Syncaine characterises the various forms as:
Some had raiding (WoW, LoTRO), some had PvP (DAoC, AC on Darktide, Lineage) and others left it open-ended (UO, EVE).
and his main conclusion is:
This all makes me wonder if a game would be better if the developer focused exclusively on just one source of end-game.
I'm tempted to say that the real success of an end-game can be measured by how different it is from the progressive part of the game. EVE effectively has no end-game, so there's no switch from "levelling" to whatever. Where DAoC and WoW fell down for me was the switch from the levelling to, in WoW's case, raiding and faction grinds, and in DAoC's, artifact camping and RvR.
I was actually reasonably keen on RvR in DAoC, but you couldn't be competitive in it unless you had a decent set of artifacts, and camping the artifact mobs was possibly the dullest thing I have ever persisted in doing.
It can be argued that PvP is an end-game form in WoW, but it's not appreciably different from PvP the whole way up, and the game is just not focussed that way. PvP is a sidegame compared to PvE. The parts that change are raiding, because the high-level raids only become possible at the level cap, and faction grinds, because after the level cap, you only get the rep gain - you don't get xp as well.
So what stings is the change from one game - levelling - to another, the end-game. As far as I can see, EVE's slow but steady growth is driven by the fact that there's no such switch; those who enjoy the game can continue to do so for as long as they want. The switch in WoW, DAoC, etc, means that they have a point after which people may not enjoy the game in the same way any more, and so they lose players.
I'll be interested to see, in some months time - or possibly years, given the speed at which most people seem to level in LotRO - how the end-of-levelling end-game plays out there.
Posted by Drew Shiel at October 12, 2007 12:38 PM