The Weekly Raid: Do We Need More Aspiration Content In MMORPGs?

Omer published a column yesterday claiming "We need more aspirational content in MMORPGs." The post sparked quite a discussion on the MMORPGs subreddit so we thought we would revisit the subject this week on the podcast.

There's been a steady lowering of difficulty in modern MMORPGs. In the past, less than 1% of the WoW playerbase even attempted the original Naxxramas raid. Now, the latest World of Warcraft raids are cleared within 18 hours of being released. The same holds for games across the genre: the Final Fantasy XIV dungeon Deltascape Savage 4.0 was cleared within hours of launch.

The logic behind making raids more accessible is understanble. Most players, who were paying customers, were not able to actually engage with the content they were paying for. The solution to this was to fracture each end game dungeon into multiple difficulties. This is a bit of a gimmick in my opinion, but seems to be the default solution among developers today.

Are there better ways to handle this? Both Final Fantasy XIV and Mu Legend have an instanced tower where players clear stage after stage of enemies to see how far up they can go. Should MMORPGs add more content like this?

Personally, I feel the solution lies not in ever more difficult dungeons, raids, and world bosses. MMORPGs should taken aw horizontal approach. There should be enough things to do so that each sort of player can aspire towards a different goal. I never played Ultima Online or Neopets to be the strongest fighter (or to train the strongest Neopet), I played to accumulate in-game wealth as a merchant, a trade. And to customize my home with the rarest in-game items. Aspirational content can take many forms, and I think we often go down the wrong path by focusing on combat related goals.

What do you think? Should studios add more Aspirational content in the form of raids that are nearly impossible to clear? Should there be a focus on non-combat goals? Share your thoughts below!

Lifelong gamer always looking for the next virtual adventure. I'm still waiting for the next big MMORPG. Until then, you can find me hopping between multiple games.