The difference between good and great games

If there is one thing real MMO fans struggle with it’s the acceptance of ‘grind’ to justify progression or rewards. This is often expressed as “remove all the crap and just let us do the fun stuff”, and in that form it almost makes sense. After all, we play games to have fun, right? So anything ‘unfun’ sounds counterproductive. Yet much like anything else in life, working towards something is just as important, if not more so, than the actual result.

The lack of full multiplayer in “Eador: Masters of a Broken World” brilliantly drives this home. In that game, the only multiplayer you have is essentially the pivotal moment of any game; the one big battle between the two sides to decide a winner. Before the game you pick your hero, level him up, and select items and units based on point values. Your opponent does the same, and when ready you fight it out.

What you can’t do is play the hundreds of turns building up that hero/army, finding all the items, and all of the other stuff you do as part of the normal game. That, hopefully, will be patched in ‘soon’.

If we return to the first paragraph of this post, the MMO argument is that Eador removed the grind and let you jump right to the fun stuff. And for a match or two the multiplayer is fine. It’s entertaining-enough coming up with different combos of heroes and units and quickly testing them out. The fights themselves are also generally close thanks to the point system. Perfect right?

Again, for a fight or two. But after that my friend and I were both wishing we could play the full game, because the real fun is in playing to GET to that final fight, even if it’s more lopsided when it happens than the staged fights. And when looking at what makes a game great, the ability to keep playing it ranks high.

A good game will entertain you for 10 hours; a great one can do it for 1000.

GW2 is a cute 3 week distraction; EVE is a 10 year masterpiece.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Eador, EVE Online, Guild Wars, MMO design. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The difference between good and great games

  1. Mekhios says:

    I logged in to GW2 last night to check out the dragon pinata event. It was surprisingly busy. GW2 is still a great game to log in to for some instant fun.

    Off-topic: The switch to F2P Rift has certainly reinvigorated this MMO. The servers are packed with players.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No offense the cute 3 week GW2 is still going strong while few people can say the same thing about DF:UW

    • SynCaine says:

      Not sure what to tell you; I finished GW2 in 3 weeks, I’m still playing DF:UW. The clan I was playing GW2 also finished it in 3 weeks, the much larger clan in DF:UW is still playing.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am sure you are better than pulling this selection bias argument:) It’s no surprising you and your hardcore guild still enjoy DF:UW since it specifically appeals to your taste. Unfortunately you are not representative of the general MMO population and there are still tons of people that are still playing GW2 after almost 10 months who may have quit DF:UW in a month…

        For example, GW2 still remain the most popular game in after 10 months while DF:UW is no where to be seen….

        Anyway, the post is not meant to bash DF:UW or praising GW2, both games have strength and weakness of their own, just want to point out don’t try to push your opinion as facts:)

        • SynCaine says:

          You’re misreading the post. I’m well aware that not everyone quit GW2 in 3 weeks, just like I’m aware that not everyone has stuck with EVE for 10 years. That does not change the fact that for me, that’s what happened, and with this being my blog post, well…

        • Rammstein says:

          Actually, you’re misreading his post, Syn. Check out what he’s saying:

          “” Unfortunately you are not representative of the general MMO population and there are still tons of people that are still playing GW2 after almost 10 months who may have quit DF:UW in a month…”

          He thinks it’s unfortunate that every MMO player is not an exact clone of you–we call them SynClones. His hero-worship of you extends to the point that he interprets every statement of opinion you make as a statement of fact, not through poor reading comprehension, but through seeing you as an Earthbound God. Apparently he’s one of those people who likes to argue with his God, though.

  3. Kyff says:

    It’s also worth observing that you can’t ever reduce “the grind” enough. In the DF forums there was a lot of bitching and moaning about grinding which only abated for a very short period after the skill increase was adjusted. Even worse in DF:UW with the superior prowess system. A month after release people in the forums openly complain that they will never catch up with the vets. It’s almost hilarious.

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