|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Games » General MMORPG » Issues with modern MMOs

Default Issues with modern MMOs

July 10th, 2011, 11:09
Yesterday, I got the idea into my head to resurrect my character in LOTRO and it was only after running around for one or two hours that I started to question what the hell I was doing. I guess I like the idea of an MMO a lot more than actually playing it which got me thinking why that is the case and if anything could be done about it.

So here, in no particular order, are a few things that I think make current MMOs so disappointing as games (if you treat them as pretty chat rooms, YMMD). Would love to hear other opinions on the matter.


1) Quests are broken.

You can dress Quests in (all) RPGs up a bit and try to fit them into a bigger story arc but at the end of the day, we are pretty much always fetching stuff, killing monsters, talking to people, etc. I don't neccessarily think that has to be a bad thing. If done correctly, it's often not even that noticable. Gothic 3 e.g. did this quite well, for all the flaws that game had. For some reason the things NPCs wanted me to do seemed to make sense within the game world.

Now, in MMOs there are two factors that get in the way of good quests: a) Scope. Write 2000 quests and see how original you still are on No. 2001. b) Because of the way MMOs are structured (lots of quest, grinding XP as fast as possible), most people don't read the exposition. So current MMOs also break it down to the bare quest objectives, which ironically makes repetition that much easier to spot.

I have no idea if this could be fixed. Maybe it could be done with a Gothic 1/2-style journal and more of a dialog-based quest exposition rather than popping up a window with a plain to-do list.


2) Combat is broken.

There is a lot of combat in these types of games and I really don't think it's fun. The only way tactics seem to be introduced is by throwing myriads of skills at you and having you figure out which ones are actually useful. After that, it's like an ATM: just remember the right numbers and you'll get some loot.

Guild Wars' system of limiting you to 8 active skills was a nice change. Combat there, to me, also felt a lot more immediate.

Maybe true turn-based tactical combat could make things more interesting but I don't know if that could work with the sheer number of encounters in a typical MMO.


3) Storytelling is broken.

The way RPGs traditionally tell a story will never work when you introduce thousands of heroes to a world. LOTRO and Guild Wars tried to get around that limitation with instanced missions and I think that worked quite well. But those are few and far between, so before each new interesting mission you'll be killing 200 boars all over again. Again, I don't know if this can be fixed as such. I was pretty excited for TOR's step towards fully-voiced dialog but that obviously will exceed almost any budget.


4) It's not your world, you're just running around in it.

Ultimately this might be the biggest game breaker for me: nothing I do ever in an MMO has any significance whatsoever. Turn in the quest, get some XP, move on. This has frustrated me to some extent in Oblivion where becoming head of the Mages Guild got you a nicer appartement but did not seem to bother anyone besides. In MMOs it is that much more apparent. WoW recently tried to address this with phasing and that's rather impressive. Maybe if those kinds of things could be done on a larger scale, progressing would become more interesting. Not sure if that is economically viable, though.
sphire is offline

sphire

Traveler

#1

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 3

Default 

July 10th, 2011, 11:38
Originally Posted by sphire View Post
4) It's not your world, you're just running around in it.

Ultimately this might be the biggest game breaker for me: nothing I do ever in an MMO has any significance whatsoever. Turn in the quest, get some XP, move on. This has frustrated me to some extent in Oblivion where becoming head of the Mages Guild got you a nicer appartement but did not seem to bother anyone besides. In MMOs it is that much more apparent. WoW recently tried to address this with phasing and that's rather impressive. Maybe if those kinds of things could be done on a larger scale, progressing would become more interesting. Not sure if that is economically viable, though.
Remembering back, I would probably have looked forward to phasing for better storytelling in quests, but now that I've tried it I'm not so sure. To me it is as static as a traditional world with respawning monsters. The only difference is certain pockets around the world can transition (depending on quests) from say A -> B -> C. You then have players who might be in A, while other stay in C. For me this ruins the wholeness of the world. If I wanted a moldable player-driven world, it might make better sence with world events (akin to what Rift does), housing (what Age of Conan tried to do but without instancing), battling for landmass etc., which people describe as sandbox mmos (never tried any). I wouldn't mind if phase transitions were shared for all players though.

Howdy btw.
Last edited by hishadow; July 10th, 2011 at 11:52.
hishadow is offline

hishadow

Level N+1

#2

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern parts of Norway
Posts: 1,140

Default 

July 10th, 2011, 17:36
Problem with phasing, if I understand the term correctly, it's similar to the problem that ultimately made me leave EQ2. So, you have more time than your friends and do step A, then you're ready for step B but your friends/guildmates haven't done step A, so you go and help them do step A and then go to step B. Next day, you're ready for step C, but someone who wasn't there yesterday pops in the guild and now you have to help him/her (or even if you don't, you still have to wait for whoever's helping), then same with step B, and by the time everybody's ready for step C, some leave for the day and you don't have enough people for step C. By the 4th day you're just fed up and abandon all hope of doing the content with your friends, and just join some PUG to finish your thing.
wolfing is offline

wolfing

wolfing's Avatar
Wonders what SasqWatch is

#3

Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 3,240

Default 

July 10th, 2011, 18:22
Not quite similar by your description. Phasing involves specific location(s) in a zone that may change from phase A -> B -> C as you progress in your quest. If you're in phase B, then you cannot enter phase A or C. You progress linearly from one to the next. In Warcraft they are implemented as invisible bubbles that cover a certain area. The bubble might be instanced per phase thus shared for players on same phase, or per player/party like a standard dungeon. Players looking at a player entering the bubble will see him pop out of existence.
Last edited by hishadow; July 10th, 2011 at 18:41.
hishadow is offline

hishadow

Level N+1

#4

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern parts of Norway
Posts: 1,140

Default 

July 11th, 2011, 00:41
In DDO, while there are quest chains which you have to complete in order from say A to D if you want to get the UBER end reward, you can do any part of that chain either solo or with a group and get the XP and quest rewards. You just miss out on that end reward for completing the entire chain. It's not uncommon for a guildie to hop in to the middle of a chain just to help out.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#5

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,474
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

July 12th, 2011, 23:08
my biggest problem with MMO's these days is that everyone want everything for free, as fast as possible. If you have to spend over 10 minutes getting what you want people will complain that it takes too long. If they have to think over their actions they will complain about it.
In other words, people are the biggest issue with modern MMO's in my opinion.
Lachrimae is offline

Lachrimae

Lachrimae's Avatar
Mistress of the night

#6

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7

Default 

July 13th, 2011, 15:15
There are those who pay real money to get it as fast as possible too.
hishadow is offline

hishadow

Level N+1

#7

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern parts of Norway
Posts: 1,140

Default 

July 13th, 2011, 18:10
Originally Posted by sphire View Post
4) It's not your world, you're just running around in it.
I don't mind this so much. I dislike how CRPGs always make you the super secret special amnesiac chosen one who becomes master of everything and changes the world. I liked how Ultima Online let you make a living as a tailor or baker. Some of the professions like smith were even quite lucrative.

Originally Posted by hishadow View Post
There are those who pay real money to get it as fast as possible too.
Unfortunately, I don't think this is going away any time soon since it's the 'Farmville' model that everyone is clamoring for these days giving you microtransactions to shortcut your way ahead.
Motoki is offline

Motoki

Keeper of the Watch

#8

Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 966

Default 

July 13th, 2011, 22:24
Originally Posted by Lachrimae View Post
my biggest problem with MMO's these days is that everyone want everything for free, as fast as possible. If you have to spend over 10 minutes getting what you want people will complain that it takes too long. If they have to think over their actions they will complain about it.
In other words, people are the biggest issue with modern MMO's in my opinion.
Partially agree. It's true that everyone wants everything for free and sometimes they forgot people actually do need to put in a lot of work to make these awesome MMO and it's not fair if players want it for free. But I think that's human nature and that's how the concept of F2P games is created. People is the biggest issue with modern MMO but it's also them who made MMO awesome. Because it's not about 1 single player play by himself any more. It actually involves socialisation and community
magic is offline

magic

Traveler

#9

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 11

Default 

July 14th, 2011, 00:07
Originally Posted by Lachrimae View Post
my biggest problem with MMO's these days is that everyone want everything for free, as fast as possible. If you have to spend over 10 minutes getting what you want people will complain that it takes too long. If they have to think over their actions they will complain about it.
In other words, people are the biggest issue with modern MMO's in my opinion.
I agree with the first part in general. I really enjoy my current MMO, which is RIFT, but you can level so fast in it. I am very casual (about 5-7 hours a week tops) and started when the game came out (March I believe). I am level 45 out of 50. Its not even been 6 months. When I played EQ1 I didn't reach max level for well over a year. Course I also don't want to return to that level of grinding either

Anyhow I think there needs to be a better balance with how fast things are done, how fast you get rewwards, and the overall pacing of the game.

What I don't know is exactly what the person was referring to that I quoted. To me there is a difference between wanting fast levels and loot versus difficulty. In other words one thing I like about RIFT is that pretty much everyone has access to at least the basic blues and purples, even the casuals. That I like. However I also think it should take effort to earn anything nice as you get out of things what you put into them. Free gifts from the developers for certain things or for buying a "deluxe" dition are meaningless to me. Free toys have no meaning. But difficult shouldn't just be all raiding - that should just be one avenue to nice items and perks for a character.

As for the OP I agree with most of the things, except turn based combat - ugg I can't imagine how awful that would be in an MMO.

On a side note Secret World has some potential, if Funcom doesn't blow it. tons of talents/skills/abilities but can only queue up 7 at a time (a little like GW I believe). No levels or classes really (outside of the 3 factions). Tie-ins to the real world (as in lots of puzzles that require research out in the real world which I thought was a cool idea. They even got websites for towns in the game you can visit to learn things.

On the other hand there doesn't seem to be a ton of options when it comes to MMO's either. I also think people are part of the problem in the sense of the "Farmville" mentality.

Course that isn't just something MMO's. Plenty of games these days are getting simplified and shallow.
wolfgrimdark is offline

wolfgrimdark

wolfgrimdark's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#10

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: NH
Posts: 869

Default 

July 14th, 2011, 02:51
Originally Posted by wolfgrimdark View Post

What I don't know is exactly what the person was referring to that I quoted. To me there is a difference between wanting fast levels and loot versus difficulty. In other words one thing I like about RIFT is that pretty much everyone has access to at least the basic blues and purples, even the casuals. That I like. However I also think it should take effort to earn anything nice as you get out of things what you put into them. Free gifts from the developers for certain things or for buying a "deluxe" dition are meaningless to me. Free toys have no meaning. But difficult shouldn't just be all raiding - that should just be one avenue to nice items and perks for a character.
I think I was referring to the same point that you made here. What I see too often is casual gamers, playing 5-10 hours a week, complaining that they too should be able to get the same items as a hardcore player, playing several hours per day. They don't have "time" to play so it should be easier to get the best items possible so that they, the casuals, can get it too. And eventually the developers break down and give them what they want.

For example you can see the big difference between WoW's Burning Crusade and Cataclysm. Most wow players will say Burning Crusade was the best year of WoW. Back then people had to spend time getting the best stuff, and casuals had their lower tiers to play with. Now, after several years of complaining Blizzard is giving out gear to anyone who just does a few instances/arena's/bg's per week. And look at how much the player base is dropping now.

I have big hopes for the Secret World, and I hope they can pull it off. Making a complete sandbox game is no easy task though. Both Darkfall and Mortal Online tried but didn't manage to pull it off. Funcom has a lot of pressure on them with this game so hopefully they know what they are doing this time I doubt it will be a wow killer but I think they could get a stable player base
Lachrimae is offline

Lachrimae

Lachrimae's Avatar
Mistress of the night

#11

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7

Default 

July 14th, 2011, 07:18
I do keep inviting all you sometime MMO players to join us in DDO. We do have an RPGWatch Guild on Khyber server and we do play a lot throughout the week. I did mention it's F2P as well didn't I.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#12

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,474
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

July 14th, 2011, 09:06
oh really? I might have to take on that offer, never played the game though
Lachrimae is offline

Lachrimae

Lachrimae's Avatar
Mistress of the night

#13

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7

Default 

July 14th, 2011, 13:11
We have several threads about the game scattered throughout the forums; some here and others in the Off Topic. Please check them out.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#14

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,474
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

July 14th, 2011, 14:25
Originally Posted by Lachrimae View Post
I think I was referring to the same point that you made here. What I see too often is casual gamers, playing 5-10 hours a week, complaining that they too should be able to get the same items as a hardcore player, playing several hours per day. They don't have "time" to play so it should be easier to get the best items possible so that they, the casuals, can get it too. And eventually the developers break down and give them what they want.
Rift is a good example. They will install cross-realm dungeons in the next patch which is feature a lot of casual players on PvE realms has requested. I wish developers could put a little more thought into how they handle pvp realms, or at the very least have certain realms with stricter rules.

Originally Posted by Lachrimae View Post
For example you can see the big difference between WoW's Burning Crusade and Cataclysm. Most wow players will say Burning Crusade was the best year of WoW. Back then people had to spend time getting the best stuff, and casuals had their lower tiers to play with. Now, after several years of complaining Blizzard is giving out gear to anyone who just does a few instances/arena's/bg's per week. And look at how much the player base is dropping now.
I thought Burning Crusade was a crappy expansion except for the Karazhan dungeon. It introduced a lot of things I dislike about the game, like flying mounts, heroic dungeons, token-based rewards, removal of faction restrictions on realm.

Originally Posted by Lachrimae View Post
I have big hopes for the Secret World, and I hope they can pull it off. Making a complete sandbox game is no easy task though. Both Darkfall and Mortal Online tried but didn't manage to pull it off. Funcom has a lot of pressure on them with this game so hopefully they know what they are doing this time I doubt it will be a wow killer but I think they could get a stable player base
I don't think there are any sandbox elements in the Secret World. From the latest gameplay vidoes I've seen it looks like they will be using combat mechanics normally associated with raids for a small party size. Then there's also that adventure game element which looks kinda fun. The last interview with the designers they emphasised that the game needed polish throughout the game, and not repeat the mistake of Tortage in Age of Conan. I personally think that is the least of their problems given the technical merits of their Dreamworld engine.
Last edited by hishadow; July 14th, 2011 at 14:45.
hishadow is offline

hishadow

Level N+1

#15

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern parts of Norway
Posts: 1,140

Default 

July 16th, 2011, 17:41
Well, the only 'modern' MMO I've played is City of Heroes. I played a few others before that but I either didn't play them long or they were not at all modern (e.g. Asheron's Call).

I have no idea if this could be fixed. Maybe it could be done with a Gothic 1/2-style journal and more of a dialog-based quest exposition rather than popping up a window with a plain to-do list.
City of Heroes had a good solution here - put the simple goals in bold text within the exposition. If you've got voice actors giving you the quests then hopefully you are putting the text of the quest in some sort of journal where you can use that trick.

2) Combat is broken.
For sure, but I don't think it's for the reason you state. I'm sick to death of the MMO trinity of tank/healer/DPSer. Not only is it tired, it's downright stupid. Any enemy smart enough to understand that it is being taunted by the tank is also smart enough to realize that the hits coming from the DPS character hurt far more than the taunts. When this tactic gets used against enemies that are supposed to be extremely smart, it gets even worse.

3) Storytelling is broken.
I wasn't seeing this in City of Heroes. I can only think of a couple of trials that did this and it seemed pretty clear that both of them were throwing you through a "kill lots of X" mission because they wanted the players to have a chance to work together and figure out some tactics before they got thrown into the real battles. The 'practice rounds' only took about 15 minutes.

4) It's not your world, you're just running around in it.
Every game tries to do something about this. In City of Heroes, there are tons of normal citizan NPCs that walk the streets that say various things. What they say depends on what characters are near them and what missions they have completed recently. In reality, much of the higher level content should be sending the citizens into mass hysteria and completing them should have made you so popular that you would be getting mobbed by admirers so it wasn't a perfect solution but it did have the effect of having at least some people in the city knowing that you did something for them. (Plus some of them were really funny.)

All in all, this one really doesn't bother me too much, though.

Now a couple of my own…

5) Wussy death penalties.

This one seems to be player driven. "I play this game to have fun, not to be punished!" Having a death penalty that's too strong certainly makes the game too frustrating and it results in players being afraid to take on challenges they are quite capable of handling. However, having one that is too weak makes the game booring and stupid. Why think about better ways to use your skills when ANY tactic will work eventually? Why would you have any fear at all of the Big Bad Boss when you know that, even if you are defeated dozens of times, it won't actually hurt you in the slightest?

6) Tedium is NOT an acceptable challenge

This isn't actually a modern problem, it's been around for years. A game isn't very fun if you don't have some sort of challenges for the players to overcome. I'm happy if you challenge my intellect, my reaction skills, my ability to work as part of a team, my ability to notice things that are out of place, and many others. However, if you challenge me to do something that is simple to do but you make me do it hundreds of times, then I start getting mad. "Go kill a dozen fairly-challenging critters" I can deal with. "Go kill 500 bunnies" will make me rage. (The worst offender I've seen is Dark Age of Camelot's crafting system where you have to craft jillions of items before you can make anything of use. 'Crafting' consisted of putting the ingredients together then watching a progress bar fill up.)

I can't really speak to anything about the Free to Play model. I'm avoiding it like the plague. The whole system just seems dubious to me.
Zloth is offline

Zloth

Zloth's Avatar
I smell a… wumpus!?

#16

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 2,739

Default 

July 17th, 2011, 16:46
What does the qualifier modern mean here? I read the list and see most points could apply to MMOs I played.

One cause I stopped playing MMOs quite fast was that the quest for power was too dominant. I expected MMOs to allow room for RP but players are generally absorbed by the quest of power and RP is envisioned most of the times when people are nearing the level cap (if any)

In subscription models, people are so absorbed by that, making the most of their gaming time to power up their character. So are players playing for free in free access MMOs. Only players who pay their levelling up have time to RP but as they do not play much…

All the points are linked to the quest of power and people play MMOs for a quest of power.
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#17

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,074

Default 

July 17th, 2011, 18:51
I think the problem in MMORPG is 'Massive'. One game, that tries to accommodate to lots of people has to sacrifice things. And believe it or not, most people like it shallow, fast, action-oriented, etc. Leading to all the problems mentioned before (which I completely agree with).

I played wow for a while because a friend almost begged me :-) and I couldn't immerse myself into, because everyone just completed quest as fast as possible, not reading any text (not that most quest texts are worth reading…), … well I think most of you already know that.

I just miss decent TMORPG's, tiny multiplayer online RPG's (also known as c-op) , that you can play with a small amount of like-minded people. I thought about joining team Corwin here, but after playing wow I don't have high hopes for DDO.
ilm is offline

ilm

Sentinel

#18

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 320

Default 

July 18th, 2011, 01:03
At least give DDO a try!! It is FREE after all, so what do you have to lose except a little of your time?

If God said it, then that settles it!!

Editor@RPGWatch
Corwin is offline

Corwin

Corwin's Avatar
On The Razorblade of Life
RPGWatch Team

#19

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 10,474
Send a message via Skype™ to Corwin

Default 

July 18th, 2011, 01:19
I'm planning to get ddo once I can scrap enough cash to buy the game. But I'm afraid that right now I'm in some serious money issues

oh wait…it's free to download and register too? Well, see you in-game when I wake up!
Last edited by Lachrimae; July 18th, 2011 at 01:54.
Lachrimae is offline

Lachrimae

Lachrimae's Avatar
Mistress of the night

#20

Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 7
RPGWatch Forums » Games » General MMORPG » Issues with modern MMOs
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 02:21.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch