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Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

The Endgame Myth

Posted by Stradden Friday February 5 2010 at 11:33AM
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There is a disconnect between some people who play MMORPGs and the people who develop them. Actually, there are a lot of disconnects in that area, but this is the one I’ve decided to focus on for today.

It seems that there are a large number of players out there who believe that end-game is where the real game begins in terms of MMORPGs. As a result, they rush as quickly as possible toward whatever the level cap of the game happens to be, and then are inevitably disappointed once they get there. Today, I actually read a post from someone who implied that the rest of the game is there simply as a tutorial for the superawesomefuntimeohmygodIneedanewpairofpants that is and must be the endgame.

In every single recent MMORPG launch, I’ve read about players who feel that the game has let them down because two days after launch, they’ve hit the level cap and find that a) it’s not populated and B) that the developers haven’t really put much there for them to do. I mean, if the “real game” starts at level cap, then why isn’t there anything to do?

The answer to that question is that the developers don’t intend for the game to start at endgame. They don’t spend millions and millions of dollars on that part of the game right out of the gate because to them, and to the vast majority of people who don’t post on forums, the whole part from level one to the cap IS the game, endgame is about retention, sure, and every MMO needs to have something for players to do at cap, otherwise they’re going to get bored and leave.

That’s where the disconnect happens, I think. Developers, rightly or wrongly, believe that they’ve (theoretically) put all of the time and effort into constructing a certain number of levels into their game. They’ve created content, interweaving stories, NPCs, points of interest and other aspects of the game and so that should probably entertain folks at least until the free month that comes with the damned game is over.

Time and energy won’t (and probably shouldn’t) be spent on endgame until such time as a significant portion of the player base is actually there. Put another way: They’re not going to spend a whole bunch of time and cash to make sure that a portion of the game is juicy and robust for the very small number of people who rush to get there. They’re going to divert energy and resources where the most people are going to get the most benefit out of them.

Why is WoW’s endgame so robust? Because the game is old enough that a very large percentage of their player base is at cap. Why don’t new MMOs launch with 100% end game content intact? Because most people are still playing “the game.”

Here’s my rule of thumb: When you buy a subscription based MMO, your box purchase is going toward the development of the game from tutorial to cap. In essence, if this was a single player game, once you hit cap you’ve “beaten it.” Your subscription dollars are what goes toward continued and robust endgame content, so don’t expect a lot of time to be spent on endgame before everyone’s paid their first subscription fee.

But that’s just my opinion. I’m more of a “take your time and enjoy the content” kind of gamer myself.

maniacfox writes:

I've always enjoyed the "game", the latest changes in WoW have resulted in me taking a break from it. Everyone just sits around in Dalaran popping in and out of Heroics, for what it's worth they might just as well create a Dungeon Finder app that sits in your system tray and blinks when your instance is ready. If that's end game then you can keep it thanks.

I will probably come back from the expansion just to play the new content and try out the new races.

Fri Feb 05 2010 12:06PM Report
grimfall writes:

I think the mentality of "rush to end content" was developed as a function between gamers who played at the level max in EQ, Shadowbane and Asheron's Call.  When those same players converted to WoW they had been trained to max their level as quickly as possible by the various EQ and AC expansions (and Shadowbane's nature), so they applied the same philosophy to EQ.

I'd agree that the silent majority of players prefer to enjoy the levelling content.  It's a vocal "internet champion" minority who feel the need to rush to the max level and then complain about how there's no content.  In reality what they're doing is bragging about how quickly they levelled, but trying to hide it in complaints.

Fri Feb 05 2010 12:17PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

This is the plague of theme park MMOs.   They lead you through a straight line and when you get to the end the ride is usually over.

Sandbox games that are open ended allow new players to participate in all activities right out of the gate are far less likely to struggle with this.  Factor in sandbox games often have player driven content, and the chance for burnout becomes far less likely.

A linear game has a start and a finish, an open ended game doesn't.   This is probably why we have seen a slew of botched linear theme parks come out and tank in 3 months when people cross the goal line.   It's a bad model for a game that requires longevity to be profitable.

Fri Feb 05 2010 12:36PM Report
sacredfool writes:

 "In reality what they're doing is bragging about how quickly they levelled, but trying to hide it in complaints."


Totally true.


The line of today for me is "there is not a single raid set up" in the STO level cap thread. IMHO, it was priceless.

Fri Feb 05 2010 12:37PM Report
Amathe writes:

This goes to the difference between player personalities.

A lot of people just want to consume game content at whatever pace seems best to them, and enjoy that content as a journey. They want the game to be fun all along the way.

But there are also a lot of people who play games to prove themselves and get to the top of whatever hierarchy it is by which they measure success. For this type of player, they often have to be at or near whatever the highest benchmark of the game currently is before they are having fun.

A game can make both types of players happy, but so few of them actually do. Some games cater to players who just want a fun journey and don't have much of an end game. Others have a good endgame but the journey to it is repetitive and dull.

Personally, I enjoy reaching the endgame, but I am in no hurry to get there and fully expect to enjoy every level I play. If I find that the lower and mid level content is just filler, and I am asked to grind that out in some boring fashion so I can get to the "real fun," I usually quit whatever game that is.

Just as an example, when I played original Everquest my friends had to drag me kicking and screaming out of Crushbone Castle (level 6-10 content) because I was having so much fun there lol. Sadly, very few games since have been that much fun for me at lower levels. :(

Fri Feb 05 2010 12:49PM Report
jakin writes:

See here's the thing:  Most of the recent MMO launches have all these millions of dollars spent on zones filled with the same uninspired "questing" (or rather, miscellaneous random tasks with a paragraph of explanation) as every other bleeding level.

In that case, yes I do want to level past it as quickly as possible - because I can only take killing hundreds of foozles for their rare pelt drop before I go insane.

Perhaps developers would be wise to sit back and examine the gameplay they're filling the "journey" with, and if it's generally found wanting - chop the leveling in half and devote that time-savings to implementing a creative and robust end-game straight out of launch.

Fri Feb 05 2010 12:50PM Report
Thorqemada writes:

Another thing is that leveling in MMOs has become so damned easy.

When i started back in 2000/2001 with Daoc i needed over half a year to reach the max level and it was 6 to 8 weeks to make the last two levels, playing not insane hours but 4 to 5 each day.

If i compare AoC to it the leveling speed is ten times higher so the need for endgame-content is ten times bigger.

Fri Feb 05 2010 1:06PM Report
Liltawen writes:

Endgames are a left over from the RPG past. An Endgame should have no relevance in the MMO world because there should always be new places to explore.

MMOs should be MMOs and not RPGs with online content.

Fri Feb 05 2010 1:19PM Report
maplestone writes:

If the journey is more important than the destination, don't drive as fast.

Fri Feb 05 2010 1:28PM Report
Thorqemada writes:

Hehe - you can only kill so less that you wont be logged out due to inactivity... ;P

Fri Feb 05 2010 1:55PM Report
dhayes68 writes:

End game is what you get if the game has a community. Things that foster and promote community are being left out of modern MMO's imo.

Fri Feb 05 2010 2:31PM Report
HandsomeHuss writes:

"Today, I actually read a post from someone who implied that the rest of the game is there simply as a tutorial for the superawesomefuntimeohmygodIneedanewpairofpants that is and must be the endgame."

Ok, I am 99% sure that the poster you are referring to was myself... So, I will now explain the "Rush to end game" side of things. I made damn sure to say in that post, "For me" as in, "In my opinion," because I know there are some who would rather take their time and enjoy the levelling content. But, FOR ME, the real game does not begin until level cap...the end game, and here's why:

I'll use the two most prominent games from my decade long MMO Gaming history, Dark Age of Camelot and World of Warcraft. When anybody thinks of DAOC, 9 times out of 10, the first thing that comes to mind is the RvR. The realm vs realm pvp between three factions in the frontiers. THAT is the end game... DAOC was built around it, and everything you did from 1-50 served only to prepare you for it. The 1-50 grind was pretty terrible. Back then, the quest system that you have today was not in place, and MMOs were not single player friendly. The grind consisted of forming a full group, and sitting at a static camp grinding on mobs for hours upon hours. Naturally, a player would want to get through that as fast as possible, to get to where the real fun began... In the frontiers... With three way battles consisting of hundreds of players, keep sieges, relic raids, etc.

Next, World of Warcraft. I was never one of the people that took part in the raid grind for gear. I did raid content simply to experience that raid content, and let me tell you, I LOVED raiding in WoW. I would blow through 1-60(70, 80) just to get to the big raids at the end game. Everything from 1-max level was there simply for me to get some entry level gear, learn my character, and get me ready to raid.

 

In conclusion, I hate levelling. And the only reason I take part in levelling is for the awesomesauce raiding at the end, be it PvP or PvE. All I think about while grinding is, "Man, raiding is going to be so awesome, cant wait." 

I get it, I'm in the minority here, but, IMO, the end game raids at max level involving large numbers of players... THAT is what makes an MMORPG a Massively Multiplayer Game. THAT is the game, and IMO, games today cant just include it, they need to built around it.

Fri Feb 05 2010 2:35PM Report
Reizla writes:

Aside from the people to rush to the cap, there is also an other problem. Most Western orientated MMOs make it extremely easy for players to hit the cap.

I've seen a list here on the forum a while back, stating that the avarage Western developed MMO needs around 75 hours of game play to hit the cap.
Compare this with the avarage Asian MMO, and you see that after 75 hours you're not even halfway. Heck, I've played L2 and after 3 years of pretty intensive playing I hit only 67 with my dwarf. I liked most of the game, though at times I felt the grind indeed. Now I'm playing the other "grind" from Asia: FFXI.
Why..? I could not care less about endgame. With that, both L2 and FFXI offer subs that prospone the endgame even more.

To me it's all about the story laid out for me, And perhaps that's also why I'm a lover of Asian MMOs instead of the Western MMOs...

Fri Feb 05 2010 3:06PM Report
Baleout writes:

HandsomeHuss  i have to agree with him on this i have a dislike for levelling because most of the time it feels the same to me and is boring as hell.

If you are a raider endgame is where it is !!!!

Fri Feb 05 2010 3:10PM Report
mckimmins writes:

The two games I have been playing the past few years are lotro and Eve. In lotro I took my time and savored all of the content. From 1 to 50 and then to 60 when moria came out. Once I hit the cap I will go on a few raids to see the content and then just help out friends. Luckily I think I played the game at a time when doing the big instances at 20,30,35, 40 was still pretty easy to get groups for. But once I hit the cap I was very underwhelmed with what was left for me to pursue. Raiding is fun but far to time consuming for me to take part in regularly.

So looking for something drastically different I check out Eve Online. No longer am I waiting for some mystical end game where all that I have to do is raids and gear grind. The world is what I make of it and whatever I want to accomplish I just set out the goals to achieve it, figure out how, and then go do it.

While I cherish the time I spent on lotro and with my lifetime account I will always get to go back into it and check out the new stuff. Eve Online is my main game where I am not waiting on some developer to release a new zone and a few new raids. (although with eve I am left forever hoping that walking in stations/incarna will be good!)

Fri Feb 05 2010 3:14PM Report
pojung writes:

Sadly, the disconnect is as you tried to identify it.

Developers know what gamers want. Gamers know developers can deliver.

 

The disconnect is between what developers INTEND to happen via a mechanic, versus how it's IMPLEMENTED. 'We intended for x, but got y instead.' The lessons that have been ignored through the past decade of MMORPGs is that developers still INTEND for things to happen, but apon implementation, get a seperate outcome. The studies should be done on how to achieve a desired outcome, based on the community's desires and its identity.

Fri Feb 05 2010 3:47PM Report
ben3283 writes:

The trend of focused endgame content really took a turn when World of Warcraft was release. Its raiding method built a new standard for people to achieve after the level cap. Then the grind of gear kicks in, the need to improve armor and weapons overwhelms the characters limitations. With 11 million players, there are surely some out there that got bored with World of Warcraft and moved on to another game. Now with the concept of easy level grind and massive endgame content, a player leaving World of Warcraft could get confused and compare every other game to the MMO behemoth. This will not change unless you have another company come out with an original design game, which will share the power with World of Warcraft. Just wait until Blizzard’s next gen massive multiplayer, it will change the industry in the same way World of Warcraft did.
 

I would expect some endgame content on the release of an MMO. In my eyes it’s like a single player game with an unfinished end. I am a slow guy when jumping into a new MMO, but I do support people that rush to the end. Its there play style, people like doing it, if they can have fun at it!
 

Fri Feb 05 2010 3:49PM Report
Kes0 writes:

I 100% support endgamers. If the developers do not intend to start the game at end game, they should not put the best gears, the best rewards, the best raids, the best experience, the best X-Y-Z, at the end game. I do not understand why a piece of lvl50 gear/raids/etc has to be always better than those at lvl20. The developers hang themselves by these rules and they deserve it.

Fri Feb 05 2010 4:56PM Report
Yamota writes:

People who say there should not be an end-game until enough people has leveled up significantly do not understand the difference between single player games and MMORPGs (beside the obvious that one is played on a remote server and the other is local).

MMORPGs is all about end game because the game is supposed to be persistant and give you something to strive about. If there is no end game then you have nothing to level for and you might as well play a single player game where you "enjoy" the content from lvl 1 to cap and then stop playing.

MMORPGs are about being competetetive or cooperative to reach the end game which should keep you there for months, and that is how devs generate revenue. 1 million box sales is not worth anything if there is poor retention, 1 year after release. Hence why games like AoC and WAR are considered to be failed MMORPGs.

Single Player games =/= MMORPGs (even though games like STO makes you think so).

Fri Feb 05 2010 5:21PM Report
WSIMike writes:

I noticed a shift in a large portion of the MMO population after WoW came out. Players who played (and still do in many cases) played pre WoW MMOs are typically not in a hurry to get to end-game, they take their time, get involved with everything the game offers.... or at least a lot more than "grinding levels as quickly as possible"... they diversify.... they explore... socialize, etc. etc.. In short... they "enjoy the journey".

Those are the people you will see playing a MMO for years, never complaining about how long x takes to do, etc. They're enjoying the experience of simply logging in and playing.

When WoW came out it, indeed, brought a lot of people who didn't have much, if any, MMO experience and didn't really know what a MMORPG was (hence, many argued that any other MMO was a clone of WoW - including some that came out years before).

They brought with them what I call the "console mentality"; that being... the whole idea is to "finish the game".. to get to the end... and, the faster you can do it, the better. Having no definitive finish line as a single player game does, the end-game seemed to become something of a surrogate for that, and so...  end-game was deemed the "only part that matters".

I never, once - and I'm not exaggerating in this - saw people ask how long it takes to get to level cap in the pre-WoW games I played. Since WoW, I see people asking that question before they've even installed it. They're asking similar questions like "what's the fastest leveling class",  or "what's the most powerful class", or "what's the fastest way to level"... They're not even *in* the game yet, and they're already worried about getting to the end.

Many of those same people sneer at all the other content... questing, crafting, harvesting, personal housing, etc. If it doesn't help them level faster, it's a waste, shouldn't be in the game, and they can't even understand why the developers put it in. It's absolutely beyond their comprehension that not everyone thinks the way they do and that some people *enjoy* that kind of stuff.

Finally... I will say that while many MMOs have suffered from lazy quest design in recent years, I find it funny when people who, by their own admission, don't bother doing anything besides speed-leveling, complain about a "lack of content" in the game. How the hell would they know? They never slowed down enough to even take a look.

 

 

Fri Feb 05 2010 5:21PM Report
cabgold writes:

The real problem is that a lot of games  launch with very limited real content.  If a player can get 6 characters to the level cap by playing 10 hours  week in  a matter of a few months and then have nothing to do, there is a content problem (regardless of whether the content is lacking at the end or in the middle).  This doesn't matter so much in a console game because you only pay for the game itself and not a monthly fee thereafter.  But I know that if I am paying a monthly fee that I expect that the game have a longer shelf life than a console game  and am not willing to pay the monthly fee in anticipation that the content may come at some indefinite future.  Even at the launch an MMO should have more content than a console game given that my monthly fee kicks in right away.  Also given that MMOs are not new and that there are many to choose from, the days of launching a buggy game with sparse content doesnt pass muster anymore.  I would rather play an older fully developed bug free game a little longer and wait for the newer MMO to fix its bugs and add content.

Fri Feb 05 2010 6:33PM Report
WW4BW writes:

If players can get to the lvl cap a week after launch to discover there is nothing there to do, it is the developer that has failed to either add content there or its their fault for allowing too fast progression.

Also it is often a prerequisite for those players to have been in beta or having been allowed to play the game prelaunch. I never got why open beta had to be the complete game. It should be enough to let players play the first few levels to get an idea of how the classes work. And possibly allow them to play later stages with appropriatly premade characters. But to allow players to experience the complete game for ages before the actual launch allows them to take the short route to the level cap and also why should they bother with taking the scenic route again, they did that in beta.

In general I think level progression is too fast in most of the games Ive played. The only stumbling blocks seem to have been finding groups if I found myself a bit ahead of the curve or my desire to get the nice loot from certain mid level encounters, but due to how xp works in most modern games I kept failing upwards out of the level range of the dungeon and the loot in it. I REALLY HATE THAT.

On one side it seems like players are rewarded for failing. On the other it feels like they are punished by not really getting to experience half of the cool stuff as they zoom past in a never ending cycle of kill some stuff and die respawn and try again only this time its easier cause I leveled.. It also means that no matter how stupid people are and no matter how unwilling they are to listening they will still progress almost as fast as you and you get to meet the same idiots in the next dungeon or leveling area if you take even a day off.

I liked games in the old days that didnt really allow you to progress unless you started listening to advice.. I also liked going through a mid level dungeon more than once. I actually like going rhrough them 20 or 30 times as long as people cared to make an effort to complete them. Nowadays with instances you are forced to wait for the perfect group and you are screwed when someone has to leave for dinner. I liked the "rolling" groups that could exist for days where if one logs off he is replaced by another and when I logged back in after a nights sleep I would find the group still there.. or atleast 1 or 2 that were from the group I had left the night before..

Fri Feb 05 2010 7:43PM Report
WW4BW writes:

Also more on topic and a bit shorter:

When I played WoW I found it nearly impossible not to reach max level in a month. Granted I had lots of time to play and the only thing that held me back was friends that didnt have as much time.

But the way the game was constructed meant there was little to make you stop and think. you got spoon fed the next quest and sent off to the next area. And there wasnt really anything that made you stick around an area for too long.

Fri Feb 05 2010 7:51PM Report
Kyleran writes:

have to say, seems like sandbox style games are the solution to the problem. 2.5 years playing EVE and I still haven't found the end game, its all just one big universe with different things to do.

Fri Feb 05 2010 7:56PM Report
risenbones writes:

May I suggest then that if End-game is your thing that maybe you should stick with older releases that have an end-game in place rather than rushing out to buy every new shiney that comes along.  Dare I say that most new games are going to be spending the first few months fixing those weird and wonderful bugs that slip through beta before they start seriously developing any sort of end-game.  Sure you may miss out on a few of the early server firsts but with your leet skillz at powerleveling you shouldcatch upfairly quickly and you get to skip the tediusness of paying for Beta as a bonus.

 

Oh wait sorry I think I may of introduced a level of common sence and logic to the discussion I do apologise carry on.

Fri Feb 05 2010 7:58PM Report
HandsomeHuss writes:

WSIMike, I actually agree with that. Pre-WoW, I can't remember there ever being a rush, at least not like there is today. However, I disagree with your reasoning behind it.

I don't think that it was brought about by some "Console Mentality."

Instead, I believe that the cause was in the way that WoW opened up the game to its players, on a mechanical level. Allow me to explain: Have you ever seen the World of Roguecraft stuff? An in depth analysis by a player, where he breaks down everything about the rogue class to maximize its potential. This is called: Theorycraft. Theorycraft is what led to the min/max crowd in MMORPGs... The minimizing of undesired traits and the maximizing of desired ones. World of Warcraft's loot and raid system fostered this type of mentality, with players constantly pushing for better stuff to maximize their potential, so they could raid more and get even better stuff.

What does that have to do with anything?

We now see theorycraft applied to every MMORPG, even the one's released pre-WoW. Games where even I didn't care about stats, and only thought so far as, ok, higher amount of x = better... now get analyzed much more in depth.

Theorycraft/Min-maxing is just a part of what makes a hardcore player a hardcore player... Create char with the best stats, pick the most powerful build, level as quickly as possible, etc.

So, I agree that the Rush mentality was brought about by WoW, but I believe that it was for the reasons I mentioned. Not because WoW players are "Inexperienced Console Gamers."

Fri Feb 05 2010 8:06PM Report
Blazz writes:

I was hating leveling for a while in WoW - I mean, I'm playing as a prot warrior for god's sake. But now I have Devastate, and it's like playing a rogue, and everything's so much faster/more fun.

Additionally, I got to Outland, finally.

Once you hit level 58, WoW's grind seems to thin out and become more fun. I suppose those first three years really helped them discover how to make leveling a little more interesting?

 

For example: Elite mob quests. Fighting normal mobs is terribly repetitive and annoying, but fighting elite monsters is a bit more of a challenge, and forces players to use their larger cooldown abilities that they may not use.

If I were to go into a group of monsters, I just shockwave, thunderclap, demoralising shout... and then I spam Devastate until everything's dead.

But when an elite's involved, I often have to use bloodrage, concussion blow (I think it's called? 5 second stun + damage), shield block - on occasion I will switch into battle stance and use retaliation and go back to defensive stance to use shield wall, if the monster is hard enough. I've even had to use Last Stand a few times.

These quests are meant to be completed in a group of two to three, but I can do them myself, with difficulty, and it has made the game a lot more fun in the last four levels (now 62, about to leave Hellfire Peninsula)

So, erm, yeah. People rushing to endgame... you have too much time on your hands. I play maybe two hours a day, and after about a month of doing so, I'm still only 62. Maybe you guys should cut back your MMO time a little and improve yourselves in some manner? I exercise, and have been completing the 2D XNA tutorials so that, sometime down the track this year, I can get a game made.

And if you simply must rush to endgame, I dunno, see a psychiatrist. Not saying I don't like endgame, but shit, guys.

-Blazz

Sat Feb 06 2010 12:31AM Report
just1opinion writes:

I could not agree MORE with the OP. I loathe even the WORD "endgame." That word didn't even exist in the vocabulary of the original MMORPG players. It's pretty recent terminology and it sucks. Personally, I think it's a reflection of the impatience of the "drive thru generation." We want the full meal deal and we want it....yesterday.

Myself, I'd rather enjoy the beautiful journey. I want to read the story, and be a part of the story as it's unfolding, and stop to "smell the virtual roses." Cheesy, I know, but....that's just how I think MMOs are meant to be played. The journey to "the top"....IS the game.

But then...that is, of course, just my opinion, I suppose.

Sat Feb 06 2010 2:54AM Report
PortiaBell writes:

 That's because most developers don't think outside the box and look at ways to give in to both worlds.

Personally, I think Guild Wars had a fabulous idea in which the level cap was lower, level 20, but it took a little bit of time to get there. Once you hit 20, it really was just the start of the storyline. You went from 1-15 on the starter area and the last 5 levels is where you started honing in on the real action. From there it was about finding the elite skills to set up your "build" from there. 

Was Guild Wars a perfect game? Of course not. But it's a shining example of how developers can take current wishes of gamers and give the best of both worlds. 

Perhaps we SHOULD start expecting more from our game makers instead of placating the mass amounts of developers who choose to give a lot up front, but meager game play towards the end. 

Sat Feb 06 2010 3:59AM Report
Blazz writes:

Oooo, good point - I really enjoyed Guild Wars... sort of... I was young, and ran it on a terrible laptop that would overheat after about twenty minutes. I reinstalled it recently, but couldn't stand the now ten megabyte download for every little instanced zone I wanted to go to.

Oh wellllll....

Sat Feb 06 2010 7:33AM Report
Loky writes:

Perhaps one day , a mmo may come with no levels.

What replaces it? Skills. Would end game be different?

Good comparison with Dark Age too. That game has endgame.

Sat Feb 06 2010 7:44AM Report
KyogaSvk writes:

 I really enjoyed Lineage 2, the clan system where you could wage a war against everyone was very compelling... 

Sat Feb 06 2010 7:55AM Report
Isane writes:

The real problem is the playerbase for MMOs these days. No inteligence no ability to appreciate and no with tyo enjoy gameplay just to win.

TOP Tip : any number of MUDs are far better than the current MMOs which are bland repetetive and full of a majority air heads a shame but true.

Sat Feb 06 2010 1:37PM Report
Zhqrxt writes:

MMO`s are by far the best in the lvl up phase. The quests, the rewards and most important, the character "growth"  is so much more giving then what even the best endgame has to offer atm. RPG`s is really all about going from a to b, its the journey not the journeys end. Endgame is just a artificial way to stretch your characters growth untill next expansion pack comes out.

 

Sat Feb 06 2010 1:50PM Report
Jitzukai writes:

It's my belief that the content should be in proportion to the amount of time that you will be spending there. 

For instance if lv 1-5 takes 20 minutes and it takes 1 year to max out a character then the content at lvs 1-5 should be 1/26304th of the total content.  If you consider time spent at max level doing things then this number needs to be double or triple.

Generally as you level in a game your skill choices increase and branch out.  So should the content of a game.

All too often companies put a lot of time and attention on areas of the game that are passed in just a few hours.  This content pulls people in during open beta and sells subscriptions but it doesn't hold people for very long.

My conclusion is that content should be about 80% endgame, 19% midgame and 1% should be the first 25% of the levels.

Sat Feb 06 2010 2:28PM Report
Blazz writes:

But who's going to keep playing for that first 20 minutes if it's a piece of crap, whipped up with the intention of only giving players a place to level 1-5 in? Bleh, no thanks. I'd take a nicely crafted starting zone anyday. I <3 Durotar.

Sat Feb 06 2010 6:36PM Report
Thedrizzle writes:

I think level has become far too easy these days, and the lack of risk during leveling makes the so called "end game" even more dissapointing.

Before people began to group AOE mez and power level in DAOC, leveling was quite slow and rewarding. When you "dinged" it was actually something to be congratualated about, as opposed to in newred games like WoW when someone levels its like "big deal" another one is seconds away.

Also the lack of risk (ie.  exp loss, stat loss and item loss) during leveling makes the "mid-game"(or actually the real game) stagnant and boring IMO.  With risk you try much harder, are much more cautious, and much more apt to finding a group to level with.  Its wierd in the older games when you were leveling and joining "pugs"(which for some reason in newer games have become something to avoid at all costs) you were actually a part of the community.  I found many good people who later turned into good friends because of these "pugs".

Ok im rantning...

Sat Feb 06 2010 8:40PM Report
gordunk writes:

I think the real disconnect here is that if my box price was actually put towards a single player game I would have a lot more variety.  The reason that people try to run through the leveling portion of the game so fast is that developers since WoW have made the leveling process meaningless.  By introducing thousands of quests, you think "Oh, we have a lot of content in the game."

 

But when all the quests are kill 10 rats or fedex quests, they quickly lose meaning, and this is what has been happening to MMO's since WoW really.

 

Players will stop rushing to "Endgame" content when the rest of the game is made more enjoyable.

Sat Feb 06 2010 9:32PM Report
CayneJobb writes:

I think I fall into that rush to the cap category, but I don't want to be.  The problem in my opinion is that leveling up is never really much fun in most MMOs.  There's too much grinding of mobs, blocks of quest text to read through (which more often I just skip over because I don't feel like reading), and traveling from Point A to Point B then back to Point A then to Point C then back to Point A.  It's all very tedious.  If leveling up is meant to be the fun part, then it needs to be more fun.

I'm hoping for Bioware to mark a change with SW:TOR.  Since it's fully voiced, that will at least take away the endless blocks of text to read, and they're known for good stories in their RPGs so I'm hoping the story will be good enough to keep me interested during the journey.  If they can keep the grinding and traveling around to a minimum, I'll enjoy it a lot more than other MMOs.

Sat Feb 06 2010 11:32PM Report
astoria writes:

In every new MMO, after the game starts live, the first several hundred people that hit max level should get a big cutscreen that:

1. explains that they beat the game

2. gives them a hotline number for job counseling

3. gives them some popular online dating sites

4. gives them a couple websites that have diet and exercise tips

5. explains that their account is locked for a week.

Sat Feb 06 2010 11:36PM Report
slim26 writes:

Nice blog OP, Man this (NEW) endgame BS I see people complain about is like a damn cult of some sort. Just look at all the damn power leveling guides for MMORPG today on how to hit cap in 5 days and all that other BS. When I read that people quit an MMO and then talk crap about it because they hit cap in 5days instead of playing that MMO correctly by doing all the good things thats added in upsets me. Just who are these NEW people/players, why do they even play MMORPG?

Now tell me what exactly is a endgame to you people? endgame to me mean end of the game, how can endgame have more content if its over? I take my time playing MMORPG and yes I also seek power but I like to journey and all that other stuff. In 2000 to 06 there was no talk about endgame, that crap started in 07 I think and I don't know why.

Give the people who make MMORPG a break for god sake, even when they add new content for you all, you guys still not please because you got cap on your mind and there go the new content in a few days of release and now endgame chat starts all over again. Endgame would never happen, its impossible! because endgame is the end of the game.

Now you players that want endgame, something to do at cap but yet the stuff they give you at lvl 1 to mid cap is crap and boring, wth do you think endgame would be like?
 

Sun Feb 07 2010 12:49AM Report
slim26 writes:

astoria, hilarious.

Sun Feb 07 2010 12:54AM Report
Torak writes:

Get rid of "levels / classes" and make virtual worlds like UO, (old)SWG, Ryzom, EVE.

Problem solved.

Sun Feb 07 2010 1:36AM Report
Phasma writes:

It's not the start nor the end but the journey that takes you there.

Imo that's what Devs think anyways.  The game isn't about starting, nor ending.  It's the journey between the two that they put their effort into developing.

Sun Feb 07 2010 2:56AM Report
Torak writes:

As soon as you assign a number Phasma, it negates the journey in MMO's.

People will complain about the grind or the endgame.

Eliminate the level system and focus on a continuous journey is really the only solution.

This has the disadvantage of not attracting the the bulk of the "achievement" based players who just want to plow through "dings" and grab loot... and makes investors uncomfortable. And inevitably brings the wrath of the achievement types who do not understand that train of thought.

Sun Feb 07 2010 5:56AM Report
tadak0 writes:

MMorpg endgame these day, often really only involve group play these days, they bring out some expansion after expand on the quest for better gear. also if u really wanted all the game data can be look up in wiki there no mystery. i just wish there was an end game where if some thing invade and they won the game would end. that would be something. you could really get int o the game.

Sun Feb 07 2010 6:32AM Report
arctarus writes:

Rush to the end-game is because of the boring gameplay and  that's where the best loot is.

If the dev really make the process to end-game enjoyable than there wouldnt be this problem.

Too many kill 10 rats or fetch me quest...

 

Sun Feb 07 2010 9:47AM Report
Agart writes:

People rush to level cap because the content is not as fun as it used to be. I tried all the new games available since like 2007 and no games hooked me as much as WOW did back in 2004. I've been playing RPGs and MMOs for a long time and i'm never really satisfied with the leveling content in new games so i tell myself : ''i'll try the end game and see if it's worth a sub.''  Most of the time i don't even make it to cap because i'm bored with the content. I have high hopes for Star Wars : The old republic because i'm pretty sure i'll enjoy the journey this time since Bioware knows how to create awesome stories and worlds.

Sun Feb 07 2010 4:38PM Report
seruk writes:

Theoretically, the game at release should be finished as far as beginning to cap.  So as soon as it is actually released, development should go to end game content.  I would agree with you because, you are right, this mentality is very common among mmo players.  But there are many instances where the game has been out for 3-6 months and not a single content patch for end game has come out. 

Aion is a stellar example, many players have reached end game and now many players are leaving because there isn't any variety in the 6 things to do regardless of the fact that they all require grinding.

Sun Feb 07 2010 4:57PM Report
DemonLAmma writes:

 I've always played mmo's for the journey and not the destination. I prefer the leveling and working to try to reach the end and like having a goal of reaching the end of the game but NOT blowing through it and missing the scenery along the way.

Sun Feb 07 2010 6:02PM Report
velimirius writes:

ppl wouldn't blow low/mid levels if they are not lacking of content,some games just demand from you to rush till cap,cuz you just dont have enough interesting content to play on low/mid lvls.

mmo where i rly did enjoyed all content from lvl 1 to 60 was in Lotro,other games just lack that content what makes you to wish to just skip most of things so you can enjoy bad ass raids or something else.

Sun Feb 07 2010 7:02PM Report
erictlewis writes:

Well yea burn though the content in 2 days i bet they dont have the content in place on a new game.

The problem with loro was we had end game content and good stuff.  Then we raised the level cap to 60 then 65 and repalced really good content with crud. 

And this last xpac 5 levles took 24 hours for most folks and yes end game content there is none other than repeatables that are not fun.

Sun Feb 07 2010 8:36PM Report
Zarobien writes:

The current mmo's are starting at the max level. This has nothing to do with the players but game devs.

I wouldnt level to max level if there wouldnt be constant handicap against the higher lvl players. (lvl based skills, lvl based spells, lvl based hitpoints, lvl based damage, lvl based items.)

I would like to see in wow: max lvl to enter instance < max lvl. But there is none. The whole game is build for end lvl players. (whom the best of, play the released content in few weeks and then grind for items.)

Sun Feb 07 2010 9:16PM Report
neosapience writes:

MMOs are designed for the masses. What the 'forum poster' is someone like me, someone that wants MMOs to be deep, complex, dynamic and open ended.

Nobody has made such a game yet, so we will continue to be disappointed with every single MMO until one comes out.

Sun Feb 07 2010 9:22PM Report
Horusra writes:

Sorry but Eve is all about End Game...just not raids as in a WoW like game.  You are pushed to work up a ship for your corp to do what your corp does...that is the end game.  Now you have to make money, pvp, mine, mission for your corp same as a person has to raid in a WoW game.  Both end with either being bored or finding that you like that "raid" style.  The "endless possiblilites" of eve are very limited as in most other games...it just has a better illusion of being unlimited.

Sun Feb 07 2010 9:51PM Report
etikilam writes:

If you do not develop your end game, players do not stick around once they reach it. I can't believe such a ridiculous article was posted here. So you except all the "hardcore" or power levelers to sit at end game for months before the developers even start on end game content? They won't. And after they quit and the next generation reaches end game, they will quit as well. So no majority will never remain at end game long enough to justify end game content according to your nonsense. That sounds like a great money making scheme if you are a developer... sounds like a shitty deal if you are a paying customer.

Casual players, people who spend more time talking about mmos than playing them, are what is killing this genre. You get popular support for bad ideas based on false premises. You can only play an hour a week? Fine. Super. Whatever. Why should more content be developed for you when you will never reach it? It shouldn't and it won't be.

 

 

Why shouldn't content be developed for the people who will actually experience it and appreciate it. You want to savor the content? Do you chew each bite 20 times as well? That is ridiculous. So basically you are someone with not enough time to actually play an mmo but you do anyways... and then you get angry/jealous/whatever when you see people who actually play the game having fun doing other things and that makes you want to hold everyone else back . Well that's a real shame.

Sun Feb 07 2010 10:43PM Report
velimirius writes:

whats the point of games then dude? you are talking nonsense,game content is made from lvl 1-cap because devs wants from players to experience all content,some games are lacking it  so ppl just skip or quit the game.

Im not a hardcore nor im a casual and i play like 4-6hrs a day,and still i want to enjoy the content of the game im playing.

Then why the fck devs are so stupid and dont make for you "hardcore" players or in other words "bots"  game where you are starting at MAX lvl and then you could just play your END game content. Oh yes i forgot you just bot till cap and devs dont want that so they have made all that content so you can use 3rd party programs.

these days are so many mmog fails and thats just because every lack content,and that games have only like 5k of players who are just like you,bot to cap and sit there with stick in ass.

Only thing i can agree is when players reach that cap and there is not much to wait them,they will leave probably.

And its devs fail,if they made content low/mid content actually worth playing ppl wouldnt reach that max lvl before devs make new expansion.

Good sample is Aion, low/mid content is just grind with several quest and dungeons and many just skipped that and found that theres still no end game rdy for them,why? devs didnt done job very well.

Mon Feb 08 2010 4:26AM Report
therain93 writes:

@Yamato: Yamato, mmorpg's as a persistent world suggests that the game is up and running even when you aren't around, not the definition you're putting forward.

@risenbones: I actually think you technically ahve the best solution: going back to older games with established endgame content. The problem is getting a group of people to go back there.

@HandsomeHuss: "Theorycraft" or min/maxing was going on long before Warcraft. Sure Wow has done a lot to change the game landscape but it didn't do everything.

@The OP: I'm in agreement with you and have posted about endgame being a farce. The one game I've played that kinda sorta circumvented this was City of Heroes. There's minimal endgame raiding (Hamidon, Rikti War zone/Mothership Raid/Recluses Victory, a few TF though most notably the ITF) and a big focus is on re-rolling alts. Given the number of ways to level in game and through the player made mission architect, the ridiculous number of combinations of powersets, and the the synergies of teaming that don't rely on the holy trinity, you're left to enjoy the combat. Some people don't enjoy this, but quite a few do. Ironically enough, besides adding yet another way to level up from the beginning, ironically enough, there will also be new focus on endcap play....because at 6 years old, City of Heroes has matured enough to start focusing on it (but playing alts is still crazy fun ; ' )

 

Mon Feb 08 2010 8:08AM Report
Heretique writes:

What I don't understand is why the players seem to be always "blamed" when it comes to things like this.

The players shell out the box+sub fee's to get what was basically promised to them with what the developers have featured to them. If you take a look around you'll notice people have been getting shafted because the developer doesn't deliver. Seems to me more companies are interested in getting the first hook in you and give you a "hope" for a better tomorrow which either;

a) False Promises / Never comes.

b) Comes with horrible implementation that takes months/year(s) to fix.

Games lately don't seem to offer the "fun zone" in between start and cap, so most people are forced to just level to end up no where but $65+ out of your pocket and false promises.

Mon Feb 08 2010 10:57AM Report
tidalkraken writes:

I feel a bit like a failure, to be honest. I've played dozens of MMOs (WoW, Vanguard, GW, Allods, FlyFF, WAR, and more) and never even reached the level cap.

I must be doing something wrong, especially in WoW, because after five months i only reached level 70 while questing in Northrend. Although, to be honest, i enjoyed most of the game contents in MMOs up to that point where i figured "screw this, i'm out".

Why do i keep thinking that? are they bad games?

No

I always run into the same problem with established games (especially WoW): there are no noobs. What's more, the people rolling new characters are unhelpful and rude when they finally do speak to you, throwing insults and flexing their e-peens.

Then, as you progress, people laugh at you because you're "only" level 40, 50, etc, after so long, and you need help with a quest. Yes, i have actually been laughed at repeatedly because i needed help with a low-level quest.

I think that really, nowadays, most MMOs are just breeding grounds for insecure morons. They used to be fun, but now we gave all the kids telling us what to do, because they didnt have lives and maxed out instantly.

Mon Feb 08 2010 2:48PM Report
slim26 writes:

Right now the MMORPG development team don't even no wtf endgame mean and why and how this started. Now they are trying to figure out how to make this end game content happen when in there mind end game is end of the game, you made it, great job. You people that want end game have no idea what you are asking for. Do you all know that end game is impossible? you guys are asking for an endless MMORPG for life with constant updates everyday to keep up with the hungry players. MMORPG was not in anyway meant to be endless things to do at cap, it was meant for players to enjoy what they paid for and all that hard work of content added to it . Yes, I understand that the kill 10 of this and collect 10 of that is played out and people want more of a better quest line, that is the only thing the Dev team can change, to make questing more less boring. I know many people that play MMORPG is sick of doing work for the NPC and looking like street rats in rags at the start of the game but how would that work out if that concept was reverse? a lot will change for MMORPG in the future and I am looking forward to it.

APB 

B&S

Mon Feb 08 2010 7:38PM Report
WSIMike writes:

@Heretique

Players are, in large part, to blame, though... because in many ways, and for a while now, many of them have basically said, flat out "we don't care about the low level content. The end game is all that matters. That's where the *real* game is".

It doesn't matter how interesting the low level content is and, frankly, many of those people wouldn't know because they can't be bothered with it unless it helps them level faster or gets them a better piece of gear than what they have.

I've lost count, but I've had that very discussion/debate with *many* players over the last several years. They insist that the game from level 1 - to - cap is nothing but "useless filler" or "the developers just milking you as long as they can before they let you get to the real game".

Many have, in my opinion, completely missed the point of what a MMORPG is designed to be an on-going adventure that can last years and instead treat it as a race to end-game which will, in many cases, only last them months before they've burned through everything. They aren't "victims" of poor game design. They're victims of their own choice of play style... but of course, few will ever accept that blame. It *has* to be someone else's fault.

Take FFXI for example. There's no way you can say FFXI has no good content at the low and mid levels. It has an incredible amount of content. It *does* have quests and missions fueled by deep and interesting storylines, in-game cut-scenes, etc.. It doesn't suffer from every quest revolving around "kill x of y"; there are a few, but they're the minority (won't include FoV in this because that's more casual "pass-the-time" type content than actual quest content). FFXI has a deep game system with lots to learn and do, and so on.

Yet, there are players in that game who deem all of that useless and pointless, because all that matters to them is "end game" and the whole point of playing is to get there as fast as possible. And, almost invariably, they get there, get through the content and then complain that "the game is nothing but a level grind". Well... whose fault is that? Look how they chose to play the game.

Developers - ever trying to give players what they're asking for to earn their money, at least most of the time - see this behavior and say "oh, they want less emphasis on the lower levels and more on getting to end-game... okay". So now you get these MMOs with half-assed quests and lame storylines where you're somehow helping to save the world by ridding some guy's basement of 20 rats.

And now players are complaining about the lack of interesting content at lower levels. Well.. if you want to know the reason for that... yes you can blame developers, in part. But you also have to blame players who have been shouting for the past several years that "low and mid level content is pointless, all that matters is end game!"

So, yes... players, in a big way, are to blame.
 

Tue Feb 09 2010 5:37AM Report
Ohtahkun writes:

WSIMike has a good point, there are those who refuse to enjoy anything along the way and only partake in the content that can only be done by a maxed out character.

Now frankly, I believe in Endgame myself, you get to that point.. it just happens.. But along the way leveling and such, I tend to realize, what exactly am I even playing for? Alot of Mmo's to date are a basic grind when you reach the end its the end.

Granted my first game was UO and from there I went to RS and so on playing just about anything I can get my hands on for at least a few months

So they have a point <About no Endgame>, But if they neglect everything else they might as well just be self destructive.

Tue Feb 09 2010 6:40AM Report
VultureSkull writes:

I don't rush myself, in fact i still dont have a 80 char in AoC(tons of alts though).

But I do beleive that every player eventually gets to cap and that it is imperative that there is an End game. This should not be beatedable content but replayable content with meaning.

This is easily addressed by some sort of PvP activity. And i leave it to the devs to think of other ways to engage top level players in their various games.

Tue Feb 09 2010 9:23AM Report
Rockgod99 writes:

Just play games like Eve & Darkfall and you won't ever be able to play a game with a carrot on a stick endgame again.

I love all types of mmos but Sandbox games have shown me that endgames arent a necessity.

Tue Feb 09 2010 9:47AM Report
Zturism writes:

I disagree strongly with this post. I really want to see data and numbers. People like you always claim that only a "small" percentage of people are at cap and blah blah blah. I have played so many MMOs I never felt like i was the minority.

Don't defend developers because they fail at making a game. A mmo standard nowadays = ENDGAME. If i want to beat a regular RPG i'd play single player console rpgs.

Tue Feb 09 2010 8:42PM Report
Zturism writes:

I disagree strongly with this post. I really want to see data and numbers. People like you always claim that only a "small" percentage of people are at cap and blah blah blah. I have played so many MMOs I never felt like i was the minority.

Don't defend developers because they fail at making a game. A mmo standard nowadays = ENDGAME. If i want to beat a regular RPG i'd play single player console rpgs.

Tue Feb 09 2010 8:42PM Report
skipgamer writes:

There are lots of reasons why gamers base an MMO on the end game. And this is just my opinion but I'll list them here.

Leveling is easy. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but its a fact. Players can choose what level enemies to fight against sure. But its either easy leveling or nigh impossible leveling. There is rarely an in-between setting.

Leveling is boring. Sure there will be all sorts of story elements while leveling, most often the most boring ones. I would love to see a game that changes this... An mmo with a Dragon Age: Origins -esque storyline would me have hooked experiencing the leveling content. But they just don't exist.

You don't get to experience "epic" content while leveling. Most end-games are interesting because you have a large group of players working towards an "epic" goal. You simply don't get that while leveling in pretty much any MMO. D&D online does have this aspect, but I blame the game mechanics for this game not being massively successful, definitely not its distribution of content.

And most importantly, leveling is by and large a solo affair. Sure you Can join groups and level together, but you don't have to... So people dont. 90% of the time spent questing in most MMO's is done solo. And if i wanted to play solo,  I would play a single player game. In most end-games you simply Cant progress unless you have a solid group of players to play with.

 

This is why people rush to the end-game. You can say its the minority of people, but as Zturism writes you cant claim that as fact.

Personally I would love to see an mmo purely focused around pve raiding, with similar mechanics to WoW. No pvp, no solo pve, just epic fights against epic bosses where the developers can focus solely on class synergy in a pve environment and making challenging encounters.

They don't exist, so unfortunately I'm forced to play WoW and rush to the end game.

Thu Feb 11 2010 2:05AM Report
Deewe writes:

Interesting, simply put the main issues comes with levels.

It prevents anyone to group play with anybody.

 

Remove that and players won't rush anymore to the level cap to be able to "enjoy" the game.

Fri Feb 12 2010 10:06PM Report
gogogogone writes:

End Game = no more solo content.  (I'll bite my tongue on the rest.)

Sat Feb 20 2010 2:07PM Report

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