Thursday, November 20, 2008

MMO support network

Lars had a comment in a previous post, which makes a good point about playing an MMO, and I thought I would share his very simple opinion.

"You know what makes an MMO game fun and not a grind? The people you play with. Find an MMO where there are people in it that you would enjoy playing a game (ANY game) with.

All MMOs have pretty lame gameplay compared to a good single player RPG if you play by yourself. "

I agree with him.

And maybe this is why it works for so many. The social lives of the MMO gamer usually relies on this network of friends, the need of the MMO to be able to talk with others.

The MMO becomes their own social network.

For myself, I would hope a game has more to do for that monthly fee than "chat" and "play well with others".

I want the game to offer a modicum of fun when others are not logged in, and it seems lately most of these games cannot do this.

Look at the majority of MMO bloggers, and how they discuss their playtime with others, and if the others are not there, then they just don't play or log off.

(Example - Mystic Worlds : "However, the absence of the previously large group of guild members in game and on Vent, combined with fewer players in game, is a very noticeable problem. In fact, it's a bit depressing to consider that this game might not draw enough players to make the world in general come alive. There is so much good content and things to do but it's not nearly the same in these smaller groups.")

I still remember the fun times I had with several large guilds I belonged to, yet, when they were not logged in...neither was I.
Luckily a lot of games had a way to have fun when no one was Guild Wars and WoW (EQ2 also was fun, until the guild all started leaving for new games)

And maybe for me, I do not need this hand holding from others to enjoy myself.

Realization is the first step toward this addiction that most MMO players get.
We either game for hours on end, and can't log off or let our friends or guild mates down. Or we just do not log in, and let the subscription sit...paying for something we do not touch.

When I originally played "Persistent" based RPG worlds, the people were an "extra", and not the REASON I played.

Today's MMO market NEEDS this network of people now to make the game fun...this is the reason such a large group of people walked away from WAR. Now that grouping has become more difficult, the game suffers. There is nothing fun beyond the grouping mechanic.
Look at the recent news from Turbine forcing a larger guild setting or else, no guild.

They all realize people make their game fun, they do not have to.

Overall, the MMO genre had something I wanted. RPG fun with others running around in these worlds, with some mechanics I enjoyed.
And each offered something to like visually, or story wise.

Nowadays, most do not offer anything new, and this is where the fun ends.

I could rely on others to provide my fun.

But, I am beyond that now.


Brendan said...

It's true, in a sense.

MMORPG's offer mutiplayer experiences, for the most part -- either raiding or PvP or socializing. But in terms of gameplay outside of these areas, they are kind of stale and cramped in design when compared with single player games.

Innovation would be great -- but I don't see much of it on the horizon, really, in terms of gameplay. At the same time, there are some quite entertaining SP games out there now that create a quite compelling SP experience.

Openedge1 said...

I think when someone walks away from the genre for a while, it starts to dawn on you maybe what you are not missing either.

I have two new boxes sitting on my shelf with 30 days of free game time, and the cost to get back into one of my other games is minimal...

But, I am just leery of disappointment again.

Many of us search for that first thrill of being in an MMO, but lately no one has been able to compel me to make that step.

When MMO's first took off, it was about the grouping once in a while with a game wrapped into it.
Guild Wars proved that a story could exist and you could work with others to get out there and work together in that story..

Now most MMO's are just big chat rooms with things to do to wile away your time as you chat.

I can do that for free on IM.

Maybe down the road I may peek in again...but for now, the MMO is off the shelf.

Back to some more REAL gameplay I guess...

Lars said...

"Lately most of these games cannot do this"? I disagree with that. MMOs, if anything, are more fun now without other people. They used to be impossible to play without others. MMOs are much more fun alone now than they used to be. But I agree that compared to a SP game, an MMO is not going to be AS fun alone.

So what I was suggesting (the context being that you were looking for a new game) was that you not judge the game solely based on its features, but also based on its community. I.e., maybe try EQ2 because you know some of us on the Najena server. Or maybe go back to Guild Wars if you remember anyone there. Or research a guild online that shares your playstyle for a game you like and rejoin the game and join that guild at the same time. OR wait for a new game to come out. MMO game communities seem the most inviting when they are just starting out and everyone's exploring.

But it seems to me like you are just burned out on MMOs. That's fine. Maybe you just need to play single player games and slap Xfire on top to get the chat mode feature (send me an invite: I'm on as 'trevick.') I've quit MMOs several times already for several months on end. Its always good to take a break.