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Op Ed

Mark Kern at MMORPG.com - Have MMOs Become Too Easy? Thanks Develop.
But even that wasn’t enough. As WoW grew in population, reaching ever more casual gamers, new expansions introduced even more refinements. Quest trackers were added, and xp was increased so that it was easier to level through all the old content to get to the “new stuff” of the expansion. Gear from the a new expansions first quests made raid gear from previous expansions a joke. And the level curve became faster and faster until we reached a point where everyone is just in a race to get to max level, and damn everything else in between. Why care about level 20 gear when you would blow by levels so fast it was obsolete before you even logged off for the night?

And it worked. Players came in droves, millions of them. But at what cost? Sometimes I look at WoW and think “what have we done?” I think I know. I think we killed a genre. There are many reasons I feel this way, but I’d like to discuss one in particular, the difficulty curve.

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39 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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39. Re: Op Ed Jul 2, 2013, 14:15 NKD
 
InBlack wrote on Jul 2, 2013, 07:18:
JeffD wrote on Jul 2, 2013, 04:15:
While not really any raid progression, Guild Wars has a healthy difficulty factor. The fact that you scale in level relative to the area you are in means you can't just run into a low level camp and take on 6-7 mobs.. well unless your a tanky guardian.

The dungeons in guild wars 2 however are brutal, and one dungeon scales mob difficulty up as you go through it. Its actually impossible to reach the highest level (its like 99, but I believe in the 70s the environmental damage just one shots). Also questing legendary weapons requires true dedication.

Level scaling is beyond retarded. Especially scaling the player character to the environment. Its lazy and is paramount to breastfeeding the content to the player.

Yep. And it destroys a sense of progression. People want to be able to go back to old areas and feel great about how far they've come. I remember in EverQuest everytime I went back to a starting area, I was so happy I didn't have to worry about the mobs there. They were beneathe me, and my hard work exploring the game had paid off. It's a simple thing, but immensely satisfying.

Now, games either don't let you truly progress (GW2) or make it so easy that you don't feel you've earned it (WoW).
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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38. Re: Op Ed Jul 2, 2013, 07:18 InBlack
 
JeffD wrote on Jul 2, 2013, 04:15:
While not really any raid progression, Guild Wars has a healthy difficulty factor. The fact that you scale in level relative to the area you are in means you can't just run into a low level camp and take on 6-7 mobs.. well unless your a tanky guardian.

The dungeons in guild wars 2 however are brutal, and one dungeon scales mob difficulty up as you go through it. Its actually impossible to reach the highest level (its like 99, but I believe in the 70s the environmental damage just one shots). Also questing legendary weapons requires true dedication.

Level scaling is beyond retarded. Especially scaling the player character to the environment. Its lazy and is paramount to breastfeeding the content to the player.
 
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I have a nifty blue line!
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37. Re: Op Ed Jul 2, 2013, 04:15 JeffD
 
While not really any raid progression, Guild Wars has a healthy difficulty factor. The fact that you scale in level relative to the area you are in means you can't just run into a low level camp and take on 6-7 mobs.. well unless your a tanky guardian.

The dungeons in guild wars 2 however are brutal, and one dungeon scales mob difficulty up as you go through it. Its actually impossible to reach the highest level (its like 99, but I believe in the 70s the environmental damage just one shots). Also questing legendary weapons requires true dedication.
 
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36. Re: Op Ed Jul 2, 2013, 03:24 Suppa7
 
MMO's are the definition of a casual game, you can be spend HARDCORE TIME on a CASUAL GAME but no MMO is hardcore. MMO's by and large are a bottom feeding genre.  
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35. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 19:46 Asmo
 
Try Mortal Online or Embers of Caerus (EoC is still a WIP) if you want a hard core experience.

Weight of what you are carrying in that game is deadly serious. Try to swim with 50 lbs of iron in your backpack, you will drown. Full PvP with a criminal system (so you can be a bandit or murderer but one you get known as one, you're likely to be hunted down and flayed alive), skill based combat.

The problem is, for all the nostalgia, who still plays EQ? It's F2P now, show of hands how many people still play? Or UO online (the grandfather of MMOs which really hurt you hard continually)?

SWG emulator (Pre NGE/CU) is also available. I went back and played it not long ago. It's still fun but it's almost all sandbox and very little theme park. Sandbox is fun but it's also nice to be directed sometimes. Consequently, I quit playing it because, ya know, I already put years in to SWG and I while I enjoyed it, I don't really miss it.

We lament how casual/simple it's become, but that's the way things are going because it's what most people want. Look at Cryptic games, I've hit max level in Champs Online/Star Trek Online/Neverwinter Online in 5 days, 6 days and 11 days respectively (slow on Neverwinter because I refused to give them a cent even though the boosts would have sped up the "experience").

Options still exist but they are sparsely populated. Eve is a great example of one of those niches which are successful because they appeal to a certain type of player. Don't expect to see a hugely popular hard core game, the majority just don't want to invest the time.
 
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34. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 19:45 Slashman
 
NKD wrote on Jul 1, 2013, 16:47:
MMOs can be challenging and hardcore, you just have to have a greater focus, and be more mindful of your budget. It's only if you're looking for a quick cash-in that you want to cater to the casual MMO players who will only play your game for 6 months.

Pick a niche, do it well, and you'll have a modestly sized game but one that grows over time, with a dedicated player base, instead of one that is slowly collapsing over time with a revolving door player base.

MMOs started going down hill once they went out of their way to attract players who, quite frankly, don't even like MMOs.

This is so very true. All of a sudden the games industry has become all about getting people who really don't like games, or can't bother to learn them properly, to play them.

EVE picked a niche and stuck with it. It worked very well. No one else seems to even be able to grasp that concept. Not everyone will like your game if you go for a niche, but that's OK. Not everyone has to.
 
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33. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 19:03 SlimRam
 
*Speaking up* Ahem....next revolutionary MMO:

Scarlet Blade


It's....it's got potential...it's new and .....stuff.

I was thinking of trying it out because....uh.....because it looks engaging and uh...

Oh ok, it's an online Jap Fap Fest *looks down, ashamed*
 
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Slightly Off Movie Quotes:

"I love the smell of napalm and 'Fruity Pebbles' in the morning."

Bill Kilgore - Apocalypse Now
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32. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 16:47 NKD
 
MMOs can be challenging and hardcore, you just have to have a greater focus, and be more mindful of your budget. It's only if you're looking for a quick cash-in that you want to cater to the casual MMO players who will only play your game for 6 months.

Pick a niche, do it well, and you'll have a modestly sized game but one that grows over time, with a dedicated player base, instead of one that is slowly collapsing over time with a revolving door player base.

MMOs started going down hill once they went out of their way to attract players who, quite frankly, don't even like MMOs.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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31. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 16:29 Pigeon
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Jul 1, 2013, 15:24:
I have some fond memories of EQ too, but I think nostalgia is coloring a lot of views here. So many of the mechanics in EQ were ridiculously lame when you step back and view them objectively; sure it's funny to think back to the HUNDREDS of hours people spent camping a Beholder Bag(0 weight bag monks needed) or the weak SoW boots or any of the other insane camps that most people felt were required to play, but the monotony of that shit needs to be remembered too.

Nostalgia does indeed cloud perception. There are several games I remember fondly, but stopped playing with good reason. I often think of the aspects I liked and wonder how they could be applied without the mind numbing grindfest,I didn't like.

For example, I like when regular monsters have interesting drops, but having to kill 8 billion of them to get anything is annoying, and usually in those types of games, drop hunting is pretty much the only thing there is.

Maybe one day I'll write up something about all the things I'd want in an MMO, if only for my own amusement.
 
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30. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 16:24 KS
 
The book in the face needed to go -- it was only for one tiny game mechanic, so things could sneak up on you and hit you on the head. A very minor thing. The tradeoff was hiding the first real 3D world from your view for most of the game.

Had this game come out today, it would be DOA with that alone.

Not a big fan of the downtime either. City of Heroes had fast regen, maybe 30-60s between fights plus you could kneel to regen in 15s if you really needed it, though that had long recharge, if rarely used.

But the discussions during the downtime were fun.
 
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29. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 16:03 Axis
 
They weren't lame at the time, none of it -- it was brand new and people loved it -- I'd even say people 'especially' enjoyed the annoying stuff because it was all risk/reward and put your time in/reward. I knew of no one who complained about the multitude of 'annoying' things we gladly did because no one knew any better at the time.

Course if I fired it up now I'd hate it (as I mentioned earlier), but at the time... no -- people weren't bothered in the least for the most part.

Plus it was a much more mature audience who played. A large majority of the EQ playerbase either worked in the computer industry or were kids of parents who worked in the industry. The majority of average people didn't have capable gaming rigs.
 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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28. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 15:24 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
I have some fond memories of EQ too, but I think nostalgia is coloring a lot of views here. So many of the mechanics in EQ were ridiculously lame when you step back and view them objectively; sure it's funny to think back to the HUNDREDS of hours people spent camping a Beholder Bag(0 weight bag monks needed) or the weak SoW boots or any of the other insane camps that most people felt were required to play, but the monotony of that shit needs to be remembered too.

I had definitely more social interaction in EQ than WoW, probably partially because of the downtime, but surely there are other ways to encourage that then just making the actual game mind numbingly boring? Doesn't anybody else remember looking at their spellbook for basically hours, and wondering what the fuck they were doing? Towards the point I finally wised up and quit EQ, obviously.

Everybody should realize that the days of super hard MMOs are most likely over, because any upcoming MMO will be designed to gather as many players as possible, and milk them as long as possible, like a good parasitic entity should. Most players as possible of course equals streamlined/easy gameplay.

EQNext is being hyped up as revolutionary, and I hope it is, but somehow I suspect it'll be nothing special when we finally see it.

 
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27. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 14:50 Axis
 
And people roleplaying was more common than not. I miss the boat rides learning languages.  
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Yours truly,

Axis
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26. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 14:46 Narf2029
 
I definitely miss the social aspect of EQ. I had more friends in EQ than I've had in every following MMO I've played combined. Today, the average MMO player pitches a fit if post-combat recovery takes more than 30 seconds. In EQ you'd sit around for 5 or 10 minutes and you got to know your group members because there was nothing else to do, but it was almost always worth it. I got into a pick-up group a few days into EQ and ran with all of them (as much as schedules lined up, anyway) until the day I quit. Now you go to a game like WoW or GW2 and you'll team with a group of people one time for 15-20 minutes and never see any of them again, and that's almost become part of the way those games are played. Big zones filled with hundreds of people, nearly all of whom are doing their own thing essentially by themselves and who only run into each other when they happen to be doing the same thing at the same time.  
Huh? I'm sorry, I was thinking about cake.
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25. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 14:42 Axis
 
Acleacius wrote on Jul 1, 2013, 14:22:
Oh the nightmares and horrors of corpses in EQ, camping graveyards trying to get groups. :-masochism-:

Axis wrote on Jul 1, 2013, 10:39:
No 3d mmo has been 'hard' since EQ, period.

None of these newbgen players have any idea what a hard, demanding MMO is like. Corpse loss, camping Jboots (haha), a real sense of fear of screwing up -- everyone had to have their shit together and there was no forum spoilers or crybabies -- you discovered shit for yourself and dealt with it.

There's a place for a no-bullshit, difficult MMO, and I'm glad I was a part of the EQ craziness out of the gate -- but personally I won't go down that road again.
Hehe, you clearly never played Vanguard.

I still have to believe soe bought Vanguard so, they can incorporate Vanguard and EQ3. Everything in Vanguard, was so much better than EQ2, except enough funding to finish it.

Oh I played vanguard, but only because Brad designed it and not for long because it was so broken and I don't have the patience anymore. Harder than the MMO fads, but still no where near EQ.
 
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Yours truly,

Axis
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24. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 14:22 Acleacius
 
Oh the nightmares and horrors of corpses in EQ, camping graveyards trying to get groups. :-masochism-:

Axis wrote on Jul 1, 2013, 10:39:
No 3d mmo has been 'hard' since EQ, period.

None of these newbgen players have any idea what a hard, demanding MMO is like. Corpse loss, camping Jboots (haha), a real sense of fear of screwing up -- everyone had to have their shit together and there was no forum spoilers or crybabies -- you discovered shit for yourself and dealt with it.

There's a place for a no-bullshit, difficult MMO, and I'm glad I was a part of the EQ craziness out of the gate -- but personally I won't go down that road again.
Hehe, you clearly never played Vanguard.

I still have to believe soe bought Vanguard so, they can incorporate Vanguard and EQ3. Everything in Vanguard, was so much better than EQ2, except enough funding to finish it.
 
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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23. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 14:21 Julio
 
MMOs are definitely designed for easy play. More and more they are going pay-to-win and easy play for the casual gamer.  
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22. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 13:59 KS
 
The main problem lies in trouble finding groups. This leads to people wanting to solo so they don't have to wait. Hence content gets easier.

City of Heroes had an interesting solution that also solved problems with friends who outleveled you. The sidekick system.

It turns out that there's little reason to make you fight stuff "for your level". Just artificially and temporarily boost you, scaling powers, and you're done. Loot and xp, for you, are scaled to your real level.

For any but first playthru it is fine. Which is most of the gametime /played.

And first time thru it eases things even in close to your level.
 
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21. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 13:37 KS
 
jdreyer wrote on Jul 1, 2013, 13:13:
Would the successor to EQ be something like Eve Online?

This would be very interesting applied to a fantasy game. Others like Star Wars Galaxies had not just player houses but entire player cities, complete with mayor elections. I had a house and cantina in one run by online friends.

How that would work with destruction I don't know. Eve also suffers from griefing, not the stargate blockades, which is cool, but in space nominally controlled by "yoir side" where people on the other side of your "extended family" will see you amd log on some pirate alt and kill you.

I really don't know how that switch alts crap could be addressed.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed Jul 1, 2013, 13:30 Redmask
 
Of course MMOs are too easy. PvP is segregated where it can't hurt the PvEtards, they have addons that literally point you where you need to go and detailed maps that would put Garmin to shame. Despite all of that people still need big exclamation points over everyones head and plot exposition so bereft of subtlety that they might as well be putting on a play for 4 year olds. People don't want to have to work for anything anymore, there is no sense of accomplishment and most challenge is meted out through repetition of patterns. As if the question even needed to be asked in an industry where they have Daily Quests that people voluntarily do and seemingly enjoy.

The future of MMOs lies in mimicking games like Dark Souls where they have interwoven PvE and PvP successfully. Make games more complex and punishing, it is ok if you fail the first time because victory is that much sweeter after a defeat. Have actual lore and backstory that you need to work to discover. Make exploration feel dangerous and rewarding instead of rote and obvious. Kick our asses, stop wussing out because CasualBux McWoW wants virtual diapers.
 
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