's trueRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    MMO's are not fun "games" in and of their gameplay components. They are definitely fun, I am not disputing that, but the fun comes from the unique, multiplayer components.

    I don't understand this distinction. Are you saying that MMOs would not be fun if they were single-player? Maybe (though I think that's debatable), but neither would chess or Carcasonne.

    Speaking personally, I find FPSs aren't much fun independent of their multiplayer components.

    So maybe that's just him.

    Elldren on
    fuck gendered marketing
  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    Cons:
    - Subscription fees
    Just the opposite. An MMO will offer me as much playtime per month for 15 bucks at multiple 50 dollar games will; I find that every time I resubscribe to an MMO I save a bunch of money on new games.

    Glal on
  • Xenogear_0001Xenogear_0001 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I like to pay for diversity, myself. :D

    Xenogear_0001 on
    steam_sig.png
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    hanskey wrote: »
    Feral, you are taking both this topic and your opinions way too seriously here. Have you lost someone close to WOW addiction or something? If so, then I apologize for articulating a contrary opinion to yourself and antagonizing your traumatic experience. Second, I'm not wrong you just don't get what I'm saying, at all.

    I'm not antagonized. You made a statement that "As far as I can tell, only boredom and real life concerns mitigate video game addictiveness, so when you say "reduce the addictive power" I hear "make them more boring" and "make them fail"." That statement seems to be based around an old, inaccurate model of how addiction works. It is no longer believed by addiction researchers that hedonia (the experience of pleasure or fun) is the cause of addiction. Rather, whether or not you want something and whether or not you enjoy it are mediated by different systems in the brain.

    The technical terminology for this is hedonic reinforcers (ie, fun) versus incentive salience reinforcers (ie, habituation).

    An easy non-technical example of this is nicotine vs. MDMA. MDMA is somewhat addictive, but highly pleasurable. Nicotine is highly addictive, but only marginally pleasurable. In the context of MMO gaming, you can hear it expressed in comments like "I don't even know why I play WoW anymore, it's not that fun."
    hanskey wrote: »
    this is the only example that you gave toward your goal of making WOW or other MMOs less addictive.

    It only takes one counterexample to refute a thesis, but here are a few others. Auction houses that allow you to sell goods while logged off. Dungeon instancing so you don't have to camp world spawns. Instance saving so you don't need to complete a dungeon in a single sitting. Instance reset periods so you can't just repeat a dungeon every single day. Consistent currency reward systems like emblems or marks instead of low-probability random drops for high-value items.

    By the way, these are all examples of innovations that have been added to MMOs since "the beginning of the 'net" to use your parlance.
    hanskey wrote: »
    Do you make video games?

    No, I just play them on TV.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • EgoEgo Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Feral wrote: »
    hanskey wrote: »
    Do you make video games?

    No, I just play them on TV.

    I love everything about this. :^:

    Ego on
    Erik
  • durandal4532durandal4532 Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Designing with an eye toward addictiveness rather than entertainment isn't something I'd like to support, because it keeps me from having actual fun pretty effectively.

    But there's nothing inherent to the MMO model that requires you design that way. I mean, I like the recent Eurogamer article on Angry Birds because it speaks to the same thing: a game that is popular for being the right amount of frustrating rather than the right amount of fun.

    durandal4532 on
    Take a moment to donate what you can to the International Rescue Committee, the National Immigration Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union. There has never been a more urgent moment to do so.
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