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  1. #1

    Persistent content versus finite content.

    I was thinking about this today while talking to a friend of mine. One thing that I've been noticing and learning over the past few years is that games that are coming out these days are designed with "persistent" content.

    Persistant content to me would be:
    - A list of quests that become available every day.
    - A reward that can be obtained every few hours (ie it has a cooldown).
    - Gear with random stats that can potentially drop better itemization if you keep playing.
    - Multiple increasing difficulties of content (M+ system, raid system).
    - Multiple tiers of crafting recipes.

    Finite content would be content that, once completed, would not need to be done again.

    It seems to me that one of the staples of wow's current design involves a ton of persistent content. It's not just wow though. Think of any mobile game made in the past year or so, that is built upon a "free to play, but pay to win" model. Most of the "good" games that have come out in recent years have a ton of "daily" content that bombards you with a recurring deadline that pressures you to play a certain amount every day in order to maintain your resources.

    I think the trend towards this game design is one of the main things that has put me off of WoW lately. I'm not sure when exactly it started, but I know for sure that one of the main reasons I don't play some of those games anymore is because of the artificial stress that gets put on me to keep playing even when I don't feel like it.

    I think one of the main things that attracted me to original/vanilla wow was that I could put the game down for days or weeks at a time, and come back to it and just pick back up where I left off. You can still do that, but there's still that psychological element that if I'm not constantly playing, I'm "missing out" on something important. Also, when I log in, there's a psychological element of feeling pressured/forced to complete a series of tasks before I can do something else. This ultimately creates an artificial form of stress and anxiety on the player that was never present in earlier versions of the game.

    I think that might be my biggest issue with current wow's design. There's a huge emphasis on "persistent" content, and one thing that keeps me from wanting to play these days is that sense of anxiety I get of feeling "sucked back in" to the game and feeling pressured and forced to keep up with all the daily and weekly activities. At some point it starts to feel more like a monotonous job, and less like a game that I wanted to just play for fun. It's alright for a little while, but as time progresses, it starts to feel like a burden.

    One thing that I really loved about classic wow was that you could just log in and do whatever you felt like, without feeling like you had to do something else first before you could start doing something you really wanted to do instead. Additionally, I sincerely felt that if I did a certain thing long enough, at some point I could completely check it off my list, and I would never have to go back to it. This gave me a sense of accomplishment and closure, where as persistent content is constantly reminding me that nothing I do will "stick".

    I have been thinking about this lately, and I wonder how other people feel about the differences between persistent versus finite content.
    Last edited by Kilee25; 2017-12-05 at 01:40 AM.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  2. #2
    The Insane Rorcanna's Avatar
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    If I want games with finite content, I'll play single-player games.

    People can still treat the game as a game with "finite content" however, since not all players care about the same things in the game. When Classic was current and the game was progressing forward, it wasn't "finite" either. Legacy servers being perpetually locked and thus a ceiling where you can't progress further, doesn't mean it was the original design of the game.

    And if you feel like doing absolutely nothing of value in the game now, you can. Could I farm more Artifact power? Sure, but I feel like running around with my level 46 mage in Tanaris during a sandstorm instead.

    I'll always think the game is better when there's never a ceiling of progression, and it's better for the health of the game in terms of players logged in and populating the world if there's always something to do at max level.
    Last edited by Rorcanna; 2017-12-05 at 01:48 AM.
    I've died 5 times on my Warlock since the scaling system was introduced. A seasoned player with every class at max level times 4 (!). I did not die more than once (fall damage) on a Classic server.
    Great success! I'm looking forward to being taken by surprise and die more often in content previously tuned to be absolute faceroll. Doing the Iron Man will be extremely interesting as well!

  3. #3
    Vanilla is exactly the same as it is now.

    If you were a high end PvPer, you couldn't take a break for days or weeks at a time because your rank would be gone.

    Same for PvE, your guild still expects you to consistently log in. Actually consistent raiders were more required/sought after back then they are now because gear was much more valuable.

    In other words;

    You're completely wrong. If your a 'casual' then and now it equally doesn't matter.

    But if you're committed to PvP and PvE you actually had to be more committed in Vanilla than you do now.

  4. #4
    I think you guys are twisting my words to mean that any persistent content is bad. I'm more talking about the amount of it and type of it.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  5. #5
    WoW has finite content.

    There is a mega achievement for completing all 12 class order halls. That is definitely finite and you get 12 different stories, 12 titles and 12 sets of legendaries, plus many toys and pets. Then you could opt to get all the challenge artifact appearances. That could take you a very very long time. But all of it is finite. You could drop out of the raid scene almost entirely except for some tourist pugs and just chase those and there is no pressure at all to play every day.

  6. #6
    Again, you're just saying the existence of one or the other in either game renders the discussion moot. I don't think it's that simple.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  7. #7
    I completely agree on the psychological effects of persistent content. In any game, Seeing that daily,weekly quest markers again and again gives me an immense stress. But that is me of course. There are lots of people who are fine with those.

  8. #8
    You can choose to ignore all content in WoW and do what you feel like and the game won't change for you.

    This is more an issue of persistent vs finite attention spans people have. If I log in and see 3 emissary chests and don't feel like doing any of them, I just don't. People need to learn self-control instead of expecting Game companies to set limits for them and cage everyone else that actually feels differently.

    If at any point you feel "forced" to play a Videogame or do certain things you don't want to do, that is a You problem, not a problem with the game.

    If someone doesn't want to do any WQ's for a week. YOU CAN
    If someone wants to do every WQ that pops up in a week. YOU CAN

    Hell there are more catch up mechanics now in Wow than any other point ESPECIALLY Vanilla.

    So to complain that you liked Vanilla because you could put it down and come back later and can't do that now is utter and complete bullshit.
    Last edited by Meat Rubbing Specialist; 2017-12-05 at 02:45 AM.

  9. #9
    I don't think persistent is really the right word for this. Repeatable sounds more appropriate.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by huth View Post
    I don't think persistent is really the right word for this. Repeatable sounds more appropriate.
    "continuing to exist or occur over a prolonged period."

    It's a fine word to use.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Dracula View Post
    You can choose to ignore all content in WoW and do what you feel like and the game won't change for you.

    This is more an issue of persistent vs finite attention spans people have. If I log in and see 3 emissary chests and don't feel like doing any of them, I just don't. People need to learn self-control instead of expecting Game companies to set limits for them and cage everyone else that actually feels differently.

    If at any point you feel "forced" to play a Videogame or do certain things you don't want to do, that is a You problem, not a problem with the game.

    If someone doesn't want to do any WQ's for a week. YOU CAN
    If someone wants to do every WQ that pops up in a week. YOU CAN

    Hell there are more catch up mechanics now in Wow than any other point ESPECIALLY Vanilla.

    So to complain that you liked Vanilla because you could put it down and come back later and can't do that now is utter and complete bullshit.
    I agree with you, but I'm saying that I, and I think a lot of other people, have completionist mindsets. You can call it a weakness or look down on people like that, but I think that game design has changed to prey on people like that, and this is exactly what I'm referring to.

    In truth if I log into a game and see things flashing on my screen, constantly reminding me of the things I have left to do before they run out, there's a part of me that feels compelled to do it. You are correct that people who can't control this impulse are "weak", but I don't think games would be putting this type of design element in their games if it didn't work and catch a significant number of people.

    Further to this, I am telling you that it seriously bothers me to have quests or indictators constantly flashing at me every time I log in, that I can never fully complete. I know that it's a weakness, but that's basically my point. I think the game (and games like it) are preying on people who are hard-wired to try to complete everything put in front of them.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  11. #11
    Legion have added two new interesting twists on "persistent content": weekly rotation of timewalking, brawls, m+affixes etc, but also micro-holidays - that don't have any reward.

    But apart from persistent/repeatable I believe another word seems apt: "completionist" for achievements - including transmogs, pet battles, quests, etc.

    That's why I find it odd that some claim that they want achievements in Classic - and that it will not influence the game.
    Last edited by Forogil; 2017-12-05 at 10:06 PM.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilee25 View Post
    "continuing to exist or occur over a prolonged period."

    It's a fine word to use.
    None of that says you can do it more than once, though. Just that it isn't removed shortly after being introduced. The opening of Ahn'quiraj is an example for non-persistent content.

    So it's a bad word for this discussion because it doesn't cover the feature that is actually being talked about. Finite content can still be persistent.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by huth View Post
    None of that says you can do it more than once, though. Just that it isn't removed shortly after being introduced. The opening of Ahn'quiraj is an example for non-persistent content.

    So it's a bad word for this discussion because it doesn't cover the feature that is actually being talked about. Finite content can still be persistent.
    I don't agree.

    You can shorten the definition to "continuing to occur over a prolonged period".

    And the word occur can mean "exist or be found to be present in a place or under a particular set of conditions".

    This fits all the criterion for the word to be accurate.

    Further to this, I wanted to include content that was not strictly repeatable, but able to be done at different levels or in different ways. I was trying to use a word that would cover a broader range of content types than just "daily quests".

    I think the word is fine, but if you or anyone else wants to use "repeatable" in your posts in the thread for the purposes of the discussion, I don't care, as long as we both know what we are talking about.
    Last edited by Kilee25; 2017-12-06 at 02:11 AM.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilee25 View Post
    I don't agree.

    You can shorten the definition to "continuing to occur over a prolonged period".

    And the word occur can mean "exist or be found to be present in a place or under a particular set of conditions".

    This fits all the criterion for the word to be accurate.
    It misses an important one. It's to broad. As is, it can be used to refer to almost all of the content in the game. On the other hand, seasonal events and such would not be covered by it, but would fit your description.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by huth View Post
    It misses an important one. It's to broad. As is, it can be used to refer to almost all of the content in the game. On the other hand, seasonal events and such would not be covered by it, but would fit your description.
    I get what you're saying, but the word "repeatable" could be nickpicked in a similar manner as well. As such, I don't think it was even worth mentioning. To bring it up at all, and then pull out as many obscure exceptions as you can, just seems petty to me. I'm happy to agree to disagree. Would that be okay with you? On my "give a flying duck" meter, this semantics issue is like a .5/10 to me. I do see your point, I just think it's more a matter of opinion than you seem to think. It's also kind of a boring topic to debate, and it hollows my soul a bit that it's the only thing you cared to comment on and talk about. Some type of self-awareness on your part would at least make me feel that you actually care about the issue, rather than what it seems like - a pointless troll post.

    I digress... let me ask a question, how do you think changing the word would change the point of the original post? Do you think that it might change the nature of what I was trying to say, or somehow give it more credence? I don't really see how it would change anything, and in any case I don't think it's "repeatable" and/or persistent content that bothers me about wow. It's much more the way that it's presented in the current version of the game, versus in earlier iterations.

    As an example, in Mysts of Pandaria, daily quests were tied to reputation grinds and achievements, but you had to travel to these areas and choose to do that content, and these were tied to reputation grinds and had some loose story elements that would progress and open up more quests and items at certain points. I think that this content was tastefully done and less "in your face". I could clear out one of the daily quest hub areas and then move on a different area. Even though you could go back to the quests if you wanted to, they weren't displayed on your screen when you logged into the game. You had to travel around the world to find them.

    Although the current quests do encourage you to travel around the world, they feel more like an imperative, and the way that you get them aren't died to the reputation hubs and items and storylines that existed in MoP. In WoD I think that it was even worse, where you logged into your garrison and just did content in the same area, by yourself, and there was no end to it, and it was constantly recycling every few minutes. I just feel like the game has been progressing towards this mindset where you log in and you're just constantly playing whack-a-mole with various indicators. You can't ever finish... and at some point you just have to turn the game off and go to bed. You log in the next day and everything has completely refreshed and it starts all over. The game becomes this endless cycle of busywork that you didn't even really intend to get into. You can call it "repeatable", but I just think that's a poor word to describe what I'm trying to explain. I don't mind repeatable quests... I mind the frequency of it and the way in which it is presented.
    Last edited by Kilee25; 2017-12-06 at 05:48 AM.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilee25 View Post
    Persistant content to me would be:
    - A list of quests that become available every day.
    - A reward that can be obtained every few hours (ie it has a cooldown).
    - Gear with random stats that can potentially drop better itemization if you keep playing.
    - Multiple increasing difficulties of content (M+ system, raid system).
    - Multiple tiers of crafting recipes.
    That sounds awfully lot like Diablo.
    Also, one think I never liked about TBC, is daily quests. Also, difficulty levels for raids is, IMO, awful idea and just another nail in to the RPG coffin.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Radaney View Post
    Vanilla is exactly the same as it is now.

    If you were a high end PvPer, you couldn't take a break for days or weeks at a time because your rank would be gone.
    But if you attained whatever rank you were aiming for, you'd always be able to wear that gear/weapon.

    You would never have to go back to ranking unless you wanted a higher rank, or a prestige title.

    Compare it to battlegrounds/arena nowadays where you get a complete new set of gear and weapons every few months, you would have to go back and do the thing again.

    That's the persistent content vs finite content in a nutshell.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilee25 View Post
    I was thinking about this today while talking to a friend of mine. One thing that I've been noticing and learning over the past few years is that games that are coming out these days are designed with "persistent" content.
    *snip*
    WoW has content patches, and if you miss out on a few of those, there are catch-up mechanics, so you don't have to go through them all for months before you can engage in the latest content. So you do all that daily stuff within a content patch to gain power compared to mobs and players that are playing less, but at the next content patch, they can catch up pretty quickly if they want to. I think WoW is absolutely a game where you can drop off for a long while and still quickly get into relevant content once more. Of course, there are a million players out there that play more than you, are more dedicated towards progress and are generally better at the game, and they need to be rewarded for their efforts as well.
    You know, I was really interested in lore coming from Warcraft 3, and even though I loved vanilla, I was underwhelmed at how little our leaders were involved in the raids and late game stories, and how little changed in the world after all our efforts. In the expansions, the gameplay has shifted to more of a main story line which takes you to a focal point where the big threat is dealt with, through a lot of quests, cut scenes and story telling. Things you can complete. I would say in that sense the current state of the game is more "finite" than Vanilla.
    Mother pus bucket!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilee25 View Post
    I was thinking about this today while talking to a friend of mine. One thing that I've been noticing and learning over the past few years is that games that are coming out these days are designed with "persistent" content.

    Persistant content to me would be:
    - A list of quests that become available every day.
    - A reward that can be obtained every few hours (ie it has a cooldown).
    - Gear with random stats that can potentially drop better itemization if you keep playing.
    - Multiple increasing difficulties of content (M+ system, raid system).
    - Multiple tiers of crafting recipes.

    Finite content would be content that, once completed, would not need to be done again.

    It seems to me that one of the staples of wow's current design involves a ton of persistent content. .
    I dont think WoW has a ton of persistent content.

    Quests: daily quests and world quests have horrible scaling, relevant zone currently is argus. Gear in broken shores doesnt scale well, gold is no longer needed to keep your character competitive (no expensive enchants or gems required in half of your gear), order hall resources are not that needed anyway and AP grind is not very interesting. I would consider these quests as persistent if, for example, chromie/order hall/whoever sent me back in time to help with sunwell situation and earn rewards scaling to current day. Sadly there arent many ways to do this besides timetravel or actually updating those areas because we killed every bad guy (feels silly to help this group here defeat deathwing...)

    Reward with cooldown: this could a holiday event (which is cool), what else is there? Legion invasions? Those have bad reward scaling. There arent any random events/encounters happening in the world (that other mmos have) that I can think of. Only some holidays are persistent though, especially those that are regularly updated are cool. Some are one time thing, you do them, get achievements and unless they add some pets/mounts/transmog gear next time you can forget about them.

    Random gear: this is clearly a place where casino "persistent" system doesnt work well, best kind of character progression is gear to me but not casino style. You either dont care that +5ilvl item could have procced or you are always frustrated that it didnt. Blizz created this problem with gear by handing out everything too fast, now they try to fix it via casino RNG gear drops to artificially prolongue gameplay.

    Multiple difficulties: not needed and confusing to new players. M+ is okay, there is bigger variety. Raids take more time and are more exhausting, especially when you clear normal and then you wipe on heroic first boss, you finally clear heroic and now back to wiping on 1st boss mythic. Its not motivating, LFR and flexible normal with optional hard modes is absolutely okay for non-mythic scene. Mythic raids can stay as they are, its very small fraction of playerbase anyway. Again raids are not persistent content, they are only during timewalking or when they are currently relevant for raiding scene. (now that we have timewalking raids we dont even need LFR, casual PvE players will not miss any story anymore, they will just get it in next expansion...or in final month before new expansion they could make some "obsolete&current" raids timewalking).

    Tiers of crafting recipes are not persistent content because in next expansion these current recipes will be useless. More stars on recipe dont motivate me to craft more to be honest, recipes remaining relevant even in next expansion would motivate me to craft them. It can be easily done via "milling" mechanic, and/or scaling you down to low lvl zone, where you gather materials, mill/process them into some material you then use for recipes. Also we barely need these items, first aid is useless most of the time, health pots are not available in BGs....

    Persistent content is one that you make and players can play that content anytime, even 5 years later, and remains relevants, offers up-to-date rewards. What you describe is legion content that should stay relevant during legion but will largely be finite in next expansion. A typical examples of persistent content (depending on how you describe "content") are: arenas, battlegrounds, transmog maybe, timewalking, some holidays that are regularly updated...aaaaand I dont know now what else could be there.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Naturalna View Post
    Persistent content is one that you make and players can play that content anytime, even 5 years later, and remains relevants, offers up-to-date rewards. What you describe is legion content that should stay relevant during legion but will largely be finite in next expansion. A typical examples of persistent content (depending on how you describe "content") are: arenas, battlegrounds, transmog maybe, timewalking, some holidays that are regularly updated...aaaaand I dont know now what else could be there.
    If you expand the definition out to multiple expansions, it's true that almost nothing is persistent, but that seems like another semantics debate to me. You're ignoring the main point of the topic by saying that the wording doesn't apply in a specific situation. The content of your post seems to agree with the sentiment and main point that I was making however. Adding incentives to do content over and over and over again gets annoying and just pads out the time you have to spend in the game trying to complete everything. And then you have to start picking and choosing which content to purposely ignore because you've no intention of "finishing" it.
    Last edited by Kilee25; 2017-12-06 at 06:50 PM.
    "Falling from heaven is not as painful as surviving the impact."

    DPS Loss - my guild on Proudmoore
    The Old Guard - my guild on Earthen Ring
    Revenant - my guild on Echo Isles

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