Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Listened Lately: Shut Up, We're Talking #53

  • Darren and Karen's Shut Up, We're Talking podcast has returned from its vacation imposed hiatus. With Brent (from Virgin Worlds) and Michael (currently of SOE), they discussed the current state of grumpiness in the MMO blogging community.

  • I've already got a article on the back burner out the topic, but I heard something from Brent that I wanted to circle back to. He mentioned that the disconnect between the leveling game and the endgame in current MMOs does a disservice to players who have a preference for one style or the other. It's something I've commented on before. Several times. However Brent provoked a few additional thoughts from me.

  • The current endgame has been a weird evolution over the last decade. Early games, from MUDs to UO to EQ at launch didn't really have, or see the need for, an endgame. The level cap was this lofty goal that only the greatest (or those without a life) could ever hope to attain. Raiding as an endgame was a reward for those who persevered though leveling.

  • As years passed and more expansions were launched, the endgame became a focus for players. So much so that, when WoW launched, raiding was a primary focus for some MMO players. Leveling had become the grind one had to overcome to earn their way to the real game. "The game doesn't start until the level cap" has become a common belief. But it wasn't always that way.

  • As it stands, endgame raiding has become this weird evolutionary offshoot that is, to my mind, only half formed. MMOs must have an endgame to keep the subscribers busy since leveling has become a matter of quickly digestible content. And you need something for guilds to participate in as a group. But neither half of the MMO is really servicing the other that well.

  • I think it's time to let raiding become its own game. Someone needs to realize that there are many people out there who want to play together in a large group setting and forced to play through what is to them a grind so they can get to the good stuff. I think a raiding leveling path would be an awesome undertaking for an MMO.

  • If anything, we'll see if Karen is right and guilds need proper content to flourish or if people only group up for the loot. Me, I'll be sticking to my solo friendly MMOs, dreading the day I hit the level cap.

  • Anyway, it's great to have Darren and Karen back at the microphone and I can't wait to hear more from them.

© 2009 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. I am right there with you. Level based MMOs tend to fall flat on their faces for me the moment I hit the cap. I can count the exceptions on 3 fingers so far.

    There are actually several fairly obvious endgame mechanics that we have yet to see in a true MMO. "Switch to raiding or PvP" are currently generally the only choices, and I agree with you %100 that they are not serving or served well by a solo quest focused "1 to cap" game being a prerequisite to participate.

  2. @ Yeebo - I'd be interested in hearing what those three are. The one game that I know I played extensively at the level cap was Guild Wars. Of course, the leveling was illusory in that game.

  3. 1. Lord of the Rings Online: pre-MoM the endgame was structured like a big round room with many doors leading out. You were free to dabble in a lot of different things, and you were rewarded with better traits and/ or gear by all of them. Crafting, PvP, 6 mans, raiding, and simply grinding mobs all led to decent rewards. I rarely did the same thing from one weekend to the next.

    2. Phantasy Star Online: I never did get that ultra rare shotgun I wanted, but I spent a long time looking for it. And I never did quite hit 200. I count my self as "capped" around level 170 when I maxed out most of my stats. I think I was 190 when going to a field station for three months forced me to quit. By the time I returned, my addiction had abated.

    3. Dark Age of Camelot: was close to being my third. I had already dabbled in RvR and loved it. Unfortunately, as I approached the cap Trials of Atlantis came down the pipe and set the endgame I was anticipating on fire. I quit in disgust soon after.

    I'd probably also have Guild Wars on that list if I had ever tried it. Hunting down rare abilities sounds like the kind of thing I'd find addictive.