Lost Rambling

Lost has a lot of potential, but doesn’t apply himself.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Maybe Dear MMORPG Industry?

Let me start with quoting two other blogs, which I hope will help bring out my closing point(s).

From Jeff Freeman:
Tabletop RPG

"So I’ll backpedal a bit and apologize to Open Source advocates for saying ‘Open Source’ is killing the tabletop RPG market. It’s not Open Source, it’s this "let’s put all of our eggs in my basket"-strategy of the Open Gaming license. I’m sure it was good for the Player’s Handbook sales in the short-term to convince potential competition to make content for the d20 system, but in the long-term it’s bad for the entire tabletop RPG industry to produce content for a single product.

There are times when I fear the MMORPG industry is following the same path: making tanker/nuker/healer, level-n-class based systems that are all essentially the same game with a fresh coat of paint."

From Grouchy Gnome:
Casual Games Kill Hardcore Gamers

"Before I played an MMORPG with many casual elements, I didn’t care about them one bit. I was happy to type a line of text to examine an item, I was happy to type [a question] to NPCs to advance a quest, I was happy to sketch crappy maps on a notebook to get around, and I was happy to keep a spreadsheet to tell me what I had to do for the many quests I was on.

Now you may look at that and say, "no, you are stupid GG, those are not elements of a casual game. Those are, in fact, inconveniences that have been eliminated from MMOGs, and for good reason." Well, you might not state it exactly that way, but it’s a valid argument. I just disagree with it.

Casual games take the tedium out of everything you do. They make finding quest givers convenient, travel simple, they even the odds between skilled min/maxers and less experienced players. All the elements of convenience and simplicity combined make a casual game."

Part of a response that Grouchy Gnome made after other responses:

"Because the convenient features are just too convenient. When you know you can achieve the same "uberness" in a more casual game with significantly less investment, it reduces your drive to play the games that require the huge investment to become uber. The same thing with features. Now that I’ve played games that tell me where the next piece of a quest happens to be and has a journal showing me what I’ve done so far, I can’t go back to games that don’t include those features."

Whew.... with all that quoted out of the way, you might be scratching your head and asking what do these two topics have in common and why am I writing about it? (Even if you didn’t I’m still going to humor myself in thinking someone is going to read or care that I’m writing this.)

In my last post Dear MMORPG, I tried to touch on the infatuation period that is at the beginning of most MMORPG "relationships" which may mask some of the underlying problems that are there from the start (this also covers nerfs to a degree, since a nerf that creates problems in the relationship was already a problem in the first place in the overall game). "Hardcore" games tend to mask these problems longer with their complexity in driving the gamer in finding a way to over come them. I contend that casual games don’t kill hardcore players, it is the standard rock/paper/scissors, level-n-class, item driven systems that kill hardcore players. Casual game features are the flowers everyday that keep the relationship going despite the acknowledgment by the player that there is a problem in the first place. Which is the true reason that hardcore gamers are killed off. Casual games simply offer better relationship (albeit it is still flawed) than the hardcore games do, because while the player knows that it is flawed, they also know that the cost could be worse.

So in closing, maybe "Dear MMORPG" should have been "Dear MMORPG Industry" and written more suited to meet it’s name.


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