On MMO Boredom

Before I get in to todays topic I need to remind everyone that they should be listening to my friend Bel’s podcast, especially this weeks because I got to come in as a guest host again (link).

Okay, so today’s topic is one I deal with every so often, and that is hitting the “end” of an MMO. What do you do when you reach the “end”? I know that in reality there is not really any ending to MMO’s. There are usually plenty of things to do such as dungeons, raids, and achievements, but what if none of those interest you? What keeps you playing a game that you feel there’s nothing left to do?

For me this usually comes up around the time that I reach max level in a game. In almost every game I get to that point where my interest starts to fade. I’ve done the raiding thing, and I’ve done the quest for better stats thing. I find these are only temporary fixes, and I’m starting to find that if I no longer feel like I’m enjoying myself then I don’t want to continue playing.

As I mentioned there was a time when I did the raiding thing which meant all of my non-raiding time was spent gathering materials to make enchants for the raid, or food buffs, or any other number of things like researching the bosses. This is fundamentally the reason I don’t ever really feel like raiding anymore. The “end game” content felt like it was a job. Getting online was no longer about me enjoying a game so I made the decision to stop playing. This also tend to apply to dungeons as well. I do enjoy doing dungeons, and I like the group of people I do them with, but my problem is that I don’t enjoy doing them over and over again to get the best gear. I like to do them to see the story, but after the first time it isn’t the same thing.

The first real thing that keeps me going in a game is achievements. Just about anyone I’ve ever played with has heard me talking about this. I love achievements, to me that is the best part of any MMO because it gives you something else to do besides killing monsters and being the pony express mail service. Achievements usually require some amount of effort and are generally fun to do. The only problem I tend to find with achievements is that it feels like an impossible task. There are always achievements that you can’t get, such as ones for raiding or pvp, both of which are things I don’t enjoy doing. I don’t mind them being there since plenty of people enjoy both of those things, I just don’t like it when a pvp achievement is a condition for some overall achievement. That just feels like I’m being forced in to content I have no interest in.  That being said, I still enjoy doing achievements because there are always new ones to do and they provide a nice alternative for more casual gamers.

The other thing that tends to keep me in a game is the people I play with. I’m sure I’ve stated previously that one thing I look for in a game is having people to play with, which for the last few years has been the same group of people. As a whole this group tends to shift from game to game as they come out and I enjoy running content with them when I can. I’ve only recently started to understand that the game I’m playing doesn’t matter so if I feel I’m done with a game this won’t keep me playing anymore. The people in the game still is a good reason for me to keep playing, but there is a limit to any game, especially one that you have to pay a monthly fee on.

Now, since the topic is MMO boredom I should also point out that I don’t make it to the “end” in every game anymore. There have been times that I get about halfway through the content before it starts feeling a bit stale and I play less and less. Another factor might be other games coming out that I’m interested in which draw me away from the PC gaming side for a little while. I feel like if it is that easy to be pulled away from a game, then I might not want to continue playing.

So I’m curious as to what keeps other people playing? Do you stick around for that end game content or achievements, or something else entirely?

On a side note related to my fitness post: Thanks for all the advice. I’m going to try cutting back on a few things, namely sugar and carbs. They won’t be gone completely, but I’m going to try to at least reduce them. This might just mean doing something simple like taking the bun off my sandwich or cutting back on sugary snacks, but small changes can have good results.


On Player Mentoring

I’m going to confess something, I’m writing this post a day early and scheduling it to post tomorrow morning. I’m not sure when or if I’ll be online long enough tomorrow to type out thoughts on any subject. I’m going to confess something else, I’ll probably do this for Saturday and Sundays posts as well. I am on vacation after all. Speaking of which I’m currently sitting in my hotel room with nice view of the apartment complex on the other side of the parking lot. Not that the other side would have a great view either, it would just be a view of the interstate.

So my friend Belghast has mentioned the subject of player mentoring several times in both his blog and on his podcast so I thought I’d post some of my own thoughts about this. I’ll start off with saying that I think this is a great idea if this is done done correctly and I think that every game would benefit from having this in some form.

The only game that I’ve played that I feel has done this right is Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. In this game you unlock dungeons as your level progresses, most of which are required to progress the story. You can always go back and do these dungeons again but it scales your level if you have passed the level of the dungeon. This allowed you to go back and play them again with friends who were the appropriate level without being over powered. So, for example, you have a group of 4 friends (including yourself) 2 of which are level 40 and 2 of which are level 15 and need help doing the first story dungeon. When your group goes in to the dungeon the 2 players that are level 40 would be scaled down to around level 18 (the max of that dungeon). You’re gear stays the same, but your abilities revert to what was available to you at that level.

A game with a similar setup is Guild Wars 2. I never did dungeons in this game, but I know that your level would scale down to the area that you were in. So if you were a high level player and you wanted to play with a lower level friend then as soon as you entered that area you were scaled down in level to match that areas level range.

Currently I am playing Elder Scrolls Online, and I think that this game could benefit from this type of system. Preferably the system from Final Fantasy 14. The reason I say this is because I am not the type of person to ask for help in guild chat, but all the people I like to do dungeons with have very much outleveled me. If I were to ask them to run a lower level dungeon with me then it would not be a challenge as they would be over the level of the dungeon (up to a point anyways). This does not provide them any incentive as you stop getting rewards for dungeons once you have out leveled it.

For me this means that I have not done any dungeons, and probably won’t until I’m max level and can go back and solo the lower level ones. If there was a system in place to scale my friends down to the appropriate level then it wouldn’t be boring for them to come help me out. The way that I say that makes it seem a bit selfish, but this also allows the game to remain challenging.

I think my ideal system would be a combination of both Guild Wars 2 and Final Fantasy 14. What I refer to here is level scaling based on the level range for the area that you are in from Guild Wars 2 and dungeon scaling from Final Fantasy 14. However, I would modify the dungeon scaling to be optional. If you were in a group with someone of appropriate level it would scale the group down to the appropriate level, but if you were wanting to go back to see it as a higher level player by yourself you could do that and it wouldn’t scale you down. The reason for that modification is from one of my favorite things to do in World Of Warcraft, namely going through old content that I missed just to have fun without worrying about having a problem or needing to find people to play with.