Fun Should Be It’s Own Reward

…MMO players, as a whole, do not do activities for fun’s sake if a better reward for equal effort lies elsewhere. – Justin “Syp” Olivetti, Massively

So true and yet so sad. Personally, given a choice between two activities, I’ll take the one that’s more fun regardless of any in-game reward. I understand the min/maxing achiever mentality about as much as I do morning people. *shudder*

24 Comments

  1. SlurmsNo Gravatar says:

    (note: I didn’t click through to read the entire post, so I hope I’m not missing context)

    That comment almost makes no sense to me. In a mechanical sense*, the fun IS getting the better reward for most people. That may not be him or you or some subset of MMO players, but these games are built around the idea that people have fun seeking the better reward regardless of the activity. Sure, people will often find the easiest route (which I agree isn’t the best idea for fulfillment, but it’s what humans do), but will also spend hours planning a raid to have a fraction of a chance to get a rare reward.

    What I will agree with is that MMO’s just aren’t that “fun” anymore. There’s hardly anything new or interesting happening in MMO’s save a few examples like STO, EVE, and maybe some other less advertised titles that I’m unaware of.

    *I wanted to note that the most “fun” I have playing an MMO is when I’m doing anything with friends. I enjoy the social aspects more than I do the mechanics, but the quote seemed to be aimed at the act of loot progression.

  2. Chris KNo Gravatar says:

    the fun IS getting the better reward for most people along with What I will agree with is that MMO’s just aren’t that “fun” anymore sums up why most mmo players are burning out at the moment.

    MMOs aren’t fun for you anymore, because eventually you reach the end of the reward pyramid. Instead of people going after “max rewards for min time”, why not just enjoy the ride for what it is, content meant to entertain.

    People claim they want “new and interesting content” and “fun stuff to do”, but try and remove the rewards from said content and very few people will touch them. Also, I keep hearing that “people go for the path of least resistance” from mmo players/bloggers. Doesn’t the phrase itself (resistance) imply that you struggle in a way? Should I be struggling in a game?

  3. SlurmsNo Gravatar says:

    “why not just enjoy the ride for what it is, content meant to entertain”

    Because in most MMO’s, it’s honestly not that entertaining. Given other games that I can play by myself that are wildly cinematic and more mind-bending, there’s little reason for me to play an MMO other than for the reasons I do currently: social experience, feeling as a part of a world, item/character progression. So to me, for anyone to not understand why people don’t have fun with MMO’s for fun’s sake, doesn’t have a problem with the content (which is great!) but they are probably of a minority.

    “People claim they want “new and interesting content” and “fun stuff to do”, but try and remove the rewards from said content and very few people will touch them”

    Exactly. People don’t want “fun stuff to do,” they want “fun stuff to do that gets them cool stuff.”

    =D

  4. Chris K.No Gravatar says:

    I don’t think gear progression is all that important. We make it seem important, because that’s the only think most MMO players know by know.

    Just take a look at Guild Wars. Level cap at 20, you can get max armors and weapons very very easily and everything beyond that is pure vanity.
    It’s going strong for 6+ years. I myself played it for around 3 years and had a blast. The reason? The campaigns were awesome. No gear rewards from questing,
    no stat progression, nothing, while completing the story. People played (and still play) strictly for the content itself.

    People don’t want “fun stuff to do,” they want “fun stuff to do that gets them cool stuff.”

    We’re at the point that people don’t really care if they do “fun stuff”, as long as they get “cool stuff” for their time.

    I hope you don’t mind, Brian, for linking another blog post, but http://raging-monkeys.blogspot.com/2011/07/good-is-good-enough-or-case-for.html pretty much sums it up for me.

    • SlurmsNo Gravatar says:

      I guess I’m not being as blunt as I need to. I totally agree with you. People play Guild Wars, STO, LOTRO, and the like for content, but those people (myself included) are not the same people Syp attacked in that quote. There are people who genuinely enjoy the content in “some” MMO’s, but, and especially exampled in the case of the article you linked, most MMO players are after the progression.

      Syl saw that he was passed his time of going after progression, just as most of us who have aged through that period have. But the vast majority of people who pay the subs to keep these games going are more likely to play Farmville on the side than something more challenging.

      People enjoy MMO’s for various reasons. We shouldn’t assume that someone is enjoying it incorrectly.

      • Chris K.No Gravatar says:

        Oh, the comments weren’t aimed at you, I may have been quoting you but your comments really point out how the genre has evolved.
        I’m just pointing out that people burn out on MMOs simply due to a gear treadmill that simply isn’t needed.

        It’s the easy way out for the developers, and to be honest, we (the players) are cheering on as they do it. I mean, as long as people are willing to rush to an ‘endgame’ to grind out pve-pvp ‘tiers’, the trend will continue. On most recent MMO launches, the one question that always seems to pop up is “but does it have raiding?” .

        If Rift stuck to mostly non-instanced content out in the open, then it might have been that breath of fresh air that the genre needed. Instead, they went completely the other way and during the first 3 major updates, they launched 2 new raids. Bah….

        • SlurmsNo Gravatar says:

          “Oh, the comments weren’t aimed at you”

          OH! lol

          “If Rift stuck to mostly non-instanced content out in the open, then it might have been that breath of fresh air that the genre needed. Instead, they went completely the other way and during the first 3 major updates, they launched 2 new raids.”

          Yeah, it’s dissapointing. I do still enjoy Rift for its world. I don’t think the content itself is much to talk on, but I just love the craftsmanship.

        • BrianNo Gravatar says:

          I agree that players (in general) are largely the problem.

          These games are so high budget now that developers aren’t and/or can’t take big risks. Even the small risks that some developers have taken like Cryptic’s attempt to move away from the trinity with Champions Online, have just server to confuse players. There were lots of people in that game at launch trying to figure out how to make a healing build, rather than realizing that everyone could build a self-sufficient hero and there really was no need for a dedicated healer. Of course Cryptic reacted to this and added a healing power set a few months after launch, and then when F2P launched they introduced actual archetypes that matched up with trinity classes.

          Rift has had a little better success with allowing people to make familiar builds but have the flexibility of roles to make it more familiar to players.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      Have to agree with Chris, never underestimate the ability or inclination for some players to optimize the fun out of the game.

  5. BrianNo Gravatar says:

    While to a certain extent it comes down to “different strokes for different folks,” I personally don’t get the allure in gear progression or chasing achievements. To a small extent both of those can provide a framework for me to set my own goals, for instance the cairn achievements in Rift gave some structure to my natural inclination to explore, but they’re never been goals in an of themselves.

    I may be the odd man out in MMOs now, at least in the post-WoW era, since I don’t play for any sense of accomplishment. I play to experience content and stories. I read quest text (mostly). I like to immerse myself as much as possible in whichever virtual world I’m playing in, and part of the fun is imagining things to fill in any gaps in the world around me. It’s all about the journey to level cap and not what I’m going to do when I hit the level cap (which usually is play a different game).

    • SlurmsNo Gravatar says:

      I’m not an achievement chaser either; I don’t get the allure of it, but I understand that some people want that point system akin to what we had in our younger years with more simpler games. Ooh look! I’m being patted on the back for finding all these widgets! I can’t get into that sort of thing, but if that’s FUN to you, hey knock your socks off.

      My whole problem with the quote is that it would be like me saying, “Oh man, you enjoy your burger without CHEESE?!? I can’t believe these cheeseless burger eaters!”

      It’s exactly this: “different strokes for different folks”

      I want my MMO to be a melting pot. The more ideas that people have for ways to enjoy a game the better. I may find I like another aspect that I never thought about before. ;D

  6. YeeboNo Gravatar says:

    I definitely am in these games to play them. I’ll take reasonable steps to upgrade my gear, but long grinds of any sort are not on my list of options. That’s why I can’t stand raiding, you are being bribed to run something long after it’s still fun in the hopes of a gear upgrade. It’s nothing but a baldfaced dev stall tactic to keep hardcore players occupied until they can come out with more content.

    My one exception is long crafting grinds. I can generally do those on my schedule and when I’m inclined to, not on the schedule of 39 on my closest buddies.

  7. TeshNo Gravatar says:

    Not much to say here except I’m of the same mind as you, BK. I understand the min/maxing mentality fairly well, I think, but it holds no appeal for me.

  8. […] on a blog post by Blue Kae and the comments that ensued, we want to know; Would you play an MMO if there were no rewards? and furthermore; what is […]

  9. I pretty much believe what Chris said above in that MMO players say they want fun and interesting content and then quickly work at optimizing the fun out the content itself often grinding it like a job. The other thing is people just being people let alone some those people are gamers as well its human to often choose the path of least resistance in a game or process often no matter how fun it may have being designed to be. Given enough time no matter how fun it was intended to be, many will just circumvent the process in path of least resistance to the reward goal.

    Having said that as a gamer myself i’m often less driven by the reward or accomplishment of whatever and more about having fun doing whatever i’m doing. The reward to me is just the icing on the cake at the end of having all the fun. But what’s fun for few isn’t always fun as well for others. Some people just want the reward and care less about having fun or just achievement junkies.

    I stopped enjoying WoW when everything became achievement driven. It was a really good tank but it made it less fun when every time i zoned into a dungeon people expected the dungeon to be done 5 minutes ago. So much so people just had terrible attitudes in the game or dungeon if you wasn’t moving at their intended speed. It became less fun when all some players in group cared more about killing the final boss in a dungeon and not even care that maybe 2 other people in the group has never even killed or seen any the bosses in the dungeon before while attempting to hurry the tank to just skip to the end and throwing a hissy fit over it all.

    A game can be made fun but they will often be a group of players that attempt to suck the fun out of the game or optimize it out of the game while taking the path of least resistance and at the end of it claim they are bored due to lack of content or not enough of it to have fun. Which some often play just to optimize the fun out of or make it like a job.

    I certainly know min/maxing as well yet even with that in mind i usually play to have fun or with the group i’m with.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      That’s pretty much what killed WoW for me as well. Sometime around when Burning Crusade came out I realized that the game was focused primarily on the end-game raids and that the leveling part of the game was just a speed bump to get through as quickly as possible. Sucked all of the fun out of the experience for me.

  10. WininNo Gravatar says:

    I always like challenging fights. That is the core fun for me. The kind of fights that require a small, coordinated team. Crawling through EQ dungeons with a single group was the most fun. Raids required too much bureaucracy and caused loot arguements, both of which sapped the fun. Small band RvR in Camelot was a close second in fun. The fights were great, but often one-sided (group vs. solo or big group vs. small group), and there was a lot of dead time looking for action. EQ dungeons were non-stop fun.

    Sadly, most people learned that you could level faster in the safe, outside zones, and the dungeons depopulated. Oh Befallen, I still miss our long nights together.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      I loved Camelot but that was as much about the social network I had there as it was about the combat mechanics. EQ dungeons though I can do without. I spent a lot of time in and around EQ’s Blackburrow and I don’t have many fond memories. Of course I played a Wizard and trying to meditate when you couldn’t even see your chat to know when someone triggered a zone train led to a lot of frustrating deaths.

  11. BronteNo Gravatar says:

    I am actually not sure where I stand… One one hand, time is severely limited, so any time I put into a game should be amply rewarded, and thus I should pick the activity with the most gain. But in the grind-fest of today, “most gain” does not necessarily equate to “most fun”.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      It’s a difficult thing isn’t it? On the one hand you have the setting to explore and story content to experience, both of which often require you to be at a certain level. On the other hand you have the stats and gear progression activities which you can pursue for their own sake or solely to unlock new areas. For me these sometimes blur and if I’m not paying attention I sometimes end up focusing on the leveling instead of stopping to enjoy the environments.

  12. IseyNo Gravatar says:

    As a former min/maxer – and not in the hardcore sense, I hated leveling and questing ad it was the forced barrier for me to enjoy the “end game” – seeing and defeating new bosses. Dailies (for money, badges, whatever) was something most games forced me to do to enjoy their part of the game I enjoyed most.

    I dislike MMO’s now because that leveling experience is mostly a single player experience. It boggles my mind that MMO’s force me to play solo for usually months in order to get into an engaging multiplayer experience when I hit max level.

    That’s why I loved EQ – everyone needed help past level 5 to advance so everyone was looking for that help. I see no reason to pay a sub fee to play a single player game, in essence.I have single player games to work through a story (where my actions have impacts on the world). MMO’s should be different.

    • BrianNo Gravatar says:

      Do MMO’s really force you to play solo though? Sure they allow people to play solo if they want to, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Personally I hated EQ because I couldn’t just play for an hour, I had to spend at least thirty minutes getting a group, getting everyone ready, getting everyone to the same spot, and then playing.

      • IseyNo Gravatar says:

        No, they don’t force you but the min/max folk learn quickly that it is typically more XP per hour going solo. Most modern day MMO’s actually “punish” XP for grouping, or have quest systems built in that make it harder to group (sharing quests is an improvement, but that usually doesn’t work on multi staged quests).

        The 30 minute gamer does benefit from the new mechanics for sure, albeit usually at a sacrifice of something. Often that’s at the expense of that immersive group experience.

        Of course, I have friends who hate end game and love the leveling game. I suppose it comes back to games trying to be everything to everybody. If WoW didn’t have the end game it does, I bet the leveling experience (and dollars put into that) would be greatly enhanced. Much like with my playstyle, I’d prefer there to be a gear grind over a level grind. Many think the opposite, granted 🙂

        • BrianNo Gravatar says:

          That’s what it comes down to really: a game can’t be everything to everyone. Fun for you is a grind for me, and vice versa.