Less time doesn’t mean I feed on burgers

I’m having a jolly good time reading some of the MMO veteran rants currently out there. It’s a topic that comes back in waves and is always simmering in the background, for those of similar conviction anyway. Epic Ben is on a delightful roll, pointing out one important misconception that is particularly infuriating –

“It’s not about my TIME. It’s about my desire to SUCCEED”

He’s spot on there. Yes, the future MMO audience will be made out of the oldschool generation with maybe less playtime and the younger crowd of generation twitter. The genre will face a more mixed audience like that and handle it one way or another (pick me, pick me!). Then, there’s also been the point about transient and extended players lately which categorizes MMO players in a general sense.

Both notions are true – yet, in combination not so much. I have a feeling that correlation is being mistaken for causality here and there.

There is an age gap and time available can influence gametime, but not necessarily playstyle. The older players with less time are still often veterans who want the requirements and restrictions – the punishments and “timesinks“. In contrast, it’s often younger players or genre newcomers who won’t deal with restrictions and frustrations, gravitating towards faster gratification in a themepark MMO full of baby rides and cheap roller coasters. But younger players have more time in general and therefore better options to play extended, in theory.

So, time does not affect our gameplay wishes and motivations in the same way – there are different answers to that problem. I have less time now, but still love “oldschool“; I don’t wanna play MMOs catering only to a transient crowd . I’m not transient. I will still play MMOs like an extended player in the future – or at least I hope they will let me. So, in case any of you important dev people out there are listening, let’s make sure once and for all:

I’m COOL with missing out compared to teens with 20+ hours gametime a week, knock yourselves out (I did too)! I’m COOL with advancing slower, I’m COOL with getting lesser or later rewards! Yeah, my life gets busier, but PLEASE don’t take my age as an indication! PLEASE don’t let me have everything the easy way! PLEASE don’t remove more and more roleplay and sim aspects from your games to optimize my time for me. I don’t want that!

I WILL cope! I am not a whiny old wreck. And I still don’t want to eat fast food, I will always cook my own dish over a small fire. Less time available doesn’t make the transient player. Just like more rewards don’t equal bigger accomplishment felt. Free rides, they don’t fool me.

9 comments

  1. I think of myself as “oldschool” as well but I wonder how far back I really want to go. For instance, would any of us still enjoy:

    Use the red box.
    – How do you want to use the red box?
    Open the red box.
    – You are unable to open the red box.
    Look at the red box.
    – You see a red box.
    Drop the red box.
    – You drop the red box.
    Pick up the red box.
    – You have 1 red box.
    F*** the red box
    – You don’t know how to do that.

  2. Hehe, I’m sure noboody wants all of it back.
    I just don’t think anyone should confuse players with less time, with players who ask games to become more and more easier in every possible way. they’re can be the same person, but they don’t have to be. I’d rather have less of the good times than more bad times and ‘off limits’ should be part of all MMOs anyway.

  3. haha I loved Epic Bens “WHY DON’T THEY JUST GLUE ALL THE PIECES TOGETHER SO YOU CAN TAKE THE DAMN THING OUT OF THE BOX AND JUST LOOK AT THE PRETTY PICTURE?” Game nerfs in a nutshell :D

  4. Hah, thanks Syl! I can’t help but feel depressed about the whole state of affairs, though, because I think Chris from GameByNight is right. MMO developers have moved on past the types of games that I like to play. It’s not because everyone has less time; it’s because people suck, and game companies make stuff that stupid people like to buy. It’s why McDonald’s exists, as you say.

    Ugh.

  5. Hehe, you are very welcome. And I just refuse to think this is the end of the story – you can see that more and more people are starting to ask for different and more from MMOs. there’s a reason why WoW lost so many subscribers since Cataclysm. sure, maybe this trend will continue for a while, but you know how fast novelty wears off; no matter what state we are in, at some point the audience is fed up and wants something new. which means, once we have reached the peak of themepark MMOs, everyone will consider oldschool the new next gen. our entire culture works in waves like that – the style of the 60ies will return (see how fashion works). if not…we can still consider mail bombs. ;)

  6. Some of the change has been dumbing down to lower the initial barrier to entry but i feel a lot of it is the over-simplistic division into hardcore and casual. I do think it’s an accurate distinction but it misses one element. What if a player wants to be hardcore but doesn’t have the time? I think these “casual hardcores” are driving game design more than actual casuals – who rarely visit forums anyway.

    Casuals generally don’t want to race to max level or worry too much about having the best gear i.e. easier raiding, so i think a lot of the changes have been driven by game devs thinking casual hardcores wanting faster levelling and faster access to the best gear in the game represent casuals.

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