Should MMOs allow us to wander into danger?

Playing Neverwinter with several friends who have leveled characters faster than us has presented us with the issue of hard barriers to higher level content – we cannot enter a zone that we’re too low level to unlock. Unlocking each zone comes from a specific quest from Sergeant Knox in Protector’s Enclave. This means we cannot enter a zone that is a bit too high level for us to join friends for dungeon runs even if the majority of the party is well over level for the dungeon – you can’t even click on the zone on the map to go there.

Other MMOs do not try and protect your character from over-reaching in this way, FFXIV is my most recent example of this. It is perfectly possible by simply wandering down a path or across a bridge to find yourself in an area full of much higher level monsters. I’ve been chased out of areas a couple of times so far because I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings.

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

I can remember this happening a number of times in World of Warcraft, it was very easy to go wandering the wrong way across a zone border and find monsters that you have no chance of defeating all around you.

The question then is to what extent should games protect our characters from wandering into such danger? As a proper neophyte to MMOs or a specific game it may be all too easy to get your character killed accidentally. But for more experienced players are hard barriers to such dangers too restrictive?

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2 Responses to Should MMOs allow us to wander into danger?

  1. bhagpuss says:

    Yes. Straight answer to a straight question.

    Seriously, locking maps, zones, areas or dungeons by level is one of the most irritating affectations of modern MMOs. If it wasn’t considered necessary back in the days when an unexpected death while exploring meant losing several hours of xp and left your body and everything on it lying where it fell for you to recover, probably leading to several more deaths in the attempt, how can it possibly be justified now when the very worst that can happen is that you respawn fully fit, with all your xp and possessions, in a safe spot?

    Most MMOs are rated 12+ or Teen under the various ratings systems and the average age of MMO players is routinely quoted as being in the 20s or above, yet the protections some developers choose to go with seem more appropriate for a game marketed at children under school age. If it’s a matter of keeping players out of an area until they have completed some task, quest or storyline function then that’s an irritating but understandable means of extending the lifetime of content. If it’s just a generic “must be this high to ride”, however, there’s no excuse for it whatsoever.

  2. tsuhelm says:

    I prefer the high level pasting by mobs than the invisible wall! Actually like skulking around OP mobs hoping not to get killed, almost becomes a sport!

    The thrill of the chase when accidentally aggro the wrong beastie and hope to get away with it….

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