Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Varied Intensity

I saw a thread on a forum asking if you would play an MMO which only had raiding. My immediate answer was "No".

Now, I like raiding. But for me, raiding has too intense a pace to sustain long hours. It's good to raid a couple nights a week. But I like having a wide variety of activities with different intensities. Sometimes you just want to log on and do something that doesn't require a lot of thought.

Thinking back on it, I believe this is where Wildstar went wrong for me. The base of level of intensity required for normal questing was just too high. Killing a regular mob required a lot of running around and dodging telegraphs.  I don't mind jumping up to that level every so often, like say a dungeon. But having that being the standard gameplay was very tiring.

In fact, I think this is a problem with "action combat" games in general. They dial up the action a bit too much, and that ends up tiring out a lot of the players. In contrast, tab-target games usually start from a lower baseline, and ramp up the intensity for specific moments or specific fights.

Interestingly enough, if you look at Tera, even though it's action combat, the baseline pacing is actually rather slow.

You often see calls for the developers to make activities like fishing more interesting or more active. But perhaps the allure of fishing for a lot of people is precisely the fact that it's not very intense or very active. It's a good activity for times when you just want to do something that doesn't require a lot of effort.

For me, I would say that FFXIV has my ideal baseline intensity. It's a bit slower than WoW, especially modern WoW which is rather faster than Vanilla was. Admittedly, paladins used to only have 2 actions every 15 seconds or so (Judge/Seal), which was way too relaxed.

What game represents your ideal baseline intensity?


  1. As much as I have tried to pull away from WoW, I think it's actually a pretty good level of intensity for me. I think that is in-part because it's intensity varies so much. You can go from nap-worthy questing to cutting edge mythics and everything in-between. Only problem is that the "cutting edge" gameplay isn't on-demand and tends to require scheduling, whereas Wildstar has that 24/7.

  2. Right now, SWTOR hits the sweet spot in intensity.

    I don't raid --I don't have the time-- and the occasional FP or Heroic coupled with leveling is fine for me. The questing areas aren't that intense and I can move at whatever pace I want, just don't accidentally end up in a Heroic zone or near an elite if you "park" for a few minutes.

    GW2 isn't bad either, but the steady stream of group events can suck up a lot of my time if I'm not careful.

    Age of Conan is very uneven; if you're in the middle of a leveling range (mid 30s or mid 40s, for example) it can take forever to grind up a level. But hitting the end of a leveling range (upper 20s or upper 30s) the levels can zoom on by.

    I don't play Neverwinter or STO enough to be able to get a feel for long term leveling, as my toons are stuck in the 20s.

    Mists' WoW was pretty much how WoW had been in Cataclysm; starting out intense, then easing up, and then when you hit the max level zones everything hits the fan. I can't speak to Warlords, however, and the past two expacs I'd spent most of my time running BGs.

  3. "Raiding" is also such a varied term that it probably needs better definition in this instance.

    But generally, yes. Any game which focuses on only one aspect of play is not going to gather a large and wide enough population to remain viable. Even other genres that have only one effective way of play (say, for example, the competitive shooter) have their successful games featuring multiple modes.

    I can't actually say too much that FF14 is different from my WoW intensity that much, since I play a Warlock so I'm already running alongside the GCD all the time. However, the higher focus on damage zones and running around certainly makes some fights feel more frenetic.

    STO is what I like to play when I want something really relaxing, though, because most of the combat can have you just turn on automatically firing your weapons on your target, so you only need to worry about moving to keep them in range and use your abilities as necessary. And if you don't want combat, there's managing your crew missions (which I find engaging even though it's clearly a thin system) and lots of non-combat and diplomatic missions available in the Foundry.

  4. I think a "raid only" MMO could work very well, just not in a traditional MMO. Something like a persistent world MOBA/FPS.

    You could have a home base/town instead of a lobby, but without a traditional leveling system you wouldn't have to quest/grind levels to get to the raid content. You could queue solo or with friends and have a MOBA-like matchmaking/rating system to group you up with similar skilled players. The only way to get to higher difficulties would be to successfully complete the lower difficulties, possibly with individual performance ratings per encounter as well.

    MOBAs and FPSs are both very high intensity and extremely popular, and all a "raid only mmo" has fundamentally different is that it would be PvE instead of PvP with a game world instead of a lobby. Every MMO that's dabbled in the high intensity focused gameplay (like Wildstar) is that they add in all the OTHER MMO content like questing and grinding levels that don't really contribute to their overall design goal.