Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

MMO design and the unnecessity of leveling

crispycrabcrispycrab aa, AKPosts: 5Member

One of the first MMO's I ever really got involved with was the first Guild Wars.

I remember back when I first started the game, walking around Ascalon all I ever saw was people at around lvl 20 - and looking at the map I would think shit, this game must be one hell of a grind if this is only a 1-20 area.

After about 2 days I hit the 20 cap and I knew that I was already basically on par with most other players that have been on the game for months, since the game was heavily skill-build based (okay I guess gear helped a fair bit as well, but no amount of gear could help a retard). It was cool, because I could focus on the main content of the game and do everything else that all the other people were doing and I didn’t have to grind on drakes for 50 hrs to do it.

When I look at the MMO market now, I see a lot of interesting games that could be fun - and have some new things that would be cool to try out, except I would have to grind to lvl 80 on collection quests to get to that stuff.

I like the idea of a huge open world with loads of real people running around with their own goals and having some influence on the game and the environment you’re in. For some insane reason that I could never understand though, everyone seems to get tangled up in the PvE as if it’s a necessity for the game to be enjoyable: and this isn’t even PvE in the sense of doing raids and collaborative instances, its grinding on the same meaningless quests over and over to reach some exponentially time consuming arbitrary level.

I think it’s a pretty well-known fact that in the majority of MMO’s, 80% of the on-going, re-subscribing and cash-shopping player base are the players that have reached the end-game content and are participating on all these things which were designed for people that hit the level cap. So why is it that all of these game developers continue to create these grind-fests in the hope of creating the next successor to WoW? Why aren’t they concentrating on actual game features, or improving upon existing ones, instead of wasting time and money creating enormous worlds consisting of zones which people would only spend a couple of hours in? Why not cut the shit and make a world where you can level from 1 to x in like 2-3 days without selling your soul to grinding values in a database, and build a smaller, condensed world that is built around complex high level play from the start: more raids, more pvp, more expansive economies – none of this pointless lvl 1 to 80 grinding shit which NOBODY enjoys doing.

WoW has already won the MMO trophy for a vast sprawling world with consistent leveling progression, and yet most companies are still trying to be the 'next WoW' - how many fucking times have we heard about the next WoW-killer? Why is every MMO trying to be WoW instead of creating a new MMO with its own unique features and complex design?

They all follow the same pattern we've seen over and over: tiring server queues on lauch and then declining playerbases after the first 3 months when everyone's hit the cap and realised 'oh wait, this is just WoW with less stuff'.

Now GW2 has gone down the same road, a poor and pale comparison to its own unique predecessor.

Comments

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,639Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by crispycrab

    One of the first MMO's I ever really got involved with was the first Guild Wars.

    I remember back when I first started the game, walking around Ascalon all I ever saw was people at around lvl 20 - and looking at the map I would think shit, this game must be one hell of a grind if this is only a 1-20 area.

    After about 2 days I hit the 20 cap and I knew that I was already basically on par with most other players that have been on the game for months, since the game was heavily skill-build based (okay I guess gear helped a fair bit as well, but no amount of gear could help a retard). It was cool, because I could focus on the main content of the game and do everything else that all the other people were doing and I didn’t have to grind on drakes for 50 hrs to do it.

    When I look at the MMO market now, I see a lot of interesting games that could be fun - and have some new things that would be cool to try out, except I would have to grind to lvl 80 on collection quests to get to that stuff.

    I like the idea of a huge open world with loads of real people running around with their own goals and having some influence on the game and the environment you’re in. For some insane reason that I could never understand though, everyone seems to get tangled up in the PvE as if it’s a necessity for the game to be enjoyable: and this isn’t even PvE in the sense of doing raids and collaborative instances, its grinding on the same meaningless quests over and over to reach some exponentially time consuming arbitrary level.

    I think it’s a pretty well-known fact that in the majority of MMO’s, 80% of the on-going, re-subscribing and cash-shopping player base are the players that have reached the end-game content and are participating on all these things which were designed for people that hit the level cap. So why is it that all of these game developers continue to create these grind-fests in the hope of creating the next successor to WoW? Why aren’t they concentrating on actual game features, or improving upon existing ones, instead of wasting time and money creating enormous worlds consisting of zones which people would only spend a couple of hours in? Why not cut the shit and make a world where you can level from 1 to x in like 2-3 days without selling your soul to grinding values in a database, and build a smaller, condensed world that is built around complex high level play from the start: more raids, more pvp, more expansive economies – none of this pointless lvl 1 to 80 grinding shit which NOBODY enjoys doing.

    WoW has already won the MMO trophy for a vast sprawling world with consistent leveling progression, and yet most companies are still trying to be the 'next WoW' - how many fucking times have we heard about the next WoW-killer? Why is every MMO trying to be WoW instead of creating a new MMO with its own unique features and complex design?

    They all follow the same pattern we've seen over and over: tiring server queues on lauch and then declining playerbases after the first 3 months when everyone's hit the cap and realised 'oh wait, this is just WoW with less stuff'.

    Now GW2 has gone down the same road, a poor and pale comparison to its own unique predecessor.

    Actually there are several stats showing that the majority of players, yes subscribers too, never even make it to end game.

    Essentially there are 2 competing philosophies.

    1.  Those that like progression and want a lot of it.  In this game there will be grind, you can disguise it with a lot of options and varitey of tasks but if there is progression and that is the main point of the game there will be grind, no way around that as it is essentially an attitude.

    2.  Gaames with vitually no progression, in this game it's possible that there will not be grind.  The game is centered around some other attribute.

    edit - I think virtually every dev out there believes they are doing something unique with their game.  I do not think the declining player base 3 months after launch has anything to do with lack of content, or trying to beat wow, and everything to do with the belief that holding onto millions of players is just not reasonable or likely. 

  • Quazal.AQuazal.A PrestonPosts: 688Member Uncommon

    What i would actually say to you is that there are games out there that dont rely on the level idea.

    for instance

    New game = The Secret World - based on skill sets/ plans to help you

    Old Game - EvE Time based learning, the longer you play the better  you get

     

    The biggest problem with moving away from level based MMO is that people dont commit the time / too impatient, they want everything now/yesterday.

    Read the EvE forum and you will see someone 'bitching' about spending 14hours waiting for a skill to finish - I have just finished a 52day skill on my main

    Where as you can play sometihng like neverwinter and get to cap in under a week. (this is how long it took me ) and that was being fairly relaxed and going around happily

    So whilst  I am a big advocate of the non Level based play in practicality in todays consumer - want it now- driven market we are unlikely to see many games work on either the real time or skill set based levelling.

    This post is all my opinion, but I welcome debate on anything i have put, however, personal slander / name calling belongs in game :) were of course your welcome to call me names im often found lounging about in EvE online.
    Use this code for 21days trial in eve online https://secure.eveonline.com/trial/?invc=d385aff2-794a-44a4-96f1-3967ccf6d720&action=buddy

  • crispycrabcrispycrab aa, AKPosts: 5Member

    Obviously there will have to be some sort of grind for an MMO involving progression. I'm not saying that leveling is the only way for there to be any sort of progression - for example gear is nearly always going to be a contributing factor. It's not about taking away the grind, its about removing the unnecessary monster tagging and questing for endless amounts of hours just to reach the same level cap that everyone else is gunning for, and then once you reach that point you can finally start playing the 'real game'. And what if you don't even enjoy the end-game? What was all that grinding for?

    A player that spends more time will always have the advantage, and it's not about removing the number crunching. It's about minimization - stick to the gameplay instead of overloading it with unnecessary and bloated content just to fulfill the 'traditional' leveling gap.

    For example, games like the original Guild Wars put you straight in with other players after just a few days of playing. Shit, you were able to create a lvl 20 character from the get-go if you wanted to just PvP. That game took a long ass time to die out because it always provided content that was accessible to everyone, and really it only died out after they pruned out the multiplayer aspect of the game and made it more of a solo game for achievement grinding.

    Warhammer (although pretty much dead now) was entirely based around PvP and everyone could join in and contribute to the overall outcome of the game no matter what level. It was fun as fuck and you didn't have to invest crazy amounts of time grinding on AI in a supposedly multiplayer environment. The game only really died due to the insanely poor support from its publisher.

  • c0existc0exist Round Rock, TXPosts: 195Member Uncommon
    Instead of trying to change the mmorpg genre perhaps you should look into playing other genres.  Taking a grind out of an mmorpg is as detrimental as taking the guns out of a game like Planetside.  Remove that key aspect and the game is no longer of its original genre.  And there are plenty of people i know personally and many more on these forums that dont see grinding as bad.  
  • crispycrabcrispycrab aa, AKPosts: 5Member
    Originally posted by w407309

    What i would actually say to you is that there are games out there that dont rely on the level idea.

    for instance

    New game = The Secret World - based on skill sets/ plans to help you

    Old Game - EvE Time based learning, the longer you play the better  you get

     

    The biggest problem with moving away from level based MMO is that people dont commit the time / too impatient, they want everything now/yesterday.

    Read the EvE forum and you will see someone 'bitching' about spending 14hours waiting for a skill to finish - I have just finished a 52day skill on my main

    Where as you can play sometihng like neverwinter and get to cap in under a week. (this is how long it took me ) and that was being fairly relaxed and going around happily

    So whilst  I am a big advocate of the non Level based play in practicality in todays consumer - want it now- driven market we are unlikely to see many games work on either the real time or skill set based levelling.


    I've played EVE for 4 years entirely because of its progression system - they had a good system and it was enjoyable because it cut straight to the chase and you could have done whatever you wanted from the beginning without being at a severe disadvantage to older players.

    People don't commit the time to these non-level based MMO's because there's no obvious reward and the gameplay is lacking in its own right - I agree that too many people are shifting towards the 'i want it now' mindset, but how is this any different than having to grind out levels before playing the actual game as opposed to playing the game as it should be played from the beginning?

  • crispycrabcrispycrab aa, AKPosts: 5Member
    Originally posted by c0exist
    Instead of trying to change the mmorpg genre perhaps you should look into playing other genres.  Taking a grind out of an mmorpg is as detrimental as taking the guns out of a game like Planetside.  Remove that key aspect and the game is no longer of its original genre.  And there are plenty of people i know personally and many more on these forums that dont see grinding as bad.  

    The point is that the grind doesn't have to be an unnecessarily long leveling system based around PvE elements which doesn't even involve other players.

    Grinding can be good, but it has to be rewarding - not just pointing everyone to the same goal of being able to finally participate in raid A and PvP zone B

  • Vynxe_VaingloryVynxe_Vainglory Princeville, HIPosts: 20Member

    I am blown away that these games don't just have a grind server and a non-grind server at launch.

Sign In or Register to comment.