Tobold's Blog
Monday, November 05, 2012
It used to be fun

I cancelled my World of Warcraft subscription this weekend, it runs out end of this month. When you do that, Blizzard asks you why you want to quit. And as in every survey, the available answers never cover what you really think. I went for the "The game used to be fun, but isn't any more" answer, with the "I don't like daily quests" sub-option. But that paints a somewhat distorted picture. It would be more accurate to say that I burned out of MMORPG combat in general.

That message was driven home by me playing both XCOM and WoW recently. In XCOM every move matters: Do you stay behind your cover, or do you move forward to increase your chance to hit? Combat is tactical, position matters, and bad decisions hurt. In World of Warcraft I have the spell rotation or priority list put on buttons 1 to 6, and just press the left-most button I can, regardless of position, regardless of monster type, regardless of anything really. And it isn't much different if I changed from WoW to Guild Wars 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, The Secret World, or most other major MMORPGs. Combat works the same in most of these games, and when developers think about innovation in MMORPG combat, they want to make it more twitchy and action-based, and even less tactical and decision-based.

MMORPG combat "works", but it can't hold your interested forever. I've been killing monsters like this for a decade, and thus I'm now not having fun any more. That is a burnout phenomenon. And because combat is so essential to playing a MMORPG, I think I will stop playing all games with that sort of combat for a while. I did have fun with some parts of Mists of Pandaria, following the quest lines through the new zones for example. But more and more I get into situations where to do something I want to do, I would first have to do something I don't want to do. For example I would want to do the level 87 to 90 quests I didn't do yet, but with a level-appropriate alt, not my level 90 main. But to do that I would have to repeat a lot of content I already played through in Jade Forest and beyond to get to the minimum level for those quests.

And ultimately even an interesting quest can't forever hide the fact that the individual steps to do the quest are so trivial. Trivial combat, or running around and clicking on sparkly spots. If I don't feel challenged, there is not much satisfaction in completing a quest. It is like getting a reward for doing boring chores. The challenge I am looking for doesn't exist in modern MMORPGs, where the idea of "more challenge" is to hit the same series of buttons faster, and while hopping on one leg. MMORPGs are not strategy or tactical games.

Even a major new game or expansion can't hold my attention for much longer than a month these days. These games ultimately are too similar these days, and the minor variations don't hold my interest for very long. I think I'll stop playing MMORPGs for a while, and concentrate on other games, pen & paper or single-player.

It's almost like you're growing up! :P

I like to think of MMO playing as a real hobby. But as such it seems woefully inadequate. Hobbies like – say – silversmithing, RC flying and chess appear to give the enthusiasts a lifetime of enjoyment whereas this one simply does not appear sustainable.

That makes me immensely sad. Like you, I will re-unsub to WoW shortly (although I probably have at least a couple of months to go yet) and I am unlikely to get involved for some time again.
I'm on the same boat. I've been away from WoW for nearly 2 years and then I decided to use the "free 10 days MOP trial" to check the new zones with a fresh Monk and my old level 85 hunter.

The feeling was good for the first 10 minutes, then I realized how the game became trivial and absolutely boring. And it really looks old as hell (simple animations, simple models, etc). Not to mention the constant "kill 10 rats" thing of the past.

The game was innovative and original when it came out. But now... it really is a piece of history.
Tactical combat? You want the pet mini-battles! Actually they can be quite tactical. Some of the rare mob spawns are also slightly challenging.

There are no c-rpgs with decent tactical combat any more. They are either twitch based or simple grid based mini-games.

Strategy is a genre doing very well at the moment stands no chance in the current mmo environment. Content takes far too long to deliver and forget about making it accessable to all (unless you can change difficulty levels)
If I remember correctly, you quite enjoyed World of Tanks for a while.

Have you considered Rated Battlegrounds?
Your post sounds a bit like complaining that a single-player game played on the easiest difficulty setting is..... easy. Of course it is, that's the whole idea. Daily quests are the easy mode of MMOs, if you want challenge, you crank the difficulty up. This is your choice and not something the game developer can do for you. In WoW, this means going for HM raids and Challenge modes. If you find that they require too much investment, then stick to single-player games, where you can play with your own schedule.
@ Helistar

Before accessing the end-content you still need to grind your way through repetitive quests, dailies and so on.
You obviously don't raid, at least not on normal or heroic. Rotations become so meaningless in most fights, you wouldn't believe it.

It's all about playing tetris in your head by trying to stack cooldowns with periods in which you can dps, or trying to make the best of an ugly situation (having to move as a melee for example), or about doing your assigned job while still doing decent dps, etc.

Rotations really go in the background and comeback only in burn phases or really easy fights. Raid combat is SO much more than rotations. It's actually a lot like how you describe XCOM battles.
@Loque Nahak

Hopefully you know that you can level through BGs or dungeons these days. Grab a group of friends and suddenly leveling will become fun and fast.
Before accessing the end-content you still need to grind your way through repetitive quests, dailies and so on.

Actually, a whole lot less than you think.
Leveling can be done in dungeons and battlegrounds, and the current approach to questing (where mobs die in 2 seconds) means that you can actually focus on the story.
At level cap, you only need instances to get stuff, you can skip entirely *ALL* the daily quests as well as professions, since instances will give you better stuff.
What is true is that you'll have problems if you try to apply to a HM guild without professions/reputations, but finding 4 other people to try challenge modes will not be that hard, even in a mostly social guild.

As I was pressing my "Prospect Ghost Iron Ore" macro I had a quick moment of reflection. I thought, "How is this different from Mafia Wars (a typical click Facebook game gated by timers you can reduce or remove with real money)?" I didn't have an answer.

For now I keep pressing the button, happily making gem cuts or jewelry to hand over to my Enchanter for enchanting mats fodder. But this post shed a little light on that question,

As always, I am grateful you share.
"MMORPG combat "works", but it can't hold your interested forever. I've been killing monsters like this for a decade, and thus I'm now not having fun any more. That is a burnout phenomenon"

You may be speaking for many there, but not for everyone. By the end of November I'll have been playing these games for 13 years. If anything I enjoy the actual combat part more now than I did when I began. I can and do still spend hours at a time just soloing, hunting mobs for the pure fun of hunting. Quite often I don't have any other reason - they don't drop anything I particularly need, they don't give good (or any) xp, hunting them doesn't cause my character to progress or develop in any significant way - hunting MMORPG combat style is just flat-out fun.

I'm very much on board with you when you say the way to innovate MMORPG combat is not to make it more twitchy or action-oriented. The further a game (or indeed the genre) moves in that direction the faster I head the other way. Equally, though, I'm not interested in it becoming more tactical. For my money, MMO combat falls absolutely squarely in the "it's not broke, don't fix it" category.
I know, you didn't like it in the past. ... but wouldn't Darkfall: UW be something for you. With the new savezones and a mature clan it could be fun.
There aren't only elitist and such.

It's different and parts of the game are certainly quite tactical.
As people have said, WoW actually does provide the tactical combat, in the form of non-casualised raids and I guess Arena PvP. And who knows, maybe pet battles. You do have to grind a bit to get there but indeed there's no obligation to do anything apart from any attunement quests if they still exist. (And be good enough and have time enough that you can join an appropriate guild. Probably time is an issue for Tobold.)

As for tactics in CRPGs generally, I guess roguelikes are the answer. Roguelikes are currently having an upsurge in popularity, and they are also getting hit with the casualisation stick. But the harder-core games like Crawl are always going to be there. And there are remakes of classics, e.g. Legend of Grimrock = Dungeon Master 2012. Or you could follow in the footsteps of The CRPG Addict (google it).

In the end, I think "games aren't so good any more", no matter who it comes from, even me, is ninety-percent "I am old and jaded and have played as much of this particular trope as I want".

I also cancelled this weekend but I'll be back if and when it goes F2P. I hate the niggling pressure of having to play because I pay the sub, kills the enjoyment for me.
As I commented other day here at your blog, MoP will prove be a disaster.
@ João

After so many years of WoW I guess that ANY patch would be "no to successful". The game is old (mechanics, graphic engine, ...) and compared to some years aago... we have a lot of MMO choices now.

People just get bored of playing the same stuff over and over again. That's all.

So, you are saying MoP is "more of the same"?

Well, I am having a lot of fun playing GW2...
Wow started feeling this way for me with Cataclysm, and I left it permanently not long after. I guess I'm not burned out on MMOs or MMO combat in general, though, as I've been pretty dedicated to Rift lately. On the other hand I've got an allergy to RTS and strategy games, have for idea why, I used to love this type of game in the 90's but as I creep toward middle-age I find I prefer immersion, story-driven adventures and personal perspectives over the slow, creeping pace of strategy games....which to me are a step below the painful pixel-bitching of classic adventure titles now in terms of my ability to tolerate even getting through a tutorial. I guess the moral of the story is YMMV and all that.
@ João

If you are a long-time subscriber yes. Apart from some (nice) updates/changes... the overall mechanics and feeling is always the same. If you like it... cool. But it's hard to still "love" the game after so many years.

GW2? I've been in the beta and yes, it's pretty cool, I agree.
I don't think MOP is the problem.

It's just a very hollow genre and it that forces you to choose between being a second class citizen or spending ludicrous amounts of time. It's a recipe for burnout, and that is much more about the mental state of the player than it is the quality of the game. Once your dopamine receptors wear out, and you've been around long enough for to realize that in-game friendships are hollow, you just don't have much to motivate you to play anymore.

Gameplay designed to be accessible to all players will seem laughably trivial to someone who has put in their 10000 hours to become an expert.

As I commented other day here at your blog, MoP will prove be a disaster.

According to XFire numbers, MoP is holding players for longer than Guild Wars 2 did. Obviously we can't compare "subscription numbers", so what exactly is your definition of "disaster"? I'm pretty sure Blizzard made a profit with MoP.

"long-time substcriber"? At GW2?

d'uh, you just need buy the box, GW2 have no subscription...



Want you bet how much time until WoW fall bellow GW2 at XFire?

My bet is that before 3 months WoW will fall bellow GW2 number, with GW2 returning to be number one at xfire....

3 months from now, or 3 months after MoP release?

3 months from now... let's see how GW2 behave after the 15th november event, the xmas event and the january event and how WoW behave now the first month after MoP launch ends.

And I said LESS than 3 months...
Sounds like you should try wvw / pvp.
Hehe, you should give Mabinogi a whirl even just for a few weeks/months (it's free!). You try to spam your attacks there without thinking (or timing), you die. :P

Trust me it will be a good change of pace, and don't mind the low-poly graphics. You don't have to stick with it forever (or for very long) but it will either:

A - make you love it then after awhile doing something which is "same old" right now will seem fresh again when/if you tire of Mabi

B - make you hate it, and appreciate your "same old" stuff more right now. :P

Not like you don't have enough things to do already. ^_^
"My bet is that before 3 months WoW will fall bellow GW2 number, with GW2 returning to be number one at xfire...."

GW2 at number 1?

I will take that bet.
Every time I take advantage of the now regular 10-free-days of WoW, I get burned on day 3.

Last time, I removed the whole game and by accident my screenshots circa 2005 got lost as well.

XCOM gets tiring after a while as well but at least you have some variety when it comes to enemies and terrain. Normal leveling in WoW has neither and I can't help but feel that Blizzard has moved away from hardcore.

Don't get me wrong, they'll bolt some hardcore on top of the whole thing if we complain long enough, like the Paragon levels in Diablo III.

Bad Piggies is a LOT more hardcore than WoW, if you are after 3 stars on every level.
@Dobablo Pet mini battles are not that tactical, they are in the same league as the rest of wow leveling content. In fact, they are targeted at the same casual player who loves leveling alts and hates raiding.

I've always liked tactical fantasy battles, especially ones that offer positional combat.

If you look at chess, it is all about positions and it manages to keep its complexity without cheap tactical tricks such as elemental strength and weaknesses as a form of rock-paper-scissors.
@ João

I was talking about WoW
Once you get beyond the basic level pet battles are more about combo-building than rock-paper-scissors.

All tactical battle games have a lot of rock-paper-scissors (pikemen > mounted > infantry > pikemen )in them too. Instead of combos they have environmental and positioning modifiers to combat. I enjoy playing them but they aren't RPGs.

The strategic rpg battle game is dead, caught in the wasteland between tactical battles with interactive story mode and the fast action roleplay typical of Bioware games.

Remember taht from GW2 launch until MoP launch, GW2 was the number 1 at XFire. So, it is not an impossible thing.

Now that everyone is going bored from MoP (how much time for it? one month? less, burned out faster than cata...), we will see WoW falling fast and players returning to GW2. This time there is a strong competitor and that have better game mechanics, that promote cooperation.

Tobold believed that MoP was to stop WoW subscription losses. I just guess what he is thinking now. I ever said that MoP was "more of same" and that at the end of this year WoW was losing more one million subscripters. Next year WoW will lose 3-4 million subscripters first six months and the bleed will continue on until WoW finally is made f2p.
To me XFire is a device to measure hype. Games peak after launch. I am sure that numbers for WoW will continue to slide, but I doubt the GW2 numbers will go up by much again.

Check out the latest numbers from today: WoW is down 4%, Guild Wars 2 is down 21%. It seems that those one-time events only cause one-time activity peaks.
@ João

You're referring to Nosy Gamer's Digital Dozen, not number 1 on Xfire then.

It is possible that GW2 will beat WoW during seasonal events, however I do not expect the normal weekly usage to otherwise increase.

@ Loque Nahak

If it was someone who was level 87 and would be sick/bored/tired of leveling and doesn't have the willpower to get to 90 (you'd feel like "woah finally!!") then I'd agree; however Tobold _has_ a level 90. He can do challenge modes, RBG, arena, raids. This is where the challenge lies; not daily quests and leveling. And if the questing isn't challenging, make it challenging: go to a zone above your level, pull more mobs, try to kill (solo) rare mobs, try world PvP (in your PvE gear). Also w/o rested bonus we did not have enough quests to ding to 90 in start of MoP. We ran out of quests in Dread Wastes (all my guildies did). So if you really want to level slowly and do every quest you can opt to not use rested bonus and you'll certainly be able to do every zone.

Me, I got completely sick of dailies (and I am revered with everything, exalted with some, so have no need to do with 900+ lesser charms (= 10 weeks)). I don't want to do challenge modes with randoms. I don't want to grind PvP gear to do PvP (in fact I find this silly regarding world PvP but that's a whole different discussion) and I don't want to downgrade my PvE gear to crafted PvP gear either. Therefore, I raid a few evenings a week progressing on HC mode and that's it. Its so much (including the LFR and getting VP cap) that my guildies don't feel to do challenge mode or alt runs.

A more casual player (I played quite a lot the first few weeks) will just take a slower pace but if I weren't in a raiding guild I'd certainly do challenge modes.

The whole WoW paradigm of rushing and facerolling leveling and quests has also shown its toll in my GW2 experience because I need to remind myself to enjoy the game, read everything, and slowly play and complete everything instead of rush rush, tag tag, chain pull, quickly gather before my competitor does.
I just cancelled my WoW account too. I had done this in Cataclysm, but this time was even faster.

They've added way too much grind in MoP. Reward/hour production is way down, and the gear upgrade system with VP is distressingly like AA (which I consider a gamebreaking feature.) Fall behind on your daily boring tasks and you're done.

I didn't want to play World of Chorecraft, so I'm out.

I have to wonder if deliberately tedious gameplay to earn points is a prelude to selling those points in a cash shop.
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool