We’ve played quite a lot of MMO games and you probably did too, so we’re all kind of entitled to talk about what’s more cliché about them. In a sense, this is a list about what we think is wrong with these games: stuff that is outdated, ‘ridoncolous’ or eyebrow-raising. Developers take note, if you manage to iron out most of these kinks for your next MMORPG, you may have a hit in your hands.
10 – SAME GAME, DIFFERENT NAME
Which game should I play now? Should I try Caesary? This Call of Roma also looks interesting. Or perhaps I should give Scarlet Blade a try, but that other game Queen’s Blade seems amazing. Age of Wushu or Age of Wulin? Fantasy Frontier Online or Aura Kingdom? There are plenty of examples of the same game having a different name for some reason. While we understand that it’s sometimes for the greater good – to look more appealing to the target audience – or due to licensing rights, other times it just seems random and confusing.
9 – AUTO-PATHING
You’re a soon-to-be hero. You’ll kill thousands of creatures and collect more loot than you can dream. So you should be able to make your way around a map, right? You should know how to go from where you stand to the character you need to talk to. Who, sometimes, happens to be just a few feet away. Many MMORPGs have this auto-pathing option for some reason. Perhaps they think players can’t use a map or they just want them to watch the game play itself, for some weird reason. Sure, it can be useful once in a while for long distances, but if you’re playing an MMO you already know you have to run around a lot, right?
8 – FREE-TO-PLAY WHEN EVERYTHING ELSE FAILS
It’s a common trend that will be around for many years to come. A studio launches an MMO with a monthly subscription saying this is the only wise choice, that it will benefit players and how the game will never go free-to-play, god forbid! Then, one or two years later, there you go: cash shop, optional premium subscription and some precious content locked away, leaving you with pieces of a game. The list is huge and recent examples include Tera and Rift. Upcoming potential candidates are Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online, and one day in a not so distant future, even World of Warcraft may make the leap, as game director Tom Chilton admitted.
7 – BORING COMBAT
Everyone who’s just sick of tab-targeting or point and click combat raise their hands. Yeah, it was predictable. In such day and age, it’s unconceivable that most MMORPGs, even high profile ones, stick to the clunky and massively boring combat. Slowly but surely, some games are bringing the change, such as Vindictus, C9 or Tera. Now we expect… no, we demand that the next generation of action combat MMORPGs such as Black Desert, Dragon Nest 2 and Black Sheep Online to come and kick us in the face with their amazing action combat.
6 – DIFFERENT NAMES, SAME CLASSES
Which class will you pick this time? A berseker, a warrior or a paladin? Perhaps a priest, an elementalist, a wizard, a sorcerer or a mage? Wow, so many to choose from, this game really must be something special, right? Wrong! If only there was any real difference between them. Stop trying to confuse us with names if you’re not going to bring anything new to the table, OK?
5 – ‘COME PLAY WITH ME’
When publishers are planning their marketing campaigns, what is the thing that they want to promote about their games the most? Boobs, obviously – even if we’re talking about a city-building set in medieval times where you’re as likely to see a beautiful woman as to find a sack of gold when you step out of bed tomorrow. Apparently, players are much more likely to click on an ad for a random game if it prominently features a big-breasted girl, even better if it includes words such as “come play with me” or something. And the wallpapers for most games are filled with sexy mages and warriors that probably are nowhere to be seen in the game. Just some random eye-candy to grab your attention.
4 – YOU’RE THE HERO!
In each MMORPG you’re someone special. You’re destined to greatness, a hero even before you learn how to move around. But… doesn’t this mean that thousands of other players are also heroes? So how should I feel special among so many equals? It’s time for games to stop with the hero nonsense and offer true choice and consequence. Create truly amazing quests that make some kind of difference in the game world or others where the first player to discover and accomplish it will truly be considered a hero. A real hero, not a fake.
3 – KILL ‘X’ RATS / SPIDERS / BLOBS / WHATEVER
More of an undying tradition than a cliché, there’s not a single MMORPG where you, the character all set for greatness, won’t have to embark on a mighty quest to kill 10 rats, spiders, pumpkin monsters, amorphous blobs or anything else that is quietly sitting around with a health bar on top. It’s not that we don’t like to help poor villagers with a rat infestation problem – but doing it over and over again in exchange for some useless trinket? Come on, give us some proper, heroic tasks. Oh, and fetch quests also suck – I mean, did I choose the FedEx class?
2 – TINY FEMALE ARMOR AND BREAST SLIDERS
There’s one universal truth for female characters in MMOs: the higher the level, the skimpier the armor. Well, except in Scarlet Blade, where you begin in a tiny bikini, but that’s one of the few exceptions to the rule. Anyway, this is possibly the biggest cliché that afflicts MMO games nowadays and proof that the biz is still pretty much dominated by males. That, along with the now trivial breast slider is enough to make you rethink the whole ‘videogames are art too!’ debate.
1 – PAY TO WIN
This one is pay to win. That one is pay to win. You’ve probably heard this so many times before and experienced it a lot more than you would want to. Sadly, most free-to-play games are plagued by abusive cash shops that offer balance breaking stuff and other items that are incredibly hard to get by during gameplay and skill alone. Times seem to be changing though, with the ‘cosmetic items only’ speech delivered by some studios and lots of hats to choose from, but we’re yet to see real change in the free-to-play business model. It’s time to end with pay to win, long live free to play!
Do you agree with our list? Do you consider these to be some of the most notorious clichés and that it’s about time they die a very painful death? If you do, give us a like and let us know in the comments about some other horrible clichés. See you next time.