Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

27 April, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: What sucks?
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:57 PM

We’ll keep this weekend’s challenge short: what sucks about current online multiplayer games?

Try to be constructive and specific. “They’re not all WoW,” is not an acceptable response, either!

I’ll post some of my thoughts later this week.


  1. They all try to be WoW, and that’s the problem. They take the set cast popular model, flip-switch it and try to make it work with a quirk – their changes. There is a lack of self-confidence in the MMO field these days being “I’m new. I’m something different. I can make it on my own;” they all feel they need to copy the giant.

    As for other online games (flash, etc), many of them are just variations on a theme. Retro Pong! Retro Pong 2.0! Pong 3d! Intense Multiplayer 8-way Pong! and so on. It’s sickening.

    Comment by X — 27 April, 2008 @ 7:37 PM

  2. What sucks? Not enough casual ties to other people, and no way to belong to more than one social group. You can be in one guild, period. In real life I’m associated with a church, a scout troop, a Kiwanis club, and a friday night movie group. In WoW I’m in the one guild, and that’s it. Yeah, there are arena teams, but A: I’m a Feral Druid and B: all the teams I’d have access to are just subsets of the one guild. They’re great people, don’t get me wrong, but it’d be nice if folks didn’t have to leave completely if they wanted to get in on some 25-person raiding action.

    Yeah, there’s always PUGs, but I’m not particularly interested in spending 2+ hours with a stranger either. Maybe if there was a better ways to group up casually for a short-term goal…

    SWG had some good stuff for this what with the player crafters and town systems, but in recent years it’s taken a turn for the more traditional insular forms of play.

    Comment by Vargen — 27 April, 2008 @ 8:14 PM

  3. Achievement is nerfed.

    All I have to do to be level 1,000 and have the phattest lewt in the game, is be willing to spend the rest of my life online. Give me a contest where I might actually lose, and be forced to accept it. Let me find out how good I really am. When editing your MMO, find the point where half-decent players begin to fail the quests, even when doing their best. Cut off everything in the game the comes before that point.

    A Tale in the Desert is profoundly satisfying in this regard. Imagine, a quest that only one player in the entire game can legally complete! Now -that’s- glory.

    Comment by Bret — 27 April, 2008 @ 9:15 PM

  4. My three pet with quests as implemented today:

    1) They’re fundamentally a single-player mechanic adapted awkwardly to a multiplayer setting. In 1998 everyone agreed to suspend their disbelief for a while until a better solution was found, but 10 years later it looks like nobody is trying anymore, with the possible exception of Warhammer’s public quests.

    2) They separate the playerbase instead of bringing it together. Back when there wasn’t much to do in these games pretty much anyone was a potential source of interaction, then we were separated by levels, and now by level, equipment, and what step of what quest we’re on. Then a week later we’re out of sync with the people we quested with last week and have no use for them anymore. Forget trying to stay synced with a group of people you actually like before the level cap, and even afterwards is a challenge.

    3) They’re generally either balanced for one person or a full group. So people that play with spouses, individual friends, etc get to choose between trivially easy solo content or impossible group content. Back when leveling involved just picking which monsters to kill, you could pick something appropriately challenging for the number of people you happened to have with you at the time.

    Comment by mcj — 28 April, 2008 @ 5:41 AM

  5. Not enough support for social grooming and organization.

    Not enough support for recounting stories/events.

    Comment by Phil — 30 April, 2008 @ 4:21 AM

  6. PvP balance revolves around time spent in game. PvP rewards make the winners stronger which makes the winners win more which makes everybody give up, with no chance, or no challenge.

    Comment by Axecleaver — 30 April, 2008 @ 8:08 AM

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