Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's Missing From MMOs Today?

The Missing Piece
As I've been thinking about the best PvP game I have played, it really got my mind stemming off in other directions about things.  Not just about PvP and RvR, but about MMOs in general.  Since my days of playing Dark Age of Camelot, I have felt that there has been something missing in every MMO since.  The problem is, I can never put my thumb on just what that missing piece is. 

Over the past two years of playing Warhammer, I have certainly had a hell of a time.  There have been ups and downs, but overall I enjoy spending a few hours a day playing the game.  An issue I run into though not only with Warhammer, but with games like World of Warcraft, Aion, and Age of Conan, I can never get myself fully immersed into a single character for more than a few months at best.  In Warhammer for example, I'm currently flopping between my DoK, Witch Elf, and Marauder.  What could the reason be for this?  Here are a couple factors that I know are contributing to this stigma:
  • Time Investment
Plain and simple, I just don't have the time like I used to.  I'm all grown up I guess....which is laughable.  My college years are gone and I've got a full time job, wife, kid, mortgage, and an infinite amount of responsibility to more people than just myself.  I can't skip weeks worth of classes anymore to raid relics or grind honor.  As much as I miss it, I certainly wouldn't change it.
  • Community
The MMO community within a game I don't believe is what it used to be.  More and more often we see people only out for themselves and not really caring what happens within their realm.  Forums today are filled with nerd rages and epeen wars.  With that elitist attitude, relationships are lost or never created.  You have guilds with over 1800 accounts, but how many of them actually know each other?  Mythic has done well with open warbands to try and bridge this gap, but ultimately I still feel as if it is lacking.  Could just be me though.
  • Games Now Are Easy-Mode
Yup, that's right.  MMOs are just to easy today.  Really if you have time you can achieve anything you want.  Skill is taken out of the equation.  You have things like DKP, Scenario Weapons, Renown Ranks, and Honor grinds.  All you need is time and you can achieve all of those.  There is no more planning going into raiding of keeps and dungeons.  Most things are tank and spank with no strategy required.  Where is the skill needed?  It reminds me of my parents saying, "back when I was your age..."  Hopefully my Dad doesn't finish that sentence with, "completing your heroic set actually took a hero!"
  • Account and Gold Selling, and Power leveling
This could relate to the ease of the game today too.  Take a look around you at any point in time in a game.  Whether you're in a scenario, doing PvE, or grinding mobs, you're going to find a farmer of some sort.  Ten and Fifteen years ago people didn't have the option of Ebaying gold and accounts.  We had to do it the old fashioned way.  Today you have sites like PlayerAuctions, Markeedragon, and EGamingSupply to provide people with a little extra cash whatever they need.  As of this morning, PlayerAuctions alone had 36 Warhammer accounts for sale and 1,487 Warcraft accounts for sale, and EGamingSupply had 3 full pages of Warhammer accounts for sale since September 1st.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm guiltier than anyone when it comes to all three of these.  However, if it wasn't an option, I wouldn't have that luxury.  In World of Warcraft accounts are insta-banned for any discovered violation of this, which is ultimately good.  Quite honestly Blizzard and all companies should be capitalizing on this.  There are millions of dollars to be made here.  Because anyone can go and buy an account or gold, this leaves them with less of a time investment and less immersion into the world in which they play. 

Those factors are the ones at the forefront, for me, that lead me to feel as if something is missing from today's MMO.  While I understand that gaming for me will never be the same as it was a decade ago, I do wish things like the community and depth of the games today reverted back to what they once were.  It would go a long way to help further establish a game like Warhammer.  Once you have the community involved, there is no stopping it. 

How do you feel MMOs today are?  Anything missing from your plate that you think needs addressed?

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