If you’ve spent any time at all in the MMO community, you’re probably familiar with the Bartle taxonomy of players types, designed by influential developer Richard Bartle. Created in the days of multi-user dungeons (MUDs), it divides players into four broad categories and is viewed by many as the gold standard for understanding player motivation in online gaming.
However, at least as it applies to MMORPGs, I think the Bartle types are a flawed model, ultimately too simplistic to accurately define the complex motivations of human beings. This isn’t meant to be a criticism of Bartle himself, but of the way his model is used (and abused) by many players and journalists within the… Continue reading
There are many perennial debates that rage eternal within the MMORPG community. Lockboxes. The trinity. And the question, “Are MMOs too easy?”
That’s a question I’ve long struggled with myself, as I do often find myself frustrated by the relative difficulty of most of the MMOs I’ve played.
The more I try to answer that question, though, the more I realize it’s so much more complicated than it seems at first glance.
First we need to discuss what true difficulty actually is. This feels like it should be obvious, but there’s a lot of misunderstanding of it in the gaming community, especially where MMORPGs are concerned… Continue reading
Honesty time: I have had enough of gear. The concept of continually acquiring new and better equipment lies at the heart of virtually all MMORPGs, but I’m just sick of it. It’s an easy way for developers to provide a carrot for players to chase, but I don’t think it’s healthy for the genre in the long run, and I for one am simply bored with the whole concept.
Gear as a vertical progression system works well in single-player games because eventually you’ll have the best gear and be done with it. In an MMO, that can never happen. Regular gear resets are a necessity, so gearing becomes… Continue reading
Let’s not mince words. MMO communities are in a bad way. Trolling, toxicity, extreme vulgarity, and cyber-bullying ran rampant, and there doesn’t seem to be any serious effort being made to curtail any of this.
I doubt it would ever be possible to entirely eliminate toxicity in online gaming. Human nature is what it is, and the anonymity of the Internet often emboldens people to let loose the worst aspects of themselves.
But far too many people, developers included, have let this fact instill a defeatist attitude toward toxicity. If you can never eliminate it, why bother fighting it at all? But while you may never get rid of toxicity altogether, I… Continue reading
A few weeks ago, we looked into ideas that Western MMORPGs would do well to borrow from their Eastern counterparts. Now, it seems only fair to do the reverse, for there are also areas where the East would do well to take some cues from us.
To address an elephant in the room, a lot of people will highlight grinding and overbearing monetization as the chief sins of Eastern MMOs, and I won’t say that’s entirely wrong as those are common problems in games from Asia, but I don’t think it’s a universal truth, and plenty of Western games are grindy or greedy too. I don’t see it as a… Continue reading
Level scaling in an MMORPG is a wonderful thing. It makes the world more immersive, it effectively expands the available content, and it breaks down social barriers.
I am a firm believer that having level scaling is almost always better than not having it, but not all level scaling systems are created equal. The ideal level scaling system is easy to use, rewarding, and liberating, without entirely erasing a player’s sense of progression. Let’s take a look at some of the best systems in currently running MMOs.
EverQuest 2 doesn’t have global level scaling, but it does allow players to “mentor,” lowering their effective level for a time.