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The Daily Grind: How complex is too complex for MMOs?


I'm a huge fan of isometric clickers like Diablo, Torchlight, and Titan Quest, so I admit to being secretly pleased when pseudo-MMOs like Path of Exile were approved for coverage on Massively. In fact, I jumped into Path of Exile this past weekend to give it another spin. And as soon as my new character got her first skill point, I gleefully clicked over to the skill panel, only to be confronted with the game's notorious and glorious SKILL TREE TO END ALL SKILL TREES. It's not even a skill tree. It's a skill maze. A skill constellation. A skill galaxy. The screenshot above isn't even half of what's available. It's overwhelming at level 2 to say the least.

I like complexity in character development, but I had forgotten how over-the-top Path of Exile really was, and I had to wonder whether this sort of complexity-dump scares off newcomers to the genre, or indeed, whether it's intended to scare them off, convince them the game is harder-core than they are, or possibly just entrap them with poor early game decisions. Doesn't the skill avalanche just drive gamers to tab out and look up guides, and is that really the best idea for retaining brand-new players? How complex is too complex for MMOs and pseudo-MMOs?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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