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The Daily Grind: Are hardcore players skewing game development?


Brace yourselves for a shock, True Believers: some people don't want to raid. Some players aren't enticed by PvP. For some, it's all about exploration and an individual experience, not level grinding, getting better loot, or running with a guild. In short, there is a section of players -- possibly larger than one might think -- who care nothing about high-level content.

Yet in update after update, what developers tout is how much more epic gear is dropped by the now-more-formidable bosses in the 25-man-specced raid instance. Now, there's absolutely nothing at all wrong with wanting to please the audience that has stuck with your game long enough to get to these lofty heights, especially as they're the ones who have kept your game an ongoing concern. At some point, however, it becomes a case of self-one-upmanship, with little true innovation. Why not broaden the low-level content as well, and bring in new customers at the same time? Is the purpose of an MMO merely to ramp up to a plateau and then go static? Is catering to the demands of the hardcore bad for game development?

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