Monday, July 27, 2009

I Want a New Kind of Grind

I've been having a bout of MMOADD and checking out various other games in between raiding. My guild is taking on Veeshan's Peak and it's a lot of fun, but I haven't had much will to play EverQuest II lately because I've been tired of the quest based grind to fill my AA.

So I checked out Dungeons and Dragons Online. I definitely will be resurrecting my old characters when this goes free to play. I love the new henchmen they introduced and the soloability in the low level zones. Of course, DDO is really a game that you want to group in, but the reason I quit the game when it first came out was because I spent a lot of time spamming LFG and not finding one. Hopefully all the players attracted by the free play will fix that. If not, at least I can now do SOME things without having to find friends first.

Still, it would be nice if the game had SOMETHING to do besides dungeon crawls. I mean, granted, it's Dungeons and Dragons, which is all about going on quests, in dungeons, with a group, but still, maybe they could add mini games or something??? While DDO has a lot of innovative game play in it, the running around, vacuuming in the quests from the NPCs with glowing whatever-it-is-that-isn't-an-exclamation-point-but-may-as-well-be over their heads, shouting LFG for half an hour, and then trying to find the stupid zone in point.

Do we really need to run around the overland city zones? Is that necessary for our immersion? Couldn't we have more fast travel options to get us straight to the dungeon? It's not like we're being attacked in the city. And I'm not asking for easy mode fast travel IN THE missions. Do we really have to suck in all the quests from random people around the zone? Can't we find another way to dole out the missions?

So I decide to go see what's new in Age of Conan. I earned my Tempest of Set two more levels but then got bored of it. I guess if I was more interested in the PVP side of things or the citybuilding aspect, I might like the game more. But as far as the PVE went, it just didn't seem to offer anything I wasn't already getting in EverQuest II. It's just your standard quest driven grind, once you get past the incremental innovations in the combat system. However, while I loved AOCs combat system, it simply isn't enough to get me to come back permanently.

The issue for me is content: while they've added a ton of content to AOC, there's just more of it in EQ2. And it doesn't seem as hard to find. Granted, I've been playing longer, so I know where most everything is, but quests in AOC would often force me to run to then the opposite side of the map from wherever you get the quest, assuming it's even in the same zone. EQ2 was like that at launch, but most quests nowadays are much more reasonable in terms of the mindless running around they force you to do.

I also tried out the Aion beta. I've probably tried every MMORPG beta since 2000. This is one of the smoothest and most polished. Probably because it's actually a released game. I'm not quite sure what they are really testing. I didn't end up doing too much testing... the game was yet another quest driven grind. Pretty unabashed about it too. Pretty much every quest was "you know, my farm is overrun by Random Smelly Monster". You look over at it, and sure enough, it's overrun alright. But mostly by "Random Stinky Monster"s which don't count. And you have to kill them because your mobs are ont he same respawn point, and apparently the farmer IS in fact actually OK with his farm being overrun by things digging it up if they have different adjectives over their head.

I think I might be at the end of my rope with this genre. The only game that really excites me now is Heroes of Telara because 1) you supposedly can play with everyone on the server [players of any level will have something to do], and 2) the world WILL change. Meaning you CAN be a hero. Meaning I'm actually doing something -- responding to a changing world -- and not simply vacuuming the same exclamation points up on all my alts and doing the same things over and over again. In theory -- we know little about the game at this point.

I'm also excited about Final Fantasy XIV, if only because I loved FFXI. While Final Fantasy XI was a grind as well, it was a very different kind of grind, and I actually think it was much, much more fun camping mobs and hunting named monsters with groups. Much more fun than it is nowadays where we are forced to hunt exclamation point after exclamation point by ourselves.


Openedge1 said...

100% burnout.

Time to take a break.

Hard to go from a grindy type of game driven by quests (EQ2) to another grindy driven by quests game (AoC) and expect some type of innovative features..

I did this,...took a break, and it paid me handsomely. I hated MMO's after last years debacle with WAR and AoC's launch, and LOTRO was just one of many nails in the MMO coffin (talk about a bigger quest grind and boring gameplay than any game I have played yet)

After a 6 month break, I successfully returned to the genre and learned how to love it again..

Try may like it.
(And yes, it needs to be cold turkey...)

Good luck

Corwin.EoL said...

The grind is what leads many to burn out. As you know, I've been there a number of times.

The grind isn't so bad if you actually feel that you are accomplishing something. At level 80 in EQ2, you only have AA and grinding for gear. Which seems to go really slowly.

When my main was stuck in the guild hall during the recent issues, I logged in with my 47 Ranger. It was still a grind, but I actually felt I was accomplishing something because I gained a level rather rapidly. It was very enjoyable, a joy which seems to have been missing with my higher level characters.

Perhaps this issue is not really you being burnt out, but that the game at higher levels becomes no longer as fun.

Longasc said...

I somehow feel in a similar state. I am an MMO addict yet they all manage to bore me to hell.

I think I need some new kind of MMO that really excites me again, I think I am tired of the old formulas.

Longasc said...

Checking Heroes of Telaria right now... at the moment I see a video. :)

Lars said...

@Longasc, the video isn't that exciting. Look up some interviews about it though; it seems they are focusing on designing technology that supports a fluid and changing world (dynamic in response to players instead of forcing us to wait until patch day.) That way players can truly change the world.