I guess I’m a finisher

Syp had an interesting post the other about “middlers” as he calls them. Non-commital slack-abouts as I see it. Now, I’ll admit, that I have a few MMOS I never reached level cap too. City of Heroes and Champions being notable instances. For one, I just couldn’t face the grind, the other, I despaired of anything to do once I reached it. When the reality of nothing to do after the rides are over in a theme park sets in, the visitor goes home. With sentences like that, I guess a part of me understands why people don’t reach the endgame. I doubt I’ll ever reach level cap in any PvE MMO again. For reasons I’ve discussed already.

So maybe that’s the crux of why so many repliers to Syp’s post declare themselves middlers. Do you think they recognize the ultimate futility of reaching the “cap”? When the only thing left to a game after you’ve “beaten” it, is to partake in repetitive non-dynamic activities, what incentive do you have to move out of the middle? I think this is why I like EQ2 as a PvE game, and WAR as an MMO. EQ2 had things other than leveling and a gear treadmill to strive for. AA’s were a great combat-oriented secondary progression model, not to mention the slew of other things you could do, social, economic, and exploration.

The supporting argument of those who don’t strive for the end-game is that they enjoy the journey, and focus on that as opposed to some future goal. I don’t understand this as an excuse, or at least, don’t understand why people playing these PvE games are choosing this genre as their venue of choice. The reason being,that the “journey” through an MMO PvE experience is not that satisfying. If I was too look for a game based on progression, and that required a sizeable time-commitment, I’d look to SRPGs like [most of] the Final Fantasy series, the Phantasy Star series, or any slew of them. If looking for a truly emotional/epic/intriguing story, play any number of single-player games (God of War, Call of Duty, KotORs, Bioshock, Mirror’s Edge, etc…). The journey in an MMO that focuses on PvE is usually not incredibly diverse, non-dynamic, and pretty bland overall. The bonus is having a huge, persistent world to do it in, with plenty of people to chat with.

MMOs are about long-term commitment, long-term goals and endeavors. They’re persistent to allow for completion of these things. Maybe I’m just a jaded MMO player, but I have yet to play any PvE MMO that the leveling was so fun and engaging in, that I was intrigued while playing it, or wanted to keep at it because the experience was so refreshing and entertaining.

In PvP MMOs, that paradigm is different though. Your experience is always dynamic. If what you’re doing is participating in competitive play, the things that occur will never be the same. There may be similarities, and you may even fight the same players, but each match, meeting, clash, or battle will play out differently and require you to be vigilant in adaptive play. A journey filled with chaotic, shifting possibilities that take you through back roads, small towns, and local areas of interest is an engaging one. A journey on all freeway, with trees flanking the road and signs telling you the exact distance to the next exit is dull. When I hear people who play PvE MMOs say they want a fun journey, I just become baffled at their choice, because I hear, “I want to drive my Toyota Camry from Florida to California, only using I-10,  because I like spending 2300 miles of a 2400 mile trip on the interstate.”

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About Shadow
Making serious business out of internet spaceships.

3 Responses to I guess I’m a finisher

  1. Riv says:

    Guess I’m a finisher too, but I always pictured myself a fluffer, wait what we talking about again?

  2. Erbse says:

    PvE MMO’s live off their community, it’s more of an interactive chat with slight competitiveness in terms of who reaches max level on class X first or gets item Y for himself first at the end of the day however, all in good fun.

    Now, there’s not many MMO’s I actually played until the ‘end’. Granted, I hit 95 in PristonTale when I quit, about 2 years ago. The game advanced since then and being 95 is like ‘meh’ now, but there’s only so much one will and can put up with. It’s more about (for me anyway) to establish myself in the community. May it be as asshole, troll, asshat (or all 3-combined ;D) or game oracle.

    For me a game doesn’t end when I reach max level, or best gear. Usually it ends when I’m excelling at the class I chose to play, which often happens way before I hit the end, everything beyond that is a mere bonus 😉

    • shadowwar says:

      I agree entirely. The experience toO cap is merely the preamble. It’s the introduction by a guest writer, not the book itself.

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