“But unlike the current raid endgame, a pure leveling game can tune that a lot better: A lack of performance would not mean that you get totally stuck like a guild that can’t get past a certain raid boss. In a pure leveling game your performance would directly be reflected in the speed of your progress. Thus somebody playing badly would still advance, because sometimes he gets lucky and kills a mob and gains xp. But somebody playing better would advance a lot faster.”
Personally I think the best sort of levelling game is one where you forget there’s an XP bar at all, and thus there is no concern for ‘progress performance’.
I’ve had those moments occasionally in MMOs, where I’ve enjoyed the game tremendously to the point where gaining a level was an incidental bonus to my entertainment. For me, that’s got to be the aim of it: make the game-play the reward for playing, the ‘role-play’ trappings should still be entertaining and involving, but perhaps no more than supplementary diversions.
I wonder if MMORPGs have perhaps maintained the fixation with the character sheet to the detriment of actually making things fun.
Put another way: has progress in the MMO genre been stifled by the fact that we’re all still obsessed with the idea of character progress?