Techno Dabbler

Trying out new technology.

Saturday

15

October 2005

Time to spend on Massively Multiplayer Games

by Alexandre Denault

As some of you might already know, I’ve recently graduated and started work. The first thing that surprised me what the dramatic time I had in leisure time. I guess that’s normal and part of growing up. However, this also prompted me to ask another question, how much time do we have to play Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)?

MMOG games like World of Warcraft (also known as Wow) and Ragnarok Online require tremendous amounts of time. Building a level 60 character at Wow (which is currently the cap) requires around 150 hours of work. A Ragnarok level 99 character can require several months of work. I know friends who have been working on their level 99 character for over a year now.

Other games MMOG like Guild Wars allow you to reach the level cap (level 20) relatively fast. I was surprised to hit level 20 when I had completed only about 60% of the story mode. This is both a strong and weak point for Guild Wars. Part-time players, like myself, who find that they can barely squeeze in 5 or 6 hours of game time a week can still participate to the game. However, ubber-players who devote more than 20 hours a week of game time find that GuildWars quickly loses it appeal. The game itself doesn’t really reward a player for investing a lot of time.

I like playing games like Ragnarok, but I don’t have the patience to spend 20 hours acquiring a level. As one of my friends once told me, the game gets really fun once you hit level 80. I like GuildWars, but I feel that once I’ve hit level 20, my character doesn’t have room to grow anymore. The best I can hope for is acquiring a new skill or two.

Is there a way to balance a game so that it is rewarding for both normal players and ubber-players? Can a game be fun for both groups, without giving too much advantage to the ubber-players? How much time should one spend on a MMOG game to be successful? And how much time should I be spending playing MMOG anyways?

Alexandre Denault
Alexandre Denault

Veteran software developer and holds a PhD in Computer Science. Avid computer enthusiast (geek) who has been dabbling with technology ever since his Dad brought home an 8086 computer.

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