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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.