Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The myth of the gaming community

Some of you might remember this graph:
This is the one clear piece of evidence that a "community" of a game is a small minority. I don't have the graph from Black Desert, but during playing the game I was never motivated by the game to interact with any community. I got rewards from NPCs for tasks given by NPCs. Actually my gameplay is completely done with or against NPCs or crafting alone (surrounded by other player avatars but not interacting with them) and trading via the formalized marketplace interface. If I didn't go to the forum to get BDO-based readers for my blog, I didn't know anything of them. While I'm aware that there are guilds and they do stuff, I don't see how it would be beneficial for me as a player (not as a blogger) to join. I made it to #1 wealth in 2 months, starting the game late, so it's not a strong guess that they can offer nothing to me. My reason of departure from WoW was the lack of "world" and impact upon anything but my own gear (which was reseted again and again).

So people can and - by the little data we have - do ignore the community and interact with only the game. Yet invested players believe that the community (practically them and their friends) are an asset to the game company. Many forum posters claimed that BDO will be dead soon because the competitive community is leaving over P2W. Well, the truth is that even if all of them would leave at once, the rest of the players wouldn't even noticed it. The workers would still provide resources, the mobs would still be there to grind and you could still craft crates. If I would be the only person on the server, but the devs would place randomly roaming avatar bots to Heidel and place some gear to buy for me on the marketplace, I wouldn't know about it.

What Maxim wrote as extreme example is already the sad truth: games devolved into "fishers and whales" state and stopped being actual MMOs (where multitudes of players interact with each other) and became simply glorified single-player experiences with always-online requirement.

Don't get me wrong, I still like BDO and want to grab some time to actually play (as opposed to just update market and queues) but I do play it as a single player game. I could play WoW instead of BDO of course. I see now that BDO wasn't a game I was looking for. It was a very lucky game that came just when I wanted anything but interacting with any community. Thank you, interacting with CCP Falcon was enough community involvement for the rest of my life. Just riding my Tier 2 horse in a beautiful (way above WoW) scenery helped me a lot and I have no regrets picking it and buying a big bunch of pearls. It's a great game to play, but it's not a material for a project. I have no future plans for BDO other than play it for my own recreation. Nor I really see any upcoming MMOs. Crowfall looks promising but don't even has a release date (let's hope it doesn't turn into Star Citizen).

I agree with the "community" guys that having a competitive, active and non-toxic community is crucial for us to be involved. But unlike them I see that there is nothing like that around MMOs. They just made themselves believe that there is, they are it, they matter and then look surprised when the devs ignore their wishes and implement stuff they hate. Guys, it's not them it's us! BDO never meant to be a competitive E-sport, it was meant to be a beautiful scenery populated by stripper looking avatars. I don't know about the future of my blogging. I might turn to e-sports. Or I might just stop.

16 comments:

maxim said...

Would be a shame if you stopped.
Always a shame to see a voice running out of things to say.

That being said, from all our discussions so far i get the sense that the mmo you want to play most is life itself, so what's the point of all the other approximations?

There is always one project you can undertake - start thinking about and openly discussing the kind of mmo you personally would like to play, with the intent of one day seeing it realised. You have tackled this a few times in the past, but you never went too deep, just throwing your ideas out there and hoping that maybe they'll reach someone. Maybe it's time to go a bit deeper. Formulate some gameplay hypothesis, test them with simple paper or text-based prototypes, gather feedback, thad kind of stuff.

Provi Miner said...

I don't know weather to agree or disagree with you. On the one hand you were super social in making contacts to perform your mission in eve (I believe you even joined their fleets and said it was fun) you undocked for test. your blog is a social creature in and of itself. I know I use your anti gank page as intro for all new players and miners. you might see yourself as a stand alone intellectual but I trust me there are many who swirl in and out of your social sphere (myself included). You could do a lot in any game but I think eve showed how amazing one person can be. You personally are responsible for people laughing at burn jita, you showed how one person can create change in the game. You broke RVB, you Took goon poco's all through the use of your second best skills (making money in game) your best skill is to dispel myths around "do it this way" by showing how to do it best way even if that way changes from patch to patch.

anyways good luck hope to see you in space

Anonymous said...

"Philosophical goblin" just doesn't have the same touch as "Greedy goblin." But WoW has tainted an entire generation of MMOs and gamers. Probably nothing will change until VR becomes mainstream and the experience takes the front seat over shinys.

I now think there's more to the "community" guys than just being socials or obnoxious children. They were around since MUD days, where there were real communities; yet "old goons" were shunned and had a hell of a time trying to solo because of it. Devs would have never bowed to those types. I say today's "communities" are a reaction to MMOs becoming easier and more convenient over time. Old games were hard and punishing, so the game itself gave people a reason to play together. Now that games are easy, people have to create their own external reason to join up. This caused players to create a dichotomy between the socials and the "elitist jerks." Old EJs fit in just fine alongside the other groups, "us and them" instead of "us vs them." This player-made conflict is the replacement for the old games' difficulty as a community-creating catalyst. Today, devs must bow to goons because they need this external conflict to keep players around, and since the easiest way to feel superior over other players is to buy power directly, they simply manned the harpoons.

The "community" is a project made by socials and held together by false beliefs (including the "competitive" guys who want every game to be an e-sport), and any talks or actions against those beliefs is an attack against their sole reason to play. This is why they hate you. Showing proof of the goblin way takes the game away from them, so they fight back the only way they know how: name-calling, shaming, and harassment. Damned with toxicity and damned without it.
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If you want to change to e-sports, Rocket League is the number one game to play right now. All the other e-sports have been shrinking fast, while Rocket League keeps growing. Matches are short and it's very easy to pick up and play. No rigging like World of Tanks, no "champion" cars to keep buying like League of Legends, no micro requirements like StarCraft. You can even get some cash if you win!

Anonymous said...

The graphics in BDO are good, I would not say they are better or worse than WoW, just different, on an immersive level, WoW just has something more going for it

Edmund Nelson said...

I agree that non esport games are really mostly single player games that have some occasional multiplayer aspect. However I doubt there is an interesting esport game for you to discuss
Starcraft: APM is 95% of the game, and the 5% that remains might as well not exist for most players. Sadly the strategy present within is minimal at best and what little there is, doesn't actually have much impact on the game.
League of Legends : While you did blog about it before, it doesn't seem like the game is actually all that interesting, since while APM matters less, the RNG in team creation is gigantic, and makes determining skill hard. It's also the case that actually finishing a session in league takes forever
Super smash brothers/street fighter : Dull games of 70% execution and 20% "mindgames" and 10% strategy. The "mindgames" is just another word for luck, but top players aren't actually willing to admit that's what's going on.
Hearthstone : Honestly of the choices so far it's probably the best? No execution but super high randomness, the model of card purchasing is somewhat upsetting, but compared to a subscription model it actually ends up cheaper (sadly you can't sell gold on RMT shops though). It's got (many) issues but if you find a better one let me know.
Counterstrike : see Street fighter
Perhaps instead you could play niche german board games on Boardgamearena.com? (thinking puerto rico)

Gevlon said...

@maxim: EVE was a perfect MMO ruleset and implementation wise. Too bad that corrupted devs allowed the rules to be broken by their friends/bribe-givers/loud bullies.

Designing an MMO is a job. I'm not a trained or any experienced game dev.

@Provi Miner: I told it million times, being social needs one to interact another as a unique person and not just as "the role". When you order a meal from "a waiter", you aren't social, as "a waiter" isn't a unique person, any waiter or even a well programmed robot could do the job and you wouldn't care. I interacted with my mercs the same way, that's why Tora got buttmad, he didn't like being treated an "insert coin, receive dead Goon" bot.

@Anon: interesting idea, nerfing made games reliant on external conflict. However devs still need to bow no one, they could just set the rules that apply to everyone and let the groups deal with it.

@Edmund: yes, I know that and this is why I'm so in trouble.

Anonymous said...

> If I would be the only person on the server, but the devs would place randomly roaming avatar bots to Heidel and place some gear to buy for me on the marketplace, I wouldn't know about it.

Sounds an awful lot like Space Rangers. Actually, even makes me want to try that latest addon.

99smite said...

To stop blogging would be a shame, as you are really good at it.

I know that CCP Falcons actions bothered you and still do, which is kind of interesting as you never gave a damn about other people opinions.

CCP has always been a company trolling their customers and they always had their own agenda and never listened to anyone. CSM was a joke from day one, CCP finally did what huge amount of players drove away from EVE in INCARNA, the introduced RL Money items to get an advantage (skipping skilltime)
Anyhow, I think Sion has a point if he thinks that CCP will milk EVE as long as possible, while trying to get a VR product that will hit the market and fill their purses.

MMO's could still find a way to introduce mechanics that require player interaction, but as often as not, people will find ways to abuse such mechanics as to get any possible advantage in grinding/acquiring loot...

I fear that mmo's will either become super simple in order to attract huge masses of casual players or online games will focus on shooters and other kinds of games where the player can get int othe game (and out) very fast and easily...

Eve still stands out for me in one point, though: the communication system was perfect, join any channel of a special interest group and you could make contacts quite fast.

BDO lacks that or I have not been able to discover the communication possibilities...

While we were giving our spaceships hilarious names so that ennemies would start laughing once they hit the dscan, I still remember my time in Lord of the Rings online, when a guild/kinship member created a new alt using the auto-naming function/rondomized naming. His alt got named "Analgold", no kidding, and he played that alt for two weeks until a GM asked him to rename the character, else it would be deleted.

I never ran into obscene or violent language in LOTRO though, so far my only bad experience with such kind of language was EVE and LoL...

But I agree, BDO plays like a singleplayer RPG that just requires permanent online connection...
What fun it was joining a group in Warhammer online...

Gevlon said...

@99smite: I don't give a damn about his opinion. I do give a damn how far he would go to ACT upon his opinion. Since he comfortably started a cyberbully campaign against me and supported criminal Goons, it's not a long shot that he would do other nasty things against me, like giving out my info, DC-ing my ship so it can be ganked with hardeners off or flat out give a trillion to my enemies.

Anonymous said...

There is probably nothing new in the game but I am watching Pantheon. I really loved Vanguard Saga of heroes and hope this is something similar.

DDO online is one of the only mmos I think that requires a group to play. At the lower levels not to much but at the higher levels definitely. All other mmos I have played solo with no issues.

Anonymous said...

@gevlon Designing an MMO is a job. I'm not a trained or any experienced game dev.

You are both right and wrong. To make a MMO, you need to be trained and experienced game developer. To theoretize and test a MMO idea, you dont need either of it. Even, experience could be counterproductive. Your experience makes you see things as obstacle and you fail to see things out of the box. Thats the power on newbie - if you dont know much, you theoretize and use fantasy to fill the void.

For starters. Can you make list of things what makes EVE or WOW or BDO good, what have they done well. And list of things what those games have done badly.

Gevlon said...

@anon: most good ideas fail on the 1% malicious players and goldsellers. The whole unintuitive an troubling and dumb BDO economy is made to keep these out.

Shivaro said...

Try albion online. Its in its final open beta and its basically eve in medivial settings.
Also i dont think that bdo changing and you failing to get intrest by the game same time is just dumb luck.

Anonymous said...

@Edmund
>The "mindgames" is just another word for luck
That's not entirely true. Forget about the word mindgames, because no one today knows what it actually means, or can even define it. The historical definition of mindgame is "a situation in which all options lead to a negative result." They're the natural result of the fundamental aspect of fighting games. They're all about positioning, putting the opponent in positions that reduce his options while keeping yourself from the same. When you finally get close to someone (if you so choose), what buttons they press are random, but the actions that led to that are anything but—and for whatever they DO press, you know what will happen and have a response for it.
Or to put it simply: the better player is the one who maintains a higher expected value of every single action.

Execution is far more about consistency than doing long and stupid combos. Performing basic moves 100% of the time. Eking out every last point of damage is only relevant at the top 1%, and even then it depends more on the character because some people like that sort of thing.

There are less infantile ways of expressing your dislike for the genre, but at least do so from an informed position. No pun intended :p

Edmund Nelson said...

@anon

I say that positioning is what i refer to as "strategy", things like using rational moves.

A huge amount of low and mid level fighting game play comes down to things like Learning 2 frame links that lead to big damage. I played Evil Ryu in street fighter 4, and 90% of the time I would win just because I could kill people in 2-3 hits, I didn't need to have a solid neutral game with him because I knew all the combos inside and out. At low-mid levels of play (which remember 75%+ of the playerbase is) you don't need a good positioning or anything but a solid combo game to win.

Now higher levels (the 30% or so of the game that's left) require extra skills.

The historical definition of mindgame has very little to do with the current definitions used, namely a mindgame is a situation where both players in a double blind fashion each pick an option and each one of those options has a RPS like relationship (often more like matching pennies than RPS).

then on your second point "the actions that led to it are anything but" is true, BUT heres the thing, that actions part is the 10% positioning that I talked about earlier.


@Gevlon

Would you consider blogging about German board games though? Those games are interesting strategy games of economic competition. While the community isn't as large they at least are good games that don't meet fail criteria.


Provi Miner said...

you picked the one instance when you didn't interact with your mercs lol that's called cherry picking.
you undocked for alexis, you undocked for moa, you undocked for test you even undocked a few times for the "buttmuff" in the hunt for poco's, you undocked for burn jita and was very social about it by the way.

All told you undocked for social reasons a lot more than you would like to admit I bet. Come to provi gob's we are social and still let you do your thing and if one ccp screws you and you can prove it (which shouldn't be hard cause foz is not that clever) you will have us to use to grind him down. We don't have to like each other in provi but we do fight for and with each other.