Massively Overthinking: Load-bearing playerbases in MMORPGs

Game developer Damion Schubert is known to MMO players for his work on everything from Ultima Online arrive SWTOR, but as it turns out, he’s a controversial follower on Twitter. He’s recently leave some facts on the background that I want us to discuss this week Think too much.

“Creating raid content for an MMO is generating content for 1-10% of your player base, but that is also the engine of aspiration, and if you make it too easy, you lose the most difficult player. The player base is an ecosystem. One that is up and running is extremely sophisticated. It is extremely easy to eliminate a low percentage of the player base without fully realizing that they are under load. It’s a pretty common mistake when running MMO, TBH. “

This the whole topic so good that I’ll come back to a second topic in the future, but today, I wanted to start with the idea of ​​a “load-bearing” player base. I’ve never heard it described this way before, but it’s perfection. A part of a load-bearing structure that is just a wall or beam or something that holds so much of the structure that removal will eventually cause the entire structure to collapse.

That’s what Schubert is describing here: An MMO is essentially made up of a bunch of load-bearing player bases, invisible to each other and to developers to varying degrees but all are all necessary. Raid players may not need a lot of role-players, but role-players are the ones who make cities feel alive. Role-players may not see much need for crafters, but without crafters, the economy would die. Crafters may think raids are stupid, but raiders keep the game’s endgame pushed forward. And woe to the developer who cut off an important team, thinking they were too small to matter.

So let’s talk about the load-bearing player base in MMORPGs. I’m asking our writers and readers what they think of the idea, and more specifically, to give an example of an MMO or failure to address a portion of the player base that is loaded at its own risk. its or has managed to keep the whole house standing by ensuring that all of those factions are properly served.


The doctors added:Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): This is dead. I think Wild star is a prime example of a game that ignored its non-raid, non-progressive players, especially its creators, and thus failed. I knew a lot of people before the NDA upgrade who wanted to be a full-time crafter in the game. The way things were revealed, I can understand why people might think that’s reasonable, but I remember the FAQ and the developer magazine saying it’s unreasonable. I even remember commenting on that when I first got my hands on the game, but the people around me were often simply resentful that I wasn’t madly in love with the game.

When the beta was open, I remember seeing some posts about people getting frustrated that they couldn’t be pure crafters. In my guild (who didn’t know about my gig here) many people who were excited about the game were potential crafters and chatted about the game going to die mass after players that lost interest. We don’t even have a chapter to release. I’m sure that when the other socializers finish the game, their groups all move out, especially when the group is constantly talking about raids. I love the world of Wild star, but the game failed me, perhaps because outside of housing, the systems didn’t feel like they fit my style at all.


Ben Griggs (@braxwolf): I recently started playing EVE Online, and while I’ve only had about a week of experience, it seems the pure longevity and self-sufficiency of this title suggests a strong balance of all the load groups. If all you want to do is mine ore and sell it on the market, that’s entirely possible. And while seemingly insignificant, large corporations cannot wage their epic space wars without raw materials for ships and animation. On the other hand, someone (who doesn’t mind getting a second job) has to run those large influential corporations. Both types of players pay the same amount to play and both are necessary for the sustainability of the game.


Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, Blog): Wild star definitely the game that comes to mind, but since my colleagues have expertly tackled it, I wanted to point out… whatever Raph Koster turns out to be building. He’s basically focused on those forgotten player platforms that are getting nasty when it comes to social binders but are generally unsupported. He has said his game will enhance “players who bring the world to life” – i.e. strategy guide writers, role players, explorers, streamers, people crafter, entertainer, decorator, repairman, builder, and clan leader. All the geeks make the community thrive but don’t collect experience points for their efforts. That caught my attention because we have a lot of games that cater to achievers, competitors, and kills, but not a lot of MMOs that focus on the rest of the establishment. players and I think that’s why so many modern MMORPGs feel relatively shallow.


Chris Neal (@wolfyseys, Blog): Wow, this is a great way to review it as well as express ideas. “Load player facility.” Friend.

OK, wording aside, the immediate example of not building a load-bearing player base is very easy. Wild star; Its emphasis on bleeding high-level ambush focus is a death knell that rings long and loud despite the team’s efforts to fix it, which is unfortunate as the game can have some power. Strongly maintained if it’s not fun so kneeling the idea.

For a game with balanced beams, Final Fantasy XIV come to think of it, with updates that seem to primarily ensure more player base is seen. I also feel like Elder Scrolls Online It focuses well on its load-bearing player base, with a lot of PvE-biased content that seems to speak for the most part of it.


Sam Kash (@thesamkash): It’s a fun way to think about it, and it really makes sense. Similarly, it’s also interesting to think about it asking which of the different load groups is right for your MMO.

From that perspective, I can’t help but think about Wild star. The developers have put all their focus on the raiders while ignoring the other groups. Perhaps this is a case of focusing too much on a beam while forgetting a house is made up of many parts.

Another way to look at it is when a developer chooses to include a new team in an already established community. I was thinking specifically about raiding in Guild Wars 2. This is a completely underrepresented group until the first expansion. Then over the years ArenaNet slowly added content that tried to entice these players to join at the expense of all of their existing load-bearing pools. ArenaNet thought adding a fancy little game cave to the house would be monumental, all while the floors were rotting from below it. Since adding PvP to attacks was a joke, WvW barely saw any updates and the dungeons were abandoned.

Fortunately, the studio is trying to tweak the ship again, but they really don’t consider how much player loads are in their game. Plus, we don’t know exactly what load group the game is even designed for because the anymore. We have our story content, but I don’t know if other stories exist in a meaningful way.


blankEvery week, join the massive OP team to Think too much , a multi-writer roundtable where we discuss MMO industry topics – and then invite you to join the debate in the comments section. Thinking hard about it is really the whole point. Your turn!

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