It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
There has been a lot of discussion on the state of MMORPGs these day, and Bioware and SWTOR seem to be the whipping boy of everything that is wrong with MMORPGs. There are two companies we should be looking at before Bioware: Blizzard and (puts flame retardant suit on) Trion.
The main point of the 'Content Locust' artice was that MMORPGs used to be about the journey, not the destination. Now MMO developers think we want endgame, endgame, and more endgame and dont care about the journey.
When WoW released in 2004 it was very much about the Journey. Yes, it was much faster than EQ and its in to level, but it still took time. I think the fastest time ever to level from scratch in Vanilla was more than 6 days /played, and this was after people analyzed the most efficient route possible. In both newer games people hit the cap, without such heavy analysis in less than 3. Rift can be done in less than 2. And since there is little to no exploring in the new games the average player is *far* closer to the rushing player. It took people months to cap in WoW. In SWTOR and Rift it took weeks. Now compare WoWs early retention vs. Rift and SWTOR. yes, there are other factors at play but WoW had superior retention. Rift and SWTOR had an extremely noticeable drop after the first month. And a *lot* of these are bored at 50s who dont give a rats ass about their toon because it was so easy to get where they are at, there was no journey just a small trip.
So why am I blaming Blizzard? Think how long it took you to go from 80 to 85 in Cataclysm. If you didnt play it, the answer is not long. A week for most people. A day for the hardcore. Blizzard has obviouslt shifted to funneling you to endgame as fast as possible. 1-60 even used to require you to explore a bit, see the other continent, maybe do dungeons. Now? You outlevel whatever zone you are in befre they even give you a bread crumb to the next zone. And this is exactly what they do with their new content. Endgame Endgame Endgame. This is what other developers see, and sadly what they copy.
Which brings me to Trion. Everyones favorite developer. Lets keep throwing praise at their fast udates, shall we? Because this is what we want! Fast updates! MOAR CONTENT!
Look back at the compaints about Rift from the (many) people that left after a month or so. How often does 'small world' come up? Clearly the answer to this is to ADD ENDGAME CONTENT!!!!! Endgame Endgame Endgame. Not a single bit of content Trion has added has done anything for the journey. Its all about giving people their next bit of content to grind. And with the exception of Ember Isle, the content has been stuff to grind repeatedly. Chronicles? Do em daily for currency! IAs? Hey do your 7 for more currency. CAdaceus Rise? MOAR CURRENCY. Ember Isle at least added some land mass and is really a wonderful place, but where is the 1-49 stuff? Nowhere, because of Trions fundamental game design flaw.
The journey doesnt matter. Its just a small stepping stone. It makes you wonder why is it even there? In many cases you wont even be playing the same "class" with the same abilities at max level anyway, youll be playing 3 other ones. It is so insignifcant, and doesnt give you lasting memories. Remember Crushbone? How about Deadmines? You know why you dont look back fondly on your first dungeons in Rift? Because you repeated them at the endgame (thanks, Blizzard for this charming addition to MMORPGs). You probably outleveled half of them before you had the chance to do em anyway.
Now Bioware deserves its whippings too. But to beat it while praising Trion and letting Blzzard get off easy because of its past doesnt make sense.