Can You Estimate Difficulty? Is “MMO” one genre? And more MMO Thought

by on November 1, 2012


It’s been a bumper week or so for Deep Thinking about MMORPGs as a whole and as a genre. So, join me for a look at the latest in heavy-duty consideration of the genre we love – if indeed it is one genre after all…

  • There’s something of a zeitgeist around the idea that MMORPGs aren’t really a single genre any more, and Syncaine runs with that ball in a discussion of whether “virtual life” games like EVE are in any way similar to “short-play” games like Guild Wars 2“And yet, currently, MMO gaming (supposedly) caters to both players; Those with enough time to play MMOs as virtual worlds to be lived in, and those with enough time to just experience a bite of content before logging off. It’s no surprise that games who try to attract both have spectacularly failed overall, while games who aim more towards one or the other can do well.”
  • Zubon writes a really excellent post about all the times that developers have failed to accurately estimate difficulty, and what that means for discussion of MMORPG design“Guild Wars 2 has a pop-up warning when you start the cooking crafting skill, telling you that it is more expensive in terms of time, silver, and karma than the other trade skills. Cooking is the fastest, cheapest, easiest craft to take to 400 skill, notably having the last points available for a few hundred karma worth of peaches where other skills require dozens of drops or even globs of ectoplasm.”
  • And Clockwork looks at the various approaches to economies in MMORPGs, calling for more MMOs that lean toward “realistic” and even primitive economic systems“Perhaps making me a bit of an island in the MMO market, I’d like to see an MMO that eschews the auction house model. I would like to see a market that is a little more towards the “realistic” side in a game. I’d like to see a fantasy MMO where the crafting/economy are connected.”

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