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Topic: A Decade Grows Grey

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Xinika the Omnispawna
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A Decade Grows Grey

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Jumping onto the first MMORPG was an interesting experience. It wasn't exactly a shot of fun that swept me off my feet. It made me think and it made me wonder. It was different. A new experience. One that would keep me strapped into it for almost 10 years. Socially speaking, MMORPGs are great and we are social animals, so put 2 and 2 together...

Yet here I am making this post. Why?

A friend of mines, someone who was also in this guild, had told me something strange one day. I don't think it ever left me. He told me how tired he was of the genre, the communities and anything the whole gaming type had to offer. Truthfully, I thought this was crazy. If you weren't playing an MMORPG, what the hell were you playing? Consoles? Please...

WoW ruined the MMORPG genre. The sheer greatness of the game absolutely destroyed anything in comparison, and because of it, expectations were set so high that other games simply cannot compete. How many times did you go to a new, possible WoW-killer, only to have your hopes and dreams crushed? What's even funnier, is that people don't even try that 'WoW-killer' title anymore. It's just never going to happen.

After the constant let downs in launches, people begin to lose faith overtime, or just head back to the motherland - WoW. The issue with that is, while the motherland continues to milk her consumers, she herself grows old and her breast milk is turning to chalky powder. As good as WoW is, it is getting old and that doesn't only affect Blizzard's cash cow. See, that affects the whole genre. Other competitors are losing potential customers not just because their game may suck, but because people are genuinely growing a high disinterest in the game type.

Before we get into all those negatives, let's talk about the positives MMORPGs have provided.

 + Social Interactiveness (Take it good or bad)
 + Communities (Again, good or bad)
 + Experiencing people of different cultures, views, skill etc

As you can see, the general idea of MMORPGs is connecting you to other people - otherwise, why on earth are you playing these games?

What many people fail to acknowledge, (Just like they think the world is invincible and overpopulation is a 'myth') is that the MMORPG is also like a 'planet' that we had / have a part in succeeding or destroying. Drama, negativity etc, actually destroys communities. I've watched this happen in several games. While it may have been a thing to encourage others competitively years ago - this is a new age of people. In our lifespan, we've literally had two sets of MMORPG gamers collide within its timeframe of existence.

The newer gamer is more sensitive, wants to work less for more and in some ways either far smarter with brighter ideals for the future of gaming or absolutely a yoloswagger pea-brained idiot, stuck in their little bubble of insecurity. This also produces a dumber community, which makes it easier for those snarky business men to force what they think you want down your throats and don't you dare speak up against it...

And that's just the biggest issue. When a non-WoW team decides to make a game, they actually need their community moreso than the King. See, the King already has its grip. He knows when players quit his game, they'll come back. All they have to do is market it around the right release times. Not to mention, the King's influence on the player's mind has taken its set enforcement, so that player heading off to new shores already has their cup filled.

When that newling hits the shore, the developer welcomes - then the dev realizes this player has his ideals.
The developers have their vision for their game to be a success, but the success they imagined does not mesh exactly well with reality - the reality of WoW children. The producers know this, so they make sure the developers try to match ideals that can compete with WoW, enough to make profitable numbers at the expense of art. The original ideals are tarnished and understandably so. They cannot influence the gamer that their product is new, different and hey, maybe even better. See, we, the children of WoW are far past the point of return.

Even those who did not play WoW are also affected. Because it is a community. MMORPGs have always been a community and if majority the portion is affected, the rest will suffer the effects.

SWTOR placed a heavy blow on the industry. Actually it was so bad and disappointing that its literally set the doomsday clock for the gaming type. GW2, another possible potential, also helped to start sinking the ship. At last, Wildstar attempted their release as a 'return to the original roots' type of deal in a post apoc setting of MMORPGs, but by now, people are so far past this stage - in addition to the new age gamer having virtually no interest in grinds. This was a bad idea for overall success.

So where does this leave us now?

WoW itself is reducing in numbers. When WoD is released, it will be the last *great MMORPG* release and after that, nothing else will matter. Any commercial MMORPG planning to release after that might be asking for profitable suicide. As a business, the gold mine is depleting and the genre needs an evolution.

Leveling is boring, questing is tedious, we've fought Ragnarok in various forms a thousand times over, Arenas were fun but class balance is impossible... and so on and so forth.

We've been here a million times... when does it end? When does it change? When does it evolve?

The only hope for MMORPGs is literally an evolution of the genre. A complete change. The interest in sword n' board with magic in different forms, serve no purpose other than clinging onto an old, grey past...



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Manhattan
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Unfortunately I have to agree.

I'll edit this with more later.

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Shin wrote:

The only hope for MMORPGs is literally an evolution of the genre. A complete change. The interest in sword n' board with magic in different forms, serve no purpose other than clinging onto an old, grey past...


 

The main issue with this is that nearly every company who makes an MMO is afraid to try something new.  People often don't like change, at least at first.  Companies run a big risk by attempting something new.  As good of a game as WoW has been known as, it has ruined the genre by stunting the creativity of nearly all would be developers.  I believe the leveling process needs to go away completely, but people still need something to work for beyond cosmetics in MMOs, it is part of the draw to the genre.  GW2 tried PvP with only cosmetics to work for, and many grew bored quickly.  I know I got bored and left within a week's time.  The leveling process, however, I absolutely despise at this point, I've done it so many times, there's no enjoyment to be had while doing so.  

 

Anyway, people complain about MMOs not trying anything new, but whenever companies try to innovate, they usually bomb on sales.  Yet when they stick to the old WoW formula, and just polish it further, they seem to do decent on sales(see FFXIV and Wildstar recently as proof of this.)  So what the consumers tell developers through their actions is that they simply want a more polished WoW clone, even though their words say they want something different.  The fact that you say an MMORPG needs a complete evolution just attests that the genre itself is completely stale at this point.  If it changes so radically, can it even be called an MMO anymore?  I don't think any actual MMORPG can be made that would be exciting to me at this point.  The genre might as well be called something else soon enough, since the only way to save it is to change it so much that it would barely be an MMORPG anymore. 



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Xinika the Omnispawna
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Zabuza wrote:
Shin wrote:

 

The only hope for MMORPGs is literally an evolution of the genre. A complete change. The interest in sword n' board with magic in different forms, serve no purpose other than clinging onto an old, grey past...


 Anyway, people complain about MMOs not trying anything new, but whenever companies try to innovate, they usually bomb on sales.  Yet when they stick to the old WoW formula, and just polish it further, they seem to do decent on sales(see FFXIV and Wildstar recently as proof of this.)  So what the consumers tell developers through their actions is that they simply want a more polished WoW clone, even though their words say they want something different.  The fact that you say an MMORPG needs a complete evolution just attests that the genre itself is completely stale at this point.  If it changes so radically, can it even be called an MMO anymore?  I don't think any actual MMORPG can be made that would be exciting to me at this point.  The genre might as well be called something else soon enough, since the only way to save it is to change it so much that it would barely be an MMORPG anymore. 


 That's just the thing, it is dying and soon will be dead. I know, personally, I won't care about the next MMORPG that will be *it*. That was sealed shut with WS. It should've been sealed with TOR, but I still gave them chances. It really doesn't matter how smooth or fun it is in Beta periods, in the end, it will repeat as its predecessors.



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Shin wrote:
Zabuza wrote:
Shin wrote:

 

The only hope for MMORPGs is literally an evolution of the genre. A complete change. The interest in sword n' board with magic in different forms, serve no purpose other than clinging onto an old, grey past...


 Anyway, people complain about MMOs not trying anything new, but whenever companies try to innovate, they usually bomb on sales.  Yet when they stick to the old WoW formula, and just polish it further, they seem to do decent on sales(see FFXIV and Wildstar recently as proof of this.)  So what the consumers tell developers through their actions is that they simply want a more polished WoW clone, even though their words say they want something different.  The fact that you say an MMORPG needs a complete evolution just attests that the genre itself is completely stale at this point.  If it changes so radically, can it even be called an MMO anymore?  I don't think any actual MMORPG can be made that would be exciting to me at this point.  The genre might as well be called something else soon enough, since the only way to save it is to change it so much that it would barely be an MMORPG anymore. 


 That's just the thing, it is dying and soon will be dead. I know, personally, I won't care about the next MMORPG that will be *it*. That was sealed shut with WS. It should've been sealed with TOR, but I still gave them chances. It really doesn't matter how smooth or fun it is in Beta periods, in the end, it will repeat as its predecessors.

 

I believe the only innovation left that will interest people in MMOs would be virtual reality, but I'm not sure how long that will even last.  One thing I have noticed too after playing MMOs for so many years is the trend towards ease and accessibility, which actually ties into communities.  Say what you will about FF11, but I can tell you it had the best community I've ever been a part of, do you know why that is?  You relied on people for everything in that game, and there was no cross server stuff so if you were a complete asshat, everyone on your server would know about it.  It gave people all the incentive in the world to be nice.  Now I'm not saying that's the way to go, as it would drive a lot of gamers away because of how much you need people on everything.  

However, duty finder in particular, and cross server stuff devolves the community, as does a plethora of solo content.  If people have this, why do they need to be nice to others?  Just for the sake of being nice?  That's not enough for some people unfortunately.  So games such as that, which are pretty common now, destroy communities.  One other thing is the more hardcore PvP a game has and the more competitive the environment in the game is, the more hostile the community will be towards one another.  So basically for the best community you need several activities in which people rely on one another, cross server kind of destroys that, as much as it helps accessability.



-- Edited by Zabuza on Sunday 13th of July 2014 10:25:04 AM

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Xinika the Omnispawna
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Zabuza wrote:
Shin wrote:
Zabuza wrote:
Shin wrote:

 

The only hope for MMORPGs is literally an evolution of the genre. A complete change. The interest in sword n' board with magic in different forms, serve no purpose other than clinging onto an old, grey past...


 Anyway, people complain about MMOs not trying anything new, but whenever companies try to innovate, they usually bomb on sales.  Yet when they stick to the old WoW formula, and just polish it further, they seem to do decent on sales(see FFXIV and Wildstar recently as proof of this.)  So what the consumers tell developers through their actions is that they simply want a more polished WoW clone, even though their words say they want something different.  The fact that you say an MMORPG needs a complete evolution just attests that the genre itself is completely stale at this point.  If it changes so radically, can it even be called an MMO anymore?  I don't think any actual MMORPG can be made that would be exciting to me at this point.  The genre might as well be called something else soon enough, since the only way to save it is to change it so much that it would barely be an MMORPG anymore. 


 That's just the thing, it is dying and soon will be dead. I know, personally, I won't care about the next MMORPG that will be *it*. That was sealed shut with WS. It should've been sealed with TOR, but I still gave them chances. It really doesn't matter how smooth or fun it is in Beta periods, in the end, it will repeat as its predecessors.

 

I believe the only innovation left that will interest people in MMOs would be virtual reality, but I'm not sure how long that will even last.  One thing I have noticed too after playing MMOs for so many years is the trend towards ease and accessibility, which actually ties into communities.  Say what you will about FF11, but I can tell you it had the best community I've ever been a part of, do you know why that is?  You relied on people for everything in that game, and there was no cross server stuff so if you were a complete asshat, everyone on your server would know about it.  It gave people all the incentive in the world to be nice.  Now I'm not saying that's the way to go, as it would drive a lot of gamers away because of how much you need people on everything.  

However, duty finder in particular, and cross server stuff devolves the community, as does a plethora of solo content.  If people have this, why do they need to be nice to others?  Just for the sake of being nice?  That's not enough for some people unfortunately.  So games such as that, which are pretty common now, destroy communities.  One other thing is the more hardcore PvP a game has and the more competitive the environment in the game is, the more hostile the community will be towards one another.  So basically for the best community you need several activities in which people rely on one another, cross server kind of destroys that, as much as it helps accessability.



-- Edited by Zabuza on Sunday 13th of July 2014 10:25:04 AM


 Honestly I disagree on server-sided communities. At least, until people can learn to conduct themselves without forcefully being 'fakely nice'. Cross servers have no commitments and the alternate view is that you don't have to return to the asshats you were with.



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Manhattan
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What about the fact that most of this is what I've been saying for years? :P

 

GW2 was a great game if you wanted something other than small scale pvp. The PvE game has one of the best level up mechanics I've ever seen because

#1 the game world looked amazing and was actually fun to romp around in and

#2 the "quests" took minimal effort and every zone was peppered with dozens of events that would start at random intervals, which drew you into the leveling process

#3 if you didn't want to do PvE you could just get 20-30 gold and level your character through crafting in about a half a day.

The main reason I loved it was because of WvW, because it was fun but also a completely new experience for me. Also of note; the game has no raiding. This eliminated the need for PvP stats since gear wasn't designed around taking tens of thousands of points of damage or killing something with millions of hp. More importantly, this is one of the boldest moves an mmo has made in recent years, since MMOs cater to the PvE crowd and raiding is held in such high regard. They made the decision not to include raids knowing this would alienate a good chunk of typical mmo players.

 

They took risks, and were rewarded with a game that is still going strong today, as ArenaNet made another bold move about a year(?) ago: story driven pve content added on a bi-weekly basis. They found a new way to tap into the PvE carebear crowd and it works great. It's not everyone's cup of tea but it doesn't need to be.

 

Also an important thing to note is the suit side of things. Publishers. Ever notice how the most successful games come from developers that don't belong to a publishing company? Blizzard is it's own publisher, just like ArenaNet, CCP (EVE Online), Valve, and BioWare (Pre-EA, which is also pre-TOR, what a coincidence, eh?). This is because unless your company has the financial means to go it's own way, in order to get your game made you need a publisher to fund it, which means you need to convince them it will be profitable, which means the publisher will more often than not exert creative control.

 

This is also why so many mmos look alike. WoW is a proven formula, which is something business people love. So when you pitch a game that isn't a proven formula, they want you to change it. And if you don't change it, they don't invest and your game never sees the light of day. This problem is not endemic to mmos either, most of the gaming industry is suffering from this retarded philosophy. Non-mmos fair better under this system since these games are one offs. If people like it there will be a sequel, if not meh. MMOs are so huge by comparison there is much more to risk and much more that can be changed.

 

When creative people have creative control they create hits, when they're forced by uncreative people to compromise they create the very bland things that we're playing today.



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