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The Trouble with MMORPGs

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the lack-of-tribbles dept.

Role Playing (Games) 403

jasoncart writes "The trouble with MMORPGs is a humorous account of one gamer's struggle to find and assume his place in the rapidly evolving societies which form a part of the online RPG explosion. Ultimately, it is also a lament for the loss of direction that is the scourge of the genre."

cancel ×

403 comments

fp mofo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301383)

eat it

Re:fp mofo (-1, Offtopic)

soluzar22 (219097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301436)

Offtopic, and a total of four words including the subject... Such a fascinating post. What a delightfully intelligent use of the word 'mofo'. Oh, sorry my mistake, that isn't a word.
I really hope /. never decide to ban posting by ACs. It would surely be everyone's loss, if we missed out on Wilde-esque gems of this quality.

--
Soluzar

Re:fp mofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301455)

man that's such a flamebait response

Re:fp mofo (-1, Offtopic)

soluzar22 (219097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301535)

IMO, my response was a flame, not flamebait. There's a huge difference. Plus that was such a dumb post. I have attempted to get FP on a couple of occasions, but I would always try to actually have something to say in my comment rather than just write "first post, eat it".

-- Soluzar

Re:fp mofo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301559)

you just sound jealous to me.

Re:fp mofo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301595)

Sorry I'm so late, I was masturbating in the executive washroom.

Trick-or-treat! [1fineline.com]

Re:fp mofo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301594)

dude you suck even more than the AC. get a fucking life! only a loser like yourself picks on the details between flamebait and flames.

Re:fp mofo (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301642)

yeah, let him go back to his MUDs and his MMPROGPHALUHALUHAGALUHGALHUH please pass the gayness

Re:fp mofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301571)

yeah, but it's still my fp, mofo.

Re:fp mofo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301459)

Way to go. You're such a 1337 d00d. When I grow up I want to be just like you.

Re:fp mofo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301610)

i am so thirty one thousand, three hundred and thirty seven.

Me too, so bored of RPing online. (4, Insightful)

soluzar22 (219097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301386)

I got to the same stage as this author about 6 years ago. I spent lots and lots of time playing MUDs - (remember MUDs? Nahh, didn't think so!) before there even were such things as MMORPGs, and while I loved it at the time, after a while you've just done it all, seen it all, and just don't want to do it again. As a result, I've never bothered playing any of the graphical MMORPGs. They can't be that different from MUDs really, can they? I mean, in the enjoyment factor?

I enjoyed the social scene on my favourite MUDs but apart from the jadedness factor, they were a huge time (and money, this was pre-unmetered internet) sink.

-- Soluzar

Re:Me too, so bored of RPing online. (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301413)

By same stage, do you mean an error message from a web server? Thats all I got from the page. lousy /. effects

Re:Me too, so bored of RPing online. (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301480)

I remember MUDs back in the day :) I logged over 8,000 hours in three years (that's almost eight hours a day!)... and that's just when my favorite MUD upgraded to a code base that tracked time logged in!

Scary to think what kind of time we used to have on our hands before jobs, lives, and responsibilities cropped up ;)

Farewall my text based friends. Like IRC and Usenet, you will be missed :(

Re:Me too, so bored of RPing online. (1)

j0217995 (597878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301602)

I've found my enjoyment has shifted. I still play on various MUDs and still enjoy them. However I have moved from the actual running eq and quests to working on developing my favorite mud. Its where I have learned how to code several langagues and work with databases that I would never had the opportunity or desire before.

I agree that jobs and responsibilities have helped in the shift from the day to day exping and getting eq. Who has time to spend 5 hours on a single piece of eq when family, work, friends and other jobs are calling you.

I have always been that level 10 when everyone I know is a level 50 uber player. I the person that will always ask for help because the 10 minutes I am, maybe the only time I have that day for a game. That is why I will never again be some uber gamer.

Re:Me too, so bored of RPing online. (1)

soluzar22 (219097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301608)

I sometimes wonder if I should give MMORPGs a go, but then I read an article like that, and I think my gut was right all along. :-)

On a side note, what makes you say that usenet is dead? I read and post to one newsgroup regularly still, and there's another three or four I track without posting.

-- Soluzar

MMORPG and MUDs will always fail. (2, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301593)

Really, you can't expect programmers to generate enough coherent scenarios to keep players interested, can you? If these games were to involve interesting plots, you'd keep running into people who had done exactly the same things as you, except that the demon/warlord/killer pig had a slightly different name. Hang on -- doesn't that happen anyway?

No, human intervention is required to customise the experience, GM style. Smaller worlds are needed with restricted take-up of gamers.

Either that, or stick to the preprogrammed off-line games....

MUDS are still alive today.. (1)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301672)

and a great one is DurisMUD [durismud.com] .. durismud.org 6666

Re:Me too, so bored of RPing online. (2, Interesting)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301751)

I watched my roommie in college waste a solid week of his life on these things. I'm in greater danger from Sid Meier products.
The MMORPG that might be tempting would be an accurate historical one.
What if you could go back in time to, I don't know, Homer's Greece and tool around with Jason ISO fleece?
I hope that there aren't any archeology/history professors on /., because if they teamed up with the right coders, you could have a killer app.
Even more frightening is the threat of the players learning something. Useful. About reality. Fear!

Linux Gets a Reality Check (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301405)

WASHINGTON-- Linux is not the best choice for every IT need. That's according to one speaker at a Linux enterprise conference here.

Linux and other open source software products in many cases may not offer the highest-quality choice available to enterprises, and proprietary software isn't evil, said Jonathan Eunice, president and principal analyst at Illuminata, an IT research and consultancy group based in Nashua, New Hampshire.

But enterprises looking to tweak the code of the software they run and avoid "entanglement costs" associated with vendors who may not listen to their needs may want to consider deploying some open source software, he added, speaking at the Enterprise Linux Forum in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

Eunice urged the attendees at the conference--mostly IT managers interested in open source software--to make decisions about using Linux and other open source software based on what's best for their businesses, not on the near-religious arguments that have dominated the open source versus proprietary debate. But he also countered critiques by companies such as Microsoft, saying he finds no basis for the claims that open source stifles innovation.

No Secrets

Successful open source users realize they are not "entering into a communist plot," said Eunice, speaking to an audience of about 50 here.

"There is no need to go and learn a secret handshake or learn a hymn book to adopt Linux and open source," he said. "There is no vow of obedience and fidelity. You can mix and match, and no one should be angry at you for doing so. It does not require joining a commune; it does not require drinking the Kool-Aid."

Despite claims from some in the open source community, open source development isn't a magic way to create software, Eunice added. "It's not some miracle in software construction that is going to accelerate software development by a factor of 100," he said. "In the early days of open source, many claims were made that bugs would be fixed instantly or new functionality would be added at miraculous speeds. I don't think it's happening."

More Secure?

Linux also isn't a "miraculous cure" for security problems that have plagued Windows, Eunice added. Linux can help enterprises avoid viruses and worms targeting Microsoft products, but open source software projects do issue bug fixes of their own.

While Linux may not be appropriate for every enterprise IT need--Eunice gave the example of desktops and very large databases as places where many enterprises may want to choose other options when pressed by the audience--he listed several places where Linux and other open source software will do the job for enterprises. Among them: network servers and gateways, dynamic data centers, computer clusters, and grids.

While Linux doesn't "scale up" well to large computers running multiple processors, that debate is becoming less and less important as "scale-out" approaches, as clusters and grids, take over many large-scale computing needs, he said.

Ready for the Desktop?

An audience member argued that open source software on the desktop is valuable for people who want to control the computer code and make applications run the way they want, and Eunice agreed. But he questioned whether Linux was ready yet for most home or business desktops.

"I do not believe that Linux and the [open source] ecosystem has produced a complete desktop I would feel comfortable putting my mother or my business office in front of," Eunice said. "I think on the consumer side, there should never be a time for concerns about device drivers or concerns about kernels. My mother will not permit me to have that discussion with her."

Some enterprises with limited desktop needs may be able to run Linux, he said, but most will be more comfortable with a mix of open source and proprietary software. Eunice showed the audience the software running on his laptop: a PowerPoint presentation running on Windows XP , with open source software including the Mozilla Web browser and the jEdit text editor.

Setting the Standard

Open source software isn't always the best or most polished software available, Eunice added, but Linux is a standard that thousands of developers are rallying around. Many enterprises don't want the absolute most polished software package, they often want other advantages open source can give them, he said.

"I can take the absolute best of the open source community, and I can show you something [proprietary] that's technically better in every single case, and you know, sometimes it doesn't really matter," Eunice said. "Sometimes, it's the fact that there's a community, sometimes it's the fact that it's free."

Eunice's presentation listed dozens of enterprise applications available for Linux and vendors offering support for Linux, and dozens of enterprise and government users, including Merrill Lynch and Ameritrade Holding.

"I don't know of too many major financial organizations that don't have Linux pretty deeply in their infrastructure today," he said. "We're getting to the point where you might as well look at the people who aren't using it. It's becoming a common and accepted part of technology."

But Eunice, who once called Linux a "toy" that would never catch on, encouraged the audience to make their own decisions about using open source software, based on their enterprises' needs. "Open source is a choice you have to make," he said. "But it's not a choice you have to make in any sort of religious or divisive way."

Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "American Morning"?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301408)

WTF?

The last time I saw that hot little dark-haired minx, she was on NBC hosting some sub-par tech show.

I wonder whom she had sleep with to end up with the current post...

Re:Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "American Morning"?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301496)

rudi bakhtiar is way cuter

Re:Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "American Morning"?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301552)

god yes! i'd hit it in a second

Re:Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "American Morning"?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301596)

RUUUDDIII BAH-AH-Ah_AAAAAAHKTIAR!!!!! SPLURRRTT!!!

ahhhh................

dams she's fine

Re:Soledad O'Brien on CNN's "American Morning"?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301601)

Mmm... cute, yes, but too flawless.

Like her Middle Eastern looks, though.

killers (-1, Troll)

edson at lies.cl (652479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301417)

slashdotted, you assasains

Head like a hole (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301445)

i have found, you can find, happiness in slavery!

Why oh why did Trent Reznor not produce anything worth listening after the Head like a Hole?

Re:Head like a hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301721)

although you may have not noticed, the fragile is actually, on closer inspection, fantastic.

Re:Head like a hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301790)

Damn skippy it is. Listening to the String Quartet Tribute to NIN right now. Different but fucking fantastic.

The trouble with MMPORGs... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301430)

The trouble with MMPORGs is that only dorks play them.

the trouble with greed/fear based corepirate nazis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301433)

they take (often buy force, & farce) EVERYTHING, & in return, leave the planet/population in ruin.

get ready to see the light.

I want a MMORPG based on this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301434)

Crushed: The Doomed Kitty Adventures! [supermegatopia.com]

And it needs orcs that look like this. [supermegatopia.com]

Re:I want a MMORPG based on this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301499)

Dude I love that comic. it's histerical!

Have you ever played the D&D Mod? [teamfrog.com]

Re:I want a MMORPG based on this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301543)

Aaaagh! Furries! Don't click on that "kitty"-link lest you become infected with the furry plague!

Better Games (0)

Yenhsrav_Keviv (694947) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301437)

I'll stick to quake and counterstrike.

Re:Better Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301585)

Counter-Strike sucks bigtime, it's the worst game ever.
Yack, makes me puke.

6 comments....flatlined (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301438)

slashdotted.....

Trapped in purgatory Beer and excellent music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301470)

Trapped in purgatory
A lifeless object, alive
Awaiting reprisal
Death will be their acquisition

The sky is turning red
Return to power draws near
Fall into me, the sky's crimson tears
Abolish the rules made of stone

Pierced from below, souls of my treacherous past
Betrayed by many, now ornaments dripping above

Awaiting the hour of reprisal
Your time slips away

Raining blood
From a lacerated sky
Bleeding its horror
Creating my structure
Now I shall reign in blood!

Slash dotted already... (1)

PixelThis (690303) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301458)

Anyone care to post a mirror or the article text?

Re:Slash dotted already... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301508)

Article text for those who can't get in:

If game developers knew about me, they'd try to bottle what I have - I am the equivalent of MMORPG litmus; an acid test. I've played most of the big ones - UO, EQ, AC, DAOC and now SWG, and I've exhibited the same reaction to almost all of them. You see, I'm always the fish that got away.

It always starts so well. I install, register. Spend an age perusing arcane and obscure sites to find the elusive best combination of STR and DXT and INT for that uber nuking mage or damage soaking tank. I make the decision, create a character. I change my mind, re-roll and start again. I do this several times, until everything is just right. But finally, I'm happy. I enter the game world.

And am immediately lost and confused. No MMORPG ever has managed to ease me into a game. Maybe I'm obtuse, but invariably someone takes pity on me and points me in the right direction - the rat/snake/mouse/snail killing fields, where I begin to cut my level 1 teeth with the other "n00bs". In UO and EQ, this was a delight - it was all new, we were all new back then. This was before the days of power levelling and macro'ing your way to level 40 before the game was even out. No. Back then, we ALL did our time in the rat fields. But despite the obvious menial nature of the task, it is still fun. The levels come quickly, new skills are learned and used, new items acquired and the next goal is only just around the corner. This is the MMORPG honeymoon period - the time where the grind is not just bearable, it's actually enjoyable. But like the real thing, the MMORPG honeymoon can't last.

It begins to creep in, almost unnoticed. The levels are further apart. You begin to notice that newly acquired skills are carbon copies of the old ones, with a different coloured icon and a two percent damage increase. You start to get 'class envy' - that feeling that almost every other race/class/profession is better off than you, and that the developers have it in for you and your kind. Suddenly, you find yourself looking for groups because you're bored of soloing, or soloing because you can't find a group, or crafting because you can't be bothered with either. You try out all the little distractions the developers have put in the game to make things 'deep', only to find they're broken, bugged or plain pointless. But you're a trooper. You stiffen that upper lip and press on, certain that if you can only hang in there the good times will arrive and the game will be FUN again.

It is at precisely this point, that me and others like me will part ways with our more determined MMORPG brethren. I, you see, am a quitter. And that's why developers should listen to me, because it is me and those like me who cannot be retained after the free month. Simply put, if I'm paying for it, then it's a winner. And I tell you all honestly, I'm TIRED of quitting. I want to proudly display my level 75 death mage to all and sundry. I want to tell bored "n00bs" of how I acquired my shiny Boots of Relentless Perseverance + 2 after a three day battle with a fire giant. I want to be that guy - I have it in me, to be that sad.

But frankly, and I mean this in the nicest possible sense, all the MMORPGs out there bore me senseless after two or three weeks. So where are they going wrong? Well, if you're still reading at this point, I'm going to tell you. Here follows Nick's list of MMORPGs do's and dont's... so without further ado, and in no particular order...

1) DON'T use me as pest control:

I've killed them all - rats, spiders, snakes, snails, wasps, worms, beetles etc. And more to the point, I've BEEN killed by them all. I'm tired of this crap - I know MMORPGs must have a sense of progression and therefore start small, but can't I start a bit higher up the food chain? For God sake, in real life I could give most decent sized mammals a good hiding and I don't even possess a shock spell or whirlwind attack. Let me fight something bigger.

2) DO allow me to play how I like, when I like:

I keep unusual hours. It's a by product of being socially ignorant, drinking vast amounts of tea and coke and generally preferring to skulk in darkness. That is my right. So if I'm on your server with only three others at four in the morning, please let me do something meaningful with my time, and don't force me to join up with someone as obnoxious as I am to level up. That's just cruel.

Re:Slash dotted already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301553)

It's actually easier for me to load the article than to load slashdot pages. (Yeah, I know, that article pages are static and the slashdot pages I'm loading are dynamic...)

p.s. 500 Internal Server Error!!!

Slashdotting... (1, Funny)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301464)

.. the real-life webserver PK'er.

Re:Slashdotting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301551)

And what's really "funny" is that he submitted this story himself. Did you not think it would get traffic? Little underprepared are we?

Slashdotted after 16 comments... sign...

text of article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301465)

If game developers knew about me, they'd try to bottle what I have - I am the equivalent of MMORPG litmus; an acid test. I've played most of the big ones - UO, EQ, AC, DAOC and now SWG, and I've exhibited the same reaction to almost all of them. You see, I'm always the fish that got away.

It always starts so well. I install, register. Spend an age perusing arcane and obscure sites to find the elusive best combination of STR and DXT and INT for that uber nuking mage or damage soaking tank. I make the decision, create a character. I change my mind, re-roll and start again. I do this several times, until everything is just right. But finally, I'm happy. I enter the game world.

And am immediately lost and confused. No MMORPG ever has managed to ease me into a game. Maybe I'm obtuse, but invariably someone takes pity on me and points me in the right direction - the rat/snake/mouse/snail killing fields, where I begin to cut my level 1 teeth with the other "n00bs". In UO and EQ, this was a delight - it was all new, we were all new back then. This was before the days of power levelling and macro'ing your way to level 40 before the game was even out. No. Back then, we ALL did our time in the rat fields. But despite the obvious menial nature of the task, it is still fun. The levels come quickly, new skills are learned and used, new items acquired and the next goal is only just around the corner. This is the MMORPG honeymoon period - the time where the grind is not just bearable, it's actually enjoyable. But like the real thing, the MMORPG honeymoon can't last.

It begins to creep in, almost unnoticed. The levels are further apart. You begin to notice that newly acquired skills are carbon copies of the old ones, with a different coloured icon and a two percent damage increase. You start to get 'class envy' - that feeling that almost every other race/class/profession is better off than you, and that the developers have it in for you and your kind. Suddenly, you find yourself looking for groups because you're bored of soloing, or soloing because you can't find a group, or crafting because you can't be bothered with either. You try out all the little distractions the developers have put in the game to make things 'deep', only to find they're broken, bugged or plain pointless. But you're a trooper. You stiffen that upper lip and press on, certain that if you can only hang in there the good times will arrive and the game will be FUN again.

It is at precisely this point, that me and others like me will part ways with our more determined MMORPG brethren. I, you see, am a quitter. And that's why developers should listen to me, because it is me and those like me who cannot be retained after the free month. Simply put, if I'm paying for it, then it's a winner. And I tell you all honestly, I'm TIRED of quitting. I want to proudly display my level 75 death mage to all and sundry. I want to tell bored "n00bs" of how I acquired my shiny Boots of Relentless Perseverance + 2 after a three day battle with a fire giant. I want to be that guy - I have it in me, to be that sad.

But frankly, and I mean this in the nicest possible sense, all the MMORPGs out there bore me senseless after two or three weeks. So where are they going wrong? Well, if you're still reading at this point, I'm going to tell you. Here follows Nick's list of MMORPGs do's and dont's... so without further ado, and in no particular order...

1) DON'T use me as pest control:

I've killed them all - rats, spiders, snakes, snails, wasps, worms, beetles etc. And more to the point, I've BEEN killed by them all. I'm tired of this crap - I know MMORPGs must have a sense of progression and therefore start small, but can't I start a bit higher up the food chain? For God sake, in real life I could give most decent sized mammals a good hiding and I don't even possess a shock spell or whirlwind attack. Let me fight something bigger.

2) DO allow me to play how I like, when I like:

I keep unusual hours. It's a by product of being socially ignorant, drinking vast amounts of tea and coke and generally preferring to skulk in darkness. That is my right. So if I'm on your server with only three others at four in the morning, please let me do something meaningful with my time, and don't force me to join up with someone as obnoxious as I am to level up. That's just cruel.

3) DON'T make crap classes/professions:

Because I am drawn to them as the moth is to the flame. I have a history of single-handedly and without prior research, choosing as my own the class or profession that is clearly 'screwing the pooch'. The only exception to this rule is Star Wars Galaxies, where I avoided Chef by the narrowest of margins purely because Ferrago's own Rich called shotgun on them for himself. Instead, I went a medic, and spent most of my time harbouring pent up rage at the lack of tips, with a sinking feeling as I realised I'd have to heal 1,057 more people before I get another skill. This may be unfair though, because SOE have commendably and originally screwed up almost every profession, in order to make everyone equally unhappy. Now that's thinking out of the box.

4) DO play other types of games, to better remember...

That games are meant to be fun. I mean, really, there are careers that are less demanding than your average MMORPG. I'm as lazy as the next person (in fact, much much lazier) - I get up late every day and really don't do very much, but even I balk at the man hours I'm expected to put in to level my character. Come on people. I completely understand the concept of work vs reward in games. But I need more reward, and need it more often.

5) DON'T pretend I can 'make a difference':

We both know that your over-arching storyline is wafer thin, and that I don't amount to a hill of beans in this digital town. Drop the pretence, I can handle the empty feeling of my own non-importance. I live in the real world, remember? I'm happy with my own little corner.

My most recent foray into the online world was with Star Wars Galaxies. In fact, I was so keen I couldn't wait for the European release and secured an American copy on eBay. I am a huge Star Wars and RPG fanatic, and am only just getting over my KOTOR withdrawal symptoms, so you'd think that SWG would be something of a panacea.

To put it simply, Star Wars Galaxies is the latest in an evolving series of MMORPGs that have yet to get the basics right, and each new incarnation adds more froth on a stale and uninventive gameplay experience. Let us look at the things that SWG gets right. Character customisation is excellent. The graphics are just right, if a little demanding. The crafting is deeper and more involving than any previous game, allowing players to exist totally without combat. Of all of these, only the crafting in SWG is a real innovation and truly game enhancing. Galaxies has all the same problems of previous MMORPGs - the grind, balance issues, economic problems - but is multiplied because of the number of professions and the stilted player economy. I honestly believe that Sony must never play some of the professions they have created, because they are stupendously boring to play. As a medic, I came to the stage of sitting watching TV as I ground my way through the early skills. Macros are springing up everywhere because players are too bored to play themselves. Every second entertainer is AFK, simply leaving their characters dancing away in the cantina as they do something more interesting and productive offline. Surely a game designer's number one priority is to entertain? SOE have managed something truly remarkable - they have actively bored me, as opposed to merely not entertaining. Do you see the distinction?

The responses of the developers and some players to all this seem ludicrous. Macroing is severely frowned upon, and I've witnessed huge arguments in the cantinas over tipping AFK entertainers. Some players resent those who refuse to waste their time grinding. These people miss the point. If the game made this process interesting in the slightest, it would not be a problem. When a game feels more like a job than a game, it's time to quit.

Galaxies has tried to innovate, but in my opinion has moved in the wrong direction, drawing all the wrong conclusions from the lessons of the last few MMORPG years. One developer, however, is moving in the correct direction and should provide the quitters like me with a reason to finally part with our credit card details. The game is World of Warcraft, and the developer is, of course, Blizzard. WoW gets me excited in a way few games do these days. It is frankly looking too fabulous to do it justice in anything less than a full preview, but already in its pre-beta state the Blizzard design principles shine through. There are far fewer classes, but each is completely self sufficient - although obviously certain classes will perform better at certain tasks than others. Blizzard has simplified the advancement process, making it impossible to produce a crippled character, but has a complex secondary skill system that allows customisation. The whole game is designed around principles of usability, friendliness to new players, simplicity and of course, fun. This is the key point. Blizzard have stated that they want to reproduce the Diablo-esque quality of forgetting to look at the progress bar. You simply enjoy the game and before you know it, you've gained a level, completed a quest or attained some other goal. This, and this above all, is what I've missed in all the MMORPGs I've played.

The MMORPG genre is now in a critical phase. Although a select few are financially successful, none have managed to produce the kind of gameplay that will keep average gamers playing for years. Developers are trying new things to find that magic formula, each citing what the previous generation of games did wrong in an effort to justify their approach. Shadowbane emphasises player guilds and inter-city combat. Anarchy Online boasted a futuristic setting. Dark Age of Camelot offered the player vs. player experience Everquest was lacking. None of these games, however, ever sought to emphasise simplicity or fun. If I'm right, then some time next year, Blizzard will show us all what we've been missing.

By Nick McCrea

Re:text of article (2, Informative)

Paolomania (160098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301718)

If I'm right, then some time next year, Blizzard will show us all what we've been missing.

Along those lines, Blizzard has just updated the WoW site with an overview [blizzard.com] of how their quest system will work.

Re:text of article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301735)

dude. check out a tale in the desert. like it or not, theres a free 24 play-hour trial, and free download. (win and linux). www.atitd.com

indie company, low advertising budget, great great game.

i think at the very least you owe it to yourself as a MMORPG fan to try it, but i think you might find it refreshing. and it addresses lots of concerns of yours above. the largest being that you DO make a difference. really.

Addicts, true addicts, don't quite (2, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301473)

We simply hang in there, hoping it will get better, blaming ourselves for the lack of content in their game.

"It's our fault", we say, "that I am not enjoying this as much as I did when I first started. If I just hang in there, and believe, it will all be ok"

We're sorta like battered wives, except we pay for the privledge.

Re:Addicts, true addicts, don't quite (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301651)

yeah I stopped paying for SWG. The whole reason I started in the first place was the promise of true pPlayer Run Cities. and wouldn't you know it the shipped the game without it...

Lucas and company as just making it easier and eaiser to get over my Battered Star Wars fan delusional thinking.

I'll be downloading Episode 3.

Elliot Smith dead at 34 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301478)

NPR [npr.org] has the story. He was found dead in his apartment of a self inflicted stab wound to the chest. He's best remembered for his Oscar nomination for the song "Miss Misery" featured in the film Goodwill Hunting. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon."

Re:Elliot Smith dead at 34 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301539)

Who?

Back to MUDs (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301513)

Simply put, MMORPGs are years behind MUDs. MMORPGs these days are glorified versions of Diablo. Even the most trade skill savvy MUDs really have just reduced trade skills into a Diablo equivalent... press this button so many times and win a prize. MMORPGs do not have consistent or coherent worlds. They rely purely upon addictive game mechanics and social communities built within the game to thrive. Personally, I went through the stage where I tried out addiction and found it to be less then enjoyable once I stepped back and realized how utterly boring these games were.

These days, I stick to MUDs. MUDs are light years ahead of MMORPGs. For instance, the MUD I normally play, ArmageddonMUD http://www.armageddon.org/ has a coherent world, enforced RP, and permanent death. No MMORPG comes even close to this. The game is NOT built around slaughtering thousands of NPCs. Just like in real life, it will only get you dead.

The day that MMORPGs will become worth while is when they find a formula other then pure addiction to keep people active. I think A Tale in the Desert is a great leap forward. Combining that sort of game play in with traditional action and adventure is where I believe it is at.

Personally, I will go back to MMORPGs the second one manages to pull off true permanent death. MUDs have been able to pull it off and keep the game enjoyable, yet MMORPGs have not even been able to make the effort. Permanent death forces the game world to be coherent and for combat to less then mindless. I think that we have many years to come before MMORPGs can pull off what MUDs have already done.

Fat kids discover the outdoors (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301516)

If this genre doesn't die soon you can get ready for GENERATION LARD - kids who will spend 18 hours a day having sex chat under the auspices of slaying dragons. While they will quickly get over the psychological issues of male/male sex chat posing as teenage lesbian sex chat, it will be hard for them to physically cope with excessive masturbation being their only form of exercise.

The articles misses the main problem: (4, Insightful)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301517)

Don't make me pay for the game twice:

If you charge a monthly fee to maintain your virtual world, that's okay. Just don't charge a second time for the game itself. The "game" in the box is just a client to connect to the real game on the server. It's as stupid as if AOL charged $50 for those CDs they give away and then charged their monthly fee.

By charging $50 just to get one's foot in the door, you chase of 90% of the people who would try the game if it just cost the first month's fee. At least some of those people would stick around.

Jason
ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]

Re:The articles misses the main problem: (1)

phlyingpenguin (466669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301641)

Not all do, I believe Anarchy lets you download an enormous demo, and the game I'm currently in, <a href="http://www.rubiesofeventide.com">Rubies of Eventide</a> lets you download the game for free as well. While RoE doesn't have the exposure that SWG or Evercrack has in a store, I think it has a higher IQ level in game b/c of it being a smaller community.

Re:The articles misses the main problem: (1)

phlyingpenguin (466669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301666)

fsk me in the arse for not selecting html OR previewing!!

Rubies of Eventide [rubiesofeventide.com] - Just to prove I can do it mommy!!

Re:The articles misses the main problem: (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301657)

That $50 box might be the best way for them to get their game into the retail channel.

Cheaper game clients (1)

tigre (178245) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301731)

Pros:
  • As you stated, lower costs, more people try, more people stick around.
  • A new game would get started a lot faster, because lots of people would jump on-board quickly, making it more likely that others will want to join in/stick with the action.

Cons:

  • Lowering the bar for entry too much brings in a lot more of the "unwanted element", who just show up, annoy everyone and leave.
  • Profitability: It's already nearly impossible to make money on a game given the up-front development costs, and losing the markup at the front end probably means higher monthly fees, which makes it less motivating to play in the long run. This could be mitigated somewhat though by the higher number of players as profitability per player generally increases with the number of players.

I guess my conclusion is this: the economics will work only if the gaming population is large enough. This requires two things: game quality, which the article addresses, and momentum, which cheaper clients would possibly address. Here's another thought: how about give two months free with purchase of the game?. I know I'd be harder pressed to abandon something I had been playing two months than a mere one month investment.

Re:The articles misses the main problem: (2, Insightful)

Razor Blades are Not (636247) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301744)

Nope.
People generally believe free things are of lower quality than things they pay for. 90% of people will believe that the slick box they paid $50 for is worth that $50.

If it were free, then they might also start to wonder about how much they're really paying for it through that monthly fee.

Furthermore, the games are generally of low enough actual quality that the company has to cover their costs up front as much as possible, in order to cover those who drop out after the first month - a large percentage of their inital player-base due to the aforementioned low quality.

Re:The articles misses the main problem: (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301784)

Either that or give away more than one free month with the box. If there were, say, three free months added in, it wouldn't be that big of a deal - it would end up working out about the same anyway.

Of course, all that the people at the company see is, "but we'll be losing out on [2 months of subscription fees|$50 / box]!"

More importantly, though, is a TRIAL. How many times have you wanted to try a game, but definitely didn't want to spend $50 for it just to see how good it is? A three-day trial would be enough time for a person to decide whether they like the game or not, and it would most likely be profitable for the compnay since the player will still be in the addictive "honeymoon period" described in the article and have more of a chance of buying it.

-- Dr. Eldarion --

Re:The articles misses the main problem: (1)

syzygy_001 (671384) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301814)

E&B (Earth and Beyond) tried to address this, they had (have, not sure haven't played in a LONG time) a buddy registration system, not a new Idea... may games encouraged you to sign up friends, but E&B put a nice spin onto this old idea.

They ENCOURAGED you to get a hold of the CD's (officially, by borowing them from your friend) then for a very low cost (if memory serves me $5-10) you could electronically buy a new serial number.

You still had the monthly fee but the startup on the game was very minor assuming you could get a hold of the Game CD's.

This also helped out those who had multiple gamers in the house... with EQ and other games you needed to go out and buy the CD again for every person in the house who wanted their own account, I have 2 copies of most of the EQ CD's myself before I finally broke that addiction :)

Also the "buddy" who you listed on your referal, got some credit and AP (Ability Points) to spend in game for giving EA a new paying customer (Another nice touch IMHO).

I think E&B had it right, and I hope looking forward other MMORPG's borrow this idea.

The trouble with UO was... (1)

Sir Haxalot (693401) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301521)

they brought out Age of Shadows, it totally changed the game (for the worse), and everyone left, anyone else used to/play UO here?

The trouble with you is... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301575)

That you are GAY, a FAGGOT, and most likely HOMOSEXUAL.

Fuck off, Sir Suxalot.

Re:The trouble with UO was... (1)

genner (694963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301715)

UO has been going down hill for a long time. The orginal creator saw this, and left the compant blaming EA for the overall suck that plagues UO now. Remember the good old days, before 3d clients, before trammel, before housing restrictions.Life was sweet back then. Back when you didn't have belong to a Faction to Kill people. Back when thieveing involved stealing things of value off other players, not picking up rares off the dungeon floor. EA killed my inner child.

Re:The trouble with UO was... (1)

beacher (82033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301822)

I quit UO immediately after AoS was released. UO has been rapidly declining into the world of "bright and shiny" object acquisition, and the players were eating it up. West Britain Bank looked like someone ate a case of playdough (all the colors) and vomited on screeen. Over the past 2 years, they've made more unstackable items and the players went on a frenzy to have one of everything of the new items. Then AoS brought out the housing database with completely customized houses (think 1-3 graphic objects per square). Between the unique items, the number of items that couldn't be stacked, the number of items that a house pushed out, they probably created 10-20x the amount of data that the database and the client had to process.

The Lag monster was always nipping at your heels before AoS, but AoS really put some teeth into him - of course it didn't help that Magic Resist was completely nuked as well.

Lag + No Effective Resist = Death = 4 year player quitting because I could never solo the lag monster.

-B

Studies (2, Interesting)

Scoot G (714257) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301527)

We did a study on this in my Social Issues In Computing class last year. Online RPG'ing is a scary thing. People get sucked in and lost the ability to coherently act outside of the game. Who do we blame? The gaming organization? I don't think so. They are just good at what they do. It is like when Coca Cola put traces of cocaine in their soda. They were just good at getting people addicted...then the whole cocaine is illegal thing came to notice. Oh well.

Re:Studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301800)

Hey dumbfuck, coke never "put cocaine in thier cola". The just didn't start taking the cocaine out until it became illegal.

Re:Studies (1)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301807)

Dude,

Check out Snopes.com and you'll find that Coca-Cola didn't add cocaine to their soda, it was part of the original formula (Coca leaves and Kola nuts) and was originally designed as a medicine, not as a beverage.

You'll also find that the chemists at Coca-Cola worked hard to remove every last trace of the 'cocaine' part of the coca leaves extract, but management felt there had to be some coca leaf extract in the formula so they could keep their every important Trademark.

MUDs had it right... (2, Interesting)

normal_guy (676813) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301547)

One word: JediMud. The economy was barter-based, the world was dynamic and quests were DM'ed by former players. The best part of all was you could only get as high as level 30 (still 40-50 hours of play) before being forced to become immortal or remort. After remorting you got a 1-point bonus to one stat. That kind of system would really cut down on what I consider the worst aspect of MMORPGs, lifeless nerds playing for 80 hours a week and effectively 'ruining the curve'.

Next? (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301566)

What is next? An article from a net "pundit" declaring MMORPGS dead? Every other article anymore is "is the internet dying?" "is bluetooth dead?" "is _____ dying?" Okay I am going to become a "genius" right now, you heard it here first "Wi-Fi is dying." There you go, slap a beret and some horn rimmed glasses on me now, I am officially a "genius".

Re:Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301683)

What you should say, but I have beaten you to it, is 'People who say "___ is dying" are dying' and become the "3j33t" pundit of the internet, perhaps even recieving fan mail and some marriage offers from a couple of psychos.

N.B. Marriage offers in reply to this post are void in funniness ratings - I have already proposed to myself and accepted.

Put all that in your pipe and smoke it!

You know what's REALLY dying? *BSD! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301720)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of
all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've
known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] [samag.com]in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

Doctor, it hurts when I do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301584)

No MMORPG ever has managed to ease me into a game... ...You begin to notice that newly acquired skills are carbon copies of the old ones, with a different coloured icon and a two percent damage increase. You start to get 'class envy' - that feeling that almost every other race/class/profession is better off than you... Suddenly, you find yourself looking for groups because you're bored of soloing, or soloing because you can't find a group, or crafting because you can't be bothered with either

Well stop doing it, dummy! This guy seems to be a sucker for punishment. Most of us figure out what game genres suit us and which to avoid. I, for one, hate the MMORPG genre for all the reasons described above, but know enough not to keep buying into them.

The big problem is (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301588)

That in the end the game system is the same:
Do x to get y
OR
Kill n monsters to level up.

So in the end, you're doing highly receptivity tasks for less and less return. This is not to say that these types of tasks don't have a place in the game play (or in real life either, you don't start out as an Karate black belt and must practice to perform better and better, but after a while, you've done it all and your skill doesn't rise - a gross simplification, but a useful one).

Where I think these games fail is in team building and community building.
Most of these games have falling into this trap, and I think the industry is waking up to this fact and are trying to actively advoid it by designing new adventures (content) which focus on the players and their interaction with each other.

I actually think that W:ET has the right idea with XP increases, you can level up quickly in your class, after that, your skills are how fast you can 'twitch' and shoot (and that it is TEAM based! and Yes there is kill to level up, but these are limited (But I hate the run the clock down theme there, but I'm digressing!)).

my main problem with MMORPGs (0, Troll)

baneblackblade (682424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301591)

is that pretty all of them seem to use the same engine. the "Keep paying us after you bought the game" engine. I've beta tested Earth & Beyond, which was pretty cool until the beta ran up and they asked me to pay them for the rest of my life. I played Anarchy Online for a while until they asked me to pay for the game until the end of the world(s). I'd probably actually go out and play a MMORPG or two if I could just buy the game once.
the other problem I have with MMORPGs is that they are so dependant on working with other people. There are even quests that you can't go on without having a certain number of people in your party. There is no soloing. none at all. well, unless you want to be that level five guy who always gets PKed.
and the worlds are hardly versatile at all. If it's a game like Anarchy Online where there're two warring factions that supposedly hate eachother etc etc etc, well, you see people from either side partying up and going off adventuring all the time. and while the news posts say that one side destroyed some facility or other of the other side, well, nobody actually does. It's all made up by the guys writing the news posts.
so...yeah, if somebody could just fix the games so they were more like an actual RPG (preferably with a real-time combat system so you don't have click on an enemy, go get breakfast, come back, heal, click on another enemy...) and less like monopoly (where everything's already bought up so you keep paying them as long as you play) then they might be good games.

Re:my main problem with MMORPGs (1)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301710)

The problem with the faction thing is that if you actually DO get people to get polarized to a particular faction (or clan or guild or whatever) and actively protect/RP that faction, it'll all just degrade into a bunch of arguing and whining. I see it all the time as an immortal on a MUD. Clans will start warring, and in the end, it all degrades to "He killed me when I was AFK!" type whining or swearing at each other. People take it personally (it seems that Europeans do more do then others, just my experience) and start attacking others verbally.

Re:my main problem with MMORPGs (1)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301748)

I'd probably actually go out and play a MMORPG or two if I could just buy the game once.

The problem there is that how does the company stay in business if they have to maintain a server for thousands of players to play on but their only revenue stream is the initial purchase?

In that case, they have to attract new players to the game to pay for the old ones that are still playing... but the new players require new capacity be added, which costs money... It's a never-ending cycle.

Had you said (as other have) that you shouldn't have to pay for the client and instead just pay for the monthly service, I'd agree with you completely!

Lowered expectations (1)

kird (110317) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301616)

power gamers in these games whine, bitch, and moan. always have, always will. sit back and enjoy the game, if you dont want to kill that bug ten thousand times then don't! quit bitchin about it already!

Re:Lowered expectations (2, Interesting)

Razor Blades are Not (636247) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301812)

It's not the power gamers who suffer the most. Sure they bitch and moan that they don't have their Sword of Ultimate PKing yet, and they've only camped the Monster of Incredible Drops for three days straight.
Yes, this kind of bitching is annoying.

But it's the fact that there is often *nothing else to do* in these games which pisses the average player off. The average player wants something new and interesting, or at least wants a near constant set of rewards, to keep them playing.
As the writer of the article suggests ...

Some advice for the article's author (4, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301618)

But you're a trooper. You stiffen that upper lip and press on, certain that if you can only hang in there the good times will arrive and the game will be FUN again.

You, sir, should avoid cocaine at all costs.

Weaselmancer

The most expensive chatroom of all time. (1)

i_r_sensitive (697893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301644)

Ultimately, this was allways my biggest pet peeve.

Wrong tool, wrong task syndrome.

It's almost like the only people MMORPGs appeal to are the type of people who use spreadsheets for data warehousing.

It would seem to me that irc was cheaper and easier to use, but...

Levling madness (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301650)

yeah well when I jump on a treadmill, I expect to lose weight... not gain it.

Problem with MMORPGS Today is (4, Interesting)

tarnin (639523) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301652)

They try and tailor each game to nothing more than time sinks. The longer your play the more money they make. This right there takes the "fun" factor away and adds in the grind. Why do the developers think its fun to go on a 14 hr raid to maybe get a piece of eq that I might need at some point in my characters life. Also, after the initial time sinks have been reached, instead of rewarding you they add more! Look at EQ and DAoC. Both of which have added pay for expansions that do nothing more than give you more pretty pictures and a TON more time sinks.

At some point they have to realize that time sinks do not equal long term cash. Maybe back in the day when EQ and UO were the only game in town could this be done. Now, there are litterly hundreds of new MMORPGs on the horizon lining up to get a piece of the pie.

Devs!! It's time to remember that we play these games for FUN not for another grind akin to our every day lives.

I'll never play these... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301662)

just because the people who do play them look like someone out of an anti-drug ad. "Dude, don't ever start playing everquest bro, I quit my job so I could sit around and play it more."

Just take the game out (1)

sammyo (166904) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301674)

Are these really *games*? Chess is a game, it is infrequently re-invented but continues to have a rather significant fan base. All of these online games and video games are more like a movie, need a new director every few years.

The MMPORGIES(sp? :-) need to be more like sitcoms or no actually more like interactive soap operas. No one cares how many kill points, they care how you use them on a buddy that they want to play a practical joke.

Go find LambdaMoo, get a character, there are a couple thousand folks that have been mooing for over a decade. It's more than a chat room, more than a game, less than real life. (no reverse that ;-)

This guy is preaching to the choir... (4, Interesting)

Xentax (201517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301680)

...as far as I'm concerned, anyway. I'm in the last stages of burning out on SWG big-time. As usual, that's more depressing than surprising, I knew going in that they'd have to really bust ass to keep me interested beyond a month. Considering how many other 39.99 or 49.99 games have only held my attention for a month or two, though, that's not a terrible thing, just another bad game to stack beside the various bad games and bad movies that come and go between the rarer good stuff.

I also share the author's hope that World of Warcraft will actually BE DIFFERENT than the mass-multi's we've seen so far. I sum up my feeling on that as: "If anyone can do it, Blizzard can".

But that still leaves me wondering *if* anyone can. I mean, how can the content creators ever hope to keep up with the powergamers? It takes 10 or even 100 times as long to create a robust, interesting, and distinctive quest or mission as it does for a typical player to complete it (at least, that's the sort of numbers game developers have tossed out when asked). Solutions like EQ epic quests aren't the answer, because they force the player to join enormous guilds in order to access significant amounts of the game's content, forces an amount of play (in terms of per session and per day or week) that is more than many players can afford to give.

So, have the releases thus far been unable to keep it fresh and interesting because of incompetence or poor design choices (as the author claims), or is actually an unsolvable problem?

Xentax

Pest Control (1)

BMonger (68213) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301685)

I used to hate having to do pest control in games (killing rats and rabbits for those who didn't read the article). But I put this akin to being a tutorial before the main game. In most MMORPG's I've played you don't feel "established" until you hit at least level 10 or so. Fighting little woodland creatures is the easiest way to accomplish this in my opinion. It's the MMORPG way of having a tutorial level.

Didn't mention my favorite activities at all... (1)

pocopoco (624442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301698)

Well, I only MUD regularly. I have tried UO and a few other of the new graphical MMO games though. The article doesn't mention clans/guilds or PVP at all. Killing other people is probably the most fun activity in these games in my experience, seconded only by plotting/leveling/equipping your teammates and having the same done to you so you can kill even better. I guess not many of the new games have PVP?

Second he says not to include him in the story. Big mistake IMHO. Any game that doesn't have GM run events and mobs that force the players to do something meaningful in the story isn't worth playing from my POV. I've always enjoyed town invasions, but I admit they are usually the least involving of the GM run quests I've seen. It does get large numbers involved and you do get to hunt down the leaders or protect the empaths or whatever (like watching newbs die left and right, hehehe), though. ^^

Beta version 7373635262523.010171655252 (1)

novakane007 (154885) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301708)

Yes you have to pay for the game and a subscription fee. This is normally tolerable. However, paying a monthly fee for a beta product is unacceptable. When you spend hours stuck or can't even get on to the server, you have to wonder what you're shelling out monthly for? It's like you're paying for the development. Praying that it will eventually reach a tolerable point where the game becomes playable. Content is lacking, activities are boring, but what does that matter if the game barely functions in the first place?

This is it exactly...... (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301717)

When a game feels more like a job than a game, it's time to quit.

Dude must've had a microphone in my apartment in college. My roomates and I would always ditch games when they "started to feel like work." Work is the antithesis of gaming, if the game drags and there's no reward, you've paid X amount of money to waste time. I can waste time for free, I have Slashdot [slashdot.org] , Fark [fark.com] , The Onion [theonion.com] , & PA [penny-arcade.com] !

I think the real problem with these games (4, Insightful)

Knife_Edge (582068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301725)

Is systemic. These being 'persistent' worlds, they permit somebody to spend all their time in them, 16 hours a day if they like (although that is an extreme example). Yet the only way to get anywhere faster in the game is to spend more time at it.

Ordinary, casual gamers are forced to compete with everyone else in the game for the status/level of accomplishment they want, and to do this they have to run on a treadmill that just keeps getting steeper. Most people cannot devote 8 hours a day to the game, for the average person, even an hour every day works out to quit a lot.

Anybody who doesn't have some kind of obsession with in game achievements (which are NOT IMPORTANT, it's supposed to be a game, fun, not a substitute for real life), is eventually going to throw up their hands, questioning "How many rats do I have to kill?!" What happens is that the distance between the levels/goals you want to achieve keeps getting broader, yet the activities to reach them don't get consistently more challenging. It's just the same old repetition, and once it goes on long enough without you getting anywhere, you have to question the legitimacy of your goal. Is getting there really fun, or are you only trying to get there to get ahead of other people? If it's the latter, the game is probably adding more stress to your life than it relieves.

For the people on top, who essentially have free run of the game, it is fun, but to get to their level you have to spend ungodly amounts of time in the game, to the point where it is overwhelming your entire life. But that's the only way to get there. If they didn't do it, someone else would. Remember what I said about status in-game being the result of a competition between all the players, with those who spend the most time winning?

Everybody wants to feel like a winner, in life or even in any game where there is competition. But you have to ask yourself at some point, do I want to be a winner at point and click killing? The best trader of nonexistent commodities? How much are you willing to sacrifice for these things? For most people, MMORPGs make the sacrifice far too great.

Lack of multiplayer (0)

Piggymon (708786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301728)

The problem with MMORPGs is that they're not really multiplayer. Sure, you play with thousands of people, but what do you do? Kill AI monsters? It's just Diablo II with a bunch of players. This is what I call pseudo-multiplayer, something I would compare to maybe playing tetris and comparing your score with others. Sure, there may be Player versus player or even big realm battles or whatever the concept was in DAoC, but the majority of the time is spent hacking and slashing and slashing without interacting with other players. Compare this to extremely popular games like Starcraft and Counterstrike where the objective of the entire game is to defeat another human being, hence, the added fun. I've sat down and played MMORPGs for hours, and whenever I reached level 20 and got that supersword I asked myself, "What the hell am I doing? I'm playing freaking single-player here". And single-player sucks. Bad. My dream, which however is not possible, is a much more open MMORPG, where everything is player created. I don't know if you should even have NPCS. Constructing towns, taking over towns, forming merchant trade routes, hiring guards and so on. In my dreams, this is all great, although it would probably suck in real life, much because of the unwritten rule that everyone you meet on the Internet are complete jerks.

Not all MMPORGS are like this (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301732)

Planetarion, the one I'm addicted to, is entirely browser based, with no fancy graphics. There is no "levelling-up", the combat is entirely player vs. player, and all you have to do to get new skills is choose which one you want to research next. The gameplay is all in the co-operation of players, forming alliances, trying to get into better alliances, defending your friends, ganging up on your enemies, outthinking dumb people and general larking about with likeminded people in irc. It's even inspired several clones (myphppa, starsphere, dawn of myth, planetia etc.).

Sadly it's dying a slow death because people always go for a $50 + $30 a month glitzy graphics game over a $0 + $15 every 3-4 months one that has no graphics. Before Evercrack, Planetarion had 180,000 accounts, now it's down to about 6,000, despite many improvements being made each round.

If you want to give Planetarion a try, I suggest you sign up [planetarion.com] for a free 2 week trial. If enough of you do, the game might get profitable again.

Loss of direction? (1)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301737)

I think you mean 'lack of direction.' Loss implies that the genre had direction at one point, which it didn't. ^_^

How to fix your MMPORPG (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301767)

If you feel your MMPORPG isn't keeping up with your actions, the gameplay may need tightening. Click here [fitness-equipment.com] for more information.

You are all misguided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7301776)

I read this guys thoughts on the current state of affairs of MMOG's. I also read the responses and its clear that most of you are WAY off as is the person who posted the article.

MMOG's are about community. GO PVP. GO GET INVOLVED in an online community. ROLE PLAY....

These games were NOT designed to keep people interested in quests or killing little rats. Those systems within the game are to keep people interested in the game only long enough to get them to the point they need to be at to learn the game and start playing it the way it was meant to be played.

A successful MMORPG will have systems that promote the forming of communities. NOT an awesome quest system or solo monsters to hunt.

Go play Myst.....

Play Secondlife!!! Really (2, Interesting)

objwiz (166131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301781)

I have to agree so much about the staleness of MMORPGs. But I read about Second Life [secondlife.com] here on /. and I am in love again with online gaming. It is a totally different experience, nothing I could have prepared myself for. I certainly thought I would be bored with it but I'm not!

Seriously, I recommend giving it a try...

Neverwinter Nights (4, Informative)

bucketoftruth (583696) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301793)

I was as jaded as the author after running through all the same games as him. Then I took a break and played some Neverwinter Nights (the built in campaign). It was fun, well balanced good ol' D&D. Then I tried the online client. WOW! Log into a NWN persistent world and it's like a free MMORPG without the MM part. It's not huge, but it's not crowded either. There are great tradeskills, class balance is never an issue, selective PvP, dynamic mob gen... everything works so well. Give it a shot if you're burned out on paying monthly fees for garbage.

What I want (1)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301805)

I want a MMORPG with a "serial killer" type of character. That would get me to sign up. We misanthropes need a healthy outlet, too!

Yeah. That's be sweet. The Everquest Chainmail Massacre. Yeah. Mmm hmmm. I want me some o' that.

The time consuming factor (1)

UrgleHoth (50415) | more than 10 years ago | (#7301817)

If spending all that time doing drudge play gets you down, then try Progress Quest [progressquest.com] .
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