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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Evils of MMO's and what devs can do about it (if anything)

    I was reading the "Comment about one time MMO game events" post, and they brought up an interesting topic. MMOs have very addictive qualities (intentional or not) that can, and have destroyed people's lives. What, if anything, can be done as a developer to make this situation better, without hurting your game's viability?

    One option I have wished for is "limited time characters", be that server specific or game wide. This would allow individuals like myself to play one character to its maximum potential and keep pace with others of similar skill and free time .

    example: Each character on a specific server can only be used X hours each week, you can play as many characters as you want but each one is limited to the X hours. The option is still there for "Hard-Core" servers that allow unlimited time per character. Is this idea viable? What drawbacks can you see?

    I would love to hear what other people think can be done about this "problem", or if they think there is even a "problem" to be addressed.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2009
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    Scotland
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    Quote Originally Posted by pashapook View Post
    example: Each character on a specific server can only be used X hours each week, you can play as many characters as you want but each one is limited to the X hours. The option is still there for "Hard-Core" servers that allow unlimited time per character. Is this idea viable? What drawbacks can you see?
    As a result 1) People would complain about it, or 2) the server will be dead because people don't like being limited in any way like that.

    If they have destroyed peoples lives then as far as I am concerned, it's their own fault. MMOs are addictive as any other games and it's up to the individual to prioritize what is important and how long they should play the game for.
    A wise man once said to me, "life is hard, but it's harder if you're stupid" - Duthos

  3. #3
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    Nov 2009
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    Seaford, UK
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    i agree with Stuart, its like being treated as a child even know your paying for it. Many games like World of Warcraft already have a feature like this where you can set a time period yourself or as it was ment to be, by your parents.
    feed me Rep

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Wellington, New Zealand
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    If they are addicted to your game than you as a designer/developer have succeeded in your job. And I agree with Stuart, MMOs (and general games) are like McDonalds, if you don't watch how much of it you're eating on a day to day basis you're going to feel the consequences. Self management is pretty important but that shouldn't be the concern of the Game Developer/Designer and more of the less that's what WiiFit was invented for.

    "Limitation" is a word we should avoid at all cost. People hate limitation and what comes with it, especially if they're paying for the MMO. Limitation to me means: We're going to strip something down or make something highly difficult for you as a player to get around.

    Just my thoughts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Norway
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    Separate servers for casual and hardcore gamers could be a good idea, with restrictions only on the casual server. I for one, have too little time to keep up in an MMO, so I prefer offline RPGs. The fear of addiction and the following time consumption is why I haven't bought WoW or Final Fantasy XI/ XIV.

    On the other side. If I payed to play a game, I wouldn't want to be told "Hey, your time is up. See you next month". And continuing with another character cuts the continuity and flow of the experience. For balance issues (players playing a lot vs players playing little), a restriction on exp gain would force the players to play other types of side quests etc., while not getting stronger. But that could lead to boring game play, and a loss of the feeling of freedom.

    It's the addictive nature of MMOs that keeps people playing (and paying) and it's risky to tone it down, but I'm sure there could be a "casual" alternative in regards to time consumption.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2011
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    Ireland
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    I agree with all your points, I think that you should give your age as you sign in and if they are under 16 have a limit but I know people will lie about their age or maybe give a gaurdians e-mail and explain to them how to set up a limit of hours for them at least theyll hate their parents instead of us XD. but it is only a suggestion

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    near Orlando, Fl
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    5,302
    As much as MMO's can be addictive, I do not think those are good solutions. If I am paying for a service, I don't need some company that I am paying telling me how to run my life. I understand that for some people out there it can be a full blown addiction and those people need serious help. There are also players who aren't truly addicted, but they just play all the time until it has the same effect of ruining their life so to speak. Personally, I started playing WoW during the beta and I loved it. I played for three years. Not only did I play, but I also started a website which my guild used and I also sold space on that site for other guilds to have forums. Then I had goldsellers throwing money at me to advertise. So now the game had become a second job for me. I had a guild to run, a website to take care of, an ad server to run, clients to deal with... needless to say when I was not at my day job, all of my time went into WoW. At about the three year mark I realized I was missing out on other games on PC and console that I enjoyed, I wasn't doing 3D modeling anymore which I loved, and I wasn't spending ANY time with my wife. We talked and I found that she had been really close to asking for a separation due to the "hang on I just have to turn in this quest..." and then three hours later spending a couple minutes with her. I realized it was a problem and canceled my account. Most normal adults should be able to make that choice on their own. The ones that can't need help of some kind.

    However I also don't think that MMO's are 'evil'. I don't have a ton of MMO experience. I played Planetside for about a year, but it was an FPS. There were no quests. It was just gunning from your friends bomber or tank, fighting in battles to capture a bridge or a building that could last 4 or 5 hours. After that I checked out Star Wars Galaxies and that 'game' was a pile of crap. I commonly refer to it as a 'terrain and calculator simulation'. After going without power for a week during a hurricane, finally getting power back, logging into SWG to find that my in game house and all the items stored within it had been deleted since I hadn't used my ingame money to pay the house maintenance fee, calling customer service who told me "too bad so sad", I canceled it and swore off MMO's because SOE really just made boring crap. I didn't understand why people would want to play those things so much. There was no RPG in the MMORPG. A friend gave me a code to the WOW beta so I got in... and Blizzard had taken everything that was not at all fun about MMO's and made it fun. In SWG to craft an item you had to click through 10 screens, manually add each ingredient, and then there was a chance it would fail. In wow, you click one button to make your item. Everything about WoW was better. So no, I don't think MMO's are evil, I think that many of them, and especially WoW, have found a way to take out all the garbage and give you a story and a fun game instead.
    The odds of hitting your target increase significantly when you aim at it.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    14
    If it is the gamer's responsibility solely.. Then is it ok for companies to intentionally up the addictive nature of their game, not for the sake of fun but to keep you hooked? It's good business that's for sure..but if that is a necessary evil of running a successful MMO why not explore options that allow for a more casual gamer to feel like they can remain competitive on a server they choose.
    My "idea", which is by no means a great one, was not intended to treat anyone like a child, I offered it more as an option, not an end all implementation.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not condemning the industry, I love MMOs. I just wanted to explore some of the ethical implications that come with making one. Another interesting topic would be.. How do you keep addiction high?

    Forgive spelling and grammar .. Trying to post on my iPhone

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Mesa, Arizona
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    10
    Your limited time character idea is essentially forced parental controls. As an MMO player myself, I wouldn't enjoy having any of my characters limited to a certain length of time per day. I might go a few days without logging in and then come Saturday, I'll spend the entire day playing one character. Often, I've been invited to a group and the group was an absolute blast! We'd plow through content and just keep going. It'd be crummy if, while your group is on a roll, you reach your play time limit.

    It's unfortunate that people allow their MMO playing time to get out of control. As a game developer, it's your job to create an unforgettable experience that keeps the player coming back. It's up to the individual to control their addiction. What game developers can do, is build tools into the game that the player can use to gauge how long they play, or allow them to set limits on how long they can log in for - just like the World of Warcraft parental controls. It might seem silly, but something the game developers can do is advertise that these controls exist and show people how to use them. Perhaps even build an in game tutorial - who knows! The important thing here is to educate people that the tools exist and educate them on how to use them.

    The free to play style of MMOs might also help combat the addiction. One of the problems I faced while playing World of Warcraft was feeling guilty for not logging in every night. If I'm paying a monthly fee, I feel like it's going to waste if I play casually. Plus, being in a raiding guild, you feel a sense of loyalty to the individuals you raid with....and World of Warcraft is just really well done. All of those tend to lure you in. I like the idea of having access to the core game for free and then paying for additional content when you are ready for it. The same applies to in game gold and purchasing items - by offering those to the player direct from the developer, you put more money in the company's pocket (which ultimately funds further development) and you lower the security risk associated with buying in game gold. Whether you agree with it or not, in games like World of Warcraft, gold buying exists and has led to theft. Obviously, this has serious game economy balancing issues that need to be ironed out. But, before that is considered, you need to have a solid game that people want to play.




    Kevin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Mesa, Arizona
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    10
    Quote Originally Posted by pashapook View Post
    Another interesting topic would be.. How do you keep addiction high?
    Thinking back on all the MMOs I've played, here are a few items that kept me coming back:

    • Easy to play, difficult to master
    • Variety
    • Fresh content
    • Dynamic world/in game events
    • FUN
    • Excellent story/lore
    • Rewarding crafting system

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