Monday, February 05, 2007

One of the Many Perils of the Level-Based MMO

As I was browsing a few blogs this morning, I came across this post talking about what a ghost town Ironforge has become since the release of the Burning Crusade.

And really, it's not just the old world. Even Hellfire Penninsula has seen a major population drop. Gone are those exciting, chaotic first few days as everyone poured through the portal and unleashed their pent-up aggression on the unsuspecting demons and orcs of the land. There was an almost visible aura of energy and excitement in the zone. Now it's reduced to just a small, scattered population, and the initial flood of players has mostly outleveled the zone and spread out amongst the rest of the Outlands.

And as for Azeroth, the high-level zones are just eerily empty. I spent some time in the Eastern Plaguelands and Silithus recently, and I saw a total of one other character in each zone!

This, IMO, is one of the biggest flaws with a level-based game... the level-based segregation that comes with it. Especially when you organize your adventuring areas along level lines as well. This is a major community-breaking 'feature' that is only exacerbated by the expansion of the level cap.

I'm hoping that the next MMO I play isn't so divided and that I have a chance to hangout, adventure and have fun with new characters as well as old.


Akh said...

I find it odd that the games you complain most about, are the ones you find yourself playing the most. :P

Tholal said...

That's a good question. And the basic answer is that I haven't found anything that breaks the mold and is also entertaining. I have a lot of fun in WoW, but I long for something different; for the awe-inspiring scope and freedom of the original UO, for the potential of Shadowbane, but done right.

There are plenty of existing MMOs that I have a lot of respect for: A Tale in the Desert, Eve Online, Wurm Online. But they all have issues of varying degrees that keep me from investing myself into their worlds. Darkfall Online promises everything that I hope for, but I'm not holding my breath for its release.

And as for WoW, the Burning Crusade expansion is what's keeping me going at the moment. New lands to visit and new species to slaughter! I'm not permanently stuck to the game, however, and would gladly dump it for for something better. But, for now, it keeps me entertained and out of trouble!

Also, given it's popularity and name recognition (Yahoo News had a cover story about the release of the expansion!), it's a good (and familiar) reference point to start from for a lot of my commentary.

Akh said...

I don't recall you giving Wurm Online that much of a try. Or did you end up remaking a different character?

The reason i like it, is that the dev team is keeping ti small. Not letting a big production company step in to take over. Which as i'm sure you know, has cost alot of other pormising MMO's to get rushed and then dumped at the last second.

It's cheaper than most MMO's out there, and is completely skill based. Economy is completely player driven, Everything in the game is made by players. Nothing is static. not even the mountains. You know this all of course.

It seems to have alot of what you ask for in games.

You might want to give it another try.