MMO Rant #5: The PvE End Game

Ah the massively multiplayer online end game. MMOEG. Yeah, it probably deserves that label. Why? Because so many games dramatically alter the gameplay landscape if you ever manage to get there. That consistent and fun experience you’ve been participating in for hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours, suddenly changes to something completely different. Often times, that experience not only changes dramatically, but it suddenly requires near-infinitely more dedication and time to hang with the crowd. I, for one, am tired of it.

Why do many games completely change the landscape of play at the end? Well, there’s a few reasons, but the most annoying one to me is that the game as it was all the way to max level wasn’t fun enough to sustain itself without the level grind. Yeah. Meaning, a big part of the reason people even got to the end in the first place was to get to the end, not because the journey itself was fun. Otherwise, that same style of play could remain without the need for levels at all, right?

Well, maybe. I’ll admit that it may not be the fault of developers entirely, and rather the fault of human psychology (or probably more correctly, the human brain). But I like to blame the developers, because there’s gotta be a better way to reward people even if they don’t keep getting pretty number increases in their level.

Let’s pretend that it’s completely okay for the gameplay experience to change entirely at the end game. It’s okay that the experience people have come to love and expect out of the game for hundreds or thousands of hours is abruptly and dramatically changed. What, then, would I have to complain about? All of it.

Raiding. Yeah, killing uber cool mobs is fun once or twice per mob. Coordinating dozens of players at once is fun sometimes too. What’s not fun about it? The routine. The repetition. The fact that nearly the only option you have is to stand around and wait for that raid mob to be up and ready for the killing. I don’t have any other options except to fart around until the next multi-hour chaos session that is raiding.

That’s the big part that really cheeses me off. Raiding is, apparently, the de facto standard for all PvE end games, and most developers seem to believe that raiding and raiding alone is quite enough to satisfy. They don’t care that much about live content to keep my appetite sated, they don’t let me participate in the intrigue of a world, they don’t give me any real alternatives to the endless routine of raiding the same old mobs over and over. And I’m tired of it.

I want a game that keeps me engaged after I’ve “reached the end” (or maybe one that the end somehow doesn’t exist in) without forcing a new style of play on me, without requiring MORE time than I’ve already dedicated to the game, without making me repeat the same old crap over and over again. I want a game that’s willing to give me PvE content at the end game that is actually fun, so I have some sort of motivation to actually get there and keep playing.

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