I have to say I am really impressed with the direction of a lot of the new generations shooters. The whole shared world idea is what captivates me about mmo’s and I’m glad to see other styles of game creating these more connected experiences. It comes with its concerns, which many titles have clearly shown but I think when it provides a greater end experience it’s worth it.
Destiny and The Division definitely look like they’re worth it and are finally making the gameplay and mechanics important enough, large enough, and interconnected enough to justify always online. I an still wondering about the whole shared world but not shared experience kind of pitch as it sems like an evolution of the borderlands style of game. Playing with others when and how you feel is an excellent aspect to these games. Rather than interchangeable lobbies and instances it has blended it into being a more focused and cohesive experience.
However it actually makes me worry about the future of mmo’s considering their current development focus. Mmo’s have been trying to create a more single player experience within the game, testing the mechanics to suit but it has never really felt right for it. And now we are seeing more single player games adding shared spaces for people to cooperate in or just creating a more streamlined experience for playing with friends.
Both genres seem to have been working towards the same design principles and goals, creating games closer to gamers growing interests and fixing the inherent limitations of older games. However I think a single player game creating a shared world with multiplayer aspects creates a far better experience than a mmo focusing on single player elements. One is a focus on growth, the other only about adding limitations. Playing with friends builds on the strengths of a game and improves the fun so it boggles my mind why mmo developers would seek to diminish this feeling, that was already the genres strength so you would think they’d want to improve that aspect.
I know they want to cash in on a profitable market but they fail to realise why people play mmo’s, and play them for years. If mmo develpers want a piece of this market then they need to realign their expectations. It’s a throwaway market, align your costs and overhead to compensate and don’t design your game systems around prolonging things and enforcing a certain time grind. These new shared world mmo’s don’t do this, the experience should be fluid and able to be completed within a reasonable time… the replayability and why people will stay with it to by DLC and expansions comes from the multiplayer aspects.
It also comes down to the fact when I ask myself if I want more multiplayer elements in my single player games it is a resounding yes. When I ask if I want my mmo’s to have a greater emphasis on single player activities it is an emphatic no. Both are trying to create a similar gaming experience and even market towards the same audience but both are starting off from different positions. A shared world is an upgrade for many single-player experiences whereas it us a downgrade from the virtual world mmo’s used to be.
Plus the companies producing single-player games seem far more experienced at creating this new experience, as well as more creative and innovative.