The Daily Grind: Are you bothered by boosting in MMOs?

    
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Barf barf barf.

A few weeks ago, the World of Warcraft playerbase was grumbly over a tweet from the new Blizzard co-president that encouraged boosting, which is essentially a method of carrying weaker players through endgame raid content and getting them gear in exchange for piles of currency, which the boosters then convert into WoW Tokens, which other players use real-money to buy from Blizzard.

As we noted, this is a very old concept in MMOs; people were devising similar schemes all the way back in EverQuest and paying for powerleveling services in early Ultima Online, so it’s not a new phenomenon. But it’s apparently been a major issue the last few years in World of Warcraft, to the point that it’s become a divisive problem (and one that’s spilled over into Final Fantasy XIV, presumably thanks to the massive exodus from WoW earlier this year).

I don’t personally care all that much about boosting, honestly, just as I don’t really see all that much difference between Trab buying gold from players vs. from the studio. It’s all the stuff around those systems that are the problem. RMT isn’t actually the problem, or studios wouldn’t blatantly sell you currency; the problem is how black-market RMT incentivizes real-world crime in the service of generating or stealing said currency to sell. Similarly, trading expertise and loot for currency in the form of boosting isn’t the problem; the problem is the game design that enables and encourages it as the studio profits directly and studio leadership that is not only not planning to fix it but actively engaging in it. Ug.

How about you – are you bothered by boosting in MMOs?

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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Robert Andle

It annoys me in WoW Classic when almost every post in the LFG channel is someone selling a boost or someone else wanting to buy one. Why not just put a group together and clear the dungeon the way it’s meant to be done? It’s not like the content is so hard that boosts are necessary.

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Bruno Brito

Yes, but more because it shows how some content was made obsolete by specific reasons.

I don’t get why MMOs even need to have levels. Why not just let the raid-focused people get their gear from the get go and work their way in the raids? Why not make the game progression economy-based, and the acquiring of power into exploring and specific challenges instead of getting dopamine points on a purple loading bar?

What i mean is: Keep some of the design of leveling, but remove the numbers. Make the world relevant to make your character stronger, but not in the way of vertical visible progression. I find the GW2 mastery system a good idea in that case ( speaking specificly in the case of skills ).

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Oleg Chebeneev

Couldnt care less

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Anstalt

I have absolutely no problem with higher level or higher skilled players carrying lower level or newbie players through difficult content.

I view that experience as just another good way to link different parts of the community together. I’ve certainly carried my fair amount of newbies through endgame raids, though I’ve always done it as a way of training newbies or just for social fun.

I don’t really like the idea of carrying people for money, especially real money, but im also happy enough if others wish to engage in that sort of thing. It’s nothing something I could ever see myself doing (buying) but i could see myself selling such services if my guild didn’t need to do the content for themselves.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

No, because that’s the way the game is designed. If you can’t find a group willing to do the content with you, and if you must do the content for whatever reason, then paying someone to carry you is the best alternative.

I’m going to flip this on its head, all groups are boosters. You can’t do the content solo, so you need help. The idea of a group of course is that everyone gets something out of it, but it is still helping other players complete content that cannot be done solo.

Back in Moria, when dungeons dropped specific armor tokens, we would decide before the dungeon started who would get the item roll, often rolling in the group beforehand to determine who that was. But lots and lots of dungeon runs were essentially carries, helping to boost up another player behind the curve. “So and so needs helm, who’s up for a run?” was very commonly seen in chat.

And of course, once you got your complete set, you were much better geared than before and able to take on harder content. That was the whole idea of the dungeon cycle.

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Slaasher

It’s never been for me and I always politely turn down offers to “boost” my toons when I play a game. But it doesn’t bother me if other people do it. WHy would I care?

EmberStar
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EmberStar

To the extent that I care, I’m more bothered by the gameplay design that keeps making it necessary. “Hey, want to see the end of all these epic storylines? Well, join a raiding guild that will tolerate you not instantly skipping the cutscenes, or piss off. Because all the stories end in mandatory group content.”

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Rndomuser

Not only the “end of all these epic storylines”, but also when game developers add attractive cosmetic items as a part of the raid rewards, items which are “Unsellable Market Prohibited”, meaning you MUST find a group of other players and tolerate their unpredictable behavior (which may mean you will need to do content more than once, and not only because someone rolled on that item) if you want to make your character look the way you want to. All of which is a horrible gameplay design and I can’t wait for that to go away from online games.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

… and that.

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Jim Bergevin Jr

This …

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

No.

I get the irritation over folks selling this stuff, but that is an insoluble issue. As long as there is scarcity there will be a market. It’s as simple as that, and thinking it will change represents a lack of application of mind.

Besides, boosting is a lot of what I do in MMOs. I started out twenty years ago as a cleric — a class designed to boost others. I get more enjoyment out of carrying my friends through content trivial to me than any sort of thrill I got from progression raiding and showing off my purples.

I remember when we could pull a whole raid into Scholomance. It was great fun. It was a low-pressure bonding event for the guild. It shouldn’t all be a ladder grind. Break the bell.

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Danny Smith

If boosting is a thing then its either the developers or the player saying they don’t really enjoy the game and just want another potential forevergame treadmill to fill a void or they know its not worth it and design it this way to facilitate something that trickles down to profit for the company through player fatigue.

quark1020
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quark1020

My issue isn’t with the boosting itself, nor is it with the RMT that happens in the background. My issue is how it affects the quality of the experience to those not involved with either.

The constant chat spam, advertising in incorrect channels, as well as botting and hacking. The last two may not be directly caused by boosting, but a problem caused by the shadier aspects of RMT, which is unfortunately connected.