I haven’t played Overwatch in several months now, outside of one play session to try out Baptiste. I am not sure what update specifically did it but with changes like the addition of Brigitte and Mercy’s rework the game just doesn’t feel like an FPS anymore. Its just a lot of stalling and healing (with the new hero literally having an ability that drops a 200 hp box that you have to destroy before you are able to kill anyone else). It’s the coldest take in the world at this point and most people have moved on to other games but I still miss the super chaotic and fast-paced matches of earlier Overwatch and I haven’t found a good replacement yet.
If Overwatch was a better shooter than it is right now, I would probably be playing less Crucible in Destiny 2 than I am.
I also started playing Destiny 2 because of it! Its fun but unlike Overwatch you have to unlock certain guns and perks so there’s always a bit of FOMO when I die to a gun with a weird ability I didn’t see coming
Goodness gracious, where to start. Paradox is probably a good point.
Stellaris and Hearts of Iron both hit huge dead periods for me. I want to love Stellaris’ new update more than I do (Victoria 2 rests as a work of that may never be replicated in my heart), but I can’t tell if the poor implementation is turning me off or just the sheer complication built into the system that didn’t exist before.
Hearts of Iron now has the same problem, a friend and I played it daily competing and sharing strategies for getting better, then the frontline rework came in and it died. God I miss that period.
No Quitters mod for Civ 5. Feels weird to complain about a mod but a bad call in a policy change in an update utterly derailed my monthly organised scrim and we never really came back.
And I guess currently Destiny 2. It’s less a decision and more just burnout. The move in vanilla to make playing everything a requirement to level finally destroyed my desire to level last season and now this season. I just want to play Crucible, I want to get better at competitive, I want to put the work into Mountaintop, and Destiny 2 just feels like it hates that I only want to do one thing.
Dailies, weeklies etc. are genuinely the bane of anything that looks remotely like an MMO for me, especially if they have unique rewards. Logging in should not give me a list of chores to do, that feels like work, I should be able to set my own goals, and when I was a teenager it created genuinely addictive behavior in me that kept me playing games (WoW in particular,) while hating every minute of it.
I refuse to play Magic Arena because of its quest system, and I love Magic. Fuck that noise, seriously.
I feel like Destiny would be so much more enjoyable if you just had “x” powerful gear bounties, that would progress from whatever you played. Strikes? They might take you a while, but throw in some NFs and you’ll get them done. Your squad only wants to raid? Sure, go wild. You only like Crucible? Grind away for the Mountaintop and get some powerful gear at the same time.
I also really dislike the way they paced out the content for Black Armoury. I’m honestly not sure it was significantly better than CoO, other than existing in a time of random rolls - the prophecy weapons with random rolls would have been pretty brilliant IMO. The pacing, and the catch up bounties have made me skip this season entirely, and I’ll come back for the last two weeks and tick off what I can
To be fair, this is literally an update in which the game died, as opposed to personal gripes with an update
And it RUINED EVERYTHING T^T
But my lack of a real answer here is basically because I never really see a single point as when a “living game” will be completely ruined forever, just points where you don’t like the game and then, separately, points where you no longer care about returning to the game.
For example, World of Warcraft lost its iron grip on me post-Burning Crusade, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t still pop in for a few months here and there time to time or pay attention to how the game was evolving. It really wasn’t until the current expansion and some extremely questionable story beats that I stopped following it. Doesn’t mean the game is ruined. Doesn’t mean next expansion can’t grab me. I’m just not as open to it as I once was.
Magic: The Gathering is another example. I haven’t enjoyed the game at all this expansion, but I’m still looking at every card reveal this spoiler season and excited to get back into Arena to try it out.
The only real way for a game to be ruined is for it to die, either by being taken down, like Gigantic, or just from lack of interest, like Monday Night Combat. I can’t return to these games, no matter how much I like their current iterations or how much I follow their scene.
I have so many thoughts about RuneScape.
As someone who played all through this period and never really was involved in merching I have really mixed feelings about the trade updates and the Grand Exchange (auction house). It absolutely was detrimental to large parts of the community as it existed and radically changed how the game was played, and they absolutely botched the implementation early on (a recurring theme with Jagex) particularly around PvP replacements. But at the same time, being able to bulk sell drops and buy resources and gear without spending an entire play session trying to find a merchant and to figure out and negotiate prices and not get scammed was absolutely a positive. I can’t imagine trying to play a traditional MMO these days without an auction house of some kind. It was such a different time.
That said, it extremely sucked that for years? price manipulation dominated the Grand Exchange and mass buyouts inflated and crashed prices of crucial items over and over, making it impossible to buy/sell key potions, gear and crafting materials for weeks at a time (something I’ve never heard of happening on that scale in any other traditional MMOs).
Player-run casinos and games of chance, typically scams, followed in this wake due to adjacent updates and the concentration of wealth facilitated by the Grand Exchange. It became very common to see wealthy players running gambling games in public spaces.
Whether it was a result of gold sellers adapting their tactics and inflating prices to create high value junk (this probably has a real world economic term, but I don’t know it - an item that has minimal practical value but which has a high price so it can be used as a proxy for wealth), or simply self-interested legitimate players doing the same, the combination of player chat channels and a simulated stock market absolutely allowed for already wealthy players (many of whom either had historical wealth via “rares” or must have bought gold) to accumulate even more wealth and power at an unprecedented scale and at the expense of everyone else.
It was bad. I learned a lot about economics, it was great. Eventually this all got patched or banned. In hindsight, it’s a fascinating parallel this economic crisis happened around 2008.
RuneScape mostly survived the trade updates of 2007 - it did not survive the Evolution of Combat in 2012 (and let’s not even mention the loot boxes).
So for those who don’t know, RuneScape was primarily played with a mouse. You’d click and right click to interact. Combat was simple - you click on an enemy and your character attacks it until one of you die or you click away. You drink potions, use prayers (buffs) and eat food and, in PvP, maybe gear switches. Some weapons had special attacks, which drained a percentage of a bar that refills over 5 minutes. The game overall was/is a very low-intensity one, and a lot of people played semi-AFK whilst watching videos or chatting. In many ways it was a casual multiplayer adventure game or social space first and an MMO second.
In 2012 developers Jagex decided that they needed to compete directly with games like WoW, and completely retooled the combat design to have a hotbar, manual ability rotation with synergies and reactive abilities and all that other stuff that MMOs were “supposed to have”. In a vacuum it was fine. I enjoyed it, even. It went terribly. They completely failed to account for how most players engaged with the game, had functionally no on-ramp and had just generally expected that players would want to play an entirely different genre of game.
As an example, public chat, dms and built in player-hosted chat channels were extremely common and typically positive way to interact with other players and a key part of how the game’s community flourished. When EoC happened, it became impossible to talk to other players whilst fighting because the keyboard focus went onto the hotbar rather than the chat box. Previously, players could coordinate via public chat in multiplayer scenarios - now they couldn’t. I co-ran the primary casual Dungeoneering (a teamwork-heavy roguelike minigame that unlocked what were at the time the highest level weapons) group around the time of the update - now it was extremely frustrating to coordinate in a minigame that demanded player communication, and basically unplayable at a high level without external voice chat. For real, that minigame is probably one of my favourite games of all time.
As months and years passed eventually Jagex rolled out updates that pulled back on EoC’s mechanics, offered various tiers of automatic mode for ability-driven combat and eventually settled on a reasonable combat balance. I kept playing, but I’m not sure the game ever really recovered from such a huge percentage of the playerbase being alienated both from the game and from each other - pretty visible in the huge support for Old School RuneScape when it was announced, and the complete desolation of RuneScape 3 in comparison.
What I understand now that I didn’t at the time is that the key thing Jagex were missing was accessibility. RuneScape was always a more casual social game with a minimal barrier to entry and relatively low physical and mental demands and the Evolution of Combat update massively and suddenly raised that barrier for even the most capable player. That they added accessibility options later missed the point - the long-term players who needed those tools then had already been excluded and moved on.
I just wish they had fixed the liquidity crisis that cripples Vicky2 in the late game. It’s such a special game in so many ways but the economic system just… breaks, past a certain point.
This immediately reminded me of Battlefield Heroes and I’m still sad about what happened with what was otherwise a pretty fun G.I. Joe inspired cartoony rendition of the series.
When that update rolled out that completely redid the in game economy the game was basically killed. You went from being able to rent a gun for a month if you played for about 2 or 3 hours a day for a week to only being able to rent for a few days at a time and requiring you to put in 5 hours a day to maintain them. It also meant if you had the money to buy the weapons with premium currency you were immediately at an advantage.
I don’t think these really count, but I was big into Warcraft 3 competitive around RoC-era as an orc player. When Frozen Throne came out, it definitely added significant improvements to making the game better, I would never argue otherwise, but I was never able to adapt to the changes they made. Always felt like orcs didn’t get much of a buff in the jump from RoC to TFT while the other 3 races’s new units and changes made them all much better. That’s less of an update ruining a game and more just me having trouble adapting my strategies and play to changes and additions, though. Likewise, I had a similar thing happen in Starcraft 2 where this one particular balance patch basically nerfed the strategy I had come to rely on in my Terran play into the ground.
In both cases, it’s not that the games were ruined or even made worse in any way, it’s just that I had become too used to playing the games one way and an update/expansion came in that changed that just enough that I bounced off rather than adapt. (Though, to be clear, I proceeded to spend thousands of hours playing custom games and making mods/maps for WC3, so me no longer playing the RTS portion of WC3 didn’t stop me from enjoying the hell out of the game. I don’t think there will ever be any other game I put as much time into.)
I can’t remember what expansion or update it was that changed this, but in the old days of World of Warcraft (this was maybe during Wrath?) as a Warlock, there was a skill that let you grab some of your demon’s mana and make it your own. This made them what was known as a “mana battery,” so I almost never had to worry about running out of mana and could DPS away. When this skill was removed, I can’t even say it “ruined,” the experience because it was pretty unbalanced. I still miss feeling so overpowered though lol
You rented weapons?
Yeah the game had a free currency that you could use to buy things like consumables and rent weapons. It was originally structured in such a way that you could easily get all of that without having to put in too much time. None of it felt game breaking because you basically had to get about 8 hours of game time in and you could get whatever you wanted for an entire month. If you ever played Blacklight Retribution it was a similar model.
However the game wasn’t making enough money as EA higher ups wanted off skins, this was during the initial F2P boom, and so the team was forced to restructure the economy of the game which made it inherently pay to win because now no one could afford the gun rentals.
That does seem like the sort of model which would have not survived the F2P boom. I genuinely couldn’t imagine renting something in a game based on its own internal currency.
The update for World of Tanks that radically changed the matchmaking system killed my enthusiasm for the game, though I hear they’ve changed it again since. The idea was to make it so that there wouldn’t be games where players had to face off against large numbers of tanks up to two tiers higher than their own in the tech tree (which were better armored, had better guns, etc.) by making sure that the lowest tier of tanks made up the plurality of tanks on each side. The ideal game was supposed to be 7 lower tier tanks, 5 mid tier tanks, and 3 top tier tanks. But all it ended up doing at the higher tech tiers like tier 8 was make sure that in every game you played you were always bottom tier, and thus in the weakest tanks on the field. And that was the main tier I played at. Having a more random chance of being top or mid tier with the occasional game where everyone else was in stronger tanks than you was better than always being in the bottom tier, even if that was now the plurality of tanks on the field. Apparently that update actually hurt the overall player population on the North American and European servers as well.