Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Can a PvE MMO be other than WoW and BDO?

World of Warcraft has pet battles, AoE looting, instant quests, open world dynamic quests, scaling instances, mobile-phone managed real time quests and many other features that were missing from original WoW and were copied from other games. None of them is integral to WoW, not like you couldn't play WoW without them or their removal would completely change WoW. Why is it matter? Because it guarantees that WoW will remain the most popular PvE MMO and will push every other MMO into the 100-200K subscriber (paying player) range. If some developer would make an MMO with groundbreaking new features, Blizzard would quickly implement them all into the next WoW patch.

How can other MMO exist then if not by being better? Graphics and lore are marginal things, players openly talk about "content", "mobs", "grinding" and other terms that show that they are completely not immersed into the fantasy settings, they are farming gear to keep up or get ahead of the Joneses.

Black Desert Online is pretty popular and not showing collapse like other MMOs. Why? Because its core feature is different from WoW and it cannot be copied into WoW without completely changing it. Gear in BDO can be traded between players. WoW could copy it with a few clicks, but they don't and won't, because it would turn the game upside down. You can - and I did - get top gear without killing top level monsters in BDO, while in WoW you must farm your gear yourself and just some supplement items can be gained from other players.

There is a third field: PvP-MMOs, where meaningful items can be taken from other players (as opposed to vanity PvP where only the time spent PvPing is lost when you lose). EVE is the most relevant player of this field. Again, WoW could implement this with a few clicks, but they will never do because it would seriously outrage the playerbase.

There are possible other niches, but the point is that if an MMO doesn't have a feature that WoW refuses to have, that game will be inferior to WoW and will wither and die.

This is important because it locks out practically every PvE MMO which aren't called WoW or BDO.

21 comments:

Chad Masterson said...

What about runescape, you could teach kids not to be morons or slackers by making a bunch of gold real fast.

children are our future after all.

Ael said...

A Tale in the Desert.

An essentially PvE MMO but not at all like WOW.

Steel H. said...

“players openly talk about "content", "mobs", "grinding" and other terms that show that they are completely not immersed into the fantasy settings, they are farming gear to keep up or get ahead of the Joneses” – Don’t talk like a Blizzard dev circa 2011 (see also https://syncaine.com/2011/06/24/the-metrics-made-me-do-it/). It’s not important what players say, it’s what they do. And what did they do? They complained on forums forever from vanilla to now. But in vanilla/tbc they joined the game by millions, in wrath they were kinda “meh”, and they left by the millions in Cata, MOP, WOD. Players talking/complaining is a red herring – they will talk & complain when they join & stay, they will talk & complain when they leave.

Wow always had "content", "mobs", "grinding", from Vanilla to now. What changed, and maps perfectly to the subscriber graph:
- Immersion – a world that stood on it’s own where the player was an adventurer, rather that an amusement park where every xxArthasDkLolxx is the chosen one
- Sociality
- Not twitchy / arcadey / video-gamey (you know this better that anyone)
- Not a cashgrab

Plus, I don’t know who you’re listening to, I hear plenty of “I miss the days when we were nobody - adventurers instead of the chosen one / the world was mysterious and dangerous / etc”.

maxim said...

I could see a sort of procedurally-generated MMO, deliberately built around having to explore the world and thus skipping the whole dungeon finder nonsense.

Tithian said...

I think a lot of people stick to BDO because it does its best to simulate a "virtual life" of sorts, in a kinda believable world, even though you will openly hear people talk about the 'grind', 'mobs' or 'WTB X'.

For example, I wanted to repair yesterday and rushed to the blacksmith. Except he wasn't there, and my gut reaction was that he glitched somehow. Except that it was 1:00 AM and he was obviously in bed. Slight inconvenience? Sure. Did it immediately help my immersion? 100%. And of course the fact that you can ignore the Combat part and do Life skills is also a big part of the appeal. Tons of people do nothing but fish, pick herbs, craft or trade.

And these are things that WoW just cannot copy, even if they wanted to.

Gevlon said...

@Ael: Tale in the Desert doesn't have official goals. But because of that, it has very low playerbase.

@Steel H: for every player who misses the old days there are 10 xXArthasXx who "lulz i got ma 2nd legendary XDDD"

@Maxim: if it would get any popularity, the open world of the next WoW expansion would be a huge procedurally generated land. It wouldn't change the essence of WoW as most activities would be in instances anyway.

@Tithian: indeed. The main problem I have with BDO is lack of relevant hard content that would actually need the gear you get from whatever method.

Anonymous said...

Random generated dungeon instances would be a neat feature for WoW.
No fixed maps/bosses/strategies, just go in there and find the source of evil and defeat it in whatever way seems to work.

maxim said...

@Gevlon
Why implement a huge procedurally generated land if nobody is exploring it and everything is "instanced anyway" :D
The only reason to have a procedurally generated world in an MMO is to encourage players to explore the procedurally generated bits in hopes of rolling an exceptionally good combo of generated parameters to keep as their own. Kind of like Eve anomalies, only better.

Should that ever become a trend, I can definitely see WoW jumping on it with a sort of Twisting Nether expansion (which is a testament to how robust and developed WoW's underlying lore is), but i can't see them doing it while simultaneously keeping the dungeon finder intact.

Blizzard actually tried something similar with procedurally generated loot zones in Diablo 3 x-pac, but the tech simply isn't on the level yet.

Gevlon said...

@maxim: because they implemented pet battles which has nothing to do with WoW. Their idea is to have a core game (run instances for gear) and hang every nonsense the engine can carry on the game to cover niche markets. So if there would be significant demand for exploration content, they would make an optional exploration place where you get some "fun" rewards while those who don't want to explore can skip it like you can skip pet battles or garrison missions.

Tithian said...

@Gevlon

I don't now how much you progressed through the later PvE areas before you left the game, but my 54 wizard with 130AP/140DP was getting plastered in some of the 54-55 areas in Mediah (Soldier's Grave, I had some quests there, it was a nightmare to get through). And later at Helm's within the underground keep, I had to bail on a couple of quests because the mobs there were 3-shotting me. Your Valk would probably be fine face-tanking them, but would also do abysmally low damage (the enemies there have shields, and they actually use them).

Supposedly some areas that are 'needed' for the 58-60 grind, i.e. Pirate Island, can only be done with 220+AP and250+DP and even then it's a challenge solo (and a general gankfest). But one could argue that it's not actually relevant content because there are options to grind in areas that will make you less miserable, albeit at a slower pace and with lower drops in items and silver. But the incentive to get at least TRIs, Ultimates and Boss Armors is certainly there even for PvE, if you want to commit to the late-game grind.

Even though I'm not the grinding type (and will most likely stop at 58), I for one am certainly motivated to upgrade my gear, and trust me, if there was a way to avoid unecessary expenses I'd be the first to jump on it.

Titus Tallang said...

"No gear progression" MMOs, like GW2?

maxim said...

@Gevlon
I'm not seeing your point then
I probably won't ever play WoW again, but i'm in the market for a decent MMO. Will be more and more people like me in the future

Randomus271 said...

@Tithian - Grinding for gear to help you grind better in harder areas is not a good motivator. Particularly when people like Gevlon publish simple ways to become one of the richest people in the entire game and simply buy the maxed out gear *without* grinding at all - as well as of course letting you grind your combat level easily by simply being overpowered for everything if your level is important to you...

Gevlon said...

@Titus Tallang: how characters progress in GW2?

@maxim: what do you expect from a good MMO?

Steel H. said...

for every player who misses the old days there are 10 xXArthasXx who "lulz i got ma 2nd legendary XDDD"

1) You don't know if there are 10 or 5 or 1. I 'd say for every xXArthasXx there are 10 players who quit WoW at various stages because it became totally shallow, empty, soulless.
2) Even the ArthasXX's who say that, a large proportion are(were) kept playing because of subconscious reasons like immersion, social interaction and these days nostalgia and attachment to a franchise they played for years. I don;t deny there are players who play just for those (farmville 1 billion flies can't be wrong bla-bla). But there are a lot who want a good MMO (with the 4 principles mentioned earlier). You yourself said it that a vanilla official server(s) opened by Blizz today would beat the current game.

Slawomir Chmielewski said...

within 2-3 years almost all games will be VR compatible. I bet there are already VR MMOs in the works that will come out in 2018.

The world will change, VR is incredibly immersive. The current headgears are prototypes, next generation will redefine gaming.

Adam said...

I played ArcheAge extensively. The main features that it has that WoW and BDO lack are its land ownership and trade systems. The land ownership is self explanatory but the trade system is unique. You need to make packs which can be done in a variety of ways. You then move those packs from one part of the world to another. The further you move the packs the greater the reward when you turn them in to a specific NPC.

The catch is that you are weighed down when you have a pack and your packs can be stolen by enemy faction players. You can also move multiple packs by utilizing carts and ships that you build yourself. This leads to epic naval battles as guilds move large amounts of packs across the ocean to the opposing faction's continent.

I had a lot of fun in AA, probably the most fun since WoW. However, I left when they introduced a major patch that added 5 character levels as it had an insane amount of typical South Korean grind that killed the game. However, I spoke to an old guildie last night who is back in the game as it has relaunched a couple of months ago on new servers. Apparently they have fixed the grind problems and made a few other adjustments that might cause me to give it a look again.

Oh and the auction house is a serious factor in the game.

Baelnor said...

No way would official vanilla servers be as great as people think.

I was in uni then, in workforce now. I just wouldn't have the time to invest and enjoy and recreate what was brilliant about back then.

Gevlon said...

@Adam: the AA trade system is exactly the same as in BDO

Keldorn said...

@Gevlon

BDOs ultimate endgame goal is winning siege war and holding a territory.
On top of that the leader of the winning guild can wear a special "lord" outfit. This is something you can aim for.

Yaggle said...

I agree that Wow seems to have an iron grip on the MMO market. I will say this, though: Some new games' graphics, such Conan Exiles, make the Wow graphics feel very boring. The point in time is approaching when either Blizzard needs to make another MMO or else somebody else will finally solve the puzzle of how to take their customers. I know this has been said before, and probably Blizzard already knows this and has a plan to keep their customers. The last Wow expansion is amazing in a lot of ways, and yet, people are bored and quitting anyways. So I think the signs are there for a lot of changes. I have not been playing any MMOs, just watching and waiting for something worthwhile and exciting.