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Reader Comments (22)

Posted: May 20th 2010 5:08PM Georgio said

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Lets hope is so and they learned something from Aion's failure. I hope they will do a proper westernization not only poor quality label translation.

Posted: May 20th 2010 9:06PM (Unverified) said

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AION's failure wasn't grind, well it was a little but still!!! It was lack of content. A grind is a grind, whether it be level grind or end-game grind , all it takes is for the Dev team on any MMO to put out another 5-10 level expansion and all that does is wipe all the "end-game" grind you did for your shinies. If the content is there from levels 1-60 then no matter how long each level takes a grind wouldn't be a grind. People need to realize the problem with all this wahhhhh whine wahhhhh grind thing most recently is because aion from lvl 25-50 had no content and people just had to stay and kill the same mobs over and over. The difference with vanilla wow was all the nice 45-60 BRD instances that even though people were grinding the content was there so it didn't seem like much of a grind.
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Posted: May 20th 2010 5:38PM Daelen said

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So its a quest grind... oh oh with story.

Posted: May 20th 2010 7:31PM aurickle said

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Really, what other options are there? There are really only two ways to gain experience in an MMO: killing mobs or completing quests. Both are grinds in their own way. But quests at least have the virtue of giving you extra XP in addition to the killing as well as creating a reason for doing things beyond just "monsters are there for the killing".

In truth, for all the innovation of Guild Wars 2's event system, that's still really just another way of disguising the experience grind. All they're doing is hiding the quests to where you see something needs doing and jump in to help. But it's still killing mobs or completing some other visible goals to gain experience.

Any game that involves character progression must have a quantifiable way of measuring that progression. With WoW, Tera, GW2, Aion and others it's experience points. Those require a measurable way to earn those points and that means quest completion or mob kills. Computer mechanics don't really allow anything else. Eve is a slight exception, but only slight -- it uses time as the measure by which you earn skill points to progress your character.

I challenge you to come up with some new way of quantifying progression. If you can, you'll probably become rich. If you can't, don't bitch about studios not being able to do it either!
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Posted: May 21st 2010 8:08AM Loki1 said

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aurickle:

I take that challenge as i already gave many examples in these years of WoW-clones without imagination. And because these MMO's have no imagination, they STOLE it from you players.

First of all, tho, You say quests make it easy but in exchange they make progression completely hand-guided and a SOLO experience, and a solo experience in a MMO is frankly an idiotic contradiction, that smart people would protest against.

There are dozens of ways to progress without mob farming and quests that babysit you and make you a selfish s.o.b.

1: conquest-based. You join a clan(forcing socialization) that controls an outpost. In this hypothetical game progression happens automatically when you're inside buildings and towns that you control.

2: sparring-based. You join friendship with a person, you simply spar with him... you train your fighting skills as if you were Rocky Balboa/Apollo Creed in their ghetto cool gym. You train, train, train. The more you fight and spar, the better you get.

3: Book-based. You solve puzzles, or again you join guilds, or you travel places to visit keeps and castles, or you spend some time working as VALET or scribe to players who are librarians(warhammer40k?), they give you access to books and scrolls that contain knowledge about anything... you read 'em, and to not make it passive, some steps of the book require practice(you know like those grammar books that have theory and then exercise).

Each method isn't quest based, so it doesn't babysit you, it doesn't make a fed-ex bitch out of you, it doesn't make you run from guy to guy... and it contains no mob farming. IT gives you socialization and PvP back, because MMO's should be mainly PvP and socialization.

I repeat, there's dozens of new ways to conceive progression, the fact that you, and many like you, can only see it as either mob farming or single player selfish quest-grind, goes to show how much they brainwashed.
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Posted: May 21st 2010 8:25AM Loki1 said

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...and i forgot to add completely PvP-based progressions, as seen in Planetside or APB.

You shoot people, or help guys in shooting them, you gain standing levels with the gang you're in, that lets you buy new weapons. IT IS progression, isn't it? It doesn't babysit you, it forces playing with people, it doesn't concern mob farming.

I'll have you know, that MMO's don't need PVE, while you presume it does, that it's a built-in mechanic. Again, WoW's brainwash.
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Posted: May 21st 2010 9:34AM aurickle said

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1) Flawed. In order to progress your skills you have to control something. But how do you get to where you control something when up against people who've been in the game longer and so have progressed farther? This is actually nothing other than an inferior version of Eve's time-based system so you haven't created anything new.

2) Exploitable. Two people -- even bots -- could just fight each other all day long and get uber skilled. Also boring as hell. A few people might like to duel all day long, but most would not. What's more, it's swapping grinding people for grinding mobs. Again, nothing new.

3) These are still almost all quests. Travel places to visit keeps and castles? That's a FedEx. If it's not guided, then it's simply an exploration XP like in WoW. Working as a valet? Doing what? Tasks aka quests? Reading books? So rather than reading a wall of text and then doing the quest you read a longer wall of text and get XP for it. Still a permutation of the current quest system, but forcing people to do the opposite of what 90+% of players do (clicking through). In fact, unless you have a test at the end the reader is simply going to click through the whole thing. If you have a test, it's just like a couple quests in WoW, so still nothing new. What's more, people will just go on-line to get the answers so it's still exploitable. Books that then require practice of some skill? That's nothing more than a quest again. The only thing relatively different in what you describe is puzzles but that's the same as DDO. Still nothing new, but probably the best out of everything you mention.

4) PvP progressions -- It's still grinding; just grinding on players rather than mobs.

In none of your suggestions do you actually move away from the same fundamental elements described in my previous post. My post had nothing to do with PvE or PvP. It was all about quantifiable tasks. All MMO's to date rely upon some permutation of those same fundamentals. To simplify things completely, here's the run-down:

A) Complete an Objective. (This is a quest. Kill 10 rats. Defeat 10 players. Capture an objective. Talk to someone. Read something. Solve a puzzle. Craft something. All tasks, and all permutations of quests.)

B) Kill Something. (It doesn't matter if we're talking players or mobs here, it's still the same basic task. If that's all you're doing, you're grinding.)

C) Abide a While. (Eve's system. Time spent is skill gained. Your idea of time in a guild? That's still time spent. Time at a captured objective? Still time spent.)

D) Use a Skill. (Skill-based progression system rather than XP-based. But still not fundamentally different from A and B above. If you're using combat skills, you're grinding mobs. If you're using non-combat skills you're grinding tasks.)
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Posted: May 21st 2010 11:01AM (Unverified) said

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Or you could... get rid of character level / quest / gear progression? Some people play MMOs for reasons other than accumulating points for killing other players, like exploring a huge, ever-changing persistent world, visiting and chatting and questing with thousands of concurrent characters, getting involved with GM-run world events, and developing a personality within a tremendous online community. You know, things you can't possibly get in anything other than an MMO.

MMO devs, listen up:

Ditch the levels. Levels as content locks are an archaic concept that's way overused in MMOs. Arguments that level grind forces players to learn their character are false. The opposite is actually true, as level grind enforces more useless habits via repetition.

Design 'tutorial' quests so that they go as quickly as the character can demonstrate mastery of them. Make a tank show he knows how to use his taunts, a healer understand what his different heals do, a rogue understand when his hide works and does not work, whatever's appropriate for your game. An expert should complete this and hit endgame in an hour. Bonus points if you stage the tutorial so that players can optionally explore advanced skills when they feel like using them, rather than all at once.

Design difficulty based content. An instance or quest chain is ranked by stars, with more stars being harder. Quests should be fun alone. The metric of choice is that the content should be worth doing even if there is no reward at the end (Tip: use this "Story" liberally to accomplish this, as well as unusual and challenging mechanics). Make rewards completely cosmetic, like pets, decorative equipment, mounts or just achievements on a score card. This satisfies the needs of players who want progression. Include a good mix of group and solo content: thinking that an MMO has to require a group more than half of the time is a failure of design, and discounts the "playing alone together" concept that's made WoW wildly popular.

Feel free to include lots of customization options. A player might have 100 skills to pick from even though they can only have 10. Players can measure their own progression by how quickly they master each skill and understand its use, rather than by how many times they macroed it to build up skill points. The same goes for equipment: give the player options for different equipment builds that bestow different stat bonuses. Just don't make it so you have to do quests for skills, that just turns it back into artificial progression that's abused by so many MMOs who just don't know better. Also give lots of totally decorative customization options. Let hearty players who just want to socialize have something to do.

Also don't be afraid to design new zones that increase player strength. When in Zone 2, you get access to better skills, armor, more slots, etc. When you go back to Zone 1, you're back at your lower cap. More importantly, this allows you to add content at both high and low levels rather than always being forced to put it at the end.

Get busy with PvP! Because equipment and level are no longer factors, you can PvP on demand (as opposed to many games that artificially lock you out until you do more solo quests.

Do lots of special events, give away fancy (cosmetic) items and include quest chains with GM interaction, so they're unique. Players will keep logging in to see what you do next.

Do all this, and you'll have a successful game.

-SirNiko
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Posted: May 21st 2010 11:41AM Crode said

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aurickle:

I think what you are missing in your thinking is that grind is defined as any kind of progression/leveling that is mind numbing boring. Killing 10 rats is neither challenging or entertaining. Finding a way to make leveling entertaining again is the key and it can be done many ways.
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Posted: May 20th 2010 5:53PM MrGutts said

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In short I bet it's a Aion grind like it was at the start of Aion.. They are just not coming out and saying it.

Posted: May 20th 2010 5:59PM (Unverified) said

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Yay, I'll love it then lol.
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Posted: May 20th 2010 6:09PM (Unverified) said

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Aion's grind wouldnt have been a problem if it had had a good end game, and decent mid-game instances and pvp.

Grind one of the last things I care about, I want good combat and good end game.
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Posted: May 20th 2010 6:07PM TheJackman said

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I hope you all learn something of Aion's failure! Pretty graphics not make instant good games!

Posted: May 20th 2010 6:30PM thedude657 said

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I just dont want another korean game where you kill 653453 mobs for 1.3% xp towards next level.

Posted: May 20th 2010 7:05PM (Unverified) said

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Yes..... please En Masse... learn from AION's few but glaring mistakes. I could rant about them, but I'm sick of beating this dead horse.

Posted: May 20th 2010 9:01PM (Unverified) said

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Ok...grinding implies mindless combat. Aion had a long grind because every mob was virtually the same (Caster, archer, tank, healer) with little to no variation on how you dealt with them.

Check out this video for just one of the types of mobs to fight: http://www.youtube.com/user/PvPvEcom#p/u/6/sh6bZmC3IVQ

As an archer fighting 20 different mobs you have to employ all different sorts of shots and dodges.

In other videos you have to line up your sword strikes and shield blocks...in real time.

This is a fast-paced game where the direction you face and where you release your mouse actually matters. You won't get an out of range message for your sword swipe, you'll swing your sword and miss. The enemies and combat are anything but a grind because they require actual thought process and movement, not just pressing 1, 2, 4, 2, 4, 3, 4.

Oh, and the alternative to grinding mobs and quests is leveling by pvping, which they've also said they'd do.

Posted: May 21st 2010 7:49AM Loki1 said

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[...]"here's a rich story-driven experience in TERA, and our intent is to create questlines that will take you from the first to the final level without having to repeat a single one or grind for experience in the interim,"

That's the problem. MMO's may have stories, but they should always force you to interact with persons.

While TERA's idea of storylines appear to be the usual thread-mill of anti-social SOLO selfish greedy business.

Posted: May 21st 2010 11:11AM (Unverified) said

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Unless a game is completely instanced, you're always interacting with other persons, be it walking around the capital city, bumping into other players while solo questing, chatting in social channels, trading at the auction house (Those are real players putting up those bids!) or joining PvP.

Trying to force players into group encounters when there is no reason to do is the easiest way for an MMO to fail very quickly. It's not about being selfish, it's about realizing that there's more to society than simply being in direct contact with other people all the time.

-SirNiko
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Posted: May 21st 2010 6:34PM Loki1 said

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Your "random" contact is nothing. People ignore each other, say hi, and bye. That is not interaction nor socialization.

Forcing group is also not acceptable. Why do you have such a narrow vision? Can socialization and interaction happen only in silly teams where you go gank some silly critter?

Socialization is MUCH MUCH MUCH more than that. I finished playing Mortal Online... my character needed to travel to a lawless town with killers. So i placed myself in front of the marketplace and yelled Buying mercenaries to escort me in my business. I had to explain the situation, travel with the man, pay him. The plus is REALISM, REALISM!

THAT is socialization/interaction, not just a stupid LFG. TALKING.
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Posted: May 21st 2010 11:08AM (Unverified) said

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Nothing here is new or revolutionary.

Aion had "storylines", but the ones that were more complicated than "Kill rats so I can sleep at night!" were broken horrifically because of the tremendous level grind between. I'd view a cutscene at level 25 where I learned that I'd been a daeva before, and some traitor was responsible! But then I had to grind to 35 over a few weeks to just see another snippet. By then the scene was old and forgotten, and I had trouble even caring. If Tera does the same, they might as well not bother at all.

The only thing they're promising is that you can progress via quests alone. If that means that smart players can complete the quests faster and more efficiently and progress significantly faster than a mindless grinder, that's good. If that means I'm constantly participating in fun, interesting quest chains that make the levels fly by, that's good. If that means that now my grind is structured into neat "Kill 100 of these" and "Collect 100 of those" then they've failed to comprehend why players of MMOs (and especially Aion) wish there were more quests.

-SirNiko

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