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What's broken with MMOs and their combat?


Do DPS, crafting, tank, and the future of aggro management make your heart go a flutter? Damion Shubert has been doing MMO design for ten years and is currently working on an announced project for BioWare. He held a roundtable on the next generation of MMO design and the big issue was: "Why does combat suck" in MMOs?

Thoughts revolved around the idea that combat is overused, simple and easy for people to grasp. Shubert says, "Our combat models right now are asking people to enter no risk situation ... Players choose their own challenges and bore themselves to death ... then they bitch how the games aren't challenging enough. We force them to play cautiously, can you imagine if Gears of War told you not to take risks?"

After years of watching MMO players and having access to background statistics of game he says people's penchant for exploitation is key. Player's will try to find the easy way out of anything. He also says one of the greatest innovations of World of Warcraft was how they rewarded their quests. WoW gives substantial rewards for completing quests and leads players down a path rather than having players camp and repeat the same single action over and over again. Shubert emphasizes that combat MMOs are not the only type out there and Korea makes us look pitiful, "They have MMO dance games, golf games and everything else." So, why haven't those types of MMOs caught on in other places and what other types of massive online game would we like to see?

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