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The importance of "work" in an mmorpg

I'm curious to know what your thoughts are regarding the following video:



Discuss :)
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Comments

  • Too lazy to watch video, remind me later?
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    He's a phantom | twitch.tv/dphantomtv
  • AzathothAzathoth Member, Braver of Worlds
    What is video about?
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    +1 Skull & Crown metal coin
  • AtamaAtama Member, Braver of Worlds
    My thought is that I’m not watching a 14 minute video to try to figure out what your point is supposed to be.
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  • neuroguyneuroguy Member
    I think the actual reward that is received by playing the game is very important. The engaging games of my past, personally, had content as reward. Runescape quests unlock entire new areas and gameplay mechanics. Old WoW would reward you for leveling by giving you new class mechanics and allowing you to explore whole new zones with their own unique biomes, monsters and dungeons. When the content is rich and deep, you can gate it and have it be its own reward. When gameplay is shallow and simple, you are cornered to give purples (or a different color) and bigger numbers and other more abstract things as rewards. A purple item with bigger numbers is much less rewarding than a whole new zone or dungeon with new monsters to fight. When games have content that only a % of players see, it motivates and drives the rest of the playerbase to strive to experience MORE content. The content becomes its own reward. When all content is available for everyone with little effort, you just chase bigger numbers, faster times, and different skins.

    To tie it back to AoC, I think it is well equipped to be rewarding, especially in the long run. Since server narratives are different, player experiences will be different. Although nodes and zones don't have natural level gating, the lack of fast travel should make exploration interesting and rewarding. Most importantly, participation and engagement in the game will develop nodes which will unlock MORE things to do in game. I think this is the key (at least for me). I don't want gear that is purple instead of green or numbers that are 5 digits instead of 4 digits to pop up when I swing my sword, I want to unlock a dragon fight, to unlock new skill augments, to discover new crafting recipes. Make my hard work unlock game content that everyone doesn't automatically have access to.
  • AzathothAzathoth Member, Braver of Worlds
    @neuroguy I agree and enjoyed the read. Thank you.
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    +1 Skull & Crown metal coin
  • apokapok Member, Settler
    edited June 4
    Working for what you have is what I loved about MMOs personalty I hated WoW when it came out because it seemed so much easier than other MMOs and still haven't really gotten into it to this day. Ive been saying it for years that the market sucks now because companies keep pandering to the minority of players who complain about games being "too hard" or "too grindy" and totally forget about the silent majority and this is why the crapshoot that is FFXIV is the best MMO on the market, the game is nothing more than a fantasy dress up game with a bunch of people hanging out in towns comparing their glamour items to other people's glamour items

    also off topic hear, why are there people constantly posting on threads without keeping to the topic of why the thread was created, no one cares if you lack a basic normal attention span to watch a short video. it's no reason to hijack a thread with childish posts.
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
    I get what he's saying about meaningingful work and the failures of extrinsic rewards, but I don't necessarily agree with the stance that those failures are due to an overload of rewards or the bombastic attention-seeking focus of newer games.

    (Before I get started, insert my typical disclaimer about how I ramble/rant too much. It's kinda inevitable with a broad, opinion-based topic like this, though. So you asked for it.)

    This is how I view it: WoW Classic is popular because the basic content of the game (the stuff you spend hours and hours on) is fairly difficult and meaningfully diverse. And it's slow enough to appreciate those two factors. Just going through the zones in that game: The difficulty requires you to pay attention, and puts a meaningful difference between success and failure. The diversity largely comes from the questing structure which requires you to go to different spots and hunt/gather different things. And not all of them are marked with symbols on your map, so you're not just chasing exclamation points; you're looking at the actual world. And because it's slow af (too slow imo, but it has some benefits), players have time to think about their actions and consequences, and time itself ends up being a meaningful goal/consequence. So you try to be more efficient or fight more enemies at once, but you risk dying losing more time.

    The problem with modern MMOs is that they strip out or pave over a lot of that meaningful interaction, in the interest of speeding things up or packing more engagement into every second of gameplay (or just making the game cheaper). Thinking about loot and progression is hard, and good upgrades are hard to find? Just streamline it with a ton of checklists and numerical bonuses/progression. Dying really sucks? Make everyone overpowered! No more failure states, just progressively bigger success states. (Except they don't feel as big without the counterpoint of failure.) Anything takes too long or is confusing? Cut it out, or pack it into a linear quest with direct objectives and rewards. These games aim to give the players everything they could ever want, rather than giving them a world in which they can seek out and fight for the things they want. And all they ask for in return is that the player masters a combat system.

    So when the players finally look back at what they did in those 100s of action-packed hours of play, they realize they were just doing the same shit over and over and getting handed the same rewards but with bigger numbers and cooler names. But they never really figured anything out on their own. (Even their combat skills were probably garnered from guides and tutorials, followed by hours of practice, with minimal experimentation.) They never stopped to appreciate the worlds and artistry and characters along the way. They hardly felt the the hard-earned-gains between low-level and endgame, or easy and hard content, because it was just frenzy of action and progression the whole time.

    Now, I know I've kinda contradicted myself here. I said I don't think the overwrought action or progression systems or overall speed of these new MMOs is the problem. And then I list a bunch of things like that as problems. But what I'm tryna say is that these things are the cause of our problems, but not they aren't problematic by themselves. AoC could be actiony, or have ridiculous progression systems, or be really fast-paced, and it could still be a great game. But only if those features aren't implemented by paving over the meaningful parts of the world.

    It's fine if the progression system is vast and grindy, if each new thing actually feels new and interesting, rather than just being numeric bonuses. (Horizontal progression is great, btw.) It's fine if the combat is frenetic and flashy, as long as there is some thought behind it, there are well-defined success and failure cases, and there's some potential for feedback and learning. It's fine if you can do things quickly (leveling, travel, dungeons) as long as there is lots of content, and (this is critically important) if there are good reasons to pay attention to each part and interesting things to slow down for. It's fine if the "work" is made more convenient, if the only parts you cut out are the meaningless parts. And it's fine if parts of the game are rapidly-paced and constantly engaging, if there are opportunities to take a breather and go at your own pace.

    The things that always get in the way/are inherently problematic: A focus on numeric progression, demanding repetitive daily grinds to keep engagement (I have mixed feelings about dailies, but some games clearly take them too far), streamlined builds/decisions/choices (let people make the wrong choice sometimes, geez), and plain old lack of content (new content, not rehashed grinds). Oh and Pay-to-Win of course, which ugh... It's bad in a lot of ways, but let's just say that P2W only adds meaning to your bank account and always at the cost of something else.

    Aaaand one final note that I forgot to fit in there somewhere: Although it's not critical for the AoC's success, I appreciate Intrepid's focus on graphics and action. Because I really don't want another WoW or Runescape. They look like ass, not gonna lie. And when the time comes, marketing will be important too. But for now, meaningful gameplay is of the upmost importance.
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
    @apok I agree... But I also like FFXIV a lot. It's a good themepark. Good story, good combat (for a tab-targetted system), great art, good raids of course, and yes cool outfits. It's just not "hard" at all until the end-game. Even then, it's mostly about doing the research and executing fights correctly.

    I know it's pretty streamlined, but at least they replaced all the meaningful choices and difficulty with other stuff that I like.
  • DamoklesDamokles Member
    I thought that Bellular should hold Seminars for big AAA game companies like EA, Activision Blizzard etc, if they learned from him Gaming could be saved xD
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  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    edited June 4
    @azathoth @atama and @dphantomtv The main gist of the video is that older mmorpgs like Classic WoW and Old School Runescape are proving popular because they follow a core principle of business:

    "Cultivate meaningful work and meaningful relationships."

    Bellular argues that Classic WoW was successful back in the day because "players felt like their work in the game built towards something important and that their social bonds in the game meant something."

    He then goes on to say that games like Retail WoW, Fortnite, etc rely too much on instant gratification where they want the players to get a quick hit of pleasure/excitement and reward without really earning it. This results in players being driven solely by the rewards and as soon as the fast progression and the rewards stop, the players get bored and quit.
  • VarkunVarkun Member, Braver of Worlds
    I do agree with much of the sentiment of the video and I do hope AOC can bring back much that has been lost when it comes to providing motivation to keep logging in. I want to login to AOC and have so many choices as to what I want to do, objectives to work towards and yet not feel obligated to do certain tasks because they are on some sort of timer that I might miss.
    So much of what AOC promises is to be driven by us the players and the bonds we will have with our fellow player's friends and enemies alike. AOC promises much more than any other MMO I have come across and much of what is promised harks back to older games where time invested was not viewed as a grind but fun gameplay with guilds and friends, the content its self was the reward.
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    Close your eyes spread your arms and always trust your cape.
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    @varkun I get that same feeling on the WoW TBC private server I am currently playing on. I have a bunch of things to do, from quests to dungeon runs to leveling up my professions, etc, but none of it feels like a chore. On the other hand, part of the reason why I quit Retail WoW is BECAUSE I had so many things to do that were a chore. All I wanted to do was raid but in order to do that I had to do all this other stuff like grinding AP and farming materials for raid consumables. This stuff drove me insane.

    It's very confusing to me. Why is it that I have similar activities to do in both games and yet in one game they feel like a chore and in the other they don't.

    @apok I get what you mean about players complaining about games being too hard or too grindy, but at the same time some modern games put excessive amounts of grinding into their games just for the sake of it. Remember when FPS games were just FPS? Well now all modern FPS games have RPG mechanics in them and grinds to artificially increase their play-time (and encourage players to buy microtransactions to avoid the grind).

    It's not so much the grind itself that players complain about, but the fact that grinding has no place in those genres.
  • KarthosKarthos Member, Braver of Worlds
    In true internet fashion, I'm going to not read/watch the article/video and give my opinion on the topic anyway.

    This has been a debate for years, and I still feel that the best games hit that Goldilocks Zone, of not to hard, but not to easy either.

    Vanilla WoW was definitely a carrot on a stick, but it still let you get a taste of the carrot on a fairly regular basis. Many games today will either just force feed you the carrot you don't want carrot anymore or put it on such a long stick, you give up in frustration.

    But the best games find the right balance of long term and short term goals. And in doing so, they make long or difficult task still feel rewarding even when you haven't quite completed them yet.

    Sure that quest for the epic sword is going to take you 3 months, but in the mean time, you will get each piece from the quest chain as a reward, drawing you closer to that ultimate goal.
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  • dphantomtvdphantomtv Member
    edited June 4
    I agree with @karthos here. I played rs 2006-2015 and for a game that’s grind heavy I’m surprised I didn’t get bored or frustrated. Like...level 99 in one skill could take months, even years...and there’s 20 something skills? How did I keep playing that damn game...shit
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    He's a phantom | twitch.tv/dphantomtv
  • WololoWololo Member, Leader of Men
    at that age farming any game was fun tbh xd
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  • noaaninoaani Member
    So, I've listened to the clip a few times now, and I can't help but think how closely it aligns to what a good number of "old school" MMO players have been saying for years.

    I started played MMO's 15 years ago. In that time, the genre has changes drastically, and very little of that change has been for the better.

    Back when I started playing, MMO's were about delayed gratification. You could spend a few hours on one quest simply to gain access to a new overland zone, and then within that zone, there would be another quest to gain access to an instanced zone. Completing the quest at the end of that instanced zone was literally the culmination of weeks of effort (specifically thinking EQ2 Zek/DFC and it's 2 HQ's for anyone wondering).

    These days, people complain about having to level up to the level of a zone to access content "they paid for", let alone having to do a few quests to get there.

    Now, I'm not solely blaming players for the above attitude, as developers have, over time, switched from delayed gratification to instant gratification. Just look at Tamriel Unchaned from ESO to see a blatant and obvious example of developers catering to instant gratification, and players loving them for it. While it was absolutely a good thing for that game in terms of financial viability, it was not a good thing in terms of the games actual gameplay as an MMO. In fact, many MMO players of my particular vintage barely even consider it an MMO at all now, in the same was that Fallout 76 isn't an MMO.

    To me, the single worst change made to MMO's ever was the addition of the dungeon finder. This one addition to the genre managed to inflict near fatal damage on all three of pillars that make a good MMO - delayed (but predictable) gratification, difficulty of content and the importance of social connections.

    Before dungeon finders, people had to find a group of people that were all on at the same time, at the same level and all wanted to do the same content. Then the group had to actually meet up and travel to the in game location of the target dungeon. Because of this, running a dungeon successfully was something that didn't necessarily happen every day, and was often somewhat of a "special occasion", especially while leveling up. This meant that the rewards from the end of the dungeon were rarer, players would usually only ever have two or three at any given time while leveling up. Because of their rarity, when you did manage to get hold of one, it meant a massive improvement to your character.

    You would usually remember who you were with when you ran a successful dungeon, and would often turn to these people when looking for people to run another dungeon with. Likewise, you would remember the people you were with when you ran an overly unsuccessful dungeon, and would avoid them as much as possible in the future. The player that had many friends wanting to run dungeons with them always had people ready to group with them. Thus, social connections became supremely important to the individual player, and players would spend a LOT of time nurturing those connections.

    Even on more casual content, people would often group up with people they enjoyed bantering with in open chat channels, and so the persona you had while simply talking with others in game became an important aspect of your online time.

    Then dungeon finders came along.

    No doubt, someone in a suit that has never played an MMO looked at some zone usage spreadsheets and saw lower useage numbers on all the dungeon zones in the game. They tasked someone in the coding team to come up with a way to get more people using those specific resources in order to get a better return from the development time spent on them. This coder implements the dungeon finder and after a few months the new reports come out.

    The suit is happy because the resources are being better utilized, the coder is happy because the suit is happy, and the players are happy because they are getting gear that used to be hard to get much easier now.

    Thing is, no one looked at the long term impact.

    Now, players expect to be able to log in, run a dungeon, get the rewards and log back out all within 15 minutes. The entire notion of delayed gratification went out the window with a single update.

    Now, players don't need to maintain social connections at all. Once in a group, instead of being grouped with that healer you ran that really good dungeon with 5 levels ago, you are simply grouped with "the healer". Who he is doesn't matter. Whether you've grouped with him before doesn't matter. Whether you enjoy talking to him doesn't matter. Whether you group with him again or not doesn't matter. All that matters is that he is the one in the group with the heals.

    This lack of needing to maintain good social standing has also seen a decline in the civility of in game chat. While MMO chat has never been a shining beacon of how to behave online, once social standing became meaningless, the amount of toxic behavior has skyrocketed.

    Now the third pillar of a good MMO that I talked about above - content difficulty. When people leveling up in an MMO only have a few dungeon pieces equipped, all content is hard. You add in a few more, and content becomes easier and easier.

    When leveling up in some MMO's in years past, it wasn't uncommon for a healer joining a group to be nervous that they may not be able to heal well enough for the specific zone because they haven't upgraded their heal - only for the tank to tell them that it's fine, he has a shield from the end boss of a level appropriate dungeon, so he shouldn't need too much healing.

    Now though, because dungeons are run so much more frequently due to dungeon finders, it is not uncommon for the tank to say "I have a shield and full armor set from a dungeon, we don't need a healer at all". And more often than not, he would be right.

    The fact that dungeons are easier to run with a dungeon finder means that dungeon loot is more common, which means that the average player is better geared, which means that content is easier. There is no way for developers to work around this, as any work around either makes dungeon gear worthless, or locks people without that dungeon gear (who maybe leveled up via quests in order to experience the lore) are totally locked out of dungeons.

    So, as I said above, the simple addition of a dungeon finder - an addition that both players and developers were behind at the time - managed to destroy the very core of the MMO genre.

    It isn't the only addition to MMO's that has been destructive though.

    Giveaways and special or seasonal events are often bad. Some games (Archeage) give away gear so often that some players simply don't bother trying to actually get any gear themselves, they just wait for the next developer/publisher driven giveaway.

    Some games will add rewards (higher drop rates, more XP etc) to a specific dungeon for a limited time. Players will flock to that dungeon for the duration of the event, but once it is over, no one will touch the dungeon again for 6 months.

    This has been a long post, that I don't expect anyone to actually read in full. I want to end it by simply saying that what has me attracted to Ashes is the fact that Intrepid, and specifically Steven, seems to understand the pillars of what makes an MMO great.

    Social standing in Ashes seems like it will be important - and with the way the node system is set up, Ashes may even take this importance to a level no other MMO has ever tried to take it.

    I get the feeling that both combat difficulty and delayed gratification (and appropriate gratification) are things that Intrepid are taking in to account, but until the game actually launches (even beta won't necessarily be much of an indication), I personally have no real way of knowing for sure.

    What I do know is that there are no other MMO's on the market or in development that give me the impression that those three pillars are even considerations for the development team - most other MMO's are more interested in developing a game around a gimmick (Crowfall) than on top of a solid foundation.
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
    edited June 5
    (Today's disclaimer is about long-winded RANTING instead of rambling, because hooboy, I'm salty. Just remember, I still love y'all. No hard feelings. But there's some criticisms I've got to make.)

    It's really hard to keep a balanced perspective on these forums sometimes. Y'all need to cut back on the nostalgia goggles a bit.

    Not every innovation in the MMO genre in the last 10 years has been for the worse. Even dungeon finders were a legit Good Thing when they came out. (If you think spamming general chat was better, then I don't know what to even say.)

    Most of the disappointment we all feel comes from poorly implemented features, lack of polish (aside from graphics of course), blatant cash-grabs, or lack of truly new content. Modern MMO design principles are not to blame.

    Instant gratification is not the demonic corruption at the root of all MMO problems. But when instant gratification is the Only Good Part of a game, it's obvious, and people get tired of it quickly. But you can have both instant gratification and "delayed" gratification (aka long-term goals and things you have to "work for"). It is possible to have quick fun and long-term satisfaction in one game.

    Yeah, AoC looks like it's going to be a big step up from other recent/upcoming releases, but not because it's throwing modern design out the window and returning to the early 2000s. It's going to take the best of both worlds (or that's the plan anyways).

    Here's a list of tech/design that was developed/popularized in the last decade, which I expect to see in AoC (somewhere, maybe not everywhere), most of which are objective/universal improvements:
    • Action combat (duh)
    • Auction houses that conglomerate multiple sale/buy offers
    • Level/gear scaling for specific content
    • All kinds of server tech for seamless, well-populated open worlds
    • Zones that actually use the Z-axis
    • Easy spec swapping (I know that Steven has stated otherwise, but honestly I don't expect that particular plan to last)
    • Tutorial/help pages (not really new, but they've improved over the years)
    • Transmog or costume slots
    • In-game cash-shops (for cosmetics only of course)
    • Party finders (bulletin-board style)

    Here's a list of new tech/design, which I expect Intrepid to willfully exclude from their game (or only use minimally), in order to achieve a more traditional/immersive experience:
    • Pay-to-win cash-shops (duh)
    • Automatic dungeon finders
    • Phasing (Only needed for themepark content)
    • Loot/power treadmills
    • Ubiquitous fast-travel
    • Hub-zones that lead to a bunch of instanced dungeons/battlegrounds
    • Flying mounts
    • Multiple cash-shop conveniences, like quick-repair hammers (Although they might make their way into top-tier node perks)
    • Layered vertical progression systems (Although there will be lots of horizontal progression)
    • Casual-mode vs. veteran-mode dungeons and raids

    Feel free to add to these lists in case I missed something. It would be more productive than reminiscing about what used to be difficult and/or meaningful. Chances are it wouldn't be difficult/meaningful/fun anymore, because standards have improved and EVERY game gets boring after a long enough time. (WoW Classic will not last after the nostalgia wears off.) I'm not saying that the difficulty and "work" of old games is entirely irrelevant, but at least try to think of those things in today's context.

    And quit going on about friends and nice communities. Those still exist. Do you guys not have phones friends? Besides, it would be naively optimistic to think that Ashes' community will somehow stay separate from the general gaming community, or be significantly improved just because of the game design. We're all going to do what we've always done in that regard: find a good guild/sub-community and ignore the trash.

    Okay, all the salt is on the table. Remember, don't take it personally. I still like reading all that y'all have to say, even if I occasionally disagree. Have a nice day/night, y'all.
  • neuroguyneuroguy Member
    leonerdo wrote: »
    Do you guys not have phones friends?

    Is this an out of season April fools joke?

  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds
    edited June 5
    The focus of the video is very odd to me.
    I play MMORPGs primarily for the roleplay and story - not for the "game" elements and not to work.
    I don't necessarily play MMORPGs for the material rewards.

    I want the world to immerse me in an epic story that guides me through The Hero's Journey.
    I would like my actions to impact and alter the world - and both the NPCs and other players who reside within the world. I would like to see the NPCs and their stories evolve as time progresses rather than everything becoming static.
    Which is something that WoW cannot adequately deliver via expansions - 3 weeks of new content and then 2+ years of static, repeatable content.

    I don't really care about "unlocking all the gear".
    What I do care about is feeling like gear and abilities help me fulfill my role(s) in the world.
    In EQ, I don't feel like a Druid until I gain Spirit of the Wolf. And I would love more quests/tasks were part of the objective is bestowing that blessing on others. In WoW, I don't feel like Druid until I gain Cat Form or Flight Form. And I would love more quests and tasks where those shapes were part of the objectives.
    Even if it's just Flight Form helping me fly through a window to reach a relic. And maybe I have to then successfully disarm a bunch of traps rather than successfully kill a bunch of guards.

    The appeal of vanilla EQ and vanilla WoW was not slow burn v fast burn to max level.
    The appeal was being able to play an RPG alongside a bunch of other players any time you wanted, rather than being forced to wait for your handful of friends to have time meet at someone's house.
    The feeling that you could interact with or just watch gaggles of folks enjoying your hobby was captivating and addictive - in addition to exploring a new, yet familiar, fantasy world and experiencing the story.

    Slow burn time sinks aren't fun. Especially these days, when most gamers are not in high school or college, people don't have the time to deal with "delayed gratification". Most MMORPG players are going to be some form of casual - either casual time or casual challenge or both. Hardcore time/Hardcore challenge players will be a very small minority.
    But it's also not fun to finish progressing through the storyline in a few weeks only to be stuck with dailies and weeklies for 2+ years while the devs work to implement new content.
    Which is why devs need to create games like EQNext, Ashes of Creation and Chronicles of Elyria that have dynamic, rather than static, content. So that max level does not mean being stuck at "endgame" while waiting for the devs to provide new content.

    The glass shatters because the thrill of no longer being restricted to a 3 hours per week or 6 hours per month game session to play your favorite RPG with friends cannot be recaptured. And "endgame" gameplay isn't fun.
    Even though, in the past 5-7 years people have come to think that "endgame" is supposed to be the real game - since most of the time spent in the game is being stuck in the endgame.
    Devs have to find a way to create MMORPGs or MEOWs that don't have an endgame.
  • noaaninoaani Member
    leonerdo wrote: »
    (If you think spamming general chat was better, then I don't know what to even say.)
    Spamming chat for a group is never fun, but that is what friends lists are for.

    In my experience, past the first 20 levels (or one week, what ever takes longest) people that spam chat looking for groups are the people I have grouped with in the past when things went poorly.

    People that are constantly in groups that go well don't spam chat looking for groups, they whisper people in their friends lists.

    You don't ever see a good tank or healer spamming for a group.

    This is that whole social connections thing.
    [*] Action combat (duh)
    [*] Auction houses that conglomerate multiple sale/buy offers
    [*] Level/gear scaling for specific content
    [*] All kinds of server tech for seamless, well-populated open worlds
    [*] Zones that actually use the Z-axis
    [*] Easy spec swapping (I know that Steven has stated otherwise, but honestly I don't expect that particular plan to last)
    [*] Tutorial/help pages (not really new, but they've improved over the years)
    [*] Transmog or costume slots
    [*] In-game cash-shops (for cosmetics only of course)
    [*] Party finders (bulletin-board style)
    [/list]
    Not a fan of action combat - that is what online FPS games are for.

    No game has ever had a better consignment system than EQ2's broker, imo.

    Again with EQ2, they had scaling down to levels in a 5 level increment implemented 12 or so years ago.

    Seamless worlds are good. This is one of the good things from the last 10 years or so that I would have mentioned in my above post if it weren't for the fact that it was already too long. It is something developers wanted to do back in the 90's, and were talking about way back then, but the technology simply wasn't there to run games like that.

    While many games have made use of the Z-axis, I am yet to see actual content that uses it, or a combat system based on it. Until that happens, using the Z-axis isn't really much of a good thing.

    If you disregard flying mounts though, EQ2 (again) had an open dungeon that used the Z-axis as much as any other - it was about 9 levels deep.

    Easy spec swapping has been around for more than 10 years.

    In game tutorials as per modern games are not a good thing. They tend to guide players through with shiny graphics, and players tend to ignore the game and just follow the blatant cues they are given. Once the tutorial ends, players often realize they didn't actually learn anything past W, A, S, D to move (who doesn't know that?) in the tutorial, they just followed the blatant cues. Most players tend to leave the tutorial of a new MMO as clueless as they started it.

    Online websites such as wikis have improved a little bit over time, but that has nothing to do with game developers. I've yet to see a developer produce a more useful system for their own game than is available on a third party website.

    Costume slots are not a good thing. If I am in an open PvP world such as Ashes, I want to know if the player about to attack me is wearing plate armor or cloth.

    In game cash shops are necessary in order to prevent developers having to increase the price of subscription, but when you consider that the things added to them used to just be added to the game for free, I don't see how they can be considered a good thing rather than a necessary thing.

    Party finders are all good. They were a reaction to dungeon finders, a kind of compromise.

    Here's a list of new tech/design, which I expect Intrepid to willfully exclude from their game (or only use minimally), in order to achieve a more traditional/immersive experience:
    • Pay-to-win cash-shops (duh)
    • Automatic dungeon finders
    • Phasing (Only needed for themepark content)
    • Loot/power treadmills
    • Ubiquitous fast-travel
    • Hub-zones that lead to a bunch of instanced dungeons/battlegrounds
    • Flying mounts
    • Multiple cash-shop conveniences, like quick-repair hammers (Although they might make their way into top-tier node perks)
    • Layered vertical progression systems (Although there will be lots of horizontal progression)
    • Casual-mode vs. veteran-mode dungeons and raids
    P2W cash shops (including "convenience" items), dungeons finders, phasing, treadmill style content, fast travel and hub zones are all essentially bad things for an MMO, with no exceptions that I can think of.

    However, I personally think that flying mounts and multi-mode dungeons could be done well.

    For flying mounts, the main thing that is needed is flying combat, and thus flying enemies. It is stupid for developers to allow players free access to the Z-axis without also making use of that same Z-axis. Even EQ2 - that I have mentioned a number of times in this post - does flight extremely badly.

    Gliding in Archeage is done OK from a PvP perspective (having a limited number of abilities, but being able to shoot enemy players off their glider to fall to their death). The whole world is designed with an eye towards the Z-axis, but there is still no actual content in that Z-axis.

    While it is easy to say "add Z-axis content in order to make flying mounts not broken", explaining a way to make multi-mode dungeons work is not so easy. What I will say is that I am convinced there is a way to do them well, and I hope developers continue to try and find it.

    Feel free to add to these lists in case I missed something. It would be more productive than reminiscing about what used to be difficult and/or meaningful. Chances are it wouldn't be difficult/meaningful/fun anymore, because standards have improved and EVERY game gets boring after a long enough time. (WoW Classic will not last after the nostalgia wears off.) I'm not saying that the difficulty and "work" of old games is entirely irrelevant, but at least try to think of those things in today's context.

    And quit going on about friends and nice communities. Those still exist. Do you guys not have phones friends? Besides, it would be naively optimistic to think that Ashes' community will somehow stay separate from the general gaming community, or be significantly improved just because of the game design. We're all going to do what we've always done in that regard: find a good guild/sub-community and ignore the trash.

    Okay, all the salt is on the table. Remember, don't take it personally. I still like reading all that y'all have to say, even if I occasionally disagree. Have a nice day/night, y'all.
    There is no "today's context" in terms of what makes a good MMO. It is the same now as it was 20 years ago.

    People are still wired the same. What makes people feel good, and what people consider rewarding has been the same for thousands of years - it hasn't suddenly changed over the last few years. Yes, instant gratification is a real thing, but so to is delayed gratification. Both have their place in an MMO, but the closest thing modern MMO's have come to delayed gratification is delaying the release of a new zone.

    Sure, today we have better graphics, we have technology that allows developers to build seamless worlds, we have the ability to have 1,000 characters all in one area. But what players want - whether any individual player knows it or not - is that rewarding feeling we get when we achieve something we have specifically worked towards. Thing is, the more time and effort we put in to earning a reward (up to a point, and excluding RNG) the stronger that feeling is.

    Put another way, time and effort put in to an MMO means players get more of what they want out of that MMO than they would with less time and effort put in.



  • neuroguyneuroguy Member
    So this is why I agree with @dygz about the video being a bit strange. No single design philosophy will please everyone. No matter what the design philosophy is, there will be a population that stops playing it and another population that wouldn't have played it otherwise. When it comes to games that have had vibrant communities as long as WoW (very few such games come to my mind personally), when dramatic change occurs, naturally the people that were already playing and liked how things were will be disgruntled and leave. But trying to prevent population fluctuations in games will risk making them a bit niche or stagnant like EVE for example, super stable population because people are invested but without dramatic changes, they won't attract (and also lose) any substantial population.

    Overall, "meaningful work and meaningful relationships" is a vague and nebulous truism. It's not a particularly useful exercise to simply look at something that is (perceived to be) clearly broken and identify why. If it doesn't help you predict future trends it's not really that impressive, a lot of possible explanations can be given about why something fails (because usually it's many reasons). That being said if you identify the reason something failed then proceed to create/adjust something leading to success based on said reason, THEN you have something worth talking about.

    Here are a couple more truisms I just came up with that current bad games lack and good games have:
    "appropriate pacing"
    "meaningful progression"
    "immersive storyline"
    "relatable character motivation"
    ... it doesn't actually have much meaning without getting more specific which usually requires narrowing down the conversation to specific mechanics in specific games.
  • JjampongJjampong Member
    @azathoth @atama and @dphantomtv The main gist of the video is that older mmorpgs like Classic WoW and Old School Runescape are proving popular because they follow a core principle of business:

    "Cultivate meaningful work and meaningful relationships."

    Bellular argues that Classic WoW was successful back in the day because "players felt like their work in the game built towards something important and that their social bonds in the game meant something."

    He then goes on to say that games like Retail WoW, Fortnite, etc rely too much on instant gratification where they want the players to get a quick hit of pleasure/excitement and reward without really earning it. This results in players being driven solely by the rewards and as soon as the fast progression and the rewards stop, the players get bored and quit.

    That's a fair point, I think there is some truth in it. But I'm not sure if the "instant gratification" is the only reason why people quit games like that. I think the real MMO killer is when the instant gratification comes through the cash shop.

    Also thinks for explaining the situation ;)
    Jjampong.png
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  • From my experience, when a game is too easy, hard or grindy compared to real life, the immersion evaporates.

    To me, the key difference between old and new games seems to be that new games arent born out of passion but of hunger for profit. To new games players are only numbers and they change the game accordingly. To players that means unpleasant dailies, p2w and excessive grindyness.

    When ure playing osrs or classic you can feel the creators love for the game. The highest priority is not being highest profitable game but simply the best game to ever exist. To players that means we get to sink into fantasy and experience someone elses vision of a perfect world. The game isnt made to adapt to the player but to teach them to adapt. Teaching players its useful to be social, to create friendships, observe the world and enjoy the journey.
    You're seeking perfection, but your disillusions are leading to destruction.
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
    edited June 5
    [Editted cause giant quotes are annoying.] [Edit2: Gosh formatting is hard.]

    @noaani I'm gonna put your quotes in italics and my responses in plaintext because I don't want a bunch of quote boxes. If I leave something un-responded to, it's probably cause I just agree. If anyone thinks this long-form reply thing is dumb, well I'm doing it cause I think he made a lot of good points, but I have some specific clarifications or rebuttals that I want to add. Read however much you want to.
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Spamming chat for a group is never fun, but that is what friends lists are for.

    In my experience, past the first 20 levels (or one week, what ever takes longest) people that spam chat looking for groups are the people I have grouped with in the past when things went poorly.

    People that are constantly in groups that go well don't spam chat looking for groups, they whisper people in their friends lists.

    You don't ever see a good tank or healer spamming for a group.

    This is that whole social connections thing.


    - These's are good points, but I still would prefer if those bad players always looking for new groups did so in a party-finder than in chat. I'd rather save region chat and LFG chat, for regular conversation and time-sensitive distress calls (like for world events or PvP gankers), respectively.


    Not a fan of action combat - that is what online FPS games are for.

    - That's a valid opinion. And the macro-gameplay is certainly more important in an MMO. But I like it when the micro-gameplay is engaging too.


    No game has ever had a better consignment system than EQ2's broker, imo.

    Again with EQ2, they had scaling down to levels in a 5 level increment implemented 12 or so years ago.


    - I never played EQ or EQ2, so I'm sorry if I'm ignorant about their accomplishments. I tried to cover my ass by saying "design that was developed or popularized in the last decade", so that things I hadn't heard of I could claim were not popular yet. Can we at least agree that power scaling became more prevalent over the years?


    Seamless worlds are good. This is one of the good things from the last 10 years or so that I would have mentioned in my above post if it weren't for the fact that it was already too long. It is something developers wanted to do back in the 90's, and were talking about way back then, but the technology simply wasn't there to run games like that.

    - That's fair. I just wanted to include a couple gimmes to make the point that, while Classic WoW and OSRS have good design, I think they are still severely lacking because they run off 10-year-old tech. But yeah, that's a bit pedantic of me.


    While many games have made use of the Z-axis, I am yet to see actual content that uses it, or a combat system based on it. Until that happens, using the Z-axis isn't really much of a good thing.

    - My point of reference was GW2. The Heart of Thorns expansion added a lot of verticality to the new zones (with gliders, jump pads, and air currents). You're right about the combat though; the Z-axis never matters for that unless we're talking about LoS over cliffs or dropping bombs occasionally for a flying quest.


    If you disregard flying mounts though, EQ2 (again) had an open dungeon that used the Z-axis as much as any other - it was about 9 levels deep.

    Easy spec swapping has been around for more than 10 years.


    - Again, I'm probably just ignorant of other games. I was mostly just thinking about WoW specs. And about the extreme opposite in FFXIV (full class swaps anywhere).


    In game tutorials as per modern games are not a good thing. They tend to guide players through with shiny graphics, and players tend to ignore the game and just follow the blatant cues they are given. Once the tutorial ends, players often realize they didn't actually learn anything past W, A, S, D to move (who doesn't know that?) in the tutorial, they just followed the blatant cues. Most players tend to leave the tutorial of a new MMO as clueless as they started it.

    - I think we're on different pages here. I was talking about tutorial UI's or documentation, rather than tutorial levels. And yes, players will always leave tutorial island clueless. That's why I think it's important to make that information easily accessible/searchable in a "help" section.


    Online websites such as wikis have improved a little bit over time, but that has nothing to do with game developers. I've yet to see a developer produce a more useful system for their own game than is available on a third party website.

    - 100% agree. I just wish developers supported community wiki-makers more.


    Costume slots are not a good thing. If I am in an open PvP world such as Ashes, I want to know if the player about to attack me is wearing plate armor or cloth.

    - 100% disagree. Fashion is important to in-game identities and roleplaying. And it should be separate from gear scores. People shouldn't have to sacrifice stats so they can look how they want.


    In game cash shops are necessary in order to prevent developers having to increase the price of subscription, but when you consider that the things added to them used to just be added to the game for free, I don't see how they can be considered a good thing rather than a necessary thing.

    - They're just more convenient that going to game's webstore and checking out and waiting for things to appear in-game. And it let's you try-on outfits before you buy them. It's not much of an improvement, but it's something. Ya'know, as long as it isn't shoved down players throats, of course.


    Party finders are all good. They were a reaction to dungeon finders, a kind of compromise.

    P2W cash shops (including "convenience" items), dungeons finders, phasing, treadmill style content, fast travel and hub zones are all essentially bad things for an MMO, with no exceptions that I can think of.


    - I think there are exceptions for other games, but yes, we're in agreement that they would be bad for AoC. That's what the list was for: trying to define more precisely what modern developments we (and Intrepid) don't want to see in AoC. Ideally, for the sake of my arguments, I would have preferred to have a shorter list. But eh, there's a lot to criticize in some modern games.

    - I wanted to make it clear about phasing though, that it's usually good for theme-parks, so solo-content (story quests mostly) can have visual impacts on the world for each person. But AoC is far from that kind of game.


    However, I personally think that flying mounts and multi-mode dungeons could be done well.

    - That's surprising. Most MMO fundamentalists point to those as two of the reasons why WoW feels so casual and lame nowadays.

    - Personally, I've been convinced by Intrepid/Steven that flying does remove a lot of the interaction/meaning in open-world zones.

    - But I do agree that multi-mode dungeons (especially story-rich ones) make the game more accessible without sacrificing much. And if they're done right, normal mode dungeons/raids are great stepping-stones to more complicated hard-modes (like when the normal-mode has bright telegraphs and the hard-mode doesn't). I just don't think Intrepid will go for that (not at launch), because of how much it hurts immersion when you think about it. Some people would see it as very game-y/gimmicky. Just look at the debate over Dark Souls/Sekiro easy-modes. Some players can get caught up on "how the game is meant to be played". And it probably makes more sense from Intrepid's perspective to just make more dungeons rather than re-balancing old ones. This topic is nuanced enough for it's own thread honestly.


    For flying mounts, the main thing that is needed is flying combat, and thus flying enemies. It is stupid for developers to allow players free access to the Z-axis without also making use of that same Z-axis. Even EQ2 - that I have mentioned a number of times in this post - does flight extremely badly.

    - True. (Not about EQ2. I still know nothing about EQ2.)


    Gliding in Archeage is done OK from a PvP perspective (having a limited number of abilities, but being able to shoot enemy players off their glider to fall to their death). The whole world is designed with an eye towards the Z-axis, but there is still no actual content in that Z-axis.


    While it is easy to say "add Z-axis content in order to make flying mounts not broken", explaining a way to make multi-mode dungeons work is not so easy. What I will say is that I am convinced there is a way to do them well, and I hope developers continue to try and find it.


    - Yep, I hope Intrepid learns from other games, and re-introduces community-favorite dungeons with more modes (either easier or harder). But we'll probably have to wait until after launch for any of that.


    There is no "today's context" in terms of what makes a good MMO. It is the same now as it was 20 years ago.

    - We're just going to have to agree to disagree on that one. I just think gradual improvement is inevitable in any genre (or any industry really). Community standards/preferences will gradually shift. Today's context isn't very different from 10 years ago, but I think there are a couple important differences, especially when it comes to convenience. (Hence the regrettable market shift towards mobile games.)


    People are still wired the same. What makes people feel good, and what people consider rewarding has been the same for thousands of years - it hasn't suddenly changed over the last few years. Yes, instant gratification is a real thing, but so to is delayed gratification. Both have their place in an MMO, but the closest thing modern MMO's have come to delayed gratification is delaying the release of a new zone.

    - We're basically in agreement here. Modern MMO's have lost sight of what long-term goals and motivations are supposed to be. Maybe those MMO devs/publishers are blinded by the instant gratification approach -- it's certainly a better approach for microtransactions -- but they aren't mutally exclusive.


    Sure, today we have better graphics, we have technology that allows developers to build seamless worlds, we have the ability to have 1,000 characters all in one area. But what players want - whether any individual player knows it or not - is that rewarding feeling we get when we achieve something we have specifically worked towards. Thing is, the more time and effort we put in to earning a reward (up to a point, and excluding RNG) the stronger that feeling is.

    Put another way, time and effort put in to an MMO means players get more of what they want out of that MMO than they would with less time and effort put in.


    - Well said.
    _________________________________________________________________
    Thanks for taking interest in what I had to say. Sorry it took a while to respond; it's a long post, so I saved it for the morning. I don't know about you, but I'm here, being all nit-picky, because I like talking (arguing?) about the MMOs I love. I think I've learned a couple things (at least a few things about EQ2 :) ), and I hope you also got something out of my words, even if it's just a re-affirmation of what you already knew. Cheers.
  • DamoklesDamokles Member
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  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    muridious wrote: »
    @azathoth @atama and @dphantomtv The main gist of the video is that older mmorpgs like Classic WoW and Old School Runescape are proving popular because they follow a core principle of business:

    "Cultivate meaningful work and meaningful relationships."

    Bellular argues that Classic WoW was successful back in the day because "players felt like their work in the game built towards something important and that their social bonds in the game meant something."

    He then goes on to say that games like Retail WoW, Fortnite, etc rely too much on instant gratification where they want the players to get a quick hit of pleasure/excitement and reward without really earning it. This results in players being driven solely by the rewards and as soon as the fast progression and the rewards stop, the players get bored and quit.

    That's a fair point, I think there is some truth in it. But I'm not sure if the "instant gratification" is the only reason why people quit games like that. I think the real MMO killer is when the instant gratification comes through the cash shop.

    Also thinks for explaining the situation ;)

    Oh there is never any singular reason for a game to be abandoned by the players, but instant gratification certainly contributes towards it. Pay-to-win and Pay-to-skip mechanics also contribute, but in my opinion they are symptoms of bad game design than actual problems. For example, one of the reasons why Blizzard keeps putting in mechanics to speed up the levelling process in WoW is because levelling in that game is so utterly pointless and unenjoyable that literally nobody wants to deal with it.
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
  • Wandering MistWandering Mist Member, Founder
    @neuroguy What you say makes sense, and context is very important. One of the things I find fascinating about Classic WoW vs Retail WoW is that there are activities and tropes found in both games, and yet in Classic WoW they are acceptable, but in Retail they aren't.
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds
    leonerdo wrote: »
    [Editted cause giant quotes are annoying.] [Edit2: Gosh formatting is hard.]

    @noaani I'm gonna put your quotes in italics and my responses in plaintext because I don't want a bunch of quote boxes. If I leave something un-responded to, it's probably cause I just agree. If anyone thinks this long-form reply thing is dumb, well I'm doing it cause I think he made a lot of good points, but I have some specific clarifications or rebuttals that I want to add. Read however much you want to.
    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Spamming chat for a group is never fun, but that is what friends lists are for.

    In my experience, past the first 20 levels (or one week, what ever takes longest) people that spam chat looking for groups are the people I have grouped with in the past when things went poorly.

    People that are constantly in groups that go well don't spam chat looking for groups, they whisper people in their friends lists.

    You don't ever see a good tank or healer spamming for a group.

    This is that whole social connections thing.


    - These's are good points, but I still would prefer if those bad players always looking for new groups did so in a party-finder than in chat. I'd rather save region chat and LFG chat, for regular conversation and time-sensitive distress calls (like for world events or PvP gankers), respectively.
    That is soooo 20th century.
    I tend to disregard in-game chat for the most part.
    Instead, I find groups via twitch, twitter and discord.

    In Ashes, I hope to be able to find groups simply by visiting the homes of the players in my Node who like to play the way I play and are who are online when I'm online.
    I wouldn't be surprised to find that we end up conducting the bulk of our communication through twitch or discord.

    Seems like distress calls won't be very helpful with limited fast travel.
  • KarthosKarthos Member, Braver of Worlds
    Work work work

    Aq0KG2f.png
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