Top Five Reasons Why The MMORPG Player Base is Depleting

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I would have to say that every year, MMORPG players are normally excited to see that there are two to four new MMOs to try out. As soon as these games get released in open beta, everybody jumps onto the server, maxes out a character's level and then just stops! Which means playerbases are declining.

But why is that? What is the point of doing something like that? Why aren't people continuing to play the games or creating extra characters? Is it something to do with the state of modern MMOs? Let's find out the top five reasons as to why the MMORPG player base is depleting. 

1. Constant Grinding of Enemies

Yeah, you already know what I am talking about. To be honest, this reason doesn't even need a description. But in case you are not an MMORPG player, let me explain.

In an MMO game, players travel around the world and they receive quests to help level up a character, which usually require that they kill a certain amount of specific type of enemy. At the beginning of an MMO, a player's goal may be to kill five enemies. But near the end of the game, a player's goal would be to kill seventeen of the same enemy. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? 

Boring!

2. There's no Skill Involved

Have you ever played Mortal Kombat before? Sure you have. Have you ever stayed in the practice arena to learn player's combos? Sure you have. Were you satisfied to play versus other people after learning combos? Right on!

Well, in just about every MMO in the last four to five years, excluding Blade and Soul, players only have to know how to press the number keys on the keyboard to use a skill. And in order to combo, you just need to read what number key on the keyboard comes next! It is probably the most annoying thing in the world, because it requires no thought on how to combo a character. It's just too easy. 

3. Every Quest is Provided With a Location on a Map

Just wow! What is the point of an MMORPG when every quest location is just handed to you? In this current generation of games, there is no real exploration. The fact that your map tells you where the quest is located means that you don't even have to read the story line. All players have to do is skip every story, see what enemies have to die, and then look at the map to find them.

Again, it is way too easy and there is no challenge there. But if that is something you really enjoy, great!

4. There Are No Random Dungeons to Explore Anymore

What is the point of exploring in an open world game anymore? To be honest, there isn't. If you find a dungeon in a current MMO without a quest, then there is something you have done wrong.

Every dungeon nowadays has some sort of quest involved where you have to kill a main boss, kill a certain amount of enemies, or pick up some random item. Again -- what is the point of going out and exploring a map to find rare places to fight in? There isn't. This alone defeats the purpose of an open world MMORPG. 

5. Quests Are Always The Same

This reason is probably one of my biggest pet peeves in every MMORPG! Remember how I said in the first slide that pretty much every MMO starts with a quest to grind through enemy kills? Yeah, that doesn't really change as you progress.

I have played about five different MMOs this past year and every game has the same kind of quests -- kill 17 enemies, collect 10 of these drops, go find this person and get a quest from them, go kill this boss and bring me back there item. Yeah! That is so exciting.

Will there ever be a game where the quests are not like that? Probably not. And do you know why? Well, after taking many video game courses in college, I learned that gamers are now focused more on the graphics of the game and not what the game actually offers. So overall, game developers can make the most easy game in the world, which they are, and people will go nuts if it has amazing graphics.

Things need to change. MMORPG players need a change before it is too late! What is your biggest issue with MMOs? Do I have any of them listed here? If so, which ones?

Published Apr. 27th 2016
  • !Xabbu
    Errr, wish you had shown some numbers to back up that the player base is depleting. I'm not really sure that it is.

    "As soon as these games get released in open beta, everybody jumps onto the server, maxes out a character's level and then just stops! Which means playerbases are declining."

    This just indicates that playerbases are becoming more dispersed among a larger number of MMO offerings.

    The grinding of enemies? Well, yeah there are too many of these quests, but they aren't exclusive to the MMO genre. In fact, the slide you use to illustrate this point is from a single player game which was chock full of 'grindy' quests.

    As far as no skill involved, I'll have to respectfully disagree. The skill floor is low, indeed. This is to avoid alienating a revenue stream. The skill ceiling however, is a different matter. Consider driving: there's hardly any skill involved! I just get in the car, step on the gas and steer the car where I want to go. BOOM! I'm at the grocery store to pick up the gallon of milk and loaf of bread for my collection quest. Wait, the next quest wants me to win a Formula 1 championship?! There is a vast difference between an average MMO player and a highly skilled one, just as that difference exists between players of Mortal Kombat.

    I agree that the map/quest system discourages reading the storyline and trivializes the narrative content, but as you point out later on:

    "Well, after taking many video game courses in college, I learned that gamers are now focused more on the graphics of the game and not what the game actually offers."

    I'm guessing that this is a symptom of the players demands, and again not wanting to alienate a revenue stream. Also, if this is something that a player cares about, every single MMO I have played has an option to turn quest tracking off. In fact, you can turn off just about every hold-your-hand feature in most of them. If you lament the map/quest system, try turning off your mini-map altogether and start reading your quests. Not only is it a different experience, it'll help solve your next 2 complaints about the no random dungeons and quests being always the same.

    MMOs need a large player base to operate. They have to cater to a wide variety of people with a wide variety of tastes. Some of those folks like easy mode with a minimum of thinking, and others like tough-as-nails fully immersive hardcore gaming. I think that the beauty of MMOs is that they can be played in a variety of ways by a variety of personalities who want to get different things out of their game time.
  • GabrielKross
    Featured Columnist
    I'm just gonna throw the BS flag on your whole slide show.

    First, name 1 MMO ever that wasn't a grind, grind is a thing in games because that is what it has always been, nobody wants to actually be instant cap. Those that race do it for the chance at being first as many games have adopted server first achievements. Even single player RPGs are grinds, take a look at all the biggest names in RPG Final Fantasy, Zelda, Diablo(technically counts), Tales of (insert any of the Tales games), and so on and so forth. If you actually want to beat these games you have to grind your levels, equipment, and even your currencies. So blaming the decline of player base on grind which has always existed is complete and utter nonsense.

    Skill: You say only one game is exempt from your "no skill" claim, yet I can name two others just off the top of my head, and that's just me spit balling a bit. Both Skyforge and Black Desert require multiple button combos to really master the game, in the same style as Blade and Soul. Even in other games that you classify as "just pressing number keys" require a full understanding of what each button does, timing, recast, vulnerabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. So while it's not input intensive it is still skill based unless you think every individual can easily memorize all of that and utilize it properly in every fight.

    Quests: You complain about quests being shown on the maps and the fact that every quest is the same, yet you miss out on the immersion of the quests by reading/listening to the quest dialogue. Every quest has a unique spin by way of the individual dialogue, maybe try actually paying attention to what the NPCs are saying. As for the map complaint, that is more of a deterrent to players using third party programs to assist them as most companies don't like when players use them.

    So basically what your slide show says is you're just not a fan of MMOs because you're missing the basic point of MMOs. They are designed to feel like regular RPGs with the added benefit of playing with people from all over the world. No one complains when they beat Final Fantasy games and have nothing left to do, they either start over or move on to another game, why should MMOs be treated any different?
  • | Narz |
    Contributor
    I cannot grind like I use to. So paying $20 a month to play a game I barely have time to do any end gaming is pointless. Plus there are so many games competing for attention that it makes hard to decide to play an MMORPG I'll spend two weeks to cap in level when I can play so may other games with far less time requirements.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    And this is why I play on private Vanilla WoW servers.

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