Dev Discussion #8 - MMO "Stickiness"



  • KnifepartyKnifeparty Member, Founder
    edited August 14
    For a mmorpg to encapsulate me it has to do two things. Number one is have a fun, engaging leveling process that doesn't take too long but still feels like a journey. To achieve this I believe the key is a good combat system, simple user interfaces that don't detract from the world and break immersion, meaningful equipment choice while leveling, a sense of difficulty as to motivate grouping with other players and community, a reason to stop and smell the roses and pick them to make some extra cash and sufficient exp rewards from participation in PVP and Dungeons (time spent should equate to average exp rates from questing for an equivalent time).
    Number two is an endgame that will keep me playing. Interesting dungeons and raids, fun pvp and ranking system, a real sense of exploration and a hunt for rare and hard to find treasures, awesome mounts and pets to collect, meaningful professions and economy, personal space to store items and perform profession tasks, the ability to farm different areas of the world for specific item drops and or rare goods.

    In essence I should want to log on and play and not feel obligated to because of daily login bonuses and the like. You should want to log in to become a part of the world, to play with friends and to enjoy yourself. By creating progression blocks and negative progression mechanics I feel it hurts the games ability to consistently provide a level of satisfaction.
  • kesarakkkesarakk Member, Warrior of Old
    There are three things that keep me coming back to the MMO genre, though I haven't been in one for a while due to the condition of most of the games.

    The first is Meaningful Connections. I have been friends with people I met in an MMO for about ten years now. We have had our differences, but we still come back and play together and enjoy it! There is nothing like coming home after a hard day at work, then logging in to get messages from friends welcoming you "home" and discussing the cool things they have been doing or trying to organize an activity for that night. Without friends or even family for some of us, an MMO is just a glorified RPG with an auction house. What systems are in place to ensure, not only can I stay connected to people I enjoy playing with, but how easy will it be for me to join them should we decide to play together, or they/I require help?

    Second, I have a personal formula that helps me decide if an MMO is worth staying around. Grind + Skill= Reward. What do I have to do to obtain my goals? Can I obtain my goal in a reasonable amount of time? Is it something that can keep me challenged, or is it the same boring daily quest I have to do over and over for the next three weeks? Will this reward be meaningful not only to my personal achievement but also my class/artisan progression? Should I bother with trying to obtain this reward now, or wait a couple of months when even a newbie player can get it just by clicking a button (NO GRIND REQUIRED!) Why should I waste my time trying to obtain something that will become a handout (BECAUSE IT HAS TO BE FAIR, RIGHT?!)

    And Third, is the storyline appealing? Is it a classic troupe, a twisted troupe or something different? Do I have the save the kingdom from a fire breathing dragon, only to be relegated to sheep farming during the start of the next xpac? Do I like the villain and do their goals make sense? Are there grey lines in the story that make me stop to question what I would do in this scenario AND is there a choice I HAVE to make to effect the outcome? Would I achieve a different outcome on an alt if I liked the story enough to play it again?

    Personal Story:

    I played World of Warcraft for many years. I've seen the rise and fall of the Burning Legion, the Crowning of a new Lich King. I've seen dragons descend into madness and leaders sacrifice their own lives to protect their people. The world has been shattered and changed, old friendships destroyed and new alliances formed.

    I've witnessed all of this with my friends and family who play. Nostalgia is strong in my group and often we think back to our favorite highlights of a former expansion, be it character developments in the storyline or a particularly hilarious story about a dungeon/raid run. This always gets us fired up to resub and jump back into the fray. Though the excitement is there, we all know, like an unspoken taboo, we will tire of the game before the end of the month and call off any plans we had about doing the new content. What could be more discouraging to a player when the game feels like a favorite book you've read a hundred times. Nostalgia and love are there, no doubt, but there is nothing interesting or new left. You know exactly what happens when you turn the page and the immersion is, thus, broken.
  • WillWill Member
    I'd say that community is something that keeps me playing, whilst I disagreed with changes to the previous game I was playing I had enough fun with my guild that I kept on playing and still do on occasion
  • leonerdoleonerdo Member, Settler
    edited August 14
    I'd like to give a healthy answer like: new exciting content, infinite creative potential, social aspects, or high-end challenges that really push me. But I'mma be honest, it's usually the daily dungeon grinds that sucker me into playing every day...
  • CaerylCaeryl Member
    Having a wide variety of rewards that are obtained through effort and action, rather than daily cooldowns and rng

    Stable combat systems. That’s not to say stagnant. If a class functions one way since release, it should not suddenly start playing a totally different way because of a balance patch

    Varied classes with unique strengths, utility, and weaknesses.

    Fun exploration, dynamic time-of-day mechanics (a rarity in a game)
  • VarkunVarkun Member, Braver of Worlds
    To a large degree, it is simply my guildmates the group of people I enjoy playing with. The content does not even matter that much be it pvp raiding or dungeons its as much about having fun with friends. I will play a game for far longer if I am part of a solid guild that has fun together.

    I also enjoy goals as I call them large goals and small goals and these goals can be pretty much anything or put more simply anything that enhances or grows my character in-game. Know that might sound a bit simplistic but that's just me.
    Close your eyes spread your arms and always trust your cape.
  • Magic ManMagic Man Member
    edited August 14

    Dev Discussion #8 - MMO "Stickiness"
    What makes an MMO "sticky" for you? What keeps you coming back time after time?


    - Sandbox gameplay; I love it when no limitations are placed on me so I am allowed to roam and change the virtual world at will. I hate it when I'm forced to do things or when the game offers me a path to follow (FFXIV, WoW and other themepark MMOs 😓) I like the option to follow a pre-set path but I should have the option to not do it all. Just let me be basically :p

    - Combat; it is extremely important for me. From what I've experienced, the action combat in APOC is pretty good and revolutionary for the genre if those mechanics make it into the MMO. I am not a fan of traditional tab target combat so hopefully there will be an option to keep it minimum in Ashes. I sticked with BDO for more than 2 years just because of its combat.

    - Engaging and immersive gameplay: Unfortunately, everything feels so 'artificial' in MMOs where people use mouse pointers to do things (like an outside force rather than being the character itself - looking at the character from a bird eye view etc). In single-player RPGs, everything feels so natural and I can immerse myself into the game. I am sad to see that there aren't many MMOs that put emphasis on this. ESO is the only MMO I played that actually felt like a true RPG so I hope Ashes will 'natural' and immersive as well.
  • If I were to choose one factor that keeps me coming back to a game time and time again it would be the social elements and game play that encourages community.

    When there are activities in a game that require players to work together to achieve a common goal I become a lot more invested. That combined with the things I am doing having an actual impact or sense of meaningful progression is what will really hook me. I will keep pushing to get to that next level if I know that my time investment is going to benefit me and my group of friends in a way that feels rewarding.
  • tatianatatiana Member, Pioneer
    edited August 14
    For me, MMO stickiness often requires many things, like how interested and invested I am in the world, it's characters, it's history, and the story the world and game tell. I have to *want* to log back in because the world is interesting enough for me to want to play the game and explore and find new things out about it and be excited to play a character that inhabits that world and is a part of all of those things.

    Two of the games I have played the longest-term in my life have been World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 because I have a deep love for their worlds, their histories, and their stories. An MMO may not functionally focus on story and lore to the same degree a single player RPG does, but it should feel like it does. I quit most MMO's I've ever tried because I didn't feel like I was invested in these things, and when a game lacks in these areas it makes the game feel shallow or hollow and I lose interest, even if the game play is solid.
  • MarzzoMarzzo Member, Braver of Worlds
    I Love logging in to progress towards different, meaningful goals, preferebly with Friends. It could be armor/weapon upgrades or armor/weapon cosmetics.

    It could Also be reputations and questlines to unlock more lore/secrets.

    I Also Love to farm mounts/pets (preferably in the form of Hard work instead of RNG. Especially as a reputation reward from a far off clan or race. Same goes with titles and cosmetics.

    IF you can upgrade your skills by practicing/finding secret tomes/texts by exploration that would be amazing. Rewarding and challenging exploration would be cool sprinkled with some puzzles.

    Meaningful craftingsystem that acutally gives competitive items that are comparable to endgame Drops. DO NOT isolate THE best Gear exclusivly behind dropped loot. Make some come from crafting. Preferably atleast half.

    Many guild unlockables/achivements (maybe a trophy hall, or special decoration for mounts and Gear etc.

    Meaningful and complete pvp. There should be ways to seek out world pvp, Smaller arena style battles (1v1, 2v2 3v3 5v5) and a bit larger battleground stulen (8v8 10v10 15v15. Also a way to reliably play large scale battles (castle sieges is not enough. You need something you can spam when you feel like it. Same goes for all PVP.

    Meaningful PVP progression system. IF you want you should be able to progress by playing PVP. There needs to be grindable "ranks" that unlock Gear tiers. This should be seperable from rating that should unlock cosmetics. DO not lock "real" Gear upgrades behind rating. This stresses out 97% of THE communityn and creates many problems.

    But most importantly, a steady and rewarding adventure/PVE progression system with many dungeons and Bosses that are challenging. It should start with quests that escalate in difficulty and eventually leads to dungeons that progress to "Those 3 superhard dungeons" that requires a balance between a great group and Good Gear. These should eventually lead to harder Raid Bosses etc.
  • NixaNixa Member
    For me it was that feeling that journey from the start to the ''end game'' content.
    I hate mmorpgs that have 10000 levels that you can max out in an hour.. maxing out levels should be a bit hard but meaningful so you can have that feeling of getting stronger with each and every level that you get!
  • sunfrogsunfrog Member, Pioneer
    I like small doses of dopamine administered to my pleasure center in ever decreasing periods of time until I sign off. Then I like to repeat the process again the next day, and the next, and the..

  • elswyrelswyr Member, Braver of Worlds
    I will always keep playing an MMO with some of these things:

    - A concrete goal, something to work towards, the reward at the end of a trial. Be it gear, cosmetic rewards, mounts, endgame content, you name it. (Excluding login rewards, RNG gear crafting, or gear having the chance to drop better, please no)

    - Being relevant in the world. A guild being known for being the best at PvP/PvE/Crafting/Etc. Knowing someone is a really good player, knowing this person has some amazing gear, or knowing that this person is toxic and you should stay away from them. The open possibility that people can be well-known in a server for specific things..

    - Personalisation is very important for me personally, being able to make your character unique, be it through character creation, cosmetics, in-game gear, mounts, pets, all the good stuff. This breathes a lot of life into games for me, and I think this applies to a lot of people. This one is really important.

    - Miscellaneous stuff, like clothes getting wet in water, cloth physics, a plethora of emotes, small details that one might miss really makes the game feel alive and immersive.

    - Lots of different communities. I love it when an MMO has a hardcore PvP community, a hardcore PvE community, a casual community, an RP community, you name it, it needs to be there and thrive!
  • DamoklesDamokles Member
    edited August 14
    Make combat engaging, dont reward people for simply playing the game.
    Make crafting and raiding rewarding, dont throw "epic" gear around.
    Make exploration important, dont take class identity away by homogenizing the different class aspects.

    What i mean by that last point:
    There was a time in WoW, where classes were truly unique and the specialization where just that: a specialization in specific skills. Blizzard has now focused the specializations and made THOSE unique, which makes the base class unimportant. A Beastmaster has nothing in common with a Marksman anymore.
  • AuronAuron Member, Founder
    Dailies but don't do that!
  • NightwolfNightwolf Member, Braver of Worlds
    EXPLORATION: Make it exciting, uncertain, you'd need a map an actual item that would be player made of an area. (NO WORLD MAPS IN THE CORNER That's for lazy post EQ MMO's.) It's what really made EQ amazing was that sense of adventure!

    You can even make some dungeon's like Legend of Zelda's Lost woods! Example if you don't have a certain magical or special map the dungeon is a maze. Please don't put the world map or make it easy, it kills the immersion of exploration. It kills the mystery of the world you guys are creating, the sense of wondering what's around the corner.
  • HjerimHjerim Member, Pioneer, Leader of Men
    In addition to most of the things that have been said, I personally think that Guild Wars 2 provided some really interesting quests where you felt you had an impact.
    The dynamic questing of Guild Wars was at the time something unique and something that kept me coming back because a random encounter could lead to an awesome quest which maybe unlocked a dungeon, led to a mega boss or opened up a new area.
  • Well balanced economy and meaningful quests with practical long term rewards.
    E.g. You do a questline helping the elf camp fight off the highwaymen around the area and in return they let u trough the gate that cuts ur travelling time between 2 cities by 20%.
    You're seeking perfection, but your disillusions are leading to destruction.
  • KaienKaien Member, Braver of Worlds
    For me personally i like to sink deep into the lore of the world and expolore it. I also like the fact that an MMO world is mostly always active and changing of sorts. My favorite MMO experiences are unscripted events like when players decides to do stuff on a whim.

  • Ultimately, friends and the random shenanigans we can do together keep me coming back but, on a personal level, exploration and achievements make me happy to log in each day!

    For exploration, having that deep and immersive world full of hidden content and secret lore are immensely fun to discover (especially if you're the first one!). Even if the whole "world" has been discovered, updating something new for exploration (such as a new, underground cave/dungeon) are a must for exploration junkies! KEEP THE FLAME ALIVE. You could even make a twist on a current location that's under some sort of spell and changes it up a bit.

    As for achievements, anything "rare" titled that's hard to achieve and takes a lot of time and commitment to earn make my heart go doki doki! It's the "thrill of the hunt"! I remember getting some of the rarest items and titles in other MMOs and, the day that I FINALLY finished getting them, would shamelessly parade around town feeling satisfied with a stupid grin on my face (no one else probably noticed but the important part was I DID). I love cosmetics and achieving the final "look" of a character so that's equally a top goal and log-in worthy cause for me as exploration is!
    Do you even pose??
  • the feeling that i have things to do for my own self as well as for other people
    like there are things that would require me to be there.

    individual growth as well as the effect on the community

  • OzelotlOzelotl Member
    edited August 14
    RPGs are my favorite genre of games. MMORPGs are one of my particular favorites. Here's why, these games let me become my character. I am not a dragon slaying, magic wielding, shield surfing BAMF in real life. But in these types of games, I can be exactly that. Life can be hard, uncertain, and unforgiving. Games can be like this as well, but I can't respawn of roll a new toon in real life. Real life achievements are sometimes hard to define or too complex to quantify in any meaningful way. Games simplify things. I can be a part of something bigger than myself in games and real life. But in games, I can actually see and measure my contribution.

    The MMORPG I've played the most is Elder Scrolls Online. I've logged over 4000 hours. This is because ESO allows me to do what I want. It has solo quests and group quests. It has large scale and small scale PvP. It also has a rich story and lore with no (or at least very little) P2W. I can look how I want and do what I want. Rewards are many but not necessarily easy to get. I can make money with work and be able to buy whatever I need (meaning nothing feels actually impossible to get). The combat system is fun and fast paced, easy to learn but hard to master. (You can have the exact same gear and build as the top DPS but only get 1/3 of that person's numbers because your timing is off). The character builds are pretty much infinite and almost anything can be viable. You are viable no matter your play style and without having to grind. The grind is still there though. The best cosmetics requires a grind. The best gear requires a grind, but the best gear is only needed if you want to be the best. Content can be completed with team work and skill, not because the DPS can pull 40k average on an 8 mil test dummy. You can do the same content as that guy with 20k average DPS so long as you learn the mechanics of the boss and everyone plays their role.

    I've played many other games and quit them. The number one thing that makes me quit a game is pay to win. I really like Neverwinter. It does lots of things right like player created content, fun and simple combat, lots of build freedom, and a huge campaign system for max level characters. But those lock boxes and the enchanting system... You can pay $500 and instantly get the best of everything. Or you can grind for months and never get anywhere near Mr. Money Bags. Also, when a game punishes people for not logging in, I will quit. Daily rewards are nice. If you don't log in, you don't get the reward, makes sense. But actually losing currency for not logging in when you would have gained it if you did log in? Unacceptable. Neverwinter does this as well with its prayer system.

    There is no one thing that brings me back to a game, it is everything added together with the freedom to choose what, when, and why I do something and the ability to actually do that thing my own way. What takes me away from a game is P2W and punishing players for having a life outside of the game.
  • I find I stick around longer if quests or skills to work on are engaging, or that they are worth something. Stories that capture my interest certainly help as well, a good quest to get lost in is always very welcome.

    I have played WoW forever and currently I haven't played much of the actual new expansion because something just hasn't felt right. Though since I roleplay I stick around to interact with other players a lot longer than someone who purely PVPs or PVEs might once an expansion is "over". So.. That's really the main thing that keeps me coming back, finding a good community.

    FFXIV can be fun, but I don't have anyone to interact with well there and so I tend to lose interest really quickly when I get worn down from doing the MSQ or grinding out professions - but I guess that is more of a me problem ouo;;
  • Truth EternalTruth Eternal Member, Phoenix Initiative, Hero of the People
    Content is king. Avoiding an "end game" content loop and repeating daily quests is a good indicator that you offer other PvE content which would keep me around long term. Between sieges, offering consequential PvP is a must. And the ability to explore various aspects of classes (artisan, adventuring, and otherwise) to some degree assist. And finally, achievements...nothing keeps me coming back more than working toward an extremely long-term rare achievement.
    Axiom | 18+ Gaming |
  • iliyailiya Member
    PvP rankings and events. Coming back to try out a new strategy that came to my mind. Playing to climb the ladder and becoming more skilled than other players while still learning new things even at high levels of PvP.
    If the game is faction-based then even better. Nothing feels better than coming up with new ways to elevate your faction while destroying your opponents.

    A Good tracker of your PvP records and achievements is incredibly important. People think PvP can't be as addictive as grinding but look at games like League of legends! If you do it right and have a proper PvP progression it can also be quite addictive.
  • BerrosBerros Member, Braver of Worlds
    What keeps me logging in:

    Theory Crafting. When a game gives you so many choices that players can all be different. I love horizontal progression. Being to PVP and beat someone because you use different and unique ways of gear combos and abilities. ESO is a good example of that. You have many options to choose from but limited numbers that can be active. And always new item or abilities to find. Also SWG gave you options. Ans when you changed from 2 handed sword spec to polearms it might take you 1 month to grid out the progression to see how it compared. I had a goal and a reason for questing and combat.

    Please give us options. Do not try to balance too much. Each Class should have strengths and weaknesses. That is ok. (As long as on class does not one shot
    everyone) Classic WOW is a good example. Some classes had advantage on others but Engineering and different trinkets gave you options to overcome that and beat them.

    Gives us a lot of freedom in crafting to customize stats and effects so ww have options to theory craft for years.

    Max Level can be achieved quickly in games then people get bored. Give us horizontal progression and tons of options. That will keeps us engaged for years.

    Combine this with your Node system, economy and political game play.

    Plus a beautiful world to explore and Cities to build up or destroy.

    And decent combat...does not have to be game breaking even, just good.

    So I guess my answer is Options and. Horizontal progression.

    Keep up the good work!

    You Rock.

  • fanggfangg Member
    The possibility of being needed in a guild, a clan of sorts, or even a fight, a war, a campaign, or just even a sailor spot on a tiny trading ship.
  • What makes an MMO "sticky" for you? What keeps you coming back time after time?

    Variety of a few specific things:

    1) Competition/Learning: Killing your counter-class in PvP. Pulling off that perfect chain of skills. Proving to yourself that you're getting better and gaining a deeper understanding of your class.

    2) Engaging dungeons: Bosses that pull tricks out of their sleeve. Parties that require certain placement/movement/timing/skills. Overall skillful difficulty, not just facerolling your keyboard as a DPS and winning.

    3) The feeling of contributing to the game/server: I want to feel like my class brings something to the party. That my crafting brings people to the market. That my presence affects the world for the better. With games like FFXIV letting every player be every class/job/craft, I felt like I could leave and 100 other people could take my place with minimal investment on their part.
  • CROW3CROW3 Member
    • Exploration: I want to travel to the ends of the land and discover strange, mysterious places or nooks that don't necessarily come with easy answers. I want a vast world and the freedom to explore it on my terms.
      GW2 did this fairly well, with random winding caves carved into high places that took some thought and skill to jump up to, or buried deep under the ocean. The mystery of the Deep Elves (dwarves) in Elder Scrolls - I loved trying to unwind that mystery. I don't need clear answers, but I'd like the world to be immersive enough to ask questions.
    • Great gathering / crafting. I want to make stuff, and contribute to my friends, neighbors, and nation. I want to feel like I can build something to help get me past some of the questions or challenges I find in my own exploration.
    • Learning new skills - combat, social, crafting, etc.
    • Mastering a class
    • PVP. I want to earn a price on my head for raiding caravans.
    • Fluffy achievements
    • Loot
  • T ElfT Elf Member, Braver of Worlds
    I forgot to mention the most important thing for me - A HOME. I have quit games because I hate being homeless. I want a place to call my own, to decorate, to show off, to feel involved like I live there.
    If I cannot manage to get a home in Ashes it will be devastating.
    Formerly T-Elf

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