5 MMORPG Gameplay Features We Absolutely Hate

MMORPGs have the ability to provide an experience unlike any other gaming genre on the market today. Many games meld open world antics and unique character advancement, with a sense of persistence and social aspects that you really can’t find just anywhere. After decades of maturing, MMORPGs have changed in many ways, both positive and negative. Sure, it’s easy to knock some of the monetization changes that have risen in popularity over the years, but in this article, we’re tackling 5 gameplay features that we absolutely hate.

Dozens of Currencies

A big part of an MMORPG is building an in-game economy that makes sense. Usually this revolves around auction houses, and a standard digital currency, like gold. Many games these days have added a cash-currency for in game items that you spend real money for, such as gems, diamonds, or specialized coins. In general, these two kinds of currencies make plenty of logical sense, and they aren’t entirely difficult for most players to grasp and earn.

But alas, there was a problem. How will players get rewarded for participating in new activities? You can’t have PvPers using plain old gold to buy Raid gear, can you? Suddenly, split currencies began to pop up all over the place. Suddenly, a simple digital and cash currency, turned into new reward currencies for every new gameplay mode, every new earnable reward, and even some specialized upgrade systems. Guild Wars 2, for instance, has over 50 currencies! At what point do we say enough is enough with new currency types?

Convoluted Upgrade Systems

Upgrading your character, gear, and items is a must in an MMORPG. There is nothing that I love better than being able to really dive into a character build, with unique class tree choices and exciting gear set bonuses. It’s easy to think that the more choices you have to build out and spec your character, the better off you’ll be, and there may have been a time where that was right. Then, gear and character progression started shifting into a complex yet unified blob of Gear Score’s and Combat Power. In the very basic of cases, gear score doesn’t need to be too complex. You earn a few gear sets, and as you equip those pieces, your score grows and you’re able to tackle tougher content.

However, these days we have some extremely complex upgrade systems that nickel and dime every choice you make. Not only do we have to find all manner of new materials to upgrade pieces of gear and weapons, but we have item levels, attributes, and sometimes erroneous material sinks that don’t directly assist your character in any way, apart from pumping your Combat Power. Black Desert Mobile is one of many games that really drives home the convoluted upgrade system problem. Combat power in Black Desert is an accumulation of all of your gear, enhancements, skill levels, your camp build, and of course your Black Spirit. It’s easy to get lost in all of these different systems, where you have to juggle every little thing in order to advance, even just a few point of Combat Power.

Time Gating

Sometimes, when you love something, time apart can only make that love grow stronger, but in MMORPG’s there was a time where, if you wanted to earn a reward, or you really enjoyed a game mode, you could play it for hours on end, seeking your desired rewards without much of a penalty. Obviously, there were times where the gear drops you wanted were scarce, and sometimes a game required excessive grinding to obtain certain items, but those situations also built relationships with players after multiple dungeons run and hours of mob grinding.

Of course, too much of a good thing somehow became the bane of the game world as a whole. Suddenly, you could only play certain end-game modes a limited number of times a day, or in some cases, you may be locked out of a game mode for at least a week. In addition to that, currencies, rewards and items were restrained so that you could only earn a strict amount, forcing you to return the following day if you wanted to progress. Some games even time gate game modes just so that they can sell additional game-mode tokens and reward unlocks if players wish to continue.

For some games, like Lost Ark, players will deal with raid caps, where you can only obtain the main source of loot a certain number of times a day. Developers then implement loopholes, allowing players to swap to other characters, which is really just an additional times gate, forcing you to level multiple characters if you want to run additional raids and be adequately compensated for it.

Monotonous Questing

Jobs generally aren’t well known for being fun. At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that a FedEx driver feels as though they’ve completed a grand adventure, but in MMORPGs, where the world is saturated with danger and every interaction is of dire necessity, delivering an item from one place to another is considered heroic. Whether you’re cutting down packs of wolves that threaten a nearby village, or you’ve been hired by a king to defeat a graveyard of zombies, what you’re tasked with in an MMORPG should be adventurous and meaningful.

Yet after more than two decades, gamers are often tasked with quests that all run together. Eventually, a story of “kill 10 rats” starts to become meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The journey has started to feel far less adventurous, and extremely monotonous to the point that even the developers have realized that most of the content they are putting together could just as easily be bypassed with an “autoplay” feature. A good example of this trend is a new game to hit the market, Ni No Kuni: Crossworlds. The game is on both mobile and PC, but no matter where you’re playing it, autoplay will take over the majority of what you’ll be doing. When questing is so monotonous that it makes more sense to automate the entire process of leveling rather than task players with staying present for their adventure, you know something somewhere went terrible wrong.

Gender Locking

In MMORPG’s one of the coolest things is that we get to be whoever and whatever we want, within reason. That means if I want to be a female dwarf warrior, that is totally my prerogative. Choice is key in a roleplaying game, and it lets the imagination wander, and opens up a lot of interesting choices for gear options, even if many of those gear options may be impractical and wholly unnecessary. While these days, the idea of gender in regards to anything can be accompanied by a slew of opinions that I sincerely hope won’t bleed into our comments section, it all comes down to one simple concept – let players play what they want when it comes to characters and classes. Many eastern MMOs employ gender locked classes, and in some ways, it makes sense. When you gender lock a class, it reduces the amount of work you have to do and the total cost of the project in relation to creating gear, animating effects, and handling customization of character models.

However, some games take this way too far, forcing not just a class into a gender locked box, but an entire gameplay style. There are situations where a particular weapon type, such as a magic staff or a bow, are strictly beholden to specific races or genders. When Lost Ark released earlier this year, there were several classes that were gender locked, which the developers have since pledged to remedy. We’ve also seen a complete reversal of gender entirely. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis removed gender completely, opting for masculine and feminine settings instead, which is certainly another way to do things. When it comes to players, most would opt to just let gamers play what class they want, how they want, with as few restrictions as possible.


Steven has been a writer at MMORPG.COM since 2017. A lover of many different genres, he finds he spends most of his game time in action RPGs, and talking about himself in 3rd person on his biography page.