Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Community Degeneration (MMO)

I've had a busy couple of days this week and I've managed to do this or that in each of my games. Instead of boring my readers with my mundane stories, this evening, I thought I would talk about something that has been in the back of my mind recently- MMO communities. Why do we play MMO games if not to be part of it all?  There are some things I think that could really help future MMO games produce better overall communities and much the current games could benefit from. I've been pondering on things that really hurt games and the communities within them. Lets begin!

Split population and the lack of interaction!
The top issue IMO that a game can do is to split the community in half. Cutting a server in half basically by separating factions. When I mean splitting factions, I mean making the other players within factions unable to group with the other(s). When you do this you limit the amount of people able to group together on servers. What WoW did to fix this is add in cross server groups. While this seemed to help remedy the problem of getting into groups, it also triggered another problem- The overall community is degrading. A better solution would have been to allow cross faction groups and keep the lore tied to PvP and cities, much like EQ and EQ2. 

No more are the days getting into a great group and making friends, joining a guild because you really meshed with the people, in WoW. Most heroic groups don't even bother to say hello to each other. While I love the ease of the cross server groups I miss the days of making friends and basic interaction.

Rush, Rush... Rush!
I think some of the most fun and relaxing groups I ever had were in Everquest. Join up a group and sit for extended periods doing xp groups. While some people may not enjoy a grind, the LDoN groups were a blast and more of a middle ground, which offered rewards in the process. Clearing out an instance was enjoyable and fun while making friends. Some people could say most games offer similar play but I think everything is too rushed these days. Maybe something more of a clearing a zone on larger scales for those who enjoy the rewards of being in a group and working together, which leads to my next item on the list...

I'm better than you, therefor I don't need you!
Such add-ons like gear score and damage meters can be useful but overall they lead to elitism. Guilds and raids not accepting people without a certain rating really make me frown. Any monkey can: raid, ignore working as a team and push out the most dps and rush through things as fast as they can. Did the group enjoy the process? While I do not miss the days where CC was needed for every instance in BC for WoW, I don't enjoy the lack of people working together. It's every man for himself, so to speak.

When people pay so much time paying attention to meters, not getting out of the green goo, not throwing a heal just to help out when things get rough or simply don't care about watching the healers mana- Things start to get hostile and a 'way of life'. This attitude becomes accepted. I think things can go into a downward spiral if developers let such tools fall into the hands of idiots. And yes, there are many, many, many idiots out there that use these tools to abuse other players.

Lets roll out!
Another issue can be the lack of time on some players hands and having the time to travel to the instance or zone. Recently in EQ2 I had a group where several members died over and over trying to get there. While I used my racial ability to skip the zone and landed outside with another member who actually made it. It made me think of the time wasted just trying to get there. It took about half an hour to round up the whole group. I think more MMO developers should work harder to incorporate a system to help players find each other and a middle ground with travel to areas for groups.

Looking for guild!
A channel for guild, spamming for guild, looking on forums- doesn't always cut it, this isn't always the answer. A guild can be a haven for people and access to finding like minded players should be looked into and implemented in many games. If you can search an auction for an item you should be able to search for a guild!

Less talk more spamming buttons!
The last thing on today's list is the need for unrelenting rotations. While I think rotations are great, I think many are far more complex then need be. If you like to work a second job playing a game, good for you, go have a cookie. That is about all you end up with when you quit playing. My problem is the lack of interaction and communication between players because they worry about a blunder in the rotation. I think this was a huge reason I always got tired of playing a Bard (Not today's bard, which is far more laid back!) in EQ, I could never talk or I'd mess up my twisting.

In today's games- we all twist, we all will end up with carpal tunnel and we all make less friends and have less fun for it. Maybe I am more hardcore casual than I once was. I, however, miss what MMO truly meant.

Just a few things that have crossed my mind in my travels  though many MMO games. Feel free to add any thoughts! After all, it's the people that can make the game, without each other we'd just be playing another RPG.

Safe adventures!


  1. Great post kaozz....

    I totally agree with you on all points, MMO communities have definitely degraded in the last few years.
    Grouping together to achieve a common goal was once a cornerstone of the MMO. can barely get a response out of anyone in chat or much less Vent.
    It's sad...




Blog Archive