Can one MMO suit all playstyles these days?

This is a tough question, but it’s one I’m faced with at the moment. I commented on a Bio Break post on juggling multiple MMOs. I answered that I have three categories of games at present:

1) ‘Guild game’ – the one I’m most invested in and spend a lot of time playing (SWTOR)

2) ‘Static game’ – one that I play exclusively with friends from real life, we only play the characters in this game as a group when we can schedule it (DDO or Vanguard)

3) ‘Solo game’ – my solo game that I enjoy playing as a break from #1 above or just because I want to try something new (LoTRO mainly atm)

A key issue with both 1 and 2 is that I mainly play those games to group with friends and guildies. So they have to provide good fun and varied group content, too much solo-orientation is bad, so WoW lost #1 and #2 slot when leveling became so easy as to make grouping detrimental to the experience.

But I can only include games in #3 if I can effectively solo since I like a game I can play for myself. I still chose to play MMOs instead of console RPGs as I like the crafting/auction house interactions and to see players randomly around the landscape.

It seems impossible at present to find one game that fits all these categories perfectly. SWTOR could have been it but my RL friends didn’t like the game enough to stick to it. I thought Vanguard might at least fill #2 and #3 but solo play is painful on all but one class it seems and I’m just feeling that group play is so much more fun than solo that it simply can’t be ‘that’ game (my static group friend feels the same, it just is missing something and he feels no motivation to solo in it either).

It’s hard to imagine that for 2.5+ years WoW was the only game I played, it fulfilled all these roles amicably. Perhaps it is partly my own ‘wanderlust’ that makes me want to see different game-worlds rather than settle in one full-time. I think the grindy nature of all MMOs also encourages me to mix-it-up a bit by playing different games in parallel.

There was a time when I thought Guild Wars 2 would be the game to replace all the others in my affections, but now I’m not so sure. It’ll probably be my #2 game, but I doubt the majority of my SWTOR guild mates will defect in which case I may well stay subscribed to be able to play with them. Perhaps it will be a good game to solo as well, at least if the crafting is good enough.

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4 Responses to Can one MMO suit all playstyles these days?

  1. Rob says:

    May not fit the convention solo “MMO” but I really like playing Kingdoms of Amalur. It is very MMO-like and I can go at my own pace.

  2. pkudude99 says:

    What you describe was filled by EQ2 for me for a very long time. I had several IRL friends who played, so we’d group up a lot and were often all in a single guild, and it’s easily soloable, while still having plenty of grouping opportunities if you so choose. Heck, there’s so much content that the last character that I made I shot up to level 10 in a newbie zone then set my AA slider to 90% and took my time popping around to various zones as I leveled up. Even with effectively turning off 90% of my xp I’d still outlevel zones before I could finish them all. And then there’s so much non-combat stuff one can do also… Yeah, I know, I sound like a total fanboi, and yet it still did stop “clicking” with me at some point so I haven’t played it in nearly a year and a half now. I did resub last November thinking I’d buy the latest expansion and get back into it, but I only logged in a couple of times that month, never bought the expansion, and even though it’s gone F2P since then I still haven’t bothered to log in, so. . . . yeah, I loved it, but I’ve moved on, I guess.

  3. Ahtchu says:

    I think you pose a great question, and I think the answer is also equally obvious but overlooked.
    An MMORPG, but its nature, NEEDS to suit all playstyles. The problem in the MMORPG space is that these games are too fractured in their design approach, resulting in a game that is too little of anything, or a game that has 1 ‘amazing’ feature that doesn’t amount to anything but ‘this month’s fun’. When games were built with a basic premise and foundation, and were created to ‘draw in’ the playerbase across various forms of gameplay, that’s when the genre thrived.

  4. Telwyn says:

    @Rob
    Amalur certainly feels a bit like an MMO when you play it, but although I enjoy it I miss the potential interaction with other players. I’m just not that fussed with console or single player PC games anymore.

    @pkudude
    EQ2 is a great game, but I’m so sour with SoE over the Alaplaya deal that I’m steering clear of it. I was literally on the verge of finding a guild and subbing the All Access (to get EQ2 + Vanguard) when I found out about that mess :-/
    It certainly has the breadth of content to be a ‘one game fits all’ though.

    @Atchu
    I think that’s one of the reasons WoW was so successful at first – it did appeal to a very wide variety of players. The current batch of MMOs have glaring shortcuts or missing features as you say. There just isn’t one game that ticks all my boxes at the moment so I play multiple games and am happy enough with that – thankfully I’m not so progress-oriented that my slow progress bothers me.

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