Momentum and the Dubious Draw of Double Experience

Momentum.

Momentum is a surprisingly important, if somewhat nebulous, concept in an MMORPG.

At least it is important for me.

I tend to be about the advancement part of the game, something that tends to feed on itself.  Successfully moving forward makes me want to continue moving forward.  Thus momentum, of a sort.

And once lost, it can be difficult for me to regain.

I often have trouble getting back into an MMO from which I have taken a break.  I return to find my characters sitting, ready to complete the tasks I have totally forgotten about over the intervening time, usually in an area that was new to me at the time which makes me feel lost, often in a game that has seen changes and updates since I last played.

At that point momentum can be hard to regain.  I not only have to come to grips with where I left off and what has changed in the game, but also seemingly simple things like how to play my class.

And the game itself can make coming back harder or easier.  Every class in EverQuest II, for example, has so many skills by level 30 that it can be very difficult to come to grips with playing your class if you have been away for a while. (WoW, on the other hand, has considerably fewer skills, but Blizzard has a habit completely changing how some of them work once or twice a year.  Same issue, different method.)

Often I just end up creating a new character in order to get into the game and to get that all important momentum.

So part and parcel of SOE being down for almost two weeks was a complete loss of that momentum.

This problem was compounded by the fact that I seemed to gain some traction in Lord of the Rings Online very quickly thanks to the task system.  It helped boost me out of an area where I had forgotten the landmarks and into a new zone.  That alone helped me get momentum with my hunter.

So when SOE staged their unexpected (and certainly unforeseeable through any communication Sony put out) Saturday evening recovery, there was a question in my mind as to whether I would be able to get back in the saddle with the same enthusiasm for the game I had felt two weeks previous.

There did not seem to be anything in SOE’s welcome back incentives that resonated.

Yes, there was that extra 30 days of subscription time on top of being credited for every day they were down. (Which they rounded up to 15 days even though they were only down 13 by any reasonable reckoning.)  That was a good thing.  Thank you SOE.

And even Silver and Bronze accounts, which represents 3 of the 6 people in the group, got upgraded to Gold accounts for the next 30 days.  That too was a nice touch.

But paying for a game does not always bestow enthusiasm.  My last few months of EVE Online stand as an example.

They did launch the city festival.  That really doesn’t do much for me, and I have to admit I thought that was something they were going to do anyway so was tough to count as an incentive.  Yes, we got all the city festivals at once and a bunch of new stuff to buy, but it wasn’t like it wasn’t going to come to pass in any case.

I’m not sure what the “loot bonanza” is nor what the return of the original Aether races means to me.  Maybe I should be excited about these two items, but somebody will have to explain why.

And even double experience is a bit dubious at this point.  We are trying to keep the group together in levels, so extra experience is like free ice cream when you’re already full.  Yes, EQII has options for the leveling too fast problem, with both the ability to turn of experience as well as being able to divert it into alternate advancement.

But Campell, my troubadour, already had the slider over to diver 100% of experience into AA.  He is closing in on 40 AA points, which seems like a lot for a level 20 character.

No, it turned out that the hook to at least get me interested in getting back into the game was double guild experience.

As a single group guild (just six of us) some aspects of being in a guild can be quite beneficial.  While we have stars in our eyes when thinking about getting a guild hall some day, the guild bank is a right now, useful item for the group to hand around items.  While the initial size of the bank is small, it gets larger (it doubles in size) if we can just get the guild to level 10.

It gets bigger again at 20, and I seem to recall at guild level 15 we get access to certain status mounts and items, but 10 looks like an obtainable goal.

And it is that simple, obtainable goal that has gotten me back in the saddle in EQII.  Gaff, Potshot, and I have started working on writs to get make this goal that benefits the whole group a reality.

Will that provide the momentum to get my head back in the game?

I cannot be sure, but it is a start.

8 thoughts on “Momentum and the Dubious Draw of Double Experience

  1. flosch

    I have exactly the same problem right now. I only started playing EQ2 abut two months ago (I gave it a try years ago, but I don’t think I even made it off the starter isle before I stopped again). Right before the whole SOE dwntime, I was highly motivated, had rolled a couple of low-level characters with which I wanted to try out different aspects of the game. When the servers came back up and I had time to look at them on Sunday, I logged in – gazed at the character selection screen – finally picked one – stood around for a couple of minutes without any real clue of what to do – and logged back off.
    I really want to get back into the game soon, but right now, I guess have to get the engine started again, and it will take time until I get back momentum. On the other hand, there’s not much else that I tried during the downtime that appealed to me. So I might be back soon.

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  2. troy

    I agree with your assertions of “momentum” because I have the same feeling. The thought of returning to EQ either I or II is unpalatable at this time. I log into both games and I have this dull feeling about my characters.

    As you said about your experience, you log in to find all your toons waiting where you left them but the drive to finish the quests are gone.

    I also have to say I must turn off all chats because the banter that is going on now is not healthy and not cooperative or constructive.

    Too bad I couldn’t use the 45 days when I wanted rather than them.

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  3. Angry Gamer

    I’m not sure about momentum… mainly because I focus on one major game at a time.

    But I laughed hard at this
    “Every class in EverQuest II, for example, has so many skills by level 30 that it can be very difficult to come to grips with playing your class if you have been away for a while. (WoW, on the other hand, has considerably fewer skills, but Blizzard has a habit completely changing how some of them work once or twice a year. Same issue, different method.)”

    This IS CLASSIC MMO humor… thanks for posting this.

    Like

  4. Chordian

    I had that momentum problem with LOTRO because of the FTP patch delay in Europe. I was all ready and warmed up for Enedwaith and then Codemasters postponed the patch for several weeks. When it finally came online, I had lost all interest in playing it. Eventually I came back later, but it’s still interesting how the forced break could throw me off balance like that.

    A few years ago I also had the problem with too many spells as I returned to my Bruiser in EQ2 after a long break. I just rerolled a new Conjuror instead. When I lost interest and wanted to take another break, I actually wrote a “How to play my Conjuror” Word document for myself only, where I had a picture of the action bars in top and a few bullet lists below indicating how to click the icons, the rotation, cooldowns, etc. I returned again many months later, and the document turned out to be time well spent. I printed it out and before I knew it, I was feeling at home with my Conjuror again. Because of this success I also wrote similar documents for my high-level characters in LOTRO and Rift.

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  5. accidentalgus

    Enjoyed this post. True in game and life actually. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

    Like

  6. Arieltalia

    I am exactly the same way. I’ve started numerous characters in LotRO just because of that — and it is compounded by the fact that I only play Wardens, so I forget all the gambits while I’m away. Break from the game = death of old characters and subsequent reroll for me, unfortunately.

    I’m done with Rift due to their ham-handed treatment of the wardrobe system and other roleplaying tools. And now due to the Turbine takeover, there will be a true RP server in LotRO for me to play on come June 1. I keep telling myself that I will stay with it, since, after all, I am a founder/lifetimer and I love the game. So why should I pay for another game?

    This is my plan, but of course it will go awry when TOR releases. :(

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  7. Snick

    I agree with you and everyone else so far as regards to momentum – truly the One Big Hurdle all MMOs must face and survive at some point, and probably the single biggest motivator for all MMOs to make those controversial gameplay changes some love and some hate. You know, those changes that either make-or-break the game until the next Big Change.

    Slightly off-topic, but since you mentioned it, was your concern over Campell’s EQ2 AA to Level ratio. Since my second turn at EQ2 last year for about six months, I discovered the magic of AA. I think the sweet spot is actually right where you have it: AA = level x 2. By the time you get to level 30, if you spend your AA right, you can get a number of enhancements to your chosen class that can really boost your solo and/or group abilities to make leveling easier (core skill focus and bonuses) and more fun (a cool title on your name tag.)

    One thing I found out after rolling a new character in the recently revamped Nektulos was by the time I was 10ish, half of the newb quests I was both receiving and finishing out were gray! Which means I was wasting my time because there was no XP delivered when I finished them. This was bogus to me because Quest completion XP in EQ2 is usually pretty sweet. Anyway, sometime in my 20’s I got the clue to switch to AA, but I sure wish I had done it earlier.

    Who knows, maybe that was a mistake on the part of the newb zone and quest revamp and the XP delivered was too high. All I know is I tested my theory with a fresh Sarnak SK and set my AA XP to 50% as soon as I was able (level 9? 11?) The quests I was finishing out were still white and yellow to me when I was 16.

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  8. Pingback: [EQ2] Trades-killin’ « The Meat Shield – An MMORPG and General Video Game Blog

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