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I have to say personally I like the thoughts you've wrote on the subjects casual gameplay, the grind, etc. MMOWTF..exactly
I've been wanting to put my 2 cents in on the subject as well. Granted this is 21'st century entertainment, and it is evolving. I've been playing for many years...suffice to say...many years..lol. Ok, I had an Atari pong when it came out and was mid teen years. moved up to Intellivision with the audio adapter for B-17 Bomber. ( bandits...6 o'clock ). Fast forward, to the time of DOS and the PC, and became quite intimate with Sierra games Kings Quest series. I don't personnally know her but know of her, and I must say Roberta Williams probably has an interesting sense of humor add to the games a phrase of " odds bodsskins". Fast forward some more to delve through various other titles like Return of the Mummy and misc other rpg's. Bare with me hear as my quick trip down short term memory lane brings me to some 8 or 10 years ago when my then 12 year old daughter came to me with a horrific story of being killed in a game she was playing by some ruthless daughter slaying PK'r. You can imagine my outrage by this. Retribution was the least of what I had in mind. Someone was going to pay dearly in an unsavory manner for even remotely suggesting my one and only beloved would suffer harm . I was instantly immersed into the wonderous, fantastic world of....Diablo. My mission was clear...I would save her at any and all costs, forsaking anything I might need to go through to learn what it would take to max level and forever in that realm be a true hero and Pallidin. I met some good friends to quickly show me the ropes. I explained I would thwart any and all comers. NO ONE would harm my child ever again. 5 YEARS later, victim of several pk's, body poppings, and countless lost duels I found true love of my first MMORPG. Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction is and always will be part of my history, indulgence in escapism, and investment of entertainment, and at 45 years of age and the current rate of what the industry is become, my most loved game of choice.
I've built up my system to handle anything avialable to date. I anticipate great things from hype, ( thanks alot marketing geniouses ) from the names and titles to come. I've ground ( grind plural ) in L2, DDO, Horizons, Oblivion, Ferentus, RYL, Last Chaos, WOW, GW, Dungeon Siege, paid useless homage to DnL and being subjected to It's bogus billings, fell into the bogus unfinished hype of Vanguard ( lvl 20 orc dreadknight ) , LOTRO ( jury still out, Turbine has progressed since DDO ) and then lastly scored a beta key to try NCSoft's Dungeon Runners...hmm wierd they jacked and plagerized my beloved Diablo in an off sort of way. Go ahead and call me the disgrundled gamer, but as I see it a day late and a dollar short of what they should've done with the potential of L2. ( long live the memory of Hellsfire alliance ) . But I digress... occasionally...
I have a career. I have alot of spare time. I also have cash to throw at 21'st century entertainment, 50" big screens are the shit. When dissatisfied or bored or a good new movie comes along, I find that entertaining as well. The similarity between movies and games is astounding, it's the way our history of entertainment is, and will be going for some time. Both have a mix of interest to the masses, but you cant alway please everyone all the time. You don't have to subject yourself to something you find objectionable. But the classics should get the respect they deserve. The patronage of the following should prove that, and it does. So my long winded point is: During the time we invest / spend for our entertainment / escapism should be reciprocated in the return for it. When I run off to ( fill in the blank, name of world you enjoy ) I DO NOT want to think of car, mortgage, utility, taxes or any other real worldly responsibility. I DO NOT want to remember I work to Iive and choose freely not to live to work! I want to escape, to be alone and conquere or siege opposing wrongdoers with an alliance. I want to be GODLY. I want to have riches beyond imagination. I want to find the mystical magical powerful sword / armor of ludicrous potential . FFS it's a fantasy, let us have it so that is should be just that. I don't know what to tell all the people that want to simulate real world hardships, grind, and mediocrity in there gaming experience...maybe try getting a job?
Originally posted by blaam Originally posted by Endemondia A great article that acknowledges the limitations of the business design for MMORPG but also hits the nail on the head - DA GRIND can be a waste of our time on this planet. I loved Guildwars for the very reason that to max level only took a week and so gaining levels was no longer an issue. The game play (playing not grinding) and most important the pvp is 2nd to none. Voted the best game last year i see. However the article does touch on the solution. With spawning and no perma-death DA GRIND is inevitable. Bring in perma-death and leveling will not be the key issue but simply staying alive will. XP will still be important but role playing in a game where life and death is the key aim (i.e. don't die!) will alter the sense of grind - of course it should be perma death for the monsters too - but it does not take a genius to recognise that monsters are respawned but with a new skin.... In other words grinding is inevitably boring because if you die you just respawn just like the monsters/enemy. Imagine if every time you risk gaining experience you also risk losing it all. Not for the faint hearted but certainly will inject the so called GRIND with an infusion of intensity never seen before in an mmorpg. I am not here to labour the point just to say Dan has stumbled across (or deliberatly dropped a hint about) the answer. Lets hope a publisher or games company grows big enough balls to try it because in evolutionary terms it is the next step for mmorpg...gladiator style! lol
sorry! Are you defending Da Grind because gamers should be more imaginative when they grind? i.e. if one plays in a style that makes grinding fun it will be????It is acknowledged by most people here that Da Grind is one of the worst aspects of mmorpging and any one who says take WoW for instance is like saying well if you eat food, Macdonalds is a really good example of eating food....it is poor game design - pure and simple. WE know why - due to the limitations of the games industry and market forces. So what if WoW is popular. It does not justify grind. Macdonalds is popular but I would not take a date there unless she was retarded. (YES..i am saying playing WoW is for retards by the way! }:). Good gaming..online or other wise is about having agonistic, aleactic, ilinx and hopefully mimicry entertainment (I quote my games lecturer here!) I can't tell games designers to stop making easy money off of the 6 trillion idiots who grind to level 60 (i got to 15 before recognizing what a turd WoW is) but as a paying customer I would like the games designers to recognise that they have to stay one yard in front of the herd to keep making money - pioneers such as myself and my illustrious scriber Dan are suggesting at a higher echelon of gaming experience and remedies to the malady that is DA GRIND. N.B. I loved the guildwars journey to level 20 because there was a point to the story line....ascending among one of them and did it with about 6 characters -although the first time was the best. Sadly I spend most of my time grinding on D&D online so I am as big a bitch as any one for sucking up DA GRIND. so point taken I have stylized my play to enjoy the grind some what! But i still think perma death would take it to the next level - e.g. give more meaning to the gaining of experience points/staying alive is the chief goal and not hiting a certain level be it 20 or 70! make killing x number of monkey spiders a seriously worthy experience as your charcter's life is on the line (mimicry)
Originally posted by Razperil Nice way to mispell "The".....columnist.. Anways, Most games involve a grind. You either accept it or you don't. Get over it and be a man for a damn change. My god, how many columns do we need on this crap? The old days are gone.. no used complaining about it. And for your information, WoW has always been a grind. Guess the weed helps with that huh? No more comments!
Originally posted by blaam Originally posted by vajuras Blaam you have a good point but Guild Wars absolutely does not have grind. You must not have played it. You can create a max level character from the start and jump right into pvp! Please, please play Guild Wars people before you try to diss it lolIf you choose to go PvE route you can stick to the main RPG storyline complete with cutscenes. You hit level 20 automatically upon completion. No grind whatsoever. I know, I did it with 3 toons.
i actually did played during beta.. didnt like it.. bought nightfall and had lot of fun with my heros.. so i bought the 2 first addon and did all campains
i was jsut pointing at what was said about getting to lvl 20 in a week and have fun, too me it reflects well what happen in mmorpg's in general i means rush themax lvl like if only the high lvl content was worth it and THATs what takes away lot of fun un a MMORPG imo
ps : i ll jsut add that nightfall has lot of grinds farming titles is a pain and you have to od it if you whillling to lvl up some important titles that give you a huge hedge in the elite areas (spent a month grinding it off jsut to have the pleasure to be able to do it with my derviche and my heros )
Originally posted by qombi I think MMORPGs will always take time to max out your character. I really don't even like how fast you max a character out in WoW but it at least takes a little time. I really hope people on here are not calling WoW a grind because it isnt at all. If a game feels like a grind to you at any point you should quit it. I honestly would not play a game I wasn not enjoying. I myself enjoy character development which sadly many MMORPGs don't allow much of. WoW does a little with talent points which is okay. I enjoy more freedom myself. If anyone has played Rubies of Eventide you would know they have some awesome ideas there but also some major issues. Let me just extract what they are doing right. Rubies have wonderful character development. This is because you as the player do it. They give you the points from leveling and you place them where you want. Sure you can really gimp yourself but it is all up to you. You have complete freedom. You can create a pure melee character and give him all points in magic if you wanted. Would it be a good idea? Heck no, but you can do it!I love this freedom and I wish it would be mimicked out there in the MMORPG world. Unfortunately Rubies is also plagued with a original battle system which is horrid and limited content. For the people talking about grind, think about what a MMORPG is. The game is about interacting with people. You guys are losing yourself in trying to be the best or have the best gear, be top level the fastest. All these things is why you feel the grind. Quest and solo are removing why EQ was such a fun game. It didn't have all those quest to remove the freedom to choose what to do. The players socialized, they talked about what monsters they were going to hunt. They hunted in parties mainly and it was the most fun I have ever had in a game. Was it because of the awesome content and flashy graphics thrown at me? No. It was about the community and the fun I had playing with them. The players made thier own content and it was better than anything WoW could offer. WoW feels like they are leading you through a stale static game. EQ felt like a breathing living world where you could do anything. I say less content and more socializing. Throw us a world out there with creatures and secrets, let us find them not some quest giver. Make each class have seperate skills that complete a party to kill monsters. It requires coming together to take down the baddies. People are missing what made this genre.
I don't want to write this, and you don't want to read it. But now it's too late for both of us.
The problem I see is that the MMO's forget why we are playing online. Interaction with other players is the key.
People are willing to spend insane amounts of time and energy in these games because the pay-off is bigger. All the other players can see the results, and benefit from them or even die by them. Hardcore and PVP players are the extreme proof of that. But casual players like me start asking questions after a while. Why am I spending so much time on this? What's the point? What am I getting out of this? The fun factor starts slipping away. Being online with people around the world to kill rats for X hours a week gets old.
The game that has the right mix of leveling mobs, content, sandbox activities, immersive story, and social elements will be the next gen MMO A game we can "play" and not "try to level".
I'm keeping my eye on "Fallen Earth".
And Yeebo, great post! Also love your Turtletamer Avatar, I'm currently an Accordian Thief.
(\_/)(O.o)(> <) This is Bunny. Copy Bunny into your signature to help him on his way to world domination!
Originally posted by kabana The problem I see is that the MMO's forget why we are playing online. Interaction with other players is the key. People are willing to spend insane amounts of time and energy in these games because the pay-off is bigger. All the other players can see the results, and benefit from them or even die by them. Hardcore and PVP players are the extreme proof of that. But casual players like me start asking questions after a while. Why am I spending so much time on this? What's the point? What am I getting out of this? The fun factor starts slipping away. Being online with people around the world to kill rats for X hours a week gets old. The game that has the right mix of leveling mobs, content, sandbox activities, immersive story, and social elements will be the next gen MMO A game we can "play" and not "try to level". I'm keeping my eye on "Fallen Earth".
It is pathos we lack, and this lack of pathos makes the worlds we explore quite stale.
Originally posted by Wolfrider Originally posted by Samuraisword I like grinding, it separates the men from the boys. Boys just lack endurance.
Originally posted by Settingsun Mmos cost a huge amount of money to make, so there just isn't enough to go around cuts need to be made somewhere.You can make the world smaller (but add pathing to make it seem bigging), you can limit the number of races and classes, you can have limited customization or you can use kill X mob and fed-ex quests and grinding. The point being a dev has to make cuts somewhere or they risk running out of money and releasing a half done game or selling off their game engine to bring in some cash.Maybe in time as the idea of game modules become more popular, overhead cost will lower and the grind will fade away. Of course all games will look and play sorta the same, but you can't have everything.
Originally posted by xxGuyxx Every MMORPG needs at least a little grinding, otherwise everyone would be max level within a month, and then the game would be incredibly boring. On the other hand, certain games could use a lot less of a grind(*cough*Maplestory*cough*Conquer Online*cough). I think there should multiple options for leveling. In one game I play there are multiple options for a player to level, starting at 15, then even more options at higher levels(although most of the time there's only one really good option with the others giving a bit less exp).
IronOre - Forging the Future
Thats why i play EVE online.
I dont need to grind mobs/quests/reputation to be good.
Just fly around all day, pirate/pvp fun alone, go hang with my m8s on abit of hunting or mining escorting and get nice cash or equipment without feeling its like a JOB.
It still has the best economy, graphics, comunity and content of any game out there.
You want to trade or build or handle diplomatic relations or PVP or just PVE and have fun doing it.. its the game for you.
Its a game for the smart and more mature people i could say and those who HAVE the most free time wont get the best things like in most MMOs out there.
Sure alot of peeps say its a difficult game and they dont understand it. But if u have patience and give it a week then you will discover the greatest MMO out there.
Well sure if u want a BIG SWORD and endless beating on mobs this isnt the game for ya.
Although we got the HUGE ships and the BIG cannons and the biggest virtual world out there. Everything is on one server and everyone is in there. FUN.
Great article btw. and its very true that most MMOS feel like a job .. you need to play alot to be GOOD and the fun factor goes away.
EVE success is that there is no leveling. and the skills u need to train can be trained in time you dont have to be online. smartest thing i saw yet in a game.
I just have high hopes for Star Trek online. hopefully it will deliver. but if S.F. isnt your thing you'll have to wait for another game and hope it doesnt have DRAGONS in it AGAIN.
Thepwnblog.com - MMORPG blog
Is it a grind or not?
MMOg's are all about developing a character, making it stronger so that you can explore more areas and aquire more wealth in game. Unfortunately this is considered a grind because more often than not the game design is such that it is, indeed a grind.
Level games have made grinding an accepted part of gameplay. Leveled zones, where you grind out quests and critters so that you can level and proceed to the next zone to grind. Each time going back to the trainer to get your abilities, and turning in quests, to be led to your next destination by new quests and a new grind. Usually with spare critters there to kill just to make up any points you may need to get your next level in that zone.
So that's the level game, and the level games have defined the grind.
Skill progression can also be considered a grind, but not usually the same way. In fact in skill progression games you don't call it a grind, you call it training (or at least I do). Mainly because you are developing a particular skill, and not your overall level. It's fine tuning character development, or developing your character in a more realistic process.
It's not neccesary to design zones of advancement where quests and critters have an overall value designed for level progression and world exploration, but one where critters can be more widely dispersed in difficulty, and quests alone can insure content consumption by design (the trail of breadcrumbs).
In this way the "grind" is disguised as something else. Yes it is still a grind in skills, but one that has much more variety and does not seem so repetitive as in level games. If it does resemble repetition, then the developer is to blame for a lack of imagination.
In skills you choose what to grind, where to grind, and when to grind... and in having that freedom. It really does'nt seem like much of a grind at all. More like farming out your choices in loot and experience from spawns. A freedom of choices in areas to go to, and quests to pursue, that meet your specific needs in character development, or the template you have chosen to pursue. Usually many choices that offer the same experience, but with different tactics and adventure. So much less like a grind.
UO was like this, it was a skills game, and without the feeling of a grind at any point in character progression. It was a constant adventure. I think when UO became more of a grind is when too much control was given to players in skill gains with locks and arrows. Prior to that, there was more motivation to develop characters naturally.
Grinds are more associated with level games, because that is the nature of the beast. You must grind to progress. Can it be done in more creative ways? Can zones not be designated for particular character levels and offer more variety and random events? I feel they can, and feel this would remove much of the grind I associate with level progression.
I just feel level games make grinds more apparent or noticeable. Make playing more like work and less like fun. Unfortunately most designers have chosen the level formula AKA EQ/WoW, as it evolved from pen and paper. Rather than computing skill gain as per activity, it's computed mainly by a combination of skill + level, your activity is restricted by class choice and what weapons and abilities are available. Again Less freedom, or fewer options, making it more repetitive, more of a grind.
I've given up on level MMOg'sI'm sick and Tired of the grind...
No more Trivial MMO's, let's get serious "again". Make a world, not a gameWhat I listen to
Grinding doesn't seem quite as bad in D&D because if you pay attention the story and world is tailored more towards you being a hero and if you have a good DM you should feel closer to your character. Each level is like a birthday and each level is remembered as something important like the Vast Infinite Dungeon of Doom where the party killed the Great Dragon of Blah blah blah. Too often, most MMORPGs fail to give "life" to their creations like a DM would for PnP D&D. I am 21st lvl in Vanguard. In those levels I enjoyed infiltrating an enemy camp and doing a test to prove my worthiness to my tribe in a dungeon that was more than just random mobs. That's less than two levels worth of quests out of 21. Everything else has been kill 20 Hobgoblins or kill 15 Ants or collect 20 Halfling hearts or just for a little variety, Take this letter/sack of potatoes to someone in the next town etc. Very little story is conveyed and even quests become so monotonous after a while that you end up grinding just so you don't have to figure out where 20 Fire Beetle testacles are.
A DM only has a voice as a tool and good ones tend to do so much more than an entire company does with visuals, sound, and technology. Quests are a viable way to hide the grind but it's pretty obvious to see the shallow kill and delivery quests as being as big of a time sink as grinding mobs. Dungeons also become a cave of ants, a castle of skeletons, a cave of rogues, a castle of rogue knights with very little lore or thought put into most of it. Most games definitely feel like the developers always bit off more than they should and sometime in beta 4 they woke up and shoved 20 more trash mobs of various levels in the game, 10 more dungeons with no lore, and 200 more quests of kill 10-20 "insert random trash mobs" here and deliver this to "point A".
By definition, my idea of a 3rd generation game is to break this pattern.
Originally posted by JYCowboy SWG was mentioned so I need to add that Pre-NGE Galaxies was kinda dependent on Grinding. It had multiple xp pools to feed the varied skill based professions. Scouting xp was different from Pistol xp, though earned simularly. Why was grinding acceptable (to a degree) in SWG? Large groups made for interesting conversations. The odds were high for it with groups up to 20 players. Most of the time, the Loot/Resources gathered had a value and there was always a chance to score something useful (i.e. Legedary Weapons). The intensity to grind was high also when xp was traded for Jedi xp during the Village Unlock period for Jedi. I found grinding most fun when there was a quest goal attached such as the Padwan or Knight Trials. The only grind in SWG that about killed me was the Crafting Grind. Grinding for (Force Sensitive) Master Crafter just about did me in. Why was this tolarble? These were forms of Achievement that were very rewarding for gameplay. This would still be true if Jedi was not a starting profession and a alpha class in the NGE. The public has spoken, however, and Sandbox MMO gameplay do not make the big bucks. In truth, what MMO is a 2nd rate smash hit compared to WOW? Nobody else has come close to hitting those numbers. I think the question is more than what did Blizzard do right but why hasn't anyone repeated Blizzards success? I agree that grinding is much of a solution to content when enough can't be developed. I would also say that any content in (payed for) expansions that award high xp is a built in mechanic to sell the product. There is good and bad with grinding and having alternatives to any system or sub-system can't be bad. Variety is the spice of life. Though the game has troubles, I think Vanguard did something great to add the Negoiation (Political) system in as an alternative to fighting.
You forgot to mention the jedi grind itself.. the mother of all grinds. (A finished jedi template was about 11millon xp) For me in PreCU days it was worth it even tho it was hard as hell, it was the path leading to the alpha class and most respected by my opinion. U had to stay "hidden" from NPC and Players or else ud get on the bounty hunter terminal and if killed ud loose up to a weeks worth of grinding xp. At preCU launch i lost 2 million jedi xp cuz of bug when gaining only about 500-1000xp i per kill it kinda hurt a bit.
Alas playing as Bounty Hunter myself most of the time I had it coming
Wumi - PreCU Bloodfin
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