MMORPGs are home to a pretty diverse bunch of players if you think about it. I was reading Syp’s article on Bio Break about Fallout 76 and the description of the game has nothing that really appeals to me – I’m no big fan of the franchise (heresy I know) so the game would have to be pretty special to attract me away from the big world, explorer friendly MMORPGs that I already have (e.g. Lord of the Rings Online, Black Desert Online).
If anything the game sounds like it’s being aimed at fans of survival sandboxes, like Conan Exiles or H1Z1, or maybe even battle royale players (e.g. Fortnite). Not games that I’ve ever even tried so that might explain why Fallout 76 doesn’t excite me. In any case, it just speaks to me about this genre in its wider sense is a very, very broad genre indeed. Even if we stick to a stricter definition of MMORPGs; games like World of Warcraft, Tera, Wakfu and Eve Online have little in common really.
Within games there are equally diverse sub-groups of players – in my WoW guild there are ardent raiders, fierce PVPers, dungeon-runners, and questers. Not everyone does all of those activities, nor do they fit to only one single group all the time. I mostly do questing/levelling, world quests (when unlocked and the rewards are good enough) and dungeons (when enough friends are online).
In Lord of the Rings Online, a game that shares a lot of features and activities with WoW, I conversely spend just over half of my time on questing/levelling and a bit less on crafting and gathering – public quest style activities aren’t as relevant and I very rarely run dungeons at all. In Rift when I’m playing actively I mix questing/levelling equally with crafting/gathering and public quests/events. I could go through other MMOs in the same way, but to avoid needless repetition it is enough to say that my approach to every MMO is somewhat different.
Within the spectrum of activities that I enjoy there are limits, anything involving PVP (especially unsolicited PVP) is a no-no. So Fallout 76 looks so far to be a non-starter for that reason alone. The de-emphasis of clear structured PVE content, if turns out to be the reality, would also make it less attractive to me, personally. So my approach to the genre may be somewhat varied, but it’s all within certain bounds.
I imagine I’m not alone in this variability in preferences among fans of the genre, this must make it rather difficult for developers to market their games to such an amorphous audience.