MMO endgames don’t have to be crap at launch

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I imagine MMO designers lose quite a bit of sleep during their final stages. Between bringing the game online and having the masses actually hit max level, there can be weeks of waiting to get some crucial feedback and see how it all plays out on a grand scale. And when the Endgame can make or break an MMO, figuring out whether people stay or not, it has to be an exciting experience.

Succeeding in this essential is a tough tightrope walk, which many players seem to understand. But that understanding sometimes turns into excuses for endgame issues, leaving us in a strange situation where people expect the endgame to not be so great – a shield that deflects criticism.

That’s not to say that MMO forums and social media aren’t full of complaints every time an endgame is a disappointment – there will always be some escape – but it always comes with the most excuses. strange.

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Endgame reactions are worrying me right now because I played a lot of New World, and the Endgame of New World has its fair share of problems. Some, like the Broken Azoth Staffs that prevented players from destroying Corrupted Monoliths, have been fixed, but there are still larger bugs and structural issues. For a few weeks, the new PvP mode was also disabled, although it was eventually re-enabled.

A common response to these criticisms is that I play the game poorly, with anyone else who has reached level 60. That’s a weird excuse for any MMO, but especially for New World, where a part of the attraction is choosing how you want it. play, whether as a craftsman who just explores and builds, or as a die-hard PvPer looking for players to stab.

For some, the whole point of an MMO is to get to the end of the game as quickly as possible. And it’s awesome too. Finding the fastest way to get XP is a quest that many people immediately embark on. In New World, I was stunned by how quickly some players smashed levels, and it’s not just about speed or skipping sleep. There is an art of leveling the power. I don’t like to rush, normally, but the tips and effective routes players discovered absolutely helped me when I hit a wall at level 50.

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Maybe the problem is the name: endgame. The implication is that you are done, when in reality it just means you are starting. This is where dedicated players will live until new territories, dungeons, and diversions appear. Most MMOs feature unique activities like raids, daily quests, new modes, and all kinds of things that you need to reach at the end of the game to enjoy them. This is the first time you see all that the game has to offer. With that in mind, rushing to the end of the game doesn’t rush to the finish line – you rush to the meat.

The implication is that there is a specific time, or a specific number of max level players, when endgame becomes important, and before that point, who cares? But we don’t see that in any other type of game. If the final act of a great single-player game is hot rubbish, it will reflect in criticism and a problem from day one, before players even get it. have seen. It is considered common sense, although the same excuses could be made. Developers could fix it before most players reach that point.

So why the different expectations? This is because, in most genres, there isn’t this narrative that an entire part of the game is going to suck at launch. But the narrative that exists around MMOs just seems dated. Of course, World of Warcraft didn’t have a good endgame when it launched over 15 years ago, but it has had a lot of expansion launches since then without that issue. Okay, not everyone likes them, but there is always plenty for anyone to sprint at them.

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Even with the dearth of MMOs these days, we don’t have to go far back to see one with an endgame that’s already a climax at launch. At Steven Swords of Legends Online live review, that was one of the game’s saving graces. Although it absolutely benefited from the China launch first, which gave the developers time to fatten it up. There was Crowfall, too, which came out at the same time and made the Endgame a major goal – and most importantly one that you can get to quickly. These games’ endgames didn’t quite make up for all the other issues they had, but even decidedly OK MMOs can have solid endgames, everyone should.

While quality endgames aren’t the white whale they’re often featured, it’s true that at launch they’re often the least polished part of an MMO. Where there are issues, however, they could be nipped in the bud with more targeted beta testing. Most MMOs do a lot of testing, from the very first technical alphas to free open betas for everyone, but it’s much rarer to see endgame get this treatment. Betas sometimes last long enough to give the most dedicated players time to get there, but that leaves a lot of room for chance. I would love to see an open beta that lets you instantly cast a max level character.

“Endgames are always bad at launch” is therefore a myth, or at least an old story. It certainly doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of obstacles – they might be the hardest thing to overcome – but don’t give them a free pass just because most players don’t have it. still reached this point.


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