Even the Best Games Have a Boredom Problem (Article)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bayard, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Bayard

    Bayard Avatar

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    Fellow Outlanders,

    I found this article highly relevant to our observations that life in New Britannia sometimes feels like a second job. Enjoy and comment!

    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/i-don-t-wanna-do-my-video-game-chores?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    Excerpt - "I’ve been playing it off and on since it was released, and I’m still waiting for it to get fun. I’m not alone in thinking so — Mark Brown of Game Maker’s Toolkit called it “quite boring” and Mashable said it’s a “monumental disappointment.” Are they complaining about SotA? Nope, they're complaining about RDR2!

    There are many lessons the Devs could use to continue to improve SotA. As precious as @Chris , @Ravalox, @Elgarion 's time is, I think it would be a beneficial read.

    TLDR: Discussion of how many popular games have a problem with requiring mundane tasks that make them boring and solutions to counter the problem.
     
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  2. Steevodeevo

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    Nice link.

    I, for my sins, have played a great many of what tend to be called 'theme park' MMOs and RPGs. I have tried to play as many 'Sand box' MMOs and RPGs as possible as I have convinced myself that ultimately I should like these best if I weren't basically lazy. PC Gamer does a good job in defining these two categories (and others}; https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/the-best-mmos/

    What is interesting about the article you post is it almost nails a central problem with many 'theme park' MMOs and RPGs (in my view). This is that basically whilst it is comforting to have a game that holds your hand, makes you a hero and runs on rails, it definitely becomes repetitive and a chore when you have to undertake all of the core mechanics every session to keep it going forward optimally. For me 'The Witcher: Wild Hunt' is a classic RPG example and BDO the same for the MMO genre. I loved Wild Hunt for a week or so and then had to put it down as I knew what I would be doing and what I had to do every time I logged in and it made me stale. BDO is packed to the rafters with content and mini games, but after a while I got fed up with feeling the pressure and need to spend an hour or even two hours 'ticking off' the basic daily content before I could go and get lost in the World. And even then the world was on tramlines and fairly predictable. FFXIV is described as a 'Story Driven' MMO by PC Gamer, another category, which again is immediately fun but after a while, you feel like you are just following the script, which you are.

    To my eyes SOTA is still very much a 'Sandbox MMO' and as such it still requires the player to use there imagination and intelligence to decide what to do each play session and doesn't penalise you for not doing something. Not in the short term anyway. As a result it is entirely possible to never get bored playing SOTA; or alternatively not find anything to do at all :). It also means reward is harder to come by and is gradual and progressive rather than instant and gratuitous.

    This is why I keep popping back to look at SOTA, as despite it drifting away from 'my ideal' sandbox, it is still a sandbox, a fag paper from brilliance and I still cling to the hope.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  3. Magnus Zarwaddim

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    That was a good read.

    Here's my take. Let's get story out of the way. Story is something that is difficult to execute, and we should agree that it has taken a back seat here. While we lament it's loss, we should consider alternatives. And that is content. Not necessarily story, although surely we can keep the world moving here with some basic narrative thread. In the end, content will win the day. And not necessarily repeatable content that would require you to log in for daily rewards, just actual content. What can that be?

    The easiest, fastest way to duplicate it across the world is with mob variation. I and others have mentioned this a ton of times: Encounters. We have some, but I think the game would provide tons of content for players if we had more variations of overland encounters. New special mobs, maybe a few rare bosses that appear randomly (like the Lunar Rift). This is something that can be repeated by players as often as they want, without the need to feel like it's a chore you are ticking off a required daily checklist. Do it if you want. Don't if you don't want to.

    In addition to new and more encounters, and something again that can just be duplicated, is taking some of those new mob encounters and placing them throughout the scenes. This can be done when upgrading existing scenes. It can also help out in the new lands. More mobs spread throughout scenes gives you a reason to go somewhere you normally wouldn't have before. Again, do it if you want or don't. But it's there to enjoy and is not part of some required daily checklist.

    Another form of content, and something I think the team is getting really good at is more varied dungeons. More. Lots more. Again, this is a place where mobs that are created for new encounters/scenes can be "upgraded" to be a bit more powerful and challenging. Along with this are pushing the limits as developers and making the dungeons interesting and challenging. I'd bet $10 in Coto's (I'm being cheap) that every team member loves being able to design a challenging dungeon. $20 that the developers like making new mobs and mob mechanics. :)

    Finally, LOOT. There's a big discussion being had daily (right now a thread)/weekly/monthly about loot. All of the above benefits from the chance of more and better loot. RNG is still a factor, and that is ok. It gives players a reason to visit encounters, scenes with new and more mobs, and dungeons.

    All of these can help to keep a game interesting, without seeming like a chore. I don't mean to leave out things like economy / crafting, which of course help to round out the content available to players. In the end, choices help to keep a game feeling interesting and not anything like a chore, because you are given the option of doing them without feeling like you are losing out if you do not engage in them.

    TLDR; Keeping the game fresh, interesting and making it feel the opposite of a chore could include:
    • New encounters with new mobs/mechanics
    • Upgraded scenes with new mob density in scenes
    • More dungeons with new mobs/mechanics/challenges
    • Upgraded loot for existing mobs and the above "new" mobs
    • Additional content for the economy / crafting
     
  4. Fister Magee

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    Ouch, sad but true! I'm a Runescape retiree :D Don't hate! Our game is by far more interesting because I HAVE TO make my own narrative. I want daily quests, but am worried they will become a sort of daily chore. Much like Runescape became. Is Runescape considered a theme park mmo? I suppose it should be considered as such. I had to spend more than an hour or two to do the enticing dailies before I could go to my looting or whatever I wanted to really do in the game. Rewards are nice, but Runescape made the daily chores more lucrative than ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME. YMMV.
     
  5. Mac2

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    I have been saying this the whole time. You do what you WANT to do here. This is why when people ask me questions of what they should do for a build, I usually answer with the question, what is your goal? I know what MY goal is but your goal might be totally different. We have people who like to do deco, some like to play the market, some like to fish, some like to gain power or level ( i fit here), some like to organize events, some like to mine, ect ect ect. And in this freedom, some find anxiety, they do not know what to do as they are not told what do do as they are in many other games. For example, take Final fantasy 7. You start off and it puts you into the story, you then follow that story. At a few points in the game, you get a bit of freedom to do some side stuff, but mainly you are directed towards finishing that story. 90% of that game is built around finishing that story and it basically tells you want to do. We don't really have that in the same way here. Sure there is a story and some quests that direct you in that story but its like a very small % of the game is about that story. Many players have not even done the main quests story line and many that have only did it for the reward. Some have done it for the story, and that is perfectly fine and that is what they wanted to do.
     
  6. majoria70

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    Well I hate to see the discussion going toward its all about combat and mobs. No it isn't imo.

    Discoveries, and interesting repetitive progressive adventures with nice rewards will keep a lot of players logging in. Many of those players have left. It can't just be all about combat and mobs even tho that is important. That is not all of the story or big picture as with anything that would get old.

    Give us a game with the best of both. Let us explore and discover and be immersed in the lands and story achieving milestones as we go and then as desired go battling the enemies of the world for more.

    It is the complete game that will succeed not an either or game. We already have both started but lack of focus on either has hurt the game badly. Being all over the place can end up being a good thing in this game as long as those things get completed.

    Don't forget it is not just a combat game. Some want to climb the highest mountain, find lost treasures, try to do the impossible or unexpected. Isn't that why we play games? We need the whole picture.

    We need Basics like immersion, achievements, lots of quests and tasks, a world to conquer, a world to discover and create, and as we go we also need to be rewarded for our efforts. We need our raid system, our timed and quested Battleground's.

    Hear us roar. Listen to all of us please.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
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  7. redfish

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    @Bayard

    My experience with games is that if you remove the things people typically ask to skip through, they become 100x more boring.

    This was even true with the Ultima games. Often towards the end of the games, the plot would require you to go back and forth between a lot of places, so you would get a fast travel mechanism (orb of the moons, teleporters), and sometimes you get powerful weapons that let you slash through fights (magic axes in U5). Once this happens, the game suddenly feels pointless.

    Its also happened with SotA. I personally talk to a lot of players, and know a lot who have quit playing. There are two classes of players. One are those who want a kind of classical role-playing experience like the Ultima games and think SotA doesn't offer that anymore. The other class of players are those who don't have the same attachment to old school gaming, but for whom the game has just become boring for since the devs have made things "more fun." I've talked to one player whose entire guild has dropped off because since things have become so much easier to do, they feel they've done everything and aren't interested in playing anymore.

    Yes, this is like many other theme park MMOs, which are frankly boring for whole a lot of people, because they're just about repetitive grinding. Even then, the mass of players in those games are solo'ers, who just play through quest content, then quit, because they aren't interested in the gameplay.

    So, the article discusses there ways to make tasks fun and discusses popular games that do this. I would also point to games like Pokemon, where you have to travel a lot from city to city, have a few fast travel options near the end, but they aren't "gimmes", have to catch certain Pokemon during certain times, or in certain types of weather, even if finding those times of day or types of weather are inconvenient. Its what makes the non-combat aspects of Pokemon as a game fun at all, otherwise its just running into tall grass over and over. There's also a whole bunch of mini-games, like cooking berries into porridge, etc. Its also something survival games do really well, where the only point of those games is to deal with daily survival, and the "realism" is the gameplay.

    And even on top of that, I don't think its only tedious tasks that people skip through. They'll skip anything if given the option. They'd skip combat. I've played a lot of NES games on emulator and I've used save states and cheats to get through to the end, just because I could. Think of what this game will play like through a new player's perspective who has a whole bunch of options to skip content and not really play, and he'll take those options, not because the alternative is boring, but just because he can.

    Anyway, in its current form, the game has become more boring for a lot of players, not less boring. Devs should talk and listen to all players. And there was always a middle path the devs could have stuck to if they chose to.
     
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  8. redfish

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    Btw, Book of Travels is an MMO RPG I'm interested in seeing develop which is going against popular wisdom on the topic in the OP,
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bookoftravels/book-of-travels-a-serene-online-rpg

    All about travelling, gameplay is mostly about random events and encounters on your travels. No chat, all communication is through symbols and emotes. The game is all about creating stories together. Death isn't trivialized.
     
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  9. Magnus Zarwaddim

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    I definitely spoke from my own goals/desires. But in the end, it's about activities. Activities that are their own reward, or that provide rewards but are not "timed" or "daily" in the sense that people feel they HAVE to do them. Those activities of course can include deco, the new player NPC system, the player dungeon system, fishing, exploring and other things like treasure hunting, puzzles, etc.

    The main point is to keep people engaged, without making them feel like it's a job UNLESS they want to go "work" the mines, grind mobs, deco, fish, etc. A multitude of different activities that people can choose to do, or not. :)
     
  10. KnightFalz

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    Even the largest of MMORPG companies can't churn out enough content to keep players constantly engaged. Ongoing interest requires the player to be self-motivating during content gaps. When the game provides no purpose the player must do so. Players unwilling or unable will find little but tedium much of the time if they confine themselves to one game.
     
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  11. Illesac

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    Chris and team have done a great job balancing the areas to reduce feeling like you're not maximizing gains and having to go to just one/two places. I feel like getting the player dungeon and PvP experience right would develop some very sticky player activity. Additionally it would drive value by reengaging old members of the community that have been away a while a reason to checkout how polished SotA has become. In one case our update looks something like, here's another area to explore or here's our awesome, flexible sandbox that has enabled these new play experiences! The choice is clear to me, new play experiences are a more attractive lure.
     
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  12. majoria70

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    But you speak for all of us when some want the mindless repetitive dailies and tasks not associated with non combat type of players. Why cannot we have it also? No one ever needs to be made to feel they have to do something. It should be a choice to do or not to do. Keeping more task related ideas out of the game has always been a mistake like no achievement system. It should not just be one way with this game. It started development as a something for everyone. I have many friends who left to pursue games who told a story and let them craft and progress without being forced to always combat grind.
     
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  13. Illesac

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    I don't think you've understood the points being made here and should revisit Magnus' statement. If it is still not resonating I encourage you to explore the topic of opportunity costs to get a basic understanding of why people who understand this economic trade-off would feel forced to participate in daily quests before playing the game as they wish.
     
  14. majoria70

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    Who is forcing anyone? It is just a playstyle. Anyway continue on. I don't want to debate it and I will still call out for dailies and achievements, and the cooking tree to be enhanced plus many more incompletions to get complete. I have been doing it since 2013 ish. Having these in game is not forcing anyone, feeling forced is their own internal conversations. Take care all and remember to always vote for something for everyone, TGIF.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  15. Magnus Zarwaddim

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    I could be wrong, but I think @majoria70 and I are talking about similar things but from a different angel. And it's not that I totally agree with her (which is fine!). I don't believe in forced dailies to get something. What I do agree with is activities. And activities can and must be optional. It's not that I have to go out and get, for example, 100 fish. It's that if I want to craft something or do something with those 100 fish that I choose to get them. And it doesn't have to be activities that someone is somewhat required to do such as, using the same example, acquire 100 fish.

    Optional can also include the option to do those dailies. :)

    It could also be things like have been suggested to keep players occupied: more mob variation, more scenes dungeons with things to do, more to explore/discover, etc. (we can all add to the list ad nauseum). Activities that keep you wanting to play. Not things that force you to play. So in the end, I think we are all talking about similar things that would keep each of us individually engaged, but engaged nonetheless. We can probably all agree that it should not be forced, even if we don't agree on the nuances.
     
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  16. KnightFalz

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    Is there not an opportunity cost to spending time on game activities you don't enjoy rather than those you do? Is time not the most valuable resource we have, as it is constantly being drained and can't be replenished? The only daily activities I do in games are those I coincidentally enjoy, or those that take very little time such as consulting the oracle.

    People define opportunities and costs differently. One can chose not to do dailies while understanding economic trade-off without a feeling of loss.