Hello, I'm sorry for the wall of text… I'm aware this is pointless in the end, but I've always been one to enjoy a good conversation and in the midsts of week-end boredom, I have been struggling to find a game that can keep a hook on me, one that can become of such importance which would actually make me enjoy pouring all my available hours into, but I can't seem to find one and it's always the same reasons, the same suspects.
If you want to join in, hear me out, otherwise please close this page
I got thinking a bit (I know, thinking is bad) and in my mind I tried to compare MMORPGs of today, to what I like to call "one-shot multiplayer games" like Apex, Fortnite, League (and alike) relative to the audience of today.
What I mean by the audience of today, in my opinion is divided into three big categories:
- The new generation of gamers, kids basically
- The older generation of gamers, those who grew up when MMO was being massively popularized (and older, which I don't think fall into any specific variables)
- Everyone in between, so those you are akin to both ends of the spectrum, but that can't find any particular place to call home
Now, these three categories matter in my opinion because there's a pletora of variables that might end-up making one particular category fall into a genre of multiplayer games rather than another one, and I think these are the variables that dictate how and why the industry is steering or being steered a certain way and in pinpointing this maybe having an idea as to a reason why some genres, in this case MMORPGs are slowly seeping through death.
The core of this is that all categories have one common variable: time! Time dictates which genre which person will play what. I think the truth behind this is that most people nowadays don't have much time, and as you might imagine this is the biggest reason (besides marketing) why one-shot mp games are so popular today and have been growing hard since.
Neither kids or adults have much time on their hands (excluding the obvious niches) so one-shot games have the highest level of direct and fastest player satisfaction, by design of "one button play", you can start a game with everything at your disposal and be it even a 40 minute game at the end: satisfaction, which results in "let's do one more game" and this is blasted on repeat.
Now this in and of itself is kind of idiotic in my opinion, because besides people who ACTUALLY don't have time, most people just COMPLAIN about not having much time, and would spend like an entire evening after work, or after school, or even half a day of free-time spamming games, sure, it might be a matter of preference, obviously anyone has an opinion and anyone can do whatever they like, but why aren't MMORPGs being considered by these people?
One reason is what I just explained, but why else? So I thought a bit more and I think I came up with two ideas that could be valid, the biggest one being
- MMORPGs feel like a job
I'm sure this has been said a lot, and I think it's actually true, grinding today isn't leading to much satisfaction for most people, and I say this as an avid MMORPG player, a completionist myself as well. It just feels like a chore, end-game today is very stale or badly produced. Two of the biggest cases I've thought of are WoW and FFXIV.
WoW is still regarded as the best MMORPGs of today, which is solely driven by the reason that everything's that good in WoW other games don't have, pretty obvious reason considering WoW has been around for more than a decade, but it's not enough and considering the game's going through a series of changes that never seem to appease to the majority of veteran players, it's held on a high standard and "passion thinking" but it's really never "the choice" for most people looking at these games, so intrinsically why would anyone bother grinding a new character, to just then reset constantly? Also the leveling is atrocious, so new players are faced with the "I waste time on this shit daily or I pay 50€ and then I just wasted money"
FFXIV on the other end has picked up a lot of momentum, most of it is by the niche of players who play because of its name and universe and appeal (I'm looking at weebs) and generally by its casual gamestyle, I'm sure this will be a contented opinion, but it truly is a casual MMORPG. This being said the main opposition for this game is that the "new player experience" is atrocious (and I've talked to a lot of XIV veteran players who also agree) and this is mixed with lack of class (or "job") depth which results into a spiraling vortex of bland repetition. Rinse and repeat, "why would I waste time going through 50 levels of absolute boredom, with literally 3 buttons to press on a cycle, to get then 10 more useless buttons and figure out a class in 3 hours and then have it just be another cycle, within game content that is also on repeat?"
Now, this point in and of itself has one CORE issue: communities. MMORPGs are by DEFINITION not games you should be playing alone, they can! But they shouldn't!
I can't quite figure out if most players just don't want to find communities, because they prefer going it alone, or because communities just don't appear, like they don't get created, or maybe there's just a few and those become big and infested with shit.
So to combat this, companies have been adapting games for solo-casual play, which in the end results in all I've explained above, as in MMORPGs feel like jobs. They could feel a lot better if you had a big group of friends to play, and I'm sure those who do have one DISAGREE entirely with me on this, which only reinforces what I'm saying, unless you're someone who really enjoys playing alone, I'm totally positive most people confused with MMORPGs just can't enjoy them because they are playing alone. Something you can do in one-shot games, but not here.
- The industry is scared of MMORPGs
Another reason is that the industry is leading people away from MMORPGs, even tho there's is a major itch within it for more games of that genre. Young players are being funneled to these games, which in return only makes them more popular, spreading like a virus, and every time there is a hint at other genres, like MMORPGs, there is always a TSUNAMI of negative things that are said, which in return makes them less appealing, besides all of the negatives I argued about earlier.
There have always been the "COD" kids, I was one myself, played every day, all day COD, COD, COD… but eventually I got into WoW and then it was only WoW, WoW, WoW. Today it can't be like this, because of all these issues, games like WoW don't have a clear path and since the industry again, is so afraid of MMORPGs they try to milk AS MUCH money as they can, by using content-wall tactics, to make people stay more in the game before they can get their carrot and your usual microtransactions, it even gets as bad as FFXIV selling "content skip" so that you can avoid playing a FORCED SET of quests put there before every expansion that you MUST play to enjoy something new. (this if you aren't up to date already)
Why do people prefer one-shot games really?
To me they look like transient games with no actual, hard earned value… can we consider skill part of this? Getting better at it is part of the value of the game?
Why do people today prefer playing unilateral characters, with preset abilities outside of a sandbox of exploration and decision-making that you can do by yourself?
Do people just not care to develop a story WITHIN the game rather than OUTSIDE the game anymore?
Are MMOs dead?
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