Game designer and Dancing Robot Studios CEO Neil Sorens steps up with a very lengthy editorial on changing the structure of traditional massively-multiplayer games.
Sorens says one of the problems with current MMOs, or Persistent Entity Games (PEGs) as he terms them, is that many make the player feel ordinary both through offering identical advancement to other players, or by simply scaling enemy strength to the player, never giving them a chance to feel like a true hero.
In this excerpt, he offers some solutions to the problem:
"Typically, RPG-type PEGs increase difficulty by bumping up enemy hit points and damage output. These tougher enemies may require more time or more players to defeat than easier enemies, but the player does not have to take any different actions to defeat them. The same buttons are pressed, the same ability types used. Therefore, players do not feel any more powerful than when fighting the earlier enemies, even though they may have advanced significantly since then. In order to give meaning to this advancement, the challenges the player faces should force the player to view them in a different light as difficulty increases.