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Grind in MMOs, and my hopes for GW2.


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#1 Axel Zinfandel

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:21 PM

First of all forgive me if there's a similar topic, because I didn't really find one..

What I am really interested in learning about GW2, and I don't think it's been directly covered, is the particular grind vs time aspect it has. With a larger level cap, equipment and attributes will no doubt (I hope) have at least some grind aspect while levelling up, and I do, actually, like that.

The one thing I regard as flawed about GW1 is that with a level cap attained so early, max equipment attained relatively easily and early, and quests/rewards meaning so little after getting to level 20, There just isn't much of a reason for me to play once I have these things. Storyline is great and all, but it's not enough on it's own to me.

On the polar opposite of sides you have WoW, with a heavy emphasis on grind in every aspect. You attain the level cap late in the game and equal in comparison to the storyline (as far as I know). As a casual gamer, however, I heavily dislike that constant carrot-on-a-rope feeling it gives.

I tend to refer to Diablo 2, however, as a game with the perfect amount of grind. Nowadays it DOES take a long time to get to 99 and it's a fragile process. Equipment grind is fun even though their is no real 'cap' on equipment. Most importantly, though, is that in relation to the game itself and the storyline, the level cap comes VERY late and is not even necessary to the completion of the game (not even necessary to get to to complete on Hell difficulty, either).

So what's my point here? We've heard about the grind in GW2. It's different, it's minimal, it's THERE don't get me wrong, but it isn't stressed upon itself. But I think the real key of the matter is how this grind relates to the "completion" of the game itself? Are we going to be "completing" the game while leveling, or are we going to hit the level cap and have only storyline to get us through?

#2 MadSkillz1o1

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:31 PM

There will be very little to no grind in GW2.
Larger level cap won't make the game grindy, because the leveling vs time curve is quite linear.
Gear won't make the game grindy, because bosses always drop their good items.

#3 Liborio

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:34 PM

From what I've heard if you play straight through the story you shouldn't reach the level cap, but with all the events you're likely to run into on the way you can reach the level cap with minimal grind.  But they don't want to call it grind cause grind has a negative connotation.  Its usually used when you're no longer having fun and you're simply doing the tasks to reach the next level or get that rare item and you're not actually having fun, it's more like work.
The dynamic events are supposed to be varied enough so that you never feel like you're endlessly doing the same thing to grind to the next level or get enough gold/karma for that item you want.

#4 buffinita

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:36 PM

once you hit a certain level say 50 the leveling curve drops. so 3 hours from 51-52 and 3 hours 52-53......... 3 hours 79-80.

Gear may be different; in GW1 gear was easily maxed and the rare items were only better cosmetically and had the same stats as a less rare item.  From the screens we've got from gamescom and pax it looks like some of the items have some pretty awesome attributes but no word on if they are considered "rare".

Anet seems pretty persistant on their "no grind" policy so we'll just have to wait for more details

#5 amitai

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:39 PM

Liborio said:

From what I've heard if you play straight through the story you shouldn't reach the level cap, but with all the events you're likely to run into on the way you can reach the level cap with minimal grind.  But they don't want to call it grind cause grind has a negative connotation.  Its usually used when you're no longer having fun and you're simply doing the tasks to reach the next level or get that rare item and you're not actually having fun, it's more like work.
The dynamic events are supposed to be varied enough so that you never feel like you're endlessly doing the same thing to grind to the next level or get enough gold/karma for that item you want.

grind means repeating a task over and over again
in guild wars 2 you might need to do events in order to level up but you wont be doing the same thing over and over again.
each event has it's uniqe qualitys and propertys and the allways chain so you are not going to grind in this game.

now the reason guild wars 1 was considered not to have enough content was because many ppls didn't like to do quest even though this time they were actualy meaningfull.

so they decided to develope the event system which will make you actualy want to do them because you dont need to accept them-they are allready there.

#6 Malchior Devenholm

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:41 PM

buffinita said:

once you hit a certain level say 50 the leveling curve drops. so 3 hours from 51-52 and 3 hours 52-53......... 3 hours 79-80.

Not 3 hours.  They said the maximum amount of time per level that they're aiming for is 1.5-2 hours, depending on player dedication.

#7 Thyar

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:47 PM

That's too bad, Malchior.

I would have preferred it to be a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3.
Perhaps 2.5

#8 Andlát

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:51 PM

it would take you like 2 weeks to get to max level, more than enaugh imo, Thylar.

#9 elixabeth

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:51 PM

Even with a 1.5 or 2 hour level window from 50+, and assuming about a 1 hour level window under 50, that's still roughly 100 hours of leveling, and that's if you're go-go-go the entire way up.  IMO, that strikes a pretty good balance between being approachable and being 'demanding' - especially with the character enhancement available outside of level.  (ie, hit 80 and then track down some new, harder-to-get traits; track down rare gear; etc)

So even at 5 hours a day (which some folks will outstrip, and others will never get a chance at) that's still more than three weeks of play-time before your first character is maxed.  
So, is it long and drawn out like, say, Aion?  No.  But for people who *can't* dedicate 8+ hours a day, it'll still be fairly rewarding.

#10 Greibach

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:52 PM

As anecdotal evidence, players engaged in constant battle (say the shatterer fighter) leveled up between 1-2.5 times during the 40 minute demo.  Some might say this is just because it is the demo, but I honestly don't see why they would bother coding a different XP scale JUST for the demo.  That being the case, there will be more time required than GW1, but it really won't be a grind in my opinion if you can gain a level every half hour or so of constant event-ing.  

Also, I am sorry that you feel that the only reason to play the game is to keep gaining levels.  I think that the game should be fun to play, not just a goal to reach some arbitrary point in XP or Gear.  Almost every other Genre has games that you play for a story, or because they are fun or challenging, not because you make your numbers go up.

#11 Leokadia

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 07:58 PM

Axel Zinfandel said:

The one thing I regard as flawed about GW1 is that with a level cap attained so early, max equipment attained relatively easily and early, and quests/rewards meaning so little after getting to level 20, There just isn't much of a reason for me to play once I have these things. Storyline is great and all, but it's not enough on it's own to me.

You've just named all the things I loved about GW as flaws.  I love that I have the freedom to do just about any content after not all that long leveling and gearing up.  I do content for the sake of the content itself being fun.  And I desperately hope it stays that way.  I do not want grind to be needed to play well.  At all.  I will be deeply disappointed if they go back on their word and include required grind in any form.

#12 Volfen

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:11 PM

Leokadia said:

You've just named all the things I loved about GW as flaws.  I love that I have the freedom to do just about any content after not all that long leveling and gearing up.  I do content for the sake of the content itself being fun.  And I desperately hope it stays that way.  I do not want grind to be needed to play well.  At all.  I will be deeply disappointed if they go back on their word and include required grind in any form.

^^ this is why I have played GW1 longer that any other game, and I've played a lot of them

#13 Treize

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:15 PM

90 minutes was the cutoff time before they concluded leveling starts to become boring if your objective is this. This depends on your consistency. Keep in mind, at early levels, the exp requirements to reach the next level is lower.

#14 lorddarkflare

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:17 PM

Leokadia said:

You've just named all the things I loved about GW as flaws.  I love that I have the freedom to do just about any content after not all that long leveling and gearing up.  I do content for the sake of the content itself being fun.  And I desperately hope it stays that way.  I do not want grind to be needed to play well.  At all.  I will be deeply disappointed if they go back on their word and include required grind in any form.

I myself hate grind, and I was not a big fan of those aspects of Guild Wars.

When it comes to gear and stats/levels, as long as having max, near max, or specific items is not a requirement, then there is no issue with providing players with these in addition to content.

What I think A-Net will do to make all happy:

-With normal play, at least 90% of the way to max level can be reached by the endgame.

-Anything resembling 'max gear' will not be attainable until the end of the story or even after (but it will not matter as much since lacking in max gear does not hobble you).

-Wild and uncontrollable variance in gear stats helps build a strong burgeoning economy at the same time forcing 'Elite' content groups to accept a reasonable medium (mostly stats that can be attained from venders).

The idea is to have loot and an environment for lootwhores, but not have them so important that they ruin the end game (with the exception of one or two areas to aid in validating these people).

Edited by lorddarkflare, 15 September 2010 - 08:19 PM.


#15 Matthew Browne

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:18 PM

Axel Zinfandel said:

The one thing I regard as flawed about GW1 is that with a level cap attained so early, max equipment attained relatively easily and early, and quests/rewards meaning so little after getting to level 20, There just isn't much of a reason for me to play once I have these things. Storyline is great and all, but it's not enough on it's own to me.

You'll still attain the level cap fairly early, it will take longer than in GW2 of course, but it won't take as long as most MMOs.

We don't know much about how equipment will work, but I'm hoping we can transfer stats (although there will be a stat progression), and the crest system supports this.

And GW1 (Prophecies) was mainly a PvP centered game, that's why there wasn't much to do in PvE. GW2 will change that, as dynamic Events, dungeons, and WvWvW will pretty much fill the endgame pretty well.

#16 drub

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:19 PM

Malchior Devenholm said:

Not 3 hours.  They said the maximum amount of time per level that they're aiming for is 1.5-2 hours, depending on player dedication.

Do you have a direct quote for that? I've seen devs cite numbers in those ranges as examples during various gamescom/PAX interviews, but I haven't seen them say outright that it's what they're aiming for. The blog post on leveling says:

ArenaNet said:

Instead of taking longer and longer to reach each level, it takes about the same time to go through each level. It’s pretty simple; if we expect you to level up every few hours, then why shouldn’t it be that way all through the game?
http://www.arena.net...in-guild-wars-2

And 3 hours definitely falls under "a few".

#17 Darcy

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:21 PM

As amitai said, grind is doing the same thing repetitively.  Leveling is not grind.  ArenaNet has said that you can either reach max level before or after endgame.  It's up to you.  If you do every event available in every area, then you will reach max level sooner than someone who rushes through the game.

#18 Liborio

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:27 PM

Greibach said:

As anecdotal evidence, players engaged in constant battle (say the shatterer fighter) leveled up between 1-2.5 times during the 40 minute demo.  Some might say this is just because it is the demo, but I honestly don't see why they would bother coding a different XP scale JUST for the demo.  That being the case, there will be more time required than GW1, but it really won't be a grind in my opinion if you can gain a level every half hour or so of constant event-ing.  

Also, I am sorry that you feel that the only reason to play the game is to keep gaining levels.  I think that the game should be fun to play, not just a goal to reach some arbitrary point in XP or Gear.  Almost every other Genre has games that you play for a story, or because they are fun or challenging, not because you make your numbers go up.
They may not have particularly tweaked the XP scale for the demo but they did admit to making it a little easier and making events like the shatterer appear far more often so everyone could experience it.  So I'm sure the Shatterer event gives higher XP than helping farmer Bob so that's why some people were able to level up twice in their 40 minute session.

But if they did tweak the XP scale it's honestly not a hard thing to do from a programming perspective.  The XP scales are simply numbers stored somewhere that the game detects when you get more XP than that and levels up your character accordingly.  They may have wanted people to level up at least once during their demo time so that they could see the attributes that many people may otherwise completely ignore.

Leokadia said:

You've just named all the things I loved about GW as flaws.  I love that I have the freedom to do just about any content after not all that long leveling and gearing up.  I do content for the sake of the content itself being fun.  And I desperately hope it stays that way.  I do not want grind to be needed to play well.  At all.  I will be deeply disappointed if they go back on their word and include required grind in any form.
I agree you shouldn't be playing for that final goal but just to have fun.
I think that's what got me to like GW1 too.

#19 Ouwebak

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:32 PM

Axel Zinfandel said:

The one thing I regard as flawed about GW1 is that with a level cap attained so early, max equipment attained relatively easily and early, and quests/rewards meaning so little after getting to level 20, There just isn't much of a reason for me to play once I have these things. Storyline is great and all, but it's not enough on it's own to me.
I like the low level cap in GW.
It doesn't take an eternity to get to max level (about halfway through the story) and you still have a lot of area's that are made/optimized for level 20.
If you have a lot of levels (like WoW), there is a large area where you can not go, because it is for lower level character, and there is another large are where you can not go because it is for higher level characters. Whatever level you are, you are stuck in it's area.

#20 Brise Bon Bons

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:33 PM

drub said:

Do you have a direct quote for that? I've seen devs cite numbers in those ranges as examples during various gamescom/PAX interviews, but I haven't seen them say outright that it's what they're aiming for.

I understood from the interviews I read that their target was about 90 minutes per level, also. However, at this point I don't even know where to start to try to find the specific interview it was in. Just too much stuff out there nowadays.

#21 SweetZoid

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:39 PM

drub said:

Do you have a direct quote for that? I've seen devs cite numbers in those ranges as examples during various gamescom/PAX interviews, but I haven't seen them say outright that it's what they're aiming for. The blog post on leveling says:


http://www.arena.net...in-guild-wars-2

And 3 hours definitely falls under "a few".
I think it will be 1-2 so will probably take around 100 hours to get to max level.

#22 Clobimon

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:40 PM

Darcy said:

As amitai said, grind is doing the same thing repetitively.  Leveling is not grind.  ArenaNet has said that you can either reach max level before or after endgame.  It's up to you.  If you do every event available in every area, then you will reach max level sooner than someone who rushes through the game.

... at least how ANet describes their game, and how it appears to be.  There doesn't seem to be a strong specific need to be max level very quickly and content scaling should limit necessity quite a bit.  From what we can tell there should be plenty of content all over that we will want to do to level as we go.  

There's at least one game out there right now that didn't provide enough quest and storyline objectives/xp to come close to leveling without grinding mobs for lengthy periods.  About every 5-6 levels you had to go out and grind 4-5 levels to gain the strength to complete the next set of quests and start the process over.  But, of course, there was a real push to reach max in that game...

#23 Greibach

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:45 PM

It is true that it wouldn't be particularly hard to change the leveling XP.  I also agree that the Shatterer is clearly going to be giveing more XP than normal.  However, it is also true that in the same article where they explained the leveling curve and them expecting it to take "about a few hours", they also said that -

Quote

"If you’re a hardcore player, why shouldn’t you be able to blast through the game with skill and speed, trying to experience every last bit of content?".
To me, say 40-60 minutes per level at leveling focused sessions is fine.  You have to remember that you never dedicate 100% of your time to leveling.  There is travelling, exploring, crafting, hanging out with friends, doing storyline parts where you watch things, etc.  If we just assumed it was one hour, that would still be say 60 hours from level 20-80 of pure leveling, not including random other things.  That is still a good amount of time in my opinion.

#24 drub

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:46 PM

Brise Bon Bons said:

I understood from the interviews I read that their target was about 90 minutes per level, also. However, at this point I don't even know where to start to try to find the specific interview it was in. Just too much stuff out there nowadays.

I recall hearing around 90 minutes too, just not in the context of it being a target. Understandable about the trickiness of finding a quote through so much content.

If they outright said 90 minutes is around the timeframe they're aiming for, I can't see them doubling it to 180. At the same time, if it's been purely exemplary, I don't think it's fair to say 180 is off the table, given the quote from the blog.

#25 fundayz

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:47 PM

Axel Zinfandel said:

So what's my point here? We've heard about the grind in GW2. It's different, it's minimal, it's THERE don't get me wrong, but it isn't stressed upon itself. But I think the real key of the matter is how this grind relates to the "completion" of the game itself? Are we going to be "completing" the game while leveling, or are we going to hit the level cap and have only storyline to get us through?

I think your title, and use of the word "grind", made people think you are talking msotly about leveling when I can see that you are actually concerned about Progression.

So your question should be: how is progression related to the leveling process.

The short answer is, it depends on your playstyle.
Arena Net have said time and time again, that leveling IS a fully fleshed-out feature of the game and not just a means to extend /played or to restrict players from content. With this in mind (as well as other features such as personal story, traits, and dungeons), we can assume that character progression will be a constant ordeal from level 1. However, if all you want to do is follow event chains around and take no part in any other aspect of the game, then you can do that as well, regardless of your level.

As far as gear is concerned, Anet will continue the trend that max-leveled players should be close to in power to each other. The devs have said that gear comparable(in stats) to what you would get through super-hard content will be relatively easy to obtain. Instead, "raiding quality" items will have small boosts as well as more appealing aesthetics.

So yes, you will be "grinding" for gear after hitting max-level, but it will be to obtain more bragging rights, small increases in power, and better looks.

On a side note: What is with all these "newer" members starting threads then disappearing?

Edited by fundayz, 15 September 2010 - 08:51 PM.


#26 RedJar

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:50 PM

Ouwebak said:

I like the low level cap in GW.
It doesn't take an eternity to get to max level (about halfway through the story) and you still have a lot of area's that are made/optimized for level 20.
If you have a lot of levels (like WoW), there is a large area where you can not go, because it is for lower level character, and there is another large are where you can not go because it is for higher level characters. Whatever level you are, you are stuck in it's area.

I think this is what they are aiming for with scaling in gw2- to let all the content still be available and challenging/fun once you hit max level

Basically, if your level 70 toon comes waltzing through a lv 20-25 area, you will get scaled down to lv 25 (although your equipment and skills will remain).. both to keep some of the challenge in those areas and to prevent griefers from dominating low level events and ruining the fun for new players.

Edit*

Quote

As far as gear is concerned, Anet will continue the trend that max-leveled players should be close to in power to each other. The devs have said that gear comparable(in stats) to what you would get through super-hard content will be relatively easy to obtain. Instead, "raiding quality" items will have small boosts as well as more appealing aesthetics.

Due to the bolded part, I believe that the "raiding quality" items will actually be purely aesthetics, like in gw1. However, comparable could just mean that any extra stat boosts are small enough that the easily obtained items are still competitive (i.e. the stat boosts are small enough to not make much difference)

Edited by liquidaw3som3, 15 September 2010 - 08:56 PM.


#27 Aukh

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:50 PM

You know...I'm aware that there is no right or wrong way to play the game, that not everyone enjoys the same stuff but every time I hear someone says "GW1 was lame cause you'd reach max level/gear too easy and then there was nothing to do" I recall an answer I gave a friend of mine a long time ago:

"Three words... Player versus Player"

#28 Timothy Paradox

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 08:55 PM

Aukh said:

You know...I'm aware that there is no right or wrong way to play the game, that not everyone enjoys the same stuff but every time I hear someone says "GW1 was lame cause you'd reach max level/gear too easy and then there was nothing to do" I recall an answer I gave a friend of mine a long time ago:

"Three words... Player versus Player"

One word: Not everybody is like you. Ok, that were five words.

#29 SweetZoid

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:00 PM

liquidaw3som3 said:

I think this is what they are aiming for with scaling in gw2- to let all the content still be available and challenging/fun once you hit max level

Basically, if your level 70 toon comes waltzing through a lv 20-25 area, you will get scaled down to lv 25 (although your equipment and skills will remain).. both to keep some of the challenge in those areas and to prevent griefers from dominating low level events and ruining the fun for new players.

Edit*


Due to the bolded part, I believe that the "raiding quality" items will actually be purely aesthetics, like in gw1. However, comparable could just mean that any extra stat boosts are small enough that the easily obtained items are still competitive (i.e. the stat boosts are small enough to not make much difference)

Nah, a higher level character will be some levels higher than 25,maybe 28 to feel more powerful.

#30 upier

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:59 PM

Darcy said:

As amitai said, grind is doing the same thing repetitively.  Leveling is not grind.  ArenaNet has said that you can either reach max level before or after endgame.  It's up to you.  If you do every event available in every area, then you will reach max level sooner than someone who rushes through the game.
Well, if it's going to take some 100+ hours to get your guy to max level, I wonder if people will feel that way when they'll be levelling up their 5th guy.