Saturday, January 31, 2009

Five Ways to Fix Broken MMOs

This is in direct response to the Fidgit article "Five reasons MMOs are Broken," and since no one ever reads this blog, I'll probably post this in the comments for the original article as well.

Let me start by saying that I don't play MMOs. I tried Guild Wars, and hated the grind. I'm too cheap for WoW. I'm looking forward to seeing what some of the up and coming MMOs have to offer, especially Star Wars: The Old Republic, but I'm not holding my breath.

5) The problem: subscription fees

The solution: A one time fee, or a subscription. Not both. It is ridiculous to think that for me to get into WoW now, I would have to pay almost $100 for the games, and then have to pay $15 a month to play the game that I already payed for.

4) The problem: aggro

The solution: Don't make the enemy AI so obviously stupid. There is a real world precedent for the strongest one in the team to be a distraction, but at some point the enemy should figure out that they're being played.

3) The problem: button lock

The solution: Get rid of all the freakin' numbers already! You don't hear people in the military referring to anyone as an "E5 Soldier," they say "Sergeant." No one (well, outside of the geek community) says their health is down to 50%, they actually describe how they feel. And is it so much to ask for a minimalist approach to the HUD?

2) The problem: static worlds

The solution: Start with user generated content. I don't necessarily mean importing 3d models and textures, I just mean let the player actually build something. As far as the quests go, don't make them so easy. If it's something that people will have to team up to do, and takes them a very long time, then it's something they can be proud of. Especially if there was another group racing to do the same thing.

1) The problem: you can't play with the people you want to play with

The solution: Is this really a problem? Everyone I know that plays WoW is usually talking to their friends at work about the raid that they're going to do that night. In any case, the best way to make more advanced players want to group with new players is to have some sort of reward for it that can't be achieved any other way, just as teachers do in the real world.

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