|World of Warcraft "killed a genre," says former Blizzard dev|
|Posted: 02.07.2013 11:52 by Simon Priest||Comments: 1|
Mark Kern now works at Red 5 Studios, developer of MMO Firefall, but he used to work at Blizzard and was on the World of Warcraft team. He now laments the 'accessibility mantra' they used to design it.
Since WoW there's been a "creeping casualness" that touches all other MMOs, because it's what drew millions to Blizzard's creation. Players are hit with a "fire-hose of quests" - it's 'too quick'.
Nobody really stops to smell the roses, or admire the striking art of a particular environment. Quests and lore aren't really absorbed but just blazed through for XP and loot.
“It worked,” said Mark Kern on driving for 'accessibility'. “Players came in droves, millions of them. But at what cost? Sometimes I look at WoW and think ‘what have we done?’ I think I know. I think we killed a genre.”
Difficulty curves just fall flat overtime as MMOs inevitably drive for more players, and so adopt more and more casual features. Sony Online arguably 'killed' Star Wars: An Empire Divided with their overhauled combat and other mechanics in a bid to attract more numbers. For most it became too simplified and crashed.
The trouble is that quest design begins to suffer, argues Kern, as devs just go for what's easy. "This makes the situation even worse, as not only do we not have a sense of accomplishment, but we enjoy these quests chains less and less as they become simpler and more cookie-cutter,” Kern despairs. “The moment to moment gameplay suffers.”
“No wonder we have such a huge crowd of jaded and bored MMO players,” says Kern. “Every MMO that follows the WoW formula is a trivial exercise, dominated by rote and convention, trading off the joy of the journey for a series of meaningless tasks. And when we race to the end, we expect some kind of miracle end-game that will keep us playing. It never does.”
Kern believes they can correct some of the wrongs with Firefall, which is open to .