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Nytehauq

World of Warcraft: Ultimate excess of a consumerist society?

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An interesting thought dawned on me while I was considering the merits (or lack thereof) of the gameplay of World of Warcraft, which is, as most of you should know, the most popular MMORPG ever. Alot of people tend to make the fallacy equating financial success with merit: WoW is an example of a "good" game with "good" gameplay because it is popular. I present an alternative theory: World of Warcraft is popular because it capitalizes on the excesses of a consumerist and materialist society in the U.S. and mass-mentality in regions like China. It is an affable game, easy to get into, and provides a very simple reward mechanism: do things to get things that make you more "powerful," without any thought put towards the merits of the things you do: the ultimate point is to get "things," not to do things. To use a fairly inappropriate analogy: human sexuality experts often suggest concentrating on the experience of sex instead of the "reward" of orgasm. So, what is a game like WoW? An empty orgasmic experience; a destination with no journey, a false reward with false effort put in. It is an undeniably alluring method of garnering playerbase, especially in a society that focues almost exclusively on material reward. Guilds replace corporations, raids replace business and production industry, the elite and aristocratic have the power and control and the majority refuse or are unable to invest enough to achieve the material rewards they expect to want, only failing to realize the cyclical nature of the product: Everyone's trying to get all this cool gear and "stuff," only to try and get the cooler gear and "stuff" the next time around ad-infinitum. Seven and a half million people buy into it: why? Because people like pretty things and "getting" stuff. World of Warcraft is successful for the same reasons as pulp movies and cheap made for TV specials, save for the fact that World of Warcraft is relatively of a higher production quality than most of its competition in the MMORPG market, yet, when compared to the larger video-game market, is as poor in that department as the next MMO title. So, the purpose of this rant? Don't try and emulate World of Warcraft in your design. There will be many immitators, they will all inevitably fail. Yet, not only is imitation futile: it's bad. World of Warcraft is not a GOOD game. It is an ends-based illusion of efficacy and accomplishment. If you want to do something worthwhile, design a game worth playing for the gameplay, not for the reward at the end of the tunnel, and figure it how to market it to the world we live in. Make it an MMO for all it matters, just don't let possible good design corrupt into piles of immitative and shallow nonsense.

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Christ in a basket, I really think they need to rename this forum from "Game Design" to "Whining about World of Warcraft". Here are a few things to consider:

1) Stop being bitter about WoW. Just let it go. I don't know whether you're one of the people who played it for 3 years and now feel like they lost all that time of their lives, or you're pissed off that everyone you know thinks WoW is great but thinks your "good" MMO idea sounds boring, but either way, just let it go. Play something else, and stop pulling your hair out over something that really doesn't matter that much.

2) WoW is a computer game. It is not some sort of political movement that is meant to bring world peace and feed starving people in Africa. Of course it's a luxury that is only possible in affluent capitalist societies. So are all video games. So is that $300 monitor you're staring at, and that Playstation in your living room. If you are trying to bring down capitalism and rally the working class to revolution, then making video games is the last thing you should be doing.

3) It's not really a "fallacy" that WoW has "good" gameplay, because the word "good" doesn't have a concrete meaning. For most people, especially publishers, "good" does mean "popular". You personally might think something that everyone else thinks is good is really bad, but that only makes it bad to you, not bad in general.

4) No matter how much you argue, you will not get people to stop having orgasms, and you will not get people to stop playing WoW.

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problem is, if you want to pull a profit (or even stay in business) you have to go the WoW way... if you just want a "good" (or even "great") experience, you have to create and/or play one of the text-based MUDs/MUSHs/whatevers.

never expect the "best" from something that is the biggest money maker. humans on average are just average after all :) think about this the next time you eat at mcdonalds.

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I'm sorry that the masses aren't as sophisticated as you are.

Or, maybe... people don't care about some nuanced "deeper meaning" in games, they just want to enjoy themselves.

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Original post by Nytehauq
Don't try and emulate World of Warcraft in your design. There will be many immitators, they will all inevitably fail.

Why would failure be inevitable? WoW succeeded, since 7,5 million people think it's fun, so why would they think other similar games are boring?

So maybe WoW isn't good, but it's success indicates it's the best currently available. If you think you can do better, please do so: 7,5 million people (or more) will thank you for it.
Until then, posts like this have little use for any of us.

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Original post by Nytehauq
An interesting thought dawned on me while I was considering the merits (or lack thereof) of the gameplay of World of Warcraft, which is, as most of you should know, the most popular MMORPG ever. Alot of people tend to make the fallacy equating financial success with merit: WoW is an example of a "good" game with "good" gameplay because it is popular. I present an alternative theory: World of Warcraft is popular because it capitalizes on the excesses of a consumerist and materialist society in the U.S. and mass-mentality in regions like China. It is an affable game, easy to get into, and provides a very simple reward mechanism: do things to get things that make you more "powerful," without any thought put towards the merits of the things you do: the ultimate point is to get "things," not to do things. To use a fairly inappropriate analogy: human sexuality experts often suggest concentrating on the experience of sex instead of the "reward" of orgasm.

So, what is a game like WoW? An empty orgasmic experience; a destination with no journey, a false reward with false effort put in. It is an undeniably alluring method of garnering playerbase, especially in a society that focues almost exclusively on material reward. Guilds replace corporations, raids replace business and production industry, the elite and aristocratic have the power and control and the majority refuse or are unable to invest enough to achieve the material rewards they expect to want, only failing to realize the cyclical nature of the product: Everyone's trying to get all this cool gear and "stuff," only to try and get the cooler gear and "stuff" the next time around ad-infinitum.

Seven and a half million people buy into it: why?

Because people like pretty things and "getting" stuff. World of Warcraft is successful for the same reasons as pulp movies and cheap made for TV specials, save for the fact that World of Warcraft is relatively of a higher production quality than most of its competition in the MMORPG market, yet, when compared to the larger video-game market, is as poor in that department as the next MMO title.

So, the purpose of this rant?

Don't try and emulate World of Warcraft in your design. There will be many immitators, they will all inevitably fail. Yet, not only is imitation futile: it's bad. World of Warcraft is not a GOOD game. It is an ends-based illusion of efficacy and accomplishment. If you want to do something worthwhile, design a game worth playing for the gameplay, not for the reward at the end of the tunnel, and figure it how to market it to the world we live in. Make it an MMO for all it matters, just don't let possible good design corrupt into piles of immitative and shallow nonsense.


You're right so simply ignore the above posts as those are made by people whose opinion clearly is based on wrong facts/assumptions.
EDIT:
A games success must never be measured in how many people bought/played it rather on how people felt when they did play it.
So if you can get everyone who loves an MMORPG to say WoW is the best through history that doesn't make the game great.
Just look at all great games that never got those huge sellings, are they bad becuase people are dumb enough to trust grand screenshots and loads of commercials?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The OP is spot on IMHO - I don't know why most of you have replied so scathingly.

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try to aske theese 7.5 millions of people, how long did they played it?
i think most of it only heard about it.
i dont know from my experience, but WoW was highly medialized in its beging, so most people heard about it, some of them played it form few months, and some of this some actualy actively play this game for some time .
everything is IMO. i never played WoW.

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I play world of warcraft. I like world of warcraft. I enjoy the history and the plot lines of the world of warcraft. I believe in its heroes and i dispise its anti-heroes. I enjoy the anticipation and fear of the opposing faction watching and waiting to strike at a time of weakness as i make my in game income.

Is world of warcraft a good game?

since wow has been open to public, i have noticed a decline in games i can enjoy. so maybe its true when people say its because all the developers are playing wow.

If you cant beat them, join them.

how do you compete with a game with 7.5 million players. with a large portion of the market already gone that doesn't leave a lot for the rest of the developers trying to make a living.

Has WOW killed the industry?

easy answer no. It has raised the bar yes. Its going to take a special game to stop people from playing wow. Sure the developers of today are going to have a tough time with a player like wow in the game, but the developers of tomorrow now have this huge giants shoulders to stand on.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Some people enjoy chess, others football and yet others tennis and millions of other ways to pass time. Most of these people don't try to find faults and blame in what others do as it's not really contributing to anything. On the other hand there's those who like to pass their time by complaining on others, obviously.
How's about letting people decide what they want to do themselves ?

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As far as I'm concerned, MMORPGs are:

Single player RPGs, add social interaction, subtract a good plot

Personally, I hate the way single player RPGs play. The battle systems are boring and so is the endless item collection. The only reason I play some single player RPGs (and I don't play many) is because of the great stories.

Now, the change that MMORPGs bring is that you can play it with your friends. This is fair enough, I have a decent number of friends who play WoW and I don't hold it against them. I could never bring myself to play it though and I agree with the OP about the poor level of gameplay. From a game designer's point of view, I would never want to make a game like WoW, because it seems void of interesting gameplay choices. Although I've never played it, I've spent a few hours watching my friends play before, so I do know what the game is like.

However, this is all my opinion, and this is where the OP fails in trying to portray his opinion as concrete fact. We all enjoy different things. Some people don't need interesting gameplay choices if they just enjoy playing their character's role (a role-playing game, perhaps?) and hoarding items. Maybe I don't like WoW because I'm not materialistic, but some people are, and that's their choice.

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Please dont forget the World of Warcraft is molded and played after 3 other games:

Warcraft
Warcraft 2
Warcraft 3 (+Expansion)

Each one with their own story (from beginning to end) years of solid fanbase and unique qualities.

And its also molded onto the gaming company itself, Blizzard, who made Diablo 1 and 2.

They combined all of that, and the result was WoW...

Thus... 7,5 million players

C'mon, you never thought about why the hell blizzard made their MMORPG based on their RTS instead of their main RPG?

So, if you want to beat WoW, you got to beat Blizzard on their best games.

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Quote:
Original post by makeshiftwings
Christ in a basket, I really think they need to rename this forum from "Game Design" to "Whining about World of Warcraft". Here are a few things to consider:

1) Stop being bitter about WoW. Just let it go. I don't know whether you're one of the people who played it for 3 years and now feel like they lost all that time of their lives, or you're pissed off that everyone you know thinks WoW is great but thinks your "good" MMO idea sounds boring, but either way, just let it go. Play something else, and stop pulling your hair out over something that really doesn't matter that much.


...

Okay? That's an uncharateristically trollish reply from you, makeshiftwings...

Quote:

2) WoW is a computer game. It is not some sort of political movement that is meant to bring world peace and feed starving people in Africa. Of course it's a luxury that is only possible in affluent capitalist societies. So are all video games. So is that $300 monitor you're staring at, and that Playstation in your living room. If you are trying to bring down capitalism and rally the working class to revolution, then making video games is the last thing you should be doing.


A huge chunk of WoW's playerbase is in China. I'm pretty sure that the Chinese aren't known for their successful capitalist culture...so I don't see how this assertion is relevant or accurate...

Quote:

3) It's not really a "fallacy" that WoW has "good" gameplay, because the word "good" doesn't have a concrete meaning. For most people, especially publishers, "good" does mean "popular". You personally might think something that everyone else thinks is good is really bad, but that only makes it bad to you, not bad in general.


The fallacy is in assuming that something is "good" because it's successful. The only time I said that WoW is "bad" is when I was expressing my personal opinions by it, and even if you disagree with my opinions, that really doesn't give any more merit to concluding the quality of a game based on its sales.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_implies_causation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

^ The internets are nifty.

Quote:

4) No matter how much you argue, you will not get people to stop having orgasms, and you will not get people to stop playing WoW.


That's okay. I enjoy orgasms, and people play WoW. If you look more closely, you'll see that the post was about not trying to emulate World of Warcraft in design. To put it in more simple terms:

- World of Warcraft capitalizes on materialist and consumerist trends in western society: people like the illusion of progress, and they play games that provide this illusion in an accessible way. It is an illusion, just like placebo pills that people take and feel quite fine with. The key idea presented is not that "ZOMG WOW SUCKS I HATES IT," but rather "Given that this is the reality of this product, don't feel compelled to immitate it because it's successful. If the worth of something is determined by its success, then you might as well start up a fast food cigarette marijuana cocaine stand and see how much money you can get." At the very, very least, if you're going to immitate something, find a better reason than "it's successful." If you're just out for the money, why not choose another profession where that is the only end-goal? Don't put out more derivative crap.

Notice "it's not good just because it's successful" doesn't claim that WoW is not good, it just says that success is not a good determining factor of quality. In addition yet separately from that train of thought, I believe that WoW is not a good basis for quality design for separate reasons, and it's also pretty obvious that immitators of breakout success tend to fail horribly.

Or, you could ignore it, pick out the words "World of Warcraft is not a GOOD game," decide that this is "yet another" rant about World of Warcraft (Didn't know there were so many out there...), and conclude that I, the OP, hate orgasms and WoW. But really, I don't expect to change any minds, I just felt like making a topic about the issue to spark conversation.

Quote:
Original post by Darrky
A games success must never be measured in how many people bought/played it rather on how people felt when they did play it.
So if you can get everyone who loves an MMORPG to say WoW is the best through history that doesn't make the game great.
Just look at all great games that never got those huge sellings, are they bad becuase people are dumb enough to trust grand screenshots and loads of commercials?


Exactly. To reword what I've said again into a sentence: Success != quality and I don't like World of Warcraft - make a game that's more than just successful: make a game that people can enjoy more or more people can enjoy at all, but certainly don't try and just follow in the footsteps of the recent giant.

EDIT 1: Added Darky's quote.
EDIT 2: Added Wiki link.

[Edited by - Nytehauq on November 26, 2006 1:46:37 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by makeshiftwings
4) No matter how much you argue, you will not get people to stop having orgasms, and you will not get people to stop playing WoW.


hahahaha

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Original post by Nytehauq
Alot of people tend to make the fallacy equating financial success with merit: WoW is an example of a "good" game with "good" gameplay because it is popular.


Aye. Another example: Britney Spears is (was?) popular.

Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
the ultimate point is to get "things," not to do things. To use a fairly inappropriate analogy: human sexuality experts often suggest concentrating on the experience of sex instead of the "reward" of orgasm.


Agree. Though I don't understand how getting the Flaming Whatever of +20 Whatever Whatever is all that appealing. Now, if it were a real Flaming Whatever of +20 Whatever Whatever, it'd be sweet. You could do all sorts of crazy stuff with it, like cooking. But in WoW? There seems to be all ends and no means. Your goal is to kill stuff and to get trinkets - to kill stuff you get trinkets, to get trinkets you kill stuff. There aren't all that many things to do besides this.

Honestly most games aren't really all that different from this - i.e. most FPS games - however they are superior in that they usually have at least have either a) a storyline, and/or b) intense visceral experience.

Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
Don't try and emulate World of Warcraft in your design. There will be many immitators, they will all inevitably fail. Yet, not only is imitation futile: it's bad. World of Warcraft is not a GOOD game. It is an ends-based illusion of efficacy and accomplishment.


You sir, get a high-five.

Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
If you want to do something worthwhile, design a game worth playing for the gameplay, not for the reward at the end of the tunnel, and figure it how to market it to the world we live in. Make it an MMO for all it matters, just don't let possible good design corrupt into piles of immitative and shallow nonsense.


Rated.

Quote:
makeshiftwings
I don't know whether you're one of the people who played it for 3 years and now feel like they lost all that time of their lives, or you're pissed off that everyone you know thinks WoW is great but thinks your "good" MMO idea sounds boring, but either way, just let it go.


Woah, woah, slow down sparky. Don't get all defensive just because he doesn't like your favorite game.

Not to mention his plea was to make better games, which is admittedly a good goal, right?

Quote:
Original post by Daniel Miller
I'm sorry that the masses aren't as sophisticated as you are.

Or, maybe... people don't care about some nuanced "deeper meaning" in games, they just want to enjoy themselves.


This makes me hopeful. So if someone makes a WoW clone that's actually a good game (and not so. freaking. boring.), they should be filthy rich in no time, eh?

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Original post by Nytehauq
...

Okay? That's an uncharateristically trollish reply from you, makeshiftwings...

I apologize; but the WoW-bashing on this forum is really out of hand. Half of the threads on here are about MMORPGs that we all know will never get made, and 90% of those start out by whining about WoW.

Quote:

A huge chunk of WoW's playerbase is in China. I'm pretty sure that the Chinese aren't known for their successful capitalist culture...so I don't see how this assertion is relevant or accurate...

The development of video games is a result of capitalism and consumerism, and the purchasing of them only happens in societies where people have enough time and money to waste on frivolous toys. Yeah, China has the whole MMO sweatshops thing, but that's a different matter. My point is that all video games are a luxury and an excess, not just WoW.

Quote:

The fallacy is in assuming that something is "good" because it's successful. The only time I said that WoW is "bad" is when I was expressing my personal opinions by it, and even if you disagree with my opinions, that really doesn't give any more merit to concluding the quality of a game based on its sales.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_implies_causation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

^ The internets are nifty.

Oh boy, the wikipedia quotes. :-|. Again, it's NOT a fallacy, because "good" does not have a definition in your argument. If you take "good" to mean "something that a lot of people think is good", which is the generally accepted definition when used abstractly, then popularity does in fact prove "goodness". I'll link you to the wikipedia definition of tautology if you want. ;) If you take "good" to mean "your personal opinion of whether or not it's good", then sure, of course its popularlity is meaningless, but then you can't say anything abstract about whether WoW is good or not. If you're trying to claim that there is some universal quality of "goodness" in games that is irrelevant to whether or not anyone actually thinks it's personally good, then you need to define that. Furthermore, I'd say we would need to question whether there is any reason to make this sort of "universally good" game if no one will actually think it's "personally good".

Quote:

- World of Warcraft capitalizes on materialist and consumerist trends in western society: people like the illusion of progress, and they play games that provide this illusion in an accessible way. It is an illusion, just like placebo pills that people take and feel quite fine with.

All games are like this. Unless you are competing in a tournament for actual money, there is no actual "reward" in any game, video or not, except your personal enjoyment. Thus there can't be any "progress" since you're not supposed to be accomplishing something. You're supposed to be playing a game. In fact, I'd say the definition of "game" implies "feigning progress in a fictional contest under artificial rules". Where is this deeper progress you're alluding to in chess, tennis, or Halo?

Quote:
"Given that this is the reality of this product, don't feel compelled to immitate it because it's successful. If the worth of something is determined by its success, then you might as well start up a fast food cigarette marijuana cocaine stand and see how much money you can get."

I'd say this is a flawed analogy since the loaded "evil" things are evil for reasons beyond their popularity. Drugs are bad because they kill people and they're illegal. Fast food is bad because it encourages animal slaughter and is unhealthy. The fact that they're profitable is unfortunate, but has nothing to do with why they are evil. However, you've made no case for WoW being evil, you have only said it's profitable. In that case, why not follow its example? Profitability + not evil = a good idea.

Quote:

At the very, very least, if you're going to immitate something, find a better reason than "it's successful." If you're just out for the money, why not choose another profession where that is the only end-goal? Don't put out more derivative crap.

Everything in every business is a question of target audiences. In your case, your target audience seems to be either yourself or "bitter ex-WoW players". In that case, sure, make something else. But there's nothing inherently evil in someone targeting a different audience, one that doesn't include you. If I want to make an MMO, I probably will not be targetting you or your friends. That doesn't make me a bad person. Likewise, trying to make something that more people will enjoy rather than less is not inherently evil, in fact, some could make a case that it's actually good, perhaps more morally correct than making something that only a small niche group of complainers will enjoy.

Quote:

Notice "it's not good just because it's successful" doesn't claim that WoW is not good, it just says that success is not a good determining factor of quality.

Define quality, and explain why it's a desirable thing if it's unrelated to success.

Quote:

In addition yet separately from that train of thought, I believe that WoW is not a good basis for quality design for separate reasons, and it's also pretty obvious that immitators of breakout success tend to fail horribly.

So do most of the people with "original" ideas, in fact, they fail worse. An unfortunate side effect of consolidated publishing and media. But using your wikipedia quotes, one could say the fact that some clones fail doesn't mean all will. In fact, most games that most people like follow established trends and genres.

In summary, your argument seems to claim "Hey, WoW is popular, profitable, and morally neutral in comparison to any other video game. Also, I'm not saying it's bad. So, don't make games like it, because that would be bad." Your conclusion doesn't follow from your premise, and your premise seems to mostly be ethereal complaining on undefinable terms.

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Sorry to put words in the OP's mouth, but I think this is what he means by good.

Let's say there are two kinds of good. One is exemplified by the works of Shakespeare, Mozart, Picasso, George Orwell, etc.
The other is best displayed by works like Harry Potter, Britney Spears, most situation comedies, etc.

But as far as the common usage is concerned, if you asked the average person what they enjoyed more, the odds are that they would pick Harry Potter over Romeo and Juliet any day. Thus, to them, Harry Potter is more good than Romeo and Juliet. This makes WoW a good game, as far as the vast majority of people are concerned.

A better term would be "High Brow" and "Low Brow" entertainment. Even then, if you termed WoW as "Low Brow" then educated people who enjoyed it would fight tooth and nail to display it's artistic value.
Wow, this is really difficult to talk about without sounding pretentious.

A better reason not to emulate WoW is that you are destined to fail in doing so. Generally, people can only play one MMO at a time. If an MMO is made which has similar gameplay and theme elements to WoW, but a thousandth of the player base and content and costs the same per month, then WoW is the easy choice. The only time when there would be any point in emulating WoW is if you had the money and resources to make a better WoW.

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Original post by CIJolly
Sorry to put words in the OP's mouth, but I think this is what he means by good.

Let's say there are two kinds of good. One is exemplified by the works of Shakespeare, Mozart, Picasso, George Orwell, etc.
The other is best displayed by works like Harry Potter, Britney Spears, most situation comedies, etc.

But as far as the common usage is concerned, if you asked the average person what they enjoyed more, the odds are that they would pick Harry Potter over Romeo and Juliet any day. Thus, to them, Harry Potter is more good than Romeo and Juliet. This makes WoW a good game, as far as the vast majority of people are concerned.

A better term would be "High Brow" and "Low Brow" entertainment. Even then, if you termed WoW as "Low Brow" then educated people who enjoyed it would fight tooth and nail to display it's artistic value.
Wow, this is really difficult to talk about without sounding pretentious.


OK, that I can agree with, but I think it's important for someone arguing that to be honest that this is the center of his argument. I will agree that certain things require more intelligence and training to appreciate (Shakespeare vs Harry Potter), but that does not imply that people who choose to read or write Harry Potter are stupid or unable to read/write Shakespeare. There are brain surgeons who play Halo and quantum physicists who watch America's Top Model. An entertainment form is not "better" merely because it is exclusionary and pretentious, regardless of what some art critics might have you believe. There is a common argument, that, if not outright stated, is at least strongly implied, that goes something like "Anyone who likes X is being tricked into liking it because they're stupid, and they need to be forced to like what I like instead." Whether this takes the form of high-brow vs low-brow or indie vs corporate, it's a pretentious and false argument. People need to realize that some people actually can like different things than you without having been duped into thinking they like it.

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Quote:
Original post by Daniel Miller
I'm sorry that the masses aren't as sophisticated as you are.

Or, maybe... people don't care about some nuanced "deeper meaning" in games, they just want to enjoy themselves.


But the OPs point is that people playing WoW aren't actually enjoying themselves ... and that idea bears some discussion.

This really isn't a post about game design, it's a post about psychology or sociology.

WoW is actually the best MMORPG game on the market, hands down ... with possibly exceptions of some genre variants like eve-online. It is great artwork, great progression tree, skill sets, monster characterization, etc etc ... all things very relevant to game design ... all things it is good at like nearly all blizzard creations.

But at a more fundamental level is ... this craze called MMO ... is it really a "game" at all, and are they actually "fun". If you have been around many different people who play them much, you have propably seen many different facets of the game experience ... joy retelling occurances (like all great games), joy achieving something, fun exploring new areas or characters, discussion about good skill builds and combos, sadness at failure, loss, or lack of progress, boredom waiting for something new, anger and frustration at various limitations in current technology, major anger and frustration directed at other players - particularly the type of people that would be campers in FPS games.

So mostly, it seems like any other kind of game ... except 1 thing:

THE GRIND!

All MMO games actually devolve into nothing more than a thing affectionately termed "the grind" that people go to over and over again, hours upon hours, to achieve the next reward.

Much like the way people speak of jobs they don't actually like, going to the daily grind to earn the paycheck to buy another game next week. Just like a job, the level and length of enjoyment from the reward is often very shortlived. In MMO games the reward's moment of joy might often be as short as a few minutes ... with some larger rewads lasting longers, hours, or ever a few days for the greatest boons.

If MMO games we're judged like other games, reviewers would give them bad grades for cost-enjoyment ratio, because usually within 2-3 months the amount of "new" is dwindling, and the amount of "fun" is too ... but unlike other games, these games are not owned but are rented ... so there is a unique effect. People feel the need to keep spending money to keep their current / previous investment in leveling / powering up justified ... and the need to play more to justify their current payments. This is the same as the cycle of corperate cocaine users from the famous drug comercial int he late 80s / early 90s.

There is some psycological trigger to the carrot-on-a-stick game design style that these MMO RPGs have finally perfected that is apparantly much more universal in humans than other forms of game play interest. It seems to combine achievement needs, with societal acceptance, superiority, and consumerism ... all-in-one. It is indeed a miraculous invention.

But is it game-play?

Just because something is sold as a game, doesn't mean it is a game (although we'd have to draw lines and definitions before we could have a usefull discusion about that). Is Final Fantasy a game anymore ... I see it more like watching a fairly predictable but beutifully rendered graphic novel broken up by sequences of mini-games involving the combat mini-game and occasional memory tests and logic puzzles.

Truthfully, the MMORPG, WoW-style is not much different than a combination of nearly any CRPG and an action RPG like Diablo, both are often "grind" based. But somehow it felt like there was more "action" in diablo, and more "game"/ "thought" in things like Bard's Tale, than the current MMO gen. Maybe that's just a minor dumbing down to appeal to a wider, more-profitable market. Probably it's just because logical puzzles are well past their prime and it's just too damn hard to come up with good original challenges that don't feel like cheap copies anymore - The genre is over 20 years old.

Oh well, I've said enough, without really concluding anything ... sometimes it just doesn't work out to be very cut and dry.

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There is some psycological trigger to the carrot-on-a-stick game design style that these MMO RPGs have finally perfected that is apparantly much more universal in humans than other forms of game play interest. It seems to combine achievement needs, with societal acceptance, superiority, and consumerism ... all-in-one. It is indeed a miraculous invention.

This is sort of what I meant above with "If you don't like what I like, you're stupid". I would say I "like" chocolate ice cream, you would say I've been "psychologically and socially conditioned through a combination of peer pressure, marketing and latent consumerist greed to believe in the false notion that chocolate ice cream is a gratifying experience".

HOWEVER, all that aside, I do agree that the grind definitely is a more addiction-styled playstyle than one that offers new experience. But the grind only exists because players demand that it exist. A lot of people will say that WoW is fairly new and exciting during your first play through up to level 60, and only then does it turn into grind. But the grind is there because the players have grown attached to their characters and want to continue doing something, but have run out of content. Grind is characterized by repetitive gameplay that lacks new content, and is the natural (and only, as far as I can think of) way to allow infinite sense of progression with non-infinite content. What should players be doing in the ideal MMORPG once they've seen every unique piece of content in the game? There's not that much left to do besides run the same dungeons over again, fight endlessly against other players, or start over from the beginning again and again, all of which are considered "grind". Linguistically, you might be able to stop calling it grind if you took out any marker of progress during the repetition (ie, "doing it just for fun"), but I don't think that would actually make it any more fun.

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I see what you're saying and to some extent I agree, but then again you fail to see some things. A lot of the things we do in life really have no real meaning (in fact nothing has any meaning at all but that's for another discussion), and a lot are quite like WoW if you think about it.
Take sports for example. Awesome in a lot of peoples eyes, including mine. But what do you really accomplish (apart from good health)? Nothing, you just have fun accomplishing nothing with your friends. Same with a party or hell, most things humans do.

And contrary to popular belief, WoW can actually be fun. I was in a very high end raiding guild, and during the phase of my life where I had the time to play at that level I had loads of fun. I don't play anymore, I do other things, but I don't regret the time spent.
Getting stuff may be what many people try to get out of it, and I agree that's pretty dumb. But good guilds do it because of it's fun to work together and try to beat the new bosses before anyone else manages to. It's a pretty good feeling to do that, however meaningless it is.

WoW is a good game, simple as that. It's far from perfect, but just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's a bad game.

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A lot of people will say that WoW is fairly new and exciting during your first play through up to level 60, and only then does it turn into grind.


It was grinding at level 13. I barely made 14 and couldn't stands no more! So. Freaking. Boring.

I wish I could understand why the people who like it a lot, like it alot.

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Erty you had lots of fun, but can't you imagine how much better it could be?

- To me it feels like people only play WoW because there is nothing any better.
And that doesn't mean I feel WoW is a good game. I feel that games will eventually get much better in terms of depth and enjoyability instead of this brainless repetitive crap.

From what I have experienced WoW is pretty much the same as any mmorpg out there. I personally feel LineageII is a slightly better game because it is much more serious and when you play the emotions are real.

I agree with Nytehauq.

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Original post by Falling Sky
Successful games and Good games are two different things...unfortunately.

Often I'd agree with this statement. Except in the case of MMOs, I feel that having a mass market appeal is one of the factors that makes it "good", as you need by the very nature of the genre to have a substantial player base. In my opinion designing a niche MMO is a much riskier prospect than being "alternative" within other genres.

(Of course I can't comment on World of Warcraft's gameplay myself, as I don't play MMOs.)

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