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Girsanov

What is the point of MMOs?

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MMORPGs : Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game MMORPGs are weird. I started out playing MUDs (multi-user dungeons - old school text based mmorpgs) then progressed to free graphical ones like Rose Online, Maple Story, Runescape and small amateur ones with less than 2000 players online. Never thought of actually playing to play one. Why? Because I can't see the "game" that I am supposed to be playing. What is the point of playing an MMORPG? The core and probably only worthwhile activity is to grind for more loot and experience points. Or in the case of games like WoW and some MUDs, grind for PvP points after hitting the level cap. I tried thinking of how I would design an MMORPG that is grind free but couldn't figure out what you could do other than grind. To chat and socialize, there are many social tools like IRC, second life and real life. Even with faction wars etc thrown in, its still all about levels and equipment. A.k.a. grinding to get levels and equipment to win faction wars. You win if you grind more. Still, grinding is unusually addictive, which is why I play MMOs in the first place. Suppose we have an mmorpg without grinding. Can't think of what we can do in it. Comments?

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Assuming we're discussing modern mainstream MMO's.. Modern MMORPG grinding is boring because it is not challenging enough, and the rewards are not good enough. A quick fix is to add more ways for players to gain experience points.

Other than that, MMORPGs are about as pointless as life itself. You won't win or lose. In the end it's all about what you experience along the way (or something). I have always considered MMO's not to be games but rather simulated realities/virtual worlds/call it what you like. A virtual world may -contain- multiple games, but is usually not a game in itself.

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I agree with the poster above me.

In my humble opinion, grinding in an MMO game keeps people playing and paying money. As much as people say they hate grinding, there's still that sense of accomplishment from finally gaining what you were grinding for as well as the feeling of having something other players may not. Most people don't want to admit that...

Anyway, to remove grinding you need to have a skill based MMO with an emphasis on player skill and fun factor, and a de-emphasis on gear and experience.

At it's very simplest level, imagine a Halo MMO. Same game play but there's a world, open PvP and towns. No grinding there. Not sure how fun it would be though.

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@ Darklich

Halo MMO would be fun killing people for a while, then get bored of it, like every shooters. Because as you said, you have no feeling of accomplishment. If you die and lose matches, you feel the inverse of accomplishment. in MMOs, even if you die or whatever, you got XP anyway. You got that accomplishment, which keep you addicted to it.

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Technogoth made a thread about this, and it resurfaced just last week. Also, another thread expanded on it, and many have referenced it. You may want to check it out. Forgive me for not having a link ready, but it's an old post. You can find threads with links to it on the first page though.

Anyway, I really can't stand MMO's with no more content then "grind monsters" or "grind quests." That's really the background, to me. This is why I liked Eve's model, which was more about doing your chosen job then grinding. You did have the choice to grind quests or mindlessly kill enemies, but it was never necessary as anything more than a quick way to get a bit of cash. There, skills were earned by time, not by killing 99999 slimes. You were essentially free to do whatever you wanted, and so long as it was profitable, your ship would improve (because you could buy bigger/better ships, weapons, and equipment) and while you were improving your ship you were improving your skills.

This opened the way for a more interactive world. Since players weren't grinding, they could devote their time to building empires, piracy, wrecking empires, hunting pirates, anti-pirating, factional warfare (NPC), or factional warfare (entirely player driven). You could manipulate the market, join in the industry business, ship goods for rich clients, hunt down those shipments and profit from their destruction... All of this involved no grind. The system was also set up so that in two weeks, you could have a ship specialized for whatever you wanted, including piracy. You didn't need to be ubar l3et Pr0 lvl 928474839 to do your job well, you just needed to understand the game and use that understanding to win.

WoW was the complete opposite. In WoW your power was determined by your level and how closely you stuck to one or two builds for each class. Content was limited to: Grind mindlessly for exp, Grind mindlessly for ph4t l0otZ, or "factional warfare" that gave absolutely no benefits whatsoever and therefore had no reason to even exist. And that was the entire game. This is a poor model, and is only good for casual players to get their fantasy fix. For people who actually want meaningful content, WoW is rather like a sewer.

So to have an MMO without the grind, I would say create opportunities for the players to exploit. Give them more to do then grind, or remove the grind entirely. Make what they can do meaningful to the entire game, not just to a static instance that vanishes 5 seconds after the player happens to be done. Reduce the influence of NPCs to nothing. Allow players to control the game's very backstory, it's economy, it's ecology (rare to see, but if done well it's quite good), it's politics and, in short, the entire game's world.

The point of an RPG is immersion. You're supposed to immerse yourself into your character and that character's world. You can't really immerse yourself into a static world where your actions have no meaning, and your supposedly meaningful tasks get carried out by every other person you've ever spoken to. The point of an MMO is to immerse yourself in a world of dynamic entities that don't act in a prescripted manner. Once players act out preset scripts, then it's no different than NPCs acting out those scripts, and that's no different from single player. Other players can't act in a non-scripted way if the game only allows one or two ways to be effective, or to even exist (this is why I oppose classes).

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I don't think this is so much a question as to what the point of a game is. It's more of you stating that you aren't entertained enough from MMORPGs. Games don't really have a point other than to entertain you (or possibly teach you things).

If you're not enjoying the game you play and you feel like you're paying to work, then maybe you need to find a new game.

It all depends on your outlook really. Life can be one big grind if you look at it that way. All you do is work work work and then you die. An MMORPG might seem like a grind to one person, but it also might seem like entertainment to another. If you take away the grinding from an mmorpg, you'd find something else to find pointless. "what's the point of questing? to reveal more storyline? what's the point of the storyline? what's the point of obtaining items? to show them off or sell them? what's the point in that?" etc etc etc...

There is no way you're going to play a game that has some actual point you're going to find acceptable. Games are pointless. So is life. If that's how you want to look at it.

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Quote:
Original post by Konidias
There is no way you're going to play a game that has some actual point you're going to find acceptable. Games are pointless. So is life. If that's how you want to look at it.
Humans do not generally act for "pointless" reasons, unless you want to assign some arbitrary metric as the means by which to determine how pointless something is. If instead you consider that humans work for perceived objectives, then you will see why and how games are in no way pointless. Further, while you're certainly able to if you choose, thinking that "games are pointless" is in no way beneficial to a game designer. Psychology should always be a consideration whenever one is trying to create a marketable product, and humans are not motivated to part with their time, energy or effort by nothing. Mankiw - a quite famous economist - said it best with his principle "people are motivated by incentives." If you don't keep this in mind, you wont be a successful designer.

For most people, games serve as a means of achieving fulfillment through entertainment. That's why people quit boring games and play games they find entertaining - it fulfills their objective. Some people are satisfied with simple entertainment, others need to be engaged in an activity to achieve enjoyment and some further still need to have visible results from their activities to assign any value to it or to achieve any fulfillment. That said, the OP really needs to choose a target audience. If he's targeting people that will enjoy simple entertainment then he should probably make a game based around long cinematics or story telling. If he's targeting an audience that requires engagement, but not visible results, then the WoW model is ideal. If he's targeting an audience that requires results from their activities, then a sandbox model would be more ideal. I personally require both results and immersion, and to achieve that, he would have to have quite an in depth system that does away with most of the MMO cliches.

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Try playing NeoPets - yeah the theme is little kiddish but even if you only tolerate it for a week you will experience an MMO which is not about killing monsters. It's built around a large collection of minigames and some forums; if it has a main goal, it's probably to earn money and spend it on stuff you want, although some people focus on earning trophies for minigame high scores.

GaiaOnline is similar, but there are a lot fewer minigames, more emphasis on the forums, huge emphasis on dressing your avatar, and they did recently add zOMG which has the monster killing and some more standard MMO play.

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Quote:
Original post by Girsanov
MMORPGs : Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game

MMORPGs are weird.

I started out playing MUDs (multi-user dungeons - old school text based mmorpgs) then progressed to free graphical ones like Rose Online, Maple Story, Runescape and small amateur ones with less than 2000 players online. Never thought of actually playing to play one. Why?

Because I can't see the "game" that I am supposed to be playing.

What is the point of playing an MMORPG? The core and probably only worthwhile activity is to grind for more loot and experience points. Or in the case of games like WoW and some MUDs, grind for PvP points after hitting the level cap.

I tried thinking of how I would design an MMORPG that is grind free but couldn't figure out what you could do other than grind. To chat and socialize, there are many social tools like IRC, second life and real life.

Even with faction wars etc thrown in, its still all about levels and equipment. A.k.a. grinding to get levels and equipment to win faction wars. You win if you grind more.


Still, grinding is unusually addictive, which is why I play MMOs in the first place.


Suppose we have an mmorpg without grinding. Can't think of what we can do in it. Comments?


Ultimately, MMOs are designed to capitalize on a trend. Period.

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Most people here didn't answer what I found to be the main question to game designers: what can we do to remove grind, and make a meaningful game?

And you who tried, aswered in general concepts.
I will start with some general concepts too:
I find that the feeling of purpose in MMORPG's could be created by first creating a really challenging world! And everyone has to stick together in order to survive.
And in addition, everyone would have a high value to a team or any community. Like one person is mainly able to heal others. And another is able to repair broken items. And another is able to deal a high melee damage. And so on.
But then as I said, the world must be more challenging!
And perhaps so challenging that the whole world could get consumed by darkness if the players don't keep fighting. Then it would be more like a Multiplayer RPG with a lot of smaller worlds that are hosted by different computers.
I really believe that this is the future of (M)MORPG's.
And then there is a separate future for online virtual worlds.

Here are some pretty easily implementable ideas:
-Add a class that is able to build structures in the world, like towers and walls for defence. These things would be built in parts, however not micro-particles!
-Monsters are spawned from certain destructible structures (so that they can be driven away from a village).
-A world may have a final (and very challenging) goal, like putting the ring into the mountain of flames.

Well, no more time for ideas, I'll be back later!

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