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  1. #1
    High Overlord Ult92's Avatar
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    MMO Market Trends & Burnout

    I've been one to defend changes to game meant to help players with less time to play (often labeled 'casuals'). I think this topic has probably been belabored enough already, but I've come to realize that some of the tools meant to easily bring players together have actually had the opposite effect (LFD, LFR, etc.. you know what I mean).

    This doesn't seem to be limited to WoW, however. I've found new MMOs are opting for queue-based instanced content, less grinding, etc. There's a widespread movement to make it easier for the player to group with random players on a whim and at the touch of a button, while simultaneously reducing the need to form a collective and static group to overcome challenges.

    However, I think for an MMO to work, the main objectives need to require organized group play. It's that requirement that encourages players to form relationships online, and then relationships in turn make MMOs great. When the games become more and more oriented toward helping the solo player see all content, that when the traditional pillar of what make MMOs awesome just crumble.

    I feel kind of disillusioned lately. I'm a rather shy person IRL, not overly so, but I become easily nervous meeting new people, etc. I think that's what made MMOs more attractive to me many years ago; it was a way for me to interact with people without the anxiety. I started with FFXI and then moved to WoW, and had a lot of fun with both. I was in many guilds and had many great accomplishments.

    FFXI had a lot of the traditional style (and Asian-oriented) MMO systems that many people today do not like:

    ---Grinding to level, you just killed the same things over and over to get XP for hours
    ---No/little queue-based content, you had to find a group and often times it was hard


    In some ways, WoW was the same around TBC. Leveling was more solo oriented than FFXI, which at the time I thought was great, but you still needed to form groups with people on your own for almost all other content, no queuing (except for BGs). I did all of this and yes, I was a casual player.

    I've come to desire that ol' FFXI grinding-in-a-group again. In some ways it does suck, but it really helped make the game an MMO for me. Often you were stuck with same people for hours, grouped with them again later, joined their LS (guild), etc. The structure of the game incentivized, rewarded, and yes - required, grouping and long-term relationships.

    --------Anyway, back to to the present:

    Sadly enough, all my friends (either IRL or in-game friends that I had a long relationship with) are no longer playing MMOs. The guild I was in recently fell apart, and instead of looking for a new one, I've just been playing the game solo with almost no one online ever anymore in the guild. If I do join another guild, it won't be to complete game content, because that isn't needed. I think seeing raid content in LFR is enough and kind of spoils doing it on other modes, so the incentive for me to join organized raiding is gone.

    I suppose I'm longing for that old MMO-feeling. It's probably just nostalgia, but I can say truthfully that I've never felt so alone in and MMO while simultaneously having little desire to group up with other people. Maybe it's just MMO burnout because I've played them for so many years now (going on 10), but I like to think that it's because of these trends in the MMO genre that I mentioned.

    TLDR: The MMO genre seems to be moving towards a system that rewards solo-play via queued/instanced content that instantly groups players with random others. I think this is contrary to the nature of the 'MMO' - massively multiplayer.

    If you agree with me, why do you think MMOs are moving in this direction? Why can't they be like they used to be just 4, 5, 6 years ago (when many were still incredibly successful)?
    Last edited by Ult92; 2013-05-19 at 04:46 AM.
    "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."
    -John Maynard Keynes-

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Ult92 View Post
    I think seeing raid content in LFR is enough and kind of spoils doing it on other modes, so the incentive for me to join organized raiding is gone.
    Inb4 "don't like it, don't do it!"

    I agree though. People ignore the psychological effects of the mere presence of LFR in the game. Seeing the instance was an exclusive reward in itself for doing normals. And let's not forget the gear models. It was an easier decision to participate in raiding when the only way to see and obtain was normals. Now you have to think... "well there's not much different.." where's the motivator?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ult92 View Post
    Why can't they be like they used to be just 4, 5, 6 years ago (when many were still incredibly successful)?
    Ping Pong was so successful back in the day, why can't all game be like that?
    Time changes, technology change, people change, expectation change, etc.
    Nowadays people are complaining daily are a grind, go figure why that model won't work now. Seriously dailys....

  4. #4
    High Overlord Ult92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exorte View Post
    Ping Pong was so successful back in the day, why can't all game be like that?
    Time changes, technology change, people change, expectation change, etc.
    Nowadays people are complaining daily are a grind, go figure why that model won't work now. Seriously dailys....
    In this case, it has changed very rapidly though. And I wonder why. Were people really not complaining about grinding and having to group up with people just a few years ago? And now suddenly they are to the point that the entire MMO genre is changing?

    I guess this just begs the question. Are these changes led by consumer demands, or rather the industry trying to alter consumer preferences?
    "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."
    -John Maynard Keynes-

  5. #5
    Pandaren Monk Otiswhitaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ult92 View Post
    In this case, it has changed very rapidly though. And I wonder why. Were people really not complaining about grinding and having to group up with people just a few years ago? And now suddenly they are to the point that the entire MMO genre is changing?

    I guess this just begs the question. Are these changes led by consumer demands, or rather the industry trying to alter consumer preferences?
    It's pretty much how all other games are doing things, and MMOs, seemingly, have been losing consumers/having a hard time holding on to consumers, so they're trying to latch onto this stuff to get people interested. (Personally, I think MMOs are dead to the mainstream. At least that's how it seems to me, anyways, and most any other actions are painfully trying to stave off entire genre death. Especially in the west. ESPECIALLY in the west.)

  6. #6
    You aren't finding the social hooks because you aren't trying to; the fact that you are happy just doing LFR and sitting in an empty guild is proof of that. There is nothing stopping you from joining a populated guild, apping to a real raid, or committing to Arena/RBG teams with other players.

  7. #7
    High Overlord Ult92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Otiswhitaker View Post
    It's pretty much how all other games are doing things, and MMOs, seemingly, have been losing consumers/having a hard time holding on to consumers, so they're trying to latch onto this stuff to get people interested. (Personally, I think MMOs are dead to the mainstream. At least that's how it seems to me, anyways, and most any other actions are painfully trying to stave off entire genre death. Especially in the west. ESPECIALLY in the west.)
    Why do you think this is? A lot of people like to reference the rise of mobile platform gaming and how that's killing traditional console/PC games. However, I just have a hard time seeing how WoW or MMOs in general are even in competition with mobile platforms (like iOS). What exactly is killing MMOs specifically?
    "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."
    -John Maynard Keynes-

  8. #8
    Many people say that LFR discourages raiding. It had the opposite effect on me. I never really raided before (and I've played since vanilla), but now I actively try to find raid groups since I've seen the fights in LFR. I've cleared all of T14 on normal, and am attempting some heroic bosses now.

    LFR encouraged me to step up to normals and heroics.

  9. #9
    High Overlord Ult92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    You aren't finding the social hooks because you aren't trying to; the fact that you are happy just doing LFR and sitting in an empty guild is proof of that. There is nothing stopping you from joining a populated guild, apping to a real raid, or committing to Arena/RBG teams with other players.
    I figured I would get this kind of response, but that isn't really the point. There might be 'nothing stopping me', but my point is there isn't anything incentivizing or requiring me. For example, you usually don't just go out and decide "okay, I need to make friends, so I am going to do X and Y." Rather, you meet friends in school, classes, work; places where you are required to meet up in a group and work with others (at least, that's how I made all my friends - I didn't just decide one day to go and make them). Finding friends and forming relationships is not the immediate goal; rather it is a side effect of having to be involved in something.

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-19 at 02:17 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    You aren't finding the social hooks because you aren't trying to; the fact that you are happy just doing LFR and sitting in an empty guild is proof of that. There is nothing stopping you from joining a populated guild, apping to a real raid, or committing to Arena/RBG teams with other players.
    Also, I want to add - and maybe this is just my preference but I don't think it's far removed - that seeing content has always been the priority. It's just what I like.

    I don't know about all of you, but making friends is not something I like to "try" to do. Making friends comes naturally when you're working together with others. Yes, I don't have to use raid finder/dungeon finder, but now I don't HAVE to seek others out in order to do the content. I feel like because of this it is now thrusted upon me to go out and just start making friends, rather than trying to see the content and making friends in the process. Seeing the content has always been so important to me - now I can do it alone.
    Last edited by Ult92; 2013-05-19 at 06:19 AM.
    "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."
    -John Maynard Keynes-

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ult92 View Post
    I figured I would get this kind of response, but that isn't really the point. There might be 'nothing stopping me', but my point is there isn't anything incentivizing or requiring me. For example, you usually don't just go out and decide "okay, I need to make friends, so I am going to do X and Y." Rather, you meet friends in school, classes, work; places where you are required to meet up in a group and work with others (at least, that's how I made all my friends - I didn't just decide one day to go and make them). Finding friends and forming relationships is not the immediate goal; rather it is a side effect of having to be involved in something.

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-19 at 02:17 AM ----------



    Also, I want to add - and maybe this is just my preference but I don't think it's far removed - that seeing content has always been the priority. It's just what I like.

    I don't know about all of you, but making friends is not something I like to "try" to do. Making friends comes naturally when you're working together with others. Yes, I don't have to use raid finder/dungeon finder, but now I don't HAVE to seek others out in order to do the content. I feel like because of this it is now thrusted upon me to go out and just start making friends, rather than trying to see the content and making friends in the process. Seeing the content has always been so important to me - now I can do it alone.
    The incentive is right here in this thread -- you would enjoy the game a lot more if you had others to play with. I'm not sure there could be a better incentive. In order to get that job and meet those people you probably had to submit a resume, you didn't get it by just sitting in your house an waiting for someone to force it on you. That is essentially what you are doing by just sitting in an empty guild and running LFR/LFD all day. Whether its real life or in game you have to be willing to put yourself out there and actually try to make some connections.

  11. #11
    I'm pretty much bored of mmo's TBH already (well, except WoW, but I don't play it as often as before).
    There was a time when I played almost every mmo on the market (the big titles, not asian F2P crap), I liked it a lot and at least I levelled to max level to check out end game content. Nowdays I'm quiting the game after few levels (Neverwinter, Tera for example)
    my PSN ID - Kobold_Rider

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    You aren't finding the social hooks because you aren't trying to; the fact that you are happy just doing LFR and sitting in an empty guild is proof of that. There is nothing stopping you from joining a populated guild, apping to a real raid, or committing to Arena/RBG teams with other players.
    He's not finding the social hooks because he doesn't need to. The game doesn't ask him to on even the most basic level.

    The general appeal of MMO's is a certain level of dependency on other players, and a certain level of vicariousness (for lack of a better term) with the character you play. Without going into a tl;dr diatribe on the subject, the summary is that this game, and so many others like it, simply don't apply either of these virtues to the game experience.
    Benevolence is a luxury for the strong - Wrathion

  13. #13
    MMO's are no longer "hot" like they were back in 2005-2010.

    The (internet) market changed. Both in hardware (tablets) as in free to play on line thingies.

    We no longer stand in "awe" for playing with other people around the world, it has become a time passing on a MUCH more casual basis.

    So people search for lighter games, faster games, less time consuming games and casual solo games albeit with an online possibility to play with people 24/7 on THEIR individual needs ...

    The social pressure to join a raiding guild is no longer there. With LESS time on their hands and MORE possibilities to play on line casually, the MMO basement dwellers become an extreme small player base.

    I think Blizzard should take their time to publish Titan as the market is not ready for yet another heavy massive MMORPG.

    Perhaps times will change again by 2016/18, but MMO's are simply too time consuming these days to have a massive support and success like WoW had back in 2005.

    I believe more in online games like HS or Blizzard All Stars to gain massive popularity over the next 3 years.
    Last edited by BenBos; 2013-05-19 at 07:28 AM.

  14. #14
    High Overlord Ult92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    The incentive is right here in this thread -- you would enjoy the game a lot more if you had others to play with. I'm not sure there could be a better incentive. In order to get that job and meet those people you probably had to submit a resume, you didn't get it by just sitting in your house an waiting for someone to force it on you. That is essentially what you are doing by just sitting in an empty guild and running LFR/LFD all day. Whether its real life or in game you have to be willing to put yourself out there and actually try to make some connections.
    The fact that you are now comparing socializing in WoW to finding a job is rather telling; it's kind of the point I'm trying to make. I'm not trying to claim that I cannot form bonds in the game. I am saying that, years ago (in other MMOs as well) the environment and conditions were much more conducive to doing so. It was kind of a natural thing. Now it's, as you say, going out and "submitting résumés." Before, you played the game, and you had to group with people in order to see the content. Side effect: friends.
    Last edited by Ult92; 2013-05-19 at 07:42 AM.
    "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."
    -John Maynard Keynes-

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ult92 View Post
    The fact that you are now comparing socializing in WoW to finding a job is rather telling; it's kind of the point I'm trying to make. I'm not trying to claim that I cannot form bonds in the game. I am saying that, years ago (in other MMOs as well) the environment and conditions were much more conducive to doing so. It was kind of a natural thing. Now it's, as you say, going out and "submitting résumés." Before, you played the game, and you had to group with people in order to see the content. Side effect: friends.
    I compared WoW with finding a job because you compared it with going to work. The game offers the *choice* of a more solitary experience. That is partially WoW's claim to fame. The point is that it is a choice; you choose to play the game that way. It's ridiculous to say that Blizzard needs to close that option for people who do enjoy it. The environment hasn't changed that much, accomplishing anything meaningful still requires a coordinated group. Personally, I don't think LFR is seeing the content. It's riding a bike with training wheels. You aren't experiencing the content as it was meant to be played and enjoyed.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    I compared WoW with finding a job because you compared it with going to work. The game offers the *choice* of a more solitary experience. That is partially WoW's claim to fame. The point is that it is a choice; you choose to play the game that way.
    The issue is that if Joe average gamer plays in this fashion, he might draw the conclusion that he can get a better, similar experience from a single player game. A tight knit in-game community, one that has to deal good and bad elements in it (and has the capacity to do so) is not something any other game can easily provide.

    The social aspect is one of the keys to this genre.
    Benevolence is a luxury for the strong - Wrathion

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by melodramocracy View Post
    The issue is that if Joe average gamer plays in this fashion, he might draw the conclusion that he can get a better, similar experience from a single player game. A tight knit in-game community, one that has to deal good and bad elements in it (and has the capacity to do so) is not something any other game can easily provide.

    The social aspect is one of the keys to this genre.
    How the solitary experience of WoW compares with other single player games is a separate subject and mostly something Blizzard needs to be concerned with if they want to attract that type of player. This is a case of the OP choosing to only participate in the solitary side of the game, and complain because he can't meet in game friends.

  18. #18
    High Overlord Ult92's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    I compared WoW with finding a job because you compared it with going to work. The game offers the *choice* of a more solitary experience. That is partially WoW's claim to fame. The point is that it is a choice; you choose to play the game that way. It's ridiculous to say that Blizzard needs to close that option for people who do enjoy it. The environment hasn't changed that much, accomplishing anything meaningful still requires a coordinated group. Personally, I don't think LFR is seeing the content. It's riding a bike with training wheels. You aren't experiencing the content as it was meant to be played and enjoyed.
    I suppose this is just a difference in preferences - because LFR definitely 'seeing the content' for me. I don't know, it's what drove me in this game. I recall, back in TBC, I would frequently "guild hop" as I got better. For example, once, when I left I guild I was in for about 5-6 months, the guild leader sent me an angry tell that I "chose gear over friends." Well, that wasn't true at all. The guild was never moving past Kara/Gruul/Mag and the expansion was coming to an end, so I felt compelled to join another guild that had more progression so I could see the content before it became trivial. I kept the guild friends that I had made in each guild as I moved up. I remember thinking "at this rate I am never going to see BT" - so I left.

    It was compelling enough that not only did I have to look for guilds, but I even had to look for new ones after being in the same for too long, and I made new relationships a long the way. It's just amazing how that has TOTALLY changed now. There's nothing compelling me to do normals or hardmode, because gear was never the primary driving factor.

    And, comparing WoW with 'finding a job' is not at all the same as 'going to work'. You're claiming that building relationships in WoW is LIKE finding a job, while I'm claiming that you do that naturally when already at work. My point remains, the relationships are a side effect.

    ---------- Post added 2013-05-19 at 12:22 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    How the solitary experience of WoW compares with other single player games is a separate subject and mostly something Blizzard needs to be concerned with if they want to attract that type of player. This is a case of the OP choosing to only participate in the solitary side of the game, and complain because he can't meet in game friends.
    Also, it seems you aren't getting the point of my posts, because I didn't complain that I "can't meet friends:"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ult92 View Post
    I'm not trying to claim that I cannot form bonds in the game. I am saying that, years ago (in other MMOs as well) the environment and conditions were much more conducive to doing so. It was kind of a natural thing. Now it's, as you say, going out and "submitting résumés." Before, you played the game, and you had to group with people in order to see the content. Side effect: friends.
    I suppose there's just this perception that its always on the individual, the player, to form relationship. That much is obvious and true. But you have to acknowledge that the conditions which make it more likely change. These things just don't remain static.

    The mentality is this: ---Aren't making friends? Well, must be because YOU are choosing not to. Character flaw. Game hasn't changed at all in five years, so something must be wrong with YOU--- It's interesting, this exactly what many say about the unemployed. It's as if it's a personal flaw that people cannot find a job and that societal problems/structures have nothing to do with. But anyway, that is getting off-topic.
    Last edited by Ult92; 2013-05-19 at 04:44 PM.
    "The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead."
    -John Maynard Keynes-

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Ult92 View Post
    I suppose this is just a difference in preferences - because LFR definitely 'seeing the content' for me. I don't know, it's what drove me in this game. I recall, back in TBC, I would frequently "guild hop" as I got better. For example, once, when I left I guild I was in for about 5-6 months, the guild leader sent me an angry tell that I "chose gear over friends." Well, that wasn't true at all. The guild was never moving past Kara/Gruul/Mag and the expansion was coming to an end, so I felt compelled to join another guild that had more progression so I could see the content before it became trivial. I kept the guild friends that I had made in each guild as I moved up. I remember thinking "at this rate I am never going to see BT" - so I left.

    It was compelling enough that not only did I have to look for guilds, but I even had to look for new ones after being in the same for too long, and I made new relationships a long the way. It's just amazing how that has TOTALLY changed now. There's nothing compelling me to do normals or hardmode, because gear was never the primary driving factor.
    Its not even about gear, HM and even most NM encounters are very different from the LFR versions. In a strict sense I suppose LFR is "seeing" the content since it uses the same map layout and creature graphics; but there is a tremendous lost in experiencing/appreciating the content.

    And, comparing WoW with 'finding a job' is not at all the same as 'going to work'. You're claiming that building relationships in WoW is LIKE finding a job, while I'm claiming that you do that naturally when already at work. My point remains, the relationships are a side effect.[COLOR="red"]
    It is absolutely analogous. I'm not saying that building relationships in WoW is like finding a job, I'm saying you have to be proactive in putting yourself in a situation to make social connections. Going to work is not a natural occurrence, there are things you have to do to get there.


    "Also, it seems you aren't getting the point of my posts, because I didn't complain that I "can't meet friends:"
    Your OP says that solitary gameplay systems are making it difficult for you to interact with other people; that you feel alone in game. My point isn't necessarily that you can't make friends, its that you aren't trying to.

    I suppose there's just this perception that its always on the individual, the player, to form relationship. That much is obvious and true. But you have to acknowledge that the conditions which make it more likely change. These things just don't remain static.

    The mentality is this: ---Aren't making friends? Well, must be because YOU are choosing not to. Character flaw. Game hasn't changed at all in five years, so something must be wrong with YOU--- It's interesting, this exactly what many say about the unemployed. It's as if it's a personal flaw that people cannot find a job and that societal problems/structures have nothing to do with. But anyway, that is getting off-topic.
    It *is* on you to foster relationships and create bonds; those are personal things. There are people at school and work right now that will never make those connections because they won't try. There is a guy at my workplace that never has lunch in the lounge with the rest of us, never attends after work parties, and never volunteers for any committees. Is it my bosses fault that he isn't making social connections? Of course not. Likewise, its not Blizzards fault that you have decided that sitting in an empty guild and running LFR satisfies your desire to see content.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by nazrakin View Post
    It *is* on you to foster relationships and create bonds; those are personal things. There are people at school and work right now that will never make those connections because they won't try. There is a guy at my workplace that never has lunch in the lounge with the rest of us, never attends after work parties, and never volunteers for any committees. Is it my bosses fault that he isn't making social connections? Of course not. Likewise, its not Blizzards fault that you have decided that sitting in an empty guild and running LFR satisfies your desire to see content.
    I don't know about you but people don't generally act on these sort of things without incentives but worse than that they may not SEE them in the first place, especially the abstract thought of forming relationships that remain relavent for their WoW life.

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