Why Is Raiding The End Game Of MMORPGs?
Kinda odd when you think about it, isn’t it? Most new MMORPGs encourage solo play all the way from level 1 to <Insert Max Level Here> and then suddenly you hit the cap and you’re expected to not only find a team of up to 24 players to raid with but also the skill and knowledge to to go along with it. Suddenly your gear is no good, your talent spec is useless and your quest solving skills are pointless. Guess all of those dozens and dozens (and dozens) of hours of leveling up were for naught. I’ve never known a gaming genre that has an end game so radically different from the beginning.
OK, so some MMORPGs encourage grouping as you level. Big whoop. Tanking in a five or six man group is nothing like tanking for a raid, I know that from personal experience. It’s like switching between Java programming and C++ (all the geeks in the room gimme a high-five!) and I’m sure healing and DPSing is just the same. Not only that, but suddenly your play style of casual, two hour gaming sessions goes out of the window as you’re forced to spend four or five hours, several nights a week, raiding. Where did that come from?
All of this just to look hot, get the best rewards the game has to offer and face a reasonable challenge. Couldn’t we face some sort of other challenges anyway? Like really, really tough single player instances? Or some mind-puzzles that tickle our frontal lobes a bit? Or some sort of clever, oh I don’t know, roleplaying social gathering and interaction sessions that actually define the point of playing a RPG with thousands of other players?
OK, I’ll stop it with the creepiness. Come back.
I’ve got nothing against raiding, nothing at all. I just find it so incredibly bizarre that we spend the majority of our MMORPG lives performing activities that bear absolutely no resemblance to the final, and arguably, more important aspect of the game. If raiding’s what you gotta do to get the good stuff and look slick, shouldn’t we at least get same practice in before we get there? Or better yet, learn what it’s like before investing weeks or months of our time in some avatar?
Or hell, maybe it’s just time the whole end game of the MMORPG genre was reinvented. I’m sure I could jot down a few suggestions during my lunch break tomorrow.