The Daily Grind: How patient are you for endgame content in frontloaded MMOs?

    
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Last week, I ran a Daily Grind asking readers about how patient they are about MMOs that take a looooong time to really hit their stride and actually become, you know, fun. But several readers objected, suggesting that this is no longer a serious problem in the MMORPG genre.

“More games turn into trash after the first 10 hours today,” Armsbend wrote. “Today, the first 10 is the hook to get you into the cash shop. […] It seems like every time a major release come out […] the complaint is usually that there is no endgame. To which the developers’ auto-reply is, It’s coming later; patience.”

So let’s flip it around. How patient are you for MMOs that frontload their content? Do you hang around and wait for some semblance of an endgame to materialize, or you do head off to another MMO while the devs catch up?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Alex Malone

Endgame is where I live when I’m playing an MMO. The reasons why I live at endgame:

* Tends to be the only place where challenge exists in the content
* Its where there are the most amount of players are, so it’s more social
* Its where there is the most amount of group content
* Its where the content is the most balanced
* Its where the PvP is most balanced
* Improvements you make at endgame tend to last more than a few days

I tend to give the leveling process a good attempt, but I’ve yet to play an MMO where I enjoyed leveling up. Most of the time, I’m just extremely bored and frustrated. The story lines are usually generic, boring pieces of shit. The combat is usually balanced for the lowest common denominator (i.e. too easy). Upgrades are thrown away very quickly. finding groups is a nightmare.

So, the the question itself: I’ve been burned by too many shit MMOs that I now do extensive research before jumping in. If a game doesn’t have a good endgame at launch, I simply won’t play it at all. If my research shows a good endgame (both in terms of content as well as combat and loot mechanics) then I’m willing to put up with a lot of dull, frontloaded content in order to reach the endgame. To put an absolute figure on it, I’d probably put up with 1-2 months (elapsed) of crap content in order to reach a good endgame.

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Dug From The Earth

I think the front load issue is mostly a problem in F2P games, because it best supports that business model. Quick returns vs Long term ones.

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IronSalamander8 .

I don’t really rush to end game in my MMO time. I tend to find more fun midlevel where I have a lot of abilities and options then the limitations of low level or how tedious high level can be if you get into that mindset. I started at the tabletop though where the journey is the joy, not the destination so much.

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Sally Bowls

Shrug. I expect that for most games, a lot / most of the enjoyment occurs prior to launch. Reading about and deciding on classes, professions, leveling paths/strategies, etc.

The extreme case is CU. I will probably have 2-300 hours reading about it and perhaps playing beta before it launches. I may have spent more time watching the weekly class reveals, and Donkey’s discussion of them, than I will spend playing CU.

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Specus

End game? What’s that?

The most important part of the MMO experience for me is the leveling. Most of the time, I bail on an MMO before getting to the end game. For the games where I do make it to end game, I usually don’t stay very long because most end game content is boooorrrriiiiinnnggg (or at least extremely frustrating, since I’m a casual player that usually plays solo).

So, to answer the initial question, I’m very patient for end game content in front loaded MMOs. In fact, most of the time it wouldn’t bother me if it never showed up at all.

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Fervor Bliss

It is a shame more people do not explore MMO’s more freely. When things get dull, Leave !! Maybe it will be there when you get back to it. If not :/ You have your screenshots.

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CubAvenger

Pre-CU Star Wars Galaxies was my first MMO. City Of Heroes was my second. The concept of endgame just wasn’t a thing for me from those experiences.

I never maxed out a character in Pre-CU Galaxies and left the game after a few months due to real life stuff. In CoH, I had dozens of characters and played for the different experience each powerset combination provided. I didn’t do Hami raids or Rikti Ship raids until WAAAAY later, at which point, I was merely seeing things happen at 15 FPM (yes, frames per minute).

It wasn’t really fun to lag out and get disconnected and die and not be able to see anything happening. The only real rewards from those were ultimately given out via other means. So, it wasn’t necessary to do those. It wasn’t until the Incarnate system that I regularly participated in anything close to an actual raid in that game, and by then, I was pretty great at playing my characters and had a solid group of supportive friends and players who were fun to do those things with.

I don’t do raids or endgame PVP in Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ve always viewed (and enjoyed) that game as a single-player experience in a persistent world. And in NGE Galaxies, there was so much to do based around non-combat activites (i.e. exploring planets and points of interest, Entertainer, crafting and acquiring resources as a Trader) or combat activities with dozens of different options (Beast Mastery) that I never did Heroics or anything with a group.

The few times I did Operations in SW:TOR or raided in other games, it put me in contact with people who think about games and mechanics way more than I care to–and who get really intense in a way I don’t care to experience when I’m playing a game for enjoyment.

My experience with a majority of “endgame” content has been filled with people:

a) throwing math and equations and statistics at me
b) telling me I “need” to get my DPS up
c) berating me for not knowing something because I haven’t done my Masters-level research on mechanics by watching YouTube videos and reading often confusing guides.

No thanks. My real life is stressful enough.

So…I don’t care if an MMO has “endgame” content like raids. If that’s what I hear about a game, I am less likely to play it because I can be pretty sure that it won’t be the experience I want when gaming.

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Ryan Jones

There was a time when end game didn’t mean what you wrote above. Sad days. Miss Asheron’s Call myself :(

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IronSalamander8 .

I did the Hamidon raid in CoH once. Once over the life of the game where I joined a few months after in launched. I had a lot more fun in that game just making alts and exploring all the zones. Never did the Rikti raids at all.

My Hamidon experience was much like you say, a laggy mess where I had to target through pets to do anything and it was a confused situation where while we won, it was such a bad experience I never went back. That game normally never lagged for me barring some teleport issues, teleport was a bad TP for that reason alone!

I had over 70 characters in that game and only 3 at cap, that’s how much I enjoyed just foooling around and making new characters in that game!

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rafael12104

Hmm. Define end game. I don’t view it as one specific thing. It isn’t just high-end raiding or dungeons. IMO it most certainly includes crafting, upgrading, and become highly proficient at various different skills. And, maybe even starting other toons of a different class to expand your skill as a player. Yoda forbid you might have fun running group content with friends.

So, why would I wait? I don’t need to wait. If the endgame content isn’t ready and the game is worth my time, I will have plenty to do.

Take SWTOR for example. Players lost their minds because there was only one Op ready a month after launch and there was “nothing left to do”. Bullshit. LOL! I’m sorry, but that’s what it was. There was so many stories and classes to play, I didn’t feel like I was waiting for anything.

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Eric Weaver

I and many others are incredibly patient. I wish more game developers would recognize that fact. Endgame content is quite literally what one does once they exhaust all other content in the game. The thing is, the majority of people that complain about endgame content have done nothing of the sort. They tend to be power levelers that rush through content in the fastest manner possible in order to reach the holy grail of endgame. Once there, they then complain about the sparsity of content at endgame, seemingly oblivious of how much playable content they passed over in their mad rush to endgame.

I don’t think there is anything that will ever make power levelers happy. If they do actually care about the storyline of the game they are playing, they grow impatient waiting three months for the next chapter to evolve, which they will then exhaust in one to three weeks after its release. The remainder of them could care less. They simply want more dungeons, raids, and PvP elements so they can proceed to play their chosen MMORPG as if it were a Co-Op or MOBA. The average producer will never satisfy this lot because they can not integrate new content at the rate that end gamers will consume it.

I’ve always been of the opinion that quality side content IS endgame content. Of the many MMO’s I have enjoyed, I once played one into a fifth year before reaching endgame for the simple reason that it had so much other content to explore. Housing, building, crafting, minigames, a good TCG, are just a handful of examples that any well-crafted MMO can implement. Most important of all, A good MMO will have a compelling world build and storyline to captivate a players interest, and a good community of players that enjoy sharing and exploring such content with one another.

It’s cynical of me to say it, but it seems that a growing number of games have adopted the short term player as their target demographic. They do not seem to care how long the player stays engaged with the game so long as they spend enough money on their mad rush to the top. They, after all, can always be replaced by another ready crop of the same ilk. Those of us that wish to immerse ourselves in a rich and compelling world, for the long haul, seems to have fewer options from which to choose with every passing year. The never-ending fascination and demand for endgame content will eventually result in the death of the classic MMORPG, as we know it.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

End-game? What’s that? I’m with others below, playing more for the adventure and grouping up with friends to do, often silly, things. Raiding? Only occasionally. Gear grind? Only if it’s fun.

MMOs really need to come up with a different concept. End-game is just an awfully coined word. It’s NOT the end of the game. It’s an MMO; it’s never the end of the game. That the industry has adopted this to connote level-cap content makes them their own worst enemy. It says the game is over, move on. It literally says, you’re done.

That most MMOs employ the hamster wheel/raiding paradigm for level-capped players simply shows that they are out of ideas and don’t recognize why most gamers play their game. Instead, they focus on that 5% or 10% of gamers that ever enter a raid and ignore the other 90% and their interests.