The Weekly Raid: How Can We Make MMO Gameplay More Meaningful?

MMORPGs have been called treadmills and walking simulators. These remarks come from both fans of the genre and its detractors. There is certainly some truth to these claims, many of the core gameplay loops in MMORPGs require repetition and very slow progress.

The question this week is whether the genre is doomed to suffer such monotonous and meaningless gameplay, occasionally punctuated by a few moments of excitement. While developers have done little to change this state of affairs, players have taken on the challenge.

World of Warcraft players have turned a fun MMORPG passtime, running across the world with a level 1 character, into a way to support cancer research. The 'Running of the Gnomes' fan event got Blizzard's official blessing in 2017 and helped reaise thousands for cancer research.

Meaning doesn't just come from real-world charity benefits. There are many ways players can create player-run events to entertain their fellow gamers. One event that comes to mind is the Flight of a Thousand Rifers in EVE Online. It involved thousands of players in very weak starter level ships trying to take on a far larger and far more powerful capital ship. Even non-players can see just from all the pretty lights how exciting the event must have been for those involved.

Can you think of any way that developers and/or players themselves can make MMORPG gamepaly more meaningful. It could be in ways that increase player enjoyment or perhaps even effect the real-world. Share your thoughts below!

Lifelong gamer always looking for the next virtual adventure. I'm still waiting for the next big MMORPG. Until then, you can find me hopping between multiple games.

  • TianlanSha

    The simplest way would be to add puzzles and especially ones that aren't too hard or too retarded like in Skyrim. I found the ones in ESO to be really fun, it makes you think a little, but not to the point where you would get frustrated and make you go online to look for solutions.

    Another way would be to have choices with consequences in quests, like two farmers are arguing about a piece of land and it's up to you to decide which one gets to keep it and the outcome has different results for the two of them and you as well, it may also continue the quest line in a different way. This one will especially add more replay value to the whole game.

    I'm bringing up ESO again, but I like how everything is story-oriented and voiced and the grinding is hidden behind quests where you aren't forced to read tons of text. A lot of story can make even the most mundane and grindiest game ever a pleasant and meaningful experience.

    • Zariarn

      In my opinion, ESO has done everything right in creating a meaningful game world. Their story and lore is unmatched.

  • Zariarn

    I don't think all MMORPGs have a problem with not having meaningful content at least with the laundry list of games I play. If you're bored with a MMORPG, change and try something else. Don't settle for games with no depth or substance like Closers, Maple Story, Soul Worker or any other mindless Korean game(Thats not to say all Korean MMORPGs are mindless.) Play a game with some depth and story like GW2, ESO, LOTRO, ArchAge. or the countless others. Get involved in the game world. Just with the handful I mentioned, they will give you hours and hours of meaningful gameplay, story, and environment. If you don't like Fantasy MMORPGs, give a crack at Sy-Fy like EVE online. The dept, magnitude, and meaningful gameplay of that game is endless.

    Just my two cents

    • TianlanSha

      The selling point of Closers and Soul Worker is anime, it's aimed at people who like anime. Funny, because I like anime, but hate those games, they are really mindless and lack any depth whatsoever.

    • Vince P



      • Zariarn

        Actually yes, ArcheAge. ArcheAge has extensive and meaningful gameplay. It has more features and gameplay than most MMORPGs. Nevermind the negligible p2w in the game that has zero affect on PVE and very little effect on PVP.

        Deep storyline and lore with thousands of quest
        Player run justice/court system
        Crime system
        Trade routes
        Huge deep oceans for sailing, submarines, ship battles,and water raids, and underwater treasure hunting
        Very extensive crafting system to which you can build houses, gear, boats, cars, food, decorations
        Extensive non-instanced housing system
        PVP is driven in certain zones
        120 available classes

        Most of the things I listed affect the entire game world in various ways.

  • Jérémy Qnnk (Qnnk)

    Hi guys, whats the MMORPG on the Weekly raid JPG ?

  • The-ePoch

    Hey Erhan, just a couple typos in the article: 3rd Paragraph: "..Blizzard's official blessing in 2017 and helped reaise thousands for cancer research." typo: reaise. Last paragraph also, typo: gamepaly. 😀