Author Topic: Boredom with WoW  (Read 10430 times)

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Databits

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Boredom with WoW
« on: November 08, 2006, 09:02:52 am »
I've found myself quite bored with WoW, may move along to something else like Warhammer Online. However, it leave the question that need be asked... what causes boredom in some online games and not others? As a programmer interested in game design, and a consumer who has experienced this first hand numerous times, I honestly think this is an interesting thought. How do you keep players interested for long periods of time??

Now my ideas on some of the things happen to do with social interaction. In WoW, the social interaction is pretty much limited to a bare minimal. Usually when it comes down to it, I think raiding is actually very bad for the game itself. Having content that players need to go through repeatedly 100's of times just doesn't seem like it'd be the greatest of designs to keep players truckin on through and happy.

Aside from that, I think it's the general look of the game itself. While Ragnarok Online (a former game I played) had a bright and cheery graphic set, WoW has an always rather dull and boring graphics set. Pretty much all the color tones get to a dark and dismal look for almost all the end game content (which is pretty much the entire gameplay for WoW). It's like they're limited to a palette of dark grey, brown, green, and orange colors... for EVERYTHING. It's really rather dull after awhile. For anyone who's played WoW, you'd know what I'm talking about. You never at any point see some nice bright sunny green fields, vast blue as BLUE water, or anything like that in the game. It's always the same, no matter where you go.

Lastly, guilds... have no point in the game. The general function of the guild in WoW is for a large group to organize things. Rarely do you see a lot of interaction within the guild itself, and due to the game design, there isn't a whole lot of things you can do "as a guild".

These are just some late night rough thoughts on this, anyone else care to add some to it?
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Xepher

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Boredom with WoW
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2006, 10:29:06 am »
First off, let me say that I don't really think graphics have anything to do with it being "boring" or not. Frankly, the reason I got into the game in the first place was the graphics and the look of the game. It was cartoony, without being comical. Things were exaggerated and surreal, lending a sense that these polygons weren't huge just to save space, but because an artist actually thought it would look good that way. Granted, the end-game content is all dull, but dungeons are SUPPOSED to be dull. In the end though, I wasn't interested in graphics, it was the gameplay that I care about. (And you can probably guess which next-gen console I plan to buy too.) :-)

I got bored with WoW for a couple of reasons. For one, there's no sense of accomplishment. What's the point of journeying across the world, collecting a dozen different parts and assembling them into some great relic to slay a dragon... only to have the dragon respawn an hour later? One quest really got me... spend the better part of levels 20-30 on parts of a quest to cure a little girl with sleeping sickness. Finally she wakes, and her parents rejoice, and you get a reward. Come by 5 minutes later and the parents are right back to "Oh my poor daughter! Is there no cure?"

Secondly, and somewhat related, anything you get or make, or otherwise use to personalize your character... a thousand other people have it, or look like it, etc. Not only that, but if you want to actually have good stats, then there's not even a real choice. If you're class X you wear set Y armor, end of argument. But even ignoring stats, it still all looks the same. You can't expect people to interact on a personal level, when their avatar is so impersonal.

Thirdly, there's nothing new to actually do. The difference between fighting a level 2 boar and a level 50 dragon is the matter of an extra button or two for skills you got in the mean time. Every quest is a variation on one of "slay x," "retrieve x," or "talk to x." Even the crafting system is pointless on this, as you don't actually "create" anything new, merely choose a quest (called a recipe or a plan though) from a list, look at what's needed, and then go "retrieve x." There was no caveman in WoW that took "stick" + "rock" and was surprised when he ended up with "hammer."

Fourth, there's no "skill" involved in the game, beyond a basic understanding of the rules. It doesn't matter how "good" you are, it merely matters what the stats/numbers in the game are. This works fine for table-top RPGs, but that's only because there the players get to truly impact the world, as well as use their imaginations to create new things, find novel solutions, or cleverly avoid fights all together. Video games like Counter Strike stay popular for years, despite being a thousand times less "rich" in content than WoW, simply because they let the player rely on his/her own skills, as well as make his/her own mistakes. Even the best sniper can be knifed by a newbie sometimes, but a level 20 NEVER beats a level 50. Never.

Lastly, I think it comes down to something simple. WoW is, in the end, a business venture. Blizzard makes the most money by keeping the greatest number of players hooked, for the longest time possible, while keeping development costs as low as possible. It is thus a "minimalistic" approach. Excitement (in terms of new content) is expensive, so their optimal income is achieved by making the game as boring as possible, just shy of actually alienating players. If you have to grind a dungeon 100 times, that's 99 OTHER dungeons they didn't have to make. And they know people will do it... they do studies and keep stats to see just exactly how many times people WILL do that. Then they set it up so that you only NEED to do it about one or two times less. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they're evil... but they do have a bottom line to look at, and when you're running a game that has a larger economic footprint than most countries, well...

Gwyn

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Boredom with WoW
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2006, 06:59:32 pm »
I got bored of WoW within a week. It is so ing tedious.

I play City of Heroes/Villains though, I enjoy that game lots. I don't play it all the time, that could be why I enjoy the time I do get on it. It is also updated with new stuff every few months.

I also want a Wii next gen. wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
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tickyhead

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Boredom with WoW
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2006, 09:34:56 pm »
I second the Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii squeal. :P

Personally I've never played WoW, but I have seen my friends play it. It looks cool and all at first, but after watching them for about an hour I started asking things like, "so . . . what's the big deal?" and "why is it that only the idiots are saying anything in the chat window?"

So anyway, here's my non-WoW take on the whole "what makes an MMO good" debate.

The number one things for me is the setting itself, the game's decided genre and the way it pulls it off. Graphics, character design, sound, all that. If it really gets me sucked into the game, it's worth playing. But the community plays a big part in it too, after all it's a big part of what makes an MMO and MMO.

So, graphics. Eeeeeeveryone talks about these things, gives them ratings, nitpicks on all sort of levels, and I admit that any game with good graphics gets extra points in my book. But "good" doesn't always mean most realistic or number of pixels. For me good graphics are graphics that are pleasing to the eye and fit the overall feel of the game. For instance, Ragnarok Online has really colorful character sprites and backgrounds, coupled with the best music I've heard in any MMO I have ever played, which makes for a near perfect setting blend that I really enjoyed. Same goes for City of Heroes/Villians. Awesome graphics, detailed character design that pretty much guarentees that no one will look like you in the game.
Oh, one more thing about graphics: COLOR. I love color. Sure the bland greys and tans and greens and stuff make for a more realistic game, but being a wannabe artist for so long has really affected my view on things, and I prefer that view in vibrant technicolor. I'm not saying hot pink armor and neon colored buildings, but a little color never hurt anyone. (another reason why I like CoH- loooooots of colorful characters. I even named most of my characters based on the colors I gave them, and vice versa XD)

So next up on my nitpick list is the sounds. So you've got really cool graphics that wow the eye and have the cool wind and water and weather effects and everything, but your music sucks. I'd get bored after about a month, a week even in some cases. Some people take the music and the sound effects for granted, but I don't. The soundtrack really influences the way people look at the game. I haven't heard the WoW music at all since my friends played with headphones on (darn them! :P) but I've played plenty of other games with varying levels of musical prowess.
Again I'll turn to RO for an example. GOD I love the music of RO. If I could I would buy/download every single song from that game. (but I'm too lazy and/or broke) If you haven't heard it before it's hard to explain exactly what makes it so good, but for every setting in the game there is a song that fits it (almost) perfectly.
For a soundtrack that made me go "blah" let's look at FFXI. Nobuo Uematsu, all you other FF composers out there, I love you. Really. But you blew it with FFXI. Half the time I barely noticed there was music playing, and the other half of the time I just muted it and put something else on. :P

On a side note, let's take a good look at originality in the MMO world. Fantasy, fantasy, fantasy, and more fantasy. Where's the rest of the genres? Where's the mixing of genres? There's a ton of medieval fantasy out there, most of which is just a carbon copy of the next game with slightly different graphics, and about a handful of everything else. I would just like to see a nice blend of genres that didn't suck, please.

Then there's characters. The players, the NPCs, the monsters. I'm a sucker for character customization that really is customizable, which is prolly why CoH rocks so much, and the one place where RO failed me. It doesn't take much, really. good hairstyles, a few nice faces, maybe some body type customization, and a variety of armor that doesn't all look the same. That's all! Why can't so many MMOs add some simple variety in their game so that all us PCs don't look like clones?

Last but not least is the community. MMOs where people only talk when they want something like money or items or someone to give them money for items are, well, crap. The thing is that most players are generally anti-social. This is where FFXI comes in. After a few levels you're pretty much forced to interract with other people or quit. While some people consider it a bad thing, I think of it as a godsend. I'm not saying every MMO should make their monsters insanely hard, but at least doing SOMETHING to knit the community together a little more is better than hearing nothing but "buying bigass sword 20k PM me w/ offer plz"

So, I'm sure there was other stuff I wanted to mention but I have a dentist's appointment, so I have to cut this short.

Also, if I had even some vague idea on how to code video games, I would totally make an MMO that would blow everyone off their feet ;)
I don't hate everyone, I'm just very, very disappointed in them.

Databits

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Boredom with WoW
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2006, 10:01:20 pm »
As for the crafting system, I think that the timers on it are 100% totally pointless. It's not like if you "fail" something cause you need to move you lose the mats or anything, so what's the point? Yeah I think you should be able to combine numerous things and get a "result" too. As it stands, there is little choice and no consequence of failure, which makes it kinda suck. Even in RO, if you attempted to take something past a limit it would warn you "if you fail the materials will be lost permanently". So if you decided to go that extra mile anyhow and try to upgrade that +5 weapon to a +6 and it broke, you at least knew it could happen, it was you who took the risk.

Once again, on the graphics I have to totally disagree. The design point of the color palettes used are kinda bad. The fact that there is no real separation between the character and environment palettes isn't the best in design in the first place. Because there's no separation, it causes thing to be needed like the dumb "highlight" circle. Now take, for instance, games out there on consoles that use a cartoony look, yet actually pull it off well like, for example, Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker. Ok, while some may not think it right to compare a console with an mmo style game, the concepts are still pretty much exactly the same. Ok, so you have less "choices" in the console game, but the palettes are still all done very well. There's no mistake between the environment and your char, an enemy, or an npc. With WoW, granted it has a somewhat cartoon look, but it's still far too dark in pretty much all situations, and as you progress further into it things just get darker and darker, and in very many situations if it wasn't for the selection circle and the bright green name over their head, it'd be difficult to find npc's visually.

Aside from that, like you stated, there isn't a whole lot to "do" in the game. I can say this from first hand experience being in one of the top raiding guilds in Naxxramas on Argent Dawn as well as someone who occasionally pvp's. Once again, guilds are pointless. One of the advantaged to RO was that you had to level your guild, your guild could actually compete with other guilds for control of certain territories and stuff, so guilds had a point, a purpose. In WoW, they just don't... they're nothing more than a giant party. You don't even have any sort of "guild storage" for materials collected by guild members.

Then you look at their "GM"s. I think one thing that separates many other MMO's from WoW is the fact that the GM's really aren't GM's, they're Customer Service Reps. In other MMO's I've seen GM's run special events and encounters, things that make an impact on the same old same old. WoW doesn't have GM's, they don't exist in their game, but rather, are just throwing the term loosely around for something "cool" to call their service reps, which is slightly annoying. What I'd like to see is things occur that would actually separate the world on one server from the world on another. Maybe the horde band together and actually obliterate one of the alliance towns for a short time, or vice versa? Perhaps Onyxia has had enough of the intruders in her cozy den and attacks some of the towns head on, flying through the air torching people as she goes? Just things that would make everyday play a little more entertaining.

Even their customer service reps are worthless. They bitch and whine about fixing issues that genuine players have, and give you a hard as hell time with things most the time, yet continue to let well known gold farmers run free on their servers ruining players experiences by driving the in game economy up to ridiculous heights. Honestly, I'd block China, Korea, and all those other countries with large companies well known to do this, and implement a "known proxy" block system. You shouldn't be playing on a damn U.S. ENGLISH server if you can't speak the language in the first place. I notice the number of farmers on the server daily, especially since I play a rogue and have people drop lock boxes on me forever in a day with nothing more than a whisper of "ty". To tell the truth, I think more than half of their "giant player base" is farmers who are making a killing by selling in game things against the ToS for real money to other real players. Oh no, that's no problem right?? But they're quick to ban a player for saying a swear word despite the fact that there is a language filter BUILT IN to the client that's ON by default after install, which you must specifically turn OFF to see/speak any profanity!
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fesworks

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Boredom with WoW
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2006, 10:35:33 pm »
Well I started my webcome before I went on a camping trip. Wanted to do something constructive, etc... When I came back, I sat at my computer and for the first time I didn;t want to play WoW. I had such great time camping that I cancelled my account (it was also the day of billing too) and never looked back. I am glad I stopped wasting money on that piece of crap.

Omega0

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Boredom with WoW
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2006, 11:09:01 pm »
My personal thought (on any type of game, not just MMO) is this:
"If you can play it with a flow-chart, it's not worth it."
Even linearity isn't terrible (if it's long enough), it's iteration that ruins it.

For example, the strategy of most of these games can be described as
Attack Monster -> Collect Dropped Item -> Repeat Until Inventory Full

The Attack Monster process doesn't change the more you play, you just choose the most effective weapon for the target and go at it.  http://www.progressquest.com/ will play that type of game for you.  It's much more fun to play a game like ADOM where you have to evaluate the pros and cons of your equipment and ammo, then take into account the terrain before you decide even if you'll fight.  

Quests are just
Talk to NPC -> Kill Things -> Complete Quest (with some quests containing multiple instances of this)
And like Xepher said, nothing really happens as a result of completing the quest.
In the RPG enviroment, there's not that much you can do besides 'kill things' but you can at the very least advance a story line (completing a quest causes your PC to filter out any NPC-text relating to it, and new quests become available --even better if you can make the whole world advance) and provide multiple solutions to a quest (kill the rampaging dragon? force it to relocate by blocking the cave entrance? collect something valuable enough to deal with it?)

I don't like dealing with other people.  If you're going to make a game where I have to do so, there had better be a good reason.  There used to be a browser-based game "Archmage: Reincarnation from Hell" in addition to having good strategy elements (there was no simple working strategy) you almost had to form alliances.  Red mages had massive offensive power, but little ability to support their kingdoms economically.  Green mages could provide massive boosts in production, but their military units were lacking.

(Being on the subject of online games, to CMC plug committee from hunting me down: http://cmc.mrx.ca/cmc/page.jsp?pageurl=news.htm)

Databits

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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2006, 11:36:23 pm »
I think that having an online persistent world that a player CAN make a difference in would be great, and fully possible too. There's games out there that are technically MMO's but they allow their players to build whatever they want on their section. Now I wouldn't take it to quite that extent, but you know the whole thing about me saying guilds are worthless in most cases. Here's a chance to change that. The idea of leveling a guild and being able to build your own little guild hall, barracks, fortress, castle or whatever (provided with whatever editing system allowed) based on the level of your guild. Perhaps, as my roommate put it during a similar discussion, a starting guild would only be able to build like a tree fort. :P

In either case, this would accomplish 2 things. One it'd allow there to be something more interactive in the community play (as you could then implement wars between rival guilds and stuff), but you also pretty much guarantee that the world isn't exactly the same on each "realm" (server) you play on. As some players would build things differently than others.

Something else I'd like to see is the implementation of actual sea travel. In WoW it went as far as "wait for the boat and it'll take you to the other continent"... NO! I think it'd be amazing to be able to explore the vast sea, as well as maybe some randomly generated islands that are scattered out in the sea. Perhaps a guild wants to be a band of pirates? Well, then be pirates! Bombard foes with your cannons, board their vessel and steal their goods (not completely otherwise players get pissed and leave), all the while risking the ones you attacked to be able to kick the dog crap out of you and turn the tides.

I dunno, just some things that I know for a fact are possible in an online persistent large scale world, but have yet to actually see.
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Gwyn

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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2006, 11:52:11 pm »
what server do you play CoH on Ticky?
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tickyhead

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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2006, 06:16:19 am »
Infinity. At least I used to until my free trial ran out :P I'm still considering whether or not to pay for it, and if so will my parents be kind enough to pay for me as I'm flat broke and they owe me money ;)
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Databits

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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2006, 05:08:29 pm »
I played on the official RO servers for 2 months on my "2 week free trial" for some reason they never deactivated the account. :P
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tickyhead

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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2006, 06:15:00 pm »
Yeah, same here. There was also this thing where whenever I didn't pay the free trial would just kick in afterwards :P CoH is not RO though, and sadly those guys are pretty quick on the uptake :
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Databits

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« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2006, 06:55:05 am »
A simple script could take care of that honestly, but I'm thinking the RO programmers are too lazy or too stupid to do it.
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tickyhead

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« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2006, 09:14:20 am »
They fixed it a while ago actually. Along with a lot of the engrish in the game (even though it made it so much more fun in my opinion :P huzzah engrish!)
I don't hate everyone, I'm just very, very disappointed in them.