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Saturday, July 01, 2006



I could not agree more; I had an identical experience with WoW to yours (although I did occasionally group and raid). Once I got to 60, I ran out of solo things to do, so I stopped playing. And just like you, I'll go back once Burning Crusade comes out to try out jewelmaking and quest from 60 to 70. And once I've done that, I'll cancel the account until the next expansion.

What really irked me was that there was no casual weapon/armor set I could get. The only way to get a matched set of end-game armor is to raid every night for a freaking YEAR. And that's to get the first set, which is actually pretty crappy!

John Head

In response to Viridian ... oh come on, let us be accurate. You can get Tier 0 in 5 man groups ... no raiding. And while random drops may mean you need to run instances quite a bit to get your 8 pieces, this is not a "raid every night for a freaking Year" type of thing. Tier .5 is the same way.

Tier 1 (from Molten Core) and Tier 2 (from BWL, Onyxia, and Ragnros in MC) do take raids. As does Tier 3 in Naxx. But you exagerate how much raiding it takes. I am in a raid guild on Garona. We are always the first guild to drop bosses. We are sometimes months ahead of other guilds. We raid 4 or 5 nights a week, for 3 to 4 hours. I never make every raid in a week, with work and other things. But I have full tier 1, tier 2, and a killer PVP set from AQ and the Green Dragons. Please do not give people the wrong impression. Raiding is not something that requires you to be a jobless college student with no social life.

Scott - I totally hear you about being able to solo the game. From what I have heard, there is good news and bad news for you. Blizzar wants 60 to 70 to take as long as 1 to 60, so that is much more than 80 hours. But they also want people doing more in groups ... 5 man groups. I believe more and more of the quests will be 5 man designed. But who knows until it actually comes out.

Muhammad Seifullah

This is why I prefer Guild Wars over WoW. It doesn't require that you spend eternity to get to good fun interesting content, it's free, and the entire single player campaign can be played as just that; a single player campaign. It feels and plays like a single player game as much as it does a multiplayer one. Scott, if you haven't checked out Guild Wars, do yourself a favor and spend some time with it.


I can't relate at all to you Scott. Personally I never enjoyed WoW simply because everything boiled down to grind and then some more. In games like Kotor or baldur's gate or Final Fantasy, you have excellent and compelling plots and storylines, wonderfull puzzles, NPC with complex personalities. You are constantly trown in to different situations where you have to think your way out. There is always something new for you to contemplate, and to do. And it all go's in relativly fast pace and yet still keeps you busy for 30 hours.

WoW has got none of those, most quest require you to kill the same beast over and over again untill 2 hours later you have enough items they sometimes drop. I found myself in the beta playing and not really enjoying myself, only playing to get to a higher level, to finish the quest. The quest were pretty much the same. It doesn't have a proper flow, it may be less grind then for other MMO's but that just shows how bad they are.

It obvious it's designed that way just to keep you playing for a long time so they can fill their pockets more at the expense of your fun. Blizzard took almost everything that makes a truly great game out of WoW, and just left the bare bone core gamplay with unninteresting quests.
So in short you basicly do the same thing over and over, except now it takes 10x longer then in normal sp RPG's and you pay them 15,- a month for it. Not only that you want them to make it even more grueling and harder to level just 10 levels.

Why not just mod KOTOR to make it 10x slower to get xp, it will be 10 times longer, 10x cheaper, and still more fun, since the whole world is made around you and thus the level designers, the story teller and pretty much everything else fits better and is a lot more complex and exiting. Plus because it's sp so your actions actually make a lot of differance, unlike in WoW, where because of the Multiplayer aspect that can't be done. MMO's basicly can only work properly if you pretty much remove everything that makes games so great.

On the other hand everyone but me loves this game, so it must be. In any case enjoy yourself and goodluck to you.



30 hours is NOTHING in terms of MMO playtime. These games are based on subscriptions, for people to spend years playing them, they have to have activities to perform for that long; and these activities must have some sort of reward attached. If you remove the "grind" in WoW, you will need 100x as much designed and produced content, and that's a lot of money. Until someone figures out the whole "user created content" in a truly mainstream way.

I hadn't played WoW in months, but this weekend I felt like doing something relaxing and missed friends from the game, so I logged in, and presto, the game felt as fresh as ever. Grinding on my own while the guild was taking down Ragnaros and Onyxia, the comments and banter in chat, people asking and answering questions, people making jokes, etc. We were not playing together, but we were still sharing an experience.

The things that make WoW king are that you can play if and when you want to, and the fact that the basic gameplay is fun. You can play it safe and grind without having to waste a neuron, or optimize the reward / effort curve, or just try things and push the limits of your char and get in trouble and die; the design and mechanics have that range of options. There's stuff to do in a duo, group, large group, raid, guild, goals to keep in the background so a few months down the road you suddenly realize you achieved them... Plenty of ways to keep a collector occupied, knowledge to acquire about items, fight strategies, locations, quests, etc.


I dunno about WoW being the first of anything, besides sales figures. Ultima Online didn't even have the concept of grouping and you could certainly get to the top on your own. It was EverQuest that introduced the idea of needing groups at the higher levels. I assume EQ2 and Galaxies were similar. Still, plenty of MMOs like Anarchy Online were good fun with solo play all the way to the level cap.

It's actually my main beef with WoW - the fact that they didn't bring anything new to the table. It seems if you have any real MMO experience then WoW is a dry affair. But they certainly did something right ;).

Robert Howarth

You can solo to the top in a lot of mmogs. It's just faster to group (as it is in WoW).


Well, my brother has been playing WoW for a week or so now and he absolutely hates it. He says there's no point to anything, it's just farm, farm, farm, farm (he's below level 40 right now). MMORPGs seem, to me at least, to be games in which skill plays very little factor and it's merely the amount of time (as in hours) that you put into the game that determines your standing.

To me the secret of WoW's success is that Blizzard has built up a good reputation for putting out quality products over many years. Many other companies would have spammed out the StarCraft titles or the Diablo titles or the Warcraft titles year and year. Not Blizzard. They put alot of work into their titles, release an xpac and support it all for many year after. It's more a philosophy of quality over quantity. Most of their titles also are designed to run well on middle of the road machines too. This all builds up goodwill for the company which in turn comes back to them in the form of high sales.

Robert Howarth

The secret of WoW sucess is that it's a Blizzard game.

They could've made Lost Vikings Online and sold as well.

Glazius Falconar


You can solo 1-50 in City of Heroes, and it came out before World of Warcraft.

Unless you make an empathy defender with only one attack or something like that.

The famous "OH TEH NOES WE CAN ONLY DEAL WITH THREE MINIONS!" is an amusing perversion of a promise - every choice of powersets is capable of taking on the standard solo instance spawn of three +0 or +1 minions.


Max Howell

In the end I quit WoW as I liked dungeons, but hated having to do it in 5 man groups. I had 1 or 2 good 5 man groups in my whole time, mostly at least 2 of the people you grouped with, guild or not, were not fun, mean, poor-players or ninja-looters, which spoilt it completely. When you combine that with the stress and time consumed in arranging the instance run, or finding a pick-up-group, I lost the desire to play the game.

I never got a character to level 60, that didn't really interest me.

Really what I wanted was to be able to take on a dungeon with me and one other guy. I had 2 friends that I actually got on with and trusted in dungeons, it would have been great if when they logged on we could just exchange greets and then run off to a dungeon for an hour (2 hours is too long thanks) run.

So I don't plan on renewing the subscription come the expansion, based on what I hear about it so far.


"Really what I wanted was to be able to take on a dungeon with me and one other guy."

I think that's where games like WoW fail. They create content intended for groups but they don't include an integrated system for finding groups or encouraging fair-play. Poor play or rudeness can't be avoided but ninja looting can yet most new players have no idea how to manage it. Do they even offer a tutorial on how to run a 5man instance?

I believe mature servers that have been around longer offer a better chance of finding good players. At least that's been my experience in WoW.


Games like WoW aren't successful because you can solo to 60. MMORPGs are, simply put, glorified chat rooms with something to do while you chat. They are social games. Period. On a fundamental level, there is nothing more to them than that.

I have no idea why anyone who doesn't participate in the social aspect would find playing an MMORPG game fun. The grind isn't what it's about, it's about doing things with other people, or grinding on your own to be able to do things with other people. Grinding on your own isn't fun unless the goal is to improve your character so that you can gain access to the more challenging content you do with other people. You quit after you hit 60 because you don't like being forced to be social in a game whose underlying purpose is being social? There's no point to playing WoW if you want to play a solo game. I know some people enjoy leveling characters to 60 more than playing the end game. You still have to group up to do the fun instances, and yes, they are fun. Working with other people to achieve goals is fun. If you don't think so, don't play MMORPGs - they're not for you.

People don't consider it a terrible grind if they enjoy the social aspect of these games. I enjoy going solo, grouping with 5, 10, 20 and 40 man raids with other players. We all get on Ventrilo and shoot the shit while we all work together to achieve goals in the game. It's all about the social aspect. If you don't like that part, play a different type of game because that's the core foundation of WoW and other MMORPGs.

Michael Samyn

To me it seems that most MMORPGs are single player games. From what I have seen, the designers only artifically add multiplayer requirements by making tasks too hard to complete on your own. Apart from the confrontational sports-type games (PvP and Capture the Flag), I don't think true massively multiplayer games have been developed yet. Oddly, games where the fun is in interacting with other people are still vere rare. The Endless Forest is one attempt, albeit a very modest one.

Jeff Peil


I'd disagree,

I can think of many encounters where it requires multiply people. For example, let's take the example of the Hakkar encounter in WoW. The way this fight works is as follows:

1) The boss, Hakkar will periodically mind control his current target (which means you need 2 people tanking him.)
2) Hakkar will periodically drink the blood of everyone in the encounter, healing himself.
3) To prevent (2), you need to periodically poison everyone present by finding, pulling, and killing a creature that poisons you when gas is released from it's corpse.

The reality is, even ignoring the "difficutly" you need someone (2 people in fact) focused on Hakkar, and someone else searching for the creature to kill (in two different areas in fact.) If captue the flag qualifies for your "truely multiplayer" bar, I don't see why an encounter like this wouldn't. There are many such encounters later on in WoW (I'd certainly argue that Razorgore is a finesse fight which requires many people knowing and operating in coordination, and not merely a "throw a bunch of people at it because it hits hard" type of encounter.)

Heck the fact that most fights *really do* have people playing multiple roles makes it multiplayer from my perspective (defensive roles like healing and tanking, offsensive roles like doing damage.)


Michael seems to mean that a "truly multiplayer" game is a game where the focus is on players interacting with each other. In that sense, PVP is true multiplayer because it is (for the most part) about players fighting other players, whereas group PVE is not because, even if players are cooperating, its focus is on players defeating AI enemies; if players could do it alone, they would.

It's certainly not the way I would define "true multiplayer", but it's an interesting point of view. His ideal seems to require a certain kind of sandbox where players define where, when, who, how and why things happen; in most MMORPGs, the designers direct the player experience within fairly well defined spaces. At that point, the game vs. toy discussion that Will Wright is so fond of can take place.


"Games like WoW aren't successful because you can solo to 60. MMORPGs are, simply put, glorified chat rooms with something to do while you chat. They are social games. Period. On a fundamental level, there is nothing more to them than that."

So why aint any MMOPRG successfull, if there are only glorified chat rooms? Yes, every MMOPRG should have a social aspect but that aint the key to be successfull. If i do not like the game setting, i.e. story, characters, game world than i will not play it.

I think the solo content in WoW is one of many keys to why it is so successfull. Let us take "The Saga of Ryzom" instead. Great game, good community but heck, there is 100 times more content for groups than there is for a single player. So if you logon to the game, you need to search a group to play. Aint that much fun if you ask me (even if I'll meet new people and stuff). In WoW i can play the game till i reach the point where i need a group.

Don't be so short-sighted.

John Rose

There's an obvious difference between solo and group play. A balance between the two is necessary if an MMO wants to attract both players. One way to improve this is to diversify the solo and group goals. In WoW and most MMOs, goals are similar for both player types, with more difficult challenges determined by how many guys it takes. Whether or not you complete these quests, the result is the same: experience and loot. But if there was a separate individual development for solo players in addition to the normal group rewards, players could distinguish themselves and grow in either direction. Or both. Because these two types of play really mean different things at the highest levels. Group quests later on rely on players cooperating and specializing as a team. But individual quests rely on a slightly different skill set, where the player himself must be effective in many different areas. Both player types benefit from a populated gameworld, but each has subtly different goals. They should be rewarded uniquely for both solo and group quests.


To make an mmorpg interesting in every aspect, i guess it needs a real living world, not only other players, but also everything that can move or make sounds.

Like animals, trees, wind on trees, fishes, big fishes jumping out of the water, birds flying on the sky.

I felt Lineage 2 world was dead. Only monsters, none attacking each other for a certain reason, their behaviour is mecanical: It sees the player, it attacks it, and they only do that. That sucks i say, and the fighting system that is "click on tarteg and press Fkeys" don't help. We should see them do other things.

I don't know if WoW has this, nor any other MMORPGs, because i only played Lineage 2.

Ben Sawyer

You know what's amazing is everyone who studies MMPs but isn't really much a games person NEVER talks much about this. In the end it's not really all that amazing but it's something I recognized from the beginning and I find it unreal no one has made a bigger deal about this. Thanks for saying this - I'm sure others have said it but we need to keep reminding people about this.

The last 30 years of computer-based gaming has been about optimizing gaming's reach by optimizing the ability for computers to offer robust single player game experiences. All our tech has 95% been pushed toward that development because it answered a huge flaw of pre-computer gaming - namely the requirement both logistical and social to game with other people.

That being said I enjoy WoW for the grouping options and guild a lot. But the reason I enjoy it is I have a robust option to tune this out as well. For Scott it seemed he liked the opt-in nature of grouping, while I like the opt-out nature of soloing (slight difference between the two when you think about it) but the fact that it is an option is what makes WoW great.


What the hell is wrong with you people? WoW is the greatest MMORPG?
Millions and millions of idiots are grinding their lives away just to level up, kill monsters over and over again and PVP (nobody gives a **** really). WoW is not good for you. Its a stupid game. Its the design that sucks people into it.

WoW only needs one thing from you : TIME...and a lot of it.
Everything in the game takes a lot more time than it should.Did you ever wonder why is there a level requirement for the majority of skills?Because Blizzard wants you to play more.And you idiots keep falling for it,protecting and playing your precious WoW when you should realize that this is just a waste of time.Not only that, but you suckers keep paying.Every month!

WoW indeed! What an adventure! WoW sucks and you know it. You just dont want to admit it.


So Scott, when will we see your "Prey: How to create another major succesfull IP" blog! :)


What amuses me most is that WoW, apart from obsessed fans, also has its share of obsessed haters *peeks above*

..and yes, you are right. The only reason why I got hooked up with WoW is the fact that I can play it alone, up to lvl 60. Amen to that.

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