Back in September, I wrote an article about the Downward Spiral of Gaming that caused a brief level of controversy in a few gaming communities on the web. Ultimately, I don’t feel that it had much of a permanent impact.
After playing in several closed beta play tests for an upcoming MMORPG that has a lot of hype surrounding it and talking with many other testers about their opinions of the upcoming game I felt it necessary to hit on a few points.
Modern gamers no longer want innovation in new games. They want World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, or Battlefield 4 with different gear, story and maps. And as I touched on with the article titled “The Downward Spiral of Gaming“, they don’t want anything new or genre-defining, they just want a few new weapons, maps, items, gear, and maybe a few nifty features like some robot with a machine gun on it – all very shallow “features”. They want clones of other popular games. They don’t want change.
A friend of mine and fellow gaming enthusiast, Mark Mendel writes:
Problem is World of Warcraft destroyed MMOs in their infancy. Every game has to cater to the WOW crowd. You can’t have an MMO that strays too far from the wow formula. People don’t want new and innovative. They want WOW, with different models and textures.
I’m sure a few readers are asking, “Well how do we stop this problem?“. Honestly, stop giving money to game developers that do not strive for unique innovations in their games. Gamers should not buy games because their friends are all getting it. It just pads the wallets of game developers of crappy games and encourages said developers to develop more terrible games.
Let’s look at a few titles from 2013 that didn’t live up to the hype. I can name a few right off the top of my head: Call of Duty Ghosts, Grand Theft Auto 5, Battlefield 4. Players ranted and raved about them in the weeks and days before released, then talked about it avidly for about a week and by two weeks after release, it was no longer the hot topic in general conversation. In two weeks, they became games that were just on the shelves that they play when they are bored. This isn’t something isolated to those titles or the year 2013 – this has been going on for the better part of a decade. Players get excited about new titles and quickly grow bored of them once they have seen the new maps, gears, and “features” and then the novelty wears off, quickly.
So I ask players that regularly buy such games, Are the new gear, weapons, maps and “features” worth $60 of your hard-earned cash?
The MMORPG that I play tested this weekend is terrible. It is nowhere near what I thought it would be. It feels like they took five steps back from the past three non-MMO releases from the series.
The game holds players hands and no longer requires players to think – it plots a waypoint on their map that shows them exactly where they have to go – straying from the tradition in the past three releases that required players to read the story line and pay attention to conversations between their avatar and NPCs in the game to figure out what they had to do to complete a quest.
The combat system is a joke. What used to be a very challenging combat system has turned into an attack/skill spamming fest. No strategy is required and it is now solely a behind-the-scenes number game. Who can deal more damage per second and who can tank more damage per second is the only deciding factor in combat. In the past three releases, strategy and tactics were the sole deciding factor – with the right tactics a player could defeat an adversary that entirely outclassed their abilities.
The game is so not challenging that players can literally zone out, follow waypoints and play the game without actually putting any sort of thought into it. 100% easy mode.
The scary part is how many people were raving about how they can’t wait for game release! When asked about their reasoning for having such excitement, most players could not give me a definitive answer and defaulted to responses such as, “It’s awesome.” Not one could point out any particular feature or features that were the sole drawing factor. A lot of players said they were playing it because it was new or the group of gamers that they play with are going to play it.