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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Endgame

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48 posts found

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/07
Posts: 2364

4/02/13 9:40:00 PM#21
I think a system like Eve, but for fantasy, or heck just with some type of game to where the characters are actually animated (except Perpetuum) would be awsome.  In other words a huge world (more than just sky boxes and spheres) and a level-less progression system.  Age of Wushu seems to be sort of in that direction, but for me the jury is still out on that one for a couple of reasons.  However, I'm making an honest 2nd attempt with it and will see how it goes.

"If I offended you, you needed it" -Corey Taylor


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/03/13
Posts: 3

4/02/13 11:43:40 PM#22

"so I included a matchmaking system out-the-gate that allowed them to easily find groups to participate in the content that would make their character better."


I know it's rude to speak ill of the dead, but that never really worked. If I had a dime for every time I spent over an hour in a queue waiting for a "average wait time: 1 minute" queue to pop...

I do miss it, though. Especially Keyes Reactor, which post-nerf was a great romp.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/23/03
Posts: 152

4/02/13 11:52:55 PM#23
in DAoC it was friends and realm-pride. Although we were roaming all night in the frontiers to skirmish with other groups it never got boring. The balance was always changing through the 3-side RvR and you never knew who was waiting around the next corner.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/04/04
Posts: 78

4/03/13 12:10:58 AM#24

I lean more towards sandbox than themepark, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good themepark. I like to have elements of both, if possible. Or a sandbox that has little themeparks scattered about throughout it.


While I absolutely LOVE a good RPG, I have to say that I am absolutely sick and tired of being The Hero(ine) from day one level one in an MMO. So very, very sick and tired of it. Do I like becoming The Heroine? Hell yes. But I like to develop INTO that, because I deserve it, I've done all the myriad things that becoming The Heroine requires, amongst NPCs and other PCs, and not be crowned that simply because I logged in after I completed character creation. That makes it feel so hollow. If EVERYONE is The #1 Hero from day one, then it's common and shallow. You can get away with it in a singleplayer game, because you're the only Player, but in an MMO, where you are Player #8,737 out of 999,999+, and you have ALL been crowned The #1 Hero... there is no rise to glory. You're already The Best and yet you become, um, more The Best, even though you were The Best before, with each level-up? (Note: there is a difference in being A Hero who can still be something better, and being The Hero/The Best from the get-go. It's the latter I'm really tired of, though I still prefer having to work at even being A Hero.)


Okay, enough ranting, sorry about the tirade!


What do I enjoy the most? Exploration. Social interaction (roleplay or otherwise). Figuring out how to take down Big Bads (solo or grouped, and anywhere from small group to large- and I do mean large, such as EQ1's 80+ member raids). Evolution of my character in some fashion (preferably just minor tweaking) once at the end-game (whether it be 'alternate advancement' or skill tweaking or even gear, if the gear upgrades are more along the lines of 'streamlining' and tweaking for preference).


What do I enjoy the least? Grinding. Forced anything, whether it be a repetitive short list of dungeon runs/raids/kills for loot/gear or forced/required PvP (when it's a game not based on PvP).


Give me a way to still increase or tweak my character somehow (EQ1's alternate advancement, CoH's incarnate abilities, DAoC's Realm Ranks, anything similar especially if it's only minor (but plentiful) vertical or horizontal progression) and give me a wide variety of ways to do that, and also give me a variety of things to do that aren't particularly focused on character advancement but are still fun (badges, crafting, housing, exploration discoveries, player-created content, social/roleplay hubs, for a few examples) and I'll be one veryvery happy player. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 6/12/07
Posts: 40

4/03/13 12:48:53 AM#25

City of Heroes had a greatest endgame system I had seen so far. The choices and the fact that everyone got a reward and not just the lucky few get due to a role or class restriction like most games. 


SWTOR at launch had a pretty good raid system but peopled whined it was too easy and now they put tons and tons of trash mobs in place and have adopted the common problem many mmos face where if you have 1 or 2 people not doing enough dps or making the occasional mistake the boss enrages and you fail.


My guilds raid teams slowly fell apart due to this problem along with drama and insults never before heard from our group. (we were a multigame guild) The sheer difficulty increase from eternity vault and karaggas to explosive confict was stupidly more difficult just on story mode. I think they have rebalanced it over time but our raid group fell apart before we started hardmode and I pretty much stopped playing. 


I'm looking forward to the upcoming expansion and hoping they didn't make the same mistake. Perhaps our group will get together again and start over clean.




Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

4/03/13 2:24:25 AM#26

In answer the the sandbox/themepark question at the end ...

Years ago, a prof said to me "you don't understand this subject until you can explain it to a computer".  To me, this is the artistic heart of my preference to sandboxes (in theory) over themeparks.  Scripted stories feel like concept art to me, as if deep down the developer was going "I really wish this sort of thing could happen spontaneously in my world, but I can't figure out how to explain the dynamics in my imagination to the computer."


Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 2671

4/03/13 2:49:51 AM#27

"I’m too much of an old school RPG Game Master at heart to trust the care of my world to the players"

Great line Matt :)  and with that I gave my answer too, I play for the story and lore, so themepark for me.

I love to craft and explore too, and by that sandbox would fit me as well, but I loathe pvp in rpg's (maybe the heritage of my massive p'n'p years, but I believe rpg is for cooperation and not e-peen and ganking), sadly it seems nowadays in the mind of devs sandbox is hardlinked to open ffa pvp. I can't wait for WildStar's settler path though :)


Novice Member

Joined: 8/31/12
Posts: 384

4/03/13 3:04:10 AM#28

I'm a sandboxer at heart.  I lke the emergent gameplay, and the opportunity to go 'off-script.'  But ideally with just a *touch* of theme to it, to get you started and showcase the possibilities.

Progression:  I like an asymptotic approach.  Vertical in the beginning, tapering off to a more horizontal/lateral direction that approaches *but never quite reaches* a certain overall powerlevel.  Something that can keep the sense of 'character development' endless or near-endless, but that doesn't scale out of reach of the neophyte (or require long periods of stalling or 'welfare boosting' to let the neophyte catch up.)  Eve's approach is the closest I've seen ot the ideal.


Advanced Member

Joined: 2/20/08
Posts: 33

4/03/13 5:14:34 AM#29

i prefer mmos with mixed playstyles, most likely a themepark with great sandbox elements, though nothing like this exists really. i played WoW a lot and it was loads of fun, however the game became more and more linear, all the classes were evened, the skill system was torn down to a simple "click one of this 3 abilites every X levels" and there is no individuality at all now. the raids are still pretty epic, however i never liked the abandonment of 40 Man raids. even if your individual skills didnt matter that much in its time, it was simply the group strength, which made you pass these raids. It meant something if you were in a guild who has beaten Nefarian or even a few bosses in naxxramas. Now its just the overpainted picture of a scripted MMO giving players loads of epic items for these so-called "raidfinder-raids" which are just a boring way of keeping players happy with epics.

also i never liked any kind of dungeonfinders, they made instances very unpersonal, and thats my main point in an mmo: socializing. most of the finders in MMOs are serverwide, so you dont even need to get players from your own servers. no instance search in chat, which i didnt find any harder than pressing a button to queue up. 


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/20/04
Posts: 12

4/03/13 5:26:33 AM#30

I play RPGs to roleplay, which to me as a long time pen-and-paper gamer is defined as the player "telling their _own_ story."  I lean toward sandbox games as a result, simply because I don't feel as constrained to tell someone else's story instead of my own.


It is not that themepark games cannot empower that as well: CoH is a good example of a game that largely allowed a player character to tell their own story despite being a themepark.  It simply seems to be less likely to occur in themeparks... a logical result, given the differences of design philosophy involved.


On the concept of what makes an end-game work: I think, in the final analysis, it boils down to community.  In the MMOs that have had my attention for long periods, i.e. years instead of months, the consistent element that kept me coming back was reminiscent of a line from the old sitcom Cheers: "sometimes you want to go; where everybody knows your name; and they're always glad you came..."


Not exceptionally helpful from a game designer standpoint, perhaps, but something to keep in mind.  Potential elements that help engender such an environment: allowing for significant distinction in character look, so that individuals can be recognized by sight in game; reasonably short but non-trivial periods of downtime, allowing for at least brief social interactions; challenges requiring coordination of effort but relatively little activity (again, encouraging communication); interface elements that aid in identification/remembrance of player characters interacted with before; and so on.



Blogging semi-regularly at


Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/19/13
Posts: 46

4/03/13 6:19:04 AM#31

Shadowbane was an awesome MMO and I enjoyed it greatly and it had a very sandbox end game.

However the game was ruined by unlimited open PvP to the point where every Shard (server) was run by a single super-guild and if you were somehow not allied with them they would spawn camp you until gave up playing.  If you had a deed and were building a fort, the super-guild would come along level it if it was not flying their guild banner.


Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/07
Posts: 1432

4/03/13 6:36:30 AM#32

Darkfall has the potential to be the 'best' (end) game because it has a combination of Eve's skilling and popular fantasty.


However, somewhere they lost the plot and are wiping the server. 


Therefore, I believe the 'best' endgame is WoW because of the shear diversity of activities offered. 


But bear in mind that MMORPGs are basically escapism, so you have to be careful how much time you spend playing them.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/02/10
Posts: 429

4/03/13 6:39:51 AM#33

TBH, I do not know. Although I have played nearly every AAA MMO since 2003 I have only stayed with WOW for more than a year (7 years and quit with MOP). Probably the reason is that I don't stick around for more than 3 months on any MMO is because am a solo player.  The only MMO that I have seen that had a decent endgame for the solo player was RIFT. You could continue to grind and your stats would slowly get better. 

I do not like pvp but I remember spending 2 hours a day and 12 hours on weekends playing Alterace Valley in the Burning Crusade over and over and over. Yes it was gear and rep grind but I loved being in a group and being able to heal. The architecture of the battleground meant that you could not really zerg. No other battleground (WOW or any other game) has come close. Now that MMOs are trying to eliminate pvp healers I don't see anything like that happening again.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/10/12
Posts: 17

4/03/13 7:11:16 AM#34

I'd definitely stick with a Sandbox. I'd like nothing more than the game dumping me off in some huge open world with no goal or story whatsoever.

As for the not-so-on-topic endgame... It's pretty much when you reach max level/final area/complete all quests... something of that sort, right? Well why have it at all? Getting to the next level, or acquiring a new skill should be so difficult, people wouldn't be reaching the so-called endgame. It's a simple matter of adding a zero or two at the end of the xp requirements. (Not really, but almost.)


Novice Member

Joined: 11/14/12
Posts: 81

4/03/13 7:41:18 AM#35
Originally posted by tornmandate

I'd definitely stick with a Sandbox. I'd like nothing more than the game dumping me off in some huge open world with no goal or story whatsoever.

As for the not-so-on-topic endgame... It's pretty much when you reach max level/final area/complete all quests... something of that sort, right? Well why have it at all? Getting to the next level, or acquiring a new skill should be so difficult, people wouldn't be reaching the so-called endgame. It's a simple matter of adding a zero or two at the end of the xp requirements. (Not really, but almost.)

Sadly Devs these days care nothing but making a quick buck, prime example SWTOR. Hopefully more Dev's will look at what EvE has done and make games that can keep the players interested more then 2 weeks. For me I'm looking forward to the game World of Darkness which is based of the RPG "Vampire the Masquerade" which is being made by the people who made EVE and will be a sandbox game too.


Novice Member

Joined: 11/23/10
Posts: 364

4/03/13 8:27:40 AM#36

for me its sandbox pve.  Im not interested in pvp and absolutely will not play a game with any type of open world pvp ever again except for world of darkness if it ever gets made.  pvp just brings out some real asshats in the gaming community and quite frankly I dont have time to deal with idiots like that. 

I currently play asherons call even though it is 13 years old.  I also absolutely hate the word end game.  there should be no end game, its a mmo the game should go forever.

there should be no such thing as level cap.  your character doesnt stop learning just because he reached a certain point.  base character development on things other than just gear.  innate abilities that you can purchase with exp or some other form of currency, something other than running raid x every week for 3 months just to get a few pieces of gear.  in those types of games you never see your character get more powerful once he reaches level cap, he just gets more gear.  take the gear off and he has not gained one bit in power, its just depressing.



Advanced Member

Joined: 1/31/11
Posts: 110

4/03/13 9:44:27 AM#37

This might take me a bit to answer.


“The elusive end game is what many MMO players are looking for in order to keep playing the same game for long months on end.” ~ Okay, this statement makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  So, you plan for a game that is supposed to be set in a potentially perpetual universe… to END, from the outset?  Alright, when THAT makes sense to someone, let me know, please?  ‘The END-game… players are looking for to KEEP PLAYING… for long months on end…’?  Wait, WHAT?!



Rather than allowing the words ‘end game’ to creep into the planning at ANY point during the planning, as with a regular video game that is designed to come to an end, why not allow for a different term, such as ‘content in-game release point’, or just simply like any other business designed to be perpetual?  Have a tasks benchmark point, such as 1500 tasks in-game prior to release; we all know MMO developers are going to put in expansions and updates, and those apply to the game overall, but they really don’t go to any sort of ‘end game content’.



“I’m too much of an old school RPG Game Master at heart to trust the care of my world to the players, and I think that’s why I never really got into EVE.” ~ Now, this is something I’m very familiar, having been a tabletop role-player since my middle school days -too long ago to be recognizable, anymore, just AFTER the dinosaurs, I’m afraid-, and for the tabletop this sort of mentality is fine.  As a compromise between the two viewpoints of allowing players to create the world or keeping a tight control over it, build the stories and assets you want to see placed in your world to begin with and, once you’ve reached your planned saturation point, then begin to develop tools for other players to get in and create, as well.  Keep in mind that there are thousands of others in the world who have been GamesMasters and will find your game to be the perfect place to put together adventures they love, have developed, and/or have run for their players.  For those who are not tabletop gamers, there are still many out there who will want to take ideas they’ve seen and/or developed, before, and see them in your game.  It’s the height of selfishness to not allow them to work magic you didn’t think of.



“Costumes and Emotes are usually the worst selling microtransactions in any given game’s cash shop, when they sit side-by-side with power items that have an actual improvement on your character’s combat effectiveness.” ~ I hate to say this, HATE IT, but unfortunately MMORPGs are designed to power players up.  Had MMOs been designed with the traditional role-playing ideals in-mind, two things would have happened:



1) Traditional RP players would not expect all of the power-ups available since EverQuest and Asheron’s Call, and



2) MMORPGs would have died on the vine, because video gamers would not have taken to playing something where they couldn’t build their characters up and gain super-powers to keep them playing to the end of the game.



In this way, I agree with you, Matt, that face-to-face contact is very important to keep players interested in the game, or you have to go with incentives.  It’s pretty sad that we have a now-me society, because there are a lot of great stories to be told, but no one to enjoy them.



Which appeals to you more as a player, Sandbox or Theme Park and why? Is there an element of the other that you don’t mind? Is there an element of the other that drives you away? ~ I believe that both have their place.  To be honest with you, from what I’ve read about how tasks will be gathered, and with the removal of “quest hubs” from the game, it sounds to me as though The Elder Scrolls Online will have the perfect mixture, or at least the next-best step to doing so.  However, my thought is that a game needs to have a perfect mixture of both; after all, what’s the problem with having a relatively open world while finding the periodic beginning campaign task that will take your character, and your friend’s characters into a long chain of events that ENDs in some manner of catastrophic and perfectly heroic event?



The ONE thing I feel MMORPG developers (keep in mind the RPG stands for Role-Playing Game) have missed, wholesale, is how role-playing adventures, campaigns, and actual quests are developed, and that’s because most of the industry is full of console gamers who have played games mistakenly labeled as RPGs, but do not actually have any decent story-telling abilities themselves.  TESO might be the first MMORPG that tells several decent stories, and I am only saying that based off prior experience with Bethesda games, particularly Oblivion and Fallout 3.  I hope they will set the benchmark for telling stories in games; however, even Bethesda does not have the whole of it, and I’m afraid I will wait forever before I see actual tasks related to actual adventures, unless somehow I win the lottery or I gain a huge inheritance and take to making the game myself.



Champions Online, Star Trek Online, pretty much any Cryptic game I have played, especially now that they are so closely in bed with PWE, who has forced players to get a second account WITH THEM to be able to play any of those games -IGNORANCE-, turned me entirely off within the first 30 levels.  Why?  Because their stories are about getting into fights, and little else.  Star Trek was SOMEWHAT different because you could drive a starship around in their universe, but their map -as cool as it is- only allows you to go from planet to planet in a very close frame… there is no real travel, and I never saw an actual shipboard adventure.  Basically, without going much further, Cryptic’s games are a bunch of pretty graphics and character design and background elements, with zero substance.



“I’ll be at C2E2 in Chicago at the end of April. My panel is on Friday, April 26th at 3:15 entitled “Playing a Hero in MMOs”, stop by if you have a chance!” ~ Oh, man, I wish I could make it to Chicago for that.  I can’t make it out of my driveway, right now, hehe, but I hope that your panel will show up on YouTube somewhere, so I can see it.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/24/12
Posts: 14

4/03/13 11:36:00 AM#38

Not to sound like a sycophant, but one of the greatest strengths to City of Heroes was its diversity of options. It wasn't all things to all people, but there was enough for everyone at all levels. That's really what's lacking in anything that's out there on a free-to-play model. World of Warcraft is doing it, but the implimentation, not to mention the actual content, is so vanilla that I just can't stick with it for more than a $30 timecard, and forget the cash shop.

Really, what I want from a game depends entirely on the game and my mood. I have to have four (or more) different games installed on my computer, now, to be able to scratch a given itch. Sometimes, I just want to go off and run missions/quests solo. Sometimes I want to run with a team/group. Sometimes, I want to go fishing, but it's snowing outside. (OK, that last one wasn't in CoH, but you get the idea.)

If you're listening and willing to comment, what are your thoughts on Jack's statement to Jeremy during the panel at PAXEast on the future of MMOs? Barring that, regarding the general comments of the panel regarding the cancellation of CoH?


Novice Member

Joined: 3/25/13
Posts: 22

4/03/13 7:43:13 PM#39
Originally posted by jtcgs

Asherons Call told a story and a good one at that.

Asherons Call was a sandbox because the game didnt lock you into it.

Asherons Call had levels, but it also had open skill choices so no classes where XP was placed into those skills for an almost infinitely increasing character power.

Asherons Call had an open world where you can go anywhere you wanted.

Its been done already, it can be mainstream easily if a company would just put money into it and BTW, the game is still going today, after some 15 years with people paying a sub.



Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/12/07
Posts: 516

4/03/13 9:52:38 PM#40

First, I am glad you recognize that different games appeal to different people and that's OK. I don't think I could get into EVE for several reasons but I'm not going to knock people who do. It would be like insulting someone because they prefer Rocky Road when you think putting nuts in ice cream is just wrong.

Second, I'm surprised about how costumes were poor sellers. With my Paragon Points about all I bought were extra costume slots and costume sets. But I think CoH is the exception due to the already wide range of costumes. In a superhero game, different costumes are nearly mandatory. I had one character who had different costumes at different levels to reflect her growing power (an mental unstability).

I haven't played enough MMOs to say themepark vs sandbox, just that the end content has to be fun. CoH did it with trials. STO is doing it with dull Reputation options where you basically buy stuff and over the course of weeks get to option to buy special equipment. I spent the last week there doing basic things and not having much fun doing it. It's a skinner box that has me in its grip.

With a sandbox, you need a goal. I've tried some sandbox games and I felt adrift like "what do I do now". Bragging rights don't concern me much since IMHO it shows that you spend too much time playing games. Ohhh you got the purple swirl gear that lets you do 0.1% more damage. How many all-nighters did that take? Have you bathed yet?

Bottom line, games are meant to be fun. If the content you have after reaching max level is fun then you have a winner.

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