Making “HP bars deplete”

I just found this discussion on Reddit about FFXI and the removal of time sinks from a lot of MMO gaming. This quote in particular from user ReducedtoRubble is to the point:

There were things that were timesinks (jboots), and things that built social dynamics. I don’t think they [ed: the devs] knew which would be which and a lot of them happened purely out of chance.

You’re absolutely right that most developers don’t care about the social, non-combat interaction anymore. Everything seems to focus on all the different ways that you can make the enemy HP bar deplete. Timesinks are eliminated because they’re periods of time where you’re not making the enemy HP bard [sic] deplete. We don’t get massive worlds anymore, we get massive battlefields. [emphasis mine]

The thread is talking about a game I barely even played (FFXI), but I can identify with the experiences expressed very well due to my original experiences of World of Warcraft. Catching the boat, or the tram meant something – you saw other players doing the same and for a few moments could sit and chat or just space out and watch the scenery go by. I’ve picked out the one sentence at the end of this quote in bold text; MMO gaming doesn’t have to be quite so slavishly focused on hack and slash.

Maybe some of the new games will at least begin to address the massive battlefields issue, Wildstar will have paths for exploration and building stuff. EQ Next will probably be encouraging exploration to a greater extent as well. Bring the massive worlds back, ok?

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8 Responses to Making “HP bars deplete”

  1. bhagpuss says:

    I find it confusing the current orthodoxy confusing. Everything focuses on DPS and the entire goal is indeed to deplete massive hit bars. Contrarily, filling hitbars, massive or otherwise, aka Healing, is seen as lazy, unnecessary, uninvolving gameplay.

    Why it’s a good thing to make a progress bar change color from right to left and a bad thing to make it change color from left to right is beyond me.

  2. acbarberi says:

    They need to do something different because there are a lot of boring MMOs out there.

    • Telwyn says:

      To be frank I don’t think removing the trinity is necessarily a good thing, at least if we end up with chaotic dodge-spam combat a la GW2. Perhaps EQN will bring something a bit more nuanced.

  3. Swoo says:

    Because MMORPGs a decade ago doubled as a way of meeting strangers but now they are a game where you play with people you know.

    • Telwyn says:

      That worked with smaller communities that were friendly. The larger commercial games today do not seem to manage an even vaguely friendly community. Yes people in GW2 res you, but then they get XP for doing so. It doesn’t mean they’ll actually stop for one second to say hi or chat. There’s some good posts on this on the blogosphere at the moment. I even had a go myself a few days ago with reference to Pathfinder. I think Rohan of Blessing of Kings and Tobold have some good posts on this topic.

  4. I think you’d enjoy Mabinogi if you can get past the simple graphics. Lots of killing there as per the norm but also an abundance of “life” skills. I often stop and listen to people playing music and dance to it. If they need more “voices” for their song I also end up participating… every week there’s even a royal banquet at the castle where you generally just chat to people for one hour (you gain xp the longer you stay inside). It can be a very sociable place. 🙂

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