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MMO Blog posts

12

Level Scaling: The Good & Bad

World of Warcraft releases their worldwide scaling patch here real soon. The whole idea of content scaling in MMORPGs is an interesting one that has me going back and forth positives and negatives.

First, let's just get some definitions out of the way so we can all be speaking in context. "Level scaling" in WoW is basically where the player scales to the content (which is actually a little contradictory when people are referring to it as "world scaling"). So basically, someone at level 100 can be in a zone and someone level 110 can be in a zone but their stats and the enemy are all equalized.

Other games have scaling. Some similar some different. Some games scale group members together. Some let a player "mentor" down to another player's level and then that player is scaled down to someone at that level's abilities.

My thoughts are going to be specifically toward the newest and trendiest way of scaling as seen in WoW.

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9

Chore List: The MMO Killer

Nothing kills a MMO faster for me than a list of chores. When gameplay can be distilled down to a list of chores and tasks, burnout kicks in almost immediately.

Even the ‘best’ games that I’m enjoying and seemingly have no reason to suddenly stop are killed by the repetitive tasking. I think about a game like World of Warcraft as a perfect example. I really do like the world, the lore, aesthetic, general gameplay, etc. What I can’t stand are the assumptions on your time and gameplay.

I don’t like knowing that I have to log in every day and do a dungeon (or several), complete a dozen or more daily quests for currencies I need to accumulate a million of, run a raid at a certain time because of lockouts, get a weekly run of this and that in, etc. It’s just overwhelming, and instead of playing a character in a world I’m simply playing whack-a-mole or checking items off a never-ending honey-do list.

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13

MMORPGs in 2017: Driest Drought Ever

This year may go down as the driest MMORPG drought in history. There were barely any new MMORPGs released the entire year. Perhaps that makes it slightly better than past years when we saw nothing but one garbage MMORPG or shovelware MMORPG after another.

Most of what people will chime in about are expansions like ESO: Morrowind, Stormblood, and GW2: Path of Fire. If that’s your thing, great, but for the industry it’s pretty pathetic. The year of Expansions and failed indie launches really doesn’t speak highly to me.

For me personally, I dropped about 4 months into the Time-locked progression server for EverQuest. I had some fun. Playing with some friends is always a highlight for me. There’s a novelty factor there that most people will acknowledge. It wears off. Again, not really a shining beacon for the industry.

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5

Ascent: Infinite Realm Set to Fail

I just finished reading an article that has definitely left me feeling a little bit triggered.

Ascent: Infinite Realm is that MMO in development by the team that continues to promote how it’s so “shocked PUBG did so well.” Okay, anyway. The quotes from Bluehole’s CEO, Hyo-Seob Kim, are beyond ridiculous.

Trigger #1:

“MMORPGs were very new [ten years ago], with World of Warcraft and all the others,” Hyo-Seob Kim said. “But the play style [stayed] very similar as time passed on, so the players got bored with the system. They started looking to other genres of games.”

10 years ago the MMO genre had already been alive and well for a decade. This is the equivalent of saying WoW was the first MMO.

Trigger #2:

“There are mobile games now, and there are console games. We think we can match that lifestyle, and make an MMORPG that you don’t have to put your entire life into.

I’m always bothered when people try to imply that a MMORPG can be a like a mobile game or a console game. Mobile games are generally meant for play sessions that span mere minutes. Console games are generally designed to be played until beaten, then the player moves on in typically a few weeks. MMOs are meant to be a game where players progress, grow, improve, and develop. I won’t fault someone for trying to define a new niche of MMO that’s meant to be played in bursts, but I take issue with someone implying (or practically saying) that ‘time’ is a key factor is the failure of MMOs. I completely disagree and feel that quality and innovation are the biggest failings.

Trigger #3:

“If something new comes out, it will get higher interest.”

Yikes. The “newer is better” mantra. Again, I completely disagree. In context he’s talking about how players are tired of WoW and older games and their content. Dose of reality: New games are releasing and dying off within DAYS now, not even weeks. New =\= better.

Trigger #4:

This one doesn’t come from a quote, but instead an observation of what type of game this will be, and how it’s calling itself an MMO. I get triggered big time when people call League of Legends or Call of Duty or Diablo MMOs. It’s the same argument made by the people calling loot boxes gambling. It’s all semantics. The term MMO is greater than the sum of its parts. MMOs are not simply games played by lots of people — they have mechanics, features, and play styles associated with them.

A:IR appears, from videos and articles I’ve watched/read, to be all about the intense siege action and battles. This is purely conjecture — though I doubt I’m wrong — that we’re looking at some sort of battleground game full of limited siege mechanics and battles with little or no true MMO. This assumption is reinforced by Hyo-Seob Kim’s remarks about wanting to keep the game easy to jump in and out without having to put in a lot of time.

Not a Trigger but a 5th thing that bothers me:

He implies TERA was designed for the western market, but it was rife with the Asian grind and appeal — up-skirt shots included. That garbage fails in the western market, and if he’s meaning to imply in the article that TERA was a success, I disagree.

6

People Make the Games More Fun

Looking back on those screenshots I shared the other day, I kept having these feelings of “that was fun” for both WAR and Darkfall. Then I thought back to more games like Aion, Allods Online, some older stays in WoW, etc., and those feelings return. But let’s face it, that wasn’t fun. Those games really sucked. The fun wasn’t the games — it was the people.

Playing with friends and community makes a huge difference. It fills in the gaps that would have otherwise been left feeling vacant and filled with awfulness. Friends makes the funny moments funnier, the epic moments more intense, the celebrations more joyous, and the memories more fond.

When I think back to Darkfall, I don’t remember all the times the hackers and macro-bots slaughtered us and took our stuff. I remember riding around with my friends.

When I think about WAR I don’t remember frustrating zergs and hours spent trying to find a good fight. I remember roaming the fields with friends.

When I think about Wrath of the Lich King raids I don’t think about hour spent dying to bosses that should have been killed easier. I remember beating the boss of that expansion with my friends.

In Everquest, I know it was boring to sit around waiting for spawns. What made it fun was playing with people — even when they weren’t my friends — and having conversations.

Those are now fond memories when they should have been horrible, and that’s because of good people.

That’s something to remember when playing games. Even the best games require good people, whether they be friends, in-game players, a larger community, or even family. Find that, and you’ll have the memories worth sharing.

During this time of year where we give thanks, I think it’s fitting to be thankful for all of these memories and the friends who share them with me.

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