I mean, how would you put the social aspect back in. How should it be done?
DISCLAIMER: I've only ever played EQ2, EQ, VG, GW2, and LOTRO...oh and some hello kitty island game or something.
BUT. It feels like MMOs are getting less and less social. I never need to talk to anyone... I could be the only player in the game.. maybe I am. who knows.
What sets MMOs apart from single player games? The ever-evolving world and the -=community=-, right?
I think that bringing back the social aspect of an MMO will be what gets people back into an MMO and *excited* to play.
Wait, don't crucify me, but when EQ2 put in PQs, that was the most fun I've had in that game... AND the most social I have ever been in that game.
(I think I heard the PQ idea came from WoW? Ok whatever. I've never played WoW. It doesn't matter.)
The point is, it kept us logging in. There were like 5+ Great Divides. You'd gather around the PQ area and there were so many players, the whole area was lagging out.
But you'd be standing around and omg, start CHATTING with PEOPLE! "Hey". "Hey". "What's up". "Nice mount". "Cool helm, where's that from".
And I remember people would shout when they FINALLY got their PQ weapon. I still remember being so proud when my little bruiser alt got her weapon and seeing the shouts in chat "GRATS LILING!!" "YAY LILING!" etc, etc. Yea that was pretty freaking cool.
I haven't had another experience like that since then. They just let the PQ thing die, for some reason.
add a like button and candy crush saga.
Lots of water with forced boat rides.
Mobs that took a group of 6 five minutes to kill.
Long walks by the beach.
The best minds in the industry already know..... WOW clone!
but the real answer is down time that doesn't make you want to quit.
In Everquest you had no choice but to group, or you would be stuck at level 6 forever. If you wanted to advance, you had to group. Then, once people had a taste of WOW, you had people crying like little fucking babies because they couldn't solo their way through the game. And once again, devs relented and starting making things easier and easier and easier. Even Vanguard bitched out. The wife and I duo'd our way to level 50. Now its considered standard.
The answer is easy. Force motherfuckers to group. Force people to ask for help. Need a rez, ask a cleric. Need a buff, ask a cleric, chanty, Shaman etc...There is nothing wrong with grouping. Its supposed to be a fucking MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER game right? So why remove the multiplayer part? Then you end up with fucking GW2 where you can play the entire game and not talk to a soul. WTF is the point of that?
Devs need to grow a pair and start making games for people who love games, and not trying so fucking hard to make the game everything to everyone.
I think tuning down the ADD button smashing would go a long way toward re-socializing MMOs. You don't have time to chat with folks when you have to be constantly mashing shit. To me, that is the huge difference between EQ and WoW/all that came after...in early EQ, you had time to chat because you weren't smashing a million buttons every second or worrying about getting your rotation just right.
That slow combat turns off most everyone these days though, people want to play the game and not hit autoattack and chat. So it is a dead issue. I do believe it is a large reason why community in MMOs has degraded, though.
read "ready, player one" never want to play an mmo again, want to be cryogenically frozen for 100 years instead
I generally agree with Merlin's first point. Looking back through my MMO playing history, I find that I mostly enjoyed de-facto forced grouping. There was a positive synergy in a well run group, where everything just worked, like being on a real life team. Plus there was the social aspect which was nice as well, getting to meet and interact with strangers. What I didn't like about forced grouping were the times when I was unable to find a group and camping. A good group finder and dungeons that keep you moving forward and exploring go a long way towards solving those problems. Soloing, for me, was always boring and kind of defeated the purpose of the game. SWTOR was the only game I didn't mind soloing in because the companion system along with the well written story, and back-n-forth conversational, almost movie-like style interaction with quest givers made it essentially a great single player experience. I've never cared about the lore in any other MMO, but I absolutely loved the Imperial Agent story line.
Last edited by Magog; 10-18-2013 at 02:48 AM.
You don't. Because even if you slow the game down or force grouping, it wont happen. People will still just use their VOIP to talk to their friends/guildmates and/or tab out to the internet while waiting.
Players have and continue to make the choice to do things as fast as possible and to not talk to strangers/pick up groups.
Even if you force interdependecy via buffs, utilities(rez/ports) it wont change, it will be ask for a buff and move on. It will be a one time thing.
I put the blame on players, who even in EQ days , try to limit their interaction with non-friends/guildmates and wanted to do things the quickest way possible. Nothing stops people from socializing in current games, its the fact they choose not too.
Just copy EQ. No auto-group making tools, and certainly no teleport everyone to the dungeon crap. Slow down regen so mana efficiency becomes important again and gives people time to chat. Get rid of the solo quest grind to max level, people should group up and go somewhere good and kill shit together and have fun. Don't let every class do everything, so people get to know the names of people who can do what they need, whether that's tanking or jewlery making or ports or whatever. And get rid of auction houses.
Stuff like that.
It can't be done without reverting the genre's progress, and it wouldn't work because today's audience doesn't want the things that foster a social environment. How much success do you think someone would have these days with a new MMORPG that has no dungeon finder or market facilities, requires hours of travel, and gameplay is so slow that people sit and chat simply because they have the time to do it while grinding? It would be a hilarious failure. It only worked back when the genre was so new that these features were acceptable. Everquest and other early MMORPGs were not so much designed to have a rich social environment as they simply fostered it by being very slow, difficult and primitive games where constant communication was necessary and the pace was so relaxed and mechanics so simple that you could literally be chatting away in text while tanking.
It's a lot like real life. People used to socialize much more (in person, at least) because it was possible to do this when your carriage ride across the county took six hours and people had jobs that were so simple they could converse with everybody they met along the way. It may sound quaint and pleasant but I don't see very many people eager to live their lives that way anymore. Times change and so do the way we do things. Technological advancement gets in the way of personal interaction, both in real life and in games. It's no longer necessary or convenient to talk to people all the time.
Last edited by axeman; 10-18-2013 at 04:41 AM.
+Rate players you group with for xp. You group with some dudes in a dungeon, you give the tank a rating on tankyness, dps, knowledge of fights and leadership. Rate the healer on the same with healyness.
Reward people for playing with new people too. More xp, higher % of loot drops for # of new members in the group.
Have multiple rankings of friends list with how you rated someone near their name and how often you grouped with them.
Have the ability to invite people in your friends lists cross server/faction for adventure / grouping/raiding/pvp.
Have a macro system or ability system that lets folks deadhead / que some abilities, but at less effective than playing the button mash game. Like a .5 second longer GCD if you macro it.
Make tactical combat for short term fights, but strategic choices for how to play the character. Not 85 buttons to mash. Tie together alts on the same account or have the one character can learn everything just not use it all at the same time thing, kinda like GW2 crafting or FF14 class system.
Let people mark rivals and bounties in pvp. Get people communicating even if it is with an ax to the face.
Hard overworld content, that requires groups, that has good loot, and can not be outleveled too much. (See downranking like GW2) Better xp in groups, than solo. Better loot too.
Ways to get people together. Character based ports and summons, Poker games and other minigame/gambling in inns and brothels.
Few artificial limits to playing with friends. If you want to bring 50 friends to a raid do so. Abilities can be added to bosses and trash per player increases.
The ability to ally with guilds. To build faction / reputations with pc and npc guilds/ political factions. See Tera and thier governership positions. Or Aion and their keep taking.
start off by eliminating all instancing
eliminate most methods of fast travel that are not directly linked to other players
eliminate auction houses
eliminate group finders, raid finders etc.
second, build an MMO from the top down. Most content should be at the top where people spend the most time. There should always be content that is just slightly out of reach of almost everyone. This will create a psychological carrot that motivates people to progress.
third, eliminate server transfers, name changes and other methods that help people avoid responsibility for acting like douchebags. Very few people will risk being ostracized from their server after spending 2 years or more slowly progressing a character
Anything "forced" is going to alienate people. Players need to WANT to do something. Trying to be a MMO-hipster, much like other hipsters, is a path to failure.
I was a wizard so if we want to talk about people going LFG I have served my time. There was plenty to do when I wasn't grouping. I could sit outside KC and rake in the money porting, I could head to Thurgadin and craft, I could hit CS and quad, I could level an alt, I could get on a list...I was always online. Get yourself on a few lists and it was never long before people needed to fill a spot. What I didn't do was sit and play playstation complaining there was nothing to do.
Just make the game so brutally hard that eveyone dies all the time, and everywhere, if they solo. Make grouping required for surviving, while joining an army is required for success. Presto chango, instant socialization.
Or you can turn the game into a preening fashion show where every girl and gay gamer runs around and jumps for joy for all the new shoes on the market, while complimenting each other on their outfits.
Combine both of those elements and your mmo can call itself a bank.
Lol, and this is why none of you are game designers.
It's a fallacy to think that all past game designers were successful, as much as it is to consider all current to be unsuccessful (and vice versa). Products do evolve for a reason, though. Discounting nostalgic revivals, by and large most genres have evolved quite a bit (while keeping the "core" more or less intact). This is even moreso the case when the given demographic that uses said product increases. Products typically evolve to suit the tastes of the customer, or the company tries to manipulate customer tastes so that they mesh with their product (ie, sell them something they didn't even know they needed).
However, it becomes a risk when your vision of what you think the customer wants or what you think you can get the customer to like clashes with the reality of the situation. Research in Motion learned this the hard way (the old MMO version of Smartphones). Customer nostalgia is also a fleeting thing, as the novelty quickly wears off once they realized why they got tired with that old model to begin with.
While there is still lessons to be learned, and perhaps features to be resurrected, from old models, trying to dust off last decade's hit and expecting it to last another decade is a delusion.
1. Force grouping
2. Remove instancing
3. Add risk into the game (as in, if you fuck up badly enough you could lose your corpse).
4. Don't be afraid of class inter-dependence. Tank + healing + CC + dps works and is better than the chickenshit PVE in GW2.
5. The AH and group finder stuff is fine. If you want to chat with people join a chat room.
Make mobs soloable but set the difficulty in a way that makes duo/trio play much more efficient (stuff like class synergies or group-only auras). Then make xp an important factor at all stages of the game (AA points), the majority of it comes from kills, and dont have bite-sized quests that require you to chase specific objectives then return to town. All this encourage you to group up with the stranger that is soloing next to you, to improve your own progress, and removes reasons to break up that group for quest turn-ins or the like. If you want the game can still have peon tasks (please dont call that quests) like collecting gnoll ears, just dont require a return to the npc every 10 minutes. In that regard EQ belt/bone quests worked fine. WoW did actually have areas that played better as a duo/trio at release but could still be done solo with some difficulty, like every ogre mound or that troll city in hinterlands. The thing is that players take the path of least resistance so if you want them to group, make that difficulty the baseline everywhere.
The problem is that these days with the ubiquity of "multi-player" video games most people aren't naturally drawn to a MMORPG primarily to socialize. Most come for the adventure first. What ends up happening is that socialization and camaraderie that results from adventuring ends up being far more important and lasting in the long run. Social relationships within MMOs are the glue that help to retain subscribers as well.
Another problem is that because of the success of World of Warcraft MMORPGs have travelled on an absurd tangent of achievement centric design to the exclusion of pretty much all else. Back in the old days, there was an inherent appreciation for Richard Bartle's idea that virtual worlds and MUDs were a balanced composite of adventurers, explorers, socializers and killers. WoW destroyed that relationship which is why the MMO industry is in the sad predicament it is today.
I remember a time when I was forced to group and play with others in order to advance (in levels, gear, story, etc). When MMO's turned into single player games is when they started to suck. Really it's that simple. All these devs with their crazy new scheme to re-invent the fucking wheel when all they need to do is go out to the backyard and find that rusty wheel someone left in the grass and use that as their model.
WoW had a lot of good ideas; You could get baseline gear from the baseline quests/mobs, but group got gear was better, for one. However, the fallacy in that is every slot is replaced so frequently that the group-blue/purple gear was only 5-10 levels above the green gear you could get.
Bring back this idea, but make gear spread far more thinly, or upgrade far slower with a much bigger gap between solo and group gear, and it goes a long way in encouraging grouping.
Take away the retarded data mining for every quest/drop in current games
Yeah the datamining is shitty, but I don't think it's a problem with games but the fact that people are smart enough to be able to datamine this stuff. I don't think you can get rid of it so easily, if at all.
Looking back at classic EverQuest, almost everything you could wear was crap (except for what dropped off raid mobs). There were, however, those very rare tradeable items that everyone knew by name. If nothing else, I'd like to see that re-introduced.
Having amazing tradeable items fostered conversation, and many times grouping to obtain those items.
Last edited by Nitsude; 10-19-2013 at 03:55 PM.
Ya and the ninjas
No server transfers
No name change services
No flying mounts
Bring back the use of the term A/S/L.
Create an MMO with dated, tedious mechanics. Make sure your population is only 13-18 year olds who are new to the internet and the entire concept of online gaming.
You have re-socialized the MMO and created a new rose colored glasses generation in 10 years.
an understated ensemble that puts the "b" in subtle
WOULD socializing in game more keep me logging in?? For me, probably yes b/c I would make more in-game friends and friends would keep me logging in. Because friends need help and friends offer help. So when I get stuck, I can throw a txt to so and so and get a group together blah blah vice versa. I feel obligated to log in and help my friend(s).
I can't believe i'm going to say this but why not. Create a game where the endgame or raiding is not the initial goal. Tell people it will be in an expansion. Make a fun game, people will play a fun game even if there is no end goal. I played Skyrim and the last 3 GTA games without finishing them, and i played for a long time. Minecraft anyone?
To make it more social, make certain actions codependent. I guess i am saying forced grouping, but it doesn't have to sound so harsh. Making people group with acheivements and social media is not the only way to go.Use the enviroment to funnel them all together. Use buying and selling, exploring, crafting, and other things already in MMO's but made too easy as they stand today.
I think what i am saying is pretty basic and simple but overlooked. Do not make a WOW clone, based on a gimmick and endgame. Make a game based on creating and exploring and socializing. The last 10 MMO's were games on rails designed and marketed to rush you to the endgame and whatever the games Gimmick was(raids, RVR, Rifts, whatever.)
Honestly, i do not understand how so many quality single player games are made and these multiplayer games are shit with all that money spent on them.
Seriously, just make a good game and leave all the big ideas behind, don't recreate the wheel. As others have said, i would love if Eq next was just a modern version of everquest with the same cities,races and classes with modern graphics and mechanics.
I played the remake of UFO defense last year and it was brilliant. Sure Apples and Oranges, but you can convert an old game into a modern classic.
You know, I wonder...all of you that say you love the long downtime in old MMOs, how many of you smoke? That would explain a lot.Just last night I broke the Captains room in Blackburrow and had a good 5-6 minutes to relax, smoke a cig...
EQ2 at release, is a game I think of as having the right balance between soloing and grouping. Every zone had some areas for solo mobs and solo questing, but your best bet for leveling was always group grinding mobs overland or crawling contested dungeons. You had the ability to progress while you were LFG, but it was much better grouping. Where they messed up was having a game that ran like shit and the fact that socializing in a group is impossible when the game has you playing DDR on your keyboard with 50 abilities.
People do socialize in MMO's today, it's just mostly while they are sitting in town waiting for something to happen with the people in their guild channel. You can't have the same server wide social atmosphere of an EQ1 in a game where classes need to be constantly moving and chaining abilities while they fight against heavily scripted encounters with one-shot group/raid wipe mechanics.
But if a game was released where groups could grind xp without moving around a lot and classes could all be played effectively with several seconds between using skills, we would just all complain that it was some boring jap grinder.
Yea it's a good point about smoking. I was a heavy pot smoker in early EQ, so every big fight lead to a good long downtime which was my perfect opportunity to roll a joint and smoke it and then hurry back for the next fight. Hence me smoking about 4 joins an hour and doing myself no good
I don't smoke any more but nowadays I can alt tab and do something or just wait in the game and chat or whatever. But whatever, I still say that at least some downtime is essential, otherwise there is no consequence to over extending and unloading all your most powerful stuff. If you are then forced to wait 1 minute or suffer death by being out of mana, then it makes everything matter more, everything more scary, every pull count, and playing efficiently count. I don't need it to be 5 minutes though, even 1 or 2 minutes would be fine by me. But there's gotta be something.
Assuming that the OP isn't trolling the waters, I'll bite.
MMOs are quite social. The issue is that it isn't the -same- type of social behavior that existed during the "old days." This is largely due to things like Facebook, Smartphones, voicechat, and social media in general. Back in "the day" it was primarily AOL chatrooms, AIM/other messangers, and EQ. Bulletin boards and forums weren't new but weren't super widely used, and voice chat was non-existent. Social media largely meant your forum/board presence as opposed to your tweets/fbupdates/et al.
To add what early players believe the word "social" means back into mmos, you have to regress progress in several technological areas to achieve similar results. Not to mention narrowing the mmo market down to just a couple of quality titles that actually work occasionally.
As has been stated before by others, including myself, the people that tend to crave forced socialization are people that are not naturally social themselves. I haven't really experienced this lack of socializing that others have, because I tend to talk a lot in chat/voice while playing games, regardless of the group paradigm. People who are not normally social, unless forced, will not socialize in most mmos. Which is why you end up with all the silent Sallies and shit when you do dungeon finder groups. They just want to finish and gain rewards; they do not want to socialize. This is little different from the quiet players in EQ that only occasionally responded to people. The difference being that instead of being forced to socialize to progress (largely endgame+) they have the option to play however they want.
Honestly, to "re-socialize" mmos, you should just add a box to dungeon finders et al. This box tells people you are in it just for loot (speed run box or something) and not up for conversation. This way, people who don't have the box checked, will find people who want to chat occasionally in the random dungeons more than they will just get groups full of anti-social people or people who don't want to talk. You can't restrict people as much in this market as you could in the good old days. You gotta have options.
Question for ya'll
Does an mmorpg game exist like this:
No levels. Your gear is what makes your character stronger.
Permadeath. You die your corpse is lootable.
I'm thinking MMORPG DayZ style here. Massive uninstanced world. You start with nothing but your spells and skills. HP/Mana/armor/SP would be garbage because you'd have shit gear to basically just cover your dick, ass, and tits. You go out and kill mobs or other players for their gear or scour the world for mats to craft gears and weapons. If you die, your corpse is free to loot by other players and you start over with nothing.
Is this a thing already? I'd play it.
Not really. There are some minecraft servers like that, and some player run Neverwinter Nights modules and stuff like Ultima Online emulators which are sort of close.
But no real games are that quite that bold. DayZ needs time to fester and then maybe some people in the games industry will wake up and realise that actually, not every gamer is a whiny little tart. The finished DayZ standalone has a good chance of changing things for the better.
build either a time machine, or perhaps some kind of de-aging device, so everyone stays in highschool, college, or a housewife who's kids never grown up.
Also guild ties are forgotten, so every mmo is a new building experience, instead of bringing a previous guild or social relationship into the game, that fractures when the guild player base don't all like the new game, or beelines for "end game" forsaking new social experiences.
Trials of Ascension or Mortal Online maybe.
One thing I ponder when thinking about guilds, is that technically to re-socialise a game, it doesn't necessarily have to be happy things and all about sociable people. Perhaps being anti social could be considered social too? And by anti social I mean some people actually being enemies. I always loved the idea of guilds going to war with each other, but I just never see it happen. I think EQ had a command or something, but you just don't really see stuff like that. And I don't mean some dudebro 'guild' of 4 high school buddies fucking about with some other guild the same. What I mean is like the top 2 guilds on the server, big guilds with 50 people each and lots of high level powerful players. One day they step on the toes of the other big guild on the server, maybe fighting over a raid mob or something, and it all blows up and now they are at war - true war. Any player can PVP any player in the other guild. And their homes or guild halls could be attacked and raised. They can be trained or kill stolen or whatever, anything goes. War is war.
Maybe it goes on for ages like a stalemate or maybe it's a kind of 'cold war'. Or maybe one guild just ends up getting hammered and lose thousands of gold, loads of XP loss, their guild hall is in ruins, and they have to surrender or something. In other words, I would love to see an MMO that has an actual 'society' kind of like real life. Not just about chatting with groupmates. People are playing with real people and reputations matter, good people are actually valuable to you, they are real allies not just someone you talk to when you want a rez.
I guess Eve might work like that but I can never bring myself to play it.
Last edited by Fish1; 10-20-2013 at 01:50 AM.
Find some altruists with a few millions to throw at game . Plus gaming staff who would experience full body orgasms if the total active player base never went over 50,000 monthly subs at 5 dollars a pop after a free download and 30 day trial. Oh and make the sub fee payable with ebt cards )
Have you played the DayZ: Epoch mod? It add a lot of RPG elements (NPC traders/currency, modular base building, many servers have random events, etc).Not really. There are some minecraft servers like that, and some player run Neverwinter Nights modules and stuff like Ultima Online emulators which are sort of close.
But no real games are that quite that bold. DayZ needs time to fester and then maybe some people in the games industry will wake up and realise that actually, not every gamer is a whiny little tart. The finished DayZ standalone has a good chance of changing things for the better.
The problem with coming up with solutions for a problem like this is that we don't have the framework of an actual game to talk about real solutions, so we are left with generalizing and making assumptions about some "every game".
I have been kicking around an idea for a game that I think would create a large amount of socializing. I wont post some huge design doc, but I will give a brief overview and explain why I think it would be a good social game. (Sorry for the mass or unorganized ideas, this is the first time I have put any of this stuff down, so much of it is in rough draft form.)
So... what does all that crap create? It creates a game where players must coordinate their efforts in order to push further and further into the darkness of the unknown. It creates a very flexible "class" system, but enforces the idea of roles and rewards collaboration. Nothing in this world is instanced. And nothing is set in stone, everything the players manage to create can wither and die if it is not maintained.
The game requires the player spend their soul energy to advance, and penalizes them by removing their soul energy if they should fail. This encourages players to spend their resources rather then lose them. However, dying with a full lamp is not nearly as damaging as dying with a near empty one. Players that rush to their deaths over and over, without much planning will end up getting "chiseled" pretty quick and suffer the most extreme consequences.
The hardest challenges found in both PVE and PVP will absolutely require groups. As a players true potential and power only shows up when they are in a well put together collaboration with other players. Organization is given the highest priority in terms of unlocking player power. This requires communication, which requires socializing.
Many of the goals and objectives in this game will not actually revolve around fighting. Enemies can be avoided and rewards can simply be waiting for a player to stumble across them. Also, establishing new havens and helping players through the darkness can confer bonuses on par with the most seasoned fighters.
This game would benefit greatly from procedural terrain generation and enemy placement. This ensures that every trip into the dark produces a fresh experience. I would like to see several "endless" regions that simply spiral deeper and deeper. Terrain manipulation could be something else to be explored with.
So yeah... that was "brief"
Last edited by Pancreas; 10-20-2013 at 04:47 AM.
Bel'la Dos Quel'lar DeVir!
edit: etchazz beat me to it.
Last edited by Dumar; 10-20-2013 at 08:30 AM.
We socialized on Solusek Ro very well. First we drove HoSS away due the fact they couldn't get raid mobs and then we let the euros have are leftovers out of spite.
Have enough stat diversity so no one can agree on which datamined items are BiS and everyone will socialize to argue which stats/abilities are the best
I would look to Star Wars Galaxies for re-addition of social ascpects of MMOs. Non-combat classes that were social by nature ( entertainers, crafters ) add in town building guild warring etc to start. Have stores setup in the town you live in and you visit the towns...
Also, regarding combat you have to consider the following regarding grouping a) Grouping is the primary way to explore the world and b) Roles the classes play are important, diverse as possible ( i.e. Locked doors, Crowd control, Traps, etc etc etc )... give classes unique abilities to aid with dungeon-eering beyond DPS everything.
Cybsled's point about rose colored glasses is important and fits in here. One of the things we often forget about our early MMO experiences is how much time we spent in game. In those early MMOs if you wanted to advance it required a large time investment to get in and stay in those xp groups. When you're spending that much time with people socialization has a much higher chance of occurring. I grouped in WoW, and while it was much easier and quicker to get into groups the socialization experience was nothing like earlier MMOs.
Cybsled made another good point about the genre evolving. It evolved to allow people who aren't willing to put in that large time investment to advance anyway. As so began the era of games made for casual gamers. Now we can hop online for a little while grab a level or two without having to go through the trouble of finding or putting a group together, then hop back off and go back to real life. I think many of us, being from the "old school" lament these changes because of their obvious negative effect on socialization and community, which we enjoyed in earlier MMOs, but there were also a lot of negative side effects of those early games too and for many of us a return to the older more time intensive model of MMO just isn't feasible no matter how much nostalgia we have for it.
So, I think the answer is that you're not going to be able to "re-socialize" MMOs, because socialization was a side effect of a style of gameplay that most people, (old school gamers included since we no longer live with our parents), don't have time for anymore. It can be a niche market for those willing to invest the time, but for the much larger post-WoW MMO market it's not going to happen.
EDIT: I think someone was joking when they mentioned facebook earlier in the thread, but I think the only possibility for MMOs bringing back socialization would be if they made it passive; something that could happen without you necessarily needing to be logged in. But even then it wouldn't be the same as it was in those early days.
Last edited by Magog; 10-21-2013 at 12:06 AM.
Now, am i saying that old-school is going to return and kill the McMMos completely ? No. But i think it is pretty clear there is a market for a world experience with many attributes from the past and few from these "modern" titles.
I for one look forward to that experience...
time is the only factor that truly matters in a MMO. it should take time to do things. lots of time. if it doesn't, you get every shitty fucking game that has come out over the last 7+ years. no, we don't all have the same amount of free time that we did 10+ years ago, but fuck off, the world doesn't revolve around us. fact is, there are millions of people out there who do have several hours to play every day, and they are the ones the companies are making these games for, and they are the ones churning through the content in a week and a half and then quitting. you want to make another MMO that truly matters? make another one that takes a long time to get shit done.
I'm not sure that Time should be the only factor. See, here's the thing. Those 20 minute intervals where we sat around in Lguk or KC or Seb waiting on spawns and talking about tv/games/life in general? Still exist. Just that they take place in a) voicechat, b) facebook/social media, or c) guildchat/chat channels (and guilds and the dynamic associated with them are probably the greatest issue with socialization in games today).
Really hate to say it, but this is what happened in EQ that a lot of us probably remember but some (the nostalgia crew) gloss over when we played:
Early levels, unless we had RL/online friends in established guilds, were loads of random groups with random folk doing low level content. Then we hit mid level, and if we weren't in an established guild or friends with people in established guilds, we joined newb guilds that did low/mid level shit. With the occasional high level guy that would randomly bestow shit on us. But our group of people we played with had diminished. Now we were more aware of which guilds had good players and which did not, so we would start trying to group primarily with the good players as much as possible, thinning out our options for socialization with people outside our circles. Fast forward to endgame, where just about everyone was in one of the "good" guilds or they were jerkholes that nobody played with. Then it starts coming down to which people are on a similar tier of progression/higher so that we aren't being weighed down when doing content by newblets or people that aren't very good at their class.
Because, if they were good, they would be in one of the big guilds that were on a similar level of progression, right? Further limiting our socialization options outside of our individual circles.
Then we moved to other games, but we brought that insular thought-process with us. Randoms were the -last- option, not the first. And being jaded about the average player (since we were in high end guilds with mostly good to great players or at least super well geared) puts you into the position where in newer games, we skip the first stage and most of the second these days. Hell, when I moved to WoW, I went right to the same mentality I had at the high end of EQ. I found out which other guilds were good on Medivh (Specifically: Ascent) and primarily grouped with those guys if people in my own guild weren't available (Vindication.) And the vast majority of other people in the guild did the same. No guild groups available? Solo activity!
You know who created the socialization aspect in modern mmos? We did. The players. I am an outlier in that I would check friends, -then- guild, and then I'd just grab whatever warm body and throw it at shit till it worked. Did it in EQ, and in FFXI (which was holy fucknoodles harder to do than any other game. God that shit was stupid at times) and in every other game. I'm the guy that starts killing quest mobs in an area and invites every asshat in range who might be swinging at them so we can all get credit and move the fuck on. I'm the guy that would grab 5 DPS (as an SK) at Seb entrance and then start fear kiting shit and tap tanking and get -some- xp/drops instead of just sitting around waiting for the trinity to show up. But again, I'm an outlier in this community. Which is why I don't believe socialization is dead.
We, as a gaming era, took our high end insular attitude and applied it to every other game, creating the illusion that socialization is dead. When in reality, it's just dead for us.
Just an observation, of course.
- Reintroduce global servers. Small, regional servers were a horrible idea for the formation of communities.
- Slow down the pace of the game, so you can chat again by typing instead of having to press a button every global cooldown.
The vast majority of people play online games without ever going to forums, websites, reddit or whatever. They just come home and log into a game, so any community building that happens, has to happen in game. Unless you can train the vast majority of players to live the game on their mobile phones, on the web, and then at home in game, you really need to focus on bringing people together. This means that larger communities won't really form for the vast majority of people since global servers have to rely on out-of-game resources to form pools of people.
To your second point, that's just personal preference really. If you want a slower pace game, that's your prerogative. I know from personal experience that I chat all day playing these games in mumble/skype. I have no desire to go back to the day where all I do is type into a chat box while playing.
I'm not sure that is really proof positive to your concept.
Basically it is "age bias" on our parts. Much like people in their 30s/40s will think music/media/etc that teenagers or what not is shit, they also don't associate much with that crowd, creating social disconnects.
I think one major thing that limits socialization in current MMOs is widely available performance metrics and relatively tightly tuned encounters. Back in the day of EQ and early WoW most guilds, even fairly serious raid guilds, were happy to invite people without considering their usefulness first. If friends or family started playing you invited them to your guild without a second thought. These days there's a lot more consideration given to if a specific class is needed and if the player can hack it for the kind of raids the guild is aiming for (even outside of the bleeding edge raid guilds). Many guilds have become more like sports teams than traditional MMO guilds.
At the end of the day what is missing is encounters that have enough complexity for interaction to be required to kill them. When its all a snoozefest, it becomes chatting about sports or some other off topic thing while hitting 3 buttons... Heaven Forbid challenge returns where we have to on the fly discuss what we are doing and how to approach it .... eeek !
actually thought RIFT in beta was very good in that aspect... many mobs / pulls were tough and required folks to work together.
Raid complexity is at an all time high right now. One could say its too complex at the high end.
Is pretty much the worst thing for socialization since hitler.
The number one killer is instancing. Easy progression, virtually no consequences of a bad attitude (just put out those deeps) and unlimited chances at wealth and you have a very unrealistic, anti-social concept.
I despise "button rotation" games like WoW and most other MMO's. I'm not convinced it's a major factor though.
Transportation / Exploration is a huge factor. Humans love to explore and getting to new places is a big deal. Today's games trivialize the hell out of it and I think that has a huge impact on how players interact from the challenges they take on to the social factors. If you can just get anywhere in the world without some hint of social graces then it's a huge socialization opportunity that is missed.
One of the coolest "social" moments was when I was a noob in late 1999 in EQ. I was in permafrost and the idea of a "end game" was completely foreign to me. Next thing I know, all these shiny and colorful players run past me. Just seeing a Vox Raid setup was amazing as a low level and I got to reap some of the rewards, met some amazing players too. EQ sometimes mixed content together for highs and lows in the same zone, something you don't see much of anymore.
Some people mentioned risk. Couldn't agree more. There must be risk, real risk and not some BS like restarting the instance with another team of vagabonds 5 minutes after you all died. Playing in a fantasy world MMO should have challenges, obviously. It should also have great risks that can be taken by those who are willing to subside their fears and go after the reward of said risks. Today's MMO's the risk is virtually zero because even if you all die, at worst you spend 30 minutes reorganizing with a new team. Fear tends to bring people together since two are stronger than one. Without this fear (and opportunity/challenge) to overcome it, no MMO will ever get my attention again. High end raid zones shoudl all be like Veeshan's peak, go in and can't get out easily and if you die, you better have a good recovery plan or you lose all your gear.
Today's gen isn't ready for great games anymore
Contested spawns led to far more anti-social behaviors, if one was to use the actual definition of the term (training, griefing, exploits, etc). Being a dick != social.The number one killer is instancing. Easy progression, virtually no consequences of a bad attitude (just put out those deeps) and unlimited chances at wealth and you have a very unrealistic, anti-social concept.
Because of the slightly higher ping when you have an ocean between you and the server? It's an MMO, not a FPS game. 50ms extra ping is totally irrelevant.
Because of the language barriers? Maybe that was 'solved' for US server since they didn't have to interact with foreigners anymore (except random Mexicans). But EU servers still are a very mixed bag of cultures and languages, and Aussie players are put on Asian servers, so same "problem" for them. I put problem in quotes because it's not a problem at all. You interact with people you can talk to, the fact that there is a faction on the same server that you can not talk to does not diminish your opportunity to find people you can communicate and play with.
2) I disagree with the player name recognition as a trigger to form a community. There is a name recognition aspect, but it's on a guild name level. When I'm in game at a hub, I'll initially start recognizing guild names, not player names. Having a server with a population of 100K players or 1 million players (factor 10 difference) barely has any influence on getting familiar with guild names.
On getting familiar with individuals, that happens when you get into a pick up group and remember a guy because he was a good, cool or just funny player. So you add him to your friends list. From then on, it does not matter at all how huge your server is, you can always find your new buddy in an instant. The larger your server, the bigger the pool of cool guys is, while finding them is not affected. Big server > small server.
3) I don't like voice chat as a primary means of communication in an MMO. Part of that is me: I'm just a bit too introvert to start talking to strangers. Part of that is the language barrier: while my English is decent - as I'm hoping to show here - speaking it is a bit more of a challenge and I'm not a 100% comfortable with it, certainly when I'm supposed to be having fun and relax. Also keep in mind that I'm stuck on a Euro server and thus voice chat would be a mix of 'English' with cockney, scottish, welsh, irish, french, spanish, german, russian, greek, italian, ... (need I go on?) accents, IF my companions are even a bit fluent in spoken English.
So let's keep chat to that chat box, can we? For one, it provides just enough distance for me to feel comfortable with interacting with strangers, and second it forces people to focus on communicating the bare necessities in a concise manner. Spelling and grammar can even be flawed, because people have a chat log and a few moments to decipher it. On voice chat, you have no log and less time.
4) Game pace is crucial factor in being able to communicate with random players passing by. In EQ when you were camping a spot with your group, you could /say to nearby people or /shout to the zone. Good for practical info (/say group full?) or zone banter (/shout Grabbit > Fitz).
Nowadays everyone is an EQ Bard.
5) Instancing: definitely a huge factor in the killing off of MMO communities, but others have already explained it plus I need to go lunch.
Last edited by DiddleySquat; 10-22-2013 at 01:57 PM. Reason: typo
Speaking of guild names, I think this relatively new development of only putting guild initials in a player's displayed guild tag is dumb. FFXIV is like this, GW2 also I believe. Put the whole damn thing up there, jeez. It's like giving yourself a nickname, foolish, that shit gets given to you by someone else. Or at least a toggle where if all the guild names are cluttering up your screen in a hub, pvp, raid, etc, you can switch to view full guild names, initials, or none.
I have to add that I'm also older than your average MMO player, considering that I'm 40. Not talking about casual / hardcore here, just saying that the way younger people talk, think, communicate just doesn't click with me anymore past the basic interactions and common courtesy. I like more RP servers, not because of the faggotry or the creepy people (most are just normal guys that enjoy roleplaying) at least some people there try to communicate, even if behind a set of unwritten rules, and enhance the other players experience, instead of making it miserable and/or frustrating.
So if I play SWtoR, where the lore has a predominant effect on the game community and join a RP guild, I know I'll likely find people that are not just heading towards loot/progression at a frenetic pace, but also some that just enjoy their gaming time without chasing a carrot over and over. Worth doing? I don't know, I have mixed experiences, I guess it just depends on the people one can find.
Perhaps there is a game out there I am missing ?
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