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Default Thoughts on Guild Wars 2 vs. Established MMOs

May 10th, 2013, 01:45
Thoughts on Guild Wars 2 vs. Established MMOs

Having hit level 32 last night in Guild Wars 2 I figured now was a good time to give some balanced impressions of the game. It’s unavoidable that I’ll be comparing the game to Lotro, but my comments should be generally applicable to any MMO that follows the traditional model of strong socialization with a strong solo option and role based group combat. By role based group combat I mean the traditional roles of DPS (damage per second), Tank and Healer that cross cut MMO classes. When I say 'should be generally applicable to any MMO' I do mean 'should' as I only have experience with Lotro. As Lotro mimics WoW in core design I'm going to assume comparison is relevant until someone says I'm full of it.

For starters, Guild Wars 2 whatever its ambitions around taking on the established MMO market has certainly broken its conventions. It does it brazenly in fact. It discards the exclusively stat based, largely stationary combat focus for almost a blur of mobility. It does away with group combat roles for the most part. It introduces a very dynamic system of map “Events” that occur in regions to give the impression of a living, breathing world. It discards backtracking for NPC quests. It discards NPC quest assignments as well, meaning proximity to the NPC gives you the assignment. In fact, it dispenses with a quest log entirely. It allows auction house and crafting access remotely from inventory. It eliminates station crafting time sinks – meaning your 2AM crafting session won’t have you passing out at your keyboard. So… is this all for the better?

I’ll attempt to cover this in order of change magnitude:

Action and Core Gameplay:
Boy is there action. I’ve posted a few vids of the highly mobile gameplay including a 7 minute survival sequence for my Engineer. Not much needs to be said here other than GW2 has incorporated a level of skill based action unique in the established MMO market. It endeavors to keep combat fun, frantic and challenging. Sometimes it is hard as hell, at least for my Engineer. Judging by how often I see others die that appears to be the case across classes. Not too hard mind you, but you’ll find yourself quite dead if you are not on your toes. GW2 appears to have this fundamental design goal in mind for core gameplay combat:
a. At all times the action shall be mobile
b. At all times it shall be challenging
c. Whether solo or group in the public game world a+b shall apply


If there is an area that GW2 excels it is in adhering to those principles. Let’s be clear: part “c” above is in fact a monumental dilemma. Consider the problem of keeping all content in the public game world. There are multitude of level banded (aka level appropriate) zones, unpredictable player grouping behavior and wide mixture of player levels. How do you balance the game given those variables? Traditional MMO’s throw up their hands on this 'public world' problem and turn to level specific instances for a set number of players. The problem with that approach is that instanced gameplay contributes to social isolation of groups and an overall breakdown of continuity for the social system. In short, the public game world is where everything should happen, but easier said than done. So how does GW2 address the challenges?

Events
What are Events? Every region has multiple events that occur on a fairly regular basis. Examples include: Defend the farm from a Centaur attack. Defend a camp against bandits. Escort the wagon as a “mobile” Event. Sometimes Events are triggered by a player / NPC interactions but in all cases once they initiate anyone can join in simply by showing up. The Event system was designed for multiple purposes. First, they keep the game world feeling dynamic as “things” are going on you can participate in regionally. More critically however, they keep both group and solo content firmly rooted in the public game world.
There are a host of balance issues with taking this approach, which GW2 addresses by adding mobs dynamically. For example: If you wander into an Event area alone *and* there is no group content boss(es) you will likely be able to solo it successfully. This works because GW2 knows you are alone in the event radius. If others join the event so will more enemies. If lots of people join all hell breaks loose. It is a very effective system. What is hilarious is when players abandon the event while it is still running. The monsters don’t leave and you can be left holding the bag! Outside of the notable Skirmish system Lotro has no equivalent dynamic balancing. Consider this: if 90% of your time is spent in a public game world dominated by solo content, grouping will fundamentally destroy core gameplay challenge. Making matters worse for Lotro and other MMO’s, instances generally do nothing to address the issue of player level divergence.


Player Scaling
Recently I returned to the GW2 starting zone to advance my woefully neglected crafting progression. Inevitable, I get caught up in random mob combat and Events. It’s really hard to pass up Events, particularly the big boss bashes as the loot drops are worth it and its fun! But what is this? My health is only 30% of normal? What gives? When a player exceeds a region level band GW2 scales your stats downward to just above the max level for that region. At first this may sound like an awful idea but quite the contrary. Bear in mind you are never completely nerfed, as your abilities are intact. While GW2 deprives you of regional god-mode a nerfed rocket is still a rocket that you wouldn’t normally have available in that region. The idea is to ensure high level players cannot swoop in to spoil the game for dramatically lower level players. I always hated it in Lotro when some level 80 joker would rampage through the Troll Shaws dropping my targets like tenpins. That won’t happen in GW2. As an artifact I suppose, what I like about this system is that I can run multiple regions with the same level band concurrently and maintain a combat challenge without having to choose. As an example of effectiveness: I’m in a 20-25 region at 32 with stats scaled downward to 26. I ran with a group last night of similarly nerfed toons and we were dying repeatedly in the group content. Lotro of course does nothing in this regard and god-mode is the norm. Even in group focused instances combat challenge breaks down if you run a pug (pick up group) that has highly mixed levels as proper roles will be irreparably broken. Of course, in the public game world of traditional MMO’s offering static solo content grouping only dilutes challenge. Bravo to Guild Wars 2.

Guild Wars 2 Questing – A Bridge Too Far?
I have to admit I’m strange. I read the quests in MMO’s. I like to have a purpose and to review my log to plan my day. GW2 designers decided nobody reads what the NPC’s have to say (largely true) and therefore players only need to know minimally about their immediate task in the immediate area. NPC’s in GW2 apparently must spam text messages because when you get in proximity (a few hundred virtual yards) you get a quest assignment. Naturally, there are problems with this approach. If generally speaking MMO's offer quality quest every 1 in 10 now its closer to 1 in 20, because GW quests have to be essentially one liners. The format doesn’t leave a lot of room for depth. Quest log? What log? There is no real planning if there is no real log. Via the overworld map you can tell an area is incomplete but not why, unless you happen to remember those generic quest details and well… good luck with that. Of course you can talk to quest giving NPCs and you will, because after you complete the requisite number of quests the reward barter option opens. However the whole thing just feels a bit hollow. Again, no quest log. Early on before you might fully grasp the system you may find yourself at a complete loss of what to do. Less adventurous players may end up standing next to a tree waiting for an Event. I see this happening for console players in particular. In the end I found this streamlining simply unnecessary, and contributory to what can only be described and ADHD Gaming in GW2 (more on that one in a bit). Thankfully, the main story arc is well done and fully voice acted. No complaints there.

ADHD Gaming and Flocking vs. Social
Last night just after midnight a strange thing happened. A text box popped up after completing an Event that said something like: “Join Lady AH R in a party. Yes No”. My mouse fell off my laptop pad and hit the floor. GW2 has actual grouping!? I literally had no idea. I’m level 32 and this was my first and only group request. I was so excited I accepted and asked for a minute to empty my bags with the vendor. She asked twice “where next?” and I said “hang on” and then she mapped out. I made and lost my first GW2 friend in the span of 30 seconds. 50 some odd hours in and I had a 30 second virtual friendship. GW2 is an MMO. How sad is that and how is that possible? This to me is a core deficiency of GW2. Somehow, after all that planning for a world that should encourage social interactions like no MMO ever has before it has fallen woefully short. Why?
GW2 is so fluid and Events so dynamic that the biggest source of communication is the Map channel covering the virtual square miles of your current zone. This is an example of the wash/rinse/repeat dialog you’ll see all day, every day: “Any Events Up?”…“Troll is up, farm waypoint” or “boar is up, hunter lodge waypoint” and then bam 20 players map to the boss. They kill it, collect the loot and then map out or run off back to whatever they were doing. Nowhere is this behavior more obvious then when 2 big Events are on frequent schedules and near each other. For example, In one area there is a periodic bridge defense Event with group level bosses relatively close to a fort raid with group level bosses. A literal herd of players will gather for one event and then before the last boss hits the ground dead the mob will bolt like a flock of birds to the next event without uttering a sound. This “flocking” behavior is somewhat eerie to behold. In fact its quite disturbing. Flock behavior is not desirable grouping. It is group mind think and a perverse miscalculation for a designer hoping to promote the ultimate platform for social interactions. The reason I lost my brief virtual friendship? I spoke.

Compounding the issue is the role free group combat design. If there are no distinct roles than basic communication is not required. Tactics take a back seat to pure DPS. To be fair, there is healing. I’m yet to see a player left dead on the battlefield, as anyone can heal and there are always folks including myself perfectly willing to take the time to rez (resurrect). This will usually result in time taken to say ‘ty’ followed by ‘np’ or ‘yw’.

GW2 needs better drivers for Socialization.

Things I glossed Over

I glossed over quite a few things: Vending, auction house, crafting, skills and stats etc. I did this because they aren’t significantly different compared to what I’ve seen. Streamlined in some cases, but not really that much different or innovative.

Summary
So which is better? New or the old? Best answer is neither. GW2 has made serious advancement in the public game world. Content is indeed fully rooted and well balanced without arbitrary or artificial restrictions. In this effort however, the Guild Wars 2 designers have made design decisions that have led to minimizing socialization probably less by design than by consequence. As I said there aren't any solid drivers for socialization other than a common goal. Without a need to develop tactics via communication you get flocking. If I were to cater GW2 to my liking I’d revert to the “classic established MMO questing system including a log. That might give people something to coordinate for and talk about. On the flip side I’d also change Lotro to include Events and/or at least area scaling to add additional mobs based on player proximity. I do believe solo design should accommodate the multiplayer population. Personally, I like the down scaling of the player because I hate god-mode and its implications for lower level players who find enjoyment in a challenge. Player scaling in GW also gives players far more mileage for the content. In the end I will not give up Lotro entirely for GW2. I just wish I could blend them together.

"For Innos!"
Last edited by ToddMcF2002; May 10th, 2013 at 02:03.
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May 10th, 2013, 02:51
I had to make a fresh pot of coffee just to sit down and digest this all . Thanks for writing it! Very interesting take on the game.

I have to be honest. Hearing the part about the lack of social-ness and no quest log turn me a little off to the game. I know it has some redeeming qualities, but I too am someone who loves a good quest dialog. That's one of the main reasons I love LOTRO so much. If you actually read the quest dialog in LOTRO, you'll find it's very well written, interesting, funny at times, etc. It really immerses you in the game. I'm sure GW2 has immersion in other forms, though, so I won't rule it out completely, but I can see that being a big shock to what I'm used to.

As for the social aspect, I really like the social-ness in LOTRO. I like communicating with people. I like the grouping, the instances, even if sometimes it is a bit unbalanced with the levels of players in your party. But I'd definitely prefer that over a nearly nonexistent social aspect, for sure.

Will still give this game a shot on a free weekend, though. The combat looks fun, and the environments and atmosphere look really nice as well.
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May 10th, 2013, 04:38
I basically agree with your comments on GW2, but I still suggest you both at least try DDO as well.

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May 10th, 2013, 05:40
Sorry it is so long but to do the system comparisons justice it requires lots of words . GW2's overall merit is very high despite its issues. The game is ridiculously addictive. I didn't talk about the achievement system and I probably should have since it is one of the principle carrots for exploration and a companion to the quest system. In my last video the short fight on the cliff top was a skill challenge, one of about 6 on that map. When you view the video in HD you'll see that I'm swimming to find a good location to climb up to that blue marker on the map. Win the challenge and get assignable skill point. They are usually a bit harder than that one . There are also Vista challenges, where you must hunt down each location on the map (which is always very vertical) to view the landscape. Get them all and you get a high level loot drop. In other words the game is not about blind run and gun. These challenges are a lot more interesting than deeds too, because they are fun as exploration challenges as opposed to grinds. And the rewards are better.

I promise to try DDO!

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May 10th, 2013, 09:07
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
ADHD Gaming and Flocking vs. Social
Last night just after midnight a strange thing happened. A text box popped up after completing an Event that said something like: Join Lady AH R in a party. Yes No. My mouse fell off my laptop pad and hit the floor. GW2 has actual grouping!? I literally had no idea. Im level 32 and this was my first and only group request.
You can play up to 32 without noting this kind of features? Show how much a multiplayer gameplay is a priority in a MMORPG these days.

Never played GW2 but was invited a couple of times by high profile players to watch their deeds. Mostly interested in PvP, WvW. The game looks to me as a gigantic beat'em all. Those players pushed forward two trends: bus and blob where you move around in large groups to squash anything coming around. Ganging up on a large scale. Running around in big numbers to wreak terror.
MMORPGs are mostly a story of psychological gimmicks to keep the player glued to his screen.
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May 10th, 2013, 09:53
@ToddMcF2002

I'd be interested to hear how you articulate your opinion when you're level 80. If you care to post your thoughts at that point, I'd be curious to see if you have the same opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of the game, and about the weight of them.
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May 10th, 2013, 13:23
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
You can play up to 32 without noting this kind of features? Show how much a multiplayer gameplay is a priority in a MMORPG these days.
In GW2, only dungeons require preformed groups, the rest of the content support ad-hoc grouping: people shows up and help you (or you help them). The only feature you "lose" is the party chat (use /say) and seeing their icons with health/buff on the side bar (no real use without dedicated healers).

A good example would be the Mega-Destroyer event. It is impossible without at least 3 players, but you don't have to be grouped to do it. You just need 3 people participating.
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May 10th, 2013, 13:40
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
@ToddMcF2002

I'd be interested to hear how you articulate your opinion when you're level 80. If you care to post your thoughts at that point, I'd be curious to see if you have the same opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of the game, and about the weight of them.
Considering the game is a Buy to Play, it doesn't really have to provide any 'end game content' like traditional MMOs. To reach there only with one class, you'll play the same amount of time (possible lot more) than what you play any single player RPG. And then you can play as another race/class, etc.
To me what's important is having fun. If you played the game for a month or more and had fun, that's all there is to it. The whole 'end game content' is more appropriate for MMOs where you pay a monthly subscription, as they want you to keep paying for years. But not necessary on B2P MMOs.
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May 10th, 2013, 13:58
Dart my understanding on endgame is as wolfing said. I'm going to assume they will eventually have expansions but otherwise GW2 is about the journey not the destination.

@ChienAboyeur: I was aware of the features, I was just taking some creative license to make the point. It was my first invite though.

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May 10th, 2013, 14:33
I'm not sure why we're talking about end-game and destinations?

I'm interested in how you feel about the game when you've reached cap - because by then the honeymoon is over and we'll get a more accurate picture, presumably.

I'd also like to hear your thoughts at 75 - if the term "cap" must imply finality. It doesn't to me - as the MMO genre doesn't stop at cap.

I'm not saying you're not having fun right now. I'm saying maybe the design will appeal to you less once you've experienced what it does over time.

Then again, maybe it will appeal to you just as much or even more. In that case, we can talk about how the design works well as an MMO.

As much as GW2 can be enjoyed in the short-term, it was designed to last for a long time - as all MMOs are. That's why they have legendary items that take months to get - and fractal dungeons that can be run over and over - indefinitely.

But that's not about end-game or the elimination of a journey. It's more about reflecting on the journey - and whether or not one wants to continue on it after the initial bliss has subsided.

In my opinion, that's really the most important aspect of any MMO.
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May 10th, 2013, 14:43
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
Considering the game is a Buy to Play, it doesn't really have to provide any 'end game content' like traditional MMOs. To reach there only with one class, you'll play the same amount of time (possible lot more) than what you play any single player RPG. And then you can play as another race/class, etc.
To me what's important is having fun. If you played the game for a month or more and had fun, that's all there is to it. The whole 'end game content' is more appropriate for MMOs where you pay a monthly subscription, as they want you to keep paying for years. But not necessary on B2P MMOs.
Yeah, that's a nice sales pitch.

Unfortunately, I don't buy that subscription = evil greedy developers and B2P = altruistic developers.

GW2 is a very consumer friendly MMO in terms of the business model, I will agree to that. But they most definitely WANT you to keep playing and buying stuff in the cash shop. If people stopped playing - they'd have proven their own model wrong, and they don't want that.

They want people to love their game just like any passionate developer will want from their audience. Subscription based MMOs aren't all designed to fleece the customer. Some are actually trying to provide value for money in the form of attractive content. In fact, I'd say they're under a stronger obligation to provide quality - because people are paying for it. So they can't just give you hollow treadmills - though I understand it's tempting to accuse them of that.

GW2's "endgame" is different, but it's not because it's not there. It's because it doesn't change and turn into a gear grind like the traditional themepark MMO does. I'd argue it turns into a "skin-grind", but at least you don't actually need better gear to experience the content. The exception being the fractal dungeons - which is a strange step away from their manifesto - but I don't mind it. I never had a big problem with "gear progression" - I had a big problem with how gear kept being nullified and made meaningless with each new update. Then I have a zillion problems with all kinds of other things - none of which GW2 handles better than any other themepark MMO, but that's another story.

The game is just as much about long-term design as any MMO is - which is why they've added fractal dungeons and legendary items. It's why they put the scaling mechanic in place - because you're supposed to be able to enjoy all the content once you're at cap.

Many smart features there.

But what I'm asking is if the sacrifices of established MMO "tropes" were ultimately worth it - once you've experienced that initial excitement due to the cool combat and fresh flow.

You all know what I think - but I'm curious to hear what others think.
Last edited by DArtagnan; May 10th, 2013 at 14:54.
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May 10th, 2013, 16:04
I'm the kind of player that focuses on one character, rarely making alts. So, after just a couple months of GW2, three sets of exotic armor, a 100% worldwide map completion, and a brief foray into zerg pvp, I was done with the game.

That's not to say that I had not enjoyed the game, there simply wasn't anything further to do besides running the same 2 or 3 dynamic events over and over and over again for karma points. And that, right there, was absolutely no fun, because it devolved the pve game I'd been enjoying up until then into a sad hypermanic wack-a-mole killing spree where everything died 0.2 seconds after it became targetable. The lax quality control of ArenaNet in not hammering down on the rampant usage of bots amidst these events didn't help my resolve to stick with the game either - but I've heard this latter point is nowhere as bad these days.
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May 10th, 2013, 16:47
I'm at level 35 with only 10% of the world explored but I think I understand the system well enough. At this rate if I hit 100% world explored I can safely say ArenaNet has built an amazing product at an amazing price point. My plan is to move back to Lotro at that point anyway, so whether the game has end-game legs or not matters little to me. Dart I don't imagine my opinion will change at 75. If the game delivers equivalent content to what I've seen I don't see quitting or losing interest. Also the main quest is compelling and I need to level to survive it, so there is more carrot..

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May 10th, 2013, 16:52
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
I'm at level 35 with only 10% of the world explored but I think I understand the system well enough. At this rate if I hit 100% world explored I can safely say ArenaNet has built an amazing product at an amazing price point. My plan is to move back to Lotro at that point anyway, so whether the game has end-game legs or not matters little to me. Dart I don't imagine my opinion will change at 75. If the game delivers equivalent content to what I've seen I don't see quitting or losing interest. Also the main quest is compelling and I need to level to survive it, so there is more carrot..
I'm not asking whether you imagine your opinion will change. I'm asking to hear your thoughts at 75.

Also, I'm not asking if longevity is important to you in an MMO. I'm asking if GW2 HAS longevity - because it's important to me.

If it turns out you're fine with it being short-term once you're around that level - than it would go a long way to explain why GW2 is so popular.

It's because I'm interested in human psychology and how we all react differently to different things.

The reason I'm not interested in whether people are fine with short-term entertainment during the honeymoon period - is the same reason I wouldn't ask someone in love with his wife for an objectively personality report on her.

If that's too much to ask, then that's perfectly alright. It's not a big deal.
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May 10th, 2013, 18:42
Dart - of course I'll give my impressions at 75. I was merely projecting what I expect to experience. Given how vocal I've been about the game including posting videos one can hardly get me to shut up about it.

I don't think of myself in the honeymoon period with this game. With the exception of PVP (which never interests me) and WvW I think I've seen everything GW2 has to offer with the exception of (hopefully) interesting new areas, main quest and skill/trait progression. I've certainly called out its most significant limitations after all. Level 40 will unlock the next series of carrots for skills and traits, so that's what I'm currently looking forward to in addition to exploration.

I don't think ArenaNet has made a mistake in its design. You keep trying to position it against classic long lasting established MMO's and from what I can see ArenaNet has built a sort of hybrid offering of Single and Group play with Socialization to give it some legs. They appear to be perfectly happy with transient players and their funding model reflects that. Clearly it is a success, as it has already hit the 3m mark in units sold. Perhaps they are thinking expansions and/or Guild Wars 3. Once units sold plateaus they have the freedom to move on to expansion or Guild Wars 3 as there is no product cannibalization to fret over.

Also, I'm not sure you are characterizing long term MMO play patterns accurately. People come and go from MMO's, leave and return as they release content. I would love the option to suspend and reactivate my LOTRO account as they release content as I'm off playing other stuff in the interm. If Guild Wars 2 releases an expansion how is that different in terms of player patterns? They pay for the expansion and return to playing the game for a time? I took a hiatus from Lotro for almost 2 years at one point. Moria's release brought me back.

Anyway… food for thought.

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May 10th, 2013, 18:57
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
I don't think of myself in the honeymoon period with this game. With the exception of PVP (which never interests me) and WvW I think I've seen everything GW2 has to offer with the exception of (hopefully) interesting new areas, main quest and skill/trait progression. I've certainly called out its most significant limitations after all. Level 40 will unlock the next series of carrots for skills and traits, so that's what I'm currently looking forward to in addition to exploration.
No, maybe you're not in the honeymoon period - but sometimes we don't really know it ourselves.

Which is why I'd like to hear more when I can be reasonably sure you're out.

I don't think ArenaNet has made a mistake in its design. You keep trying to position it against classic long lasting established MMO's and from what I can see ArenaNet has built a sort of hybrid offering of Single and Group play with Socialization to give it some legs. They appear to be perfectly happy with transient players and their funding model reflects that. Clearly it is a success, as it has already hit the 3m mark in units sold. Perhaps they are thinking expansions and/or Guild Wars 3. Once units sold plateaus they have the freedom to move on to expansion or Guild Wars 3 as there is no product cannibalization to fret over.
Well, no design is perfect. So, it goes without saying that they've made mistakes. All developers make mistakes.

As for whether they're completely happy with the results - we can but guess. If they're not - it's not something they're likely to dwell on in public, as it wouldn't be good for business.

Personally, I think the game has been a success in the monetary sense - but I can't help but feel they were aiming higher. Their attitude was quite brazen and self-confident before release - and they seem a bit more humble today.

Also, I'm not sure you are characterizing long term MMO play patterns accurately. People come and go from MMO's, leave and return as they release content. I would love the option to suspend and reactivate my LOTRO account as they release content as I'm off playing other stuff in the interm. If Guild Wars 2 releases an expansion how is that different in terms of player patterns? They pay for the expansion and return to playing the game for a time? I took a hiatus from Lotro for almost 2 years at one point. Moria's release brought me back.

Anyway… food for thought.
You can be absolutely certain I'm categorizing my long-term play pattern accurately. You see, I'm not talking about other players - but about myself. Longevity is a positively vital aspect of an MMO to me - and only very few of them can manage to provide a meaningful experience without it.

An exception would be Secret World - because it has such a powerful narrative and it has an actual end to its story - which means I can enjoy it as a singleplayer game without worrying about longevity.

GW2 has a pathetically poor narrative - and the story content is sparse. So, I can't enjoy it like that at all. If I could, I'd be able overlook how I find it lacking in longevity.

While I come and go from MMOs - it's not because I want to do that. It's because I can't find an MMO that provides me with what I'm looking for. So, I keep getting back to those I found had the most potential and see if I was wrong - or if they've made enough changes.

I've never considered the genre a good match for transient playing - but that's me.

I have very specific demands and preferences in all things gaming - and MMOs are no exception.

The reason I originally got excited about the genre was because of the potential as a virtual world and the potential for complete immersion - as well as open world and meaningful PvP. I would have never dreamed the genre went in the direction it did - for the most part - but there's little I can do about that.

As for what other people prefer or demand from their MMOs - I won't interfere. I'd say I'm surprised if it's really true that "most" MMO gamers prefer to jump from game to game - but then again, people are strange
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May 10th, 2013, 20:06
I do think most MMO players that are looking for that elusive immersive world play at least 2. I'm a Lotro die hard, but I've tried Conan, GW2 and will try Elder Scrolls and Archeage if it ever shows up. I also go on single player kicks that pull me away from Lotro for extended periods. I also have non computer interests that drag me away, such as cars. Even you took a hiatus from WoW didn't you?

The point is I think "most" get pulled away for something. The draw to stay is insufficient to keep them in 1 game for more than several months without significant content releases. MMO's create serious burn out because they are such monsterous time sinks.

I've already decided I'll be headed back to Lotro after GW2 - where "after" means 100% world exploration and completion of the main quest. Given my leveling rate that will easily be level cap. GW2 has enough brilliance that I'll do that. Once I'm back in Lotro though I image only a major content release will draw me out again.

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May 10th, 2013, 20:29
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
I do think most MMO players that are looking for that elusive immersive world play at least 2. I'm a Lotro die hard, but I've tried Conan, GW2 and will try Elder Scrolls and Archeage if it ever shows up. I also go on single player kicks that pull me away from Lotro for extended periods. I also have non computer interests that drag me away, such as cars. Even you took a hiatus from WoW didn't you?
Well, I stopped playing WoW years ago - but it took a couple of "tries" to finalize it. But that was because my ex never stopped and we used to play games together all the time. So it was kinda hard to quit entirely. I finally stopped because it had a very detrimental effect on my real life - and I saw that many months before I managed to quit it.

I've gone back to try it maybe 5-6 times - but I literally never last more than a handful of hours. I think the best I managed was 2-3 days back when WotLK came out. I'll never get back into it for real. It's truly dead to me.

Even though WoW is the only MMO that truly got a hold of me - it was never "the one" in terms of design. I got caught up in it for mostly social reasons - and then I became obsessed with DPS and that became another game in and of itself. I did manage to get to the point where I was generally considered the best Rogue on the server, horde side - but what good is that?

Still, it was like being a celebrity in a little fantasy world - and that was very interesting for someone who's deeply interested in human psychology. Sounds silly, probably, but even with a small community of maybe 7-8 thousand people - you can get a sense of what it must mean to be recognised most places you go. I had people whisper me constantly every day about how to play a Rogue and whatever. Fun at first, and incredibly annoying at length - hehe.

But it gave me some insight into how some people let games take over their lives completely - and with a different personality than mine, it would be quite easy to confuse that kind of fantasy recognition with a truly worthwhile achievement. Oh, I know some people will consider being "the best" at a computer game is an achievement - but I think it has to measured against the effort. I spent a ridiculous amount of time and effort getting to that level. We're talking reading forums and studying mechanics in-depth for 2-4 hours each and every day - as well as playing at least 4-8 hours on top. No game or in-game achievement is worth that.

Quite a lesson

The point is I think "most" get pulled away for something. The draw to stay is insufficient to keep them in 1 game for more than several months without significant content releases. MMO's create serious burn out because they are such monsterous time sinks.
Yeah, and I think the genre has something that can only really grab you seriously once. Maybe some people can get that caught up more than once, but I don't think it can happen to me again.

I consider it a big paradox. Basically, I'm looking for an MMO that's good enough to keep me deeply invested for years - and yet I would never want to do that, because no game is worth it.

It's unique in that way

I've already decided I'll be headed back to Lotro after GW2 - where "after" means 100% world exploration and completion of the main quest. Given my leveling rate that will easily be level cap. GW2 has enough brilliance that I'll do that. Once I'm back in Lotro though I image only a major content release will draw me out again.
Well, I could never make that kind of goal work for me. I've tried - believe me.

I'll tell myself that I'll finish the story or I'll level a class to cap and then move on. I can never make it work, though. 9 times out of 10 - I get bored WAY before I reach those goals - and I'll just jump from game to game, telling myself that I've found something really special in the new one. It seems I just can't keep myself interested in any MMO for a long time these days. Most I can manage is about a month - and I'll be bored to tears.
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May 10th, 2013, 22:08
Is there really any significant innovation in MMO gameplay over the last few years? It seems so generic that it never interested me. But I really should try at least one to see what the big deal is all about.
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May 10th, 2013, 22:56
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Is there really any significant innovation in MMO gameplay over the last few years? It seems so generic that it never interested me. But I really should try at least one to see what the big deal is all about.
Sadly enough, I think one of the more innovative gameplay systems was found in Everquest as a spellcaster. Only being allowed 8 spells at once without having to physically sit down and swap something out in the midst of combat led to far more strategy and decision-making than all these MMOs that give you everything and have you set up 80 hotkeys…

Guild Wars 1 had a similar system, only allowing you to use 8 skills out of a possible 50,100,200 available skills. Again, more strategy.

One step forward, 5 steps back.
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