Sunday, November 29, 2015

There is No End Game

Often when people talk about MMOs, they mentioned that, to them, the end game is the game (well they often leave often the 'to them' part of that).  I have always enjoyed questing and leveling and have known that they are not speaking for me.

One reaction to this attitude has been to remove leveling from the game and make everything accessible to everyone.  I can understand this works for some people but it doesn't work well for me.  I like the experience of gaining skills and becoming more and more powerful over time.

My middle daughter is now interested in Dungeons and Dragons (she will be getting the starter set for Christmas, don't tell her!).  In Dungeons and Dragons, leveling slows down a lot and the idea of becoming max level is not something most people consider.  I was wondering if someone could make an MMO like that for people like me.

When World of Warcraft came out, the idea of having 'rested experience' so people who played less was an innovation.  Over time, people have become so focused on the end game that this is nothing but a slight speed bump, only slowing the 'end game' people from getting to the end game with each subsequent expansion by a minimal amount.  What if a company made an MMO where you couldn't ever get to the End Game?

My thought is that you would put a hard limit where you couldn't exceed 1 level a week.  You would start the game with some number levels, let's say 50, and by the time 50 weeks have gone, you would have content for the next 25 levels and at that point you'd have regular 6 month expansion cycle.

The game would need to have other content where people could explore and do things besides leveling, things like the pet games in World of Warcraft.  Another advantage of this is that there could always be content that would be tough.  If you kept areas with 5 extra levels around, people would always have areas they could explore that would be dangerous.  I imagine a system where mobs about 2 levels above you should pretty much always beat you if you are alone.  Mobs 5 levels above would be pretty much unable to be injured, so even with a group there would be areas that would be very dangerous to explore.

Has any company tried anything like this?  I am guessing this would be a nitch game, but I think most of the MMOs coming out now are.  Any thoughts or suggestions?


  1. I think you just described the first ten years of EverQuest. I agree with you in principle - I'm a dedicated leveler and skill-improver too - but I don't think time-gating would work. Time gating basically never works for me - if something is time gated I generally avoid doing it altogether.

    I'd prefer a system that is capable of adding content faster than players can consume it. With procedural content generation becoming ever more sophisticated that really shouldn't be impossible or uneconomical any more. If No Man's Sky proves it can be done next year then I hope we'll see it widely copied.

    1. I remember thinking about purchasing Everquest when it came out, but I always held back, I'm not sure why. I do believe it probably best matches my description, though I wonder why a current game doesn't try something similar, possibly using procedural content as you mention.

      In terms of gating, I would see the required experience being quite high. One problem we have now is that there are always people who will do unreasonable amount of game activity just to get to the end. I'd like a way to discourage them and force them either to play the game or go on to another.