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Reader Comments (40)

Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 8:06AM Pan1 said

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Why bother putting levels in your game at all then?

Giving out xp scrolls/whateva' says that the content is tedious and a waste of time.

Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 8:38AM Dandmcd said

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Pan, you said it best. If a game has to entice players to play by selling cheat items to help you quickly level your character, there is something wrong with your game.

It's the same with consumables and useful gear. I won't play any game that offers a pay-to-win strategy in a game.
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 10:05AM Dumac said

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@Dan
That's not even pay-to-win, that's pay-to-not-play.

Pan said it perfectly, i'd vote it up a million times.
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 11:26AM hami83 said

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Or it's catering to a market of users that have next to no patience and just want the end results as fast as possible.

WARs levelling I find is actually quite enjoyable, but like most North American players, there are some with too much money and no patience.

I mean if farmers already offer power levling, why not capitalise on it? It's not pay to win or anything, if anything you'll end up at a level where your gear is just very out of date leaving you at a disadvantage for a while.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2010 8:36AM Valdamar said

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Offering players the chance to pay to avoid playing part of a game is insane - it just convinces more players that the endgame is the place to be and that the core PvE gameplay is an unnecessary grind, and thus the perception becomes the reality, and longevity of MMOs decrease further.

If the devs/publishers think skipping gameplay is a popular feature that players will want to pay for then maybe they need to examine WHY players want to skip parts of their levelling progression - if they reduced the grind and made basic gameplay more fun maybe players wouldn't be so quick to jump past all the monotony to get to the fun bits.
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 8:18AM GumbyJD said

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Horrible, horrible concept. Any game that has such items in its cash shop will never get my business. Then again, any game with single-character gear, and especially consumables, in its cash shop won't get my business, either. (Guild Wars, on the other hand, will be getting another $20 from me at the end of the week as I get the final two storage panes for my *account*...)

Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 8:37AM Jade Effect said

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Funny that you should mention Guild Wars, since the game allows players to hand over money so they can skip past the tedious part of unlocking all skills in pvp.

Since Guild Wars is all about using the right skills at the right time and most of your time will be spent on unlocking skills/runes (unless you run about gathering titles or different armor for vanity), that's as good as buying a fully max level character in other MMO games.
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 8:29AM Jade Effect said

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Forget experience scrolls, I would pay instead to stop gaining any experience points, so I won't level out of lower tier.

In any case, I'm not for or against experience scrolls. If people really want to throw money so they get straight to a max-level character, there're always power levelling services, who probably charge much less. Of course, there are also people who prefer to stick their heads in the sand and pretend their favorite MMO company is so efficient that such services don't exist in their game.

Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 8:41AM Ocho said

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I'm with the other posters here, I'd prefer to level at the game's set pace and not speed through content. Like those above, I wish there was a switch to even stop rest experience. But then games should have a switch that also stops exp gains, too. And not one you have to pay for, but one thats just there in the options menu.

I was surprised when I found that in Pocket Legends. Just clicking a button, I was able to stop all exp gains so I could allow my wife to catch up to me. :)

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 8:41AM Valdamar said

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Yeah it can be handy in CoH to avoid missing content you can outlevel, but personal I dislike there being content in games that you have to remember to do by a certain level or completely miss - it just means you end up having mandatory content on most of your characters (e.g. in CoV I make sure I do the mayhem mission for every 5-level range, because the explore badge in each one is tied to an accolade badge that grants +5% hit points).

At least a lot of CoH's content scales to player level and the difficulty settings you select - and if you do miss something you can usually "flashback" to it via Ouroboros (time travel area) - I wish more MMOs were like that - options are good.
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 8:50AM Its Utakata stupid said

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I think it's legalized cheating. /shrug

Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 9:18AM Irem said

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This. I mean, put bluntly, it is, and I think that's why it's crossing a line for many people. It's on the shadier side of a midway point between cosmetic/fun/meta microtransactions and a buy-to-win model. This is why I'm wary of microtransactions and their potential effect on the "game" part of MMORPG; games have rules, and if one of the rules of the game is "You must put in X amount of time and work to be very powerful," then this kind of thing is essentially allowing people to buy the chance to skip a turn. Part of the social structure of MMOs hinges on the knowledge that everyone's in it together and we all have the same trials and frustrations and woohoo-I-did-it moments, and it cheapens it somewhat to know that if levels 23-34 are really chafing my ass that I can go drop some money and skip it, and everyone else can too. It erodes and divides the culture.

We could all probably argue until the trumpets sound over whether or not the current rules of having to level are outdated or not, but as of right now it's mostly what we've got and if even the people behind the game are starting to treat their leveling process as a punitive thing that smart, savvy players can bypass with a quick visit to the friendly and easy-to-use cash shop, we're not really playing a game any more, are we? Unless that game is "Buy Experience: The Real-Lifening."
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 10:21AM Its Utakata stupid said

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Lol. Whatever, Tempus Apologist....I mean, Magus.

...and thanks for pointing that out, Irem. :)
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 9:04AM xBludx said

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This is not a moral statement at all, because we are talking about games and entertainment. In that sense, it doesn't matter. There are customers who enjoy that game and they will buy it and there is nothing wrong with them for doing so.

Pan, well said. Regarding my personal and obviously subjective view as a consumer, it is sleazy and desperate. I won't buy it, nor will I play the game, though I have had some fun with it in the past. I will spend my money elsewhere.

This crass commercialization - of what could be art (not Warhammer but games in general) - is the way of the future.

However, greatness is exceedingly rare. It only takes one great game to come along from a developer with an Idea and the capability to realize it. Then all these wannabes will be falling over themselves to copy that game and failing.

Tempes Magus, have faith. Our game will come and we will live to play it.




Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 9:24AM (Unverified) said

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I am going to play devil's advocate and say I don't have a problem with these things, per se.

In my near decade of MMO gaming, my own opinion is that complaints about "short cuts" usually come from gamers who don't want others to avoid what they couldn't. And yet these games are repeatedly, constantly, being tweaked and changed and it is almost impossible to ensure that every character goes through the same experience.

With regard to levelling, I don't see any difference between "rested" xp, bonus xp, seasonal or occasional bonuses, etc. Sometimes they are free, sometimes they come because you paid for them (additional, premium, whatever).

I can see instances where I have wanted to level with someone else, but because I was ahead or behind them, I couldn't go into dungeons or do other content at the same time.

There is going to be a legitimate consumer base for these products. They are the same people who power level for hours at a time, but don't want to spend the time. They do share the desire to play with friends or to reach end game.

So long as the game manufacturers promote the importance of end game, I can see people wanted to skip ahead, especially if you have already played the content once.

Lastly, it is not cheating. It is a game, with mechanics that if not elegant are part of the design. If you think it is like cheating you are confusing a game with real life.

Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 9:41AM Irem said

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"Lastly, it is not cheating. It is a game, with mechanics that if not elegant are part of the design. If you think it is like cheating you are confusing a game with real life."

Most games have rules. The mechanics, in the case of MMOs, are the rules. They're the things that everyone has to think about and plan for in order to be successful. It's not "confusing a game with real life," it's pointing out that MMOs are games. If the rules you've implemented are so horrible that you're letting people pay to ignore them, well, that's maybe something the genre as a whole needs to take a look at.

"In my near decade of MMO gaming, my own opinion is that complaints about 'short cuts' usually come from gamers who don't want others to avoid what they couldn't."

There is value in the idea of an online game being as level a playing field as possible. After hearing all the sneering coming from people in WoW who bought the $25 star horse mount about the "poor people who are so jealous because they can't afford it and I can," I was pretty disgusted. Suddenly, we have a fake class system based on who has more real life money--awesome. It's one thing when the devs tweak the leveling curve or quests to be less punishing for -everyone-, and another when they're saying, "Oooh, but for our super special LOYAL customers who are willing to give us even more money, you can skip entire levels!"
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 10:35AM (Unverified) said

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You ignore the other fake class system that has led to people up in arms about this, availability of time. Not all of us need to lord it over others about money we have to spend and also we don't feel bad when for instance we get an xp bonus of some sort to make up for time we don't have.

The number of rants I have read over the years from people who fail to appreciate not all of us can or would choose to play the epic amounts of time they do is many. Don't think money is the only factor leading to people looking down their noses at others.

Bottom line is this is always an argument about trying to make people play one way. People should have choices about how they play and others should not get upset about it.
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 6:08PM Irem said

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"Bottom line is this is always an argument about trying to make people play one way. People should have choices about how they play and others should not get upset about it."

I'm disappointed that there are so many people who seem thrilled with the idea of skipping content because "It's MY game and I want to play MY way and if I want to buy levels and armor upgrades and bypass all that stuff I don't like, I should be able to, because that's MY right to spend MY money to get ahead."

Choices are good to a certain extent but when we're talking about radically changing the way things work because people are tired of the model, then yeah, I feel like it's okay for me to be a little upset about it. I play MMOs for reasons that are apparently vastly out of sync with what the market now wants. Realistically, I understand that there's no way to stop it, and obviously more people enjoy things this way, so there's nothing I can much do but shrug and look for a game that still caters to the way I like to play. But my choices are getting kind of limited, here. Back when I first started playing MMOs, if you couldn't put in at least a little time and effort, you were probably better off finding another hobby. Now if I want to play something that rewards the things I like to do, well...I'm probably better off finding another hobby.

Eventually someone will release World-of-Farm-and-Grindcraft as a niche title and I'll be perfectly happy, but while I don't expect the genre to be static or just as I like it forever, it's hard not to be peeved slightly that something I enjoy so much is rapidly becoming something I don't.
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Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 9:24AM Scuffles said

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It all really depends on how exploitative the system is, sorta like DLC in a way.

If it feels like the game is going out of its way to be grindy so it can sell you scrolls ..... then they are a bad thing. If they are treated more as a perk then that is what they are.

However they are also often indicative of the first steps of the CS driven "slippery slope". Being that a decent number of games will start out with things like scrolls but they hardly ever stay at just XP scrolls. They will tout that they will never add anything that imbalances the game ..... that usually lasts ~6mo at the best.

Posted: Nov 22nd 2010 9:28AM Irem said

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Well, we're coming to a point where fewer companies are rehashing what's come before in an attempt to quickly cash in (now that they're realizing how impossible that is to do), so the time will probably come when someone will say, "You know what, screw this level thing, we're going to try something different." But the people who try it are probably going to need a lot of money and time and support, because leveling isn't just a barrier to entry, but also the easiest and most recognizable way to tell players they're making progress.

Mark my words, when a really big MMO comes out lacking a level system, you will hear players shrieking and gnashing their teeth in horror, because OMG HOW WILL I FEEL AS THOUGH I ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING. THIS ISN'T AN MMORPG.

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