The Real Game Begins at 60 70 80 85

Gordon wonders why we do not go all the way and sell leveling and raiding games separately. Many people have taken the option of simply ignoring the raid game that is duct-taped to their leveling/achievement game, the same way you can completely ignore PvP in most games. This would be one of the reasons I had a short tenure in WoW: the gear resets alone made it feel enough like a sequel rather than an expansion, so adding synchronized online dancing was some completely other game wrapped in the same box.

I bought the Orange Box long ago. It did not make me complete Half Life 2 before playing Portal.

: Zubon

15 thoughts on “The Real Game Begins at 60 70 80 85”

  1. How many people would bother with the leveling game if they could jump to the raiding one? I know its a non-zero number but how large would it be? Wouldn’t letting people jump in and start raiding accelerate them to burn-out? Or leave lots of people confused as you throw them into this type of content without being able to learn about their different options for abilities?

    All that being said I _would_ like to see what would be done with the raid only game, since we’ve already seen the leveling game on its own before.

    1. Ask guild wars.

      Also, there is highly limited (non-zero) value in /forcing/ your players to experience one thing before another.

      It has to be a logical progression of content gating (like Zub says, “the game starts at…” rarely has this) and the ‘grind’ has to be an enjoyable or at least tolerable amount.

      Ooh! I just thought up a great picket sign for the subject: We demand PATHS not GATES!

      1. Raiding is progression v.2 after leveling. The problem with GW was that it never really had progression only expansion of skills.

        Now this could be considered a progression of sorts, but not really in our classic DIKU sense.

  2. I’d like to see someone try, somewhat like Guild Wars with the PvP or PvE logins, or even LotRO with the monster play login. One login for the PvE game and one if you just want to go straight to raiding. Allow for people to migrate the PvE character over to raiding if they wish.

  3. Burn out – perhaps a look at what the root cause is for this would be helpful.

    1. Doing the same thing over and over – ie the same raids too often without progress.

    2. Feeling that your hard work was thrown away – ie gear is now worthless or you put alot of effort into a character and spec. only to find that it does not perform after all that time.

    3. Feeling trapped by your earlier choices with no way to fix them other than much more hard work and being that far behind when you get to the ‘real’ game.

    I see all these problems in WoW. To a great extent you have – gear that you have to bust to get just to run heroics – then the heroic upgrades – then you are outclassed by the gimp that got lucky and has 8 pieces of raid gear already.

    You have specs. that do not work endgame – and if the ‘real’ game is raiding – then there is no excuse for any spec to underperform in endgame – that should be dev priority #1.

    You have specs that work fine then get nerfed to oblivion because of PvP concerns.

    You have all the above that traps someone that made a ‘bad’ choice early on and got blindsided by being worthless at cap – because of factors they couldn’t forsee when they started working towards the ‘end’ game.

    So what does this person do? Start a new toon? That means leveling, gearing, etc. all over again – and now they are trapped.

    Add all the above to the work – effort – time – energy that is involved in the level game that a ‘end game’ player doesn’t even care about – and perhaps a raiding only game could put in … more raids?

    Perhaps more content would eliminate the need to make each fight a cockblock to artificially inflate the time it takes for people to reach the end of current content?

    Just a thought.

  4. I think it may overcome the tank issues. I know I hated tanking because I didn’t level doing it. Then, put me in a group with a bunch of impatient dps at max level as the tank? Well then I really hated tanking. If you throw people in at max level, then maybe they decide they want to tank and do it right from the start. They don’t have to do a hybrid role for leveling which then makes them inadequate at end-game tanking.

    I think you would still have some sort of leveling system, but it would be related to your abilities and not your character level. Like trait levels in LotRO maybe?

    I’d also like to see an MMO come out with PVP servers that are geared towards PVP. The class mechanics would be different on that server from PvE or RP servers. You want to PVP but not join a PvP server? Then you have to deal with the class imbalances. You want balanced PvP? Then you go to that server. Can you tell I’ve been reading the Rift class forums lately?

  5. I suspect very few would be happy with separating the games. I’m a leveller rather than a raider, and it took me years of on-and-off play to hit max level in EQ2, but if I hadn’t felt that there was *something else* waiting at 50/60/70 (where I finally caught up) I’d probably have given up completely. The idea of getting to max level and then the game being over isn’t at all appealing, even if I’m not specifically working towards raids.

    A raid-only game would likely burn out raiders very quickly to lack of new content. Keeping up with a raid-only game would tax developers, making for an expensive release which likely wouldn’t hold raiders’ interests for long.

    Plus I *suspect* that the appeal of raiding includes being in the top 10% of players of a particular game. If there isn’t another 90% still grinding away to get where you are, then entry-level raiding at least is going to feel like much less of an achievement, and probably won’t be as compelling.

    It seems that so far Rift’s three-phase approach of a leveling / instance game that’s not a *huge* grindfest followed by challenging expert instances followed by true raids seems to be working well. Raiders don’t have the grind of an EQ2 (or the conversely trivial speed-grind of WoW), they can get to entry-level raiding fairly quickly but feel like they’ve achieved something. And the rest know that expert instances are within the reach of even pure casual / leveling players.

  6. Somehow the raids/dungeons that were stuffed in between progression via level / new expansions basically have become “the true game / endgame”.

    It’s fascinating and Gordon’s question is quite brilliant in this regard.

  7. I’ve said this before and I’ll likely say it again: when did we as players become so complacent that we’re willing to accept a game design model where 100% of the game isn’t fun? Or rather, that there are portions of the game where it is obvious that the design was focused on consuming time rather than producing enjoyment?

  8. Along those lines, Oatmeal… why do players accept that game design model – one based around consuming time rather than producing enjoyment – in a game that charges based on time played (re: Subscription content).

    It’s a pretty poor value. I’ve been rather done with MMO’s for a long time now, specifically for that reason.

  9. @Oatmeal and Derrick
    This is exactly why I’m excited about GW2: The game is designed to be epic from the tutorial to the endgame, and since you choose where to go, you’re guaranteed to find content you like somewhere. There’s a dungeon every 10 levels, and different paths give you different monsters, so differing compositions of classes can choose their difficulty, and the gear you get is comparable to gear had elsewhere, except for aethetics. And since they’ve tweaked their server architecture to run on pennies a day*, they have no need to offer a subscription service, no need to waste player’s time, no need for grind, and their fans love them for that.

    As for endgame, your Effective Level is scaled up or down depending on zone, so if you missed some dynamic content somewhere or you want to go back and do some 5-man-raiding, you can. The whole world is open to you.

    I don’t care about PVP, so I won’t say anything about it. :P

    *Not an actual figure.

    1. This is what excites me so much about GW2. I am an officer in a Kinship in LOTRO. Due to the way the levels work I cannot go back an help a kinmate in a fun way. I over level them so it isn’t really fun for me to go back 30 levels, and it isn’t fun for them if I go back and slaughter everything. So I don’t end up playing with newer kinmates much.

      End game should not exist. It is like people that live for retirement and then die soon after retiring. The game should be all of the game not the last few dungeons at the end.

  10. I don’t understand the confusion here. Raiding is connected with the world, via lore, economy, etc. etc. Yes, questing is different because it is designed for singleplayer, for a very obvious reason: you can’t very well organize groups to deal with content when you’re still all at different levels. Games try to work around that like CoH sidekicking or GW2’s silliness, but there is a gigantic problem with that strategy. Instead of you becoming more powerful/skilled/geared in order to take on the difficulties of the world, the world is bending/lowering itself to YOUR standards. This was one of the two things that screwed up Oblivion – when the world changes to fit your level, you can feel that wonky mechanic in every part of the game. Where lies the excitement in taking down a boss or achieving something when it doesn’t have a fixed value?

    Just because questing is different from raiding, it doesn’t mean the two are somehow “separate games”. FMVs from RPGs are different from the fights, but it doesn’t mean the two should be broken out, or that the experience of the whole isn’t designed around you doing both.

    Harping on the gear reset is also strange. If gear is to be meaningful, it has to be replaced at times. Maybe you would prefer a game where you are just plopped down into a world without context, and can fight raid bosses with other people, being able to choose any one to do from the start, without “progression” being part of it. Doesn’t sound like fun to me though. The leveling, the gearing, the worldliness of the world – these are not mere time sucks or impediments to the fun of raiding, they are necessary constituents of it.

    1. Just a short correction; GW2 does not scale the content, it scales *you*. It may seem like a small difference, but it is significant. That level 10 boss will be the exact same for a level 10 and a level 50 character. Only difference is that the level 50 character will have its stats bumped back to level 10. So you dont get any of those weird Oblivion effects.

      This is not only to keep content from going obsolete, but also so that the level 50 character wont roflstomp the boss and thereby destroying the experience for the actual level 10s. Think of it as kindof time travel (except gear, you get to keep those afaik).

      Also, I never saw the connection between gear power and endgame “progression”. For me looks is just as strong a motivator. But that is my GW1 roots talking I suppose; I dont care one iota that obsidian armor has the exact same stats as any other max armor. It is still something to strive for. And every time new max “elite” armor was released in expansions, I could go for those too. Difference is that it was completely optional. My old max armor never turned obsolete (game-play wise). But then again, GW1 is a game where looks is practically everything. :D

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