What's better, a game with thousands of complete strangers, or one in which up to 100 of your closest friends can play together whenever they want at their own pace? Commenter IncrediBurch makes a compelling argument for the latter in today's massively multiplayer edition of Speak Up on Kotaku.
I think MMO's try too hard at the very thing they stand for. The Massively Multiplayer portion seems to get exaggerated in a way that isn't really conducive to what players really want.
I can see how in MMORPGs the many players inside the world helps make the game feel alive. It even becomes its own kind of social network.
However, I'd like to see more MMO's become less massive. Instead of MMO's that allow in hundreds of players at once, how about modes that just allow people to have as many of their friends they'd like into the game?
My friend circle is roughly 12 people large who are in-sync on gaming tastes. Most commonly, we get 5-7 people together for one session. There are very few games that let more than four people play at once in one mode.
Sometimes we even have to settle for playing against each other rather than all playing cooperatively. I'd like to have some more games where we can do 7 people cooperatively, or form a 7 person team to go on and fight another team the same size or not.
It's not so much an issue with games that have versus, as free-for-all often supports up to eight player. However, we could use some bigger cooperative player support. I'm not asking for thousands, or even 50 people at once. 20 is fine for me, and I believe that would be fine for a lot of other people too.