Two posts caught my eyes yesterday that had me thinking about my own motivations in playing MMORPGs.
Firstly Syp at Bio Break compared upgraded skill systems in World of Warcraft and Rift. It’s an interesting comparison and I’d agree with the conclusion: the amount of RNG in the current legendaries system in WoW is not my idea of fun, I rather like the sound, and certainty, of receiving legendary points, as a character levels, to spend as you wish instead of rare item drops. It seems slightly confused that Blizzard have on the one hand eased some of the harsher elements of RNG for rewards: dungeons now have personal loot, with the option to share items; however, they’ve also re-introduced a new form of RNG, this time tied to one aspect of character development and customisation.
Then ChaosConstant at Occasional Hero wrote about MMO Obligations saying that, although they would prefer to be playing other games (MMO or otherwise), they stuck with playing SWTOR’s because of the rewards of the time limited Dark vs Light event. Dark vs Light was way to grindy for me to commit to seriously, clearly different things will keep players engaged with an MMO, even past the point where they might otherwise take a break or play something else.
ChaosConstant goes on to talk about how obligations can be stressful, that’s certainly my view – I get very quickly fed up with a ‘needy’ MMO that places too much emphasis on dailies or grindy play. I’m starting to tire already of the World Quest system in Legion: it’s a nice enough concept but is very alt unfriendly. This is at best ironic in an expansion that encourages you to play alts with its class/spec specific quest lines. I want to play through my stable of alt characters to focus on one at time to explore said stories. But the rewards from World Quests, especially the emissary reward chests, are so good that there’s a nagging sense that I should be doing them on all my level 110s or I’ll miss out – until recently a part of that was the complete lack of legendaries on any of my characters.
There are other expansions coming out now, so my declining motivation to play repetitive content in WoW may have more to do with the new content I could be doing elsewhere. But I do feel the mix of new systems that Legion has introduced (world quests, artifact weapons, class halls and legendaries) is lacking coherence in terms of motivating longer-term engagement.