While World of Warcraft could easily be considered the most successful subscription based MMO ever made, not everyone thinks that’s a positive thing. One ex-Blizzard developer believes that making the game so accessible, killed the idea of a traditional MMO.
Mark Kern is the man behind this statement and he believes that the problem was making the game so easy for people to pick up and play. While that is an important part of game development, the knee jerk reward system built into the game meant that a lot of the traditionally rewarding activities of an MMO – levelling up, getting new gear – became too regular and weren’t earned properly.
“We laboured over the user interface for [World of Warcraft], going through many iterations, to find one that would be easy and intuitive for players new to the genre,” he said in a blog post on MMORPG.com (via Shacknews). “We created a massive number of quests to lead the player through the world, making sure that they never had to think about what to do next.”
This meant a lot of new players entered the game, but as he puts it: “at what cost?”
“Sometimes I look at WoW and think “what have we done?” he said. “I think I know. I think we killed a genre. … It’s not the end game that we should be worried about, it’s the journey. An MMO should be savoured, a lifetime of experiences contained within a single, beautifully crafted world. The moment to moment gameplay should be its own reward. You should feel like you could live your whole life there.”
Of course there are many players that do feel that deep connection to the game. It’s something that’s heavily parodied in all sorts of media, from stand up routines to The Guild web-series. But perhaps he has a point, is the modern MMO landscape, too easy?
KitGuru Says: What do you guys think? Do you old school Everquest players miss the days of yore where MMOs were harder and less easy to pick up and play?