Part three, “The Son of FrankenMMO”. Here it is, the final part of my FrankenMMO post. I think by now you have an idea of the kind of MMO gamer I am, and developers? You’re welcome.
Mods should always be optional. I can’t think of an instance in which they aren’t.. unless you want to play Morrowind on a larger resolution than existed when it was released, but even then, somewhat optional.
Mods are always quite a divisive feature in MMO communities. Some prefer the purity of the basic game or the simplicity of not having to work out what’s best based on playstyle/system and so on, whereas others want to improve their gameplay by customising their UI, auction house, and so on. Some guilds will kick raiders for not using particular mods whereas others don’t care so long as you play well enough and/or aren’t a dick.
Personally, I always find games run better without mods and if a game doesn’t have the function for them, then everybody’s on a level footing in that regards so generally I prefer games that come without but allow decent customisation of the UI appearance from ingame.
However, when they are available, I do use them. There are always improvements to be made on a default UI depending on your personal choices and I like that. Ideally, it would be nice if some day modding would allow players to create new content within an MMO like you can in the Elder Scrolls games and such, however, if this ever happens I can only imagine it’s a long way off being a reality. A girl can dream.
In the meantime, I think EverQuest Next sounds as though it has the right idea with modding. They are saying they want to allow customisation but not to an extent that players would have a real benefit over others. So addons would be purely cosmetic, basically. They used the example that you couldn’t enter a zone and instantly know where all mining nodes are with the use of a mod.They have also said that they will watch the modding community and if something comes up that is a definite improvement, they will consider implementing it into the base UI. This is the system I’d have in my FrankenMMO, it sounds just about right.
Levelling is only one part of an MMO, there’s always going to be the question of, “What do I do when I hit max level?” And if there’s little to do but grind the same dungeons over and over, complete achievements, and level alts (I’m looking at you, Guild Wars 2), then people will end up turned off eventually and we don’t want that.
Then again, people are also becoming tired of the same old formula: level up, grind gear, complete raids/grind battlegrounds, rinse, repeat. It works, yes, but it’s old and tired.
I’d like to see a form of raiding, something big that guilds can focus on, because people like that kind of thing. Perhaps something similar to World of Warcraft’s Warlords of Draenor ‘flexi’ system, allowing 10-25 people to choose between 3 difficulties and go for it. But it needs to find a way to allow for more spontaneity, because I don’t know about you guys, but I’m incredibly bored of being told to log on at x time with x amount of preparation for the chance of waiting around for at least half an hour to find out if I have to do what 9-24 other people want to do for the night. I like to choose how to spend my time, not have it feel like a second job in a more comfortable chair. I’d also like to see more focused group PvP for the PvPers, perhaps in a raid style. I think Guild Wars 2 went a way to create this with World v. World, and of course PvP arenas work for this purpose too, but I’d like to see something more guild focused for PvPers like raiding.
But it would need something else. Perhaps similar to Guild Wars 2’s living world content and Secret World’s chapters. Some content that is added on a cycle, say every 3 weeks or so, which reduces repetition and gives players more variety, story, fun things to do, and much of it soloable, if not allowing very small groups.
Similarly, events are important. Whether it’s living world content, a holiday event, dynamic zone events, or something else entirely, they break the monotony of a game’s day-to-day life and give something new to focus on for people who need that. But they should also be entirely optional for those who aren’t so keen. I particularly love seeing Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s, and so on in some kind of ingame form, preferably with their own game lore.
Events should add minigames, fun rewards, cosmetic items, and just generally be a way to bring communities together with the excitement of a new patch.
One trick ponies don’t keep players playing, so every MMO needs to provide different options for different kinds of players. Of course, they should focus on their strengths. World of Warcraft has its’ raiding, Guild Wars 2 has World v. world, Rift has whatever Rift has.. But to really keep players interested, the best MMO has variety. Though I suppose the rest of this post series has said that for me.
Right, so that’s this post finally complete! So please tell me: what would your favourite MMO be? Would you take pieces from various MMOs you’ve enjoyed over the year to combine into a mighty FrankenMMO of perfection or look towards the future? What do you like and don’t you like? What particular features interest you the most or perhaps turn you off? Leave your comments or write your own posts!