Apr 24th 2007 1:17PM I'm writing this before I read any other comments, because this is something I feel strongly about. Player housing ads longevity to the game. It gives your toon a home, a place for people to visit, a place for you to decorate with world items and loot. It can allow crafters to create a storefront for their wares.
I've said this before on this blog; the Auction House is the main reason WoW is not a very social game, and is also the reason people are constantly rolling new alts to stay interested. One of the reasons the completely broken Star Wars Galaxies game still has a small community is because there is no other game out there that fosters longevity as far as people having homes, opening shops, museums, etc. It fosters a whole new layer of player created content for the game, and allows real relationships to be developed.
In SWG, I had a handful of crafters that I really liked, and often visited. Even though we didn't really hang out in combat situations while gaming, we had a friendly relationship through commerce. I also put agreements in place to sell these crafters things like meat and hides, and they would even contract me out to gather specific things. It was a lot of fun and went a long way to make the game a much more rich experience. Visiting player made towns, bars, museums, and everything else you can imagine was also a lot of fun. Even though the game is shot, SOE is continuing in this direction by putting a system in for player made quests/rewards, which is a fantastic idea and one that could make wow even more fun.
Since hitting level 70 in WoW, I really haven't logged on to the game much. When I do I just get bored and end up logging soon after. In other games in the past I was happy to hang out because of the many relationships I created. WoW seems to set you up only to make friends in your guild, which can get old.
Crafting needs to be revamped as well. It's just about as boring and useless as it can possibly be. SWG seemed to have about 50% of the population in some sort of crafting profession (there were tons of them), and people really enjoyed it. That's because it was challenging and a very in-depth experience compared to the yawn inspiring crafting in games like WoW.
I know this sounds like a commercial for SWG, but I don't even play it anymore. What I'm talking about are the elements in that game which were ahead of their time, but really created a rich community with it's own culture. SOE removed most of these elements to be more like WoW, and ended up losing their player base because of it.
Apr 23rd 2007 1:54PM For me, it was about being able to solo. As a casual player, I cannot rely on groups for my gameplay. I chose hunter because I didn't need anyone 99% of the time. I made it to 70 mostly on my own.
Apr 5th 2007 11:47AM I have to say; I hit 70 on my one and only toon and almost immediately started wondering why I was still playing the game. Haven't been back much since.
Mar 26th 2007 5:31PM Hehe.. I just had this conversation with a guildie the other night. Someone found a chest in the base game and I was in Outlands, close to dinging 70, wondering why I haven't seen a chest in ages...
Mar 26th 2007 11:48AM I think there are multiple reasons for this, and WoW is one of them. How many of you decided not to buy a bunch of games in the last year because you are playing WoW? I probably saved $400 in PC game purchases in the past year, although there aren't really any decent new FPS's to care about. Crappy new releases and WoW have caused me to take a long break from the FPS scene.
I've been in the FPS scene for a loooong time. I was playing Quake 1 CTF on my 33.6 modem back in the day. There are no good FPS out right now, IMO. The stuff that is out is old and boring. Quake 4 was DOA. We haven't seen a good Unreal Tournament in a while. They ripped the heart and soul out of Tribes with the "Vengeance" version. Also, take into account that there are TONS of crappy FPS games out there, and so the players are spread out more.
Finally, I think increasing internet speeds at home have been a huge contributer to the death of LAN parties. One of the big reasons people did this was to get off their dialup modem, and go game with other Low Ping Bastards on a Lan. Sure, the social part of them are fun, but without the initial motivation of wanting to game on a nice low latency connection, many people will just stay at home.
There are some hopeful FPS games coming out this year. I'm personally hoping Quake Wars kicks arse, but I'm keeping an eye on a couple others as well. WoW came at a great time, which has contributed to it's success. Can anyone think of another notable title that has launched in the past 2-3 years?
Mar 23rd 2007 6:43PM
I don't think there is an excuse for begging at all, and they go right on my ignore list if them message me. I loan money to guildies when they are in a bind, and I give money to noobs when I run them through instances if they don't ask, because they show the will to earn it. The beggars are probably making as much or more than an active player by doing nothing. They may be farming it too.
Mar 19th 2007 12:24PM I play MMOs for the interaction with other people. Having come from Star Wars Galaxies (before SOE destroyed it) I can agree completely with the lack of community in WoW. The reason is simple. The gameplay does nothing to create a community. The auction house, while being speedy and convenient, eliminates most of the reason people in this game would interact and build relationships.
As an example, in SWG, there was player housing. I won't get into details on the crafting system, but it was 1000 times more complex (and fun) than the one in WoW, and allowed players to build basic stuff, or find the best resource spawns in the game and build exceptional items. Players had the ability to put their own vendors in their player housing or use their house(s) as shops to sell their goods. I would say half the players on my server were in to some form of crafting, and played very little combat if any. Hell, crafting items was like a mini-game the way it worked, and allowed for 'experimentation' which may yield a special item or a disaster.
Without the direct interaction of crafters and buyers, there is no other way to build relationships. In SWG, thanks to player housing and player vendors, an extremely dynamic community was created because people had to interact to buy things. Even if you didn't want to run in groups, or join a guild, you still had to buy weapons, armor, food, meds, pets, buffs and stuff from other players. I had a large group of top quality crafters that I kept in almost constant contact with for my needs. I made friends that way, met and recommended people use my favorite shops, etc.
Crafters would send out emails to customers letting them know when new/special items were in stock or on sale. They would also contract out people like me to gather specific resources for them. I set one of my toons up to be a hunter/ranger that I used specifically to make money doing contract hunting/gathering for people, and had a lot of fun doing it. (Rangers Lead the Way.)
People used the game forums over at the SWG website to advertise their goods and give you coords to their vendors. Some people even kept track of where all the resources were in the world, and what the current stats were on them. I would advertise my contract hunting there as well.
This really is just a small example. If I had time, I could write up what the whole system was, but anyone who played SWG pre-NGE will agree with me that it was the crafting system combined with player housing/vendors that built the community in that game and made it special to all the people who played it. When SOE tried to dumb the whole game down in an attempt to be more WoW-like, they removed most of these elements. The game has been dying ever since. SWG's game was no where near as solid as WoW, but the depth of the crafting system (pre-NGE) made it much more fun and dynamic
I should mention the entertainer profession in SWG as well. In SWG there were taverns you could go to and watch/listen to entertainers for various reasons. Entertainers could heal your wounds, and give you buffs through their music/dancing and people would pay for it. This took a little time, so people would always hang out in the bars chatting it up while getting healed/buffed. Again, you would meet cool people in certain bars, and so you would go back to that bar eventually becoming a 'regular'. I met tons of entertainer friends and met other good people while hanging out in this social environment.
WoW to me feels a lot like Guild Wars. In Guild Wars everything is instanced, so you usually jump in some PUG and do your quests. When you are done in that area, the PUG breaks up, and those people are gone. Guilds were the only form of socializing, much like WoW, and the experience is less than satisfying. It was the reason I left Guild Wars. Why the hell play an MMO that feels like an offline RPG 99% of the time?
I've been playing WoW for a year now. I'm a casual player and about to hit 70 on my main. I won't be sticking around much longer because the only motivation to do so would be leveling more toons. I have no attachment to my toon, or most of the other players, let alone the game like I did in SWG. If there was a great sence of community and friendship in WoW, I think I would stick around much longer. I played SWG for 3 years because I knew and enjoyed a HUGE number of people on my server. In WoW, I know a handful of people in my large guild, and that's about it. Everyone else is just background noise or eyecandy. Other than the occasional PUG or random quest group, I don't talk to many people at all. Blizzard has chosen to downplay community in WoW, and people are starting to notice.
The answer to how to keep people subscribing after the content loses it's sparkle is 'community'. SWG's content never had a lot sparkle, and relied heavily on just being Star Wars to draw people in. What kept them there was friendship.
Mar 16th 2007 6:34PM Yeah, well this hardly addresses the fact that people are cruising through Burning Crusade in a very short amount of time because it's to easy. I'm guessing most of the 7-8 million players are casual, so once they hid 70 and get bored and fed up trying to get involved with end game, they will start moving on. I've already lost a bunch of friends who are tired of the lack of depth and social features. I plan to bail as soon as I hit 70 and it feels even the slightest bit boring. I'm at 67 now, so I give myself about a month, maybe 2.
Mar 16th 2007 5:58PM I forgot to mention....One of the coolest pet features in SWG was "patrol" You could set up a path for your pet to patrol around your camp, harvester or whatever else. It was neat. Right up there with being able t have your pet follow and defend other players. That feature was great for leveling nubs.
Mar 16th 2007 5:52PM I really enjoyed the Creature Handler profession that Star Wars Galaxies use to have. Creature handlers trained their pets with voice commands of their choice to control them. "Kill", "Come", (follow me) "Stay", "defend" (follow/defend targeted player), etc were my commands of choice, but you could make them whatever you wanted.
You also had the ability to have multiple lower level pets (up to 3 in the early days) instead of a single high level pet. You could make them all follow you in certain formations such as a wedge. It was damn cool having a pack of pets following you and attacking targets. You could even train each one with different voice commands if you so desired. Made crowd control more fun.
Anyway, I think like most features in this game, Hunter pet abilities are simplified and boring. In SWG you felt a much bigger attachment to your pets than you do in WoW. Pets had a durability of sorts and if they died too many times, they were gone for good. In WoW they just feel like another weapon. "Click here to attack." Yawn. I really believe it was the voice commands that made you feel really connected to your pet. WoW has more 'specials' than SWG did, but it still isn't as fun to play.
Oh, and Creature Handlers in SWG could catch and train pets and mounts for other players. We could hold several animals and there was a neat market for selling them.
Too bad SOE dumbed SWG down and destroyed it in a futile attempt to be more like WoW. Morons killed their own game.