The State of MMORPGs - End of an Era

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I'm glad that the trendy era is over. It means less people will try to mimic World of Warcraft. And there will less gimmicky clones trying to get in on the industry and more honest attempts at making good MMORPGs. Or so I want to think.

I have to say that I liked the MMORPG trend better than the First Person Shooter trend, because I like MMORPGs better than first person shooters.

I think that MMORPGs are far from dead. The industry is merely simmering and hopefully cooking up something good. Project Titan? Also, the era is far from dead in South Korea.

The last MMORPG I played is Tera.

Am I still playing it? Not right now, I'm taking a small break. Though it keeps nagging at me that I don't have +12 Visionmaker and every day that I don't play my friends are getting close. And probably wondering what in the heck happened to me.

The MMORPG I have spent the most time on is undoubtably Final Fantasy XI. I played that game upon American release and stuck with it for several years. It is a legendary game. And deserves much more fame than it has.

- Are you looking forward to any new MMORPG?
INNOVATION. AND DITCHING THE MUD FORMULA.

I want a graphical MUSH in my MMORPG, not as much a MUD. I'm a huge roleplayer and I get sick of the same old grind.

I want something new and innovative, something that turns the genre on its head while still having some of the same things I love. All of the cutesy East Asian stuff like the catgirls and the Elin, and the Mithra and the Tarutaru. All of that Final Fantasy and Korean type stuff. That's great.

What I'm sick of is the same old gameplay. And perhaps take more cues from both jRPGs and wRPGs. These are all RPGs, after all. Why not more Chrono Trigger and Elder Scrolls? Why not more Witcher and Dark Souls and Tales of Vesperia in an MMORPG? I want different. I want new. I want innovation. And while innovation isn't always great. MMORPGs desperately need it. They've been so painfully samey for so many years.

Or wait, you were asking for a specific game. I'm going to play Blade and Soul and Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn when they are released. If they're at least decent, I enjoy the East Asian aesthetic choices in both games.

4RM3D:

VanQ:
- What is the last MMORPG you have played?
I got into the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn closed beta.

- Are you still playing it?
No, but I can't state why because it's still under non-disclosure.

I have played the original beta (FF XIV version 1.0 0.1). That was a huge disappointed. A half finished game with a myriad of trouble and bugs. Also, give a jump button, damn it! The game came out way too earlier. At least the monthly subscription was put on hold. Anyhow, Final Fantasy XI was much better.

PS. Also why was Final Fantasy XI not called Final Fantasy Online (and FFXIV FF Online 2)? It makes no sense whatsoever to call it XI. It was a stupid decision, IMO.

I think I can say this much. If you're hoping for Final Fantasy XI 2 then you will be sorely disappointed. I hope you like World of Warcraft.

EstrogenicMuscle:
I'm glad that the trendy era is over. It means less people will try to mimic World of Warcraft. And there will less gimmicky clones trying to get in on the industry and more honest attempts at making good MMORPGs. Or so I want to think.

I wouldn't bet on it. WoW is still very much an industry trendsetter. You can expect to see it heavily influence the genre for another 10+ years.

As for clones...no one has even come close to "cloning" WoW. At best they have superficially aped it, and utterly failed to capture the essence of what made it successful almost every single time. At best they were poor imitations. There were also a lot of attempts to re-invent the wheel, nearly all of which were rejected by the players.

I really do hope we see some sandbox MMOs that really try and upset the apple cart and take the genre in startling new directions, but I don't expect to see it any time soon. Why? There's no proven business model. MMOs are comically expensive. Even the lower end ones are awfully pricey. It would be extremely difficulty, to, say, kickstart an MMO. You can't just chase a niche, not if you want someone to actually fund the fucking thing.

What do you think of the state of MMORPGs these days?
Not many worth to play to be honest. Too many clones, and the ones that try new things(like GW2) end up not being much fun.

- What is the last MMORPG you have played?
LOTRO

- Are you still playing it?
Yes. Been playing it for the past two-three years. Taking a break at the moment due to the last expansion being dull and extremely grindy. Not sure if it's gonna be a permanent break or not, but it's been two months and I still don't feel like playing. Logging in once in a while, though it's not any lengthy sessions.

- Which MMORPG have you spend the most time on?
WoW. Played it on and off for five or six years. Quit after Cataclysm because no friends played anymore and it just sucked all around. Could never stand that awful community and after the LFG tool it got worse than ever.

- Are you looking forward to any new MMORPG?
Not really. Elder Scrolls Online might be intresting, but I'm a bit sick of MMOs in general atm. If I start playing daily again it would be LOTRO.

- What is the last MMORPG you have played?
WoW, and before that GW2
- Are you still playing it?
yes to WoW, no to GW2. personally i didn't find much enjoyment in GW2, and i love the PVP in WoW. in fact it was my distaste for GW2 pvp that i resubbed
- Which MMORPG have you spend the most time on?
again, WoW, by far. i always go back to it when i get bored of other games/need a time filler
- Are you looking forward to any new MMORPG?
not really. i look forward to new patches and expansions though. ES:O doesn't really interest me that much, but i may change my tune once it has been released and i get a proper look at it.

as for the general state? tbh not fantastic. the ones that exist are going pretty strong, but newcomers have to compete with that existing market, and - especially with subscription based models - it is hard to pry non-MMO players into that style of game, and payment style. then to convert the existing MMO players presents a new challenge in getting them to play something other than what they are already playing.

4RM3D:
What do you think of the state of MMORPGs these days?

To be honest, I don't really know. I only really play one mmorpg.

4RM3D:
- What is the last MMORPG you have played?

LaTale, the OGPlanet version

4RM3D:
- Are you still playing it?

Yes, I am still actively playing it and enjoying it. It doesn't feel like a "clone" of any other game to me, and I find it legitimately enjoyable to play. I just wish it didn't take so long for us to get updates after the korean version though, and they really need more translators on their GM team. (It's a 2D side-scroller by the way)

4RM3D:
- Which MMORPG have you spend the most time on?

LaTale by far, as I started back in 2008, and am still playing even now, although I did take some mid to long breaks inbetween that big chunk of time.

4RM3D:
- Are you looking forward to any new MMORPG?

Not really, MMORPGs are a big timesink, and I don't really want to be bogged down by more than one, especially if I am legitimately enjoying the one that I am playing. I am looking forward to the Season 2 update for LaTale that will change everything for the better though.

I've had similar thoughts to OP in recent times, largely because of the lack of success of most other MMORPGs since Wow.

I think what we're really waiting for is a shift in the design paradigm. I was really excited for Guildwars 2, I followed it's progress for a long time, years in fact, and was left quite disappointed.

What really needs to occur is movement away from the old skillbars, Diablo HUD and looting/questing systems that are the case for almost every MMORPG currently out there. Most of these games seem to be unsatisfying in the way the player engages with the environment.

I believe that a focus on action-based combat and new methods of character development will reinvigorate the genre. There aren't too many which seem to be doing that so far, but I saw an interesting example that is definitely in the right direction: http://www.wildstar-online.com/uk/

I think this game still looks too similar to current MMOs but the combat seems to have an aspect which hasn't been explored hugely in the current generation.

I'd like to hope that MMORPGs aren't done yet, as I've had some awesome times on them with my friends and would like to have some in the future too.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention. TOO MANY MENUS!!! MMO developers need to lose as many as possible as it break immersion hugely.

I probably won't be playing any more MMOs until some developer realizes some very important things and makes a game that:

1. Doesn't invest money into creating some generic Good Vs. Evil or Faction vs. Faction or other generic storyline. Instead, developers should realize that the players can create more interesting stories than any wall of text questline, because it feels infinitely more real and important to the player.

For example, if a game turned on player vs. player combat and full loot across the world, your environment and playstyle becomes immediately more important.

Let's say you walk into a dungeon, but the monsters inside are too tough for you. You meet up with another player just outside the dungeon and team up with them. You fight your way together all the way to the bottom, defeat a big bad boss, and open a treasure chest. Inside is a +5 sword of awesome that you both want. You disagree on who gets to keep it, and one player hits the other and a fight to the death begins for the sword. This is just one example.

2. Recognize the importance of new content and plenty of endgame for the players. This can be achieved through procedurally generated content, randomized events, long-term goals of actual relevance, or even through releasing a game toolset to the players and allowing them to generate content that might make it into the game.

Neverwinter is trying this last one, but we have yet to see how it will be adapted and whether their approach will work out.

3. Innovating combat systems. I'm talking about moving past things like hotkey mashing games like WoW where half your screen is filled up by hotkeys, many of which you may not need to use for hours or days of gameplay. Furthermore, games like Guild Wars 2 would have been substantially more fun if they had simply dropped the targeting system entirely.

Imagine a melee combat system like the one used in Mount and Blade, except expanded beyond the 4 direction combat. Or imagine drawing symbols in the air with your mouse in order to cast spells. Really, there's plenty of room for imagination in gameplay, something that would have benefited the endless WoW clones.

- What is the last MMORPG you have played?

The only one I've ever played is Runescape. I did really like it at the time and played it a lot for a few years but it got to the stage where leveling up was taking far too long and I'd done the vast majority of the quests that don't have ridiculous requirements. Also exams were coming up so I stopped.

- Are you still playing it?

As I just said, no.

- Which MMORPG have you spend the most time on?

...guess.

- Are you looking forward to any new MMORPG?

I'm actually considering getting FFXIV when it is re-released depending on how it works. Do you have to pay a regular fee even after you buy the game, ala FFXI? Cus if so then forget it.

What do you think of the state of MMORPGs these days?

I think it's a good thing that the developers are at least trying to innovate the genre with combat mechanics, engaging storylines and gameplay. There are still tons of 'wow clones' out there, sure - but at least they're not all trying to become the new smash hit like WoW became by copying the basics and splashing on a fresh paintjob.

- What is the last MMORPG you have played?

Guild Wars 2

- Are you still playing it?

No. I'm thinking of getting back into it, though.

- Which MMORPG have you spend the most time on?

Most probably WoW. Back when it came out, the game was almost like a mythical thing for me and my group of friends (I was 8-10 at the time), we had never heard nor played something like it. Didn't get to play the actual game until late Burning Crusade. And I was truly awestruck by it.
When I think back at my time with the game, I spent most of the time leveling/deleting my characters (at a painfully slow pace) and never experienced much of the raid-content. So I probably played the game wrong, I guess :/
Lots of hours wasted. But I enjoyed it.
Can't seem to get back into it, now. Probably because I'm stuck on a server I hate and can't be arsed to pay 20 euros for a server transfer, and the game has kinda lost it's charm as well, in my opinion.

Also spent a considerable amount of time on the f2p version of Runescape in middle school.

- Are you looking forward to any new MMORPG?

The Elder Scrolls Online looks interesting enough.
It's a shame THQ decided to scrap Warhammer 40K: Dark Millenium before they went bankrupt. That game looked very promising.

Was huge into WoW until 4 or 5 months after Cataclysm.
We had defeated all raids lots of times and I got out whilst I could (3rd best guild on server).

Now I am looking forward to the 31st of the month: Neverwinter beta opens!
Other than that: boooo MMO's, they're nasty in nature with their evil grinding.

Currently MASSIVELY enjoying Dragon Quest: Journey of the Cursed King!

bananafishtoday:
*snip*

Ah, Ragnarok Online, my first true MMO. Your story brings back memories.

That Hyena Bloke:

4RM3D:

- Guildwars 2 was fun for a while, but the player base has dropped rapidly.

What are you talking about? I'm seeing more players on my server than ever before, and I haven't found a source for this sort of claim, only biased articles that used quote mining to misrepresent AreaNet's statements.

4RM3D:

And while on the subject:
- What is the last MMORPG you have played?
- Are you still playing it?
- Which MMORPG have you spend the most time on?
- Are you looking forward to any new MMORPG?

- GW2
- Yes
- WoW
- No

The population of GW2 is very large.... if your doing fractals. Outside of fractals its not that populated. Arenanet made the rather disappointing choice to take the original 8 separate dungeon endgame they had, and instead funnel everyone to 1 dungeon by adding another gear tier of items for it after claiming they wouldn't make there game a gear treadmill. They also broke their promise to not force people to being able to play however you wanted and still have a chance to be equally geared as people who chose to play other ways. To not penalize people's preferences for doing what they enjoyed when playing the game. That you can get max gear by crafting, open world exploring, dungeons or WvW.

Between that and choosing to not allow players to be identified by the opposite servers in WvW made it feel rather meaningless. You could neither make a name for yourself, or develop rivalries with your enemies. Fun for a bit, but feels hollow real fast.

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