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The MMO paradox

Discussion in 'Gaming Arena' started by nomotog, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. nomotog

    nomotog Cupcake-About-Town

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    Something I always found odd about MMOs is how at their core they have two mechanics that strongly disagree with each other. I'm talking about multi-player and leveling. Every MMO is by it's very name a multi-player game. That is where the second M comes from. One would assume the intent is for players to get together and play, but at the same time, most MMOs also include very long and very liner level systems that have the effect of segregating players. They make it hard to group with people who are different level then you and that cuts down the number of players you can play with.

    Now I find it odd that MMOs would employ these two conflicting systems as core mechanics. The thing I find stranger is that these two systems can be made to play nice in games like CoD MtG, ect. Most games in fact have ways to keep systems of progress out of the way of matchmaking. It's just that most MMOs don't do that. They tend to leave these systems in conflict.

    Any one else notice this?
     
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  2. Ro24

    Ro24 New Cupcake

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    It is an interesting conflict of interests. IMO though most MMOs foster a stronger sense of community than most other multi-player games. At least for me in every MMO I have played I developed a core group of people that I would play with an interact with every single time I logged on. Sure the leveling experience is often times solitary, but along the way you meet people and keep and playing with those people. Games like CoD just don't have that element for me. Sure you can play against people who a higher "level" than you, but levels don't really matter for anything other than appearances in those games.

    MMOs just have a much stronger sense of community for me. CoD is a game where you are unlikely to see the people you played, with or against, ever again.
     
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  3. nomotog

    nomotog Cupcake-About-Town

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    It's also kind of neat to look at how MMOs are trying to bridge these conflicts. The Sidekick system has made it's way around. Then you have GW adopting what is basically a empty level system. A rather extreme way to keep players connected.
     
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  4. Maddog Charlie

    Maddog Charlie Cupcake-About-Town

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    I agree, all too often you see the loudest/wildest/most agressive players 'taking' the lead in group situations with the kinda 'I know better than you' and 'Ive been playing since Beta' attitudes. Really those personalities need to reign it in a little and learn to foster the role of leadership for others. Often those personalities can overpower the rest of the group and people are less inclined to 'step up' and take the challenge of leading a group.

    How you fix this in game is difficult. You could have game devs restrict the group leader role for certain missions to a particular character type maybe. Or even maybe require leading a group as part of a quest line. Problem is players often get so tied up in their compulsion to 'win' they rarely take the time to fill a secondary role in a group.

    Sure its the natural order of things (Kinda virtual natural order where the loudest quick talking Axehole trumps the actual skills of leadership) so in creating these virtual worlds we created virtual leaders with perhaps no leadership skills at all, just a knack for BS and downtalking others. Ive been in a lotta groups where the 'leader' is the first to blame others for the failure of a mission rather than adopting a policy of 'hey anyone got a good idea and lets give it another shot, but with you in charge'.

    Id like to see Devs balance this dynamic by forcing people to play at least a semi-leader role in some way. Maybe restrict comms in a particular mission to 'only the leader can talk' during combat or something to at least give every player a chance to play as a leader once in a while. Cause its got to be worth higher levels assisting so downgrade their stats to the same as the leaders for the mission so long as they just assist and not drag the player through like they sometimes do. A reward for this kind of assistance would be good too.

    Sadly MMO's dont have a punishment for 'being an axehole' wheras in real life those bad leaders would get a punch on the nose somewhere along the way to slow them down a bit. So rewarding those that assist others in a closed secondary way would be good in my mind and would also encourage more people to play in groups rather than 'yeah I will play solo thanks and skip the aggro'.

    Disclaimer - yeah there are good leaders too, who often share the burden of command, foster group participation and encourage others in the development of their skills, but IMO the bad far outwiegh the good.
     
  5. Max

    Max New Cupcake

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    @nomotog: not in the slightest..once upon a time, a very few and very erm, insert negative adjective here, geeks like me used this as a way of sharing common interests, socialising across the globe, and communicating through the personnas we were RPing with..both ingame, MUDs at the time, and outside of it (PnP games, LPing, etc). Not for killing stuff, not under the guise of any a concept. Evolving to mainstream slowly entailed a larger and larger mass of people co-existing in systems conceptualised for the few (in sheer numbers i mean), it becoming a problem of course; If you are interested in history, you may check out the beginnings of UO..day one, everything died. We killed everything. See what i mean? :)
    Just too many of us..so..developers being as non-imaginative as they still are, they merely started adding more 'bosses' and less of anything else. Am over-simplifying of course, yet another side of this was that again once upon a time, WE were the content. Not the young gamers' shinies, or their achievementzzz..nor their gear score. We made and broke the content. An era that has almost died, and is continually beaten across the floor every time someone whines about all that reading in quests, or the lack of extra helpers, extra pointers, more exclamation marks, in-built threat meters, et al

    Now before you write all this and myself off, i ask you to consider..when was the last time YOU made the content?
     
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  6. nomotog

    nomotog Cupcake-About-Town

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    Did you ever have a day where you are not sure if you speak English anymore? I'm kind of getting the feeling that I might not have expressed my idea properly. Tell me. Do people get what I'm trying to say?

    (After editing that post over 6 times, I'm quite sure I have forgotten every rule of the English language. :S)
     
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  7. Maddog Charlie

    Maddog Charlie Cupcake-About-Town

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    LOL think i get you bud, just i think the cause runs deeper.

    Problem is with the MMO becoming an MmO is that the incentive to group is just not there. Its the reason (quoted 65%) reality 85% of people play solo, there is little reward for group participation or specifically helping others in a group scenario. Max nailed it with the reason, Devs need to keep their jobs so they dev for the majority which subsequently becomes success. The rewards for grouping need to be much more beneficial to encourage more of that activity.

    Nomo I agree with you there should be more ways to encourage grouping/matchmaking but the way of development has been to cater for the majority and as the player base has become more diverse, catering for every possible combination of group and avoiding exploits has just become too complex and too 'make or break' a game. Cause Im with you on the solving it problem, Devs need to fix it. Reward players for helping others, enable reputation rewards when you do charitable things in game, reward the facilitators of in game events not just the leaders, Reward repeated interaction between players to encourage deeper relationships.
     
  8. Maddog Charlie

    Maddog Charlie Cupcake-About-Town

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    An example.
    Take the Wildstar Central forum community, and the following as an example;

    40% of people are here cause their primary purpose is they wanna get in Beta
    25% of people are here cause they want and believe they can actually influence the game direction in the way they want the game to be.
    15% of people are here cause they actually use it as a part of their casual social calender
    10% of people are here cause they truely want to be an active part of the community and contribute their works.

    Now every person here could be a proportionate member of any of the above groups, so an activity to get them to work together is more difficult to organize. So you hold an Arkship event and for those who contribute well to the program, you reward them with a trip to it, right away you have turned some of the 'Beta only' crowd into more active contributors and set a positive example for the other groups.

    (Just my perception) but that is as example how I believe Carbine intend to encourage more group involvement and community in the game and balance out the mechanics. Although the EXACT mechanics Ive no idea what they have planned.
     
  9. nomotog

    nomotog Cupcake-About-Town

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    Ah I get it now. I was kind of looking at things a little to narrowly. I was talking about how the leveling system limits grouping, but there are a lot of other things that get in the way of grouping. Such as quests.
     

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