Hopping off the treadmill
Dec 13, 2005 05:06:00


The grind. The treadmill. The camp. The rare spawns. We've all done it.

You of course know what I'm talking about. If not, brush up here.

In the past week, two articles have surfaced in which upcoming MMORPGs are doing away with experience points and possibly the grind that accompanies that structure. Dusktreaders fom Granite Games posted its intentions to support a quest-based advancement system rather than an experience-based level system.
"Quests will now have a Quest Point reward. Acquiring your next level will be based on your total quest points. This change to the Achievement System, allows you to work on many quests at once, some with friends and some alone, and advance at the rate you choose. It also means that you can enjoy your own unique advancement path."
More importantly, Granite Games has repeatedly stated that Dusktreaders will not be the kind of MMORPG that allows you to sleep at the keyboard. While twitch play will not be part of the equation, strategic use of skills, resource management, and well-tuned teamwork will be critical to success.

In this month's PC Gamer magazine Turbine took the PC Gamer writers on a tour of Dungeon's & Dragons Online which has all of the same features mentioned by Dusktreaders. According to the article, no area of the game is set up purely as a hunting zone and monsters are said to not be wandering around simply as targets to be slain for experience points, since experience points are said not to exist. It should be noted that this is a considerable departure from the D&D advancement model. Word is that the 20 level system has initially been scaled back to 10 levels with each level have 4 "ranks" within the level, making a virtual 40 level system on the day of release. Additional levels will be added as expansions are released. Beta experiences from around the net repeatedly indicate that D&D Online is not tuned for solo play, a design decision that may hurt them. Players coming from WoW, Guild Wars and L2 may find this disheartening.

They may also find these new games to be far more challenging than the 2004-2005 crop of MMORPGs. Other systems under development, such as Vanguard, have plainly stated that they intend to make a challenging game that we all sense will be a throwback to the early EQ and MUD days. This contrasts distinctly with the current powerhouse, World of Warcraft, which is anything but difficult. WoW is an excellent game, but let's face it...it is as easy as they come.

What we may be seeing here is a subset of the MMORPG market that fully understands that it is likely incapable of stealing and maintaining massive market share in a world dominated by Blizzard and NCSoft. Instead, they have turned their attention to creating the games they want to create. Games of quality. Games that will earn them a living, and make them as rich as kings, but not in the monetary sense.

Submitted by Brent on Dec 13, 2005 05:06:00 CST (comments: 0)


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