Give Me Dessert First

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Give Me Dessert First

Shamus wants his cake, and wants to eat it too.

Read Full Article

I would like to say that I think it's hilarious that someone used a screenshot from Snake Gulch for the page 2 image after the tirade I put up about the place last week.

I do believe I have been successfully taunted.

This is a argument I got into with my friend one day about WoW. I told him I hated games that made you 'work' for fun. I want to play games for entertainment and challenge, not because it's my second job. Maybe thats why I don't play MMO's anymore...

Huh, I always figured you chose what pictures to put in your articles.

Anyhow, great article. A lot of food for thought. I think a lot of the "old ways of doing things" are the main reason I never got into MMOs -- though to be fair, the first, and last, MMO I spent any amount of time playing was Ultima Online 8 or 9 years ago. But seeing what you have to say about Champions is making me think about giving it another shot sometime.

being quite a fan of your work im beginning to be intrigued by champions online, but since i still fell the scorn of aion it might be awhile before i dare go into a new mmorpg, btw for those of you who like the ol' fashion mmorpgs, aion is grind tastic, hard and borderline boring.

EDIT: forgot to write IMO, good thing i made it before i stepped on any toes.

Hmm, to be honest, the problem I had with City of Heroes is the fact that the endgame was dull as hell, from what everyone was telling me; when your looking forward to see what you'll be able to do as a max-level character, its extremely dispiriting to hear where-ever you go "OMG, Lvl 50 is so dull" and "XP Farming mission lfp" - and the mission editor thing didn't really help all that much.

I think the idea of removing the grind from the early game is a good idea; don't get me wrong, I agree with that. But developers DO need to make the "endgame" fun too. Hence why I'm giving Eve online a trial; it might be abit of a grind to get up to the top, but when I do, I'll have an evoluting, player driven world to deal with. I hope.

This is a really interesting discussion to me. I'm a big retro gamer (especially SNES RPGs), but I've found that modern-day games are immediately more fun, and that I think it's a terrific change of pace. Crackdown is a good example; you've got super strength right off the bat and it's instantly fun.

I reviewed Dark Spire (DS) and gave it a low rating because, in an effort to be oldschool, it just annoyed me. But maybe that's because I don't care for that type of game anymore, but other people still do. I think there will be a market for that type of game for some time.

richtaur:
This is a really interesting discussion to me. I'm a big retro gamer (especially SNES RPGs), but I've found that modern-day games are immediately more fun, and that I think it's a terrific change of pace. Crackdown is a good example; you've got super strength right off the bat and it's instantly fun.

True, I think alot of old time gamers do ignore that. I will admit that even I've rolled my eyes over this ;) I think the problem is that alot of new games with faster access at the same time dumb down the games (COUGH-Deus Ex 2-COUGH), and so the knee jerk reactions of older gamers is to end up seeing faster access to 'the fun bits' as being a sign of dumbing down.

Of course, a game can manage fine without jumping straight to 'da fun', if its done right.

All valuable thoughts, if you are reviewing a single player game. But in a context of MMO they don't make any sense. You are throwing in words like grind & content to suit your arguments, but not the facts. And I'd buy into all that if I hadn't actually played both games. How is a game with eight starting zones per faction suddenly lacking beginners' content vs. a game that has only two starting areas? Or is it about the number of quests, or depth of the story?

The only valuable point is that time spend travelling in MMOs is wasted and should be reduced to zero by giving everyone teleports to instantly go wherever they want. But the reason for that has nothing to do with content, grinding, meeting other people or being lvl20-full epic-dragon disciple at the start. It is because it keeps people away from their favourite activity of whacking stuff with sticks.

Hey, the new installment of Why MMO's aren't Fun is here!

There's a good way to look at it, the higher levels hoarding all the fun of the game. Here's another spin on that... MMO's are pay to play. On average, diligent gamers would reach the level cap their first time around in roughly a year, and with level caps often increased, it could be more. Since most all the content is locked until then, you might as well have been playing the demo over and over for a game you pre-ordered. Let's assume that the game is $40 for the box and $15 a month That cash adds up to you paying anywhere from $70 (if you're a freak of nature) to $220+ (a year) for a game. Now this is a question for any MMO players that have reached the cap. Is the game from that turning point worth that much money?

I don't think I'll ever get into MMO's but if I do, then I certainly won't be playing Women of Wrestli... I mean World of Warcraft. This is just one of the reasons why I'll never to try it out. Other reasons include not wanting to get addicted to one game and keeping my weight down.

Hear hear.

I guess there's two kinds of players; the ones that will leave quickly once the bored, and the one's who'll go on to the endgame regardless. Traditional games lose the first player rather quickly, so if you can front-load your content then you can keep them going for longer.

Which is what the character creator does, I suppose.

Anyway, MMOs are mostly time-sinks once the social aspects kick in, so facilitating that is what is most important to the "long termers". Wierdly, I never see the social aspects reviewed any more for MMOs, so I guess they're all standardized? I'll never know.

I'll stop blathering now.

Well this is a first, an Experienced Points that I disagree with. Not entirely, but on some points.

I found my first play through of WoW to be one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I have ever had. But I think that was to do with the reason I was playing it. I was taking the experience as it came, enjoying earning the right to explore all the new areas, watching my character slowly become more powerful. I wasn't focusing on an end point, on getting to a destination, because quite frankly I didn't know what came at the end. I was a true newb. When I got to the level cap I felt like I had really completed a journey. And what do you know, at the end of my epic journey I found there was almost a whole new game to enjoy.

On my second character though, I would agree with you completely. It was hard going, because all of the surprise was gone. I had already explored all of the fantastic scenery, completed all the amusing and fun quests before. I had been there and done that. Recently though, blizzard have added some stuff to the game to make it much easier to level an alt. There is experience increasing gear that you buy on your level 80 and send to your alt, and mounts at lower levels. (Yeah I know that one applies to first-timers as well, but seriously, who cares? All mounts do is reduce traveling time. They don't make it any easier to level, just faster.) I'm just gutted that that stuff only came out when I was really close to the level cap. Pfft.

I'll agree that blizzard do make you work too hard for your rewards. At some points, especially on alts, it does become a complete fucking chore. The only things that stopped me from quitting at those points were guild mates and friends.

I'd be apprehensive about playing a game that throws the rewards at you thick and fast from the beginning. I haven't played CO, but I'd be worried that the later levels became boring, as you had already been given everything they had to offer. Is this the case, or do they ration the new content right up 'till the max level?

Jesus this post has gotten pretty long, probably won't get a response. Ah well, thought I'd give my two cents.

NOTE - Recently I've gotten really bored with end-game WoW, but that's more to do with my laptop not being good enough to hold up in raids/instances than lack of content.

I find this article interesting. I understand your WoW argument. I played as an Undead didn't see a single player until I made it to the main city. And even then all the were doing was trying to sell me gold while all I did was make potions.

I do think that games should give you content from the beginning and keeping at it. It shouldn't be a massive uphill battle, like you said, just to get to the fun parts.

Not sure if I agree.

I've created literally hundreds of CoX characters, but Frostfire is such a damn good mission. (You'll know if you've played it)

EQ though, I had a Paineel Cleric and slowly ekeing out into the world after the Kobold Tunnels (Grr.Grr. Bark Bark) was a journey of discovery. And seeing the Planar Gods was as awesome as...there are no words to describe it.

CoX did drag in the later levels, but there was always so much you could do instead. EQ concentrated purely on the game.

WoW just upset me from the start for spoonfeeding the plot (as did EQ2 tbf, but the background was wonderful, even if the combat sucked) and Champions has just been sold as CoX with a polish.

There's a difference between spoonfeeding and grinding and only some games get it.

The solution: eliminate the level grind and go with purely organic divisions to content.

A good article, but it doesn't reflect my point of view.
I started to give WoW (and MMOs in general) another shot a month ago and was really surprised in a pleasan way how it is handled there.
Now to understand my perspective, I have to admit that the last times I played MMOs were Ragnarok and Dofus. The latter one at a time when WoW just got out.
Those are games where we talk about level 100 (200 with Dofus) caps and you had to spend a week of playing just to advance a level from 80 on.

I'm still hooked with WoW, but the big difference here (as other commenters mentioned) is that I am not strifing for raids, endgame content..etc. Just exploring and getting to know some lore through quests is done really well and I prefer that over pure farming/grinding any time.

But I can perfectly understand if someone who is not into questing would ask for easier level progression. But then again, a MMO is not the usual 6-12 hours game off the shelf and maybe it would be unfair to assume the same speed of progression there.

Shamus Young:
The newer ones - and especially the superhero ones

I believe City of Heroes is older than World of Warcraft, by the way :)

Anyway, I find myself agreeing heartily with this article, but I think City of Heroes had too much faith in the Badge system keeping players on a single character after they hit max level. To an extent, they're right - my hero has something in the region of 500 badges, but I'd never do that again with any of my other characters. Champions is worse - kill 5,000 Purple Hat Gangers? No.

Champions is good with the pace it hands out new toys, though. Level 6 - travel power, level 15 - new costume slot, 25 - Nemesis, 35(ish) - second Nemesis. I'm sincerely hoping that they have something to keep the game going with a single character beyond UNITY in a couple of months.

Huh, you actually said something positive about Champions this time.

Anyway, glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks that hours of grinding to level 10 to see if I like the character is rediculous.

But then again, I was turned of WoW for a number of reasons, mainly because the friend that wanted me to play was basically being an ass the whole time we were playing.

But I won't bore you with my stories...

Anyway, I agree with your article, looking forward to the next one.

dnadns:
A good article, but it doesn't reflect my point of view.
I started to give WoW (and MMOs in general) another shot a month ago and was really surprised in a pleasan way how it is handled there.
Now to understand my perspective, I have to admit that the last times I played MMOs were Ragnarok and Dofus. The latter one at a time when WoW just got out.
Those are games where we talk about level 100 (200 with Dofus) caps and you had to spend a week of playing just to advance a level from 80 on.

I'm still hooked with WoW, but the big difference here (as other commenters mentioned) is that I am not strifing for raids, endgame content..etc. Just exploring and getting to know some lore through quests is done really well and I prefer that over pure farming/grinding any time.

But I can perfectly understand if someone who is not into questing would ask for easier level progression. But then again, a MMO is not the usual 6-12 hours game off the shelf and maybe it would be unfair to assume the same speed of progression there.

The level caps in Ragnarok are 99. Getting to level 40 isn't that big of a deal on there, but it's not sunshine and butterflies, either. Also, if you wanted to be a little stronger, you had to RESET YOUR CHARACTER TO LEVEL 1 and gain 98 more levels.

I would love to see the day where they gave people the CHOICE between grinding and having content upfront. It would attract both types of players and increase profits.

City of Heroes and World of Warcraft were both released in 2004, but CoH was indeed earlier. Champions ofc is new.

I do thoroughly disagree with that analysis of WoW, perhaps I'm a fanboy, who knows?
The population is certainly concentrated in the higher levels, that's more or less what happens when people play the same character for four years. The reason there are so many new characters in CoH, I submit, is that people have no interest in playing their old ones. If you want to find people when you first log in, try running to the nearest city. All the old school hang out in Ironforge, at least on my server.

I played CoH for a while, made a couple of characters, and while it was vaguely amusing the world seemed extremely two dimensional. Appropriate for a comic based game perhaps but not anywhere I'd like to spend any amount of time. I agree heartily with silver scribbler up there, that if you play through WoW paying attention to the world around you rather than focussing on all that you're missing at the level cap it is an extremely rewarding experience. The fun is deeper, it's enjoyment more than amusement.

To extend your own metaphor I invite you to consider what happens when you eat nothing but cake. Your mother told you to eat your greens, she knew what was good for you.

The largest problem with giving you too much stuff up front without working for it is that, at some point they run out of neat stuff for you and you walk away.

Let me ask all of you a few questions. Have you ever played a game for hours and hours to get some item? Have you gone online found cheats and gave yourself every item? and most importantly how long did you continue to play once you had given yourself every item?

If you are anything like me it was no more then a day, so while it may be frustrating doing the "grind", if an MMO wants to keep people playing they have to always have a new carrot dangling just out of reach. Making you work for your fun is necessary, but a good game should let you have fun doing the work.

L33tsauce_Marty:
This is a argument I got into with my friend one day about WoW. I told him I hated games that made you 'work' for fun. I want to play games for entertainment and challenge, not because it's my second job. Maybe thats why I don't play MMO's anymore...

Leveling up and 'getting to the fun' stuff is a challenge too. Every game is a work, in other games you HAVE TO kill other people, others make you drive the lap faster. It's just a matter of what means fun to you. Some people have fun shooting people in the face and teabaging them, others have fun reading a book and others (like me) like earning gold by doing quests and selling items.

/signed

BUT, the best two questing areas, IMHO, in Champions are after level 30. Kudos to Cryptic for barely even suggesting a sea monkey kingdom awaits us until we find ourselves inside it.

I disagree with most of the article. If you want to see more people in a starting area, play on a more populated server. I mean seriously, i tried an US trial for WoW once and had about 4-5 dudes with me in the undead starting area, and the intermediate area between the human start point and the capital was packed FULL of people doing various ridiculous things (those of you who know the word "Goldshire" know what i mean).
On my tauren, i grouped first at level 5, and on my orc, i won my first duels at the same level. So really, that was just your luck.

About back-loading content: WoW is hardly back-loaded. There's lots of content waiting for you when you start out in the form of quest, skills and areas to explore (one per each race, and there's 10 of them with another 2 coming in the next expansion), and while the true competition begins at 80 (rated arena ladders, raid progression), there is still a lot of content in the early levels. I began playing 2-3 years or so ago, and it took me about 1 year to reach level 70. Not because i played little (on the contrary), but just because i went slowly and explored the available content. If you want to level fast, i've seen people level one character to 80 in 5 days of /played time before, and it should be even faster now.

Yes, they are adding stuff which makes the game thoroughly easier, and no, i don't agree with it. Mostly because most of the fun in the game comes for me in the form of the challenge you face to get to it. Like yahtzee said in the scribblenauts review, being able to instantly conjure a grilled cheese sandwich is dull and boring in comparison to the situation where you actually put some effort into doing it. He couldn't have been more right, and this is what newcomers to MMOs need to understand: it's not about the ultra-super equipment and how cool you look in it, and how everyone has it but you. It's not about being level 80 and having boatloads of skills to use. It's how you get there.
Even epic quality items become somewhat redundant in the hands of the player if they're just around the corner once you got to max level.

(edited for formatting)

I've always been a bad MMO player. I love levelling new characters/alts, but as soon as I reach cap I quit playing that Char for a while, sure I might go back to do some more dungeons or quests, but the real grind (for me) is doing the same raid instance again and again. Getting from lvl 33 to 34 feels like an achievement, downing one more boss after weeks of trying feels like I've been wasting my time.

Admittedly I only ever played WoW, and I was part of my guilds raidgroup for a few months during TBC. It always felt like a chore, "I have to come and raid because the guild needs me". All the while I'd rather been levelling my "new" lvl20 frostmage or whatever.

Part of this might also be the fact that "guild drama" starts at end game as well.

you know i think i agree with you shamus i really like the superhero mmos more its just. the fantasy genre is SO overdone and frankly im a bit burnt out on it. i just wish these superhero games had more sandbox pvp.

Chirez:
I do thoroughly disagree with that analysis of WoW, perhaps I'm a fanboy, who knows?
The population is certainly concentrated in the higher levels, that's more or less what happens when people play the same character for four years. The reason there are so many new characters in CoH, I submit, is that people have no interest in playing their old ones. If you want to find people when you first log in, try running to the nearest city. All the old school hang out in Ironforge, at least on my server.

From what I understand, there's several factors at work here.

Firstly, in WoW and games like it, people are either starting fresh, leveling up, or at the cap. People are most likely to be at the cap (with starting just behind). This is due to the fact that if you enjoy playing WoW, you're going to find yourself at the cap sooner or later More importantly, if you don't like WoW, well, you're either starting and don't know it yet or you quit somewhere in the leveling up stage. Furthermore, there's a lot more incentive to stick around with your old chars than make a new one, as is clear. As pointed out, this isn't true in CoH (and as has been pointed out, it's reversed).

So then were are all the people who are just starting out? Well, a fun fact about WoW (at least from what I can recall) is that you really don't have to do the starting quests. You know, the ones where you have to kill 20 bunnies for some guy. In fact, the starting areas ONLY have starting level content, so a couple levels in and you don't ever go back. That's why there's so very few people around the starting areas. But if you go to the starting city, that's where everyone hangs out, like in CoH. Furthermore, the night elf area is a lot less popular than every other city/continent, and really adds to this problem (and thus Shamus's experience is not a very good yardstick).

Finally with regards to WoW and CoH, endgame content is what keeps people playing the game. Sure, people play around with alts and trying out various other classes, but the reason why a lot of people keep coming back to WoW is the content after the level cap. This makes sense, because after you do hit the cap, either you eventually run out of things to do, or the game changes into something different and self-sustainable (like TF2 or multiplayer shooters). Lack of endgame content for CoH is not a good thing, because that just means that sooner or later people are going to get bored of the game.

As for people griping about more easily accessed content, while I don't agree with the viewpoint, I can certainly understand it. It's like, if you took a long week to climb a mountain and then someone builds a lift that lets people take pictures at the summit in the morning and be back in time for lunch, it belittles your achievement. Furthermore, if the lift is now the only way up the mountain, then no one else will be able to share in your experience. And MMOs, IMO, are all about achievements and building yourself up.

But all in all, I do agree that having more content with less filler is a good thing, as is getting to the good parts more quickly.

It's good that there are different kinds of MMOs for peoples' different preferences. There are people who enjoy leveling up a character in WoW. I mean I always considered it an achievement to get your character to the maximum level. You always get that satisfaction when you're high level that you worked for it. At least for me, it's fun.

I never played CoH and missed the beta for Champions Online. Waiting for a trial, but I also think that the Superhero theme of those games is a factor of how fast your progress. Of course that when you're a superhero, you're supposed to have bad ass powers from the start, not leveling them, where in the WoW fantasy theme, you're a a warrior/mage/rogue etc. who trains to become a greater warrior/mage/rogue etc.

Doug:

richtaur:
This is a really interesting discussion to me. I'm a big retro gamer (especially SNES RPGs), but I've found that modern-day games are immediately more fun, and that I think it's a terrific change of pace. Crackdown is a good example; you've got super strength right off the bat and it's instantly fun.

True, I think alot of old time gamers do ignore that. I will admit that even I've rolled my eyes over this ;) I think the problem is that alot of new games with faster access at the same time dumb down the games (COUGH-Deus Ex 2-COUGH), and so the knee jerk reactions of older gamers is to end up seeing faster access to 'the fun bits' as being a sign of dumbing down.

Of course, a game can manage fine without jumping straight to 'da fun', if its done right.

Now, I haven't played the original Deus Ex. Maybe it is so amazing and impossibly good that all other games pale in comparison. Maybe it's able to cure Cancer. I don't know. But I did beat Deus Ex 2 recently, and I loved it. I guess you must be talking about the gameplay when you say "dumbing down," because the story is probably one of the most complex in gaming history. Every single thing you do has consequences, even doing nothing. You can kill pretty much anyone you ever meet. You can save the world or destroy it. What's even better is that every decision you make is in a moral gray area. There is no "right" choice. The sheer ambition of the narrative is astounding, with the sort of political and societal issues it tackles. I was feeling genuinely guilty for many of my decisions throughout the game.

If THAT is dumbing down a game, I'd like to see more game retardation, please.

Or maybe you meant it's more of a Chrono Trigger -> Chrono Cross case, where the sequel is good but rather lacking in comparison to the original masterwork.

Samurai Goomba:

Doug:

richtaur:
This is a really interesting discussion to me. I'm a big retro gamer (especially SNES RPGs), but I've found that modern-day games are immediately more fun, and that I think it's a terrific change of pace. Crackdown is a good example; you've got super strength right off the bat and it's instantly fun.

True, I think alot of old time gamers do ignore that. I will admit that even I've rolled my eyes over this ;) I think the problem is that alot of new games with faster access at the same time dumb down the games (COUGH-Deus Ex 2-COUGH), and so the knee jerk reactions of older gamers is to end up seeing faster access to 'the fun bits' as being a sign of dumbing down.

Of course, a game can manage fine without jumping straight to 'da fun', if its done right.

Now, I haven't played the original Deus Ex. Maybe it is so amazing and impossibly good that all other games pale in comparison. Maybe it's able to cure Cancer. I don't know. But I did beat Deus Ex 2 recently, and I loved it. I guess you must be talking about the gameplay when you say "dumbing down," because the story is probably one of the most complex in gaming history. Every single thing you do has consequences, even doing nothing. You can kill pretty much anyone you ever meet. You can save the world or destroy it. What's even better is that every decision you make is in a moral gray area. There is no "right" choice. The sheer ambition of the narrative is astounding, with the sort of political and societal issues it tackles. I was feeling genuinely guilty for many of my decisions throughout the game.

If THAT is dumbing down a game, I'd like to see more game retardation, please.

Or maybe you meant it's more of a Chrono Trigger -> Chrono Cross case, where the sequel is good but rather lacking in comparison to the original masterwork.

Play Deus Ex 1 before commenting; if you thought the plot from Deus Ex 2 was good, you'll be blown away by Deus Ex 1; its got global conspiracies, ancient families, and corporate greed; I would go into more deepth, but it'd spoiler it for you. As for the freedom of choices in Deus Ex 2, well, lets just say there are parts of Deus Ex 1 I didn't even know I had a choice until I saw on YouTube a video showing a third option for solving what I'd thought was an on-off problem; and yet, the developers had thought about it and made the game react. Specifically...

edit: Agmonst other choices, obvious and not obvious, of course.

Edit 2: And don't get me wrong, I liked Deus Ex 2 as well, but it was like going out with the prettier but dumber sister of an ex.

Edit 3: This thread had me idly routing around YouTube, and I found an interesting video from one of the creators of Deus Ex 2 that I thought was interesting - though I think he's being abit hard on himself.

The problem is, if you want to talk to other people, don't play Nightelf. Their starting land has no one in it.

I think it's funny that WoW is now considered "too grindy" since when it came out it had a much faster level progression than its contemporaries (or so I've been told). I played it for the free trial and got bored in a few days around level 15 or so. To me, all MMOs make you work way too hard for too little reward, compared to single player games with much richer and more satisfying content (if less total playtime).

I hate MMOGS because it's work to play them, not fun. fun is ginormo sword because it doesn't require you to be some level, nor it has human players,nor graphics,nor sounds. you just want to kill the creatures and bosses and (10th screen object spoiler)

. this game has an end and no story, but it's great because you just want to play it (when you need to grind it becomes: watch movies while playing it). When you are done you say: That was great, another superb game finished!

Fascinating that the starting areas in WoW are deserted now. i started playing a few months after release, and i remember starting zones so crowded that the respawn rates couldn't keep up with all the new players killing quest mobs. that's why the mobs in the starting zones literally travel in mobs, they actually needed that many in the zone so people could progress through the game. (admittedly this is harder to see in the night elf area because of all the trees. Roll a human and it's blatantly obvious.)

iguess my point is that MMOs are mutable experiences, and i saw vast changes in how the game played even while i was playing it. From what i've heard, Blizzard is making an effort to shift the content more toward the front-end, and it will be interesting to see what they end up with.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here