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Race to the level cap, through huge amounts of created world, so that you can play the endgame! Why are people racing to the level cap? Because the early game is just a hollow skinner box! Why just a skinner box? Because there isn't any real sense of accomplishment!
What?! Can't somebody develop a game where it's interesting and challenging from the start? Interesting and Challenging doesn't mean 'difficult' per se, not numerically rough or 'hardcore' or permadeath, just that you need to observe and learn and act, with an actual sense of accomplishment, rather than the ever accelerating skinner boxes. I've never made it to endgame in an MMO, and i've tried to do so in more than five, because leveling up and going to a new area never held my attention long enough. The faster I level, the faster I get bored.
Guild Wars 2, for all its possible merits, pissed me off and I quit in the leveling phase because it was too mind numbingly easy. I like Greatswords, and I played a warrior. I ran around, annihilating everything 8 levels higher than me, playing 1handed on a laptop while laying down on a couch with my head on a pillow. And i'm not good at MMOs, it was just that easy. Really, that game might as well only go up to level 16 because you only feel a difference every 5 levels anyway, and they go by fast enough for it.
Numeric inflation is failing as a means to keep people playing, which is why every fifth thread in this forum is "MMOS are Dying!". Offer real challenges earlier, real obstacles. Don't accelerate the hampster wheel, trying to make us think we're going somewhere by running faster. Slow us down. Give us obstacles. Challenge us. We don't need to be hit over the head with shovels all day long, we just need a reason to care why we're playing.
The hundreds of hours I've clocked in MMORPGs has provided me with less interest and accomplishment than any given five hours of Dark Souls or Starcraft, (Excluding soloing bosses in Tera). Somebody needs to get this shit right.
Edit: I'm going to pre-empt the "Go to a higher level area" argument by saying that numeric difficulty isn't challenging, doesn't carry accomplishment. Hit byootans git eckspee levuhl fahster git board kwikur.