5 of the Worst Issues Plaguing Mobile MMORPGs

Jun 27, 2021 | 0 Votes by Mikhail - rate Your vote
Mobile MMORPGs are extremely popular today, and they bring you a whole new world at your fingertips. However, they have a lot of issues, which we’ll discuss here. WWGDB - 5 of the Worst Issues Plaguing Mobile MMORPGs

When mobile games became a thing back in the day, it was only a matter of time before smartphones could support MMORPGs. After all, we all grew up playing popular titles like Ragnarok Online, RAN Online, and western MMOs like Runescape and World of Warcraft. When these MMORPGs started appearing, we expected them to live up to their console counterparts. We couldn’t be more wrong.

Although they’re nicely wrapped in beautiful visuals and let you explore a fantasy world at your fingertips, they have many problems. Here are some of which:

Autoplay/autopathing/autobattle - extreme casualization

Even popular games have autopath

Hypercasual games and mechanics in mobile titles are all right, considering their target audience does not consist of people who call themselves gamers.

However, in the case of MMORPGs, this is unacceptable. The extreme casualization of open and semi-open world adventure MMOs is a bane to the gaming industry, resulting in somewhat subpar experiences. The most notable factors in this fiasco are the autoplay, autopath, and autobattle mechanic. In short, these aspects let players play the game for them, enabling their character to progress with no interaction at all.

With that in mind, we can’t help but ask: what is the point of playing an MMORPG if you don’t want to have a hand in strengthening your character and exploring the world? Sure, you’ll progress to higher levels with zero effort, but does this feel fulfilling? It negates the menial tasks of finding quest-givers, grinding against enemies, and performing quests, but does it mean you’ll be invested in the game? We don’t believe so, and we’re sure these kinds of games lose players after a short amount of time.

Heavy focus on microtransactions

Mobile games today have a heavy focus on microtransactions

Mobile MMORPGs’ business model heavily relies on microtransactions, milking money from casual users. They do so by introducing premium currency and posting special shop offers whenever players log in, coaxing them to purchase. Some sell booster packs, more robust equipment, and VIP status, while others sell skins and cosmetics, which is fair. Casual players, who aren’t exactly the most informed in-game item buyers, will end up making purchases that won’t exactly give them the right value for the money they’ve spent.

Being pay-to-win

Unfortunately, a lot of MMORPGs are pay-to-win

Thanks to the sheer amount of microtransactions and the nature of the items being sold, mobile MMORPGs will almost always be pay-to-win unless if they only exclusively sell cosmetics or PvE items.

In turn, this will coax countless players, especially ultra-competitive ones, into buying enhancement items that will give them an advantage. Of course, this will put non-paying players at a disadvantage whenever they engage in PvP activities like Arena battles. Moreover, if they want to go on top of the leaderboard, they’ll be pressured to spend more. This will take the fun away from the game, especially free players who don’t want to pay a cent.

MMORPGs don’t translate well on mobile

Many games just look good, but barely provide anything else underneath the surface

MMORPGs require a significant time investment, and because of this, it’s not suited for a casual platform that specializes in delivering quick and easy experiences. Just imagine diving into a game comparable to World of Warcraft on a smartphone. You’ll likely spend dozens of hours staring at a phone screen, but at the same time, the experience will be subpar compared to what you’ll get on a PC or a console. Why? Well:

- The visuals won’t be as attractive, given that there will be a downgrade.
- Performance issues.
- Controls and input. It’s difficult to compress skills and item buttons, and numerous other in-game elements in a phone screen. Even if the developers manage to do so, it’ll result in an eyesore of an interface.

Probably the most significant factor is the kind of gameplay MMORPGs deliver. For example, the typical gameplay loop consists of creating a character and spending many hours performing quests and exploring its sprawling world. This experience isn’t fully optimized on mobile, and a smartphone not an ideal platform for exploring Azeroth, Tamriel, or Hydaelyn.

Attractive, yet shallow

Black Desert does have casualization, but it's far better than its peers

I’m sure you can agree with me when I say that there are plenty of mobile MMORPGs that appear attractive on the surface but are just a cut from the same dough. Except for games like Black Desert Mobile and Lineage II, some games try to entice players with what appears to be console-level graphics. Pair these up with rather seductive characters, wings, and level one mounts that look level 100 in other games, and you’ll have their main selling points. Once you download and play, you’ll then discover they’re shallow experiences bent on making you spend money on microtransactions.

All things considered, I honestly believe mobile is the next primary medium for MMORPGs, although there’s a need for a significant overhaul. Not many gamers want to play games that have autoplay, and it’s just not sustainable. Moreover, microtransactions have to change so that boosters and items won’t have to be pay-to-win.

In your case, what do you think? What are some of the worst issues in the world of mobile MMORPGs, and what can developers and the community do to fix them?

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