Monday, June 15, 2009
Retirement and Challenge
Spinks writes about the end game concepts of retirement and challenge:
This week I have committed a terrible crime which I usually try to avoid. I read something cool in a blog post and forgot to bookmark it. So if this came from you, let me know and I’ll add in the link.I don't know whether Spinks got it from this comment or elsewhere, but the concept is interesting. I just don't think that games like World of Warcraft manage pleasing both sides very well. The problem with WoW is that at any given level of power, the content that gives you meaningful rewards is quite limited. So if you are wearing a complete set of Naxxramas-10 and -25 gear, Ulduar is basically the only place to go. Yes, you *can* do retirement gaming and farm Molten Core or some type of monsters in the open world. But the rewards you'd get are pretty much meaningless, and won't do anything for your character development.
In any case, I was reading this article and the writer compared the ideas of Retirement Gaming with Challenge Gaming. This is simple but brilliant. The Retirement Gamer thinks ‘I put some work into this game and got some reward. Now I want to enjoy it by having the game become easier.’ The Challenge Gamer thinks, ‘I put some work into this game and got some reward. Now I want more of a challenge!’
The best MMOs cater to both of these viewpoints.
I was thinking of that when I was playing Luminary. My character is level 54 now. And I recently spent a few hours farming level 6 mobs. Classic retirement gaming mode, I just one-shotted them. But in Luminary that action actually made sense, because every mob drops different resources. And if you need the things that level 6 mobs drop, and there aren't many for sale at the market, or they are overpriced, farming low level mobs is quite a reasonable thing to do. But I could equally well have choosen to switch to challenge gaming mode, and worked on quests and higher level monsters to increase my level. Having that choice, and either choice giving you reasonable rewards, is a good thing. It is just funny how a free 2D MMORPG manages it better than a billion dollar game.
The obvious advantage of having everything in the game drop something that can be useful at any level is that none of your content ever gets completely obsolete. World of Warcraft is a *huge* game, many times the size of Luminary. But at any given level in WoW, only very few zones make sense being in. And every expansion adding 10 more levels and another continent, makes the previous continent practically disappear. If Blizzard would add an auction house to Dalaran, and class trainers, there would be no reason to ever leave Northrend.