Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why I have moved on from MMOs.

I've given up on MMOs for the near future, especially free-to-play ones. Here's why.

1. MMORPGs are community-focused. Community is the real problem, and communities for popular games are always poor. MMORPGs are based around having large communities that are too large to effective self-police. This problem is unsolvable.

2. MMOs are bad strategy games at their heart. Execution of strategies is trivial. The content is so easy 90% of the time that developing strategies is unnecessary or trivial. The only part of the game that isn't trivial is PvP, which is often trivialized by loot differentials caused almost exclusively by differences in time played. Raids are trivialized by guides that players are expected to know before doing the content.

3. Maintaining a guild in an MMO is more challenging than actually playing the game. The community is bad. Maintaining a guild is outside the scope of game design, though a game can have some features that help with this. When the most difficult problems presented to the player by a game have nothing to do with the game, I lose interest.

4. MMOs are most likely to be unhealthy games to play. They require time commitments that are pretty ludicrous if you want to see any remotely challenging content without making actions artificially induce difficulty.

5. MMOs tend to be bad for the rest of gaming because they consume all of players' gaming time and some of their personal time. Players play MMOs instead of any other game.

6. MMO business models tend to reward developers for producing very addictive content at the expense of everything else. A big selling point for spending money on free-to-play games is that the game is made less bad by paying. This is not the kind of business model I want to endorse.

There are a lot of other games to play--I can't spend time playing these games that offer me so little actual fun but stand to ask for a lot of time.


John said...

I'm not sure why it took you so long to realize this. And I'm not sure why I've felt this way for years, but continue to buy and discard new MMOs after as little as a few hours.

firefox said...

we have all moved on. now MMOs must catch up with us, or stay behind and be forgotten :)

evizaer said...

I realized this over a calendar year ago and perhaps as early as when I started writing this blog. I didn't start writing about MMORPG criticism because I thought the games were great. I didn't have the guts/time to write this post until now.

Stratagerm said...

3. Maintaining a guild in an MMO is more challenging than actually playing the game.


It's amazing and insane that MMOs used to require you to get 40 people to show up at the same time to raid on a regular basis.

But all your points are terrific.

Hex said...

Gotta agree with every point you made, but I do have one itch that only MMOs can scratch. I like having a creation, such a character, that I can steadily work on and improve, and it will be there every day. Continuity. Singleplayer games eventually end, and multiplayer games usually have either no progression or simple, uninteresting paths.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

You've summed up what I've been unable to articulate so well. I'll be keeping an eye out for an MMO that actually makes some improvements, but I haven't been and won't fall for any hype.

Anonymous said...

1. We shouldn't need to self-police.

2. We need laissez-faire pvp.

3. I've never had problems with guilds themselves, just the restrictions placed upon them.

4. Ideally MMOs would be item-based with no time-played-to-increase-ability. You kill someone, take their items. Bank 'em, use 'em--kill more people, take more items; die, lose items. Buy items, sell items. What you do with them is based on your skill as a player.

5. MMOs should be the future of gaming. Interactivity in a globalising world. It is a shame that most people would rather pour away money into a glorified slot machine, but this is a complicated problem; not a problem with MMOs.

6. Yes.

MMOs reflect cosmopolitan culture in the gaming world. It's a real shame that cosmopolitan culture is so ugly and stupid.