MMO devs have “killed a genre”, no truer words have ever been spoken

Genre is Dead

Red 5 Studios CEO, CCO and former World of Warcraft developer, Mark Kern has written a guest blog on MMORPG saying that making MMOs more accessible to casual players has killed the genre. Amen to that brother. I couldn’t agree more.

“As WoW grew in population, reaching ever more casual gamers, new expansions introduced even more refinements. Quest trackers were added, and xp was increased so that it was easier to level through all the old content to get to the “new stuff” of the expansion. Gear from the new expansions first quests made raid gear from previous expansions a joke. And the level curve became faster and faster until we reached a point where everyone is just in a race to get to max level, and damn everything else in between. Why care about level 20 gear when you would blow by levels so fast it was obsolete before you even logged off for the night?” he wrote.

And this is exactly why MMO players have tired of these games. It’s always a faceroll through dungeons to reach max level; it’s all about the end game content. Screw the quests. Because most players are sick of those uninteresting, unchallenging tasks to collect 12 heaps of goat poop and 15 twigs, for the NPC that no one can remember after they’ve left.  Rep farming and daily quests are tedious tasks, and at the dawn of a new expansion, everything you’ve done is obsolete. It never used to be that.

Developers have tried to remedy this with “new combat systems” and online stores flooded with vanity items, yet we remain unfulfilled. We’ve lost touch with the journey to max level, something which used to add great value to MMOs. We’ve lost that ultimate sense of accomplishment throughout the game. Even with vanilla WoW players still felt like they’ve earned everything they’ve acquired in the game, PvP players were skilled, revered as heroes. Something that has died out a long time ago.

“No wonder we have such a huge crowd of jaded and bored MMO players. Every MMO that follows the WoW formula is a trivial exercise, dominated by rote and convention, trading off the joy of the journey for a series of meaningless tasks. And when we race to the end, we expect some kind of miracle end-game that will keep us playing. It never does.”, said Kern.

It really never does, I’ve tried playing other MMOs after I left World of Warcraft and they rarely grip me for more than a couple of days. No matter how incredible the graphics or new the talent point system or fun the combat system. But will we ever be able to go back to the old ways of playing MMOs? I’m not sure we can. Developers are pressed to make as much money as possible and a hardcore MMO will simply not attract the same kind of numbers new MMOs do and therefore not survive in the cash driven industry of today.

“Players came in droves, millions of them. But at what cost? Sometimes I look at WoW and think “what have we done?” I think I know. I think we killed a genre.”

And that they have. Instead a new genre of free-to-play, appeal-to-the-masses MMOs has spawned. One which has lost the very essence of MMORPG gaming. One which has lost the role-playing, and replaced it with mindless grinding in a race to show off gear and currency.

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Author:Yolanda Green

I like bacon and games, and occasionally I say something coherent about it. I'm not old or cynical, and I'm not the Dork Knight. I AM SHE-RA! Wait, what?
  • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

    I don’t play MMOs though but Fetch Quest are the worst type of side quest ever imaginable, I Realized over the weekend, It’s not that I don’t have much time anymore for Extensive RPG’s it’s that I don’t have time or the patience for mindless grinding through endless ,meaningless fetch quests, I stick to main story these days …. I love Side quests that give you meaningful context to the world, Characters or Enemies.

    I loved the Last Remnant’s Side Quests. they were well thought out and rewarded you with extensive dungeons, enemies and even playable characters ….

    • RinceWind

      Chocobo side quest for the WIN!

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        I remember trying to breed that Chocobo in FF7 to get knights of the round, most infuriating time of my childhood

        • RinceWind

          Breeding the golden one was a headache! Still, worth it :)

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            Romping around the world like a boss with your golden Chocobo….Mountain? PFFT ….. KWEEP rolling rolling rolling rolling WHA!!

          • RinceWind

            Hahaha! Yeah man! Then the epic boss battle under water! WOOT!

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            LOL … I really had a mini heart attack when I came across Emerald ….
            Young me : lalalalala … hmmm? ooh green fishy….lemme knock into it
            *Battle starts*
            *Battle ends*
            Terrified Young me : MOOOOOMMY!!!

          • RinceWind

            LOL. I remember seeing it and thinking screw that, no way! And having a heart attacking thing it was going to come up under me when I surfaced!

          • Daniel Keevy

            I’m replaying it now. Still better than dodging lightning or racing the Chocobo under 0 seconds. Those two quests are responsible for epic controller death!

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            I think I almost broke my TV trying to dodge lightning …. Shaved many years off my lifespan

          • Daniel Keevy

            I remember nearly getting the last balloon and missing it. I just sat there for 30 minutes, while Tidus celebrated his failure…

          • RinceWind

            Hahaha! Nooooooo!

          • Daniel Keevy

            I Darth Vadered before it was cool B-/

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            But am I alone in missing these dumb as hell lil mini games? even in FF 9 the skipping rope was stupid but I’ll be damned if I can’t finish that.
            Stupid Vivi!!!jump when I press the button else I’ll beat you so hard that you change into a white mage!

          • RinceWind

            I know! I command you to jump WHEN I WANT YOU TO! #nofreedom

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            HAHAHA! we were abusive to our characters hey..
            JUMP Vivi!!
            Dodge Tidus!!
            Do a 180 degree flip when snowboarding Cloud!

          • RinceWind

            I loved the submarine game! Remember that?

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            FREAKING loved shooting down that red submarine! was a really cool mini game

            and that mini RTS at Fort Condor lol

          • RinceWind

            Man, I feel all sad now :(

          • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

            Sad Panda :(

          • Daniel Keevy

            Lawl!

          • RinceWind

            Oh man I need to get me an emulator!

          • Daniel Keevy

            If you have a PS3 or PS Handheld it’s on the store.

            And there are digital copies on the Square-Enix site. :-)

    • http://lazygamer.net/ OVG

      GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND… ME GET LEATHER PANTS LEATHER PANTS BABY!!!

      • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

        Lol well …. not that type of grind lol … well maybe in Skyrim

  • Argentil

    Refreshingly honest.

  • DarthofZA

    SW:TOR made me care about quests and early game content again. Despite its several flaws, SW:TOR is an MMO that isn’t about a rush to max level.

    • Willem Swanepoel

      so true, I enjoyed swtor … the level 1 to 50 was epic and an awesome story.

      someone told me it is completely F2P now.. might jump in again to finish another story

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

        Really? Wow, ok. How was the story? I’m keen to jam if only to get to the story

    • Kromas

      But when you hit max level you get tired of it quickly. I would have been an awesome single player game.

      • DarthofZA

        Agreed. I loved the story and thoroughly enjoyed my time until the end level content. All that means though is that you can start another class :D

        • LordCaptainAwesomeness

          I would love to play SW:TOR, however, that download is just too much

          • greeniain

            how big is the download, may i ask?

          • LordCaptainAwesomeness

            Along the lines of 30 odd GB

          • DarthofZA

            All dialogue is spoken. ALL. No reading. That is why it is so big.

          • LordCaptainAwesomeness

            I get that, but for those not on a Uncapped Internet, it is search for friends with the MMO, or take a couple of months to download…..

  • Lardus

    I grew soooooo tired of WoW, even before my internet connection issues due to these things mentioned. Every once in a while I yearn for better days and re-subscribe for a month, but it is just too damn boring!

    • Tarisma

      I’m with you there. There are only so many times I can stand behind a boss and press 1;2;1;3;4;1 in that exact order until my fingers start to cramp.

      • Lardus

        It was better when tanks were rare and I was a tank. Started building a bit of a rep pre-raid WotLK, before it got too easy for the DPS who would stand in fire and blame the tank/healer. Actually wearing my “Tanks – you’re welcome” shirt RIGHT NOW! #sadface

        • Tarisma

          Tanked all the way to 85 with my dk. Was the best but when I hit 85, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

          • Lardus

            The only Tank is a WARRIOR TANK! LoL! Had good times partnering with a DK in some raids. He had serious AoE tanking and I handled the bosses like a BOSS! Damn, some nostalgia setting in now.

          • Yolanda Green

            My protection warrior is probably my most cherished MMO character ever! DK tanking is easy mode :P

          • Tarisma

            It’s crazy how attached you start getting to a character but I guess spend 1000 hours plus looking at something and your going to love it!

          • Lardus

            Have an upvote there young lady! Those are my exact sentiments! Warriors for life!

          • Tarisma

            I get it too sometimes but then I remember how, towards the end it kinda felt like a job. That’s why I play GW2 now. It’s relaxed I can play as little or as much as I want and if I go Mia for a while I don’t fall so far behind on the gear curve that it’s impossible to get back.

          • Lardus

            Felt like you HAD to log on for the dailies, for the gear. Yup, a second job! Part of what ruined the game when casuals would overtake you in a week if you went on holiday!

          • Tarisma

            The arena seasons were the worst if you joined a season late or missed a week or 2 here and there because of holidays it was game over for you. Or al least me. Worst thing was when my character got nerfed and then reworked which resulted in me just running after ranges casters spamming one spell. That was my PvP day over.

          • Lardus

            Exactly. Arena was only fun for me rolling (or trolling) as two tanks :) We had a 50% and up winning ratio that would have been higher if it wasn’t for latency. Other than that I fell behind too fast and didn’t bother after a few tries

  • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

    Dafuq ppl still play mmos?

    • Willem Swanepoel

      There are some good ones out there. SW:TOR is a good example. F2P and you can have an epic story from Bioware … I think that is a win.

      You will actually get more out of it than playing a paid RPG game.

      • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

        How big is client?

        • Willem Swanepoel

          its a pretty big download. All the classes got a different story, there are 8 classes 4 on each side.

          Like if you like being an agent then an Imperial Agent is a good class with a sick story with loads of twists….

          Sith warrior is a more brutal no mercy warrior story.

          BH was an arrogant killer story ..

          I played Sith Warrior and Bounty Hunter and played agent half way through, I liked all 3 ;-)

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            I play KotOR 1 and 2 to bits!

            How does it compare to:
            A. Story
            B. Campaign length

          • Willem Swanepoel

            I would say, KOTOR 1 is still the best but SW:TOR is better than KOTOR 2 but it is still an EPIC story game. They could have sold it as KOTOR 3 anytime and it would have been a BIG hit.

            On campaign length, easy 20+ hours per class … there are 8 ;-)

            Only issue is the content.. the zones are the same so that is where the MMO repetitiveness comes in. It is F2P so you might give it a shot later again to finish other stories.

          • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

            I hate you.

            You have just awoken something dormant in me. I must have this bloody game!!!!!!

          • Willem Swanepoel

            haha enjoy

  • Cannibal Kane

    EVE Online…

    The only MMO where accomplishments actually mean something. And what you achieved can just as easily taken away by force.

    Kane

    • Willem Swanepoel

      I actually stopped eve online because I got anal’ed 10 times because of massive corporations controlling the 0.0 sectors. wormholes were awesome and I made a lot of money from mining there but that also got nerfed and was not high risk high reward anymore.

      Still it is one of the best MMOs out there today

      • Kromas

        Great thing about eve. I’m not really playing it at this point in time but I keep it active so I can level my skills.

      • Random

        Unfortunately the Eve devs also love their nerf-bat a little too much and things like the ability to suicide gank a capital ship with destroyers ruins the game.

        • Kano Takada

          How does it ruin the game? Its the essence – Enough of something should be able to kill anything.

          • Random

            Not if its a defenseless ship in high security space.

  • Daniel Keevy

    I think it’s a bit disingenuous to only blame casual gamers. I’ve seen it before where gamers lament that we’re not taken seriously, yet they refuse to give new gamers an inch. If we can’t broaden the medium, we won’t be able to get the recognition we deserve.

    This whole blog post sounds like a cop out. “It’s not me, or developers. It’s those filthy casuals! Amirite!?”

    • Yolanda Green

      lulz I don’t think it’s meant to be that :) I think he is really taking responsibility for what happened to the genre. I think the biggest mistake developers have made, was underestimating casual gamers. thinking they’d only play games that are easy.

      • Daniel Keevy

        Hmm, that is possible. I think most of the large studios completely underestimated casual gamers, with the exception of Nintendo (most of the time) and Rockstar. But making sequelised entries on a MMO should be near impossible in any case.

        Also I know there’s Zygna, but I shall not speak the name of evil.

  • Ultimo_Cleric N7

    So true Yolanda….and very sad. I remember playing GuildWars and the journey was what made it memorable. In my opinion though, the thing that killed MMO’s was invention of Micro Transactions in many of these games. Instead of Max Level heroes with epic gear being revered as “Hardcore, experienced” gamers, we now have a bunch of rich trolls who paid with daddy’s card to reach max level in a few days.
    What’s the point of grinding when you can just pay your way to the top?
    So sad.

    • Yolanda Green

      I have to say I really like that you can buy vanity items via in-game stores. I’m a total mount and pet junkie, but when it comes to gear that others must earn and some can just buy, it’s a big steaming pile of horse crap.

  • ElimiNathan

    Ye…..

  • Mossel

    This is everyone in the begining of a mmo…

    • http://www.codescrawls.co.za/ OminousRain

      haha

  • MastersVoice

    I don’t think casual players are the reason why MMO’s become such a mad rush – it is the experienced, more hard-core player that wants to progress through latest content, and could not be bothered with experiencing the content while levelling. I think MMO’s should listen more to casual player’s requirements, and focus on the thrill of adventure when questing and doing low-level dungeons. Why not create low-level, new content? Allow players to slow down levelling as an option, and bring new content into the lower levels.

    PS. I, too, love bacon!

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      Heh, like your name and avatar, reminds me of a tshirt I had waaaaay back in high school.

      Upvote for the nostalgia!

    • http://www.codescrawls.co.za/ OminousRain

      Agree. They could do something like with GW2, where lvl gets lowered when entering low level dungeons or areas. So its not a boring walk though but a bit of a challenge

    • Yolanda Green

      I don’t think casual players are the reason either, I think it’s misconception by developers. Hardcore players aren’t the same players that it used to be as well. That group of gamers too have died out, or completely lost interest. For the leveling process to slow down, content must be good enough to make players want to experience it. In my opinion, bringing MMOs to the masses was approached in the most wrong way possible :| Instead of prolonging the longevity of a game bu adding 90 levels, create better content for 40 or 50 of them. Don’t add level cap, add content with new difficulty, original content. A game like WoW for example is lost, cannot be reversed, but a new MMO has all the potential in the world to change the genre’s course.

      • MastersVoice

        Agreed. It would also help if the boss fights were less one-dimensional! It seems the encounters’ mechanics are reasonably similar, and where the fight becomes too easy, the developers just add some major, raid-wide Area of Effect damage, and throw stuff on the floor you cannot stand in!

        • Yolanda Green

          ugh dat AoE :S in this regard I actually really liked Rift’s raid mechanics, has more than just getting out of a pool of gunk/fire/poison on the floor.

  • http://www.codescrawls.co.za/ OminousRain

    Used to play WoW allot, but not as a hardcore player. So I wasn’t in any hardcore guild or anything.

    I do agree making the game a rush to the end sucked and make everything easier takes out the joy of accomplishment.

    But there was just one thing I wanted. many might not agree, but the fact that I was never in any progressive guild (nor had the time for that). I wished that Raids had a super easy mode. So that when you do super easy. You do not get a achievement, nor any nice gear. But then at least I could see the content and the story.

    • MastersVoice

      WoW does have that now – its called Looking For Raid (LFR).

      • http://www.codescrawls.co.za/ OminousRain

        O ja. I heard about that. you get a buff if your if the raid fails or something.

        One thing that also kinda ruined it for me. All the characters looked the same. If you a DK you look a certain way. Think it was blue for Tank en red for DPS or something.

        But then I heard you could change the skill, so that might help as well.

    • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

      I used to play WoW, then I took an arrow to the knee :P

      • MastersVoice

        From a pre-pubescent Horde Hunter? ;)

        • Admiral Chief Groot Wors

          Actually never played, just cannot resist a good arrow/knee joke opportunity!

        • Kromas

          You mean alliance Nelf hunter. :p

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    So very sad and true

  • Captain Minion TallTwit

    I used to play World of Warcraft (US Server Akama) since The Burning Crusade. I was an avid player who was in a Raiding guild. I also started to lose interest in the game once Cataclysm came out and eventually stopped due to the subs getting to much for me. I miss the days in which everything had to be really earned (like the ‘JENKINS’ title) & gear. Now a days, you drag a level 80 with you and bingo, no problem.

  • Captain Minion TallTwit

    Here is some humour for all those people who played hunters, and loved annoying every other class.

    http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/72314

  • Galbedir

    Personally, I dont mind casual players, gaming in an mmo to me is about questing/dungeons and such with other players having fun, and honestly, I hate hardcore players, their always the assholes in the group, raging when something doesnt go their way. I play Guild Wars 2, and the leveling and questing to me, was the best part. I remember nearly every quest and event I’ve done, because they are all quite different. However…I do feel end game and the ability to keep me playing once I am high/max level is what has killed alot of MMO’s. In most of the newer ones released these days, In 1 year you’ve pritty much hit the peak of your gear/strength. And have nothing more to do then run around helping other people. Best MMO to date I played was Ultima Online, after playing for roughly 5-6 years as a child. I still could have been stronger/gotten better gear. Those were the Good old Days :P

  • Turd Ferguson

    While I would agree that WoW has stagnated to some extent, over the years, I would argue that you’re generalizing a tad too much. I’ve finished over 10000 quests in WoW (and coming up on 10000 dailies as well), I enjoy the quest grind (I prefer questing for xp than dungeon crawling), however, I also raid, and I know when it comes time to leveling, sitting around with my thumb up my ass will lose me my raid spot, World of Warcraft, for me is about raiding. I can quest whenever I want (and I do, everyday I do dailies…already have Loremaster, twice (I redid all the quests when Cataclysm came out because many of them changed)), just because you hit max level doesn’t mean you lose access to those quests.

    WoW’s about whatever you WANT it to be about. There are thousands upon thousands of quests in WoW. If that’s what you like, then don’t buy fucking heirloom gear to fast track you to max level.

    And really, how many brand new players know about heirloom gear? Or the Recruit a Friend shit? How many of these new players are going to instantly know how to maximize their xp gain? It sounds like this is literally griping from an alt standpoint. Which is really the only way anyone would know that WoW has stagnated in the first place.

  • Skatch

    “Screw the quests. Because most players are sick of those uninteresting,
    unchallenging tasks to collect 12 heaps of goat poop and 15 twigs, for
    the NPC that no one can remember after they’ve left.” Truer words were never spoken.

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