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[Column] General: Endgame

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,127

The elusive end game is what many MMO players are looking for in order to keep playing the same game for long months on end. In today's column, Matt Miller offers his thoughts on the end game. See what this industry veteran has to say before joining the conversation in the comments.

For every “gear/money to get gear/make my character more powerful” answer there was a “roleplay/badges/exploration” answer right around the corner. Throw in a couple of people who wanted good PVP, some wanting good teaming content and some wanting a continued solo content path, and your answers covered the whole spectrum of what a developer could do in their endgame.

Read more of Matt Miller's Endgame.





  • AvarixAvarix Member RarePosts: 665

    I prefer sandbox simply because the content seems to last longer. If I could get a solid 5yrs out of a themepark without repeating the same content over and over I would play that as well. I like themeparks as much as I like the new Marvel movies. Good for a couple of hours to kill time but nothing too deep. On to the next themepark shortly after.


    I would like something that lasts longer, call it what you want. What keeps people coming back to anything? The people. Find a way to get people to really connect in your game and make lasting relationships and you won't have to worry about population or longevity. People will put up with a ton of abuse if it means they can still keep in touch with friends.

  • LiieLiie Member Posts: 7
    For me its all about knowing your the best of the best, staying the best and showing off to everyone that you are the best. In collecting gear, PvP & the guild/clan scene be best at it all.
  • BattlerockBattlerock Member CommonPosts: 1,393
    2nd Liie
  • Member UncommonPosts: 912

    My first MMO was Guild Wars. I didn't realize it wasn't a real MMO because it had the best end game in GvG and HA/Tombs. I didn't understand why everyone else were complaining about all the other MMO's.

    To me end game is competitive PVP, unfortunately the original Guild Wars had the only decent one at that. Even GW2 PvP failed.

  • WellzyCWellzyC Member UncommonPosts: 599


    Devs think that creating a ton of scripted content for end game is going to keep players. More and more scripted content is always their answer..


    the answer is simple..


    Players want prestige..   End game is about prestige, wealth, bragging rights, and character power. Create systems that allow  you to build on those attributes and you have an awesome endgame.

    The way mmo's were: Community, Exploration, Character Development, Conquest.

    The way mmo's are now : Cut-Scenes,Cut-Scenes, solo Questing, Cut-Scenes...

  • youngloenoeyoungloenoe Member UncommonPosts: 8
    PoE seems to get the concept of "EndGame" just about right, replayability and the devs keep dishing out content and fixes every month. 
  • WellzyCWellzyC Member UncommonPosts: 599
    Originally posted by youngloenoe
    PoE seems to get the concept of "EndGame" just about right, replayability and the devs keep dishing out content and fixes every month. 



    If devs have to continue to release content every month to keep players interested they have a very shallow mmo.

    The way mmo's were: Community, Exploration, Character Development, Conquest.

    The way mmo's are now : Cut-Scenes,Cut-Scenes, solo Questing, Cut-Scenes...

  • youngloenoeyoungloenoe Member UncommonPosts: 8
    Originally posted by WellzyC
    Originally posted by youngloenoe
    PoE seems to get the concept of "EndGame" just about right, replayability and the devs keep dishing out content and fixes every month. 



    If devs have to continue to release content every month to keep players interested they have a very shallow mmo.


    Maybe you just dont know the game, since you are calling it shallow, and maybe the devs realize that people like new things, and maybe they have a game where they have the luxury of rewarding the players with new stuff every month...


  • WellzyCWellzyC Member UncommonPosts: 599


    If you content locusts need a new flashy scripted event to roll through every 4 weeks, then be my guest. I personaly like a game with a little more depth than that.

    The way mmo's were: Community, Exploration, Character Development, Conquest.

    The way mmo's are now : Cut-Scenes,Cut-Scenes, solo Questing, Cut-Scenes...

  • ShainnaShainna Member UncommonPosts: 58

    The issue of endgame is always problematic. To me, repeating the same dungeons/raids/ops whatever you want to call it, for gear is worthless. Bragging rights only matter yf you're showing off something you build/made. Unfortunately crafting, exploring, building is always in the backburner for most mmo's.


    I rather take my time exploring, playing an alt (wich is tremendously boring in most mmo's since is just the same content for most of it), building/furnishing your house, playing minigames with friends, participating in fun events. Basically having things to do that doesn't involve braindead repeating of content.


    Is just my opinion of course.

  • PfluxPflux Member Posts: 1

    The key to endgame is the same as the key to all other things in a MMO.  Fun.  CoH was prosperous because it was fun.  It wasnt too hard, or too easy.  It was just right.  It had that perfect combination of skill, luck, talent and fortitude to make it enjoyable for those who played it.  Fun isnt one of those things that you can create.  It's not like baking cookies, where you can follow a set of instructions and get  it just right every time.  But there is a trend that can be followed.  It's more of a path then it is a destination.


  • JaedorJaedor Member UncommonPosts: 1,173

    Historically, I tend to like themepark games for one main reason: they tell a story and when told well, that story will engage and immerse me in the game world and I will become very invested in my avatar. If the story has a cliffhanger ending, I'll buy the expansion to find out what happens next. I'll roll tons of alts to see how the story varies with different races or classes. But when the story dries up, the game does too.


    Today however, I'm enjoying a themepark mmo with a fairly lousy story because it added a sandboxy feature that has become my endgame: Rift Dimensions. It's a 3D version of player-generated storytelling and content, complete with leaderboards for the competitive folk.


    I'm keeping an eye on a couple games for the future but for now and probably the rest of this year, it will be difficult for other games to get my attention unless they offer a polished sandbox for me to play in.

  • jtcgsjtcgs Member Posts: 1,777

    Asherons Call told a story and a good one at that.

    Asherons Call was a sandbox because the game didnt lock you into it.

    Asherons Call had levels, but it also had open skill choices so no classes where XP was placed into those skills for an almost infinitely increasing character power.

    Asherons Call had an open world where you can go anywhere you wanted.

    Its been done already, it can be mainstream easily if a company would just put money into it and BTW, the game is still going today, after some 15 years with people paying a sub.

    “I hope we shall its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • CeosanCeosan Member Posts: 1

    i cant stand raids. 

    i love sandbox, pvp and roleplay. 

    my idea:

    skill increase contributes to level milestone, tapering at a soft cap, ending at hard. upon death all skill is wiped to level milestone (wherever skill progression was at point of milestone) death leaves a corpes that you can return to to gain that skill back, death isn't trivial

    max level means soft cap is re-instated with no cap to skill. characters could become VERY powerful, and death would take on new meaning.

    the players BECOME the boss battles, or leaders, or gods even

    This along with sandbox roleplay such as city building, Character customization, player nations, player law (??), open world pvp with player designated front lines / battlefields

    oh and close over the shoulder or first person : P  otherwise its too easy

    Teiam. I win.

  • renadirenadi Member Posts: 19

    The problem I have with most MMO's other than EVE is you CAN'T become a hero if everyone else in the world is also the hero.  There's a certain ammount of shared experience that is good for community building, but eventually it becomes, oh yeah, I did that, and my entire guild, and 75% of people who've ever picked up that game.


    Even the most mundane things in EVE can leave you with a feeling that you're doing something unique, but I guess that's entirely based on self motivation, questing is done for yourself, to directly improve or discover or profit, or somebody else but with one of those goals in mind.

  • aranhaaranha Member UncommonPosts: 171

    MMO's features shouldnt be mechanics! It should be a digital playground for us to act out on. Thats one of the reasons why games like EVE, L2 & DAOC has such lifespam as its built as a world for us and we decide the politics and events.

    Best endgame in my opinion is political PVP warfare that ISNT restricted to some stupid forced faction vs faction.

  • FrinkiacVIIFrinkiacVII Member UncommonPosts: 45

    I'm not enough of an expert on "theme park vs. sandbox" to be able to tell you which of the two I prefer, but I liked CoH a lot.  Whatever you'd classify that as, sign me up.  I liked the fact that you could fly, I liked user-created content (despite the fact that I never actually created any myself).  I liked Supergroup bases.  I liked teamups, task forces, trials,  etc.  I liked that you could make your toon look damn near any way you wanted.  I liked the constant new costume pieces and powers.  I liked sidekick/exemplaring.  I liked alignments and the fact that they were mutable.   I never wanted PVP but I liked that the PVP zones in CoH were set up with a "zone game" in mind, where you had to accomplish something while the other side tried to stop you, and I liked that it was more than just capture the flag.  I liked the power origins but wished they had some more relevant effect on the toon's overall play, although I must admit that after 8 years I'm not sure how I would have tried to accomplish that myself.  I never disliked levels, and always kind of expected them.  I REALLY liked the fact that the average CoH player didn't really care what your build was like or if you were "playing it wrong".  Nobody ever gave anyone any real greif for being a "noob" on CoH, or at least I never heard it.  I liked being able to text chat with people while I played. 

    So there it ism whatever that is, that's what I liked.   Right here is where I would type the hold torch emote, but I'm pretty sure the above is a more long-winded version of same.

    "Well sure, the FrinkiacVII looks impressive - DON'T TOUCH IT - but I predict that within 100 years computers will be TWICE as powerful, ten THOUSAND times larger, and so expensive that only the five richest kings of Europe will own them." -Prof. Frink

  • VorthanionVorthanion Member RarePosts: 2,729
    I'd rather have more of the same stuff we did leveling up with the added bonus of an Alternate Advancement system similar to EverQuest.  Anything other than the same tired old raiding paradigm.

  • Saxx0nSaxx0n PR/Brand Manager BitBox Ltd.Member UncommonPosts: 999
    One word "tools". A detailed robust set of tools for player created content based around territory and resources. Pvp would be a key component for longevity and for all you non pvp people have the toolset robust enough to create content for the pvpers to keep you safe all while you keep their needs supplied with a strong economic model based on item damage/decay.
  • rodingorodingo Member RarePosts: 2,870
    I think a system like Eve, but for fantasy, or heck just with some type of game to where the characters are actually animated (except Perpetuum) would be awsome.  In other words a huge world (more than just sky boxes and spheres) and a level-less progression system.  Age of Wushu seems to be sort of in that direction, but for me the jury is still out on that one for a couple of reasons.  However, I'm making an honest 2nd attempt with it and will see how it goes.

    "If I offended you, you needed it" -Corey Taylor

  • m12em12e Member Posts: 3

    "so I included a matchmaking system out-the-gate that allowed them to easily find groups to participate in the content that would make their character better."


    I know it's rude to speak ill of the dead, but that never really worked. If I had a dime for every time I spent over an hour in a queue waiting for a "average wait time: 1 minute" queue to pop...

    I do miss it, though. Especially Keyes Reactor, which post-nerf was a great romp.

  • ZharreZharre Member UncommonPosts: 80

    I lean more towards sandbox than themepark, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good themepark. I like to have elements of both, if possible. Or a sandbox that has little themeparks scattered about throughout it.


    While I absolutely LOVE a good RPG, I have to say that I am absolutely sick and tired of being The Hero(ine) from day one level one in an MMO. So very, very sick and tired of it. Do I like becoming The Heroine? Hell yes. But I like to develop INTO that, because I deserve it, I've done all the myriad things that becoming The Heroine requires, amongst NPCs and other PCs, and not be crowned that simply because I logged in after I completed character creation. That makes it feel so hollow. If EVERYONE is The #1 Hero from day one, then it's common and shallow. You can get away with it in a singleplayer game, because you're the only Player, but in an MMO, where you are Player #8,737 out of 999,999+, and you have ALL been crowned The #1 Hero... there is no rise to glory. You're already The Best and yet you become, um, more The Best, even though you were The Best before, with each level-up? (Note: there is a difference in being A Hero who can still be something better, and being The Hero/The Best from the get-go. It's the latter I'm really tired of, though I still prefer having to work at even being A Hero.)


    Okay, enough ranting, sorry about the tirade!


    What do I enjoy the most? Exploration. Social interaction (roleplay or otherwise). Figuring out how to take down Big Bads (solo or grouped, and anywhere from small group to large- and I do mean large, such as EQ1's 80+ member raids). Evolution of my character in some fashion (preferably just minor tweaking) once at the end-game (whether it be 'alternate advancement' or skill tweaking or even gear, if the gear upgrades are more along the lines of 'streamlining' and tweaking for preference).


    What do I enjoy the least? Grinding. Forced anything, whether it be a repetitive short list of dungeon runs/raids/kills for loot/gear or forced/required PvP (when it's a game not based on PvP).


    Give me a way to still increase or tweak my character somehow (EQ1's alternate advancement, CoH's incarnate abilities, DAoC's Realm Ranks, anything similar especially if it's only minor (but plentiful) vertical or horizontal progression) and give me a wide variety of ways to do that, and also give me a variety of things to do that aren't particularly focused on character advancement but are still fun (badges, crafting, housing, exploration discoveries, player-created content, social/roleplay hubs, for a few examples) and I'll be one veryvery happy player. 

  • NoyjitatNoyjitat Member Posts: 39

    City of Heroes had a greatest endgame system I had seen so far. The choices and the fact that everyone got a reward and not just the lucky few get due to a role or class restriction like most games. 


    SWTOR at launch had a pretty good raid system but peopled whined it was too easy and now they put tons and tons of trash mobs in place and have adopted the common problem many mmos face where if you have 1 or 2 people not doing enough dps or making the occasional mistake the boss enrages and you fail.


    My guilds raid teams slowly fell apart due to this problem along with drama and insults never before heard from our group. (we were a multigame guild) The sheer difficulty increase from eternity vault and karaggas to explosive confict was stupidly more difficult just on story mode. I think they have rebalanced it over time but our raid group fell apart before we started hardmode and I pretty much stopped playing. 


    I'm looking forward to the upcoming expansion and hoping they didn't make the same mistake. Perhaps our group will get together again and start over clean.



  • maplestonemaplestone Member UncommonPosts: 3,099

    In answer the the sandbox/themepark question at the end ...

    Years ago, a prof said to me "you don't understand this subject until you can explain it to a computer".  To me, this is the artistic heart of my preference to sandboxes (in theory) over themeparks.  Scripted stories feel like concept art to me, as if deep down the developer was going "I really wish this sort of thing could happen spontaneously in my world, but I can't figure out how to explain the dynamics in my imagination to the computer."

  • Po_ggPo_gg Member EpicPosts: 5,678

    "I’m too much of an old school RPG Game Master at heart to trust the care of my world to the players"

    Great line Matt :)  and with that I gave my answer too, I play for the story and lore, so themepark for me.

    I love to craft and explore too, and by that sandbox would fit me as well, but I loathe pvp in rpg's (maybe the heritage of my massive p'n'p years, but I believe rpg is for cooperation and not e-peen and ganking), sadly it seems nowadays in the mind of devs sandbox is hardlinked to open ffa pvp. I can't wait for WildStar's settler path though :)

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