MMO Gamers are Getting Smarter

MMO Gamers are getting smarter.  That’s the thought I had while driving home from work today.  Seven years ago when we started this blog, I realized that Graev and I had experience with games — particularly MMOs — not found among your typical “gamers.”  People simply weren’t thinking about games.  They played them.  Some wrote about them.  But most people were not formulating any additional thought around why they play a particular game, or whether or not a game would be successful based on the sum of its parts.  All of that is changing.

Places like Reddit are full of niche communities (and some not so niche at all) with brilliant ideas and ways of looking at games.  Although I often view Reddit as a hive mind, you can’t argue with their ability to see right the bs and get results.  Reddit gives CEOs of big studios a reason to comment, influences game direction, and has created an unprecedented level of transparency.  Blogs are incredibly common now.  Even the occasional live stream has someone with a decent amount of insight.

The WoW generation is becoming jaded.  This is a subject for another time, but I feel the WoW generation is over in the sense that people are no longer entering that group of people.  It ended in 2012.  Blizzard knows this.  Their marketing strategy has changed to one of increasing current user consumption.  Now that we have the old guard (1995-2003) and the WoW generation (2004-2012) each finding themselves removed from the current spotlight, there’s a power vacuum.   I honestly believe any MMO releasing in 2014 is going to be shredded by a failure to appeal to the older generations, and having no idea how to appeal to the newer ones.

WildStar is attempting to be the class clown.  They act ridiculous and zany to get attention and distract from the fact that nothing of real value is being introduced.  WildStar releases on the last leg of the WoW generation, but luckily someone there had juuuuuust enough insight to know they needed to do a throwback to a few older mechanics.  It won’t work in the long run.  That generation is finally too smart to fall for it.  I never thought I would say that.  Then we have ESO which  is simply being obliterated by common sense well in advance.  I feel bad in a way; someone there clearly saw the shift but way too late to do anything.  Now you have a game that won’t appeal to the MMO market it’s launching into, and won’t appeal to its namesake either.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m sure both will benefit from the fact that there’s nothing else to play.  That has 3-monther written all over it, though.

Marketing MMOs is going to become much harder now.  Who are the big publishers marketing to now that a third generation of players is beginning to enter the market?  Cinematic trailers and fancy graphics aren’t enough.   Heck, screw marketing.  What is going to be done about the DESIGN side of things?   Indie game development and consumption is on the rise.  Free to Play didn’t take off as a clear cut model for developing MMOs like many thought it would.  There’s this void waiting to be filled.  Who will have the next golden idea? Will it be EverQuest Next? Camelot Unchained?

This will be an interesting era for us to watch and write about.  Clearly it won’t be easy for anyone.  Many of our readers have already expressed to me that they haven’t touched their PC in a year, or stopped playing MMOs 6-12 months ago.  They claim nothing looks good enough to bring them back.  That’s both a problem and an opportunity.  This should be interesting indeed.

I should close here by thanking our readers.  I know you have many choices for your gaming commentary, and I thank you for choosing to include us.  Gaming discussion is being taken to a higher, more intelligent level.  I’ve noticed it from you in our comments, and I only hope to continue that in our writing.

  • I walked away and 2 minutes later had one of those, “wait, what?” moments.

    Long story short, yes I really do believe MMO gamers are becoming relatively smarter when it comes to picking a MMO to play, or at least know why they are playing one.

    The discussion is becoming more intelligent
    Kickstarter is exposing opportunities
    Indie games are delivering
    The formulaic nature of MMOs is becoming obvious
    Dare I say it people know what they want more now that they’ve had 8-16 years to think about it

    Graev points out to me that none of that necessarily means the players are smarter. Okay, true. But I can still the change in the air.

  • Actually a lot of the people that were bloggers and hardcore gamers is their teens are now in their twenties and are a ton more experienced and a bit more intelligent. I recently took a foray into and saw several people I dismissed as deluded fanboys four or five years ago holding well reasoned, critical and intelligent discussions about MMO gaming in general.

    The debacle of FF14, the failure of SWTOR, the overhyped mediocrity of GW2 and above all the ever growing mountain of F2P cash in games that barely qualify as MMOs seems to have driven home the point to a lot of people.

    MMOs suck right now.

    The EQ model will be 20 years old quite soon. It has massive flaws, WoW has largely overcome those flaws by cranking out mindblowing amounts of Content but even it is slowing down. Players and Developers have both, finally, realized that we need a new system or more likely systems for the next generation.

    So you are right, change is in the air, but with MMO development the way it is I doubt it will arrive until 2017 at the earliest.

  • interesting observation. maybe we’re closing in on that fabled division of the genre that allows us to regroup in communities based around the things that really interest us. I used to think that was an inevitable eventuality, heh. But sure, I played the Banner Saga recently – first time in a long time I played a game that felt like it was made for ME. Maybe it’s just a product of how seriously so many people take their entertainment (and how successful they can be doing it.) I don’t know, I recall how deadly serious many of my fellows took EQ all those years ago. It’s the culture that has changed, not the intensity.

    Myself, I find that I talk about these things less and less, without ever really having decided to do so. My opinions haven’t changed much, and it feels like most of my best arguments and observations have burned out. I still want the same thing I’ve always wanted, since standing in a freeport tavern in 1999. “This is awesome, but it could all be so much more alive!” I was dreaming of taverns full of people swapping stories, gambling, meeting up with old friends or cooling down after some arduous adventure. That’s just a glimpse. But I wasn’t thinking gameplay mechanics, item levels or skill rotations. I was just thinking of people living tangible lives in fantastic virtual worlds.

    It seems kind of ridiculous now. At the time, though, that’s really the direction I thought the games would go. That was the dream. Maybe I am getting smarter, like you suggest. It’s still the dream, I just don’t waste much more energy dreaming it.

    That was dreary. You’ve always been much more optimistic. That’s why I still come around to read your thoughts! thanks for that.

  • @filch: Man, I had the same feelings back in 1999-2001. I actually had that dream sort of come true in SWG. I experienced all of that in the cantinas. I know that’s how it was in Ultima. I’ve experienced a lot of it again by going back to those games. I won’t lose hope for the future, just in the ability for all of these things to be mainstream. If we want them it’ll be indie.

    @Holgranth: You bring up a good point. People have seen so many failures. There have been a lot of opportunities (unfortunately) to learn and grow from. I think you’re right about 2017.

  • I couldn’t agree more. While smarter may or may not be the best word, I think we’ve all evolved quite a bit.

    I think another key point that I like to argue is that your average MMO gamer can handle a few more abilities than one or two at a time in six hour intervals. League of Legends is certainly a deep game when it comes to mastery, but it doesn’t take me ten minutes to start understanding how my four abilities might be best used.

    We aren’t exactly in the age of ‘give ’em an autoattack and one button to spam’ anymore, and I wish more MMOs would reflect that early on. They’re improving at it (Guild Wars 2), but they still do a little too much gating throughout a lengthy, overfluffed level grind.

  • We as MMO gamers (the old guard, at least) may indeed be getting smarter.

    But is that really a good thing when the games that we are offered are so utterly dumbed down?

  • @Murf: Yeah, I think evolved is a better word. Let’s pretend I said evolved. 😛

    Still, maybe they are wiser. As Holgranth mentioned, there have been a lot of opportunities for people to grow.

    @Rawblin: That’s where I was going with Wildstar and ESO in the original post. I think we’re about to see what happens when smarter/wiser/evolved MMOers are faced with the reality of games missing the mark.

  • Maybe it will be a move towards more niche games eg. Camelot Unchained, or sandbox games eg. EQ Next. I know as more of a PvP player that the PvE and levelling process in mmos these days bores me to tears. IMHO a fundamental change needs to take place in the levelling process, maybe a move towards mainly dynamic events in levelling areas rather than quests, OTOH looking at the problems GW2 has had with bugged events maybe that would be too complex.

  • Even the single-player experience has the dumbed down issue. To loop back to Graev’s post on Thief. I totally agree with him. It is so bad (in that game) that your “focus” ability uses up a finite pool of focus that you must recharge…. except you don’t need to. Because the purpose that focus serves is showing you all the things. All the things become blueglowylookatme. But even when you are OUT of focus, you can hit the button and it will cause all the things to become blueglowylookatme for a moment.

    Just boggleboggle is all my mind does with these things 🙁

    If things are going to start improving, it will be with stuff that is at the “kickstarter” level of development now. So we won’t see it for years to come. But it will be on the way at least.

  • @Rawblin: I’ll be writing a post on your point here soon about single-player games and MMOs.

    @IanG: I agree about the leveling process needing a fundamental change. I don’t necessarily agree because of PvP, but as primarily a PvEr these days the experience is lacking.

  • Honestly I find the “dumbed down” arguments a bit funny considering I played a Destro Warlock in Vanilla WoW.

    Standard raid rotation, Soulstone the Priest, summon imp, Shadowbolt until Soulstone is off cooldown, repeat. I think there is a mental trap out there especially when we look back at pre 07, games. MMO’s are easier for sure, dumbed down not always.

    Having said that the more I think of it the more I am convinced the string of high profile failures, flops and fudge ups beginning with AoC and WAR then culminating with FF14 and SWTOR has finally gotten through to the vocal segment of the MMO population.

    Obviously the fact that they were flops and failures to begin with shows that people won’t cram down anything put in front of their faces. But many people no longer quickly forget the lessons of the past and leap on the next hype train. Wildstar has a hype campaign that is as good as or better than WAR’s “bears, bears, bears,” yep most bloggers and forumites are doing a decent job of keeping things in perspective and not buying into taglines enmass.

    That being said there are a few pie in the sky kick-starters that will blow up in people’s faces.

  • i dont know, these days it seems there is no advacement in mmo genre.. wildstar is just another mmo (with different clothing)… ESO is just another mmo (with different clothing)…

    no one seem to be able to create a new must-have feature in MMORPG that create another revolution…

    SWTOR got the story quest up to the end.. thats what i want in my MMO
    WOW got the smoothest network code.. thats what i want in my MMO
    EVE got special zone for hardcore PVP-er and safe zone (relatively) for non PVPer.. , i like this
    ESO seem to have a very nice skill advancement … love those kind of skill advancement in my MMO
    Wildstar is cartoony … NO THANKS (WoW with panda already annoyed me)
    ESO’s 1st person/3rd person view both usable in MMO, thats a good option to have in MMO ..
    SWTOR galactic space PVP and rail space combat… that a great addition for any mmo.. minigames that matters

    keen you should create a post on what feature you want in your ‘ideal’ mmo

  • Many if not most of us have been playing the same games now for over ten years. It might be a mmorpg, rpg, rts, city builder…the list goes on. Which is fine…I’ve played scrabble my whole life and I’m fine playing scrabble anytime.

    We want innovation at the same time we want the same old. Ultimately video games will be for the most part about pressing buttons at certain times in certain orders for perceived rewards. Sometimes alone, sometimes with others.

    I think for some of us we’re waking up and going holy crap I’ve just spent 10 years of my life pressing buttons for a pixel sword. I’d say it still beats watching TV. And so I’ll play all of the new mmorpg releases this year and relish my non existent trophies. And if I make new friends in the process while hearing the same old beer, bacon, boobs stuff in general chat I will continue to consider it time well spent.

  • @Holgranth
    I may of missed your point, so forgive me but I assume you are saying that when you played wow it was very simple, and thus you cant say mmo’s are being dumbed down, however the general dumbing down argument compares to games before WoW.

    Vanilla WoW was the original dumbed down mmo, its the one that started it and the reason every mmo since has been simplified.
    Its ease of everything (along with good timing coming into the market and the fact it was warcraft/blizzard) was the reason it took off, and so every game since tried to copy it.
    Even the raids, which, whilst having complex mechanics could be seen as challenging (I would agree they are the strongest endgame content in any mmo) the allowance of such mods as DBM and earlier less advanced raid assistance mods, simply meant that too was dumbed down

    In short, wow pre endgame was the most simplistic mmo made at its time.
    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time in WoW, I do however blame the current MMO market’s failur on its success

  • This is pretty much how popular culture operates, particularly within new media or genres. I’m in my mid-fifties now and I guess I began to notice this pattern when I hit my mid-late thirties. For example, I was in my late teens when punk arrived in the mid-70s and I was actively involved in the throughline that followed, post-punk, new romantic, the beginning of indie, c86/twee, baggy and so on. I finally got off that train just after Brit-Pop in the mid 90s but the train carried on just fine without me and it’s still passing through new stations every year or two.

    At each stage there were some people for whom the current phase was gosh-wow new and like nothing they’d ever imagined, while for others each iteration and variation reminded them more and more of things they’d seen and done before. Eventually, after three or four decades of immersing yourself in a genre or a medium a couple of things happen: you gain some knowledge of what you, personally, do and don’t like and you realize that the same component parts can only be placed down in a finite number of configurations.

    MMOs have been around for a couple of decades now. A decade longer if you allow the text-based antecedents. It’s still a young genre with a good deal of room to change and grow but it’s old enough to begin to exhibit exactly the behavior you describe. It’s been around long enough to begin to stratify and for cadres to coalesce around differences in approach, presentation and style.

    Large companies producing product for pop culture markets tend not to be very interested in serving niche markets made up of hold-outs from previous waves. They’ll exploit nostalgia and re-use ideas that have worked in the past, sure, but only if they can dress them up and re-sell them in a way that works for the current mass-market, which, by definition, does not include the hold-outs. Both the Old Guard and The WoW Generation should expect mainstream, big-budget MMOs (and indeed all video games) from major developers not to be aimed at their tastes and preferences. If one does come along that we like we should think ourselves lucky.

    None of which means we won’t all get new MMOs we can play and enjoy. We’ll just get them the way everyone else gets their non-mainstream pop culture – from smaller developers who choose to target non-mainstream demographics, often because they themselves remain part of the same hold-out crews they serve. Either that or you can be one of those “ever young” folks who never loses touch or falls out of sympathy with the zeitgeist. You know how popular they are…

  • Wondering what the Kickstarter group has to offer. Still a little off but interesting.

  • I would say that gamers became more professional and less amatuer, not neccessarily smarter… Most players back then were playing for fun and for the social aspect of the game but now they play for efficiency and try to be good at something instead of really enjoy what they do. Efficincy and professional play replaced immersion and social gaming.

  • I think rather than seeing true innovation in the MMO genre we’re seeing it overcome by new genres (MOBA) and other games incorporating persistent online elements (DayZ, Rust, etc). These are the new MMOs and the games of the future, allowing tighter competitive play and more player freedom respectively.

    That being said, I still have a soft spot for the same old boring themepark MMOs and can’t wait to play WIldstar, so there you go. We’re around, we’re just not the Big Thing anymore.

  • “Standard raid rotation, Soulstone the Priest, summon imp, Shadowbolt until Soulstone is off cooldown, repeat. I think there is a mental trap out there especially when we look back at pre 07, games. MMO’s are easier for sure, dumbed down not always.”

    Wow. Come play on Emerald Dream if you need a refresher. Ragefire Chasm in 04 was more challenging than 2014 raid content. You actually had to coordinate CC and *gasp* manage agro! Current WoW, you just hold down forward through the dungeon while facerolling over aoe moves. They’re not even in the same realm of difficutly. This is to say nothing of dumbing down the game outside of combat with things like LFD, LFR, complete linearizing of the leveling path, extreme ease of gaining currency, complete removal of tradeskill item relevancy, etc. Dumbed down isn’t strong enough a term.

  • @Jenks I have played on Emerald dream and to be honest it was an amazing refresher on how Time spent =/= Hard, nothing in Vanilla WoW outside of Raids and a few dungeons was hard. It was just time consuming as hell and gated by not physically having enough gear to kill things. Leveling Content in Vanilla was time consuming, today it is not. Mechanically all the classes are much more complex than they were in Vanilla.

    The game is easier way easier to play and five man content requires less skill but “dumbed down” is just a buzzword people use to pretend that the game ever required serious intelligence to begin with.

    “I used to play WoW but then it got “Dumbed down” therefore I am intelligent but current WoW players are stupid, go me. ”

    No. WoW was never hard, when I look back at the sheep the moon, sap the X, days I cringe inside knowing I once thought we were using tactics, I see 1000X more advanced tactics in Dota 2, League or even a really damn good Battlefield player.

  • “I used to play WoW but then it got “Dumbed down” therefore I am intelligent but current WoW players are stupid, go me. ”

    That actually pretty much sums it up. I don’t think you really know what dumbing down means, because WoW over the past 10 years is the very definition. Go me.

  • I think Evalissa above said it right. All of other games tried to become more like WoW. Every company was jealous of there success and probably sat in there board meetings and tried to figure out what WoW is doing that they are not. What happened was the “dumbing down” of other games to try and attract the same numbers.

    I never played WoW. The graphics were not for me. But you could watch the changes in EQ and EQ2 as they made the games more and more simple. There were less tactics and stats were simplified.

    I do not believe MMO gamers are more intelligent rather we were enjoying games that took some intelligence to play and understand. The change is the games have become easier and we are looking for that challenge again. Unfortunately, I do not think the next wave of games are going to give me or us that challenge. EQ Next looks to be more simplified than any of the games with the everyone can be every class.

  • edit on above comment: Should have used “their” not “there” in the third sentence. This is why I do not have a blog of my own. lol

  • You probably know there is no real definition of “Dumbed down.” That is what makes it such an excellent buzzword for pseudo-intellectuals. WoW was significantly more accessible, less punishing, and yes easier than previous games. But saying that it is “dumbed down” implies that it was made that way so stupid people could play it.

    Which implies that older MMO’s actually took a higher level of intelligence and planning to play. They didn’t. They may have seemed like it at the time because the medium was new but in all honestly they were just grindy and had obtuse mechanics.

    A simple easy to understand and easy to play game can still be hard. Go play the impossible game for a bit if you want proof.

    I am not defending current MMOs hand holding and pathetic difficulty curves, they are terrible, but thinking that complex stat juggling, grind, harsh penalties and the obscure, unintuitive mechanics of older MMOs made them “hard” is a mental trap.

    We need to completely break free of the EQ model in some way, or preferably several different approaches, There is a market for hard mmos, despite what some crotchety oldtimers think there is no market for needlessly high barriers of entry, extreme punishments, massive grinds and overly complicated stat juggling.

  • @Holgranth

    I would argue that WoW is dumbed down from its launch iteration. I would have never called WoW difficult, but I do declare that it has progressively dumbed down its actual core game over the years. Perhaps dumbed down isn’t the best description though? Perhaps we should go with “watered-down”? In either case, the game itself neither became dumber or more watery, so the point is moot. When people say dumbed down the point is received.

    But as to the truth of it, yes. The Talent Tree used to have more options, more talents. Sure there were cookie-cutter builds, there always are. But there were more things. It got condensed, less choices to make. Dumbed down. Classes used to be relatively unique. Now almost anyone can be almost anything. Have they made priests/mages/locks able to tank yet? (harhar, an obvious exaggeration but still) Locks were unique in that they were a pet caster with mostly DoT/Curse aspects, they lost their pet uniqueness to Mages, who lost their Direct Damage uniqueness to said Locks. Druids, warriors, and paladins could tank, but in very different ways. Not to mention Paladin/Shaman being faction dependent at one point.

    I could go on, but we all get the idea. Classes were homogenized because everyone wants to be able to do everything, or it isn’t “fair”. The game was water-dumbed down for no real reason, other than possibly lowering floodgate for more players. Again, I am not talking about the difficulty of raid content, or how long it took to level, none of those things. If others want to argue for that as a dumbed-down point then they can. I simply mean the game itself, its core design, was dumbed down over time. It was not necessary, the game was not difficult. So what was their thought process?

    If I had to hazard a guess, it was to appeal to a wider audience. The only basis I have for this guess is a statistic I heard long ago, before joining the Navy. There is a test people take before entering the armed services in good old USA. It is called the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). This test is scored on a percentile, meaning the highest anyone can get is a 99, meaning you scored HIGHER than 99 percent of others that took the test. You are the top one percent. The average score at the time of my enlistment was a 34. That seems like a really good reason to dumb down a video game. If the people defending the country are scoring that low on tests… how high can the people playing video games be scoring? I can absolutely see Blizzard making a decision like that.

    Sorry to drag it all out. I just thought it was an apt story.

  • @Holgranth
    Dumbing down in this context is used to mean simplification and has nothing to do with intellect.
    As you stated, it was easier and more accessible, thus dumbed down is accurate.
    That’s not a bad thing, it only becomes bad when overused or when its the only available choice.

    WoW is not a bad game (I enjoyed it for a time) but if you want involved, complex, challenging or risky games, WoW is not the game that you want, and there are no options available for those outside of Eve Online (which has extras that make it very niche)

  • @Jenks

    There were always people get carried in raids and pvp battlegrounds. In 40 man raids there were always bads. Ok not people with 0 damage or people who didn’t try to play good, but eventually they were carried and it was fine then because we all played for immersion, fun and exploration…we wanted to see the next boss.. and if we could kill things we didn’t care who helped the most or the least. In TBC battlegrounds there were always 15-20% people afk at the entrance leeching honor. All this video proves is that there are always “jerks” (not jenks 🙂 ) that will take advantage of others. This is not a privilege of the late wow expansions.

    Otherwise I do love vanilla/TBC and also play on Vanilla private server. I just don’t like the “quality of life” changes because in my opinion they killed immersion. I want to have arrows and quivers, I want to craft my own poisons, e.t.c. Quality of life changes transforms virtual worlds into pure themeparks and thats the problem of the MMOs the last decade.

  • I think this next generation will need to focus on one aspect and getting that aspect right. Trying to get every single type of MMO’er into your game is only going to continue to piss off more people. Games like Pantheon (if it ever gets made) and Camelot Unchained are headed in the right direction.

    The question is going to be whether or not players will be willing to stick around an MMO with a smaller player base. Whether they’re willing to spend extra time knowing that there won’t be instant queues for content. If they’re willing to invest years in an MMO again or is that model done with?

  • @Ald: I can agree with that. I think it’s a lot harder than it sounds, though. A focused MMO these days is like an oxymoron. Looking back, however, every MMO was focused from 1995-2003. They each focused on doing one thing well, stood out, and held players for years. I kinda laugh at the people who say the reason that doesn’t happen these days is because there are too many options. Tell that to the companies like Nike, Apple, Microsoft, etc., who still have avid groups of people solely devoted and brand-loyal to their products. Competition doesn’t immediately mean people can’t devote themselves to you product for years.

  • I’m with you John as long as you stop referring to blatant dumbing down as a ‘quality of life change.’
    For the hunter class alone: removal of ammo/ammo bags, removal of pet happiness, removal of feed pet, removal of learning pet skills through taming, removal of pet types, removal of weapon swapping/minimum range… to say nothing of the complete gutting of the talent system into derp mode. If there was a term much stronger than dumb down, it would apply here.

  • @Jenks

    I used the phrase quality of life because this is what Blizzard used too. That’s why I put it on quotes “” in my above post :). In the meanwhile I do agree about the is the class that suffered the most from that process..

  • I am not a WoW fanboy by any means as I have only recently returned after a long layoff, but I disagree strongly with this statement: “if you want involved, complex, challenging or risky games, WoW is not the game that you want, and there are no options available for those outside of Eve Online.”

    I agree that leveling content in WoW is ridiculous and trivialized to the point of being a joke. I also agree that certain content becomes trivialized as gear outstrips the challenges (read: Heroics). I also agree that homogenization of classes has not been good for the game. However, there is complexity and challenge aplenty in WoW, be it in PvP or PvE. While some things have been removed that I wish were not, such as most of the hunter items Jenks mentioned, other complexities have been added and, in my opinion at least, those things Jenks mentioned are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

  • I’d love to hear the complexities that have been added. Warning: if you talk about skill rotations or giant red circles to not stand in, I will laugh. FYI Blizzard itself has stated very clearly the game has been aimed at casual players since Cataclysm.

  • /begin sarcasm Yeah, Jenks that is what I am talking about, red circles and skill rotations. /end sarcasm Go play WoW and make a genuine effort to get to a high level of raiding (heroic modes, challenge modes, etc.) or try to earn the Gladiator arena title and then come back and tell me again how it is not complex or challenging. Warning: if you tell me pointless time sinks, throwing food at your pet periodically and having to buy arrows were the complexities you enjoyed in vanilla WoW, I will laugh.

    Look, I understand if people don’t like WoW. I’m not trying to persuade others that they should like it. There are lots of reasons not to, but lets not pretend you are somehow smarter or a better “gamer” or “old guard” or whatever because its not “old school” enough for you to play it.

  • @Balthazar Do you really believe that Gladiator title is harder to get than Grand Marshal rank?? But even if we agree that there is a 0.0001% of the content that is “harder” now that doesn’t prove anything…the rest 99,999% is for monkeys that press random buttons. Back in vanilla the 80% of content was challenging and meaningful.

  • @ John

    It is hard to compare the two since you are comparing BG gameplay and arena, which did not exist at the time. So, it depends on what you mean by harder.

    However, my recollection is that getting Grand Marshal was more about putting the time in to take in gobs and gobs of honor in BG after BG, that and coordinating with all the other PvPers on your server to let you get it since there could be only one each week (if memory serves). If anything, the very definition of a grind.

    Getting Gladiator now is a more of a comparison in terms of how well you have played against those of similar rating as you. It’s more complex than that of course, as there are some comps that work better together than others.

    In short, both were “hard.” But, if by hard you mean putting in hours and hours and hours to soak up more honor than anyone else in the BGs during a given week, then I guess Grand Marshal is harder. If it means beating more skilled opponents at PvP than the vast majority of others, then I would say getting Gladiator is harder, certainly more challenging…and learning all of the skills, tactics and strategies you need to actually beat all those opponents far more complex than just raking in more honor than should be humanly possible in a weak.

    You’re right though, all of us WoW lemmings are just pressing buttons, fascinated by all the flashing pixels and shinnies that we get dumped in our inventory just for pushing this correct button sequence or that one. Thank you for clearing that up for me.

  • @Balthazar everything needs time. The more time you put in, the better player you become, the more the chances you have to achieve. It wasn’t only time back then…you needed to almost always win. From one point and beyond you could only advance with premade groups and you always played against premade too(you actually played against people in your own server). So it was close to the arena style, rather than the random bg style. Also in Arena we all know that there always was certain combination of classes/specs that were OP, something that you couldn’t have in a bg.

    Anyway, I didn’t want to offend anyone with my comment about monkeys pressing buttons..all I said is how easy is the 99,999% of the content, not that the players deserve that content…is mostly how Blizzard see its playerbase.

  • @ John

    I took your comment the wrong way then.

    I agree you could not get Grand Marshal without skill and lots of help from your server to win BGs (but not get more honor than you), and certainly dedication. I honestly don’t know which is harder, but I certainly like the idea of having a chance at a nice title without having to grind like that (although I have no illusions I will get one as I am only mediocre in the arena, winning slightly more games than I lose usually).

    Personally, I just think WoW is “different” now then it was then. Some like that, some don’t. I like some of the changes and I don’t like others, but I guess I find it unfair and difficult for me not to say something when so many people make it sound more like a facebook flash game, as there is so much more to it now then there was back in vanilla. Again, not all of it is good.

  • I think that Everquest Next and Everquest Next Landmark will be the next big things. Minecraft got huge, and people still go on about it. I am a middle school teacher and kids are still talking about Minecraft and drawing pixelated items in their notebooks and assignments. Old school quest, raid, and pvp based mmo’s are just old now. Sometimes I log into something like LOTRO to just listen to the music and run around the shire and experience the world but as soon as I try and maybe finish a quest or craft something I remember why I left. Middle Earth is Middle Earth, and it never changes (not really, in the game). I play Starbound and Terraria with my friends, and each time I log into our worlds we are creating there are new things that we made. That is what I want in an MMO. And sometimes we PVP. We make our own rules for PVP. Sometimes we give ourselves challenges which are sort of like quests. Overall there is nothing really linear about our sandbox experience besides the linearity of materials for crafting. Anyways, these are just my thoughts. I am not sure how feasible sandbox would be with like 20K people on a server which is about what Perenolde was in WoW when I played iirc.

  • The only game on my radar is EQNext, but I am constantly disappointed with their reveals and discussions of design choices. Each reveal shows how hrey are tailoring this for the mass market rather than the games benefit.

    Havne’t played a MMO in 3 months and even then was only playing GW2 for the ‘hanging out’ in WvW.

  • @Balthazar

    “when so many people make it sound more like a facebook flash game”

    haha 🙂 Yes people like to exaggerate, especially when a game they loved so much changed a lot. I am not either a good pvper, back then I reached the rank of Knight (rank 6 of top 14 ranks), and I played a lot pvp. I played arena only in TBC with a friend of mine. 2 pom pyro mages and we only managed to make it to 1730 rating…so yes, I am not the one to judge difficulty either.
    I don’t think that wow has problem to give challenges for the top 3-5% players… I think that it fails to do so to the rest of casuals players. Reaching 60 in vanilla felt rewarding, you felt that you accomplished something. Getting your epic mount felt rewarding. Even if you managed to solo a group quest back then felt rewarding. Now unless you are top pvper or top heroic raider, there is nothing left in the game for you to feel accomplishment. What was the last time you died on level up except the gang from other players?

  • I’m a 2x HWL (vanilla and cata RBGs). Arena is one of the extreme motivators for dumbing down the game, driving class homoginization in the name of 2v2 “balance.” No interest, but at least Blizzard tried to fix their mistake in Cataclysm with RBGs.

  • Well said.
    And no console dream, those poor guys are going to lose their jobs 🙁

  • im in ESO beta and while the skill system is great , the rest of the game is either buggy or unenjoyable..

    Graphic Glitch is one thing , but the animation is terrible compared to even the old LOTRO. The game that have worse animation than ESO is the secret world..

    the lack of feedback in combat is the dealbreaker.. i mean how much damage i make on the monster ? am i critting on that last hit ? how much damage the enemy is causing ? how much XP i get after that monster died ?

    and why no minimap option for those who want it ?


    But back to topic : Why cant themepark MMO and Sandbox MMO be created to support both kind of people ? some kind of EVE Online with sandbox PVP and yet have certain areas for people who want pure PVE themepark