Gamers Age by Kegstand
Apr 18, 2007 13:32:45

I think our view of ideal MMOs are influenced by fond memories of our first MMO game but the reality of aging lives outside of Virginworlds limits our capacity to recreate those moments.

Who remembers playing EQ 5-8 years ago and spending HOURS just trying to recover a corpse from a bad raid. The majority of those players are now married, have children, careers and could never afford the same kind of time. However we miss that risk/reward excitement. So along comes Vanguard to recreate it, but does it get EQ numbers of players? No, why not, gamers age, fewer are playing now and "kids these days" want immediate satisfaction.

I'm not entitled to the data that could support my argument but my "gut" and Steven Colbert tells me there is a bimodal distribution of players. Those in their 30s who are early EQ era veterans who want to extend their MMO glory days in shorter amounts of time and kids who want social games with plenty of time to devote to them. The first are a diminishing population but lucky for the us we have the EQ-boomer generation developing these games to our budgets and tastes to keep out the annoying young newbies. Who else can afford the computers and monthly subscriptions to pay for them? The second are growing up in MMO games that are free, social, and promote easy advancement.

Viva la revolution that is to come that creates more Social/MySpace/WoW type games. What does my Niece & Nephew play? Runescape. When they can pay for their own systems and subscriptions what will they play to make them relive their initial experience? Vanguard...doubt it...

Two friends convinced me to try EQ in 2000, where are they now...too busy to play MMOs. Do more and more of your RL friends play MMOs as you age?

So what does this Grandpa Simpson want with his MMO? Persistant worlds with minimal administrative/organization time wasters that get in the way of making achievements with my Avatar. It works for my limited play time and works for those with limited attention spans. Like sports games that give you the option to play just the game or manage every detail of the franchise. Why can't I log off and have my character repair his gear, resupply, harvest, craft, and travel to a location while I'm off-line?


Submitted by Brent on Apr 18, 2007 13:32:45 CST (comments: 8)


'Kids of today' by fl1pper
Submitted on 2007-04-18 16:04:51 CST
To pick up one of the minor points made in this article, the kids today do want it easy. One example would be myself (40) and my nephew (13) playing GTA: San Andreas. After 2 weeks of owning the game, I had done a fair bit but had spent a lot of time in the second week trying and failing to finish one particular mission. This involved a high degree of frustration and some PS2 controller shaped dents in the wall.

My nephew turns up and announces that he has beat the game and is playing something else. Was this because he is a great player? No, he turned on a load of cheats and burned through the content.

Unfortunately that is what a lot of kids do with console games and they bring that attitude into the MMOs. Personally I think it's a real shame, firstly because games are getting dumbed down to pander to that attitude, and secondly because my nephew will never feel the total elation that I did when I finally beat that mission.

'Off-line chores' by fl1pper
Submitted on 2007-04-18 16:17:22 CST
Kegstand said:
"Why can't I log off and have my character repair his gear, resupply, harvest, craft, and travel to a location while I'm off-line?"

Isn't the simple answer to this question "Timesinks"? If you could do all that stuff offline, then you would get through the real content of the game that much quicker and the developers would have to put a lot more interesting content into the game.

Personally I think they could get round that by actually making quests more difficult or introduce skill based combat but that's a whole other debate.

'Maturing taste' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-04-18 17:08:14 CST
I think the "off-line" time is the key to this. Also I think there is a lot of potential for web-based associated content.

The issue is really that we want our time spent to be worthwhile and if we can set up our off-line time, when we are on-line, the game becomes much more "strategic" and less "twitch".

Kids rarely do strategic, unless they are very bright, but I think perhaps that adults want a reward more for our brainpower, not for our motor skills. Even the PvPers have pre-thought out combat strategies, which are executed by their motor skills.

This is one of the reasons for EVE's success, as it does give a (rather annoyingly limited) platform for strategic thought. But there is much more market than this in all sorts of areas.

'RE: Gamers Age' by Edar
Submitted on 2007-04-18 21:00:15 CST
But think about it, you're the first generation who grown up playing games like any other form of entertainment. It takes some time, but things will change. You know, right now most MMOs are not ready for people like us (I'm 27, not married yet but this will change soon), the industry was working for kids and yound adults for a long time and now when the real adults comes in the picture they are not ready. Yet.

I think we will see MMOs who can be played by people who doesn't have the time or the energy to follow up games like EVE Online (damn you CCP for make this great game witch I can´t play!). And not only MMOs.
The kids will keep playing more, but for the adults have the money, and what is better for a company: A kid saving to get a game or an adult gamer with a nice pay check in the hands? ;)

And about what you want for a MMO... I don't know, I love to take the time to administer everything in my game. Is just a matter of taste. Right now I'm playing Vanguard and I love it. Is hard to master, but I don't care, I enjoy my 2-3 hours of play every week anyways :)

'About Web-based interfaces' by Edar
Submitted on 2007-04-18 21:09:43 CST
Kegstand said:
"Why can't I log off and have my character repair his gear, resupply, harvest, craft, and travel to a location while I'm off-line?"

First, not all games are well suited for that. For a game like EVE a Web-based complementary interface is the way to go. For a game like WoW is just not possible. Well, everything is possible, but this will break the game, you will be playing a strip down version of an MMO. For things like that you can play other games, like Guild Wars, for me is the Counter Strike of the MMOs, fast paced, simple administration and yet have a nice adventuring framework.

Dreamlords have a nice approach, but is an RTS in the end. And you can think in games like Heroes of Might and Magic Online, but this things will be another kind of game, not the MMOs that we know now.

'Our Age...' by Smith
Submitted on 2007-04-18 22:14:08 CST
It's a great point, Kegstand. Four years ago before my daughter was born I was thrilled to stay up night on an EQ corpse run. I had to start soloing when I couldn't stick with a raid till it was done. Hopefully you are right - current devs who are our age will put out games that understand our plight. And hopefully I'll be able to group with other people my age who understand that you have to exit when the kid/wife/job/etc need you.

I also hope we don't see the day when Brent wont be able to put in the hours neccesary to provide us this forum where we can at least chat about gaming, if not game.

'Re: Edar's Dev apology' by scytale2
Submitted on 2007-04-19 04:41:54 CST
I really don't think there is any need for to apologise on behalf of the game developers. If they haven't got their heads around mature MMO gamers yet (I've been one for ten years!), then there are other issues here.

My personal feeling is that there are other issues afoot, which probably make it more of a challenge to design MMOs for adults. These could include:
a) A lower boredom threshold that most adults have
b) Lack of understanding by shareholders that there IS an adult market
c) A link to "adult only" topics and "adult" gaming, which scares people off, when most adult gamers aren't overly bothered about the inclusion of 18+ content
d) An understanding that an adult MMO gamer has in many cases totally different requirements.
e) Richard Bartle's interesting MMO gamer characterisation pigeonholes people, but takes absolutely no account of how old they are

Actualy I don't think any of the games companies have actually bothered to research the needs of adult MMO gamers - hence the lack of understanding and the number of whingeing blogs there are on-line.

'Gamers Age by Kegstand' by IRB
Submitted on 2007-04-20 00:44:52 CST
I laugh when I see on the Vanguard sites that they are too cool or old for WoW.

WoW is exactly what Adults must have. I played EQ for many years. I even did an all nighter one night.

Now I have kids, demanding job, Wife, etc and can not spend that much time. If life where a video game being single would be easy mode, being married is medium, and have 1 or more kids is "Hurt Me Plenty" mode. People who do not have kids can play games like Vanguard. Those of us with kids can not.

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