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Reader Comments (114)

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 3:11PM (Unverified) said

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@Irem: "Of course, I had shut the only door to character progression and made myself kind of a weird relic wandering around in outleveled zones alone."

Holy crap, that's the exact same thing that happened to me! Collecting minipets/mounts, making costume armor sets for fun, and exploring/doing lowbie quests 'just because' were all stuff I did after I got sick of the min/maxing-obsessed gear grind in WoW. But that's only fun for so long.
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Posted: Jun 7th 2011 1:47PM meancheez said

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I always loved leveling new characters in WoW, but as soon as I started raiding I'd be bored in a matter of days.

Trying to organize a group of people (most of whom I'd never choose to spend time with in the real world) in pursuit of bigger and better numbers? Boring.

Discovering new areas, enemies and quest lines? Fun.

I agree in that a user-generated sandbox would make the endgame a lot more interesting, but I can also see how it's difficult to implement, and it can make a jarring transition from a progression-focused system.

I just hope game developers will push innovation to reach a good balance, find something that can evolve and stay interesting for a long time.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:29PM Degu said

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@meancheez
One thing I've noticed is players complaining, 'I have to level to get to the fun stuff.' Well, why would you even do that? I got sucked into a certain gear grind for awhile, got addicted (not in a fun way), but finally managed to break loose. I ain't making that mistake again.

Really, I think the leveling, with its exploration and goofing around, is the 'fun' part; endgame is where it turns into a miserable cycle of gear grind and snobbery.

Repetitive gear grinds are just a lazy way to fool people into thinking there's more content than there really is, and to get them hooked so they'll keep their subs to get that one last thingamajig. Endgame = end of fun.
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Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:32PM meancheez said

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@Degu

Truth, the gear grind is hell.

Once you start plugging numbers into a spreadsheet to plan out your play time, count me out.
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Posted: Jun 7th 2011 1:57PM Mikkhail said

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Great article ... after abandoning WoW finally, I have been leveling Rift ... and yeah ... more of the same ... I will leave Rift once I hit max level and did a one-time-through spin of the Raids ... but really, all of this is just time filler / space filler ... while I try to decide on a long term home again.

Along those lines ... I did sign up for the 30 day trial of Fallen Earth ... and the damn content updates would never finish downloading ... it looked like a decent sandbox to try out, but jeez ... after 3 days of trying to download I gave up. I might give Eve another look once Walking in Stations is fully out.

^^^ if anyone has a good suggestion I would take it!

Otherwise I will be glumly grinding away in Rift (good game, but more the same! see this article! lol) ... while watching a movie ... while chatting ... while watching the paint dry ...

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:02PM Plastic said

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Always love your articles, Jef. I got caught up in the repetitive grind of themepark end-game once. Once. I refuse to get caught up in it anymore.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:03PM Hipster said

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Generally, I agree with this article.

I used to be solely a non-PVP themeparker.
Sandbox's with a strong community to play with is where I get my MMO-fix now. The full loot PVP is not as bad as people make it out to be especially since most sandbox items durability will make them disentigrate anyway. And Ive even warmed up to first person.

You dont have to be a Ridilin-popping 13 year old with twitch skills either to be average to good. It just takes a little dedication to honing your skills.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:04PM willflynne said

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I think a lot of people expect the developers to always hand them the endgame content when in some cases it's up to the players themselves to make their own. Yes, the developers should have things ready to keep the players somewhat busy once they max out their levels, but that only goes so far.

Normally endgame problems don't affect me too much, because I pace myself on the content as much as I can. I've got three max level characters in SWG and there's a ton of content I haven't even touched yet, and that doesn't even include getting into Entertaining, crafting, Beast Mastery. More often than not I'll grasp onto an idea of something i want to do in the game and use that as a goal. At one time it was collecting all the weapon drops from one NPC. Most recently it was mastering Chronicles fully on one character and being" on duty" on certain planets for the GCW on another character. Even with all that is still available, I find my own way.

It's a little more challenging in DCUO, but so far I've still been able to make that "find my own way" line of thinking work for me. My characters are maxed out in level, but I haven't even touched raids and alerts. I've been too busy revisiting encounters to see which ones drop named hero-villain gear and collect that on all my characters.

And yes, it is more or less the same as running raids repeatedly, but the key is to know when to step back and take a break. The instant I start to feel burnt out on doing the same thing over and over in either game, I walk away from that content for a while and focus my energies elsewhere.

If you start to get that burnt out feeling, step away and look at the game world itself. It might not always be obvious or hand-delivered by the devs, but chances are there are some things you can do to have some fun on your own.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:13PM Uninformed said

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Here here! About time there was an intelligent article on point about this. I've thought about the problem for many years as I have done endgame in WoW up through Frozen Throne and quit cold turkey. When I enter SWTOR the end game wont be part of my play habit.

I always looked at end game as a means to an end when PvE gear was the only game in town and you'd bring that into your PvP experience. Now I would just rather PvP and build a PvP set in whatever forum permits that type of play.

Time to end the endgame. Personally speaking one great way to do that would be to make the endgame experience a one off event. You kill the Lich King, EVERYONE gets some gear and then thats it. I couldnt stand the grind and kill approach when you had to wait for your DKP to complete your endless gear set.

But we know that will never happen.

I think endgame is an unfortunate but necessary evil for the grinders. For me, I'll go back to that treadmill. I can do a 5k in well under 30 minutes.... now THAT's an accomplishment that I am happy to do over and over again.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:19PM Existentialist said

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Have to say, I agree.

I wanted to play WoW with friends. I bought the game and all the expansions and played it for a month. I got to 85 and it was just one huge gear grind. I tried arena, tried za/zg, even tried raiding, and finally tried leveling alts. I tried it 3 times, subscribing unsbuscribing, this last time I stopped playing only 9 days into my subscription.

Even though I have friend and family playing, I literally can't force myself to play WoW. I can't wait til this generation of MMO is over, because they've taken Themeparks that used to have some sort of sandboxes in them and made them literally only sandboxes. I can stay in stormwind and access most of the valid content that this game has via que'ing up for it (with the exception of raids and Tol Barad.) There is no world PvP even on PvP servers.

These games are for people who like to grind grind grind.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:20PM Existentialist said

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@Existentialist

*literally only themparks
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Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:41PM Borick said

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@Existentialist You speak for me as well.

Give us an edit button!
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Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:19PM Malagarr said

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Well said.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 2:40PM (Unverified) said

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Wow raiding is just horrible in Cata, the raids are small, boring, lacks story. I miss the good raids; Kara Ulduar, there was real effort there. The developers are getting lazy.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 3:04PM Twisvel said

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Great article, right on the money.

I would say that this isn't just limited to endgame though, most MMOs being released now have the "Kill 10 rats" type of questing for their progression to endgame. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Even the "korean grinders" have it now, so the repetitiveness starts at the tutorial now.

Even really old games that were released a long time ago are adopting this type of collect, kill, fedex "quest grind." 1000000s of them. What a shame.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 3:12PM (Unverified) said

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No developer has provided an answer to the end game dilemma.....my opinion is to remove the whole idea of "end game" all together and generate a world so large that it would take half a lifetime to see/complete it all. Lets face it there will always be a grind, but the trick is in allowing the player choose which grind they wish to partake in; and provide those who need guidance, the linearity of following a directed path, and those who dont can choose whatever path they want.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 4:45PM Existentialist said

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@(Unverified)

You've never played EVE.
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Posted: Jun 7th 2011 3:28PM donweel said

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Pretty much agree with what you said. End game is the end, that is why it puzzles me as to why so many are in such a rush to level cap. I saw that in Rift a bunch of level capped players still in green gear. Then I have to put up with these guys mowing down level 15 Rifts for achievements, thanks for one-shoting everything guys se ya later. Some people don't see to get the mid-game concept. Still enjoying Rift mid-level taking my time. I am dabbling in Eve but it is a steep learning curve. Taking my time doing some missions.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 3:28PM (Unverified) said

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Solution to the endgame problem: When you run out of fun stuff to do in a game, GO PLAY A DIFFERENT ONE.

Why do people want a single MMO to be their end all be all for 5+ years unbroken? Why do people think that's the amount of content they're owed by devs in order to be satisfied with a game nowadays? It's like wanting 'more' to do in a FPS besides collect weapons and shoot people over and over again. Do folks complain about 'lack of endgame' once they're done with a FPS campaign and are tired of co-op mode?

Killing stuff and getting loot is the backbone of the entire MMORPG genre, and it always has been. If that game mechanic is unpleasant for some people to endure, then perhaps the genre is not what you're looking for? I see people who seem to want to change the very definition of 'MMORPG' into something it never was before they will be happy with it. I think there's some fundamental confusion with a lot of people over just what they want in their online games.

The reason there are so many MMORPGs built around grinding and raiding and collecting loot is because PEOPLE KEEP BUYING AND PLAYING THEM. The reason so many recent MMORPGs have failed is because WoW frankly does better than they do in giving the kind of content (killing stuff+getting loot) that most players seem to crave the most. The folks who want something different are obviously just a small minority, going by the population sizes of the small number of titles that have succeeded in the post-WoW landscape.

We aren't going to get a AAA-budget niche MMORPG anytime soon. It's not profitable enough for most investors to risk their capital on. People need to start supporting lower-budget games that try new things, rather than complaining about the lack of fancy cutting-edge games built around concepts that the market at large has shown over and over again it's not that excited about. We have to give up the delusion that MMORPGs as 'living worlds' with a million different possibilities in gameplay and photorealistic graphics/physics/etc, just DO NOT EXIST and frankly never did.

Posted: Jun 7th 2011 4:17PM Borick said

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@(Unverified) "DO NOT EXIST and frankly never did."

Twenty years isn't a very long 'never'. MMOs are in their infancy now and will be for some time to come. There is much potential for these worlds and their control systems that goes beyond anything you can label as a game.

We're starting to fly our planes, operate cars and drive our tractors using remote control systems. We're teaching our people new interfaces and ways of processing data. These gameworlds are an important part of that and it is infantile to consider that the current status quo is a sustainable market.

It's a fallacy to think that supporting indie games as a 'put up or shut up' answer. Player ownership and liberty within their gameworld is a worthy enough ideal to hold the corporate engine to task with.
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