Tuesday, March 16, 2010

MMO For Raiders Only

When I started WoW 3 years ago, I continued playing for 2 years. From the outset, I wanted to raid with my friends.

Instead, I spent exactly 1 year hitting level 70, at which point all my friends left the game until Wrath of the Lich King came out. Then I played until Lich King arrived, leveled to 78, then got laid off and ran out of money for monthly fees.

I enjoyed the game, and I had 3 or 4 friends that I played with regularly. We had fun...but if what I really wanted to do was raid the whole time...why 70 or 80 levels just to do that?

I propose an MMO be created, designed for raiding from the outset of the game. If the whole game were based around a series of raids, some of which were accessible from the very beginning...would it really be a problem? I think if the game developers designed raids for beginners that didn't really require a lot of communication, then built up to more and more organization as you went, certain players would find it to be a good experience.

This wouldn't be for everybody, but most especially for the people who started an MMO with the intent of "getting to 80 so I can raid with my friends."

How would you design an MMO around raiding? What challenges would you foresee, and how would you deal with them?


Oakstout said...

That is a great idea... but you know they'll never do it. The whole part of playing a game, be it Pokemon or World of Warcraft is the grinding that has to take place. Without grinding there is no game. I mean even in EVE you have to grind out dead rocks to make money to build ships to kill each other.

Great idea, but without the grinding aspect it wouldn't get published.

Anton said...

I dunno...I've known many raiders...and if I'm not mistaken, Raids are very capable of being grinds.

Fox said...

The largest problem is maintaining some form of progression, be that leveling up your character, or accumulating ever-better gear. I don't think "raiders" raid just to do the same dungeon content over and over again. It's always to get better gear, to get to the next dungeon, to get better gear, and on.

If you follow this model, though, is it really so different from leveling up from 1-80? You're still going to have your entry raids (starter zones), then your low-level raids, mid-level raids, on to high level raids and, I suppose, ever-increasing. Have to gear up before you can move from one tier to the next. Is that really different from the current WoW model?

If it's just removing "quests" and exploration you'd like to see, they've basically already done that by adding the random dungeon feature. It's entirely possible to level 1-80 through dungeons alone, without ever having moved your character a step in the main game world (well once you reach level 10 anyway).

Fox said...

No edit feature.

I realized I didn't address the part about simply wanting to raid with your friends, without the hassle of having to level/gear up to them.

Some games like City of Heroes and Champions Online have "side kick" features built into them, that lets you instantly pull a friend, or group of friends up to your same level. They don't gain new abilities, but all their current ones are powered up to be able to effectively combat creatures at your level. So if I were level 50 and you were level 2, I could sidekick you, temporarily making you level 50 as well. You continue to gain experience proportional to your actual level. It's a very nice system for ensuring the ability to play with your friends at all times.

I'm not sure how else it could be done, to be honest.

brenda said...

EverQuest II shipped, Day 1, with guild raids starting at level 15. What happened? People were so spread out from leveling that they couldn't get two groups of people around the same level to raid.

Chappo said...

People love their cookie cutter grind-to-end-game then grind some more to go for this.
We can dream on though. :D

Bri said...

Could you detach the character advancement from the formula, I wonder, to make a raiding-for-the-fun-of-raiding game. Similar to many shooters, you choose a class and enter the game a full-fledged character. A game lobby similar to WoW's Looking for Dungeon tool lets you step into raids that you take part in for the fun of raiding, not so you can grind that next chestpiece or 10 more emblems. Some form of reward needs to be in place, of course, points that could be spent on talents or gear or both.

The point is that you could take hints from a game like Team Fortress 2 and make it into a PvE raiding game.

Anton said...

@ Bri Taking clues from non Multiplayer Online rather than Massively Multiplayer Online might be a good system. More in line with lobby-based games like Phantasy Star Online and Monster Hunter, find a group and go for it!
The difference I guess would be that the groups would get bigger than just four people...I'd be talking 3 to 40 people depending on the area. And maybe it would be better not to tout it as an MMORPG at all, just try to appeal to a different audience.

Thallian said...

a free MMO I tried, Fiesta, has something kind of like this. It has raid dungeons at levelled tiers, like Deadmines raid, and Gnomergan raid and so on. And you sign up for them, and then it auto groups you at a certain time interval with everyone who has signed up. And they are actually pretty challenging and fun. (even for a grindy FTP game) If Blizzard or Turbine or Sony did this it'd be amazing of course. But good ideas don't alwyas make it into good implementations.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a market for "all raiding, all the time". It's just not as big of a market as for a game that hits more diverse interests. Even raiders like to goof off doing other things once in a while.

That said, a game focused on raiding could do things that WoW or its ilk could never consider, not the least of which come from tighter control of art assets and the production pipeline. That's the price and benefit of specialization.