Friday, 2 October 2009

MMOs: Pacing

Psychochild opened a topic on Peaks and Troughs and the way modern MMO game design is aimed at making every moment exciting. He wonders if we've lost something.

The effect for me is that I'm tending to find the games more enjoyable but the people less enjoyable as things dumb down.
I miss most of the old school pacing mechanics because I think we've lost a lot of the social side of MMOs with the improved gameplay.

I was quite frustrated earlier this year how passive our guild members were in my WOW raid guild. No one would help recruit despite us repeatingly asking them to. It left me with the feeling people found it vaguely distasteful, as if the restaurant you eat a meal in asks you to wash up after.

Gameplay-wise things are getting better and better.

I can see it reaching the ultimate stage in SWTOR when I think I may simply turn off all chat channels and disable tells and just enjoy the storylines.

I do find myself however drawing away from that to more social games. Eve is social because it's scary to do anything alone outside of high sec although I'm in a solo cash-building phase for now. DDO is social because it's very old-school group-based play but I do find myself preferring characters that can solo on easier dungeon settings when I can't find or don't want a group.


  1. Well, one of the thing that has really changed over time is how the massive from MMO has simply lost its meaning. Nowadays, MMOs are about many players soloing on their end without ever communicating.

    It's certainly not massive by any good definition of the term.

    This leads to a playerbase who views social interaction as a choir rather than a a game feature and a playerbase who has no shame of acting like a jerk as there is no significant drawback in being unpopular.

    I don't think that what has been lost is due to trying to make "every moment exciting" but how we've also let all incentives to socialize slowly whither away as well.

  2. Which leads us to the endgame: single player games that you have to pay a subscription to play. (Very possibly SWTOR.)

    This does not sit well with me. Soloing, yes. Paying to play a game that offers no good reason to be online, not at all.

  3. Leaving highsec solo in EvE is only scary until you do it. Just limit your risk exposure. Hop in a T1 Cruiser and go pop someone. Or better yet get popped and you'll find losing ships is really not so scary at all. Also get in a corp you like. Eve is probably one of the worst solo MMOs and one of the best group play MMOs, particularly in PVP.

  4. I'm not soloing because I'm scared. I'm soloing because I don't spend a lot of time playing Eve at the moment.

    I've pootled around in low sec and null sec but basically you exchange isk for fun. At the moment I'm in an isk-building phase. So that's another reason.

    Eve is an extreme example of pacing. I expect at some stage to be in a hectic pvp situation where I lose ships by the truckload. I expect to have a ton of fun doing that. However for the time being I want to build myself up economically and that's pretty interesting too.

    Just about the only way a corp would increase my isk generation is by letting me in to farm officer spawns and they generally don't accept random new people to do that. Especially not smart-arses like me :-)