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Author Topic: MMO Dev whines about Casuals  (Read 15964 times)
Merusk
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on: October 14, 2015, 09:46:34 AM

http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/feature/7540/Mark-Kern-Have-MMOs-Become-Too-Easy.html

Probably should be in a useless news thread, but that's in PC games not MMOs. Plus we needed a new thread here, it's getting boring. :P

Of course all the catasses everywhere are relinking/ reblogging this agreeing with the lament. "Wah, games got too casual. Nothing "matters" anymore. Things are too simple." Same old tired arguments as when the switch from EQ to WoW happened. "All these damn casuals are fucking up MY GAME where I make a difference."

I find it amusing and a bit disheartening that it's being twisted as a WoW dev posting it and saying he dun goofed. It's a misrepresentation of the whole article as he's really stating something different; that the journey matters more than 'reaching the endgame.' No surprise that particular message is being missed by the type of gamer who cares only about endgaming and raiding and keeping things inaccessable.

Of course he spends the last 1/3 of the article hyping his new game, Firefall. No idea how that plays, I hadn't even known it was a new game out there. Did he live up to his own goals here? I'm not curious enough to find out.

Still, I agree with the sentiment he's expressed but it ignores the real problem. That no game can satisfy people for the THOUSANDS of hours MMOs encourage. Perhaps if they eliminated grinds the fun would be found again. TOR was much more fun with 12x experience rather than the 60/90-day grind through the story and planets it had at launch. It certainly wasn't a change in difficulty but a change in pacing that kept me entertained on my recent go-back.

The combat was just as challenging as it was previously. Some of the elites and champion spawns and definitely the bosses required me to think-through some of the combats. The fight against one of the Sith masters on my Inquisitor wasn't handed to me on a platter the way he assumes is being done in all games. I think a mix of his approach AND a faster run through real content is what's needed.

We love single player games because they don't demand our lives be traded-over whole hog to complete them. We love MMOs because they are ongoing experiences we can (or in some cases are required to) share with other people. Focus on those aspects and you'll find success again, even if it's not to the tune of 12million players. That's a pipe dream, anyway.

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Pennilenko
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Reply #1 on: October 14, 2015, 09:58:22 AM

Disclaimer: In no way am I attacking you or calling you out.

Have you really never heard of or read anything about Firefall?

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Reply #2 on: October 14, 2015, 10:12:48 AM

Yep.

But then I don't follow new games much anymore. I'm officially old.

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Threash
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Reply #3 on: October 14, 2015, 10:21:34 AM

I've heard that it is a thing that exists, i know absolutely nothing about it either.

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Reply #4 on: October 14, 2015, 10:26:14 AM

Nothing has changed in 15 years of MMOs.

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Reply #5 on: October 14, 2015, 10:30:48 AM

Mark Kern is a moron.

His take away from being a team lead on a game that made a gajillion dollars and is pretty much the only MMO that hasn't closed or gone free-to-play after three years, is that players secretly want to be kicked in the nuts more.

Also, that devblog is from 2 years ago. Since that time, he's been fired for being utterly terrible in every way.

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Reply #6 on: October 14, 2015, 11:51:47 AM

Mark Kern is a moron.

I didn't even have to finish the article to get the impression as well. The thing that happened with MMOG's is when we removed some of the arcane shit that was contributing to the difficulty, we discovered that the gameplay was pretty goddamn weak at heart. And no one has really found a way to make that gameplay not suck for the long haul, or really change it much in any meaningful way. I mean, WOW is nothing more than EQ at its gameplay heart, it just has QOL things like mini maps, quest markers, chat channels, macros and such built in. Lo and behold, the gameplay of DIKUMUD based games just aren't that fucking difficult.

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Reply #7 on: October 14, 2015, 01:06:42 PM

Well, it shouldn't be surprising that in a genre that is, ostensibly, about a persistent "always on" game world, that time ends up being the most important factor in the genre.  So you can either embrace that and then limit your playerbase to people who want to spend a ton of hours on your game, or try to mitigate it and end up with a game like Haemish describes - boring gameplay that is accessible to people, but doesn't really capitalize on the ONE thing the genre potentially has going for it in the first place.
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Reply #8 on: October 14, 2015, 01:31:13 PM

The problem with MMOs is always going to be the vast gap between the speed in content development and consumption.  That's why it took years to level in Everquest, why you have to farm the same dungeon for months in every game ever, why we have words like "grind" and "dailies" and "rep farming".  You have to repeat the content hundreds of times because it takes hundreds of times more to make it than to consume it.  The industry is stuck until someone comes up with an MMO random dungeon generator that actually makes fun content, a real sandbox game or a pvp game that doesn't blow.

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Reply #9 on: October 14, 2015, 01:32:12 PM

The problem isn't the games getting casual, it isn't the games getting hardcore. It isn't even grindiness or levels or classes.

It's that the magic is kinda gone. People know what they are getting, MMOs just don't surprise you anymore. A pattern has been set, and people can forecast out what their experience will be, and usually it's one they have seen before.

People are excited about No Man's Sky, or indie titles, or whatever, because they go "whoa." That's what's missing. The whoa.

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Malakili
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Reply #10 on: October 14, 2015, 01:54:24 PM

The problem isn't the games getting casual, it isn't the games getting hardcore. It isn't even grindiness or levels or classes.

It's that the magic is kinda gone. People know what they are getting, MMOs just don't surprise you anymore. A pattern has been set, and people can forecast out what their experience will be, and usually it's one they have seen before.

People are excited about No Man's Sky, or indie titles, or whatever, because they go "whoa." That's what's missing. The whoa.

Page Keanu Reeves, stat

This is true, but mainly for DIKU MMOs.   I think a lot of people still go "woah" when they see a big battle in EVE, or even a tank column in Planetside 2.  They key is that the moments that make you go "woah" in an MMO basically have to be tied to the .. MM.. .part of the title.  They are also, inherently I think, the very same things that push the genre towards being inaccessible/too time consuming, etc.
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Reply #11 on: October 14, 2015, 02:19:57 PM

Mark Kern is an utter tosspot and Raph is right about the Magic, IMO.

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HaemishM
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Reply #12 on: October 14, 2015, 02:30:25 PM

The magic is gone because the minute-to-minute gameplay really hasn't changed one iota from the release of Everquest til now.

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Reply #13 on: October 14, 2015, 02:35:50 PM

Surprise! A WoW dev thinks they game needed to be harder. They all thought that way. That's what led us to them fucking their game over with Cataclysm. Because they got butthut. Just like the D3 devs, because they were giant man-babies who couldn't understand that they were making mass appeal games for giant amounts of successful cash. The fucking knobs.

You want to make shitty kick you in the nuts art? Fine, do it on your own dime. Because nobody will buy enough of it for you to finish.

The reason MMOs still suck today is because of three things in my mind: 1 - Most of the combat never escalated past EQ with some tweaks, 2 - The concept of a living economy only works if the goods are unique, meaning you can't have inputs all be standard copper ore makes exactly the same fucking sword as everyone else, and 3 - Players are asshats and nobody has come up with a good solution on how to stop players from being asshats.

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Reply #14 on: October 14, 2015, 02:45:08 PM

Surprise! A WoW dev thinks they game needed to be harder. They all thought that way. That's what led us to them fucking their game over with Cataclysm. Because they got butthut. Just like the D3 devs, because they were giant man-babies who couldn't understand that they were making mass appeal games for giant amounts of successful cash. The fucking knobs.

You want to make shitty kick you in the nuts art? Fine, do it on your own dime. Because nobody will buy enough of it for you to finish.


See: Wildstar

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Reply #15 on: October 14, 2015, 02:46:15 PM

Because targeting the hardcore and ignoring casuals was a great marketing move for Wildstar.

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Edit: Beat me to it by a few seconds ;)

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Reply #16 on: October 14, 2015, 02:48:01 PM

You guys just don't get it because you aren't hardcore enough.  why so serious?



Also agree with Raph.  I've lost that loving feeling.  Heartbreak

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Ironwood
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Reply #17 on: October 14, 2015, 03:03:40 PM

Well, yeah, but we're old.

It's the youngers that have lost it that are the main problem.

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Surlyboi
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Reply #18 on: October 14, 2015, 03:46:02 PM

But WoW has always sucked... It was a calculated effort like everything Blizzard makes, to take an established formula and make it accessible to the masses.

And while filthy casuals have ruined the hardcore MMO experience, that experience needed to be ruined anyway because hardcore MMO players need to be paying dominatrixes a lot more money than 15 bucks a month to step on their tiny little dicks.

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
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Reply #19 on: October 14, 2015, 03:49:31 PM

For me, "MMO" as a descriptive term in and of itself doesn't really matter anymore. I think the core concepts of what made an MMO are already being applied to many other games. One of my favorite games in recent memory is Destiny, where they basically just took a shooter and squirted some MMO onto it.

I think MMO as a standalone genre is just not as relevant or exciting anymore, it's a thing to squirt onto other genres to mix them up.

But that Captain's salami tray was tight, yo. You plump for the roast pork loin, dogg?

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Reply #20 on: October 14, 2015, 08:39:47 PM

My sentiments on MMOs exactly. That's one of the reasons I dig Destiny too.

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
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Reply #21 on: October 14, 2015, 10:59:52 PM

I think that MMO's mostly dropped any pretense of persistence in anything but the characters, and to a great extent made themselves very large and pretty lobbies for raid-oriented gameplay.

There are a few exception (Eve most particularly), but for the most part world persistence was abandoned (and eventually picked up by the Survival genre, which didn't really exist back in the day). If all that persists is the character, there are only so many ways you can change up the core gameplay, and even fewer that you can change the social dynamic. And frankly, what the OLRPG does, most of it is done better by MOBA's (another genre that didn't exist when WoW was launched). When somebody gets tired of WoW, they don't go looking for "WoW with/without BLANK". New Diku-derivatives simply can't offer enough content at launch to compete with WoW for anything but the tourist population.

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Reply #22 on: October 15, 2015, 12:59:54 AM

MMORPGs are like colouring-in books. Sandbox games are like blank sketch books. I want my achievements in a game to be things I've created, not just lines I've filled in.

That's the potential 1000s of hours of game play that MMOs have lost for me.

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Reply #23 on: October 15, 2015, 01:39:34 AM

I think games like Arche Age for instance show there's still a very sizable interest for MMOs that want to expand on persistence, cooperation, large battles; things only an MMO can really offer.
Part of the problem seems to be the West still can't get past trying to out-blizzard blizzard or have just given up since it's never going to happen, and Korea can't resist throwing in soul-crushing grind and client-side hackery shenanigans.

Give me the equivalent to Arche Age of what WoW was to EQ and I'd be playing that, not like when I was a twenty-something, but I'd be playing it for years to come.
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Reply #24 on: October 15, 2015, 04:18:25 AM

All I want in life is a (new) pseudo-medieval (persistent) open-world sandbox MMORPG where not every feature is built around combat, or PvP. I want to bake bread (AND crush - occasionally). Also, journey, not destination. Also, interact with other players as much as with the environment. Also, no endless level treadmill. Also, casual roleplaying. Also, should be a mix of UO, SWG, ATITD and Daggerfall/Morrowind/Skyrim. Is that so much to ask for?  Heartbreak

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Reply #25 on: October 15, 2015, 07:20:42 AM

All I want in life is a (new) pseudo-medieval (persistent) open-world sandbox MMORPG where not every feature is built around combat, or PvP. I want to bake bread (AND crush - occasionally). Also, journey, not destination. Also, interact with other players as much as with the environment. Also, no endless level treadmill. Also, casual roleplaying. Also, should be a mix of UO, SWG, ATITD and Daggerfall/Morrowind/Skyrim. Is that so much to ask for?  Heartbreak

So basically larger scale PW Story servers from Neverwinter Nights circa 2001.
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Reply #26 on: October 15, 2015, 07:54:50 AM

MMORPGs are like colouring-in books. Sandbox games are like blank sketch books. I want my achievements in a game to be things I've created, not just lines I've filled in.

That's the potential 1000s of hours of game play that MMOs have lost for me.

See I'm the exact opposite. I want an entertainment experience. If I want efforts and creativity that "matters" I do shit in real life.

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Reply #27 on: October 15, 2015, 08:13:16 AM

I've always been intrigued by the world actively working against the players. Which MMOs have tried before but never really done well.

The idea behind Rift was sort of like this, but instead it became instances happening in the world. No real consequence of you ignoring it, therefore no change on the world.

The one facet MMOs never got right was a changing world. Ever. To me a fun PvE MMO wouldn't be instanced dungeons, it would be your people holding back the hordes of evil trying to sweep down on your lands, and then driving them back to open up new lands. And then when the battle was won, one way or the other, the server would end and you would begin again. This is one reason Crowfall amused me because it's taking that idea on a pvp basis and making it about short term randomly generated servers.

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Reply #28 on: October 15, 2015, 09:24:04 AM

I had thought I read this before, then I realized it was 2 years old. I still love this quote:

Quote
Itís not the end game that we should be worried about, its the journey. An MMO should be savored, a lifetime of experiences contained within a single, beautifully crafted world. The moment to moment gameplay should be its own reward. You should feel like you could live your whole life there, not by having infinite quests, but by having a living world that makes you feel good just for being in it and experiencing all it has to offer at your own pace. Its not about the competition to max out your character, its about a way of life and a long term hobby with enduring friends.

As long as you have devs saying this, you'll have shit games being made. Also any dev that thinks this should get fired.
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Reply #29 on: October 15, 2015, 09:31:33 AM

The problem with MMOG's has always been that rather than becoming an actual medium onto which multiple gameplay templates could be mixed, matched and melded, the developers and publishers could only ever envision/execute a genre with its legacy gameplay systems that iterate on an increasingly familiar experience but with more/less X, and requiring increasingly unrealistic revenue streams to make up for unnecessarily inflationary budgets.

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Reply #30 on: October 15, 2015, 09:43:16 AM

I agree for the most part, though I'm not sure about the requiring increasingly unrealistic revenue streams. Maybe hoping for unrealistic rev streams, but not requiring.

The major issue, for the most part, is that DIKU MMOs are fucking not fun to play mechanically. If we can ever get a decent action based MMO that's actually fun to play in of itself you'll see an advancement in MMOs (TERA has great combat but no real game surrounding it). Or if we ever get some kind of dynamic living world but the closest I've seen is a game like No Man's Sky.

We still haven't seen real AAA stab in an online persistent world where it's all about building/trading/social that isn't 2nd Life. We've got a ton of instanced or smaller scale games (minecraft etc), but nothing in any kind of scale. I don't know if the tech is there for it yet or we have a solution to the DICKS EVERYWHERE problem.
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Reply #31 on: October 15, 2015, 11:41:58 AM

I agree for the most part, though I'm not sure about the requiring increasingly unrealistic revenue streams. Maybe hoping for unrealistic rev streams, but not requiring.

By requiring, I mean their budget is so unrealistic or uncontrollable that they end up requiring more revenue than they can possibly make in a market consumed by the 300-lb gorilla of World of Warcraft.

Also, DICKS EVERYWHERE would be a great title for a book on the history of MMOG's.

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Reply #32 on: October 15, 2015, 12:07:50 PM

Also, DICKS EVERYWHERE would be a great title for a book on the history of MMOG's.

Big ole Minecraft dong on the cover.

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Reply #33 on: October 15, 2015, 02:02:56 PM

The one facet MMOs never got right was a changing world. Ever. To me a fun PvE MMO wouldn't be instanced dungeons, it would be your people holding back the hordes of evil trying to sweep down on your lands, and then driving them back to open up new lands. And then when the battle was won, one way or the other, the server would end and you would begin again. This is one reason Crowfall amused me because it's taking that idea on a pvp basis and making it about short term randomly generated servers.
This was the Big Thing I had planned for Wish: Evil/Chaos would be represented by an energy field (tracked with diffusion maps), the more that the players pushed back the NPC forces (took over more towns), the stronger the opposition they would get (and the more powerful the NPC counter-attacks to take towns back from the players). Eventually you would reach an equilibrium where the players simply couldn't push any harder without effectively crowding out another group of players somewhere else. Logarithmic scale, in the early days (when characters were weak and players didn't know what they were doing) it would be easy to roll up the 'dark energy', as they took more territory it would get tougher at an ever increasing rate until, if the players somehow managed to concentrate all the evil of the world into a small area, that small area would be shoulder-to-shoulder with constantly spawning uber-mobs (dimensional portals would be a random occurrence, dialing up in both frequency and strength of their outputs).

There were a lot of elements to that, I wanted to do a lot of herd-level A-Life stuff under the hood (at a very high level of abstraction), economic pressures and resource distribution would shape where the players would want to push forward and there was a whole range of 'self-assembling Evil horde' emergent AI stuff I never got a chance to even prototype. I had only vague notions of how to reconcile scripted content with these zones of control (what if your quest target was in the middle of the emergently-generated Mount Doom?). But the essential gist was that although it was a world that would respond to the players, there were carefully hidden rails with elastic boundaries ensuring that they wouldn't break it. The diffusion maps opened up a lot of interesting possibilities, I had what seemed like a really cool idea for a 'Soul Reapers' NPC faction that would generate outposts at locations where lots of players had died in PvP combat (every time players killed each other, it would feed into a 'soul energy' diffusion map, when enough had accumulated in a single place the Soul Reapers came to feed).

Ahh, well, roads not taken and all that.

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Reply #34 on: October 15, 2015, 02:07:07 PM

I think games like Arche Age for instance show there's still a very sizable interest for MMOs that want to expand on persistence, cooperation, large battles; things only an MMO can really offer.
Part of the problem seems to be the West still can't get past trying to out-blizzard blizzard or have just given up since it's never going to happen, and Korea can't resist throwing in soul-crushing grind and client-side hackery shenanigans.

Give me the equivalent to Arche Age of what WoW was to EQ and I'd be playing that, not like when I was a twenty-something, but I'd be playing it for years to come.
This right here. AA was great until you hit the lolkorea RNG grind.

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