Gaming My Way

05 Aug

The Problems with MMORPGS

I have yet to find any mmorpg worth my time and money. Of course, given that this genre sucks up both in vast quantities, this doesn’t really surprise me. There are a few that have come close, but they all have some niggling problems I just can’t get over. Now, the problems I talk about here aren’t necessarily present in all mmo’s, but most mmo’s suffer from at least a couple, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find one that suffers from all of these.

1) The money sink.
All the best mmorpgs cost money. This is expected. People would like to earn money for their work, and it’s good to support good work. But a monthly fee? Really? They want me to keep paying for the game I already bought? No.

I know, I know, they have to spend that money on maintaining their servers and the like. But really, not all of that money goes to server maintainence, and we all know it. That’s why everyone wants a piece of the cash cow known as the mmo. The monthly fees provide oodles and oodles of profit for the companies collecting them, long beyond when most games stop being profitable.

2) The Grind
Grinding isn’t fun. At least, it usually isn’t fun. If I have a steady stream of monsters to fight, and I level at a rate a good clip higher than .005% xp, grinding is actually all right. .5% a kill is cool for normal, non-taxing fights. At least 1-2% for difficult fights with risk of death, as high as 5% for fights in which death is common. Unfortunately, I’ve seen leveling even midgame in many mmo’s drop to about .01% of xp needed to level… while fighting difficult monsters that it’s not uncommon to die fighting. This is a dumb waste of my time. I know it’s supposed to be challenging. But the challenge should never come from blind, frustrating repitition. Ever.

The other issue is grinding for gear. There is nothing in this world more frustrating than knowing the way to make your character better is by grinding for a piece of gear that drops .01% of the time from a monster that spawns once an hour, and that you need a party of ten or more in order to even attempt to kill this monster… and then a quarter of the party is also looking for this drop.

Maybe this makes me a wimp in some people’s eyes. In my own, it means I have better things to spend my time on. Gaming is supposed to be fun, not work. I want to be rewarded based on how good I am at playing the game, not whether some random number generator thinks I should get the item this time around.

3) The Constant Tweaking
This is actually a double-edged sword. If, after building a character, a patch comes out that makes it go from awesome to suck, I’m going to be unhappy. If I played the game by one set of rules for a long time, and then they got changed, making me less powerful, I’ll probably enjoy the game less as a result of being less effective.

However, sometimes it does turn out that something is way too powerful. I have two points to make here though. If it’s a glitch, patch it, and try to catch it before release next time. If it’s just one class got more love than another during game creation, get better playtesters.

Of course, that advice doesn’t actually help fix the current issue.  So, rather than taking away the power of the class or classes that are too powerful, consider adding something to the weaker classes so they become up to snuff. This may not always be possible due to power creep across all classes as they keep getting jacked up, but if it’s done well, it shouldn’t come to that point. It’s much nicer to give a cookie than to take away a cookie.

Constant tweaking can lead to a more balanced game, but if it’s done on the whims of the players, you can bet it will turn into the players begging for more and more power. Not all players, mind you, but enough so there is constant pressure on the game company to cater to the players who are, in fact, paying them every month and expressing displeasure with their product. In order to make a good game and keep it good, game companies need to be able to take the heat and make good calls on balance despite the pressure coming from their player base. The other issue with constant tweaking is an inability to become familiar with the rules of the game, since they are always changing.

4) The “Don’t Do That Rules”
I hear this is particularly a problem in WoW, but it plagues many games in one form or another. If the game lets you do it, there shouldn’t be a penalty for doing it, nor a social stigma attached to it. The concept of kill stealing is stupid. If the designers don’t want it to happen, they should fix the game so it can’t! New area in the game that shouldn’t be accessible yet? Don’t make it accessible. Better yet, don’t even put it on the server! Want shops open only in specific places? Don’t make it possible to open them anywhere else! If it’s doable without hacking the game, it should be legal. There’s no reason the designers can’t patch away bugs they don’t like and program the game to run the way they want it to. They are getting 10-15 dollars a month from every subscriber to maintain the game after all. So maintain it! Don’t make “don’t do that rules” to compensate for the fact the game isn’t programed how you want it to be programed.

5)  Everything Is Stored on a Remote Server
If the server goes down, you can’t play. If the server goes down permanently, you lose all progress you ever made and the game is no longer playable. There is no way for you to back up your progress, or restore it if it is lost. You have no control over how the data is protected, and if they lose your progress, you have no way to get it back, unless they trust you’re telling them the truth. Even then, they may have policies against giving out xp and gear to make up for lost characters, since it’s a common scam. In short, you keep your progress at their whim, and there isn’t much you can do to protect it.

These are the things that keep me from playing mmorpgs for too long a period of time. The money sink is far and away the biggest reason, but all of these are issues I have with the genre. I know there are free mmorpgs out there, and I’ve tried a few. Some make fun diversions for a short time, but as xp dries up, I tend to lose interest quickly. I’m just not a fan of the grind either.

Related posts:

Comments are closed.

© 2021 Gaming My Way | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

GPS Reviews and news from GPS Gazettewordpress logo