The Daily Grind: Which MMO suffers the most from powercreep?


Last month, an MOP reader named Swifty replied to our Daily Grind about the last MMO he’d quit by calling out EverQuest II – a game “broken by massive powercreep.”

That startled me – I hadn’t ever considered EverQuest II as a game particularly plagued by powercreep. I always think of it as a game with a lot of top-heaviness, especially as pertains to zones and systems, but it also pioneered one of the more interesting horizontal leveling mechanics, so in my mind SOE/Daybreak was actively working against powercreep – but that doesn’t mean it’s been effective, of course.

To me, no MMORPG has suffered the effects of powercreep more than World of Warcraft, to the point that developers have repeatedly had to revamp scaling of multiple systems (especially gear) to bring it all back in alignment. Guild Wars 2 also leaps to my mind, not because its powercreep is massive compared to something like WoW’s but because its powercreep betrayed the game’s original philosophy and structure so dramatically. Most readers here won’t know it, but Ultima Online has also struggled with a considerable powercreep problem for the last 16 or so years, and it’s worse every time I return.

Which MMO suffers the most from powercreep?

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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Oleg Chebeneev

EQ2 is much worse than WoW. At least WoW nerfed numbers a few times. In EQ2 it just grows and grows.

Castagere Shaikura

Wow, I can believe no one said Star Trek Online. That game has had the power creep issue for years. Join any group and people just AFK while the veteran players just one shot everything. The game is all about how much DPS you pull. And all the lockboxes are making it worse. The game is now known as the game for whales. The devs even know its a problem and just don’t care anymore.

Bruno Brito

To be fair, the whole industry has a problem with powercreep, and i couldn’t pinpoint the worse, because they all have SEVERE issues in and of themselves.

What i CAN say tho, is that not even the games that should supposedly be immune to powercreep, actually are. GW2 is my example, it has one of the worse powercreeps behind paywalls i can imagine. Elite specs are a fucking mess, they were poorly thought out and implemented, they give too much in most instances, except when the core class is either too good already or the ES is weak ( Berserker vs Core Warrior ) but normally they offer a shitload of stuff they shouldn’t, completely killing the already weak balance in GW2.

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BDO. Where you have someone with 240AP that has a total of 280 AP and someone with 280 AP has a total of 428 AP.

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Alex Willis

Warframe is my main squeeze right now, but it has serious powercreep issues. Some of this is inevitable, in a game with literally hundreds of weapons and frames to choose from. But some obvious candidates present clear cases for the creep: Kitguns and Zaws, for example, and the upcoming modular Archwings.


They all suffer because they’re all based around vertical progression!

That said, the worst I experienced was WAR. The itemisation in that game was so atrocious that powercreep was a major problem for everyone at endgame, unless you were at the top of the powercurve.

Just to give an example, a level 40 renown rank 80 (capped) bright wizard was capable of hitting the armour cap whilst still being able to dish out mega damage (bright wizards were “glass cannons” for those who didn’t play). By comparison, my level 40 renown rank 55 black orc (tank) wasn’t capable of hitting the armour cap at that rank, even when fully speccing/modding for it.

A glass cannon with more armour than a tank….

LotRO had it’s fair share of power creep in the early expansions too. Vanilla was amazing, power gaps were minimal and then went with horizontal gear progression at endgame which was great. Moria decided to dump all over that by introducing radience, a requirement for raiders (and pretty much everyone) that was just pure vertical progression. This introduction killed off half the raiding scene on my server by making it inaccessible to casuals. Moria also required a rework of the combat stats to allow for further vertical progression.

Bruno Brito

WAR powercreep is something the RoR devs are trying to fix. But it’s hard since most of this stuff is how the core game works.


I’m not going to say it suffers the most, but I’m currently kind of worried about this for FFXIV’s future. The numbers seem to just be climbing exponentially higher with each expansion. Granted, I don’t know how Shadowbringers plays out at end-game, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about since Heavensward.

As for what MMO I do think suffers the most, I will also say WoW and EQ2. The numbers become so high that they become meaningless. I love me some big damage numbers sometimes. Games like Legend of Legaia and Disgaea come to mind, but those are fixed, single-player games. Since MMOs with vertical progression have to keep topping themselves, I prefer smaller numbers like you might see in D&D and FFXI. (At least, pre-75 FFXI. I don’t know what end-game looks like these days.)

Also this article gave me two questions.

What kind of powercreep does UO suffer from? Back when I played UO, such terms were entirely unknown to me.

How has GW2’s powercreep betrayed the game’s original philosophy and structure? As much as I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to get on board with GW2, so I know very little about it.

Sarah Cushaway

EQ2 is definitely up there.


Has to be World of Warcraft. No other MMO has gone through two complete reductions in power. Indeed, a third even more massive reduction in power is in the works, complete with a possible reduction in level cap as well as overall power.

And for the ultimate reduction in levels and power, Classic WoW is coming. One of the only (the only?) true ‘classic vanilla’ return to MMO baselines available.

WoW wins this one hands down.

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I’m surprised EQ2 surprised you…even as a casual observer/super low level player I’ve noticed how absurd the high level items stats are. Because that’s top of mind for me at this point.