The survival genre is quickly taking grip of the MMO world and with an exciting variety of survival MMO games available today, there's no shortage of the adrenaline fueled survival experience that so many gamers crave. The likes of DayZ, Nether and 7 Days to Die are offering gamers a whole new take on the MMO experience, focusing on interesting survival mechanics and deadly interactions with other players. But for all the exciting elements of the survival genre there's a reoccurring problem showing its ugly face at almost every turn, loot.
Practically every survival MMO game of today shares the same approach to looting. Players are forced to explore, sometimes for hours on end, as they scavenge for a variety of items such a medical supplies, weapons, food, and other gear vital to survival. There are a number of problems with this approach to looting and problems that each of the games share.
The first problem is wasting time. Nobody enjoys spending hours with nothing to show for it but it's a dirty hole that all survival titles have jumped into. You can literally spend hours as a gamer in the latest survival MMO titles and come across nothing but a few low-quality loot items and useless junk.
Secondly is the way that loot is categorized and respawns. DayZ and Nether are huge culprits of this. Certain high-quality items and weapons will only spawn in specific locations, such as military bases or police stations, removing the survival experience and replacing it with - run to point A, loot, run to point B, horde and camp for others. You can spend 2 hours searching certain towns and villages, encountering nobody as they're all in the same spot fighting for the more difficult loot.
Lastly, respawning. This is all dependent on the game you're playing but they all share the same problems. Sometimes items respawn over certain periods of time, others respawn randomly between set periods and some respawn once there are no players in the vicinity. All of these approaches can be abused and they are on a regular basis.
So what's the solution? Well some games, such as Last of Humanity, are tackling the problem from a different angle. No respawning at all. As players explore the procedurally generated game world they'll encounter new areas and zones filled with loot. Once these areas have been looted the player-base will be forced to continue exploring, constantly adapting to the world around them and discovering new things, both aspects of a true survival experience.
Whether or not that approach will work has yet to be seen but one things for sure, someone needs to inject some enthusiasm if they hope to keep the survival MMO genre on the scene.