— WARNING: Long post ahead as it tackles the problems of today’s MMORPGs, what needs to change for them to become great again, and a plan for the future on how to better run games and servers —
Has anyone been discouraged with the current state of MMORPG’s, I know I am. Everything that everyone says about what is wrong with MMO’s is true, and it’s sad that a genre with so much potential has been diluted and perverted by developers hoping to make an easy profit. It’s infuriating that developers have yet to make a game that beats the very first game in the genre: “World of Warcraft”. Is there any way that MMORPG’s can become great again?
Well first we have to look at the PROBLEMS with current MMORPG’s:
—The genre is repetitive, no one seems to be trying anything new and all MMO’s tend to be a relatively a copy of each other. The reason that WOW was such a success was because it was a risk and turned out to do well. But today dev’s just copy the original model rather than trying to create something unique that might have the potential to fail.
—Your involvement in the story means NOTHING. No matter what you do, the world will live on, and therefore it’s hard to feel any attachment or purpose to any quest or storyline. What’s the point of killing those 5 worms when 2 million other players have? And why aren’t you worried that they respawn literally right when I finish? Developers need to figure out a way to make a MMO MEAN SOMETHING to each individual.
—The games are ambiguous meaning they are not made with the thought of the individual in mind. They are made to appeal to as many players as possible. This is what killed the original WOW because in an effort to bring more players in, WOW changed gameplay to appeal to more casual players and as a result destroyed the challenge and fun out of the game.
—Every single game has a boring combat system. With releases such as TERA and Dragon Nest, combat has improved but is still no where it should be. Most games involve the same button presses for every single monster and has you sitting there pressing buttons as your character remains rooted to the same place using these special attacks. It’s not fun, it’s not realistic, and it’s not exhilarating.
With these problems out of the way, is there any hope for MMORPG’s to reclaim the glory that they once had? I believe so but it relies on the advancement of technology and developer’s willingness to take risks. Half of the letters in the genre’s name stand for Role Playing Game, and this is probably the least developed part of any MMO. The future of the genre hinges on technology that makes playing a role in this world more fun such as Virtual Reality, and advances in AI and algorithms that are able to successfully create a unique and ever changing world.
Idea On How To Run MMORPG Games and Servers In The FUTURE:
Communities and areas sponsor local servers and each area zone would fit about 10K-20K players. The players would pay an entrance fee or monthly fee to pay for upkeep to the servers, and people in charge of the servers would buy games priced high with the intention of being used for the community. For example if the median of 15K players all paid $60 for this new game, that would equal a total of $900,000 for a single zone. The Community all joins roughly the same time and the game will involve an end goal. Players work together to achieve this goal such as clearing floors and defeating bosses. The intention is not of every player killing every boss, but of the community working together to complete this game. Players would be reoccurring throughout the community and people would know of them. Once the game is complete the Server company purchases a new game and the trend continues on.
-This idea takes refinement and improvement, but a game focus on community and responsibility I believe is the future of MMO gaming and will help to add a sense of purpose and prestige within the community to become great and continue with a game.
What To Add/Change About MMORPGs To Improve The Genre:
The problem with MMOs today is that people feel no attachment or responsibility towards the game and its outcome. With a game that focuses on teamwork and community involvement hopefully when can craft a unique and individual experience. Usernames would be localized as no one wants to add numbers to their name when they want to become immersed in a virtual world. You will have the ability to re-fight cleared bosses in an arena style area, but the focus is not of you killing every boss but of the community working together to complete a goal. Player given quests and player owned stores would be a great addition as well as it provides a more realistic experience and helps tie in other players in a system that is not as overpowered and unrealistic as mass trading.
-Community advances throughout the story (Boss fights, etc.)
-Local Usernames and Servers (As a result less people to provide individualism and community experience)
-Ability to fight previous bosses in an arena style area
-Player Provided Quests and Shops
-Virtual Reality Mediums
As technology becomes more and more advanced so does the Role Playing potential that games are given. You will start to feel like the character even more not to mention it will make everything, from fighting monsters to meeting people a much more interactive experience. Also if a microphone of some sort was used in combination with the Oculus Rift, it could use a “Smart Sound” which would make other players heard only when they get within a certain distance of your player. As it stands now, it is very easy to ignore other players on the servers, you can run away and just ignore the chat bar, but virtual reality will bring a much more individual experience and will allow for role playing and individualism.
-Equipment Level Scaling (Steady Appearance with VR for Community recognition purposes)
-A more first person view (I believe it would be much less awkward to approach people)
-SMART in area sound (only within a certain distance) combined with Virtual reality!
-Good Graphics and smart art style
MMORPG games are based on the fact that people want to have their own personalized and individual story. The problem with today’s technology is that we do not have an advanced enough AI that is able to change the world and learn, and therefore most worlds stay stagnant and are unaffected by player decisions. With a more advanced AI things could be added to improve gameplay by a huge amount such as unique non-attainable items and skills and random and non-reoccurring quests. Everyone wants to feel like an individual, and when all items and skills are open to everyone and it is impossible to distinguish your character in any way, then what is the point? Games could also provide a more intuitive skill system. Two options exist. First we could have a system that scales your skills based on how often you use for example a sword. Second, we could have a Dues EX skill system which allows you to put points into a skill of your choice allowing every character to become proficient at any skill.
-Advanced AI (Not available but something to strive for, that can learn and adapt to players)
-Random and non-reoccurring quests and events
-Unique Items and Skills
-Skills work like Dues EX (Anyone can be ANY class, You decide which area to put skill points into)
As it stands right now, the death penalty is WAY to low as the game wants to appeal to casual players who want to go solo throughout the entire game. This makes the game way to easy and discourages people from going out of their way and meeting new people. When you die, for example in Guild Wars 2, all that happens is your pay about 50 copper to teleport to a place to respawn and your armor is slightly drained of durability. This is so lenient and unrealistic and is only in place to appease the solo players who don’t want to play the game as it should be played, implemented by developers who don’t care about the resulting gameplay, but of bringing in more subscriptions.
-Harsher than it currently is to punish for stupid actions and brash level pushing
-Provides incentive to meet new people and to join a party/guild
Developers have made games easier and easier in order to make games more available to a wider audience. But is this a good thing? Sure you might get more people to join initially, but without the challenge of the journey, the game has no substance. Getting through hard areas gives players a rush, signaling that they accomplished something, we are big kids who can work through problems and situations, we don’t need your hand holding that ruins the overall gameplay that we experience. As stated in my idea above, a more community focus on MMO games would instill a more personal feel to the games and would help players feel a responsibility or attachment to a game. And if the community experience was linear, as in all players worked towards a specific goal, it would encourage leveling at the same pace while harder bosses would ensure that rushing players do not get far ahead of the pack of community players. In terms of leveling, stop giving XP for
discovering areas. I’m looking at you Guild Wars 2! It isn’t bad for giving small amounts of XP, but you earn more experience in GW2 from exploring vistas, points of interest, waypoints, and towns than from actually fighting monsters. Also get rid of any mention of real world money from the games which includes money-for-gold or premium accounts, I realize that devs are trying to make a quick profit, but it ruins everything from game immersion, balance, and role playing qualities. Also get rid of game-wide markets, it is not realistic and I found that when I played, rather than finding weapons for myself I just bought super rare items from the shop, ruining the experience as it required no effort on my part. Lastly review your combat system.
We players want a game that is combat oriented and exhilarating, not a game that has you spamming the same buttons for every encounter, while you remain rooted in the same place.
-Due to Community involvement challenging activities would be a community wide activity
-Involve high skill and dedication (non-spoonfed)
-Boss fights to continue would require the effort or lots of players (LOTS) (This would avoid the problem of people rushing through games in order to reach higher stats/items first)
-Would help better regulate player balance, better scale of community wide level progression
-NO ONLINE STORE OR FAST COMMUNITY MARKET (to easy, non-realistic)
-No XP for area discoveries!! (We don’t mind grinding for XP as long as interesting mobs and environments)
-Action driven (Combat like TERA but with no attack rooting)
-NO PREMIUM OR ADVANTAGE OR UPGRADE TO ANYTHING WITH REAL MONEY (stupid, unrealistic, and a turn off, Either an upfront cost, or universal monthly subscription to play the game)
—The future of MMORPG gaming looks grim. The genre possesses potential and everyone is holding their breath for the game that rises above the rest. But until one company decides to take a risk and produce a game that breaks the mold rather than milk the pre-existing system we are stuck with all the crap that comes with the current MMOs of today. While we are still waiting on technological advancements developers already possess most of the tools needed. Thank you all so much for your interest in MMORPGs and their future and hopefully it won’t be long until our prayers are answered!