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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Endgame Smendgame

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  SBFord

MMORPG.COM Staff

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 12134

 
OP  10/24/13 8:52:51 PM#1

Ah, the much-maligned and ballyhooed end game conversation. One of our favorites, and that of our readers, to be sure. In today's Tinge's Touchy Subject, we talk about the most controversial of subjects. Read on before heading to the comments to thrash it out yet again!

My problem with the end game is that it has become all encompassing. Nobody plays online games anymore for the journey. Nobody stops to look around, take a breath, and experience the digital flowers. Everybody is too quick to judge, too quick to /dance their character to the furthest reaches of content and proclaim it all “just not enough”.

Read more of Adam Tingle's Touchy Subjects: Endgame Smendgame.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  PsiKahn

Novice Member

Joined: 12/26/12
Posts: 123

10/25/13 3:06:40 PM#2
Great piece. Amen.  Now we need more games that give you something to savor!  I think part of this is lack on depth in the "grind" of many MMOs, no kidding you just wanted to get through it after a while!
  Po_gg

Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 1767

10/25/13 3:33:28 PM#3

Lol, nice one. For someone who got stuff like "you don't play properly" and "game starts at the cap" numerous times since years, it was an amusing read. But I don't understand why the hate, it's not even worth to waste the slighest amount of energy onto them :)

 

The movie analogue wasn't precise, they're more like someone who puts in a great movie, sets it to 32x speed, and after it's over the idiot puts a loop onto the last 10 seconds of the credits, and watches that for days, 24/7 :) What's even worse, these are the ones who call themselves "hardcore player", and the ones who's stating to know the movie / game the most...

  iridescence

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 943

10/25/13 3:39:35 PM#4

I agree with your basic sentiments  but which current gen MMOs are you referring to that give you the option of leveling slowly and enjoying the world? Seriously, I would like to play them. Every one I try to play, just through the basic questing I'm at endgame in under a month of playing 2 or 3 hours a day. I want to take my time but today's games don't allow that. Like with many things that are wrong with MMOs I blame WoW's business model. They figured out they could hook people on the gear treadmill which is much cheaper than making the actual world interesting and expanding it.

 

 

 
  User Deleted
10/25/13 3:46:22 PM#5
Where is the competitive spirit in this piece? Good endgame stirrs that competitive spark that drives players to improve, stay up late and theorycraft to oblivion. If a game's endgame is bad it's because the content isn't challenging or meaning enough to keep people trying to excel at it. Endgame isn't the problem, it's games that continually make it simpler, no longer require strong guilds or anything besides button mashing/zerging.

That being said, the leveling content can still be enjoyable for competitive gamers, they just don't focus on that aspect.
  Tygranir

Elite Member

Joined: 6/24/13
Posts: 749

10/25/13 3:51:50 PM#6
Originally posted by Roxtarr
Where is the competitive spirit in this piece? Good endgame stirrs that competitive spark that drives players to improve, stay up late and theorycraft to oblivion. If a game's endgame is bad it's because the content isn't challenging or meaning enough to keep people trying to excel at it. Endgame isn't the problem, it's games that continually make it simpler, no longer require strong guilds or anything besides button mashing/zerging.

That being said, the leveling content can still be enjoyable for competitive gamers, they just don't focus on that aspect.

It's that rush to the end and "Competitive Drive" that drills people into the endgame grind. The author was saying that pretty much is the issue.

 

It's like playing SWTOR (A game who's story is it's strong point) and going into a flashpoint and getting "Spacebar please" at every story point.

 

What ever happened to having fun playing? This whole "E-Sport" movement is what is making games dull and repetitive.

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  TiamatRoar

Novice Member

Joined: 8/05/10
Posts: 79

10/25/13 3:54:25 PM#7

The reason why MMOs focus on the end game is because an MMO is meant to last for months, if not years, and honestly without some sort of craptacular grind or time wasting system to slow people down, no budget or development team in the world is capable of pumping out a long enough journey to last even a casual player a YEAR.

Think of how EXPENSIVE Final Fantasy VII was to produce.  How expensive 8 was. How expensive 9 and 10 and 12 were. They costed a LOT of money to make, without needing to pay for all the things an MMO has to like server costs and customer support.  And yet those games only last like, what, two weeks to one month of casual play if you don't bother with their "endgame" optional side quests?

 

Now how on earth do you expect an MMO, with all the extra costs and resource-needs tacked on like server costs and customer support and multiple classes, etc, to have a journey that lasts longer than a huge budget Final Fantasy game? (or any huge budget single player game, really. I'm only using Final Fantasy's single player games as an example cause they tend to have big budgets)

 

You can't.  This is why an MMO NEEDS an end game.  The journey simply WILL NOT LAST THAT LONG, so if an MMO can't keep a "bubble wrap line to the exit" there to keep players occupied for a couple months it takes to develop a week's worth of hopefully-quality content (for casuals, as opposed to a grind content with tons of artificial time-wasting systems, also known as "end-game" to most players), then players will leave once the journey is over in one month. AND THE JOURNEY ABSOLUTELY WILL END IN A MONTH unless the dev team does things like make leveling atrociously slow and fill the MMO with tons of time wasters and beef gates. AND WHO THE HELL WANTS THAT?  How would you like a game that forces you to spend hours upon hours of grinding just to continue the journey, because no dev team and budget size in the world is capable of making a journey that will last longer than a month if they don't implement some horrific grind or time-wasting system to slow you down on that journey.

 

Hence the end-game.  If you want a game that will last you years (which MMOs are supposed to do), then end-game is the only option. It simply isn't feasible for a dev team or budget to create a journey that last years.

 

This is for theme-park MMOs.  Obviously, in a sand box MMO, YOU are the one that's supposed to be creating your own journey.  However, even in that case, there's a reason why actual sand boxes in real life don't last years either before the kids get bored without new toys, so sand box MMOs aren't exactly the easiest thing to make, either.  And they have tons of other issues as an MMO that real life sand boxes don't (in real life, you can't dump your kids in a sand box filled with hundreds of other kids for a month without expecting problems, for one thing).  But that's another topic, since end-game in this context I assume is meant to apply to theme-park MMOs (sand-box MMOs aren't supposed to have an end in the first place).

 
 
 
 
  Zapzap

Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/31/13
Posts: 197

10/25/13 3:56:31 PM#8

The simple answer to the OPs question is endgame is where the non trivial content is and it where one spends 99% of their time playing a MMO.

 

With almost all MMOs having superfast leveling taking 2 days or less to reach level cap endgame is where almost all our time will be spent.

 

Those who do not play endgame are simply people who simply do not play MMOs other than on forums.

  Po_gg

Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 1767

10/25/13 3:58:34 PM#9
Originally posted by Roxtarr
Where is the competitive spirit in this piece? Good endgame stirrs that competitive spark that drives players to improve, stay up late and theorycraft to oblivion.

I think it's two separate things (but maybe it's just my point of view...)

For me group rpg (both pen'n'paper and online) is about cooperation and not competition. That's why I don't pvp for example in rpg's, if I want to play against a player, there are fps, tps, strategy, card, racing, etc. games where I can do that. Rpg isn't the place of e-peen meters and stuff... imo of course.

Same with theorycrafting, I love to do that aspect (even mentioned it many times around here :) ), but it has nothing to do with competition as well, nor min-maxing. It's only about building new and fun ways to play a character or to interact with the world. Imo again.

 

Originally posted by Zapzap

Those who do not play endgame are simply people who simply do not play MMOs other than on forums.

wow, thank you for opening my eyes :) Now I know that I haven't played mmo's in the last 6-7 years - since I never wasted any second on dull and boring endgame. What a relief to knowing the truth, I can't wait to quickly jump into an endgame, any endgame now that I'm illuminated by your wisdom :)

  Tygranir

Elite Member

Joined: 6/24/13
Posts: 749

10/25/13 3:59:57 PM#10
Originally posted by Zapzap

The simple answer to the OPs question is endgame is where the non trivial content is and it where one spends 99% of their time playing a MMO.

 

With almost all MMOs having superfast leveling taking 2 days or less to reach level cap endgame is where almost all our time will be spent.

 

Those who do not play endgame are simply people who simply do not play MMOs other than on forums.

Or this is the problem. In EQ, pre-PoP, it took MONTHS to reach level cap, then months more to get a full raid set. Games should start at level 1, not be a tutorial to the endgame.

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  User Deleted
10/25/13 4:03:42 PM#11
Originally posted by Tygranir
Originally posted by Roxtarr
Where is the competitive spirit in this piece? Good endgame stirrs that competitive spark that drives players to improve, stay up late and theorycraft to oblivion. If a game's endgame is bad it's because the content isn't challenging or meaning enough to keep people trying to excel at it. Endgame isn't the problem, it's games that continually make it simpler, no longer require strong guilds or anything besides button mashing/zerging.

That being said, the leveling content can still be enjoyable for competitive gamers, they just don't focus on that aspect.

It's that rush to the end and "Competitive Drive" that drills people into the endgame grind. The author was saying that pretty much is the issue.

 

It's like playing SWTOR (A game who's story is it's strong point) and going into a flashpoint and getting "Spacebar please at every story point.

 

What ever happened to having fun playing? This whole "E-Sport" movement is what is making games dull and repetitive.

 

I concur with your observation, but disagree with the conclusion. Some would argue that making the process to reach the most challenging and competitive content as the cause of a game becoming dull and boring. In that same regard, less than challenging and overly accessible endgame can also contribute toward the dullness. Game design is the issue, not the concept of endgame.
  TiamatRoar

Novice Member

Joined: 8/05/10
Posts: 79

10/25/13 4:28:28 PM#12
Originally posted by Tygranir
Originally posted by Zapzap

The simple answer to the OPs question is endgame is where the non trivial content is and it where one spends 99% of their time playing a MMO.

 

With almost all MMOs having superfast leveling taking 2 days or less to reach level cap endgame is where almost all our time will be spent.

 

Those who do not play endgame are simply people who simply do not play MMOs other than on forums.

Or this is the problem. In EQ, pre-PoP, it took MONTHS to reach level cap, then months more to get a full raid set. Games should start at level 1, not be a tutorial to the endgame.

Full-raid set is end game, so for the purpose of this post, I'll stick to talking about why MMOs these days do not take months to reach the level cap.

 

And the reason why they don't is because why should I play a game that takes me months to experience the full journey when I can play a single player Final Fantasy game or other top tier RPG that has the same length storyline but DOESN'T require me to do stupid things like kill the same enemy over and over for a week just to get strong enough to move on to the next section of the story/journey?  If an MMO extends its journey by simply making it take longer to level, as opposed to making the journey (amount of areas, dungeons, and storyline) itself longer (which, sadly, is unfeasible to do forever at an acceptable rate no matter how big your budget and dev team is), then that's simply artificially extending the journey. Sure, you'll get a longer journey because you spent an entire friggin' week grinding the same mobs over and over again just so you could see the next area/cutscene/boss/storyline paragraph, but only because you've done stuff the vast majority of people today have realized is basically a big fat waste of human life (time).  Meanwhile, in a single player RPG, I get to see the next area/cutscene/boss/storyline in an hour or so without having to spam chat channels looking for groups and then repeating the same dungeon or monster over and over again for a week before I move on to something new.

 

Sure, unlike a Final Fantasy game, I can play an MMO with other people, but is that really worth it?  Is playing with others grinding the same stupid monster over and over really worth grinding the same stupid monster over and over again just so I can take the next step in my journey?  Sure, it was worth it to some of the people who stayed with EQ, but the vast majority of the masses (required to help an MMO recover it's huge budget costs) won't stand for that.

 

Everquest and most other MMOs of that era survived because there were no other options if you wanted to play an RPG-type game with other players online, and thus could get away with stupidly steep leveling curves.  Eventually, however, people wised up and realized that, gee, grinding the same mob over and over again just so you could advance to the next step of the journey REALLY REALLY SUCKED.

 

Of course, once you get rid of that grind and those suck tacular time-wasters, you end up with a whole different can of worms.  And that's gee, now that you've reached the end of the journey in a couple weeks (just like you would in any single player game), why even bother sticking around?

 

The answer that MMO companies have come up with is "end-game".

 

.....and now we're finding a whole new can of worms with THAT.  But the main point here isn't whether an end-game is good or not (it isn't, IMHO), but why so many MMOs and players focus on the end-game instead of the journey (although I do admit MMO companies tend to make leveling TOO fast. There's probably a better way in between EQ's grind fest and today's "2 days to reach max level" fest that exists somewhere, but in the end, the entire concept is pretty flawed).

 

Again, you can try to solve the problem by making your MMO a sand-box type game instead, but that opens up a ton of other worm cans (of which going into them would be going too far off topic).

 
 
 
 
  aspekx

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/24/05
Posts: 2148

10/25/13 4:47:46 PM#13
Originally posted by Zapzap

Those who do not play endgame are simply people who simply do not play MMOs other than on forums.

this is simply not true.

 

i spend very little time on a game's forums, except for off days when i dont have the time or inclination to play. and i have had very few characters at level cap over the years, for those games with a level cap.

 

most of my time in a game is spent leveling. i have found, and continue to find, endgame to be a boring set of goals. i would rather grind mobs than spend all my time in endgame.

"There are at least two kinds of games.
One could be called finite, the other infinite.
A finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
an infinite game for the purpose of continuing play."
Finite and Infinite Games, James Carse

  User Deleted
10/25/13 4:49:44 PM#14
Get rid of levels and everyone can be happy. You can just play and enjoy and your friends can play thier endgame because the entire game is endgame and the entire game is the journey. It's all a matter of perception. Get rid of que's and make the gates to the dungeon or raid or whatever endgame you think your playing be dynamic. Let's say to find the entrance to any dungeon or raid you must find the gatekeeper first, either by questing for clues or simply by exploring.
  Tygranir

Elite Member

Joined: 6/24/13
Posts: 749

10/25/13 4:56:24 PM#15
Originally posted by Rockniss
Get rid of levels and everyone can be happy. You can just play and enjoy and your friends can play thier endgame because the entire game is endgame and the entire game is the journey. It's all a matter of perception. Get rid of que's and make the gates to the dungeon or raid or whatever endgame you think your playing be dynamic. Let's say to find the entrance to any dungeon or raid you must find the gatekeeper first, either by questing for clues or simply by exploring.

Sounds like Everquest Next.

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  Ice-Queen

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/02/08
Posts: 2423

"Always borrow money from a pessimist. They won't expect it back."

10/25/13 5:06:46 PM#16
I remember in true Mmorpg's like Ultima Online, Asheron's Call, Dark Age of Camelot, there was never mention of endgame. We enjoyed the whole game and all it had to offer, we didn't need a carrot on the stick gear grind to have fun.

What happens when you log off your characters????.....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFQhfhnjYMk
Dark Age of Camelot

  iridescence

Advanced Member

Joined: 6/12/12
Posts: 943

10/25/13 5:07:22 PM#17
Originally posted by TiamatRoar
Originally posted by Tygranir

 

And the reason why they don't is because why should I play a game that takes me months to experience the full journey when I can play a single player Final Fantasy game or other top tier RPG that has the same length storyline but DOESN'T require me to do stupid things like kill the same enemy over and over for a week just to get strong enough to move on to the next section of the story/journey?  If an MMO extends its journey by simply making it take longer to level, as opposed to making the journey (amount of areas, dungeons, and storyline) itself longer (which, sadly, is unfeasible to do forever at an acceptable rate no matter how big your budget and dev team is), then that's simply artificially extending the journey.

 

Because my main motivation for playing isn't to be rewarded by cut scenes or new monster skins or phat lootz. If the combat and character progression are deep, challenging  and interesting, and maybe I have some interesting people in my guild to chat with and the game world is alive with interesting lore,  I'm perfectly happy killing the same mob in the same area for weeks.

 

I don't really expect you to understand. You seem to want your MMO to be an inferior single player RPG that you play online  before morphing in to a Diablo type game where you grind on the same instance for loot over and over (why don't you mind killing the same mob over and over at end game by the way?)

I want something completely different from an MMO.

 

 

  

  Vodun

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/11/05
Posts: 76

Be afraid, very afraid.

10/25/13 5:37:44 PM#18

I agree completely, the end game I have experienced has been much less enjoyable as the journey it took to get to "The End". It is just more of the same, but more boring than before.

The term "End Game" says it all, the game has ended, for this character anyway, so time to start another and start a new adventure.

My vision of the "End Game" is completely different than what I have experienced. I expected my now powerhouse character to now be taken down a different path of challenges not just stronger mobs to grind. Grinding even larger numbers of mobs that stand around to be slaughtered is not any way an Epic transition to new challenges. Just to get gear that will allow you to kill even more stronger mobs.

In my mind there really should not be an "End Game" to an MMO. A transition to another way to play and interact with the world and other players, yes, not just more of the same.

An idea comes to mind from my AD&D days when my high level all powerful Evil Wizard was retired and became an NPC in the Game that was a new source of adventures for the other game playing characters. He sent them on quests for magic tombs in the most dreadful places, he conspired with the Orc lords to take over the kingdom and then betrayed them in the end.

Well the game design would need to be more dynamic for these things to happen but I can always have hope. Until MMO game design becomes more dynamic there is little hope of any real change.

 

Vodun

 

 

 

  Maelzrael

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/15/12
Posts: 258

Waiting for Wildstar.

10/25/13 7:04:14 PM#19

I believe the endgame needs to be a journey unto itself, not just mindless grinding; and I can't think of any game that has balanced this correctly. Wow for example is to much about endgame and not enough about the journey or the world. Gw2 on the other hand, doesn't have enough of a carrot on a stick to keep a person playing every night for months on end. 

This is why I think Wildstar *might* have a chance with me personally. With its endgame raids tied into housing and warfronts, and its level content focused on entertaining different playstyles, it may come close to the kind of balance of endgame and journey that I'm looking for. 

  Justsomenoob

Novice Member

Joined: 10/20/10
Posts: 869

10/25/13 7:38:16 PM#20

People will do this in every game that has boring, repetitive, completely forgettable non endgame content...which unfortunately means 99% of MMOs released in the last 10 years.

 

There's nothing to stop and savor when the only thing that changes is where the npc is standing that gives the quest and which 10 mobs you have to kill/which drops to collect/which npc to fedex to.

 

 

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