How not to screw up an MMO.

Hello everyone, and happy holidays. May all your wishes for this year come true and may your days be merry.

Today, I’d like to delve into the mysterious, fantastical world of MMORPGs. MMORPGs, for those who don’t know, are Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. These days, that may conjure an image of WoW raids or perhaps Guild Wars PvP. However, although WoW is dominating the market as of now, many other MMOs have a fair share of the population themselves. Such games may include Guild Wars, Warhammer 40k, or free games such as MapleStory or RuneScape.

For some of these, the only reason that they are not getting mass market share is because of some common issues that don’t make the game as fun as it could be. WoW as of now, maintains a perfect balance of gameplay. However, while other MMOs such as MapleStory are popular, their gameplay and community is absolute garbage. Many MMOs these days share some common problems, and I’ll be discussing some of these common problems.

Balance the classes.

One of the main problems in some MMOs these days is that some classes are WAY overpowered compared to the rest of the population. A textbook example of this is in MapleStory, the assassin has a skill that can be used up until level 70 that does a double hit, with 150% of the damage of your regular attack stat. However, the Gunslinger class does this exact same thing, but only with 80%.

Balancing classes doesn’t mean to take the average attack and make sure it seems reasonable. It means to either give all classes the same overpowered attack, or to give them all the same underpowered one.

Don’t make useless classes.

In some games, there is just one class that is absolutely completely bOrked that there is absolutely no point in using it. In MapleStory, there is a warrior called a Page. All of their attacks are elemental-based. One problem: all boss monsters are elemental-resistant. In a game where there is no PvP and only PvE, this turns out to be an extra-retarded outcome.

There are a couple ways of fixing this problem. One way is to make some boss weak to certain elements. Another way is to make more elemental-based weapons. A third way is to buff the class itself, to do more overall damage. This way, this and other classes would all do similar damage.

Taking that example, if there are any useless classes, you can take a look at the weaknesses of the class and either buff them or balance the gameplay to fit the class more, while still maintaining that delicate balance of other classes as well.

Unless the game is Pay2Play, don’t give paying players too big of an advantage.

Yet again, MapleStory fucked up. With their Nexon Cash system, paying players have such an overpowered advantage over their non-paying friends. In a direct quote from Nexon, “paying players will not have an advantage over those who do not.” Well, I suppose getting fifty times the money and items, and double experience isn’t really an advantage, huh.

Well, it’s too late to fix that. Crap like this just ruins the in-game economy in to worse than a recession, where the paid currency is worth more than the in-game currency. That’s absolutely retarded.

Grinding doesn’t add longevity.

In many MMOs these days, the primary means of leveling up is grinding, or continuously killing until your eyes bleed and your head leaks out of your ears. This is especially true on… you guessed it, Maplestory. The main way of leveling is grinding, closely followed by quests that follow this template:

Kill X monsters, Kill X monsters to get X items, or Kill X monsters to get X items to get the boss, then kill X boss to get X items.

And all you get for your two hours is a shitty item.

How to fix this? Well, take a look at WoW. Do. More. Raids. People like playing with other people. Make more and bigger quests that actually are fun. And seriously, don’t make the final level’s EXP equal to the maximum allowed by programming standards (over 2 billion)!

Include PvP.

One of the biggest mistakes an MMO can make is not including any player versus player combat. The best parts of some games are the PvP content, because it gives an outlet to actually see how good your character is. If there is PvP, players will spend a lot more time getting gear and getting stronger. And of course, a shitty makeup for PvP shouldn’t be a set of minigames based on, yet again, grinding.

Well folks, that’s it for today. Happy Holidays and stay warm.

Have fun,

Panzerschrek

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~ by Panzer on December 23, 2008.

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