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Discussion about the end-game

Gamingtodaynews1f - Discussion about the end-game
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There's this really popular opinion among the MMO playerbase which basically states that an MMO that has most of its content locked behind achieving the highest character level is flawed or bad game design.

For the sake of creating discussion, and because I believe so, I would argue that the content of an MMO can't be designed to be accessible whilst leveling up. This is due to the fact that replayability is one of the most, if not the most, important factors when we are discussing multiplayer games.

Replayability is a principle in game design which, as the name suggests, affirms the potential a video game has to be replayed over and over again.

The above principle has a plethora of ways to be applied, but I will stick to the fundamentals in terms of MMO games:

1) PvP (rather Competition in general e.g Raid speed clears)

PvP is one of the most straightforward ways to create sense of replayability in an MMO. People compete for points and currency against other players. Now how is this exactly creating replayability? It's a combination of the feeling of improving yourself, becoming better at something continuously and proving to others and yourself that you're better than someone else.

2) Daily / Weekly tasks (or quests)

This is a way to timegate achieving certain things such as items, achievements, mounts, skins etc. Basically if the game didn't have this system some players would burn through all of the content (which takes much more time to be created than the time it takes to cleared by the players). It is basically added to limit how much you play and how fast you gain certain gear, most likely Best-In-Slot gear. If this didn't exist, or in general if things are either too easy or too hard to get, players lose interest which is a nice segway to the next point.

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3) Ending

If leveling is done in a way where content is equally shared between phases, then there's a supposed end to the game. Meaning that once you hit the end game, the things you can do dramatically decrease. One of the reasons point #2 exists is this. Rather, if not a complete end, very few activities to do. Unless we are talking about an MMO with similar content in most leveling / progression phases. Which doesn't exist, and most likely never will.

Now there are many things which aren't addressed. For example, what if you never reach the end game due to the game not being engaging enough until you unlock more and more activities? Well, if you had the answer to this, maybe contact most major MMO companies and take the seat of game director.

Finding the balance between the difficulty of the content, how fast you clear it and in general pleasing the casual player who gives the game a shot and the more experienced MMO player who is way more demanding is a daunting task. It's also fairly illogical due to the fact that you need to integrate a revenue generating system on top of it all.

In conclusion / TL;DR :

I believe the factors that go into the creation, monetization and engagement ability of an MMO make it impossible to have a balanced amount of content throughout the game as well as make it please ALL of the players who try it. Some games aren't for some people, e.g I don't like WoW, many do, moral of the story? Me not liking a game doesn't make it a bad/boring game as well as me liking a game doesn't make it a good/fun game. Just play whatever makes you happy.

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