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Massively Overthinking: Does the MMO genre have too many games for its own good?

Massively Overthinking: Does the MMO genre have too many games for its own good?

Final month I noticed a video from YouTuber Josh Strife Hayes with an eyebrow-raiser of a thesis: He primarily argues that we now have too many MMOs – that a flooded market is making it more durable for individuals to select a recreation and luxuriate in it, driving FOMO, splitting already-small communities, and fostering the phantasm that the “proper” MMO will come alongside someday.

I assumed this’d be a enjoyable one for the crew and commenters to deal with on this week’s Overthinking. Can we agree? Do we’ve too many MMOs, what does that imply precisely, and if we do, is it truly an issue the best way Josh lays out?

Andy McAdams: I feel Josh truly means the difficulty of Overchoice, which may end up in evaluation paralysis, however isn’t fairly the identical factor. This could be true, however can also be actually no totally different than a deluge of different decisions we make day-to-day already from a functionally limitless quantity of choices. So yeah, there are a ton of decisions on the market, however in virtually each shopper determination we make, we face the identical potential conundrum however nonetheless don’t appear to have an issue spending cash.

FOMO is perhaps a factor, however we’ve seen that it doesn’t actually final lengthy. We see video games on a regular basis which have preliminary large numbers, arguably as a result of individuals are apprehensive about lacking out, however then these participant numbers fall off of a cliff and other people return to their “protected” decisions.

Vote splitting I don’t assume applies right here both as a result of it assumes single vote — you’ll be able to solely ever turn out to be invested in on recreation at a time, and a number of choices solely serves to separate your group … besides we don’t see that taking place. I feel partially as a result of there’s not reliable limiting issue to what number of video games you is usually a “member of the group” to at one time, and partially as a result of we simply don’t see this conduct the place the group splits to detriment of the sport. Within the reality the other appears to be true – video games just like WoW that might “cut up the group” by no means truly do. Video games just like RUST or Minecraft don’t truly cut up the group as a result of finally these individuals return to their “house” video games, versus fissioning the group like Josh suggests.

I feel the one legit level he has right here is the fallacy of the perfect recreation. We see it each. single. time. a brand new excessive profile recreation comes out that it’s going to be subsequent MMO-Messiah and it simply by no means is. Individuals play the sport, understand that it’s not the last word expertise that they had hyped themselves as much as, and get pissy after which… once more… return to their house video games. He makes a superb level in saying that some individuals discover the smallest facet they don’t like, decry the sport as horrible and unworthy, and strut away. We see it within the massively feedback on a regular basis.

Briefly, I don’t assume the variety of video games obtainable is the difficulty. Even somewhat bit. I feel there’s a problem with understanding the target high quality of the sport, the subjective well being of the sport, and understanding how a specific video games matches preferences.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, weblog): I feel Hayes has hit on some concepts the style must embrace and is embracing beneath hearth. He’s successfully echoing the Paradox of Selection concept: the supposition that decreasing the variety of decisions we’ve out there to us truly makes us… nicely, if not happier, then at the least extra glad. (Ignorance is bliss – to a level – simply ask all of the individuals who fortunately performed Ultima On-line and EverQuest as a result of they believed that they had no different choices.) So do we have to Marie Kondo the complete MMO business? Should all of us grow to be ascetic Buddhists? Is deciding between manufacturers of soup and t-shirts equal to choosing your subsequent home – or your subsequent digital world? The Paradox of Selection concept fails with extra necessary life selections, I feel, and to the MMO gamers more likely to be studying this text, the place you spend your digital world time might be fairly essential to you, the identical approach a sports activities fan wouldn’t simply decide a random sport or workforce to cheer for. The small print of it truly do matter quite a bit.

All that stated, Hayes is true concerning the fixed FOMO that comes together with having a whole lot of decisions when time allocation is a zero sum recreation – sure, you possibly can play multiple, however you can’t play various in any depth. He’s not improper that a whole lot of us develop into obsessive about discovering the right MMO, or holding out till it rolls alongside, not eager to “settle” for something and subsequently by no means settling anyplace. And he’s undoubtedly not flawed that we have now distinct subgenres – like Asian motion fight video games, PvP and RvR sandboxes, and themepark grinders – and that they’d be higher served (and higher populated, and higher funded) in the event that they didn’t cut up their playerbases so skinny.

I do need to word right here that I’ve a robust intuition to need a world of decisions, of numerous MMOs, of each MMO getting its day within the solar, of letting the market type it out. However as we’ve seen during the last 20 years, the market’s concept of sorting it out hasn’t executed the most effective job of truly advancing the style. It did give us lockboxes, although, and an entire ton of rubbish titles making it arduous to seek out the gems, so, thanks I hate it? One of the best video games don’t all the time filter to the highest.

Both method, the genie’s out of the bottle on this one. Even when half the MMOs we’ve proper now vanished tomorrow, we’d nonetheless keep in mind all those that got here earlier than, keep in mind all the chances that aren’t being served. Trendy MMOs aren’t simply competing with one another however with our reminiscences of previous video games that we didn’t essentially need to depart. And that’s one thing that a mass-extinction occasion merely gained’t handle.

I feel it was a worthwhile video – it’s undoubtedly sparked fascinating dialog right here.

Carlo Lacsina (@UltraMudkipEX): It’s not only a flooded market. It’s a market crammed to the brim with rote, color-by-numbers MMOs. It’s how MMO design has hit a wall and its most obvious within the cellular area. I’m wanting ahead to Black Desert Cellular, and I’ve been enjoying some cellular MMOs to scratch that itch. I discover lots of them to be probably the most cynically designed video games I’ve ever encountered. Actually each cellular MMO seems the identical with auto-play mechanics, a every day lootbox, and overly designed characters. There isn’t any love in these video games. It’s designed to take advantage of the dopamine hit we get from opening lootboxes and “leveling up.” Quotes used as a result of these video games take so little effort… each to make and to play. If a recreation can allow you to do quests, kill mobs, and navigate a dungeon by itself, then the sport is designed across the autoplay, not the opposite method round.

The actual enemy is complacency right here. As gamers, we should always make investments your time in a top quality recreation and take the time to seek out these video games. They nonetheless exist, they’re simply actually troublesome to seek out.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, weblog): A lot of the arguments right here don’t resonate with me, notably as somebody who performs quite a lot of video games based mostly on my whim. I don’t actually endure from any kind of overchoice paralysis, I comply with what whims I’ve when it comes to the sort of MMO I feel will fulfill that whim. I don’t actually endure from FOMO as a result of I’m clinically dangerous at maintaining tempo with the most recent stuff and finally don’t actually care to take action. I additionally don’t consider vote splitting is a factor as a result of, hey look, I can completely love and help, each fiscally and with time invested, a number of totally different video games directly.

I’ll admit, although, that these emotions are a baseline and may surge someway. All of us endure from MMO burnout and I’m most assuredly no exception; I completely knuckled down and introduced myself to some extent the place I can play the subsequent Ultimate Fantasy XIV enlargement at launch, and there are weeks the place I concentrate on a single recreation regardless of what number of totally different ones I like. However once more, that’s how I handle selection, not turn into paralyzed by it. Selection is sweet. Choices are nice. I nonetheless contend that, regardless of how loudly individuals consider that having so many decisions is a dilution of the style.

What I’ll see widespread floor on, although, is individuals’s propensity for being much less forgiving if a recreation’s function doesn’t stay as much as expectations. A number of the time, it looks like most MMO titles stroll on a knife’s edge the place one fallacious determination will start the sheep bleating of “DEAD GAME! DEAD GAME!” and that completely looks like a results of having so many different choices on the market. That stated, I’d actually slightly not see One Recreation to Rule Them All, particularly when the “superb recreation” is so delightfully totally different from individual to individual. Appropriately. Which is why we have now decisions.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, weblog): Do we’ve too many FPS titles? Too many WW2 video games? Too many CRPGs? Too many Remaining Fantasy installments? Too many sports activities franchise entries? We’ve plenty of all types of leisure, however “too many” suggests a judgment name to protect towards some type of undesirable consequence.

I would like extra MMOs as a result of there might be a very good one across the nook. As a result of these video games are finite and growing older, albeit with an extended tail. As a result of somebody might create or iterate one thing that hasn’t been seen earlier than. As a result of we do want new experiences after some time. As a result of creativity shouldn’t have a tough restrict. As a result of I take pleasure in masking MMOs and don’t need this nice experience to return to an finish. As a result of competitors drives higher improvement. As a result of it’s foolish to assume MMOs have a zero sum viewers on this trendy age of gaming.

Mia DeSanzo (@neschria): I’ve been massively overthinking this query, and my conclusion is that lots of people would cease enjoying MMORPGs altogether if their favourite recreation simply disappeared, leaving them with narrower subject of decisions. No one is required to play a recreation in any respect, and there’s nothing stopping individuals from all flocking to at least one single recreation. Free will is splitting the market. Let’s put it this manner: If all there have been to play was the Massive 4 mentioned final week, I might go play in one other style or ramp up my different hobbies as an alternative.

I agree with my colleagues who say that a lack of innovation is an issue additionally. It’s exhausting to develop a following in the event you hold serving up a barely remixed model of the identical options and tales. Cease me in case you’ve heard this one earlier than: You’re a part of a particular group despatched to be the heroes that save the world…

Samon Kashani (@thesamkash): I don’t assume too many MMOs is an issue. I’ll not often fall on the aspect of limiting decisions of something. For example, we have now extra entry to music than we ever did earlier than. Does this imply the music business is struggling and we’ll by no means discover one other nice artist or performer? No, clearly not. Report after report proceed to return out saying that the business is rising like mad and that revenues are up like loopy. Now, is it potential we’re past the times of single tremendous bands like Queen, Journey, or The Beatles? Perhaps. However that would simply imply that folks don’t need to take heed to the band anymore that everybody is listening to, they will discover music extra tailor-made to their tastes, they usually can indulge.

It’s the identical with MMOs. Give us decisions. Give us each friggin’ mixture of favor, aesthetics, gameplay, and mechanics. Gamers are going to seek out one thing that they match into, they usually’ll play it.

Positive, individuals will hop round video games, however that’s as a result of they’re video games. They’re meant to be satisfying and enjoyable. The second the enjoyable appears to be waning, we should always play one thing else. And fact be advised, in some imaginary world the place we don’t have lots of decisions of MMOs; I think gamers would merely depart the business and play different recreation varieties. I don’t consider we might collectively shrug and assume, “Properly it’s both WoW or FFXIV. Neither is absolutely what I need to play proper now, however it’s what I obtained so I’ll simply play WoW at present and FFXIV tomorrow.” No. Approach. If that have been the case, you’d simply play a single participant recreation, or… perhaps a battle royale?

Tyler Edwards: I’m unsure it’s a very significant issue, however I do assume it’s a good level to make. We’ve got lots of MMOs, and there are undoubtedly video games on the market that I might in all probability have performed extra of if there wasn’t a lot competitors.

It additionally doesn’t assist that so many video games are so comparable. We might have moved previous the period the place a brand new WoW clone with a recent coat of paint was launched seemingly each different month (and thank the gods for that), however MMORPGs are nonetheless a style that isn’t precisely recognized for having a whole lot of wildly unique video games. That’s considerably comprehensible given the funding and danger an MMO entails, however nonetheless, a crowded subject can be much less of a problem if MMOs have been higher at distinguishing themselves from the pack.

Each week, be a part of the Massively OP employees for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable during which we talk about the MMO business subjects du jour – after which invite you to hitch the fray within the feedback. Overthinking it’s actually the entire level. Your flip!