So, a few days ago Massively posted one of their Daily Grind articles, posing this very question. The first thing that came to mind for me was, what is good in MMOs today? I mean, is that elite level raiding? PvP? Economic PvP? I really don’t know.
Considering that the vast majority of people spend their time solo questing, how do you even define ‘good’ in that context? Does it mean being able to complete the content, mostly without dying? If so, then I’d say that’s trivially easy in most MMOs.
In truth, even most group content is fairly easy, mainly involving min/max cookie cutter builds, with the same set rotation pattern in the traditional tab-targeting MMOs. Even in something like Guild Wars 2 which has far more ‘active’ combat (which mostly revolves around dodge invulnerability) most of the difficulty in group content comes from what feels like awkward group fighting mechanics, resulting in an all round messy feel (maybe the trinity was important after all?), but maybe I’m just missing something fundamental.
These days it feels to me like most MMOs are afraid to be difficult, in the combat sense at least. They don’t want to exclude anybody from their games, least of all for something as trivial as challenging game play. Everybody gets a lollipop just for showing up a lot of the time.
In The Secret World, investigation missions can certainly be taxing. Requiring a lot of lateral thinking and problem solving (and the odd Google search when totally stuck). Eve is a very challenging game in terms of PvP, but again the PvE content is largely easy once you know what you are doing (although I only have experience of level 4 missions, and I know incursions are tricky).
So all in all, this Massively post made me question how we even define being a good player, when you can get by in most MMOs with a level of ability set around the competent level. What does good mean for you?