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Reader Comments (47)

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 2:58PM Boardwalker said

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@MMOaddict

I had the exact opposite experience with Aion. The leveling now is almost too fast, and the idea of a PvP zone (the Abyss in this case), is great (brings back memories of the frontier in DAoC).

As for mounts, why would I want one? I have wings. For goals you have a whole bunch of pvp and crucible gear to shoot for, so there's plenty of carrots to work toward. The cut scenes are gravy.
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 8:57AM FrostPaw said

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I think early game is not aimed at the kind of players who have played mmos before, therfore they aren't trying to coddle "us" then are trying to teach "them" how the game works.

From a design point of view, you make the early game easy so everyone gets used to playing and wants to see what comes after and you make the later game more challenging because thats when players should have overcome early game content and need someting new to keep them interested.

It's a shame more games don't offer a "I know this, skip it" option for experienced players but then, players who "think" they know how to play are more likely to skip and then complain they don't know something, damned either way sometimes.

In theory, experienced mmo players will shoot through early content so fast it will barely register as a speedbump

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 9:07AM (Unverified) said

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@FrostPaw and this. I dont play games for achievements. I play games for the immersive experience. Grinding is not immersive.
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 9:33AM Strangeland said

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True, but if it works, you have enough paying customers to make it worth tweaking the new content to work with the older rule sets and features.

Some of the new content would require significant changes, but I can think of much of it that would not. Most of it would be twiddling the math of item and talent damage/mitigation scaling (which they do anyway for several patches after an expansion), the rest of it is just features and flavour.

As long as the math was right, there is no reason that vanilla classes and talent specs couldn't run current end-game 5-mans and raids, with proper classes filling the proper roles.
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 9:23AM DarkWalker said

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It's a matter of player preference, time availability, and competition in the market. With the amount of MMOs (and F2P MMOs) out there, players are mostly free to choose one that fits their play style. If they think their current MMOs is too slow on giving rewards, they can easily jump ship to one that gives more rewards faster.

I, obviously, don't know the spread in preferences, but the fact that casual players are almost always the majority do hint that games with wide appeal should try to give those players, who either opt or are restricted to only play a few hours per week, fast enough rewards that they feel like they are progressing. Of course, something that is meant to make someone who plays 2-4 hours per week is progressing at a nice pace will feel lightning fast for a hardcore player with over 10x as much play time per week.

The alternative of catering to the hardcore players is almost certain to drive casual players away. Something tuned to feel like a reasonable progression for someone who plays 20-40h per week will feel like a glacial place for a casual player. Given that there are far fewer hardcore players than casual ones, not only should a game that aims mostly towards hardcore players expect a far smaller potential player base, I believe the few games that actually cater to them have already cornered most of that market.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 6:44PM HiroProtagonist7 said

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@DarkWalker
The average time spent playing for MMO players is 29.11 hrs/week. I think this means that the perceived and oft ballywho'd massive casual player base is actually a very vocal minority. Game companies need to stop listening to them.

http://documents.univ-lille3.fr/files/espaces/pers/21/P4721/public/21/MMO4%25252021.pdf

This was a recent study - we put about 9 hours per week more in since the Daedelus Project in 97.
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 7:58PM DarkWalker said

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@HiroProtagonist7

Did you notice that the research you linked was done with "204 players of World of Warcraft who belong to one of the top online guilds" (later reduced to 196 because they discarded everyone under 18)?

Further, the article explains that "This special population was chosen because these guild members typically are required by their guild leaders to spend at minimum of 20 hours a week playing the game".

It was not a research on how much time players spend on MMOs. Instead, it was a research on why hardcore players spend so much time in the game, and what negative impacts such large amount of time played can bring.

BTW, your link is broken. The correct one is http://documents.univ-lille3.fr/files/espaces/pers/21/P4721/public/21/MMO4%252021.pdf .
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 9:26AM scfs123 said

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I do think they coddle people to much, mostly on the basis of that early/mid game is far different from late game.
Which is kinda rude to people who enjoy the early/mid game, then get stuck with "SURPRISE, NOW ITS HARD AND YOU ARE GOING TO SUFFER!"

Kinda psyched for secret worlds take on it where they have no levels, so it should be alot less of that o.O

As for rifts Coddling.
ENTIRE NEWBIE ZONE OVERUN WITH LEVEL 18 ELITES, WHAT DO!?
Rift's coddling i liked alot, it started out pretty rough with the invasions, and needing to group up for rifts, then you actually felt like you got stronger as you levelled and proceed to be able to solo weaker rifts, and actually be able to fight invasion monsters without a party at your back. It went from Hard to Moderate XD

Age of Conans coddling at release is one that really fits this topic though. Tortage was amazing and beautiful and the first time i played through it i knew i'd never play another game but conan for the rest of my life!...Then i left tortage...quested for a few hours in these voiceless classquestless abomination of zones...then i left Age of Conan...but not before i made an alt of every archtype to enjoy tortage on each of them

EQ2 drove me nuts when i tried to get into it. The quest text was just atrocious for some zones and had to spend more time on Wiki's trying to figure out exactly what i had to do then time i spent actually doing the quest. Lack of coddling makes for bad times=(

FFXI applies to lack of coddling as well, thats just abusive coddling what they did, YOU WANT PLAY? YOU PLAY WITH PEOPLE! TO GO PLAY WITH PEOPLE YOU RUN PAST MONSTERS THAT NEVER GIVE UP NEVER SURRENDER AND ALWAYS DELEVEL YOU!

That rage stated, i think quite a few games need to coddle a little less at early game while continuing to coddle during mid/late game.

Crazy how many games give you a beautiful newbie zone with great quests that are clear and understandable and turn into this nightmare of trying to decipher every word of the quest text, and trying to understand how your objective can be in that tiny yellow circle on the map that you are standing in with nothin around you >.<

Course his is entirely related to solo levelling/questing which is what tends to apply to "Early game" i'd thinks.
Coddling in group content is another story altogether.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 9:28AM Jeromai said

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No. Only WoW does, simplifying the leveling game to the point of lunacy.

I'd point out that some people felt RIFT's three character class choices so early on in the game to be -not- coddling, since you had to deal with so much build complexity at once. Having early mounts is a convenience and a perk, removing an arbritary level limit for mounts, rather than coddling.

In City of Heroes, the time you're most likely to faceplant is when all your skills and enhancements are not up to DOs or SO standards, ie. the early game.

In Aion, I was racing around an open world "dungeon" / village with elite mobs by level 17-18, learning how to glide from safe spot to safe spot.

And the MMO I'm currently playing, A Tale in the Desert, is the complete opposite of coddling in the early game, since we're having to use cruddy equipment like flimsy brick racks and student looms (which break after a few uses, and cost resources to repair) to tech up to stuff that doesn't break.

If we go by measure of population = popularity, it seems the more you coddle people in the early game, the more you retain. :)

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 9:31AM Lucidus said

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Mounts early on is a good idea. Tier the mounts for speed % increases, but giving transport is a good thing. Even though you're a low level hero, facilitating movement allows exploration and a sense of freedom.

I didn't remember how bad running at base speed was until SWTOR, where you can't mount up until halfway through the game.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 11:29AM watchawatch said

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@Lucidus How do you feel about being stuck with one build forever - unless you respec?
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 12:15PM hereafter said

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@Lucidus

You get a sprint at 14 though. It eases the wait.
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 10:25AM Utakata said

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If you want to see coddling folks, try levels 1 to 85 in WoW.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 10:35AM Hipster said

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Yes, Devs do coddle in the beginning.
I will add in the middle and end too.

This is almost common knowledge. Began intensely 4 years ago. This article is behind the times it seems.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 10:41AM Xo1o said

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It's the same issue I fear with GW2 and being able to PvP with a max level char of any class immediately. It's too easy and devalues the experience imo. Why look forward to your next skill in PvE when you've seen and had everything in PvP already?

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 11:27AM watchawatch said

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Rift absolutely made the changes because of player feedback. I was there. They found that people wanted to play specific souls, but what if those souls aren't available until end game? You would be forced to level as a type of character you didn't want.

Where Rift went wrong imho was having levels to begin with. They should of had advanced skill system like they do now with post 50. That way everyone could experience similar content to varying degrees throughout the whole world like the 50s are in Ember Isle.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 12:13PM Jetflame3 said

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I personally think difficulty is a good thing, I don't play an MMO just so I can get to the max level or PVP Viable (as with sandboxes) as quick as possible. I play them for the challenge, it makes for a more accomplished feeling to me when I finally do reach that point of success. Keep it difficult, and I will enjoy the ride. It's not work to me, in fact, when it's to easy (WoW) I feel like I'm living in a pre-school because that's obviously who they seem to be catering to.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 12:14PM smartstep said

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@ article

Short answer (as I am not in mood to write long post atm):

YES!!

I am actualy bit fed up of player coddling. Seriously.

Not only in early game, but in game general.

Everything is handed on silver plate, explained and too accessible.

Seriously, this has gone too far. In far past sometimes players were left in open field without anything and that sometimes was bad, nowadays players are treated like instant gratification idiots.

Extremes, exremes. Just more common sense and less exremity in ANY direction please.

Posted: Dec 7th 2011 12:16PM smartstep said

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@smartstep

Fed up with latest "don't let player be wondering about anything for even a split second" design. it is nauseing, disgusting even.
Treating players like some half-assed idiots and putting kindergarten attitude on top of it. *sigh*
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Posted: Dec 7th 2011 12:59PM Jorev said

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The current crop of MMO's do coddle players. It really is a disservice to gamers as it diminishes discovery, exploration, adventure, and cognitive abilities.
Back when classic Everquest launched in spring of 1999, there was no tutorial, no minimap, the manual was vague on how stats, attributes, and skills worked, and the environment was unforgiving with significant experience loss upon death.
Those were the glory days of MMOs, where your abilities as a gamer truly mattered and immersion was at it's height.

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