Why are MMO’s becoming single-player games? I’m not referring to the ‘easy vs. hard’ content argument of the WoW-clone generation, being able to solo everything instead of needing a group. That was last generation’s issue. I am referring to the open and deliberate act of making a very core part of a MMO into a single-player experience as if the players were offline. Blatant examples include SWTOR’s heavy instancing and personal story, and now The Elder Scrolls Online.
The Elder Scrolls Online Creative Director, Matt Firor, was interviewed by GameInformer as part of their ongoing TESO coverage. Here’s a quote from Firor:
“We have a whole part of the game which is one hundred percent solo, which is the main story where the world focuses on you. You’re the hero. Everything you do is solo, and the world reacts to you that way.” [Via GameInformer]
If it’s so important to your game that the player be the hero in the story, why are you making a MMO? MMO’s suck at being single-player games. Did you skip SWTOR? What makes MMO’s any good at all are the multiplayer elements. Take those away and what are you left with? A game worse than the one you could have made if you actually made a single-player RPG.
Catering to this mystery demographic, maybe the casuals, who want single-player content is killing the MMO identity. There are other mediums through which better games can be delivered to a player wanting to be the center of attention in a game. MMO’s are not about one single individual player changing the world. Quite the opposite, in fact. MMO’s are about a world that exists, and the player chooses to participate in that world. The world is what changes and the players are expected to react to it — not the other way around!
Developers are literally trying to sell us on the idea that massively multiplayer games are evolving into single-player games. Please, post a comment if you buy into this nonsense and explain why you support the idea. I think it’s purely a poor business decision — trying to take a piece of that lucrative “MMO” pie — and has nothing to do with making better games.