In the past few years I’ve bounced back and forth between two MMORPG’s. Eve-Online and World of Warcraft. In either one I’ve reached end-game content and been left fairly dissatisfied on both occasions. The main reason? The time involved to compete at that level becomes unrealistic for the average joe.
EVE ONLINE ENDGAME
Regardless what anyone else says the endgame of EVE is fleet warfare. You can play in missions, build, search for complexes but at the end of the day all of those eventually trickle into gigantic turf warfare. If you want to maintain your home in space, you’ll have to fight for it. These fights get to be intense, hundreds upon hundreds of ships from across all the universe come in for a fight. There is posturing, trickery, preparation, and the hope that you’ll get a good fight.
The first step down I made was from flying a Fleet Fit Battleship to a smaller ship. The firepower was immense, but the cost to get it was even higher. The cost wasn’t so bothersome to me, but rather the time to get to the battle safely and get to a safe port. You would have to travel in a fleet, hope for a fight, and travel back. Two plus hours of just travel time (EVE is big) for a maybe fight. Have to leave for some reason? Good luck. Your slow, fat, juicy battleship is left floating in enemy territory.
Once I made a switch to a smaller ship I found the travel issue to be taken care of but the time involved got maddening. I started to fly with fast raider fleets instead of big battleship fleets. I wanted a quick burn, smash and dash. So often the time got to be unreal and I left that endgame content for other areas in EVE which were never as satisfying. A few months down the road I cancelled my subscription and needed to try something else.
WORLD OF WARCRAFT ENDGAME
WoW had a completely different endgame. Raids. Large and complex, these areas require groups as large as 40 people to get through. Once I finally maxxed out my warrior I found myself working to gear up. I spent most of my time using the Dungeon Finder system (which was awesome) and worked my way up till my gear was acceptable. At that point we started hitting some lower raids but I found the details to suck.
You had to stand there, but not while that was on, oh and if you get that stuff on you run over to him or else we all die. Woah, hold on a sec. I can’t even see that effect on that dude and he’s running around and damn, I’m dead. We wipe, start afresh, and get frustrated once again. The 5 man instances were great, but eventually I hit them all and they got to be old-hat.
Suddenly I had to watch hours of videos of other people running the raid. At the same time compete for a slot within the guild. Can’t make the run on Sunday? You are out of luck. I think they really could have had a winner allowing raids to pick up people from the Dungeon Finder. Instead I’d try to get into a pick up group raid, wait a few hours, and find out it wasn’t gonna happen. Sorry, my time to game is not infinite, I’ll suffer the defeat but I want some action.
THE ENDGAME CURVE
So you start a new game, everything is fresh and new. Every single piece of content is awesome, every game mechanic is sweet. You have these milestones gaining levels, getting gear and have a goal. The max level. Once you finally reach your goal what happens next? That new game feeling wears off and something has to replace it otherwise you’ll just go elsewhere. So the Endgame Curve comes along.
You need something to sink a good deal of time into which will promise rewards. The more time you put into it the larger theoretical reward. In EVE it may be a mothership or titan. In WoW it would be a full set of top tier gear. The amount of time required to get that will hopefully tide you over until a new top tier item can come along or you get some new game feeling from an expansion or addon.
Beating the curve
Remember when all of your class bombed a test and petitioned for the bell curve grading? Well, that’s what you need here too. Allow the impact to be spread to the largest population. At the same time, the outer edge of the bell curve will be filled with those hardcore endgame folks which can still get the best loot and gear. Give an open door to the masses, let them learn and enjoy the content, but still leave a niche for those who want the hardcore experience.
In other words, let me play to experience what a game has to offer. If the content requires such a huge time commitment that I can’t enjoy it I’ll go somewhere else for my new game feeling. You don’t have to make it stupidly simple, just make it so I can use it. Do that and I’ll stay, otherwise I, and a lot of other folks like me will move to the next MMO which might get it right.
I still think EVE and WoW are two of the best out there. Both have new content coming out in the near future. I plan on returning to both worlds and seeing what is new. Hopefully I’ll stick around once the new game feeling wears off.