The MMO genre is due for some well needed originality and should revisit a number of the mechanics and features that always seem to be included in games.
In my last two segments of Beyond World of Warcraft I talked a bit about a few games and why I believe they never caught on with the same success as WoW. In my final part three I’d like to take a step away from talking about specific games and focus more on the lessons learned and my personal opinions on some features I think the MMO genre should revisit.
When looking across fantasy MMO’s in general we seem to be ‘ok’ with the idea that killing a bear in the woods can drop a sword out of its guts, but that sword can only be held by a unique person. In addition, if said sword is held by this person, it can never be handled by another person ever again. Also, why would anyone buy the half dissolved contents of a bear’s stomach?
Class Specific Items
I’m talking about class specific weapons and bound items. In many games we have specific classes that fill a role, rather than characters who play a role as pen and paper ‘role playing games’ brought us. For most games today if you’re a priest, you’ll never hold a sword, you’ll only get to touch a staff, yet in many fantasy movies, books and table top games we don’t encounter these limitations. This is especially when it comes to clothing and armor.
Why we limit ourselves to the idea that somehow all healers should have both hands full at all times having to wield a staff or using two weapons such as a dagger and off-hand orb, chalice, rod, etc. is mind boggling to me.
Bind on Equip
To follow up with that, how exactly does touching a shield make it so that only your character can ever touch that shield? I’ve never understood why an item would be soulbound unless said item was some magical item with a personality, such as the animated objects / constructs of D&D.
No More Trash Loot
Similar to how Blizzard spent the research and then time to remove and clean up dungeons and raids of trash mobs, the MMO genre needs to revisit trash loot. I don’t know why developers like the “loot mini-game” but I find it one of the largest wastes of time to have a development team create “gray” items for the sole purpose of supplying a player character with income. Shouldn’t the quests and treasure troves within the game reward the players?
PVP Afterthoughts in a PVE World
No game in my opinion has ever balanced PVP and PVE in the same world. Gear and Class imbalance have always been issues and rebalancing your classes every quarter simply takes away from the time the company should be developing content, not trying to make a priest and rogue equal on the battlefield.
Want some suggestions? How about we don’t make PVP an afterthought to a PVE game and instead equalize the gear, and have classes created in such a way that they have separate PVP abilities from their PVE abilities – and I don’t mean just nerfing or removing X spell or attack, I mean make the characters have two unique and separate paths. For example in the Co-Op world the player would have a series of abilities and powers that grow, and when competing in PVP maps, the player would no longer have access to those, but instead develop new abilities and powers equalized with others in that environment.
I’m sure there are more items I could complain about, but I’d like to hear from the community. What is a feature or mechanic that current MMO’s have that you feel should be revisited?
Recaps of Beyond Part 1 and 2
- Part 1 Recap
- Unique Setting (Don’t try to make Azeroth)
- Group Finder at Launch (Group Finder)
- Social Tools for the game (Guild Chat, Banks, Shared Account Items, etc)
- Give hardcore players rewards, but make it possible for Casual players to be involved (Raid Finder)
- Focus development on future content releases, not on voice acting and cinemetics, players devour content fast, keep them guessing and keep them challenged or they’ll leave
- Part 2 Recap
- Lose the grind, make quests interesting or at least have variety
- Have leveling options
- If you’re going to make characters have pets, give them something to do (WoW Pokemon, Tera Looting)
- Give players a reason to interact with each other outside of instances