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Old 2011-08-07, 22:46   Link #376
Join Date: Mar 2006
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
What pisses me off about online RPGs is they are intentionally designed to be as psychologically addictive and soul-sucking as possible. They want you addicted, logged in and miserable, not having fun but unable to quit due to effort invested and changes promised, as they dangle the carrot of "game balancing patch" or "content patch" and keep you playing and paying. It's how they make money. If they actually added enough content to keep people playing purely for enjoyment above all, they'd go bankrupt. That would require new content added weekly at the very least for the most skilled min-maxers and binge gamers.
Game balancing is one thing, but I can say that "tweaking" complex systems isn't an easy thing to do. Using WoW as an example, when the devs "tweak" too often, players become frustrated because the stability of the game feels in flux. Are they going to be overpowered one patch, the next underpowered? Will they have to constantly spend resources changing gear and specs around? When the devs don't tweak enough, players become frustrated at the seeming lack of care the devs have for the game. "My class has been the worst for this long, and you never buff us!" And so on.

I wish that Blizzard was more.....thoughtful...when it came to game balancing but as someone who has played MMO's for a long time, they're also the only company that has really ever come close to relative stability in game design, imo.

With content, again there's a few issues. For one, it's a resource issue. You can't just throw more money at it and expect content to rain from the sky. On the other hand even if you could, the reality is that unless you make it very hard the majority of the playerbase will chew through it in less than a month. Even when it is hard, the "elites" plow through it fast enough to give the rest of the playerbase the impression that there isn't enough content. "Uber guild X beat the new boss in three weeks, where's the new content devs!?" Never mind that most players are casual and barely get through content by the time the next patch is ready.

You are correct, that online games are built like carrots on a stick. This is only a problem when players look at such games as "investments" and "work" instead of paying a monthly fee to goof off and have fun.

One of the hardest things I've done in regards to gaming was to quit Everquest. All those years of character building were hard to let go of. Once I did, I realized that the only thing I'll ever get to keep from these games is the memories I they may as well be good ones. In short, when it stops being fun, it's no longer "play", and it's no longer worth spending money on.

WoW's biggest problem is simply that it is old, and it is showing it. Newer games sport better features, better character customization/art/design, more intuitive gameplay, etc. WoW is now a relic of the days when it was a more polished version of Everquest. The genre as a whole is stale, but a big reason for that is technology.

What players want from a MMO: a persistent world that feels alive, where your actions have consequences and make a difference in the world and your experience in it. The sky's the limit, and not a limited sandbox with virtual boundaries of cans and cant's.

What we have in MMO's now: a glorified numbers based progression system with superficial events/choices that don't really affect the world at all. Your "hero" is just as heroic as all the other players, which would be fine if it didn't feel so homogenous and "mathy" all the time.
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