The MMO, the Massive Multiplayer Online game. A few years ago you just got MMORPGs, an MMO with RPG elements, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Aion, and more. Nowadays MMOs are everywhere, in different forms too; you even get MMOs on your smartphone. But what is it about MMOs that keep players coming back for more? Is it the grind, it is the actual game’s ability to draw you in and keep you there, or is it just complete boredom? Does MMORPG stand for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, or Mindless Meaningless Overrated Repetitive Pointless Game?
MMOs are still Solo Games
Multiplayer in MMOs really means nothing while you’re playing. Sure if you have hundreds of online friends and followers you will always have someone to back you up before you enter a raid or dungeon, but most of the time you will be performing activities alone. Some MMOs require a full party to get a certain activity done, be it due to sheer difficulty or mechanics in the activity that need more than one player. This is where the problems arise – I know a few people who have never completed a Raid in Destiny, and have never completed a Dungeon in The Elder Scrolls Online, due to the fact that they don’t have the friends list to make it happen. Guilds, Clans, and activity finders are available but they are limited to that portion of your progress. I found it very difficult to find a dungeon in Final Fantasy XIV in the early portions of the game due to a progress system that basically eliminates players too high to help you.
Innovation is one thing that has been lacking in MMOs of late. Every MMO feels like it went through the same building process as the next. The worlds feel the same, the mechanics all resemble one another, and the gameplay is all the same. Developers have taken the mother of all MMOs, World of Warcraft and basically reskinned it along the way. Why, if every FPS is different, is every MMO based around the same mechanics? They just all feels rehashed. We can have an MMO that we connect to, that doesn’t require hours of grinding to get a piece of gear.
What makes a game that you purchase once and never have to pay for again different from an MMO which is locked behind a pay gate? These subscription MMOs just don’t make any sense. Sure, content is added at a regular basis, but is this not the same as DLC you have to purchase every week? Free-to-play MMOs might not have the pay gate, but the in-game purchases are a whole different story. The Elder Scrolls went free-to-play, but now it has a Crown Store full of overpriced character items. The most vital transportation in the game is a horse, and to get this horse you will need to purchase it for 10.000 gold, or around R200 worth of crowns. Keep in mind that the game saw a full R800 release. Pay to progress, pay to win, or just paying for fancy shaders, it’s all one overrated gameplay experience.
An Untasteful Cake
What I am trying to get across is that MMOs are failing to provide the experience that they promise from the get go. I had no idea that I would be grinding daily for one exotic gun in Destiny for weeks after its release. MMOs promise a lengthy experience with great adventures and loot, but in the end, they are revolved around the same lacklustre build, pay everything, do everything, and get nothing back from it. It’s all the same box cake mixture with a different colouring added.