What Makes a Good Mobile MMORPG?

What Makes a Good Mobile MMORPG?

Today I want to just.. talk to you guys. I’ve played quite a few Mobile MMORPGs over the last year for the channel, and it got me thinking.. What actually makes a good Mobile MMO?
So many games feel so empty – lacking any real depth. I believe this is more a symptom of a much larger problem though – and that problem? A lack of creativity.
Mobile MMO developers specifically, seem to want to take advantage of nostalgia by creating games within the world of popular IPs without really taking the time to figure out why those MMOs were so popular on PC in the first place.

As an example, we have Blade & Soul mobile games, Aion mobile games, Lineage mobile games, Final Fantasy XI coming to mobile, Mabinogi mobile, Black Desert mobile, Bless mobile, MapleStory mobile… the list goes on.
Yet when you go into the vast majority of them, they all feel so similar. You know why that is? Because they don’t want to risk innovating.
So, with this in mind I just wanted to talk about what I think makes a good mobile MMORPG and I’d love to hear from you guys as well with regards to your thoughts on the subject.

So when these new mobile MMOs are announced, whether they be a brand new IP or based on an already existing IP, for the most part they all look incredible.
Often looking substantially better than their PC versions. Graphics, to me, have never been an issue in MMOs. I love WoW and have loved it since vanilla. Yet even so, graphics are always absolutely stunning in these games.
Whenever I see a new mobile MMO I sit there for a moment and think to myself “Holy crap, this actually looks incredible. When did mobile games get so good looking?”

But then I feel as though that’s about as far as they go doing things right.

One thing I really dislike in mobile games is auto-play. I’ve never liked auto-play in games. Auto-combat is a strong dislike as well but at the same time I’m perfectly happy with some auto-combat in the form of auto-attacks.
I feel like turn-based combat did auto-attacks justice in old JRPGs, and thus auto-attacks, like those found in tab-target MMOs are more than acceptable.
But I dislike when I have no control over my character – or when the AI does a better job at fighting then I do when I’m supposed to be the one playing the game.
I know a lot of mobile games are made easier – so you can have a more “hands off” approach, but that isn’t what MMOs are supposed to be.

Another thing I dislike is pay to win. This is very prevalent in South Korean and Chinese MMOs, yet even then games like Blade & Soul or Aion, heck even Black Desert fail to reach the levels of pay to win that I’ve seen mobile games reach.
People spend thousands, tens of thousands of dollars per month in mobile games – so many of them – to get ahead and it’s.. kinda ridiculous.
I’ll admit, I’ve spent my fair share of money on cosmetic items in games, but I’ve never paid to get ahead. Even level boots I tend to avoid so I can learn my character on the way to max level.

Then there’s the story – or a lack thereof. I swear the majority of the time the story is so overwhelmingly.. lacking, that it’s kinda laughable to believe there’s even one present.
I’m a fan of story in games, which is why Final Fantasy XIV is probably my favorite MMO of all time. I know even PC MMOs are guilty of lacking a story to follow but my god if mobile MMOs didn’t take things significantly further.
And don’t even get me started on translations. Most the time the localization is terrible!

To me, a good Mobile MMORPG is one that PC gamers and Console gamers can both look at and say “You know what, this doesn’t play anything like a mobile game.”
This is a game that has a story, this is a game that has combat that requires you pay attention and be present for, this is a game that requires exploration and has depth.
This is a game that doesn’t exist right now but moving into the future very likely will.

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