A while back, I spotted a graph on the Path of Exile subreddit that I’m pretty sure will resonate with lots of gamers and maybe especially MMO players. The graphic basically makes the point that most of the content in the game is pretty smooth, bordering on easy, and then…. DIFFICULTY SPIKES OF DOOM. And there’s little in between the smooth gameplay and instant death.
This happens to me a lot in MMOs, particularly MMOs where the content slides between soloable and group content, either because it’s open-world or because it offers specific difficulty tiers. Ultima Online and City of Heroes, in my estimation, have particularly spiky gameplay that can be hard for most characters to mitigate and most players to react to. And yet players keep seeking the sweet spot for challenge – somewhere between “OK, this is kinda easy” and “welp I just got one-shotted.”
Where is the sweet spot for challenge in your favorite MMO? Which MMO does a good job delivering challenging gameplay without killing you so fast you don’t even know what got you?