Thursday, June 28, 2007

Uh-oh, LotRO is Just Like Any Other MMO!

As Tobold has pointed out recently, apparently the higher-end levels of my current game, LotRO are just like any other MMO. That is to say, there's a fair amount of grinding at the level cap.

Who'd have thunk it?

Come on people. It's just now going into it's 3rd full month. What MMO has EVER had a greatly developed elder game in it's 3rd month of existence? Hell what MMO has EVER had a greatly developed elder game, period?

I can't think of one game that has ever been able to nail the gameplay at the max level. A few have come close. EQ's AA points. DAoC's RvR. But ultimately, the best way for a game to stay fresh is new quests and content, and yes more levels. With these, usually in the form of expansions, you don't feel stuck at a wall anymore, you don't feel like grinding mobs or dungeons or PvP is your only recourse, and you go along your merry way leveling once more... and then you hit the wall again and complain about what sucks and the cycle continues forever.

GET OVER IT. I'm not just saying this because I'm a fan of LotRO. I realize the game has its own share of faults. Hell I'm an early adopter of Auto Assault too, and even with its faults, I still love the core of the game. But as players of these MMOs we have to realize that the task of creating a game that meaningfully and fulfilling GOES ON FOREVER is a nigh unthinkable task. And yet we will certainly bitch and moan when X developer is incapable of creating Y content for Z players fast enough.

My advice? Stop complaining. Offer your suggestions tastefully to the development team via the forums, and take a break if you're dissatisfied with the game at the level cap. I know what it's like to hit that wall. We all do. But theorycrafting will only get us, the players, so far. What's a better idea is to find something else to waste time on, like a new game or a new class, or something that involves the dreaded outdoors or physical activity.

I'll stop ranting.

My point is, that until code writes itself, we're always going to be faced with these walls in MMOs. Learn to live with them or find a new hobby. Because it's probably going to be a while before a company nails the "end" of the game. It's fact we must live with and leave the poor horse alone.


Cameron Sorden said...

Amen, brother! There is no such thing as the "Neverending Game." Even with all the content in the world, you'll eventually grow tired of your favorite game and look for something different.

Bildo said...

Thanks, Cameron.

I think what annoys me the most out of all of this, not just for LotRO but for every MMO I get into, is that everybody has some different idea about what needs to be put in and everyone disagrees as to what is best.

Basically what they're doing then is showing just how hard it is for the developers to keep these games churning, and yet they're blind to the realization.

Keen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keen said...

Honestly I am sick of "end-game" completely. It's the downfall of any game that attempts it. I don't want end-game content because I do not want to feel like my games are winding down.

I want the game to be an ever evolving and changing world... what's that? Could it possibly be that what I want is what the definition of MMORPG actually used to be?!

I have high hopes for Warhammer Online and Pirates of the Burning Sea to bring an end to this "end-game" crap.

I smell a blog entry for tomorrow...

Thanks for inspiring me Bildo! ;)

Anonymous said...

You know, I think MMO's would profit not just from expanded content and constant updating of quests and areas but from making what content exists malleable to player input, or at least reflective thereof. The way I see it, LOTRO is being touted as an RPG, certainly some enthusiasts are trying by making their charaters seem natural to the setting (either that, or somehow medieval communes still exist somewhere and have developed sufficiently to access the net without sacrificing anything in their way of speech or beliefs) yet one cannot have an RPG wherein the players have no choice but to jump through pre-assigned hoops and follow pre-ordained paths. The Final Fantasy games were not RPGs, they were Japanese love stories little better in concept or content than an interactive narrative, and games such as LOTRO, WoW and GW share the same fatal flaw: The all encompassing scripting.

I am reminded of games like Deus Ex where one's choices made during game play affected not merely the ending - of which there were a few - but also affected the development of play. Supporting characters, such as the protagonist's brother, were obviously scripted to die, but diehards such as myself could save them with enough effort and they would make appearances throughout the game though their impact was very littlev (after all, they were meant to die).

Obviously a completely immersive environment would be impossible, but it would be nice to affect some changes. Like say, after culling Orcs from the highlands seeing them migrate elsewhere to avoid extinction, or maybe after getting your Emnity ranks maxed, seeing them flee from you screaming your name in abject terror. A fifteen minute cooldown after defeating the end boss wherein he won't spawn which sees celebrations ensuing in allied towns with the players names on the digital tongues of every NPC. I don't know, but I for one would certainly be more receptive to anything labelled RPG which actually reflects some of the choices one makes over the time they've invested, and replay would certainly be more rewarding if one could explore the results of alternate outcomes to difference choices.

Bildo said...

You're very right, Anon. That type of meaningful decision making would be great, but I'm just not sure we're at that point of gameplay with an MMO yet.

The genre's new, it's still attaining a real audience, and in essence the games haven't changed much over the past 15 years since their beginnings as MUDs.

One thing's for sure though, the closer we get to a virtual world, and not just a themepark, the happier a lot of us fans will be with our games. There'd always be something to see when we logged in, something new.