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Skittles
Premium
join:2011-03-31

MMO retention

This is (again) copy pasta from one of the blogs I read:
»thenoisyrogue.wordpress.com/

Very interesting views:

Nils is posting again, and he has a post today concerning the nature of MMOs and those who play them. Specifically, those who play MMOs are people who have time to dedicate to their hobby. A lot of time. Nils gives an age grouping of 10-28 year olds as being the demographic which should be targeted by game developers. After that people just don’t have enough time to invest in an MMO.

I absolutely agree with this, and the further reasoning that MMOs have gone downhill fast since game designers tried to retain players with less time on their hands. Witness the evolution of an MMO that is in actual fact a single player game with a lot of people playing it at the same time. The dungeon finder looking for group option was the first nail in the coffin for this from WoW a few years ago. A bunch of us saw the writing on the wall when that was introduced. The dumbing down of the product was not designed to attract new players; it was designed to try and keep players that were leaving due to not having the time to grind.

And it has worked – WoW’s core numbers have remained steady for the past two years. But the result has been a complete regression in MMO game design. Short-cuts in the game go directly against what an MMO is about. Time is the great leveller in playing an MMO – the more time you put in the better your character will be. This then promotes loyalty to the game, and will guard against players jumping ship from one MMO to another. All short-cuts do is weaken the ability of the game to hold players long term. And a game becomes an endless rehash of old ideas as designers struggle to put out new content that will be chewed through at a relentless pace by players addicted to the instant gratification of short-cut MMOs. Only a game like WoW has been able to stay in front of the curve, due to them having a solid background of money and staff from the glory days of that game. The ultimate example of instant gratification is the cash shop. The cash shop is the polar opposite of investing time in an MMO.

The key concept of an MMO is community, and community is formed when players must work together. Community is strengthened by players not being able to hide; if you prove yourself to be an idiot, a thief, a liar, or a troublemaker then the community will ostracise you. The option of being able to pay to have a character renamed as well as cross-realm LFG finders destroy this method of self-policing. Include time with community and you build a very strong core that players are loathe to abandon as they have so much invested in the game. Witness an event such as the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj. Something similar would just not be possible in today’s world of MMOs. Which reveals the fact that nothing happening in today’s games is memorable. This is only logical, as how can something designed to be chewed through by players hooked to the instant gratification monkey be memorable?

Time invested builds community through interaction with other players which builds relationships and memories. Founded and followed on these principles an MMO can build a core strength of players with emotional attachments and investments in the game. It is difficult in today’s MMO market to think of a game which is doing just this.


Rhenai

join:2010-09-07
Elkhorn, NE
kudos:1
This just validates what the majority of the posters here have noted is in jeopardy - the community spirit.

While I obviously don't have a good solution to this, it's reassuring that we are not the only ones commenting on this, it gives me a reaon to believe that - maybe - there will be action taken to try to add more points in the game to help reaffirm the need for a good community, and positive ways to help solidify the community.
--
“Amor Fati – “Love Your Fate”, which is in fact your life.”


Caelharrad

join:2012-04-13
Fenton, MO
reply to Skittles
said by Skittles:

...those who play MMOs are people who have time to dedicate to their hobby. A lot of time. Nils gives an age grouping of 10-28 year olds as being the demographic which should be targeted by game developers. After that people just don't have enough time to invest in an MMO...

Hmmm... I started playing WoW when I was 38, I'm 41 now... am I an outlier? Perhaps it is true that your average 19-year-old can afford to play an MMO for 3-4 hours a day, 5-6 days per week. However, I hardly think it is good game design if that were to be the expected time commitment in order for your character to make decent progression. As your average "grown-up" with a wife, 3 kids, and a job, I play WoW maybe 2-3 times during M-F (about 1-2 hours apiece), with maybe another 4-5 hours of playtime on the weekend. Does that make me a slacker?
...
I see the point of the post Skittles quoted; I just disagree that Blizz's decision to "re-calibrate" the game so that you could make decent progress in 10 hours playtime per week, as opposed to 30 hours per week, is leading to the slow death of WoW, the degradation of the community, etc.


Immer
Gentleman
Premium
join:2010-01-07
Evans, GA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Comcast
you know... Friends and Seinfeld were very successful sitcoms. Sitcoms didn't die when those 2 shows ended. The shows just came to an end. The copycat sitcoms didn't kill them, either. The viewing audience collectively decided that pretending to watch "reality shows" was more interesting than the Sitcom. With the juggernauts gone... any sitcom can do okay, but none will be Friends or Seinfeld. The new regime is American Idol, Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones.

WoW is THE MMORPG. It has no rival. When it finally stops, it will be because the customer base will have moved away from MMORPGs of the WoW archetype. Maybe its TiTAN... maybe something we haven't seen yet, who knows?
--
Intelligence is no substitute for Character.


Skittles
Premium
join:2011-03-31
reply to Caelharrad
Yes Cael you are an outlier, but if I may offer any comfort, so am I. Started at 36 and Im 43.

But, while some of that post has it stumbling blocks, I believe the poster is right. Convenience given to us as a means to expidite gameplay and thereby "make the most of your time" has eroded the purpose of an MMO and devolved the community aspect of the game. It has changed what WoW is.
WoW falls under the MMORPG category but I think it would be foolish to call it that now. We have, as one poster put in on the forums (I liked his phrasing, so I will use it here), that WoW has become a single player game played with millions of other players that are essentially nothing more than NPCs that occassionally sling racial slurs in tradechat.
Yes, I believe WoW has fallen a great deal, and I do not arrive at this from looking at recent subs decline.

Nayan3

join:2012-08-15
Melbourne, FL
kudos:1
reply to Skittles
I'm an over 40 gamer (and a female to boot!) and while I may have a bit more time to play than others my age I agree with what Skittles stated. WoW was a wonderful game with a great community and I enjoyed my time there very much. I just left a month ago and I am unsure if I'll ever go back. Even the guild I was in never wanted to do anything together. It's really sad what it's become but I think it's a bit too late to fix it and I'm not even sure they can at this point.


Phantasee

join:2009-08-27
Hammond, LA
reply to Caelharrad
Well said. I think the above blog makes a few valid points but I still think that Blizzard knows the market far better than your average blogger.


Phantasee

join:2009-08-27
Hammond, LA
reply to Skittles
Then again I agree true adventure MMO's like Everquest were far superior to the current MMO model because of the feel of success. A true adventure doesn't feel great if you can do it over night. So the blogger does make a valid point.

Modern MMO's are watered down to accommodate the current demographic.

Khalandil

join:2009-10-22
Fairbanks, AK
reply to Skittles
This has been a hot topic of mine for quite some time, since the introduction of the LFR system. So why is it that blizzard refuses to respond to what appears to be the outcry of so many other players? I guess it's all about the bottom line, at the cost of gamers like me?

Someone needs to realize that this game cannot appeas the masses, without consequence. It's okay that everyone doesn't play WoW, we were doing great in BC.

Myself included, I felt the greatest achievments I've had were some damn grind out instances. The one inparticular was crafting the leather agi shoulders for my one an only level 70 rogue. I must have spent months an upwords or 12,000 gold gathering the mats for those, not including the countless hours spent farming motes. An I will forever remember that particular time in my gaming history.


Ghastlyone
Premium
join:2009-01-07
Las Vegas, NV
kudos:5
reply to Skittles
Last time I raided and had a subscription was June 2011.

Blizz gave me 10 days of game time, which I used this last December. I was amazed at how far the community had fallen in a year and a half. It's a complete cess pool now.


Immer
Gentleman
Premium
join:2010-01-07
Evans, GA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Khalandil
said by Khalandil:

This has been a hot topic of mine for quite some time, since the introduction of the LFR system. So why is it that blizzard refuses to respond to what appears to be the outcry of so many other players? I guess it's all about the bottom line, at the cost of gamers like me?

yes, the bottom line. While there is a very vocal portion of the community that loathes LFR/LFD, if they were the majority there would be change. They are not. Even if all of the decline from 12million to 8million could be attributed to LFD... it would still not constitute the majority of the player base. We've run out of the hardcore grinders that WoW stole during Everquest. The new gamers wouldn't put up with Everquest (heck, they barely tolerate dailyquest!).

said by Ghastlyone:

It's a complete cess pool now.

from what I've seen since BC... the cess pool was always present/pervasive. Moving off a dying PVP server greatly improved my love for the game.
--
Intelligence is no substitute for Character.

pandora
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
kudos:2
Reviews:
·ooma

1 edit
reply to Skittles
I read both the OP article and the link from that article to it's source (which has yet another link which I read).

The target audience assumption appears to have some merit. Using an under 28 or under 24 target would probably cost WoW half it's audience, and would have aged off virtually all it's players over it's current life. The assumption seems reasonable, but is flawed.

Lets take a look at WoW.

Blizzard had experience with online MMO's, and was able with previous lore to build upon it to create World of Warcraft. There were prior games with weaker play, smaller worlds, and less capable graphics.

Blizzard took advantage of broadband expansion across not only the U.S. but the world in a way no other MMO company has been able to.

Blizzard added increasing depth, new professions, new talents, higher levels, new continents, and what not. Adding to interest and joy of game play. Allowing add ons in a sandbox was brilliant and only helped World of Warcraft.

I don't believe game mechanics, LFR, dungeon finder are a problem.

Basically the game hasn't changed much since BC, or arguably maybe WoLK. Class capabilities are constantly twinked, but the game keeps piling up dead areas. 95% of World of Warcraft is dead space. 95% of quests will never be done, as they are outdated. Almost any new toon is outfitted with heirlooms and leveled to 90 quickly via dungeon finder.

Power leveling of any profession at 90 is relatively easy. The auction house charges a lot to auction a refined product, but little for a raw material. This discourages posting of most non-high value items crafted. Except for glyphs, enchants and leather worker buffs which are very inexpensive to auction.

The graphics are dated, think about it, 5 or 6 face types, 5 or 6 hair styles, one height, one body build. Still no pupils, no blinking. The character configuration may have been acceptable 10 years ago, it is epic fail today.

Starting zones are mostly dead, few run around anywhere even with areas merged with multiple servers.

The graphics on World of Warcraft are stale, with 95+% of content dead, it's like ignoring a giant desert covering almost all of the world when anyone plays.

I don't think Blizzards bad graphics and atrocity of a character creation system would attract a young player today.

Blizzard has no idea how to re-invigorate old content, but can't discard it either. If anything it's slowly becoming the old people's MMO.

The triad of tank, healer and 3 dps was a fantastic idea, and worked very well. Sad news, I have played another game that doesn't have that triad, and it's more fun. Ninja of items on loot rolls, or party kills, or farming nodes is a constant problem, one that could easily be fixed by offering each player their own unique opportunity to receive rewards or allowing nodes to be farmed by any player, vanishing only to the player who farmed the node (for a while).

The problem with Blizzard is mostly dead content, mostly stale content, very bad character creation, limited character customization, expense per month, per expansion, and an inability to rethink the game. Supposedly one day Titan will solve this. I hope so. However the dead continents all around us when logging into WoW are evidence of what is wrong.

Finally the game is mostly focused on gear, you must get the best gear for the last expansion or the last patch, or your gear sucks. It's a never ending merry go round, and is based on raids, not LFR either. Casual players aren't going to spend the time, and suffer the constant grief, of running raids on the off chance they'll get something that will help them.

The game is stale, and Blizzard can't or won't spend the cash to really refresh it.

That said, Blizzard could do nothing, and milk World of Warcraft as a cash cow for at least a decade. Maybe that's why not much is done to address game fundamentals.
--
Congress could mess up a one piece jigsaw puzzle.


cat666

join:2013-04-26
reply to Skittles
The major issue with WoW is it's success.

In order to increase the games revenue, Blizzard had to push the game to a wider audience and the only way to do that was to dumb it down and make it appeal to more kids, and people who didn't have time for the community aspect.

There is no easy option though. If Blizz make the game too hard then they lose the casual players, and it's clear that hardcore MMO players alone won't keep Blizz in the revenue they are used to. No other MMO has hit the sheer volume of subs than WoW has, and thats down to the more casual players.

It's also a double edged sword as other developers are seeing WoW's success and try to emulate it, resulting in a flock of casual gamers but no actual community springing up. Look at RIFT and SWTOR, both pretty good games, but both failed as the community was dead. Both are now free to play in order to try to drum up the last dregs of the casual gamer, whilst WoW still flourishes.

uvray

join:2008-08-15
Fredericton, NB
Actually, Blizz did not have to push the game to a wider audience, it was gaining without a huge marketing push. Previous WC rts players, word of mouth and the "make love not warcraft" south park episode were driving numbers up better than any tv, internet or print advertisement could.

It was those people who came into the game and couldn't reach the top that were the squeaky wheel. Since their dev team was spending so much creating top tier content that virtually no one was seeing, it only made sense to grease the wheel. They've been greasing it exponentially since WotLK.

Very difficult to say if staying "hard" or "grindy" would have made the game last longer than it has or not. I suspect that people would have burned out with it by now anyway, easy or hard.

And to the community is a cess pool comment: I have never known WoW to not be this way in the 8 years I have played. Trade trolls, loot ninjas, racists, bigots, etc... have always been there. The only respite was within my guild (which coincidentally died about a month ago due to player burnout)


Carpie

join:2012-10-19
united state
kudos:5
said by uvray:

And to the community is a cess pool comment: I have never known WoW to not be this way in the 8 years I have played. Trade trolls, loot ninjas, racists, bigots, etc... have always been there.

Because this is the human society. Has nothing to do with WoW whatsoever.
--
Absölution -- 6/6 MSV, 4/6 HoF, 0/4 ToES, 1/12 ToT
Pride and Ego -- 6/6 MSV, 6/6 HoF, 4/4 ToES, 1/12 ToT


cat666

join:2013-04-26
said by Carpie:

said by uvray:

And to the community is a cess pool comment: I have never known WoW to not be this way in the 8 years I have played. Trade trolls, loot ninjas, racists, bigots, etc... have always been there.

Because this is the human society. Has nothing to do with WoW whatsoever.

There is a slight difference between eras but it is only very slight.

Back in Vanilla/BC and early WotLK if you wanted a dungeon/raid you grouped with people on your server. If you were a troll, ninja, racist etc. etc. then you soon got warned, booted, and your name blacklisted. We had a warrior called "Undeadhunter" and a shaman called "Shadowjam" which everyone knew to avoid as they were just more hassle than they were worth.

So yes, idiot players have always been a part of WoW, and online gaming in general however LFD, LFR and CRZ's have made it much easier for the scum of the Internet to troll and be annoying without fear of retribution.

That said I wouldn't want LFD or LFR to vanish just because of the behavior of these players. There are plenty of people who used the system correctly and these shouldn't be punished.


Immer
Gentleman
Premium
join:2010-01-07
Evans, GA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Comcast
granted, I was on a low pop PVP server... in BC I had a good name for myself as far as dungeon healer went... but I wasn't in a raiding guild until the end of BC. It was brutal trying to spam /trade for heroic dungeons... took forever. And once we got a tank an heals... you HAD to grab a rogue/mage or you'd risk wiping on the bigger trash packs. If you ticked off your CC or your tank... you were all stuck in the dungeon... spamming your guild/friendslist hoping to grab someone. Then you all had to run out, summon (hope the stone was not occupied by a 25m SSC/TK raid of the opposite faction.

In WotLK, we at least dumped the "you must have x class to run this dungeon efficiently". We still spammed /trade for about an hour to get groups to run a couple of dungeons. If you waited a little longer, you could get a group together to run a few dungeons back to back before disbanding.

LFD fixes both problems for the solo person seeking a dungeon and it also allows for a guild to knock out several quick dungeons without the flight time. It is the cess pool that was already present in the game that poisoned the good that is LFD. Same antidote exists for this poison that existed before LFD. Run with people you know, so you can kick trolls and a$$hats, and use LFD to your community's advantage.

The "I play alone" crowd was already hurting by the long waits in capital cities hoping for a dungeon run. They continue hurting themselves by abusing LFD/LFR. Blizzard has done what they can to mitigate, its up to the community to adjust.
--
Intelligence is no substitute for Character.


captokita
Premium
join:2005-02-22
Calabash, NC
reply to Skittles
Part of that though, is that it's an MMORPG - the RPG aspect is what I was interested in when I started playing. I never cared about raiding, or any of the end-game so much as the hardcore crowd. Hell, I didn't join a guild until just last year after playing for 5 or so years. Never did PVP, dungeons outside of small groups I could jump in with and such.

The changes made as far as LFD helped me get into more content I didn't get into before. I haven't done a single LFR yet, and am waiting on that til my hunter gets to level and hopefully I can get in a group with the guild to try it out. I have several 90s on other servers I've not tried with them either.

The biggest problem to me, is there are two different types of players, the casual, in it for the fun, players, like me, that don't care if a dungeon group wipes, doesn't care if the BG group loses, I'm there for FUN dammit. Yeah, I want to win/not wipe, but that's not the end-all-be-all of playing this thing. Then there are the overly-serious players, the ones that take this game far too seriously, and those are the ones that sling "You're all retarded!" in chat, and such. Mixing the two is bad.

If I could make a change, it would be a LFCR (casual raid), meaning that you don't need experience in doing them, sure it helps, but it's more a learning point, then have your LFHCR (hardcore raid) for the elites that think they know everything.

I want to see endgame content, I just don't want to put up with whining by assclowns.


stonhinge
Premium
join:2003-07-28
Topeka, KS
said by captokita:

If I could make a change, it would be a LFCR (casual raid), meaning that you don't need experience in doing them, sure it helps, but it's more a learning point, then have your LFHCR (hardcore raid) for the elites that think they know everything.

I want to see endgame content, I just don't want to put up with whining by assclowns.

If the elites that think they know everything are in LFR for gear, then they don't know everything. If they did, they wouldn't be in LFR.

You can ignore people like that, and the LFD/LFR system won't group you with them again.

If you just want to do things for fun, form a 10-man raid with people who think the same. Alternatively, join LFR as a group, thus reducing the number of slots possibly taken up by asshats.
--
When the ship lifts, all bills are paid. No regrets.


Taino

join:2010-10-15
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to Skittles
One thing that would probably help is Battle.net account wide ignore. If I ignore any one of your toons your whole account goes on ignore for my account. I don't need to know your account name or see it in my list. I'd be happy with asshat* letting me know all are blocked. I wonder how many of those on my ignore list are the same person. This would certainly eliminate the need for an addon like Friendshare resurrection which I use to keep the ignore list the same for all of my toons on a faction.


Immer
Gentleman
Premium
join:2010-01-07
Evans, GA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by Taino:

One thing that would probably help is Battle.net account wide ignore. If I ignore any one of your toons your whole account goes on ignore for my account. I don't need to know your account name or see it in my list. I'd be happy with asshat* letting me know all are blocked. I wonder how many of those on my ignore list are the same person. This would certainly eliminate the need for an addon like Friendshare resurrection which I use to keep the ignore list the same for all of my toons on a faction.

yes, pls. +1
--
Intelligence is no substitute for Character.


cat666

join:2013-04-26
reply to stonhinge
said by stonhinge:

If the elites that think they know everything are in LFR for gear, then they don't know everything. If they did, they wouldn't be in LFR.

Not strictly true.

I'm not elitist, but I like to think I know the fights pretty much inside out. Before entering LFR I've already read the tactics for the bosses we are doing, and like normal raiding, am normally able to nail the fight after a couple of plays through. Sure I sometimes die to stupid things, and I don't move fast enough, but I know why I'm dead, or why I failed and I apologize (like last night I ran too far from the wind in part 1 of ToT and pulled that giant).

I don't have the option of normal raiding, it doesn't fit into my schedule. I'd have much rather have done the fights on normal last night, but no guild wants a warlock who may or may not be able to make it Thursdays, and even then is only about for 2.5 hours. I'm also on a dead server which admitedly now actually has 1 serious Horde raiding guild, but again they don't want a part time raider, and if they did the server is probably full of people like myself who can't commit to a raiding scheudle.

I know what your getting at though, people in LFR can come across as elitist and scream and people when they get it wrong. Totally not my way, I usually explain the tactics and tell them where they went wrong so they know for the next attempt.


stonhinge
Premium
join:2003-07-28
Topeka, KS
yeah, I meant to have "elites" in quotes.


cat666

join:2013-04-26
said by stonhinge:

yeah, I meant to have "elites" in quotes.

I used to raid with a guy who was awesome, seriously awesome. whatever class he played he always did top DPS, or the best healing, or tanked perfectly. I used to love doing stuff with him as not only was the fight more likely to go smoothly, but I learned a lot just from watching him.

The trouble was he got far too elitist. It started with him telling others how to play there class and whilst a few pointers are fine, he was picking up every little mistake which got up peoples noses. At the end of the day as long as the role is filled to a certain level I don't care who is topping the meters. I play my warlock a little oddly, I know I could iron out a few creases and add another 5k to my DPS but I like playing the way I do and can't be bothered to "stat watch" or to throw out Rain of Fire constantly.

After that he started to berate randoms in PUG's or dungeons, or would whisper me bad mouthing other guildemates abilities. Usually without any merit at all, just because he could do it perfectly, he assumed everyone else could too.


Carpie

join:2012-10-19
united state
kudos:5
reply to cat666
said by cat666:

but no guild wants a warlock who may or may not be able to make it Thursdays, and even then is only about for 2.5 hours.

Disagree. RLs need people on backup lists to fill absences. Very important. If you were Ally, we'd have already had you in a 10man.
--
Absölution -- 6/6 MSV, 4/6 HoF, 0/4 ToES, 1/12 ToT
Pride and Ego -- 6/6 MSV 1/6H, 6/6 HoF, 4/4 ToES, 1/12 ToT


Immer
Gentleman
Premium
join:2010-01-07
Evans, GA
kudos:8
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by Carpie:

said by cat666:

but no guild wants a warlock who may or may not be able to make it Thursdays, and even then is only about for 2.5 hours.

Disagree. RLs need people on backup lists to fill absences. Very important. If you were Ally, we'd have already had you in a 10man.

+1
--
Intelligence is no substitute for Character.


cat666

join:2013-04-26
reply to Skittles
Thanks guys. I guess it might be worth a transfer to a busier server.


Carpie

join:2012-10-19
united state
kudos:5
Or faction change. Hellscream is a dirt bag anyhow. You don't want to be one of his subjects right now. Orgimmar will be no home for any race soon.
--
Absölution -- 6/6 MSV, 4/6 HoF, 0/4 ToES, 1/12 ToT
Pride and Ego -- 6/6 MSV 1/6H, 6/6 HoF, 4/4 ToES, 1/12 ToT


Taino

join:2010-10-15
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
My true home is Silvermoon. Who cares if that bloated tiny head giant shouldered windbag tosses everyone out of Orgrimmar. Lor'Themar for Warchief!!

If you look at Garrosh's character model from TBC to current it's clear he's a steroid abuser. Started heavy into them after the Fall of the Lich King campaign. I'll bet it had something to do with Tirion and all those ripped muscles. I'll bet it turns out that he's not being influenced by the Sha but by roid rage!


Carpie

join:2012-10-19
united state
kudos:5
Lol. Maybe then instead of a coup, all that is needed is an intervention.