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.
These days it feels like you can’t swing an epic Sword of Valor in the MMO space without hitting three or four survival sandboxes. They’re the latest trend every developer is eager to jump on, following WoW clones and MOBAs.
But this is one fad that’s mostly passed me by. There are a few reasons for this, but one of the biggest is the focus on PvP that dominates the survival sandbox genre. I’m not a big fan of PvP, and I’m even less a fan of the free for all anarchy that is the preferred style of competition in survival games.
PvE-focused survival games are rare, and multiplayer versions thereof… Continue reading
Maintaining proper perspective on MMO games requires branching out into the unknown from time to time. Transistor, by indie developer Supergiant Games, is my latest foray. It’s a game with few flaws that doesn’t share a lot in common with MMOs but probably should. The story and characters are great. It doesn’t overstay it’s welcome at any point, and the art design melds perfectly with the music to appropriately set the mood. Most importantly though, Transistor treats me how I wish more MMO games treated me. It treats me as an intelligent individual that realizes I know what I want more than the developers. It asks me what I know, rather than telling. This treatment is endearing and typically lacking in MMOs.
Few issues in the MMO community stir up strong feelings the way lockboxes do. These virtual gambling devices stir up a level of hatred and vitriol unmatched by any other issue in the MMO world. And yet, they continue to propagate unchecked through our virtual worlds, despite the best efforts of the community.
If I may play Devil’s advocate here for a moment, I think the time may have come for us to take a step back and examine whether all the furor over lockboxes is really productive. It’s clear that lockboxes are here to stay, so perhaps it’s time for us to learn how to live with them.
This article was originally posted March 19, 2016. It has been recently updated.
Like a lot of MMO players, I’ve been sinking a lot of my free time into Black Desert Online. I’ve been sinking in my not-so-free time too, but I suppose that’s the curse of a good game. One of my two biggest concerns with Black Desert was the possibility of a pay to win cash shop. Korean MMORPGs are especially known for cash shops where paying real money is the only path to the top. In a lot of these MMORPGs, money advantages provide a completely insurmountable level of power.
Black Desert has launched with what most do not consider a pay to win model. However, one item in particular has raised some serious concerns… Continue reading