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Bubble Bursting On the MMO Market?

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the how-many-rats-can-you-kill dept.

Games 162

An anonymous reader writes "An article at Ten Ton Hammer has an interesting take on the current state of the MMO genre; not too doom-and-gloomy, but it makes some good points. Ultimately, it's about how games that foster community the most will stay strong."

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Hmm.. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317212)

Kinda doubt that, given that the MMO with the worst community is going strongest at the moment. There seems to be no interest in a globally decent community, as long as you can carve out your own decent environment, as in a guild, and ignore the rest.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317480)

WoW may have a horrible community but it is at least a community and the game fosters it.

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318878)

WoW is like going to a "party college". Yes, the average person one may meet may be a beer-bong type, but generally, people hang out with their own groups, and it actually becomes a communications medium.

The strangest use of WoW was actually applying for a consulting gig and getting it via the in game E-mail because the owner of a small business was a notable raider.

Because of that fact, that is why WoW is the leader in games. There are games with worse communities than WoW.

Try Darkfall. You will find that instead of "l2p" as the usual response to a bugged or braindead game mechanic, it is "you are not hardcore enough to be here."

At least Darkfall and WoW do something for the other MMOs around. The dregs of the player base (griefers, spammers, anal* chatters, etc.) stay in those ecosystems and don't ruin other MMOs.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320952)

WoW is a mix of many communities. Pub community is mainly the people that don't fit anywhere else - the bottom of the pile.

I raided competitively for 3 years. During this time our guild had countless real-life meets, one couple that got married (in spite of originally living on opposite sides of EU), one guildie employed several others in his business and so on.

It all depends on what comminuty within WoW you get in. If you're terrible, you'll stay with the pubs (people you meet in public chat, like trade). If you're better, you'll get in a guild, which is a community in itself. If you're actually a good person with tolerable personality, you'll end up in one of the good guilds with good communities and have a time of your life.
Not just gaming. But actually meeting different people, getting to know them, and beating bosses with people you enjoy playing with.

That is what the hook of the WoW is. Not raiding, PvP, polish, balance or any other things. It's the community that you get into, and that will keep you playing because you know and like the people in it and playing with them.

Personally I quit when our guild basically went each their own way after many years. Some people got out of school and had to quit, folks who got married started a family, business owner sold his business and moved to a different one and so on. But looking back, I definitely don't see the time I spent on WoW as a wasted time. It was fun, and definitely worth time and money spent.

Re:Hmm.. (2)

nfc_Death (915751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321486)

WoW? Going the strongest? You mean the MMO that just lost 600,000 subscribers? That WoW?
When a subscription service of any kind loses 600k subscribers it is considered dwindling in interest.
"I play WoW and there are lots of people who still play" is not evidence that your choice of MMO is 'going the strongest'.
EVE Online has showed steady growth since it was released. Every single other RPG has had a large spike of player interest followed by a brutal decline. WoW got great press and so its initial interest spike was drawn out and quite large, but it is in the throes of that inevitable decline all others have succumbed to.
I will go out on a limb here and side with CCP, no matter how big the world, a roller-coaster/on-the-rails style MMO will never survive that inevitable decline. By not giving player an opportunity to make their own game, of the construct you give them to play in, boredom will ensue and the exodus will begin.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317522)

But that's the whole point with WoW. Most WoW players never go anywhere near the cess-pit of the official forums. They simply log in and play with a bunch of friends - either people they met in game or, in a great many cases, people they know in real life.

This is why WoW was successful - when it launched, it got a kind of "watercooler momentum" that I've never seen for any other game. The only comparator from the gaming world was the launch of the Wii. I remember the office I was working in when WoW launched - it was anything but a nerdy office, with a roughly even gender balance and, I would estimate, at least half of the staff over 40 and very, very few of them gamers. And yet for a month or two after WoW launched, it was the main topic of conversation in the cafeteria. I'm sure that not everybody who started playing it then carried on playing it for all that long - but quite a few did, and they drew in people that they knew in real life as well.

So it doesn't matter how nasty WoW's official forums are or how obnoxious its most vocal fanboys can be - most of the player base never goes anywhere near that particular world. And that's the kind of thing that most MMO developers would give their right arm for.

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Huntr (951770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317600)

When people talk about WoW's bad community nowadays, they are more than likely referencing the random groups from the dungeon finder and not meaning people on the forums at all. The PUG scene is horrid.

Re:Hmm.. (2)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318344)

Cross Server battlegrounds and dungeon queues just made this worse, there is no real cohesive sense of community in WoW and it's fair to say that the majority of players if given the chance would shank each other for the smallest infraction.

Re:Hmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318358)

Pugs aren't a good representation of "community" either.

Pugs are like public transit: people generally don't form a community with random strangers who happen to be riding the same bus as them. People form communities with people closer to them (same server) or can relate to (aka friends)

It's unfortunately people can't be bit more civil while in a pug (just like how there can be assholes riding public transit), but that's another issue on its own.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318430)

True, that probably is why it works. It just see the contrast to other games with much less broad appeal, where you can actually get a decent pug without people acting like total assholes. But that's the price you pay for the large market share, I guess...

Re:Hmm.. (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317590)

Wow is going strong and has a horrible community, But man the rift community sucks balls so bad, it is hostile and uncooperative, if anything I would say it consists mainly of all the worst aspects of the wow community. After reaching max level in Rift and getting completely bored with its lack of innovation and content I dumped it, The funniest part of the article is him praising trion for there content.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320302)

I play Rift, and I've found most people to be nice. People asking for help in public channels get answered. The few times I've done dungeons with PUGs, I've had a pleasant experience. By chance, did you play on a PvP server?

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320078)

Kinda doubt that, given that the MMO with the worst community is going strongest at the moment

Isn't that consistent with a bubble? When quality is not correlated with success, there's usually something wrong with the economics of the situation.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320144)

Maybe - but quality is not necessary for success - for example, you can always substitute convenience for quality. See the fast food industry. WoW is kinda the highly processed food of the MMO industry.

Re:Hmm.. (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320296)

Well, in the case of WoW, quality is correlated with success. I went from Everquest, and then briefly Everquest 2, to WoW. The difference was night and day. EQ was so riddled with bugs that you just got used to the idea that the boats didn't work, that you fell thru the world, that professions were bugged, etc. And you also got used to the idea that "playing" meant yelling for an hour to get a group, then once you finally found a decent group, finding a "camp" to sit in, then sitting there as long as your sanity held out killing the same mobs over and over and over and ....

WoW changed all that. The game just worked, the game was fun, you could do stuff on your own or with other people... it was an eye opener. It's worth remembering that WoW was NOT automatically crowned as "the king of MMOs". It came out about the same time as EQ 2, and you would have had to say that EQ 2 had the inside track, as it was the follow on to the 800 pound gorilla of the MMO world. WoW was successful because Blizzard, as it always does, supplied a very high quality game.

As far as community, yes, Internet games, like the Internet in general, has a lot of jerks. I've met a ton of friendly, mature people who are more interested in having fun than in yelling about their uber gear. I'm sure it's basically the same in all MMOs. Just depends on who you run into.

FOSTER ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36317274)

Beah !!

Re:FOSTER ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36317348)

yellow's snow's

A definite maybe (5, Informative)

hat_eater (1376623) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317278)

What a disappointment. It's little more than a fluff piece promoting Rift.

And we should believe him - why? (5, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317286)

Pretty much the whole article is about how cool Rift is, how smart he is, and how cool Rift is. Other than being an unabashed Rift fanboy - the author's qualifications are what?

Re:And we should believe him - why? (1, Insightful)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317468)

and this part threw me for a loop:
" In the later part of the 90's I was working in a high stress industry that required long hours and a good part of my soul, but it paid really well. As friends of mine started to migrate away to new internet start up firms in droves, I was tempted to follow them for the promises of a better work environment and fat stacks of quick cash. Luckily, I had a fiancee..."

Um, how old is this guy? A 30 yr old would be in his teens in the later part of the 90s, not exactly fiancee age with friends joining internet firms.

This thread on a WoW forum has a Medawky (same name as author of this article) turning 35 back in 2008 making him 38 now. [verndari.com] Medawky is also the name of a high level (82 is high, right?) WoW character which leads me to believe it's the same guy [battle.net]

Don't get me wrong, 38 isn't too old to be playing MMORPGs, but perhaps he's not the best judge of if the bubble is bursting or not. Perhaps the MMORPG bubble is bursting for almost 40-somethings like himself, the article would be more believable if it came from a 20-something with some actual numbers showing a decline in players

Re:And we should believe him - why? (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317558)

>>Um, how old is this guy? A 30 yr old would be in his teens in the later part of the 90s, not exactly fiancee age with friends joining internet firms.

The internet bubble was circa 1999ish, which could put him at 18 years old at the time (assuming you read his age literally at 30). Plenty of companies were hiring anyone they could at the time that knew how to make a webpage or code. I had plenty of friends at the time that dropped out of college to work for companies like mp3.com. Paper millionaires for a while. Vesting sucks.

But if he is 38, that doesn't make him magically too old to tell what all the teens are doing. It's the generation that grew up with Ataris and Nintendos, and gaming is in our blood - we were raised with the notion that video games were just for kids, but that was just because our parents mainly didn't know what to do with them.

That said, as far as MMORPGs go, I get a bit of bile in my throat every time I think about playing WoW again. Lord, when they made people compete on hours spent to try to become high warlord of the horde, it was like a death sentence for anyone who seriously tried (and didn't have friends to hotseat the character). Pretending the game is anything but a pointless grind when it comes to PvP is just silly. At least raiders get new content every couple months, right? PvPers get one new map only once a year or two in the game. People are still grinding Warsong Gulch as we speak. It's crazy.

I did beta the new AOE MMORTS. I loved AOE1 and 2 (3 was... meh), and the game, while cartoonly, was basically a MMO version of those earlier games. Would have loved it, except in order to extend the number of "hours of gameplay" it forces you to fight 20 hours worth of battles with the intro units in each branch (archery, cavalry, boat, infantry) until you just want to throw something at them. It's like they heard that EVE had a way too crazy learning curve, and so they made the learning curve so gentle in AOEO (20 hour tutorial!) that people collapse from exhaustion before even unlocking 2/3rds of the units. But besides that, it's kind of fun.

Re:And we should believe him - why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319058)

The AOE MMORTS was just very grindy, and the pacing was very, very, very slow. Way too slow if you ask me. The lack of mission variety didn't help either. I find it somewhat a losing proposition. If it's too fast, people get "maxed out" and will get bored. Too slow, it will seem grinding and people will give up. Variety would help, but I'm not sure how much variety you can even make in a game like that.

Re:And we should believe him - why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319158)

The internet bubble was circa 1999ish, which could put him at 18 years old at the time (assuming you read his age literally at 30). Plenty of companies were hiring anyone they could at the time that knew how to make a webpage or code. I had plenty of friends at the time that dropped out of college to work for companies like mp3.com. Paper millionaires for a while. Vesting sucks.

But if he is 38, that doesn't make him magically too old to tell what all the teens are doing. It's the generation that grew up with Ataris and Nintendos, and gaming is in our blood - we were raised with the notion that video games were just for kids, but that was just because our parents mainly didn't know what to do with them.

Being 38 does mean he's of an entirely different demographic generation, and he's seen several more generations of gaming history. As such, his views will be much different than today's kids and teens.

A 38 year old would have seen things like 8-bit and 16-bit gaming (or even earlier)
A 38 year old would have seen the shift from 2D to 3D (or simply from having limited/no colors on the original GameBoy to actually having colors)
Speaking of GameBoy, a 38 year old would have been around during a time when mobile gaming was limited (and no smart phones or iPods)
A 38 year old would have been around when the Internet and online gaming was an esoteric limited thing (if people even had a PC)

A kid who is 18 today would have missed much of the SNES/Genesis days, so an 18 year old would have grown up after the 2D to 3D transition (with the PS1/N64/Saturn). An 18 year old probably didn't play the EQ1-era MMOs(too young) whereas the 38 year old could have

An 8 year would have only been 3 or so when WoW was released, and know nothing about the MMOs prior to it.

An 8 year old... would have grown up listening to his older brother/dad nerdraging about WoW (that was meant to be a joke). Maybe seeing his brother/dad rage so much made him be the smack-talking kid he is online (that was meant to be a half joke)

Re:And we should believe him - why? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321406)

Scary thought: 8 year old doesn't remember a time before PSP or DS... or PS3, Wii and Xbox360....ugh, let's not talk about 8 yr olds....

Re:And we should believe him - why? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321392)

"But if he is 38, that doesn't make him magically too old to tell what all the teens are doing..... "

Yes, it does. Unless he's a researcher studying teens, 38 years old makes you too old to tell what teenagers are doing. His teenage kids should have written the article, they would have better insight into what teenagers think of MMORPGs.

Rubbish (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317560)

Don't get me wrong, 38 isn't too old to be playing MMORPGs

Being just shy of 48 myself and an active MMORPG player, I should hope not.
 

Perhaps the MMORPG bubble is bursting for almost 40-somethings like himself, the article would be more believable if it came from a 20-something with some actual numbers showing a decline in players

And why would a 20-something be more believeable than a 30- or 40- something?

Re:Rubbish (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318112)

Being 56 myself and a guild leader in WoW I also hope I'm not too old to play. That would be sad :(

Re:Rubbish (1)

panda cakes (1333537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318904)

Yeah, but you are definitely too old to remember your teens. The times when you thought "30" is the end of life and 20 y.o. guys were so smart and cool.

Re:Rubbish (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320956)

I say we gang up to beat this panda with our canes. Right after our naps.

Re:Rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36321398)

Doodz.. have u heard about the new Medicare MMO? It's going to be totally rad.

Re:Rubbish (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318262)

Certainly not, I'm 43 and am actively involved in an alliance in EVE Online and make 250 million ISK a day.

Re:Rubbish (1)

paitre (32242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318568)

I can haz ISKies?

I generally make about 50mil a day, mostly through PI. If I actually tried, I could make a ton more. Heh. People who complain about making ISK in EVE are clueless - you don't have to live in Null or grind missions to make that kind of dough, either.

Re:Rubbish (0)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319032)

You don't have to, but it's the most obvious. Actually, the way to make money right now is to hoard PLEX bought on the market as prices go up a bit. ARUM will probably raise PLEX prices further. PLEX was ~330m or so a few months ago, now it's closer to 400m and seems to be continuing to trend upwards as CCP releases more news about future releases

Re:Rubbish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36321892)

I was under the impression that EVE, being a computer game, uses virtual currency. As such, I am curious to know the weight of 1 ISK, so that I can calculate just how many ISK are in a ton. Maybe I need to start by determining the weight of a byte ....

Re:Rubbish (1)

lazarus (2879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319268)

And how much of that as a direct or indirect result of the use of macros? There are 15,000 users on-line all the time in Eve. Moments after DT they are back. They're bots. And CCP can't afford to get rid of them.

Swear to me that neither you nor your corp benefit by macros. You can't. Even if your corp has a strict policy about it (which is probably doesn't) you can't say for sure that some of your members are cheating, nor can you say that outside organizations that you rely on for resources aren't cheating.

Eve is a simulation. It's fun in the same way that Sim City is fun. But to the point of TFA -- Eve is dying a slow death because while a Sim City MMO may seem like a good idea over a few beers, the challenges of implementing that genre in an MMO are high. Too high for the likes of CCP. At some point they've realized that and are pumping their money into other projects and giving their Eve user base only small expansions and bug fixes.

What will eventually happen to Eve and/or CCP? Probably not much (I don't think CCP is leveraged). But you may eventually find that you're flying around in a universe where the bots outnumber the players and you'll come to the realization that you're not actually playing an MMO anymore...

Re:Rubbish (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320206)

And how much of that as a direct or indirect result of the use of macros? Absolutely none. I do use multiple accounts, and I do use multiple monitors and PC's. But I do not use bots.

Re:Rubbish (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320584)

You do realize that 15,000 accounts is not that much (even less if you consider multiple accounts). Also that CCP is played the world around - Russians, Turks E/W Europe, Australia, N.Z., Singapore, N/S America and even South Africa.. I could go on for a while. I use to work on graveyard shift in the US, get off work and wait for the servers to start accepting log ins.

Tools like Eve Mon or web pages with current server status would let me know the instant that the servers would online. Bots may be a problem but far more limited than one would think.

Re:Rubbish (1)

lazarus (2879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321488)

Understood - in terms of accounts you are correct. But my point is that with a typical daily maximum of simultaneous users, 15k represents about 33%. In other words, 1 out of every 3 ships you encounter is being piloted by a machine (at the best of times).

As for your assertion that it is players the world over that are accounting for the 15k on-line number, I was in the same boat as you. My play time was typically between 4am EST and 7am (on either side of DT). It wasn't very often that I ran into another human being while playing. Sure, maybe nobody wanted to speak English with me. And maybe they were really good about running back and forth from the asteroids to the stations, or from the stations to the planets. Was your experience different?

I don't envy CCP's position on this. Most of those macros are not owned by "gold farmers", they are owned by real players who use macros to get ahead in the game. If you kill them off you're going to lose those accounts and then some. If you don't kill them off then people who don't cheat are always at a disadvantage.

Have you ever used macros in the game?

Re:Rubbish (3, Insightful)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318402)

Gamer in my mid twenties weighing in here to point out that if anything I'm more interested in what the beards have to say than another of my so called peers :P
Lets put it this way, when was the last time you were looking for the guy with the LEAST experience for advice?

Beards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36321118)

I thought beards were people closeted homosexuals married. What do they have to do with gaming?

Re:And we should believe him - why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318580)

Don't get me wrong, 38 isn't too old to be playing MMORPGs, but perhaps he's not the best judge of if the bubble is bursting or not. Perhaps the MMORPG bubble is bursting for almost 40-somethings like himself, the article would be more believable if it came from a 20-something with some actual numbers showing a decline in players

Anyone in their 30s and 40s is likely to be gaming less because they generally have these things called families. If they started this family thing early, their kids may be part of the serious gaming generation by now.

Re:And we should believe him - why? (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319194)

Anyone in their 30s and 40s is likely to be gaming less because they generally have these things called families. If they started this family thing early, their kids may be part of the serious gaming generation by now.

You can still be a gamer with kids, it just requires that most of your games have a pause button. As for the games you can't pause, work out a schedule with your significant other where each of you gets a few hours where the other handles all kid-related issues.

Re:And we should believe him - why? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320790)

almost 40-somethings like himself, the article would be more believable if it came from a 20-something

Because a 20 year old has learned all the math and other stuff needed to precisely describe the "bubble" phenomenon?

OTOH taking the concept MMO (or its variations MORGs etc) I guess there will be a hugh increase of them. And they will merge with TV and 3D and home theatre technology.

Consider in 10 years to sit in your living room watching the super bowl. All your friends and your remote family will be projected around you into your living room. The "environment" will be a virtual stadion or something like that.

Think you play some kind of Wii but remotely connected with friends in a 3D MMORG.

angel'o'sphere

Re:And we should believe him - why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36321994)

Level 82 in WoW is not "high". Due to the way the game works, anything below max level is "low" level, because leveling is a very small part of the overall game. Much of it is balanced around and designed around max level play.

Re:And we should believe him - why? (1)

Chardansearavitriol (1946886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317470)

Better than being a RIFTS enthusiasts. the only thing Siembeda has more than law monkey is aspergers. Oh hey, while im at it: http://www.somethingawful.com/d/dungeons-and-dragons/ [somethingawful.com] ^o.o^ its a section called "WTF D&D" for great reason. This has very little to do with anything, but is neat so yeah.

Maybe. That isn't current MMOs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36317350)

The current strong MMOs stress PvP way too much to foster real community - at best they foster two (or more) communities, per server, who are given artificial reasons to hate each other.

It gets old, and the PvE people who do want to form a single community are chased away by the PvPers. It's not sustainable past the new shiny stage, which appears to be about 5 years past when a MMO really takes off, for even the most fizzled veterans to start finding something else to do with their entertainment dollars.

Re:Maybe. That isn't current MMOs. (1)

crashumbc (1221174) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319024)

That's because PvP is extremely cheap to develop for compared to PvE. Its the same old story that has affected most industries. Take for example the classic "outfitter store" cycle. A new outfitter store opens with great camping, climbing, and general outdoor stuff. In one corner is a couple racks of clothes. After a few years some "genius" account looks and the profit margins, sees that the mark up on clothes is huge compared to the other stuff. So in go more clothes racks. After a couple more years you have clothes store with a "outfitter" name. People stop going and profits plummet... The store closes and management is scratching its head trying to figure out what went wrong....

That did it! (1, Insightful)

Neptunes_Trident (1452997) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317366)

Soulskill is on my ignore list now.

                                                                             

Skinner Boxes (5, Informative)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317418)

People are getting disgusted with MMOs, it is inherently amoral business.

Eventually, player realizes what excatly is being done to him:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2487-The-Skinner-Box [escapistmagazine.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning_chamber [wikipedia.org]
http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted.html [cracked.com]

Once you realize that, everything about MMO stops being fun, every reward is spolied because you know it is conditioning to keep you playing to get further rewards. Then you get slightly pissed at authors for abusing skinery-boxy mechanics of human psychology. And you quit for good.

Changing MMO does not help: it is just differently colored lever you have to press to get pelets. Nothing devs can do can help past this point except abandoning notion of chaining player to game.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36317448)

People are getting disgusted with MMOs, it is inherently amoral business.

Eventually, player realizes what excatly is being done to him:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/extra-credits/2487-The-Skinner-Box [escapistmagazine.com]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning_chamber [wikipedia.org]
http://www.cracked.com/article_18461_5-creepy-ways-video-games-are-trying-to-get-you-addicted.html [cracked.com]

Once you realize that, everything about MMO stops being fun, every reward is spolied because you know it is conditioning to keep you playing to get further rewards. Then you get slightly pissed at authors for abusing skinery-boxy mechanics of human psychology. And you quit for good.

Changing MMO does not help: it is just differently colored lever you have to press to get pelets. Nothing devs can do can help past this point except abandoning notion of chaining player to game.

There is no cake.....

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317882)

Unless you know where to look.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318174)

There is no cake.....

Reading mangled quotations on the internet really irks me (e.g. "the goggles, they do nothing!"), but this one takes the cake, if you'll pardon the pun. How hard is it to remember "the cake is a lie"?

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320330)

Well, if the OP has seen "there is no cake" more often than "the cake is a lie", as far as they're concerned, they are using the correct quotation. I would be surprised to find someone actually spends any amount of time making sure the quotation they're using is accurate. Perhaps we need a google quotation checker go to with a spell checker and grammar checker. "You said 'There is no cake', did you mean to say 'the cake is a lie'?"

[John]

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317456)

It's more than just that. Eventually the MMO or any other game for that matter gets dumped and you're left with nothing that you can still use for your efforts.

For example take a look at one of the longest running non-MMO series - Microsoft Flight SImulator. One day there was a financial crsis and a change of management and the next thing you know the whole series has been dumped. So all the time 3rd party developers and enthusiasts spent creating content is all for nothing. (Not to mention each version brough major changes that required further redevelopment effort for a lot of the 3rd party content). Now FSX and FS2004 are still around for now and still run on the current OS, but without further development that will not be the case for too many more years. The game has been abandoned. Any effort you put into creating content no longer has any lasting benefit. And for some content we're talking thousands of man hours. So why bother exactly?

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318450)

I hear this explanation for why MMO are a waste of time, but in reality what are you bringing away from any gaming experience? If you are playing these games to enrich your life beyond some entertainment and socialization then you should take some time for serious introspection.
Why bother? Because you enjoy it.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

vivian (156520) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319156)

I brought a good deal away from Ultima IV as a kid - it taught me all the virtues I need and especially not to lay waste to entire towns or steal all their food and treasures.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321146)

Funny. I play Haven and Hearth, where I spend the vast majority of my time destroying the lives of my neighbors, I just finished building a wall around someones land claim and locking the gate, I'll get around to his food and treasure once I finish clearing out his iron mine :)

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319446)

This is exactly why I've stopped playing video games in general. Okay, fine, I'm a little too old for video games anyway but in the past you acquired a skill and the hours you spent learning that skill paid off for the rest of your life. For instance, if I'd spent the thousands of hours I spent learning how to fly Falcon 4.0 learning how to play, say, golf then I would have a real skill with real social benefits that I could use to further my career and enhance my life. What do I have for all the hours I spent learning that sim, or any of the multitudes of video games I played growing up? Nothing. It hurts to think about all the hours of missed real-world experience I've accumulated over my life. Video games are a waste of time; if I ever have children I'm not going to let them play video games.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Chardansearavitriol (1946886) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317568)

Exceptions: My boyfriend plays MMOs .I play for the sole reason that he enjoys it...Oh, but Planetside was good. It pulled no punches, and it was just massacre after another where nothing really changed. But I assume you mean the recent ones. Yes and No. City of Heroes (a month befor wow) has a community built game. theres only a couple things in that game you can doA global, cross faction Help channel that is actually used for help; That is actually helpful. You see people doing all the neato holiday things,..and all around fantastic setting and feel, if a bit overwhelming. And the costumes are far and away better than "Glowy Rune Wa"nd rextured from burning crusade #99291 Trouble is, Wow encourages certain types of playing ,since blizzard will do everything the ycan to not close a paying account. My favorite of coure is city of villains: so many options, unlike the 10 or so in other games, so many homeless people to lobotamize (Thats what they get for living somewhere called the Rogue Isles.) And this is all a point: What the hell is an MMO? Phantasy Star Online had all the features of an MMO, except only in one area. and you never see oteher people. Ugh. Awful awaful games.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317584)

People are getting disgusted with MMOs, it is inherently amoral business.

[[Citation Needed]]
 

Once you realize that, everything about MMO stops being fun, every reward is spolied because you know it is conditioning to keep you playing to get further rewards.

True for you maybe. But the whole world isn't you.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317594)

yep, what bothered me about WOW was that in the end it's just a world filled with fairground attractions and the player can pretty much make a zero impact on the world, and even when he is doing he's doing it just on one server. worlds of warcraft would be a better name for it, or disneylands of warcraft - complete with moderators(or sysops). there's zero to conquer. doesn't help that the end game guild stuff is just a ballet practice. "those of us in Rift will be busy banding together in our co-operative efforts. Come on Ascended, we've got a world to save." -- this is just the point of why rift is probably shit and the author should go join some shitty advertising agency for a game that looks pretty much like wow with just instances. the author should go jump off a cliff with his rift character. if he can.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317602)

So, what you're saying is they've discovered how to make something addictive, and once you read about this technique, it's no longer fun?

But then surely everything that you enjoy in life is a bit less fun, just because you know how it works?

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317738)

The thing is that skinner box techniques are known for bringing an emotionally void kind of addiction.. not the kind of fun that most people want out of a game.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319928)

Actually, the stuff they do to make games addictive make the game less fun, at least according to player surveys most thing players wish would change about the MMOs they play are the things that game companies do to make the games addictive.

So yeah, they make the game into shit by trying to keep people playing. Humans being as fucked up as we are, this actually turns out to be good business strategy.

Re:Skinner Boxes (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318028)

By that same standard, just about ANY entertainment is equally immoral. Go read a book - whups, the author MIGHT be telling you that story merely to hook you and get you to read his next book!

Seriously, you're 'discovering' the relationship between media, consumer, and producer that's existed since advertising was invented, but reached its zenith with free-broadcast TV: the programs are bait, to get your eyeballs on the screen, and your attention is being sold to the advertisers, the real customers in the transaction. When you say "there are too many commercials", that just means the bait is too small for the hook, and the fish are swimming away.

So for MMOs, they continue to entertain you with a carefully-metered trickle of rewards to keep you entertained? So what? If you're paying to be entertained, isn't that the point? I can drop $15 on a month of an MMO, and have hundreds of hours of fun, or I can spend $15 on a theater movie (and get 90 minutes of entertainment, and perhaps a pop or popcorn), or I can spend $15 on a pro sports ticket and get maybe 15 minutes of a game. Which is the best entertainment value?

For all the people complaining about being conditioned as a faux-excuse for their excessive gameplay: grow up, and either enjoy your hobby unashamedly, or (if you feel your focus on it is too excessive) just change your friggin' behavior.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318162)

By that same standard, just about ANY entertainment is equally immoral. Go read a book - whups, the author MIGHT be telling you that story merely to hook you and get you to read his next book!

What! That's not possible!

Excuse me, I've got to go finish this [Harry Potter | Twilight | Goosebumps | The Chronicles of Narnia | The Lord of the Rings | ... ] series

(For the record, I have not read some of those on that list and likely won't ever.)

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318724)

Distinction is whether you are being sold distinctive "entertainment unit" or continous stream as well as in array of avaiable manipulation techniques.

TV (good job catching who "customers" and what "product" is) has much weaker tools to keep you hooked to stream. Games offer proper, personalised, feedback loop that no other entertainment can. Developers are aware of this, explotiting it. That makes it amoral because it is not exactly victimless.

Point is that you start paying for being entertained, but end up paying to get another hit. People will rarely tell you this - no-one likes to admit that he wasted hundreds of hours, no it was glorious and epic! Not wasted time, nosiree! I had fun, of course!

And counting funhours ... well, that is kinda sad.

Skinner boxes are designed so that you do not want to quit then (and they are not "hobby", just like taking tobaco breaks is not "hobby"), so while appreciated, "grow up" is not solution, no more than saying "just stop drinking". Not helpfull.

But hey, if you want to continue feeling good about your hobby, feel free to ignore all of this.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36319738)

Distinction is whether you are being sold distinctive "entertainment unit" or continous stream as well as in array of avaiable manipulation techniques.

TV (good job catching who "customers" and what "product" is) has much weaker tools to keep you hooked to stream. Games offer proper, personalised, feedback loop that no other entertainment can. Developers are aware of this, explotiting it. That makes it amoral because it is not exactly victimless.

No, it doesn't matter how you're being sold entertainment or what manipulation techniques you have available. The intent is the same - manipulate the consumer to continue to pay (and to pay more). As such, TV and any other form of entertainment is just as amoral.

Video games do this better? Well good for them for building a better mouse trap.

Point is that you start paying for being entertained, but end up paying to get another hit. People will rarely tell you this - no-one likes to admit that he wasted hundreds of hours, no it was glorious and epic! Not wasted time, nosiree! I had fun, of course!

And counting funhours ... well, that is kinda sad.

Translation: "I'm right, people just won't admit that I'm right"

The irony is of course it is YOU who does not like to admit that your theory is wrong and that people are actually having fun. And that is what's really sad.

Skinner boxes are designed so that you do not want to quit then (and they are not "hobby", just like taking tobaco breaks is not "hobby"),

I don't see many people quitting TV. And TV seem to be putting out more and more crap these days (so while TV may have weak tools to manipulate consumers, TV doesn't seem to even need those tools)

so while appreciated, "grow up" is not solution, no more than saying "just stop drinking". Not helpfull.

No, it's very helpful. It's telling people the problem lies with them, not whatever it is they're blaming.

Blaming the brewers for making tasty beverages is not going to stop your drinking problem. Getting you to AA will.
Blaming the game makers for making games fun is not going to stop your addiction to instant gratification (over fake magical swords and killing Internet dragons and getting virtual achievements). Growing up will.

But hey, if you want to continue feeling good about your hobby, feel free to ignore all of this.

Spoken like somebody who just wants to continue feeling good about his skinner box theory.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36321662)

The skinner box theory is far more correct than you give it credit for. Blizzard does it intentionally, and is the best at it.

In the days of Diablo, the random reinforcement was done with extremely rare uniques, set items, and random desirable pre/postfix attributes. The XP ladder made the effects of this grinding (efficiency x time) visible to other players, and thus more tangible.

WoW refined this to a ridiculous degree. Of all the things they could implement as "fun", there is a pattern to their choices. Consider daily and weekly quests. These often have a very nice currency reward, but only for the first completion each day/week depending on the quest type. If you want to collect these currencies at any reasonable rate, you have to play on as many unique days as possible. You can't just sit down and do the same quest 5 times on a weekend and get the same reward. They not only force you to grind, they force you to grind over extended periods of time. This stretches out subscription times, and boosts the percentage of player base which is online each day, making the world feel more "full". End-game raiding takes this even further -- weekly dungeon locks and bind-on-pickup gear force you to do the same raid, week-after-week, in the hopes of getting that ONE item you need. There is no way to be more efficient by using the market (i.e. the farming of popular items is rate-limited far below demand, and there is no way to trade them even if you could), so you have to commit absurd amounts of time.

I saw this pretty early on, and was impressed by their design savvy. I played for a while -- I had fun with the mechanics, it was an enjoyable time waster. I quit when it lost its novelty, and the cynical progression design left a bad taste in my mouth.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320168)

There's more to entertainment than just filling bars.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318048)

You are right ofcourse, I think calling the concept amoral is a little harsh tho. MMO running companies run the whole moral spectrum like everyone else.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36321766)

The definition of 'amoral' is different from immoral. Turning off a floorlamp vice turning off life support. Not sure which one the original poster meant however.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Saxerman (253676) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318258)

Certainly, the gaming industry is not immune to the march of 'progress'. But neither is any other. Advertising continues to become more effective as new techniques emerge that allow them to be more targeted and tantalizing. So, too, do games that want to charge you by the month instead of a lump sum up front become better at luring their players back for just one more numerical increase. And there are certainly a host of creepy psychological factors at work, being taken into account when designing new games or television series or grocery store advert.

But I have to take exception with the idea that an MMO is an 'inherently amoral business'. Escapism isn't some new concept created by the video game industry. The entertainment industry has been feeding off society's desire to escape from the banality of reality since the dawn of art. They've just gotten better at it over the years.

More specifically, if you want to point out the large downside in the growth of all this new and compelling entertainment content, is the growing need many people feel for it. Not because the entertainment is getting better... which, to be sure, it is. But because the reality of their lives is getting worse, and they feel powerless to change things. And this change in society has very little to do with the entertainment industry, and more to do with greed in general.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318714)

Any gaming model that involves continually fleecing the player for whatever they can bear is amoral at best and if you stop to think about consequences of actions, clearly immoral. Remember when you bought a game, and then you played it, and maybe you modded it? You know, before you bought a game, and then bought it again, and again? And now, you buy the game, and then you pay for it monthly! At least a few games are now starting to catch on to the idea that a lot of us feel that's a ripoff. Charge us once or charge us a bunch of times but don't do both.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

Shrike82 (1471633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319126)

Any gaming model that involves continually fleecing the player for whatever they can bear is amoral at best and if you stop to think about consequences of actions, clearly immoral.

I'm not sure it's quite as black and white as that. I have an "addictive personality" and often focus on one or two activities at the expense of others. In the past this was drinking, smoking and other destructive habits. Happily I've managed to fill some of the void left from quitting the nastier addictions with games (amongst other things), although I don't play MMOs nor do I feel compelled to subscribe to any of them. However, I am happy to spend £10-£30 on games and enjoy the entertainment I get from them.

If someone with similar motivations as me decides to spend their money instead on a WoW subscription, and gets some amount of enjoyment out of playing, or at the very least something to sate their need for repetitive actions, why is that inherently immoral? Now, in my eyes at least, there's a clear difference between the MMO gaming model and the bullshittery that we see from the CoD series, and others, that enjoy charging £15 for a fucking map pack and some hopelessly generic "new" weapons or abilities. MMOs may be driven by a need to hook people in and keep them playing, but in my book that's a world of difference from the blatantly cynical DLC offerings that are becoming increasingly common.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319712)

I agree that it's better to be addicted to something less harmful, but what about something that helps you break the cycle of addiction and be a complete person instead? They're taking advantage of you, plain and simple. Where I come from, apparently a lost land of some sort, we call taking advantage of someone's weakness "wrong" whether it's legal or not.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36320824)

As Adam Smith said:

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages."

This is especially true with games and entertainment, for they are activities whose main/only purpose is self-love and gratification.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320944)

So the big $15 a month makes it immoral? In other words, the same cost as going to a movie once a month and buying coke & popcorn? If that's what gets you going, what are you going to do when your credit card company hits you for 20% interest because you were a day late paying? Or your company's CEO gets a $10 million dollar golden parachute as your company tanks and you lose your job? On the grand scale of things, whether you pay $15 for perhaps 100 hours of entertainment is pretty tiny. You could mow one more lawn and pay for WoW for a couple of months.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318532)

Amoral business?

Someone needs a refresher in what that means.

MMO's are activities, rather then games. The point is not to win the game, but to participate. The rewards you get are incentives to keep participating, but they aren't the point.

Many people will start playing thinking it's a game and then get pissed off because all that effort didn't win them anything. The only problem here is that the person playing didn't realize what they were playing in the first place.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319048)

To be fair, this is virtually true of every game. Somewhere there's a work/reward process at work. Its just a lot more obvious with MMOs. Even before the age of "achievements" (what a cynical term) we had level bosses and other things that made you think you were accomplishing something.

My problem with MMOs is how horribly stupid and dumbed down they are. Its the same old D&D/MUD mechanisms. Its so safe and balanced and kid-friendly. Everything is pretty much on a rail. Maybe EVE and others are different. A part of me is thinking of getting an EVE account, but I'm not very tolerant of grinding anymore.

Re:Skinner Boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36320110)

I've been playing EVE for about 8 months now...you only grind if you want standing or money, and even that is minimal, as you can get money from exploration, trading, etc.

There is even something in place for you to be able to raise standing with items gained/purchased, so you don't even have to do that.

Skills accrue in real time, allowing you to still maintain some semblance of a life. (Bound to the PC, or boning the wife, your skills will still be done at the same time)

The main aspect of EVE is the PvP between player corporations. If you stay a carebear, you are missing 80% of the real game. And the single shard means that anything you do in a fight will have ramifications, if you sign up with a large enough corporation (But avoid Goonswarm. They are dicks.).

Also, the player-run market is INSANE, especially in the Jita system (main trading hub). Imagine an "auction house" that spans all WoW servers, broken up among large regions so that you can make a decent amount of money leveraging these slight differentials between the regions. The fact that CCPGames have a full time economist who has detected cheats based purely on market analysis is incredible.

Re:Skinner Boxes (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320946)

I think you're being pretty harsh. What I loved about WoW was exploring the world and the sites, monsters, bosses, etc. and the tactics for playing in the battlefield instances. It wasn't until hitting the higher levels that I got the sensation of repetitive reward conditioning. Not that there aren't some individual quests like that as well.

What "Good Points"? (1)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317464)

What good points exactly were these? The article was essentially just an advertisement for Rift, or at the most, a writer who likes Rift. I don't have a problem with authors who want to write about how cool they think a game is, but don't lure me there by deliberately mis-representing the article, it had little to NOTHING to say about the idea of an MMO Bubble.

Re:What "Good Points"? (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318574)

Rift did a couple neat things, I think it's fair to say they moved mmos forward and that we will see that influence on the next generation of games. That said, I'm so goddamn sick of everyone holding them up as an example of whats being done right in gaming. It's yet another standard high fantasy setting in which you play one of three basic roles and form groups to conquer various challenges, the meaningful ones locked away in instances. The titular "Rifts" were interesting, but Trion has failed to make completing them purposeful for players who have already finished the leveling process, not to mention repeatedly screwing the pooch right out of the gate on their much anticipated world events. If anything I think Rift fans should be nervous about the immediate future, maybe that's why these so called journalists won't shut up about it, heh.

Re:What "Good Points"? (2)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320474)

The rifts are neat, but I think it's the class system that really changed things up. In MMO's, your used to having a set number of classes/skills, and you have to fit your play style into one of them.

Rift doesn't do that. Instead you pick an archetype, and then can pick and chose form the available souls to craft a class to fit your play style and goals. The game even lets you swap these with little pain. That really opened up the game and made it feel much more like a pen-and-paper game then most MMO's.

and thanks to all the crossover souls, you don't really have to be locked into a role. i mean, you can be a debuffer/healer with AOE nukes if you wanted to, or a pet/DD/dps, etc etc. And that's just from my experience playing a mage in beta. I think I had 4 completely different sets ups, each tailored for certain activities. You don't see that kind of flexibility in say, WoW.

Re:What "Good Points"? (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321220)

While I absolutely loved the soul system right out of the gate, I think once you spend some more time with it you'll find that the souls end up very very unbalanced. In my experience you don't find any more variation group to group than you could in a more traditional class system, and for the record I've played each base class except cleric. As a side note: props to them for letting avoidance tanks back in, even if they aren't usually competitive with the warriors. (Much like most rogue souls, har dee har har :P)

Re:What "Good Points"? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36320580)

I haven't hit 50 yet, but I pretty much agree. I don't see rift events having any purpose at 50. I am hoping the PvP will be fun, but if not, I won't stay long.

In my mind, the original DAoC had the best PvP, and thus the best reason for playing at max level. The game had community, and PvP was all world PvP (until BGs were introduced to help those not at max level). PvP also had an effect on the rest of the world, so even those not participating were affected.

MMOs = communities (1)

Azarman (1730212) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317656)

All good MMOs have one thing in common they look after their communities .

Examples

WoW = Spent alot of time creating communities via guides and raiding (team building exercises) Also they did create good servers community however the cross server dungeon finder does take away from the community, which I believe Blizzard has acknowledged and is now looking for ways to foster more team spirit on a server.

SWG = its an oldie but a goody, anyone that played this game will agree that the commity was great untill the Combat reblance and everyone left, that might have just been my server tho.

WAR = This game was tanking, had massive bugs after launch, I believe the thing that kept it floating was the core communities that decided to stay and put up with them. Took around a year to start raising in subs after what can only be described as a buggy launch.

EvE = Game is all about player communities, Without players this game would just stop as the players create most of the action in game while the developers just give the players tools to do so. Again this game pushes complex social relationships in a single server and I think has seen a steady growth in player base since launch. Slow and Steady

Hell lets even throw in Minecraft (public Servers) and say that the community is the reason this game does well, and it is not even that good looking. Something that game studios seem to over look, people will play less impressively looking games to play a better game. Now bad games are hidden behind layers and layers of makeup boasting impressive stats but once you get a look under that you realise its just empty of any content minus shinnies.

The MMO bubble happened after WoW had been out a few months and all these big companies wanting a slice of that cash pie. These big companies came in, made their 'mangement cut' to get a few more % of profits, then when their profits start tanking start blaming everyone but themselves and then start trying to add hacked/rushed features in to the game to get quick sales, and the new fad of micro transactions (boo) and other things to keep people paying to play. The bubble is going to burst and good, games are mostly time wasting things now, when was the last time you had a game studio that cared about their product form the point of a game/story rather than management profit focused? I know a few but most game studios have been swallowed by the management train that thinks getting everyone working in the same way is the best way to raise profits but forget that making everyone work in the same fashion kills creativity that made the original games good.

There are very few MMOs that are pushing the tech and what is possible, i would say most games in the sector these days are wow cloans from large studios that are just trying to cash in on monthly subs. Some of the more niche MMOs are doing ok but they are developing slowly because of low population, but I think start slow and build up a good community is better than massive launch, with everyone leaving after 2 months because of bugs.

I think a telling point is going to be Tor, the amount of money that game has cost, will it even dent wow? I really do get the impression Tor is a massive effort by EA to take the MMO market but show me one game that EA has taken and improved the community? However they do have Bioware

Re:MMOs = communities (3, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36317718)

It's going to burst at some point simply because many of the people who joined the genre with WoW never play anything else. When they get bored with WoW (and given how badly Cataclysm is doing in North America, they ARE getting bored with WoW) they leave the genre entirely instead of going for another game. That spirals downward the same way it spiraled upward: as your friends leave, you have less and less reason to keep playing. So you leave. That in turn gives your friends who are still there less reason to play. Almost my entire network of friends is gone from the game now, and I didn't hold out all that long without them because farming loot with strangers who don't talk just isn't very interesting.

You keep that trend going for a while and the whole genre shrinks. Which is probably a good thing. These games are a lot more fun when they're about doing stuff with friends instead of competing to get loot before some other random people. If companies don't all aim for 5 million subs we'd probably be better off.

Re:MMOs = communities (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318276)

they leave the genre entirely instead of going for another game.

This is a good thing for those of us who play the other games.

Re:MMOs = communities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318624)

Yes, good riddance to the noobs that think WoW is the only game. I get pretty sick of them infecting every new MMO and helping push the developers to WoW it up instead of innovating. They have brought as much harm to the pastime as the companies catering to them. Games were so much better before this all happened, in the golden era of the 80s and 90s. After 2000 the number of bad games spiked and the number of good games started to fade. Sure, there are still some really golden pieces every now and then (Deus Ex, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, KOTOR, BioShock, Supreme Commander) but these are the few exceptions.

Re:MMOs = communities (1)

MisterZimbu (302338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36318760)

Most games in the 80's and 90's were horrible too. Your expectations have just changed.

Re:MMOs = communities (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321236)

It's going to burst at some point simply because many of the people who joined the genre with WoW never play anything else. When they get bored with WoW (and given how badly Cataclysm is doing in North America, they ARE getting bored with WoW)

I was surprised because I had the impression Cata sold quite well. I did a bit of googling and found this:

The new expansion sold more than 3.3 million copies worldwide as of its first 24 hours of release, including digital pre-sales, eclipsing the previous first day record of 2.8 million sold for Wrath of the Lich King, released in 2008.

It may be that Cata sales haven't continued as well as WotLK, but I suspect Cata outsold most of the new free MMO's put together.

Re:MMOs = communities (1)

murdocj (543661) | more than 3 years ago | (#36321526)

Well... obviously the free MMOs aren't "sold"... what I mean is that more people have played Cata than the new free MMOs put together.

Players who suit muds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36318826)

Players Who Suit Muds [mud.co.uk]

I expected to get some sort of analysis of all the various muds with respect to this, but instead the its just a Rift fan article.
You might be suprised, but the addictive gameplay elements aren't what drives large mmo populations, its the social people chatting with their friends. WoW isn't on the decline because "Rift is so awesome", like the TFA says. WoW is declining because they are focusing on Acheivers and Killers, ignoring Socializers, and patching out all of the exploits and strange game mechanics that Explorers love.

Re:Players who suit muds? (1)

VickiM (920888) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319164)

And me without mod points. This is defnitely true in my case. I quit WoW when my friends quit it. I had no pleasure trying to grind away with just random jerks running around. Despite all the patches and expansions, I haven't had any urge to go back.

Read the article... (1)

mjayg (809855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319086)

All I can say after reading the article is, "If you like Rift that much, why don't you marry it?"

Seriously, this is roll-out-of-bed-and-write-the-first-thing-that-comes-to-mind "journalism" at it's best.

Kingdom of Loathing (2)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36319210)

KOL is an excellent example of this - they've fostered a great community interaction and have weekly back and forth with the player base over current development. They've done everything else 'wrong' but they succeed (so far) anyway. Highly recommended.

Sometime people just want to play a game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36320716)

There are many rewards and problems for playing MMO's, but sometimes people just want to play a game. Sure, teaming up with 40 other players to take down a big bad is fun, but 5-10 hours a day, every (let's say weekend), with your sandwich sitting readily beside you, and bathroom breaks planned out far in advance.

Sometimes people just want to play a game, and MMO's simply ask too much of them. There is also only so much that can be done in a multiplayer environment, as in, you can't really change the world all that dramatically, because not all players will have done what was needed to change the world. Sure, I wanted to see Gnomeregan thriving once again, but it was also one of the most memorable instances of the early game. You can't have both in an MMO, but in a single-player game, (or at least non-persistent world), you can.

Guild Wars was just a cheap-man's WoW, and so many games have tried to copy WoW's success by copying WoW that it has become as stale as the worst mail-order pizza. MMO's probably won't completely disappear, but they will shrink down from their fantastic proportions.

Too many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36321682)

Here's the general problem with all MMO's:
1) Rampant cheating and RMT
2) Which in turn causes players to leave and not pay for subscription/digital assets
3) Which in turn causes the MMO's company to invest less in it
Goto 1.

Unfortunately, most MMO's aren't fun either. Some of them have storyline (Final Fantasy XIV, Magibnogi,) most only have some mile-long page of text that isn't immersive (Perfect World Online, Star Trek Online, Vindictus) which results in a lot of players investing a very short amount of time in the game before moving on to something else.

The customer support issue worse when the MMO is not in sync with the publisher. For example Mabinogi, has bugs that haven't been fixed since it's release, and functionality bugs that make the game not worth playing (eg the journal, pvp ladders) ever again once you complete the storyline. The Korean developer and the English language publisher seem to only care about dumping more useless digital asset toys on the players that don't mesh well with the game. After one critical bug that allowed every player to essentially have godmode for a day, the game's intentionally unfair dungeon design has been unraveled (completing the hardest dungeon with maxed out stats.) Mabinogi's community could be described as selfish anarchy since cheating goes unpunished.

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