everyone on 07/16/2012, 10:23 PM - view
Endgame in Western Themepark MMOs is highly focussed and strongly based on progression. That is, the more skilled and the more effort you put directly into progression the more you are rewarded. This also sets up a positive feedback loop because others can see they are rewarded by those in-game attributes. You could say this type of endgame creates loyal veterans.
By contrast, Tera like most Asian MMOs, relies on very high RNG and just general game-related efforts (it does not even have to be in-game, e.g. using cash shop items to effectively buy gold and time). Activities like grinding the same normal pve mobs or low level mobs can result in the most efficient use of players in-game time with an endgoal being either a *chance* for progression or selling back that time to other players. So, sure this perpetuates the lifetime of the game but a significant cost to enjoyability for most players. In addition, there is no positive feedback loop - if anything the converse is true. You could say this type of endgame creates "whales", i.e. players who either have vast timesinks or spend the most on the game.
A secondary issue is that whales are normally associated with the Free-To-Play model in the West where they become the lifeblood of the game. Whales are the ones who are actually paying for the game's existence and all other players are just additional content. So, this creates the appearance of a contradiction: does Tera want to be a F2P game or are is it trying to buy as much time as possible to develop a progressive or sandbox endgame?
A tertiary issue is the nature of players has changed a lot over a decade. Not only has there been a massive influx of casual players, a large increase in competitive games and game types, but also evolution towards very casual-friendly games. RNG is anything but casual-friendly (oddly enough Tera designers seem to be perfectly aware of that for anything but the endgame).
Either way, clearly, the status quo is untenable for a large Western audience and will result in either a failed game or Funcom-style pidgeonhole within a short period of time, especially given the staggering competition not just in this years MMO releases, but future releases such as PSO2, B&S, C9, Archeage, heck maybe even Raider Z.