Weird Question of the Day

When trying out a new MMO, would you rather:

  • Have it be completely unimpressive at the start, but strongly grow on you over time, or
  • Have the introductory experience bowl you over, but the remainder of the game be so-so?

30 thoughts on “Weird Question of the Day

  1. The first one. Then it has some staying power and will become a game you enjoy for awhile. If it’s the second, you will probably buy the game and kick yourself for the money spent later.

  2. Just like any movie or story, you need time to get to know the characters, the setting, all that, and then let it build ito something incredible, so you can be happy with the ending. When it starts out strong and depletes your bound to just stop playing and call it sucky.

  3. The first, but if it’s a really slow boil and I’m supposed to pay a subscription, I’m probably not going to get to the good part.

  4. depends on how unimpressive. if its just generic, I’ll give it a good old college try, but if the interface is clunky, the leveling system is too confusing and there’s too many bugs at start, I don’t even care how good it supposed to get later on, since I won’t be enjoying the process of getting there.

  5. I too prefer a slower introduction with a solid ramp up. Some of my favorite MMOs have fallen into that category, with Star Wars: Galaxies and Final Fantasy XI falling squarely into those categories I think.

    When any game, and an MMO in particular drops all its’ cards up front in the first 15-20% of your leveling experience, that lack of tail can be a killer, and to me says that the game probably should have been a single player game. As some others have mentioned, Conan is incredibly guilty of this, and I’d almost want to include WAR as well. LoTRO for all my love of the game is guilty of it a bit as well; progressing becomes a great deal more difficult and strained, depending on your class, starting around level 40 or so. Granted, there are certainly classes which handle a bit differently, but I’m of the opinion that if even one class really struggles to get through level appropriate(which to me is plus or minus 1 level), then you probably need to take a look at either the content or the class, depending on what is causing the difficulty, and the nature of it.

  6. #1. Which is why I’m still playing EVE 5+ years later.

    #1 applied to WoW for me for awhile, but after all the content seemed to run out around level 70 (at the time) then again at 80 (next expansion) I decided to leave WoW behind.

  7. Neither really.

    For #1 I might not even get to the good parts before I leave, depending how long the unimpressive start is.

    For #2 I just hope it is not a subscription-based game that I payed for a long time in advance. If it gets boring after I while, no problem – just leave and keep playing the other MMOs I probably play at the same time.

  8. Well, the first…only it would have to better than “completely unimpressive” or I would probably give up and never come back.

    It should be slow at first, with most of the gameplay revolving around working out who my character is, where we are, who all the NPCs are, what my abilities are etc etc. And this should categorically not be in a tutorial. That’s the kind of start that hooks me.

    After that, if the gameplay and/or world “strongly grow on me” then I will probably play for years.

  9. By far, option 1, which seems to be the popular choice.

    I go into these games for the long haul; at least, the ones in which I invest real time and money I fully expect to play long-term. I don’t go in thinking, “Meh…maybe for a month or so…” if I am going in with that attitude, or the game hasn’t grabbed my attention otherwise, I wait for a trial or a HUGE sale. For that reason, I’d much rather a game has appeal in the long run.

    If I’m not willing to invest, there’s not much chance I would play long-term anyway. The game would really have to blow me away to convert me to a fully invested player.

  10. I’ll be contrary, and say neither. If it doesn’t hook me fairly quickly, within a few game sessions, I won’t stick it long enough to see the awesome. If, OTOH, it can’t sustain the initial awesome, I won’t stick with it very long either. Though I’d probably stay with it for a while hoping it gets better again.

  11. The first one, but it has its limits. If we’re talking something like a soul-sucking Darkfall-esque grind then I’m not going to stick around for some supposed staying power.

  12. A modestly entertaining initial experience which builds up over time. Players have to get hooked and that hook cannot be “eventually this game is fun”, because that’s going to drive off a lot of players and those who stay are going to have even higher expectations, and possibly be extremely rushed, such that when they do get to the fun, they get past it just as fast.

  13. I don’t think it’s out of the question to ask for both, or at least a satisfactory beginning, as others have said.

    Presumably this question is about — or at least, inspired by — Rift, and I have to say I have been giving it more of a shake out this time, since a number of bloggers whose opinion I respect say that the game gets better, it’s worth sticking with, etc.

    I’ve done more even than since my last post on the matter and… well; I wouldn’t go so far as to say the scope of gameplay has blown me away.

    It hasn’t. But it has shown that while it still isn’t likely to be a game I buy for myself — unless a whole bunch of friends make a jump over — at least ya’ll hadn’t lost yer minds when saying Rift had something to offer. 😛

  14. Let’s rephrase & expand on those slightly.

    Would you rather have an MMO with an awesome leveling experience but its end-game is so bad it both sucks & blows at the same time?

    Or would you rather have an MMO where the leveling is a painful grind you endure until you can get to that sweet, sweet Epic-filled end-game?

    I’m an Explorer, not a Raider. Give me a full & rich leveling experience with lots to see and do on the way and you can keep your end game.

    I choose #2.

  15. Neither, and both, combined.

    If the introduction is only so-so, why would I possibly waste my time (and money) to get further into it? I can tell within 10 minutes if I like a game whatsoever — usually less — and under an hour for an MMO to get an idea how the progression, etc. goes and decide whether I want to be a part of it or not.

    Impress me at the beginning, and I’ll stick around. But you’d better make my time worthwhile ALL the while.

  16. Re Capn John’s comment, I never even consider the “end game”. MMOs *are* the levelling process for me. Once the level number stops ticking over it’s time to play another character.

    So, I read the question as referring to the starting levels – maybe the first week of play at the very outside versus the rest of the levels. In which case, Option 1.

    If it means the levelling process vs what happens at max level, then Option 2.

  17. I would rather have a game that doesn’t have an introductory experience and is just ‘the game’ from the moment you log in. The starter zones in Rift are really annoying me.

  18. I hated the starter zones in Rift, but I’m really starting to love the game as the beta progresses. I’m going to go with #1 as my fav. I don’t like #2 at all. It reminds me of Aion – really great levels 1-20 but sucky after that.

  19. It’s a cop-out answer, but I’ll go with those saying that neither are acceptable answers. If the game doesn’t pull me in from the start then I’m not likely to stick around long enough to see this mythical moment where it becomes fun. But similarly if, after an impressive beginning, the game tapers off and becomes uninteresting then I’m not likely to stick around either.

    Personally I demand that my games, including my MMOs, are fun from beginning to end.

    Of course the question here is: what is the “start” of an MMO? Is it the tutorial zone? The first twenty levels? The first (free) month? The real question is: how much time do you give an MMO to impress you?

  20. I have to be a realist. As much as I’d like to say 1, the truth is that if a game isn’t fun in the first 10 minutes, you’ve lost me as a customer. And it’s not about cutscenes, voiceover, or particle effects – it’s about the pacing, fluidity, and visceral-ity of movement and combat. That’s what bowls me over. It’s not what you show me, it’s what you let me do.

    EVE has an awesome PvP elders’ game, but the moment to moment experience is deathly boring. Grab-a-book movement. Toggle-a-turret combat. How I wish it played more like FreeSpace. SWG had an awesome crafting elders’ game, but combat was more like playing an Excel spreadsheet than dueling with blasters and lightsabers.

    Many of us say that MMG play is all about the journey, the experience of getting to high level – not high level itself. If the start of journey is like trudging through mud and crawling through barbed wire, what encouragement is there to keep playing “until the fun starts?” That’s the logic of powerlevelers and gold-buyers.

    I work 10 hour days. I have two kids. I don’t have time to waste on games that aren’t fun from level 1.

  21. My gut tells me the first. But given the fact that I’ve quit most MMOs after a month or two, I’d get more bang for my buck if a game followed the second.

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