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MMOGs Only For the Hardcore?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-really,-no dept.

Games 236

Gamepro has an editorial up asking the question are Massive Games only for the hardcore? From the article: "Part of it has to do with the conventional pricing model. With a game demanding $15 a month, you can't afford to just casually log in a few hours on the weekend without feeling jipped. So the casual gamer's MMO has to be a game entertaining enough to pull people away from their usual games (let's face it, most MMOs are boring), and rewarding enough in a 1-2 hour timeframe so it doesn't require you to neglect your daily routines."

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236 comments

site slow (5, Funny)

hobotron (891379) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947961)

here is the text from the second part of the article

"duh"

Re:site slow (2, Interesting)

mogalpha (782997) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948105)

Well, in China (and most likely other parts of Asia) they price MMOG's by the hour (I know WoW is, and I'm fairly sure Lineage II is as well). If companies like Blizzard can adapt to the economics of other countries, they can, and should adapt themselves here in the US to tap into the market of (softcore) gamers who are currently undecided on whether or not to join a MMOG. It doesn't even involve coming up with any new pricing models; all they have to do is have pay-by-the-hour plans at reasonable US dollar prices.

Re:site slow (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950411)

Actually, they don't charge by the hour. Internet cafes over there charge for terminal usage by the hour, however the monthly fee is still there on top of that.

As for pay-by-hour being reasonable, it doesn't take much to get up to $15 for most folks, and lets be honest; $15 a month for a game you spend 20 hours playing isn't that bad. After all, how much did you pay at the movie theater last time you went?

Re:site slow (4, Insightful)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948135)

"duh"

Spot on. And is this a bad thing? Is this even unusual in gaming?

Where are the articles lamenting, "Is Chess only for the hardcore?" Or, "Is bridge only for the hardcore?"

Those examples lack the monthly charge that raises the barrier for entry to most MMOGs, but in terms of gameplay and competitiveness, the casual player just can't hang with the serious gamer. Some people enjoy some games on a casual level. Some people devote more time to some games.

I'm sure some where out there is a chess club with $15 monthly due, and it only attracts players for whom that chess playing experience is worth $15. Likewise for any MMOG with a similar fee.

Re:site slow (2, Funny)

Draigon (172034) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949231)

I'm sure some where out there is a chess club with $15 monthly due, and it only attracts players for whom that chess playing experience is worth $15.

That place is my house. Bring your friends and, more importantly, 15 dollars.

The problem is in what people are looking for... (2, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947969)

It seems difficult, possibly even impossible, to create a game where advancement does not depend upon a particular path. Put simply, it's nearly impossible to create a game where you can advance as quickily by soloing as by grouping. In World of Warcraft, you can almost do this for the first 1/3 of your levels. Almost. Eventually it becomes impossible, and you're left with the same problems other MMORPGs have--you either have to be able to devote the same amount of time to the game as your friends, or you have to constantly find new groups. New groups can be fun, but I generally prefer to play with people I know or just solo. Of course, this means soloing, but then if I wanted to solo, why would I play a MMORPG?

The sad reason is that there just aren't that many good RPG-esque games out there. I'd love to play a single-player version of WoW, particularly with an added over-arching quest.

Re:The problem is in what people are looking for.. (2, Interesting)

weave (48069) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949344)

I'm up to level 38 (as a hunter, which is a good solo class) without ever going into dungeon or doing an elite quest. Now I admit eventually I'll have to, but I just haven't had the time to devote several hours to a dungeon with a bunch of people and then cut out before it's done.

(There's also the small fact that for some reason no one wants to party with a hunter, despite the fact that if it's played well, it's a great puller and can prevent wipes).

Also, WoW's rested state helps give a boost to people who don't play as often. Hard core guys have to fight twice as many mobs basically.

Re:The problem is in what people are looking for.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12949425)

Like you said hunter's are a great soloing class and are excellent pullers but if so many casual players are hunters they perhaps haven't bonded with others like other classes and that is most likely why they don't get invited into dungeons as much. I think I group 95% of the time with people I've known for more than a couple weeks at least.

Later on in the game you have instances where hunters are a must (Molten Core) but very few are dependable in terms of hours they can spend in front of the computer.

Re:The problem is in what people are looking for.. (1)

weave (48069) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949457)

I started a druid and got it up to 29 and have grouped with quite a few people. I'm putting points into restoration and so far it's providing good healer services in groups. It also has the advantage of being decent soloing (so far) for when I don't have much time to play.

On the face of it, yes (2, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947970)

But consider how deeply some lives of normal non-geeks have been affected by MMOGs like Everquest. The difference between MMOGs and a monthly pass at your local video arcade is that the MMOG provides for a level of social interaction that simply isn't present in normal games.

The communication aspect of the game is built directly into the game, so for many people who are not typical gamers are able to enjoy the MMOG whereas they would be turned off by something like Pac-man. So it isn't that MMOGs need hardcore players to survive. Rather it is the style of the game itself that leads players to become "hardcore players" that are online all the time.

Re:On the face of it, yes (1)

The Great Alonzo (890912) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948342)

I disagree that most (everyone) is likely to become a more hardcore gamer once they get into whatever scenario is on offer.
I think if you're a more casual gamer (as most of us are) then MMOs are more likely to put you off than convert you to a hardcore addict.
By casual I mean two or three sessions a week. Given that MMOs are built around an active social model how is the "casual" gamer supposed to form the relationships that are crucial to the enjoyment of the game ?? The chances of meeting anyone in his buddy list are tiny and if he does then the chances are that they've drifted apart too far in levels to go adventuring together.

This may have been true.. (3, Interesting)

Meph_the_Balrog (796101) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947971)

of early ORPG's, but everyone I hear harping about WoW and Eq2 and how they get XP boosts if they don't log in for a few days, tell me that they easily catch up to their guildmates who game almost constantly. With this solution to the problem of leveling gaps, the game becomes much more social, as friends can game together more regularly.

Re:This may have been true.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948169)

I'd like to take this time to point out that all remaining employees of Blizzard are caprophagous cretins who would do well to have themselves sterilized, for the good of humanity.

-Signed, a former paladin/former subscriber

PS - the reason I write this is because it is clear now that fun is not a consideration in where the devs focus their attention. Paladins may be balanced, but they're boring as hell to play because of extremely poor design and an almost complete lack of testing. If this were a good game, made by a good company, a class being widely recognized as not fun to play (by the majority of the people who have experience with that class) would be a priority. It's obviously not a priority, so Blizzard will not be getting any more of my money.

To any paladins out who still subscribe: do yourself a favour and cancel.

Re:This may have been true.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948201)

That should be "coprophagous."

Re:This may have been true.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948213)

It's explicitly not a priority. I'm not going to bother to find the post on the official forums, but Blizzard has officially stated that Paladins are considered complete. They are concentrating on Druids and Hunters now. [worldofwarcraft.com] Paladins aren't even on the list.

So, yeah, I haven't quit yet - because I was an IDIOT and took the 6-month plan - but once that runs out next month, unless there are some major changes - buh-bye! Battlegrounds being a COMPLETE FLOP basically cemented that for me. They have until July 15th to convince me to stay.

Re:This may have been true.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948239)

" It's explicitly not a priority."

Paladins are explicitly not a priority, but I meant that "fun" is not a priority for this game (or else paladins would be).

Re:This may have been true.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948267)

There's a great post by a Blizzard employee explaining that the devs don't care about your feedback.

Blizzard Ignores Player Feedback [murtos.com]

Go-go Blizzard customer service!

Battlegrounds is proof enough that they don't care about fun.

Re:This may have been true.. (1)

DeadlyDonkey (881338) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948506)

If you actually read the quote, rather than just read the sensationalist added on text, you'd realise that they are stating they are doing what a lot of companies do. MANY companies don't completely follow customer requests, many games would be worse off for the wear if they did, the AWP wouldn't be in CS for an example.

Re:This may have been true.. (1)

Tarpan (114764) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949359)

I agree, they shouldn't just do as their customers tells them to but rather what is best for the game and everyone. It's in the druid forum so of course almost everyone there want druids to be better, but it doesn't mean that they should just implement whatever they say.

the AWP wouldn't be in CS for an example.

You say it like it would be a bad thing. *confused*

Re:This may have been true.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12949362)

They dont impliment your feedback because your a fucking moron and have a very narrow view of the game as a whole.

Buy a clue and smash your monitor over your empty head douche.

Re:This may have been true.. (1)

DeadlyDonkey (881338) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948501)

Riiight...so you'd rather quit the game than just roll another class? EVERYONE hates paladins anyway, they are stupidly cheap with their shields. Maybe the game wasn't for you at all?

Re:This may have been true.. (1)

Negatyfus (602326) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949025)

Can I have your stuff? Seriously, do us all a favour and keep your sentiments to yourself. Everyone else is perfectly capable of forming their own opinions. Never tell us what we should be doing.

kthxbye and all that. :)

Re:This may have been true.. (2, Interesting)

d3kk (644538) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948301)

The XP boost is pretty minimal - at least in WoW. Staying logged out for two days will net you the same amount of bonus exp as playing for an hour or so. It's hardly a balanced trade-off (and rightfully so).

Re:This may have been true.. (1)

33degrees (683256) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948411)

The XP boosts work only if you play a bit less than other people; a week off can easily create a gap big enough to make playing together a problem. I made a fair amount of friends early in the game that I played with regularily, but as time went on I logged on less often and they all easily surpassed me.

Close but no cigar (2, Interesting)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948601)

The XP boost you gain in WoW (I haven't played Eq2 so I'm commenting on WoW only) is minor at most. The XP boost you gain only affects the XP you gain from killing monsters and at higher levels you quest for XP rather than kill. After a while, killing for XP just isn't worth it, quests either give too little rewards (read: low level quest), or are too hard to be done solo.

Throw in high level raids (which implies teamwork), instanced dungeons (normally done with multiple people) and a weak economic system (crafting has almost no risk involved and costs little) and the game just feels like it tried to achieve too much all at once. At lower levels, everyone solos and theres nearly no reason to team up with others for any reason. At higher levels, everyone teams up and soloing is near impossible. Top off the fact that most players end up reaching the 'end game' content with very little cooperation with other players and you have players that simply do not know how to play their job well at all.

Re:Close but no cigar (1)

mo^ (150717) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949064)

Play their job?????

Dude, the whole reason I play games is to set me mentally away from my Job.

As far as I see it my only "job" in a game is to enjoy it.

Re:Close but no cigar (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949182)

yeah, I bet the grandparent played/plays final fantasy 11. that's what your character class was called in that game. there's a few members of my guild in WoW that makes slips like that.

Casual and hardcore cannot be mixed... (3, Interesting)

agent oranje (169160) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947984)

The problem with MMOGs is that casual players cannot compete with those who dedicate a significant portion of every day to playing. Someone who plays for a couple of hours on a boring Sunday afternoon is fresh meat for seasoned veterans of a game - and there's really no way to change this other than limiting how much people can play. I'm not entirely opposed to that, either.

Re:Casual and hardcore cannot be mixed... (4, Interesting)

JVert (578547) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947994)

Limiting daily gameplay per character would definatly force everyone to be a casual player. Maybe this is a new server idea vs the player vs player and role playing and carebear servers. You would just add a "not in school anymore" server.
I like this... You still never get to play with the hardcore gamers, but you would have alot more casual gamers to group with and be able to make friends with and all level together.

Re:Casual and hardcore cannot be mixed... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948149)

You're not supposed to compete. You're suppose to role play. Just join a faction/guild and participate. Your teammates really won't mind if you can't do all the things they can do.

Re:Casual and hardcore cannot be mixed... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948921)

Nope. The point of MMORPGs is to "win" the game. Winning is having more stuff that everybody else, more status, a house, etc etc. How many times have you seen someone say, "Whew! Finally made it to level 60! Hooray!"

Re:Casual and hardcore cannot be mixed... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948421)

World of Warcraft is designed very specifically to cater to such a mix of hardcore and casual players. It does remarkably well at this, too.

The real problem with MMO games is that the almost none have anything to do with skill. Combat is based on choosing a weapon or a spell and clicking your mouse on the other guy. The higher level you've developed your character, the more damage you'll do.

Sure, there is a little bit of skill in knowing how to use your weapons and skills and what tactics to use against different opponents, but it's still really just about your level, which itself is just about how much time you've put into the character. You don't even have to put any effort into figuring out how to develop your character. Just go to some online site dedicated to the game and look for a template with a lot of good comments and high scores and build your toon on that.

MMOGs are just boring and uninteresting. They're fun until you've leveled up a bit, but even the most interesting become treadmills after a short time. How many half-assed missions or quests can you do? They're all essentially the same throughout any game.. and the same as any other similar game.

There needs to be more variety. More complexity. More player-skill dependancy (rather than point and click). I hate strategy games, but I play them almost exclusively now (except for a couple shooters online), because they're better and offer more challenge than the leveling treadmills of the generic WoW, DAOC, Matrix, etc...

Ah but how complex can you get? (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948649)

Like you said, MMOGs are generally boring and uninteresting, but what happens when a MMOG appears but is TOO complex, has TOO much variety, and/or has TOO much player-skill dependancy? Since FFXI has been beaten into the ground on this topic, I'll point to an old model. Ultima Online.

The current version of Ultima Online is a far cry from the early versions. Ignoring the lag and server issues, the game was EXTREMELY complex, relied a LOT on player teamwork and had so much variety that it was possible to maroon yourself on a small far away island if you wanted to. You had dozens of different spells, weapons, status effects, monsters, and the ever-present threat of PVPers. You HAD to travel in groups if you wanted to travel the main roads without fear of being ganked by a group of 13 year olds who would mock you for dying in a 1-on-5 fight. It was also possible to set up teleports even into a monster's dungeon so you had to seriously trust a person if you were willing to step into someone else's portal before they did.

Re:Ah but how complex can you get? (1)

blatantdog (829922) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949269)

Man, I remember those days. That was like 1998 right?

Re:Ah but how complex can you get? (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950028)

Man, I remember those days. That was like 1998 right?

No, that was back in... Let's see... what time is it now?

Let's be honest. (2, Insightful)

schild (713993) | more than 8 years ago | (#12947998)

By ignoring Puzzle Pirates, Planetside and the rest of the casual gaming market, he's gerrymandered the online market to support the argument of his article. Bleh.

Re:Let's be honest. (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948229)

Of course he's ignoring those... If you read the article, it's fairly clearly a thinly-veiled "I'm bored with World of Warcraft's End-game" post.

Which, as someone else who's also bored with WoW's end-game, is a valid complaint, but, uh, I fail to see the connection with "WoW bores me" and "MMORPGs can't be casual."

If you don't play World of Warcraft, just ignore this article. It's just someone complaining about World of Warcraft's endgame, and trying to come up with something that applies to MMOGs in general so he can claim that it's not just a rant. His points are probably valid - but only within the confines of World of Warcraft, certainly not MMOGs in general.

Re:Let's be honest. (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950380)

Planetside is about 50,000 users. Puzzle Pirates barely tops 10,000. WoW is over 2 million, as are each of the Lineages, FFXI and EQ are about 500,000 each. There doesn't appear to *be* any real "casual MMORPG market". Maybe there will be, but it's not there yet.

chris Mattern

Guild Wars. (2, Interesting)

McKinney83 (687821) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948006)

(note I did not RTFA):
"With a game demanding $15 a month, you can't afford to just casually log in a few hours on the weekend without feeling jipped."

Guild Wars has the one time cost of $50, and there's no monthly fee.
And about the whole leveling up and everything, in Player vs Player in Guild Wars, it's all skill based, so having a higher level doesn't really help that much.

Re:Guild Wars. (2, Interesting)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948078)

As much as I know about GW (I haven't played PvP yet, but I know somebody who does), level does come into play, but it's not hard to get to level 20.

I played on his account for a little while using a fresh character, and I had a ball. I could log on for an hour or two and actually get something done. No screwing around for half an hour to get buffed, get prepared to go out into combat, get a group, etc.

It's nice, but it's not my cup o' tea.

Re:Guild Wars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948122)

Yeah, but Guild Wars sucked.

Re:Guild Wars. (1)

Pofy (471469) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948160)

> it's all skill based, so having a higher level
>doesn't really help that much.

So what is the point of having levels at all then?

Re:Guild Wars. (2, Informative)

SScorpio (595836) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950395)

In Guild Wars you can have two different types of characters. Roleplaying characters start a level one and follow a story where you progress and unlock new skills for PvP. PvP characters automatically start at level 20 with the beginning skills for their class. To unlock new skills you need to play a roleplaying character in PvE and either quest them, or purchase them from skill trainers with skill points which become harder and harder to get as you use them up.

The whole level thing in Guild Wars is mainly to allow roleplaying characters a chance to play the game and advance while learning how to use multiple skills effectively.

Also in Guild Wars you start with 100HP and 20SP (skillpoints, thing mana). Mages get armor that increases their SP to 30, while Rangers get 25. Mages and Rangers also get faster SP regen than Warriors, but Warriors have stonger armor. When you level in GW you get an additional 20HP per level up to the cap of level 20, and you also get attribute points which you place into your attributes. I.E. a Warrior has Strength (give armor pentration for additional dmg), Swordmanship (hit harder with a sword, and skills that use swords are more powerful), Hammer (like swords but hammers), Axe (more of the same), and Tatics (special abilities of the warrior, these are things like shouts which modify things like armor on yourself and others.

Now thinking about what you can get a level 18 has 40 less HP and a few less attribute points than a level 20. This gives the level 20 a slight edge but not much. Compare this to WoW there you can get to level 60 and complete kill a level 20. Sure a 57 could give a 60 a good battle, but in GW you can reach level 20 very quickly to face others if you want.

Overall I find the game very fun. I was getting a little bored near the need of the roleplaying with my first character and then I finally tried PvP and I had a blast. I'm not running two other characters through the roleplaying game to unlock skills for other jobs, and the game is still fun the second time though. And coming off FFXI the no monthly fee and no grinding makes this game a breath of fresh air.

Re:Guild Wars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948487)

You level up in "role-play" mode mainly to unlock new skills to use in PVP mode. You must level up to gain better skills by progressing through the game and it's increasingly difficult quests. To answer this article directly: That's why they made Guild Wars!

Re:Guild Wars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12950169)

When the Guild Wars marketting team told you their game "takes skill" they didnt mean more then any other MMOG but I bet they'd be glad you think so. I think while you were getting your "skills" you missed a huge fact, the game is incredibly level based! Yes they hide it by only allowing level 20 players to pvp each other but take a level 4 toon into pve and a level 7 toon into pve and see who lasts longer.

I really wanted to like that game because there was no monthly fee. I just wanted to give the company the benefit of the doubt but in the end the game is just not that good. Why can a team not exist in 2 different zones?! The mindset of "getting stuff done quickly" has created of much more Unreal like community instead of an RPG one. Nobody talks or just is silly and has fun because they can "get stuff done quickly". The best is when you team with these guys cause they will pull you through zones even though your spamming "please dont leave yet i am trying to sell". All the "skill" in the world doesnt stop the fact that a decent Mesmer can beat any other class and it doesnt change in groups, a decent all Mesmer team can beat any team. The real reason I quit though was because the fighting is so boring. You dont need to be there for the fights. You could easily start a fight and get up to get a drink because if you were going to win you won when you got back and if you were going to lose your dead.

oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (5, Insightful)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948018)

<i>With a game demanding $15 a month, you can't afford to just casually log in a few hours on the weekend without feeling jipped.</i>

Was is this taken as gospel, that cost is still an issue?? I hear people say that all the time, but even if you only play 3 hours a week, that means you are paying a little over a dollar an hour, where is the big deal? i used to go to arcades and spend ALOT more then a buck an hour.

Lord people whine.....in fact, let me now rant about people whining......

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948116)

Exactly, compare that to renting a DVD or two. Oh, 3 hours entertainment for $15, jesus, what a jip. The problem is that people keep comparing MMORPGs to single player games. Personally I find Halflife 2 a lot more "boring" than The Matrix Online.. but hey, I actually team other with other people and role play.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (2, Interesting)

Mike570 (884414) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948283)

I saw this one game called Dragonrealms that is entirely text based and you'll never believe how much they charge. The last time I checked, their rates were around $40 for a premium account (basically gives you a text based house and a few extra characters) and around $15 for a standard account (just one character). So considering that there's actually graphics in these games, $15 hardly seems unreasonable.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949507)

Wow, I didn't believe you, thought maybe you meant per year, till I looked it up. It must be a really really good game if people are paying those prices. I just don't get it.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949938)

DragonRealms used to be attached to AOL. I remember playing it when I still had AOL circa 1996. My current girlfriend used to play it as well. (though I didn't know her when she did) There is alot of people addicted to it and for being a text based game, it's pretty damn good though I'm not sure I would pay for it considering games like EQ2 and all exist for a better price and much more graphical.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948694)

That's my bitch with the article as well. Sun would like us all to pay $1 per hour to use their grid (I misremember what IBM charges). Sooo..., for about $1 per hour to play 4 hours per week and people are complaining? I just don't get it, either as a geek or an economist.

It would be a wonderful world if all these servers were free but I live in the real world, and I'm one serious hard-core game junkie from time to time.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (2, Insightful)

slittle (4150) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948811)

Yes. There are lots of games out there, and I tend to have several installed at a time ($80 per game + potentially that again per month in access fees).

I haven't played Freelancer or CounterstrikeWC3 (for eg; these are persistent state games that aren't pay-to-play MMOGs) for months, but I can still go back and find a couple of populated local servers to play on, which I do from time to time.

If they were $15 a month each, I, and probably most other people, would have cancelled our accounts and never played again once the games were over their popularity peaks, thus basically killing the game forever. Servers for non-MMOGs are usually either downloadable for free, or by mere purchase of a full copy of the game, so ISPs generally do it for free (at least to their own customers). Consequentially the player base stays around longer.

This is especially important for games that aren't taking the world by storm (warcraft), and those of us that don't like in especially populous countries. Here in Australia with only a 20 million population, and the nearby New Zealand with around 4 million (AFAIK), multiplayer games, especially the less popular ones, quickly lose their player bases, and we're fucked. Everywhere else with players is too far away (lag).

And where's the retro action for MMOGs? Once the profit is gone, the servers close. And the publishers will sue your arse into the next dimension if you try to clone the server (bnetd, EQ [slashdot.org]).

$15 a month for access to a single all-encompassing MMOG host, with access to any game I want to play for no extra cost, would be acceptable (although that will lead to monopoly pricing anyway).

But per-game fees? Fuck off. Never have, never will.

Of course, it helps that I don't give a rats flying ring about the "fastasy" genre (wizards and shit), and/or the level-up keep-em-paying treadmill, which it seems most MMOGs are.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949194)

It's a combination of a psychological issue and a realization that the "Bill tax" could be extremely pervasive, if you go down that slippery slope.

Despite having the income to support it, the only MMO I've ever played is Guild Wars (and loving it a whole lot, thanks for asking). My friends & I were looking for something new to do, since we've been doing our "Neverwinter Saturdays" pretty much since the game came out. The idea of _paying_ a monthly fee for something like that is abhorrent to us - we're talking about almost $1000, between all of us. And because we're paying, we'd feel obliged to "get our money's worth". So there's part of it. And hey, I'm not a hardcore game player (although you couldn't tell by the number of hours I've suck into NWN), so that $150 would buy me 3-5 games, each of which I would enjoy immensely. Let's see - do I pay for 'more of the same', or do I go for something different? I'd rather encourage innovation.

Not to mention that we all know that if you allow people to charge you monthly, it'll never stop. That's also part of the reason people are fearful of the "charge $1 a month to read my site" concept... sure, it's only a buck - for your site. I read dozens. I have enough monthly bills, thanks for asking. So I'd have a $15 monthly fee for this, 20 x $1 fees for this site, oh, this new software needs a couple bucks this month...

It'll never end.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949245)

I don't play MMORPGs because they are too expensive. You point out that it is no more expensive than arcades. I don't play arcades either: They are a jip too. I am a casual gamer, so I buy a game, play it for 6 months, then buy another. So to me, that's $40 over 6 months = $6.67 per month. Then I give away the game or donate it. Sometimes I borrow a game from someone else.

That is the casual gamer. This is also the person who doesn't have cable because it is not worth it.

They need to offer a per hour pricing model. That will get people like me hooked, and they will spend >$15 in a month. Then the people switch over to the $15 rate and they are hooked. That's how they got me on a cell phone plan. :-)

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12949689)


You forget simply that WoW and EQ is not single player. And you are NOT paying to own the game, but you pay for service, and then monthly connection fee. I can pick up any RPG and play it 5-8 years later, and still enjoy it. And still play it. That is value. Some games even go up in price like over years as hard to find and still fun to play games. You can do that with MMO's.

It is great for companies, but bad for consumer. And patches, and content, that is fancy way of saying "we didnt finnish the game on time, why don;t you beta test it, as time goes along we will fix it." But no , we call it "new content" instead of game not fully developed at the start.

Amazing how half baked products hit the streets, and they call "patches" now as "new content" we all buy into that idea.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (2)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950013)

Here's a comparison.

I buy a PS2 game for $20 or $30, play it for about 30-40 hours over the course of three months, then sell it on eBay when I'm bored with it and get $10 back. Cost of entertainment about 25 cents an hour. And that's for an average game--something like GTA or WipeOut can keep me amused for three times that.

I buy EverQuest for $50 plus $20 for the first month. I play it for 30-40 hours over the course of three months, spending another $40 in fees, then get bored with it. It has zero resale value, because the software companies have cunningly locked MMORPGs so you can't transfer the accounts (or so I read in a review of WoW). Cost of entertainment is therefore about $2 an hour.

So we're talking 8x the price of a regular offline video game.

Even if we assume I would never get bored with the online game, for $20 a month I could pick up a brand new game of my choice every month and never get bored and have more games than I have time to play. I also wouldn't have to deal with assholes randomly killing me for no reason or spewing homophobic trash talk.

So really, the whole MMORPG thing just isn't an appealing proposition. Well, except Puzzle Pirates, that's tempted me a bit, but it's still too expensive.

You can argue all you like about why I ought to want to play MMORPGs more; but the fact is, I have all the equipment needed to play them, and the spare cash, but I still don't find them appealing.

Re:oh no! Not a dollar an hour! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12950227)

If you play a single-player game for 30-40 hours, you've probably 'beaten' it, possibly seen all there is to see.

If you play a MMOG for 30-40 hours, you've usually just scratched the surface.

You could argue that in most MMOGs each level is more of the same, but with larger numbers, but that's the way of RPG computer games, whether single-player or not.

When you count cost per hour for MMOGs, you almost need to count that cost over the course of a year minimum, maybe longer. There are two extenuating factors:

1. People sometimes try games and don't like them. In the case of a single-player game as meta said you could just resell it; in the case of MMOGs you're just out unless you bypass the EULA.

2. Some MMOG providers (notably SOE) are offering the buffet package (all access) so the casual player can get a number of different experiences for a good per-hour cost. Of course like any buffet if you only like one item or weren't very hungry (not much total time to game), the whole buffet price is a waste.

As for rude people; well, that's life online these days, whether in MMOGs or not, unfortunately.

Not Really (3, Insightful)

nz17 (601809) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948023)

I'd say it is to the contrary, really: most MMO'ers I know play it because it is only $15/month. After the initial purchase/download, if the game can keep their attention, they are pleased as punch because otherwise they would spend at least that much buying one game every few months.

With an MMOG, they can keep their same game going from month-to-month, without fear of starting over from scratch, for only a pittance compared to buying a new game every few weeks. And since MMOGs are tiered to release new content the higher a character's level is, and release brand new content for everyone on a regular basis, that one "golden game" can keep thousands of people for months.

Nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948152)

You pay for a game, and you get tired of it in 3 month. Most of my friends are long burned out on WoW. They liked it, played it, but since that started to play games like kingdom of loathing (web based rpg) and PSP's and old RPGs that they havent played for years. Guess what, those RPGs they havent played for years didnt cost them 15 dollars a month. They can still play them and enjoy them. Your argument that there is new content to keep players paying 15 dollars is false. The content is the same within the same scope of game. So what there is a new mission, it is the same except change parameter from X to Y, instead of going to Z go to W. You pay 15 dollars a month for that?

Nonsense.
WWMMS

Re:Nonsense. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948272)

You play $15/month to have access to other players. If you're soloing in a MMORPG you're not only wasting your own time, you're making the game less enjoyable for others. So yeah, don't play.

Re:Nonsense. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948418)

You pay for social interation? Access to other players?

Sounds like prostitution, without the sex.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

KamaDragon (819925) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949214)

If you're soloing in a MMORPG you're not only wasting your own time, you're making the game less enjoyable for others.

What?! If a person is enjoying soloing in a MMORPG, then they are not wasting their own time. They're playing a game, which means their objective is fun. Is it the most efficient use of their time? I guess not, if you consider efficiency to be the treadmill of level grinding.

And how exactly does soloing make the game less enjoyable for others? Who has less fun just because someone is running around alone?

"The rich environments and interesting quests appeal to me as a gamer. I am enjoying my time logged in. What do you think, Tim the Enchanter?"

"Well, I was enjoying the lush scenery and epic conquests over my enemies, but..."

"But what, Tim?"

"I saw this guy by himself while we were walking to Westfall. It just completely killed my gaming experience. There's no fun left in the world anymore, and it is all his fault. Also, I think he is directly responsible for my parents' divorce."

How often does that scenario play out? Seriously...

Re:Nonsense. (2, Insightful)

Peacedog67 (821356) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949650)

Will you people please quit perpetuating the myth that you must GROUP to do anything in an MMORPG?

Interaction can include many things besides getting together with four other strangers to kill gnolls. I like the feel of a big marketplace in Ironforge or Ogrimmar. I occasionally toss a helpful nuke or heal to a younger player getting his ass handed to him by a "bat or rat". I like to play the auction house. I like the fact that if I have the time or inclination I can go help others in need, or just have a chat. There are plenty of ways to interact with the world without having to resort to pick up or guild groups.

I have a 60 hunter on the alliance side in a guild with people I enjoy and I have a 55 shaman on the horde side that I play simply for the solitude. Never once have I felt that I was playing a single player game on either character. Look at it this way, you want a cheeseburger from McDonalds, does that mean you have to go gather 4 random people to accomplish that task? Are you interacting with others in an environment (i.e. the kid taking your money, other's in the restaurant, etc.)? Then why do you people want to insist that soloing is for some freakin' hermit in a cave playing Gran Turismo 4.

So please lose the "but MMORPG means massive MULTIPLAYER" bunk because it doesn't necessarily mean what you think it does.

The actual shame in the whole MMORPG industry is that hardcore is defined by 40-80 person raids where leaders bark explicit orders and automatons press buttons at predetermined times.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950117)

You play $15/month to have access to other players.

So I'm paying Sony premium prices for access to value that other people are providing, and they're paying Sony for the right to provide it? Somehow you're not convincing me that this is a bargain. It sounds more like a middleman who needs cutting out of the loop...

Hardcore MMOG? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948081)

Sounds like an orgy to me...

Yes, but for a different reason (1)

WotanKhan (150429) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948182)

First of all, the $15 month is fairly trivial when weighed against the opportunity cost of the time spent playing, even for the most casual of players. But most MMORPGS do tilt toward the "hardcore" obsessive players by imposing a competitive environment, where the overriding advantage is given to time spent playing, rather than skill or intelligence.

Personally, it's a turn-off for me, and one of the main reasons I've not particulary liked any of the MMORPGS since original Everquest. In original EQ, one could play only against the environment (PVE) or, when engaging in Player versus Player (PVP) the combat was limited to only those close in level. None of the major post-EQ MMORPGS have this feature and they suffer for it.

Re:Yes, but for a different reason (1)

DerWulf (782458) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948949)

hardcore vs. causual does not equate to time-spent vs player skill. Time spent will always be a factor because gaining expierence and practice takes time, as games like counterstike or warcraft3 will tell you in no uncertain terms.

"Jipped"? Watch your language, please. (3, Informative)

ezraekman (650090) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948458)

This is not intended to be a flame or troll, but as constructive criticism. You might want to refrain from the term "jipped". The root word is "gyp", which comes from "gypsy". This refers to the idea that all gypsies were thieves, and not to be trusted. It has become a derogatory term similar to "jewed". I assume that you would not use the terms "chink", "spic" or "nigger" here, so you might want to consider what effect using terms such as these might have.

This is only intended to be advice, from a political perspective. If you disagree, that's fine. It's just my opinion, which may be quite flawed. ;-)

Nigger, please. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948561)

Your snobbery is too tiny to whip out in public.

But it's fun to type "nigger" at all these people, isn't it?

So do it. Lose the quotes.

No one's more annoying than self-hating loves-to-say-"nigger" guy.

Re:Nigger, please. (1)

ezraekman (650090) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948659)

Your snobbery is too tiny to whip out in public.

But it's fun to type "nigger" at all these people, isn't it?

So do it. Lose the quotes.

No one's more annoying than self-hating loves-to-say-"nigger" guy.

As one of the minorities listed above, I have witnessed and personally experienced such discrimination. I have never used such a term, other than as a reference to said term. Period. For someone who claims what your last sentence did, you sure used it quite a bit. But then... I suppose I should have expected that from an AC.

Re:"Jipped"? Watch your language, please. (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948927)

If the world needs one thing, it's more political correctness.

PUH-LEEEEEZ! Never been to a European train station, eh?

Re:"Jipped"? Watch your language, please. (1)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949078)

It had very litle effective since very few people knew the jipped comes from gypsy(if that is even true).

Seems like you go looking for ways to be offended.

Re:"Jipped"? Watch your language, please. (1)

NeMon'ess (160583) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949489)

You're just a whiney bastard. No offense intended to actual bastards.

Mod -1 clueless (2, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950363)

The Oxford English Dictionary seems to have a different opinion of the origin of "gypped". It says that "gyp" comes from "gippo" meaning "scullion", the French word "jupeau", and was a 19th Century term for a college servant at Cambridge or Durham universities.

It's also possible that the current meaning derives from "gyp" meaning "pain or severe discomfort", which is another 19th Century word perhaps derived from "gee-up".

They don't even mention the possibility that it has anything to do with Gypsies, nor is it flagged as offensive.

So, your opinion is about as clueless as the people who get all huffy about words like "squaw", "niggardly" or "blackboard".

How about this (casual vs hardcore) (2, Interesting)

The Great Alonzo (890912) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948460)

Okay we've all identified the problems that exist in MMOs with hardcore gamers vs more casual, sunday afternoon type players.
All MMOs will discriminate in favour of the hardcore gamer, so what about keeping them apart ?
Most MMOs use multiple servers, this is usually for geographic or language reasons, they may then deploy multiple servers within each region in a sort of load balancing solution.
Why not move the player's characters around so that they wind up on a server where folks tend to play as much (or as little) as they do.
Obviously the players should be aware of this before they sign up.
And note I said characters not players, we've all got some "alts" we only wheel out on odd occasions.
Everyone starts off on an entry level server, if a character is played more than, say 6 hours a week, he is graduated to the next server, more than 10 hours a week, onto a more senior server.
Obviously players should be informed their character is about to move and be informed ahead of time (game time not real time) and possibly be given the option to lock their character to a particular server, though I can that last bit could be open to abuse.
The oldtimers wouldn't be mixing with the n00bs for very long before moving on and likewise the n00bs wouldn't get pwned as much.
That's it, thoughts ?

Re:How about this (casual vs hardcore) (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948583)

I understood that XBox Live does this kind of thing - is it for all games?

Seems like a bit of a no brainer.

Althought, segmenting the market like this doesn't help if there are not many people available. Then you just end up with not enough players for any game.

Hardcore gamers generally run the economy (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948618)

Especially in games where most gear is player made. The more stuff thats made by players, for players, the more you NEED high level, hardcore players (see: FFXI). The less stuff thats made by players, for players, the less high level, hardcore players (see: WoW). Simple as that. Where do you think that Plated Armor come from? That Robe of Intelligence? That Sword of Stabbyness +1? Theres a reason why crafting systems are almost always implemented into MMO games.

To be fair though, I'll admit casual gamers also cause a growth in the economy. Those basic rocks, roots and monster eyeballs you bought had to have been collected by someone.

Re:Hardcore gamers generally run the economy (1)

Maserati (8679) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949712)

Yup, the polaters can make some good stuff in WoW, but the best items are still the Epic quest items from instances that take large groups and long hours to beat. So far as I understand it, the quintessential player-driven economy is in Eve. Build gear, build ships, build a big-ass space station, take over a whole sector. It's also the only MMO where even screenshots rival WoW for art direction. I think Eve's graphic engine may be more buzzword compliant than WoW's, but both are very well designed and a treat to look at - the portrait creation tool in Eve would make a good party game in its own right.

Forget about casual MMOG market (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948623)

I'm a casual gamer myself, with about 3 hours of gaming per week at most.
As much as I'd like to try an MMOG, the article is right in that it is just too expensive.

So should the programmers start building casual MMOG's?
No!
There simply isn't enough money in that market to make a good enough profit out of an MMOG.

Sure, you could probably make a profitable casual MMOG, but you can make a 10x more money by building a hardcore MMOG, so why bother?

Then again; a casual gamer will probably not tolerate any grinding whatsoever, so the only way to get a casual gamer to play an MMOG is if it has no grinding in it. I guess such an MMOG would be the dream of hardcore gamers too :)

No, they aren't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12948643)

There are two million people [mmogchart.com] playing World Of Warcraft - and with Guild Wars fighting WoW for the top place in the PC games chart - I'd say that the appeal of the MMO can be pretty damn non-hardcore.

Although what might be changing is the average sticking time. There are fanatics that play any game for years - people still play Quake 1 daily. MMOs used to only attract those fanatics - but gradually more people are discovering the MMO. But it doesn't mean that to play and enjoy an MMO you have to play it for years. If you play WoW for a couple of months, see all you want to see - then get bored with it - so what? You got your money's worth. Move on to another MMO and quit complaining.

I've played Planetside on and off since launch - quitting once to go play City of Heroes, game back to Planetside, quit again. Tried WoW, quit that, was going to go back but then I picked up Guild Wars - I slowed down somewhat but I'm still playing that, and now I'm also messing around in Second Life. Trying to get into Battlefield 2, but I'll probably just casually play until the next big shiny MMO comes along - which it eventually will.

My personal rule is that I'll never pay more than two MMO subscriptions at the same time - but I'll try to keep it down at one if I can. I then treat the MMO as if it were any other game when it comes to my buying decisions and what I want to spend my gaming time and money on.

Still can be pretty hardcore (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949699)

"There are two million people playing World Of Warcraft - and with Guild Wars fighting WoW for the top place in the PC games chart - I'd say that the appeal of the MMO can be pretty damn non-hardcore"

To start with the nitpicking: even if they were only from the USA, 2 million players would mean less than 1% of the population. If you throw in Europe, some Asian players, Australia, the rest of America, etc, we're suddenly talking less than 1 per thousand.

So there still is plenty of room for attracting more casual players.

But in the end you provide the perfect example of why the author is right, after all. Think about it: WoW has some 5 times more players than EQ at its peak. What does WoW do differently? Catters a lot better to the non-hardcore folks, _and_ tries to reduce the difference between folks playing 16 hours a day and those playing 4 hours on weekends only.

With the XP bonus for being _offline_, it becomes a lot less of a race to squeeze in 1 extra hour a day or fall behind. If I play 6 hours a day, and you can play only 5 hours a day, chances are you won't fall as far behind as you would in some other games.

This is the exact opposite of what other games try to do. Most MMOs seem to be in a mentality that they must invent more devices to force/coax you to stay online more.

E.g., since you mention City Of Heroes, consider taskforces where if you quit before all 10 missions are over, the whole team might be screwed. Try doing the Cave Of Transcendence mission for example when one player has quit the team. You're screwed: you can't activate possibly activate all 8 obelisks at the same time, with less than 8 players.

E.g., consider COH's timed missions being _real_ time instead of game time. If you just got a mission with a 2 hour countdown, you can't quit, go to work for 8 hours, and come back to it. You do it _now_, work be damned, or find out you've failed the mission when you come back.

Fail too many of those, and you won't be able to buy some Single Origin enhancers from that contact. (Well, after level 35 it doesn't matter any more, since you can buy all SO from the shop NPCs. But if you want a Fly SO or an Endurance Regen SO at level 22, better do a lot of missions for the right NPC.)

Now I'm not saying COH is bad or anything. (Hey, it's my current addiction again. Damn right I won't say it's bad;) But I _am_ saying that its design goes even above and beyond the level grind to coax you to stay online more.

Blizzard takes the opposite approach: hey, if you can't stay online all day, it's cool with us. Here, we'll even give you _some_ xp bonus for the time you couldn't be on. Just so you won't fall too far behind and be unable to group with your friends.

So far, that seems to pay off for Blizzard. A _lot_ of people seem to be more comfortable with Blizzard's idea than with the traditional pressure to spend more and more time.

one good point... (1)

ameoba (173803) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948708)

Most of the (rather short) article is uninspired whinging about MMORPGs and can be discarded. The only point they made that seems valid is the bit about solo, class-specific instances. The idea of providing a class-tailored quest that focuses on the players skill with their class' unique skills sounds like it would be good, especially if you can break it up into several sessions and use it to fill time between finding groups.

Everquest 2 has an element of this in the Halmark Quests that you need to progress beyond levels 10 and 20 but they provide an unequal challenge and are generally fairly easy. For example, the level 10 quests for the rogue involve killing mobs, sneaking and tricking people while the priest quests simply involve spending large amounts of time running back and forth between your trainer and some random NPC with no real challenges involved.

Guildwars also has an aspect of this in the early game, where you're picking up your secondary profession. You get quests that are designed to expose you to the abilities of your potential secondary class so you can decide what skillset is right for you. This works out really well since the game already has an established system for NPC 'henchmen' that work with the player but, unfortunately, it falls short because these quests only happen at early levels - pretty much everything else is generic and non-class-specific.

I don't claim to know how it should work but, if the game's going to have solo content, having some of it targeted at how well you play your role would be a lot better than "you're level $X, go do $FOO".

Try having fun (1)

erroneous (158367) | more than 8 years ago | (#12948880)

Too many people seem to treat MMOGs as work, or a must-win competition, or something otherwise onerous and unpleasant.

I'm playing World of Warcraft. I'm enjoying World of Warcraft. I'll unsubscribe when I stop enjoying it.

I won't be yelling "DAmm yu Bliizard!" on forums any time soon just because they changed the effectiveness of one spell by 1% or increased the drop rate of one blue item shortly after I "worked hard" to acquire it.

That's what being a casual gamer is about. Play, have fun, leave. Without bitching about it.

Re:Try having fun (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950213)

You got it right right there. I'm the same way. I played pretty hard for about 2 months in wow, got bored, and quit. I still think it is a fantastic game, I was just done with it. The two month intrest the game generated for me was much more then most other games, and having payed 65 for the experience, i felt it was all well worth it. I have no plans to ever play again, but the game is great all the same.

This guy just was upset his addiction was gone, and decided to complain about all mmo's.

For a different experience, I suggest the author try Secondlife, though that isn't even really a game. Still massive though.

Attn MMOG product developers (4, Interesting)

eyeball (17206) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949072)

Many of us at the top end of the age bracket for gamers (mid-30s) have few blocks of uninterrupted time to invest in larger quests and campaigns. We're lucky to get a few solid hours on a saturday evening. Even at 2 hours/weekend it's still a bargain when compared to other entertainment, it still seems like a rip-off if the user can't use the game outside of those blocks. MMOG products can address this a number of ways:

- Create longer puzzling or strategic challenges that can require thought, planning, and possibly even group discussion outside the game. (In other words, a guild could chat on IM during the day and plan out how to infiltrate an enemy compound.)

- In addition to the current adventures, make shorter ones.

- Alternative non-play interfaces into the virtual world, such as access to the chat channels, virtual in-game web-cams, real time stats, mail, auctions, etc. The trick would be to do it without the usual 3d game client, using standard desktop technologies like DHTML, Java, RSS feeds, Flash, etc. Anything that allows the user to be a part of the world without a huge time and client investment, so they can be connected at work or in the short gaps between 'real-life' tasks at home.

- Make more real-world resources accessible and standard within the game client. Provide an IM client to major protocols (AIM, ICQ, Y!, etc). Obviously nobody wants windows popping up when they're battling a 60th level tit-mouse, but careful GUI engineering can provide unobtrusive notifications and even auto-responders. Same for other real-world resources, like email clients. Point being, for those of us that do get a few hours to play, keep us there.

- Hire me. :)

You need to devote the time. (1)

ChrisF79 (829953) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949325)

One of the reasons I stopped playing World of Warcraft was because even an hour or so a day wasn't enough. The problem was that there's only so much you can do in an hour, and the results seem almost insignificant. I just didn't have the time to spend even 2 hours a day playing a game, and it became really frustrating not keeping pace. What became even more frustrating was seeing people I had grouped with only a few weeks before, and they were 15 levels higher than me already. Then a few of them started alts and their alts would pass me in level! Admittedly, I'm not very good at video games, but the level of fun just dropped off and I retired WoW to the bookshelf.

Guild Wars? (1)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949382)

Guild Wars [guildwars.com] has free servers (i.e. buy the game and you can MMO as much or as little as you like at no extra cost).

If you're a casual weekend gamer and you need some henchmen to help with a difficult quest and you don't want to bother any human players, the game always has a few frendly computer henchmen waiting to be recruited by the gate.

Re:Guild Wars? (1)

Trogdor451 (838062) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949766)

I was going to suggest this same thing. One of my friends told me that they released a patch for GW that enabled PVE gameplay. I would go and get it, but I am currently unemployed. I would choose it over WoW right now though.

Money's Worth and Entertainment (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949409)

I frequently spend $25 on a movie and snacks for two. Total time is usually 90 minutes. The maximum amount of interaction with the movie is laughing, being surprised or scared, and shushing the idiot who spends $25 to talk on his cell. Most of the time, I feel the experience was worth it. Yet $15 a month for an online game is a lot?

I also feel the $15 a month is high, but we're equating the game servers with internet servers. Since game servers are highly specialized, we should be happy the price is so low. I think it is a resistance-to-change mindset. Still, I prefer the "free service with purchase approach," because my interest will wane quickly. It's like insurance, you get overpaid for most players, and underpaid for the hardcore.

It is my conclusion that hardcore fans will never enjoy the lower prices we currently have if there aren't a huge number of casual fans.

Current MMORPGs Need The Hardcore Players (1)

Albigg (658831) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949511)

The way current MMORPGs are designed, they need the hardcore players. The hardcore players drive the in-game economy. They give the equipment handouts to lowbie guildies. They make the money to fund crafters, etc.

If you want to get anyway fast in these games, and you aren't hardcore, simply make a chick healer type.

Build a better game (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949772)

The thing that hits casual gamers most is the "can't catch up" syndrome. Especially if their friends are higher level. Some games are starting to mitigate that, CoH has sidekicking and mentoring, EQ2 has mentoring. Various games give XP bonuses when you haven't played for a while.

I think the biggest issue is that game developers turn their games into time-sinks. Obviously, as you get higher level and the sheer time it takes to level up increases, the casual player gets left out. If everybody could level in 1-3 hours, for every level, developers would still get months of playing time out of players. By that time, they'll probably have a social group and they'll be logging on as much to chat with them as to do any real gaming. Throw some crafting of some sort in there, and some high-end content (both massive raid and just really tough for a group), and you've got a game. The reality is that most people that play a game to level are going to start over with a new character when they're done. If you get 'em hooked with good gameplay, and limit the time-sinkyness, they'll keep playing.

There is WWII Online... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949794)

And maybe Planet Side where advancement is not as important as an MMORPG (the /. news post said MMOG right?) where the player just jumping into the battle and starts killing other players right away without worrying about gaining levels. There are advancements in both games but they only give slight advantages where as a level 60 vs 5 in EQ would be totally unfair (and is why they don't allow combat with that big of a range of player)

I found it boring (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949863)

I am also what you would describe as a casual gamer.

After playing a few months, I stopped. I found that what I was getting for my money just wasn't good enough. I might start again sometime in the future but I somehow think thats unlikely.

That's another thing I think is a rip-off. Six Months after unsubrscribing, my characters are deleted. For the money I've given them they could at least give my characters permanent space.

I only reached LV 36 with one character, because I didn't play all that much.
Having said that I did invest numerous hours into the Game.

I suppose that's because I did alot of soloing, like most poeple I know. I might have been on a bad server, but there just weren't enough people who wanted to casually group and do a few quests. And I haven't got that kind of flexibility to adjust my playing time to that of my freinds, or some other guys in the game I've never even met.

The biggest fault in WoW is that it's just sooooo slooooooowwwww.

Even when I was in a group, the game experience didn't improve all that much. Sure, you can gain experience quicker and easier, but everything still just takes so long. So much running. For anything you could do, you have to run for miles. And when you finally get those much worked for Exp it gave you a pitiful amount towards your next Level.

It's not as if the Quests were even fun. Collecting some stupid claws from cats that only about one in ten had (?) isn't all that much better than running over miles of land.

To me, the game just wasn't fun.

Free MMOG's (1)

Mind Booster Noori (772408) | more than 8 years ago | (#12949920)

Well, there are free MMOG's. Yes, you can say "they're worst", but anyone can reply "but they are way cheaper". A google search gave me this one [battleon.com] as an example...

Agreed (1)

stilleon (601857) | more than 8 years ago | (#12950193)

I guess I am a casual gamer. I get tired when a game is the samething over and over. i want to move onand experience new things. I loved Half Life, but did not enjoy Halo 2's story. Half Life kept changing... a scene of shooting, a scene of puzzle, a littleinteraction. Halo is the sameeverywhere: shoot, find key. Its like Doom with better graphics.

So my friend talked me into playing WoW. It was very cool for a while, but frankly the quests are all basically the same. Go here, find this, bring it back. It became very monotonous to me, one of the reasons I retired at 30th level.

Here are the two main problems with WoW: Lack of a variety of adventure types (like I said most are mission, find key dressed up), the guild system while social has no bearingon the game except as ways of gettinghelp to advance.

Worse is the character classes. With a group they are essentially used for fighting. A rogue fights different than a warrior, yet it is all about the fight. I would have lovedto see dungeons where you need a rogue to open areas up, a warrior as first line of defense, etc. Ifthe dungeons NEEDED certian classesit would go a long way to party development, much like a DnD adventure works. As it is you just yell "who wants to ______?" and whoever joins its okay. It could be a group all warriors... dont worry, there are no locked doors you need a rogue for.
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