Things To Do

Good version: the game has lots of content that remains meaningful at the level cap. Depending on your game, that could be a collection of dungeons, PvP, things to make or collect, areas to explore, or procedurally generated content that does not feel formulaic and repetitive.

Bad version: the game has lots of things to keep you busy and subscribed at the level cap. Depending on your game, that could be a variety of treadmills and grinds, or PvP and procedurally generated content that quickly becomes repetitive.

This is mostly an Explorer perspective, because I find it easier to think of what would make good post-cap Explorer content (new things to do) and bad post-cap Achiever content (do them each 5 times a day until you reach some new cap, to give us time to add more grinds to keep you busy until the next expansion pack). The distinction comes down to whether you would do X as an activity in and of itself, whether or not it produced some new numbers to add to your character sheet.

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Things To Do”

  1. Does talking to other players count as content? I mean, you could imagine a more social type of game where you had reasons to keep meeting new people and getting to know them in game.

  2. Interesting thoughts. Achievement systems are exactly like that, they give players “something to do” once they have already done everything they could imagine or felt they want to achieve in MMOs. “Something to do” was exactly the phrase used by one of my friends why he likes the achievement system in WoW. It made him play some time longer for sure.

    I think the distinction between the “explorer” and “achiever” mentality is quite small when it comes to the optimum solution: new and by itself fun and exciting content that adds some numbers and fancy gear or titles to show off.

    * The Explorer is hard to satisfy. He wants new areas, new quests, and ideally it might be something entirely new.

    * The Achiever needs real progression, most need better gear and stats, not all of them are satisfied with more and more fluff titles and items. This can lead to the power creep that happens to most MMOs after the x-th expansion.

    * Socializers like their guildies and meeting new people, but then they could just use Twitter, Facebook, a Forum or other kinds of chat. They are important for the game, they make it a world and less of a game, which might increase player happiness and retention rate.

    * Killers are what many want to be, the open world pvp most of us somehow would like to have, but in the end nobody wants to get killed when he does not want to get killed, basically never. It is acceptable in the very regulated battleground/arena style of pvp we have nowadays, while world pvp is still quite dead since the beginning of the “Trammel” era.
    (I regret this, I think we cannot turn back time and unrestricted pvp was not really that fun, but it also added some SPICE and also encouraged grouping and socialization to prevent getting killed. Aion is very westerner-friendly, no FFA pvp, faction warfare, and people still complain they get ganked, Jesus.)

    I think the solution to everything the four types E, A, S and K need is to allow people more interaction with items in their world. I want to be able to tame myself a riding llama again, like in Ultima Online.
    We have too much focus on combat, I think we could live with even cruder and worse combat mechanics if we could do more with NPCs and the environment. Not only fishing and mining ore nodes!
    The “World” idea is still stuck at the very beginning idea of MMO gaming, in some ways it has become even more restrictive while the wallpaper world graphics improved a lot.

    I am totally against the forced “NEED 1 TANK, 1 DD, 1 HEAL, 1 UTILITY” mindset that is shaped by the trinity combat mechanics. BUT I would like a system where we rely on other players to HELP us, create stuff for us. This would also be the basis for a solid and working economy, which can serve as the basis for a lot of good things. Item decay is paramount to this system. We live in the age of the indestructible shields, swords, breastplates – and just produce fluff and more and more better and better items, but don’t have to replace anything besides potions.

    As people probably already stopped reading, the game that does this has not been made yet and it is probably nigh impossible to do, as it aims for nothing else than creating – in the end – a virtual world.

    Basically, we would need a designer god to create it. :)

    The short version is to play another MMO or offline game, we need to get over this “I am married to this game” attitude we have. The new no-subscription payment RMT schemes might encourage more game-hopping.

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