Separate Games in Games

If you’ve played SWG, you know space and ground are separate. There’s a divide there. When you earn space-xp, it doesn’t help you very much on the ground and vise-versa. In Lotro it’s the same story for creep play and freep play. Nothing you do with your elf feels like it has anything to do with your orc.

When I think about all the different kinds of xp to work on in games, such as crafting xp, entertainer xp, and faction/reputation points, I think there’s a similar feeling of separation. It’s like having a large number of games and mini-games smashed into one big game.

On the other hand you could have a world like EVE. In EVE there is no xp per se, just Isk (Money). Whatever you’re working on, you’re working on Isk. Could you imagine if all the fantasy MMOs and Sci-Fi MMOs out there only had the gathering of cash as the sole form of advancement?

Having a lot of different kinds of xp or different games to play in one MMO makes for a lot of variety. On the one hand, doing vastly different activities to advance different things makes for a lot of variety. Sometimes you can be working on two or three things at once (XP / Cash / Quest rewards) and it feels extremely satisfying. On the other hand, if you get really excited about something like PVP or Space-xp, it feels like that’s the only thing that’s in the game. Everything else is just a diversion with rewards that don’t influence your “real” game.

Published by


Suzina is a 27 year old who usally plays the same MMOs as her husband. Games played: UO, EQ2, FFXI, SWG, LOTRO.

11 thoughts on “Separate Games in Games”

  1. Your analogy is a bit flawed. In Eve, those skill points spent in mining won’t help you when you’re doing manufacturing. It’s even more apparent when you cross-train to a different race. If a Raven pilot wants to fly an Apocalypse, he would have to train the whole hierarchy up to Amarrian Battleships, the entire palette of armor tanking skills, generic gunnery skills as well as the hierarchy of energy weapons.

  2. Ah, perhaps my ideas about EVE are wrong. Honestly, I haven’t played EVE. I just know my husband talks about it like Isk is all there is.

  3. I have always felt that fighting was a separate sub-game in every game that had it, going right back to pen and paper.

    But I know what you mean, when you are able to work on more than one goal at once, it does feel more rewarding.

  4. Actually, I have an entire design where money IS literally the only form of advancement. It actually comes with a few major advantages, but you have to approach it from a different angle. Once money is all there is, advancement can’t be. Eventually you will have enough money to do anything you really need to do any given play session.

    The goal, then, is to diversify the roles of players. Not healers and tanks, but craftsmen, merchants, soldiers, farmers, scientists. Most importantly socialites and politicians, people who keep money flowing and working distributing resources for large goals, creating player run economic sinks.

    But yes, I suppose an xp bar is an easy way to add the illusion of diversity.

  5. Also, in reference to your first couple of paragraphs:

    “Games are made out of smaller games – turtles all the way down, until you hit the game that is so trivial and stupid it isn’t deserving of the name. In an MMO, we nest games pretty deep, because some games are short-term and some are long-term. In something like WoW, the smallest games are things like “hit Heal on time.” Then you get ‘kill the foozle,” and above that “kill a hell of a lot of foozles” and above that “make yourself stronger by picking the right gear” and in some cases “make your guild stronger” and so on.”Raph Koster

  6. Using your LOTRO example, creeps never, ever earn XP anyway. But playing your freep *will* absolutely help your creep because both earn Destiny Points, and those are what you spend for your creep upgrades and other items. Most of the newer Dailies award Destiny Points as well, so it’s become pretty easy to farm Destiny on both sides, and a higher pool of DP gives you more to spend on either creep stuff or freep buffs.

  7. It sure is hard to beat killing 3 or 4 birds with one stone. Collect wolf tails, wolves drop hides which you need for hilts, the wolf fields contain lots of ore which you need for blades, plus youve got a crafting quest that wants 2 daggers. Bam bam and bam!

    WAR did it nice (especially nice for PvPers) with the whole, kill 10 elves and 25 enemies and yadda yadda yadda.

    FreeRealms seems like it has the most games in it imo.

  8. @Sara: That fails when talking about EVE though, as in EVE, you can ALWAYS use more money, so in that regard you never have enough. Even the guy who has THE most ISK in EVE is still trying to get more to keep his spot as #1, and #2-5 are pushing to pass him.

    But overall yes, it’s two different designs, and will work for different players. I prefer the ‘one source for all’ method because then it never feels like what you are doing is a ‘waste’ because it only fills up a certain XP bar. I totally understand why others enjoy the diversity and options.

  9. Yo dawg, I heard you like games so I put games in your game so you can game while you game!

  10. There are many sub-games within EVE, and they are all tied to advancement of one form or another, gathering ISK is not the only way to go in EVE. There are standings which determine how the NPC factions react to you and the grade of missions that you can get from them. There are Security ratings (either up or down) which determine where in space you can travel without being shot at by everyone including the police)If you want to get back into ‘safe’ space after being a pirate for a while you’re going to have to grind your sec-status up to at least -5 before even attempting to go back to NPC policed systems.

    EVE is different in that you don’t have to play the game to advance your abilities, but you do have to play to gain in other ways.

Comments are closed.