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#1 Huntn

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 06:57 PM

I'm working on an IMG Feature called WoW-Life After 60. It will complement "The MMO Lull" feature posted recently on IMG. For some differing opinions, I need input from any Everquest, Everquest 2, or Guild Wars, or any fantasy based MMORPGs veterans lurking in the IMG forums.

If you are sick of reading WoW related theads, please stop here! and ignore this thread! :o

I'm willing to hold the discussion in this thread for all to see, but if you'd rather send me private input, please send a private message to me here at IMG with your email address and I'll contact you.

These are the kinds of things I'm interested in.

1. Why have players participated in Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) for years?
  -Is the reason(s) something WoW has or lacks?
  -Does WoWs present structure lend itself to years of play?
2. My impression is that Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) is a much slower leveling game?
   - Is fast leveling in WoW a good or bad thing?
3. If you've capped out in any MMORPG including WoW, how satisfied are you with top end game play?
   - How does it compare to WoW's top end game play?
4. Why is Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) superior or inferior to WoW?

Answers in short outline format would be appreciated. Please avoid long rambling responses if at all possible. Thanks! :)

-Hunt'n

#2 hambone

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Posted 05 December 2005 - 08:46 PM

Huntn, on December 5th 2005, 08:57 PM, said:

1. Why have players participated in Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) for years?
  -Is the reason(s) something WoW has or lacks?
  -Does WoWs present structure lend itself to years of play?

What a satisfying game experience is is something that has to be answered by each individual player. In WoW, there are multiple achievement systems that fill-in the leveling and "world content" gap upon hitting the level cap: battelground rewards, raid equipment drops, reputation rewards, etc. These "grind systems" might satisfy certainly players in perpetuity, but i think the majority get bored of them on the order of a few weeks or months, or at least figure that they can get more bang for their gaming buck elsewhere.

In that regard, I don't think the structure of WoW lends itself to years of play. Yes, there will be an expansion pack, but for many of us, it is just a new outfit on the same mannequin.

What of the structure has to change? As I pointed out in The Lull, the most innovative MMO-type games now rely on player-generated content. This doesn't have to be as open-ended as Second Life, but it should at least include systems such as Shadowbane or Lineage, where players are able to control towns and territories dynamically. WoW made a real contribution to the MMO genre by showing how finite content is compatible with a relatively rapid leveling scheme. It's next contribution could be to show us how dynamically player-generated and shared content can be made compatible with casual play, ie, where people don't have to wake up at 4AM to defend their virtual castle.

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2. My impression is that Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) is a much slower leveling game?
   - Is fast leveling in WoW a good or bad thing?

my arugement in The Lull was that the leveling rate is neither good nor bad, but rather proceeds at a pace and through content that is fairly subjective to each player. WoW, I thought, is so successful because it strikes a great balance between leveling rate and content consumption -- this is what I meant by the "cadence" of the game. But there are many other possibilities. For example, I probably wouldn't care if I *ever* gained a new level if it meant that I could explore new territories and fight new monsters in new ways every few days of play.

In that regard, it isn't the *pace* of leveling that is at issue; it is the whole *concept* of leveling that needs looking at.

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3. If you've capped out in any MMORPG including WoW, how satisfied are you with top end game play?
   - How does it compare to WoW's top end game play?

Pretty boring. As I mentioned above, I might get new equipment or new crafting recipes as rewards for my repetitive efforts, but the way I play the game isn't changing anymore. I havn't capped in other MMOs because (1) it would either take too long or (2) there was no meaningful reward for doing so.

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4. Why is Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) superior or inferior to WoW?

other than a couple of relatively brief stints with EQ, the only other MMOs I've played for any amount of time were Lineage, Neverwinter Nights private servers, and Shadowbane.

Lineage was crap compared to WoW in most conceivable ways, but it was worth playing because you and your guild could control towns, which were then fought over with other guilds at regularly defined intervals. While in control, you got to charge a tax rate on all vendor transactions that occured in the town (up to a maximum level). It was also a very accessible mechanism because, like WoW, the towns were "set", and usually in the strategic sorts of places that you'd want to put one anyway. This makes Lineage a little more friendly to teh casual player than Shadowbane, where you have to fund the construction and maintenance of your own city.

NWW was great beacuse of the user-created content. The D&D ruleset (in modified form) also proved to be up to the task in many ways. However, the game was ultimately limited as an MMO by its underlying multiplayer code.

#3 waam

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 04:48 PM

1. Why have players participated in Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) for years?
-Is the reason(s) something WoW has or lacks?
-Does WoWs present structure lend itself to years of play?

The more you play your MMO, the more value you have crusted over it for days, months, years, and beyond.  The value is in your toon who you have leveled up, up and up.  Wow doenst seriously lack anything EQ has and vice versa.  At this moment though, WOW doesnt lend itself years of play just yet.  as we all know, content is king, and EQ has had a 8 year headstart.


2. My impression is that Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) is a much slower leveling game?
- Is fast leveling in WoW a good or bad thing?

Leveling faster is only good for one thing. a fun quick game.  in 3 months i was done with WOW still looking for a reason to come back (although new instances are nice)

3. If you've capped out in any MMORPG including WoW, how satisfied are you with top end game play?
- How does it compare to WoW's top end game play?

Still playing EQ because it has the top endgame in the game.  no pun intended.  

4. Why is Everquest/____ (your favorite MMORPG) superior or inferior to WoW?

EQ is superior to WOW not because it is more fun.  Fun is obviously a HUGE factor in a game, but WOW is only soooooo fun for such a short period of time.  EQ is some fun when you start, some fun in the middle, some fun in the end.  but it lasts a looooong time.  and in the end even though i had HUGE fun with WOW, i am still having fun with EQ and not WOW anymore.

#4 Huntn

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 05:05 PM

Thanks Waam and Hambone for your replies!

I see a serious problem with WoW top end play. Opposite of me, I have friends who are gun-ho on running high-end instances several times a week and are in gaming heaven...

-Hunt'n

#5 Becky Rose

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 05:57 PM

I appologise if these answers are too long.  I'm a high end raid guild veteran of Everquest, and I could rattle on for a lot longer than this if I thought people would listen.  I appologise if any of this seems "arrogant" raid guilder stuff, that's because it is the viewpoint of an arrogant raid guilder.

1.
My real life friends with one exception ALL played Everquest for 4/5 years, we where all guilded together and because outside of the game we'd talk Everquest (infact that's why I gave in and started) it became our lives, sadly.  I was an addict.  I've been clean for a few years now.

Why Everquest over any other?  It was there.  Now i've played an MMO i'll probably never play another, but now that i've taken an MMO game to such an extreme I can never go back to single player games, save for the 15 minute blast on some freeware arcade game or other.

2.
Doing everything for the first time in Everquest involved some learning and was a slow process.  Playing a second character through I could get to max level in just over a week, in a competition with a friend we both raced to level 20 (out of the maximum 60): Although we both prepared for the exploit first I achieved level 20 in 1 hour without power levelling.

Playing other games of a similar genre now I find I can use many parallel techniques and once i've learned a bit about the world and spotted a few game mechanics I can pretty much zoom to the top.  I tried a freeware MMO recently for a few weeks, when I stopped playing I was third highest on the server.  I just applied my Everquest knowledge and adapted it.

Therefore speed of levelling is a completely relative thing.  The trick is to make the levelling sufficiently slow so that 1st time players do not get right to the top strait away - they need to learn the game first before they mess up the game for the raid guilders.  Even Everquest suffered from "newbness" at the high end despite it's slow levelling.

3.
I played high end raiding in Everquest for years.  I found for two reasons: Firstly I got involved in the strategy of new encounters; and secondly I got pleasure from repeating old raid or group encounters in groups or solo.

Eventually I began to feel that there was not enough diversity in the strategic options available, it became too easy to plan a raid and devise a strategy because it was just a case of mixing up old ideas, "remember Warrior epic in Chardok?  Well like that, only with a CH rotation like on Vindi".  I stopped finding new things.

After killing a dragon solo there was nothing left to do except kill a god solo - and I really didn't fancy the extra couple of years play needed for me to do that with my characters.

4.
To be honest I dont see any one MMO as vastly different from any other in that they all rely on the same basic gameplay mechanic of hitpoints.  If a game turned up that added shield walls or monsters that acted in groups in the same way the players did, or AI's got advanced enough to "pull" players... Then there might be a fresh challenge.

#6 Huntn

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:41 AM

Becky Rose, on December 12th 2005, 05:57 PM, said:

I appologise if these answers are too long.  I'm a high end raid guild veteran of Everquest, and I could rattle on for a lot longer than this if I thought people would listen.  I appologise if any of this seems "arrogant" raid guilder stuff, that's because it is the viewpoint of an arrogant raid guilder.

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Actually your responses weren't too long nor did you sound arrogant. Thanks for the input! Since WoW is the only MMORPG I've gotten into a comparison of others is helpful.

I can still go back and have fun with solo games. :)

I just had to pull the quotes below from the Outsourcing thread. Would you (any of the thread readers) say that the "end game" of all MMORPGs is either Player vs Player (PVP) battles or figuring out how to defeat the really hard boss in the dungeon and that questing, ie the questing and exploring you did to level your character becomes of secondary importance? I'm sure it depends on the MMORPG but are they all the same?

Inali, on December 10th 2005, 12:19 AM, said:

Bottom line is, if you want to play a game you will want to lvl up, it is a such a huge part of a game.

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Morrigan, on December 12th 2005, 07:51 PM, said:

You sir, are incorrect. Shadowbane is a prime example of a game where leveling up was an obstacle to the real meat of the game. You won't find anyone who levelled more than one character past 60 who would disagree.

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-Hunt'n

#7 Becky Rose

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 01:19 PM

Two interesting points:

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the questing and exploring you did to level your character becomes of secondary importance?
It's not called NeverQuest for nothing.

Questing is not the purpose of MMO's.  I feel this is wrong, but you can gain more XP by finding a good spot and repeating at maximum XP over time efficiency (tip for EQ: Single pulls are for groups you dont trust implicitly.  You gain more XP overtime by underhunting weaker mobs in multiples than by looking how much your xp bar moves in a single kill.

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is a prime example of a game where leveling up was an obstacle to the real meat of the game
Or as Everquesters would say before the level cap was raised, "Life begins at 60".  In fact that wasn't even true by the end what with EQ's alternate advancement system where you could put XP into new abilities rather than levels.

The "End Game" is a very different game to the levelling game, and it's not always enjoyable.  I spent a long time in a raid guild and enjoyed it but after I left (when I started cutting back on my playtime) I found guest raiding with other guilds frustrating to work with, I guess you get used to a group of people and their little ways.  I found a lot of guilds too undisciplined and haphazard in their approach, they'd get upset at a wipe out and they'd wipe out a lot.

Some players think death is a big deal, but when you've been in a raid guild you pretty much accept that some nights you'll die a whole bunch of times.

So I think the end game experience is more down to the people in your guild than it is the game.  I went for a while unguilded when I was barely playing and it was a hollow almost silent existence (useful when trying to ween yourself off a drug like Evercrack, when the crack doesnt work anymore!).

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Would you (any of the thread readers) say that the "end game" of all MMORPGs is either Player vs Player (PVP) battles or figuring out how to defeat the really hard boss in the dungeon
I played in a non-PvP server.  The purpose of the game doesn't actually change though: It's to become more powerful and meet friends along the way.  What changes is how you gain power.

When your character is low level you go through the ropes of learning how to play and you gain levels, another way your character is boosted is by better equipment.

Eventually you reach maximum level and can go no further (Everquest introduced alternative advancement to solve this issue but that's quite irrelevent as i'll explain in a moment) with levels, but that does not stop your character gaining power.

Lord knows what the maximum level of EQ is now, it was 65 when I stopped but 60 for most of the time I played so i'll run with that.

No two level 60 characters where of equal power.  I could get a character to level 60 in a week, but it'd have poor skills - whatever second hand equipment I "twinked" from my main character, and it wont have key acess to the top raid dungeons or the best non-tradeable gear.

If my one week old level 60 came up against a raid guilder it would quivver in fear at the thought of a duel.  I could maybe make a whole group of "new" level 60's and still struggle to kill a character who had been level 60 for a years of play.

Characters keep on developing and improving and that never changes.  Just because you stop going up levels does not mean that your character is not improving.  Most games have some mechanism to continue gaining power either EQ's alternative advancement, improving skills, diversifying tradeskills to make new equipment - or failing that even if there is an absolute level cap you can still advanced by improving equipment.

It is impossible to become absolutely powerful with maximum everything in an MMO - some items are just too rare.  I've seen players with 500 days of online time (their name turns gold in EQ at this dubious landmark denoting psychological help needed, the first player went gold with only a few hundred offline days since EQ went online!  I guess he slept on patch days...) but they still didn't have the best of all equipment, then every 3 months a new expansion comes out (which is actually why I eventually quit because it put the subscription cost up too high, you just cannot play without all expansions because you miss vital ingredients, loose groups or have missing functionality that other players expect you too have).

The end game is different because you plan to find rare and difficult drops rather than get them by accident.  All the way through your characters levelling you have "raided".

When I first entered the Temple of Veshans' Halls of Testing it took 4 groups.  When I went back to twink an alt I did it with a group that wasn't even full.

When I first killed a dragon it took 6 groups.  I later soloed one (admittedly not a very big one).

As you level you get good equipment from tough monsters, relatively speaking this is a "raid" to lower level character.  The difference is intent in that the lower levels dont go out to "raid" it just happens accidentally as they level.

#8 Huntn

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:21 PM

Becky Rose,
Regarding becoming more powerful, I think you've described why casual players are at a huge disadvantage in WoW. If hard core players are going after epic gear on a daily basis, I see no way for a casual player to compete or be competitive.

Another MMORPG I played, Planetside was unique in that more XP, gave you the ability to check out on more equipment. So a seasoned player would be very versatile. But in contrast, a fairly new player gained enough xp in a day or 2 to drive a tank or operate other equipment and be just as lethal of a threat on the battlefield as the veterans. What this means is that level differences were minimized, the entire guild could work together in operations and the new players could team up with the veterans and be a meaningful part of the team. I realize that WoW and other fantasy based MMORPGs are a different ball game.

-Hunt'n

#9 Becky Rose

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 05:54 PM

There is a gameplay mechanic which has been lost or at least not fully realised in recent years what with modern game designs being more marketting influenced.

The effectiveness of a power up directly effects game balance. In an MMO environment power ups are awarded based upon time spent online (via a variety of different reward mechanisms, but skill isn't one of them).

In an RTS powerups are awarded to the winning player, (s)he who builds most resources and doesnt die early, wins.

In Quake the railgun and quad damage powerups are controlled by the team that goes onto win.

All of these games have gameplay issues, on the one hand they have a huge army of fans and on the other they have people who crie out saying this is so diabolically wrong.

Some games do not reward such extensive powerups, most people who play these games enjoy them but do not get addicted, even though one could argue these have better gameplay.

The reason?

Human beings are incredibly shallow and want to be better than other people, we crave recognition.  A power up gives us the superiority we seek over others who would otherwise be our equals.  We want to win and be the best.