To Grind, or Not to Grind? That is the question.

In most MMORPGs, once a player reaches max level, he or she has limited options to further increase the ability of their character. You can do dungeons, world encounters, raiding, or PVP. Most players can only concentrate on one or two of these, depending on how casual they are as a player. There is one alternative however: create an alt. Many players will create alts, but will ultimately keep coming back to that first character, or “main.” But what if you could make that alt more powerful than your main, merely by hitting max level? Shaiya, by Aeria Games accomplishes this through a difficulty system. Here is the system as outlined by their website:

  • Easy – This mode should only be played by those who have no experience playing MMORPGs. Level cap is 30, experience gain is 2x, and no special skills are available.
  • Normal – This mode is for players who have some experiences with MMORPGs. Players must reach level 50 in Normal mode before Hard mode will be made available.
  • Hard – Level requirements are much harder in this mode, but Status and Skill Bonuses are increased. Players who reach level 50 in Hard mode will unlock Ultimate mode.
  • Ultimate – Level requirements are the same as in Hard mode, but Status and Skill bonuses are increased and players can use exclusive items, skills, spells, and bonuses only available to Ultimate characters. WARNING!!! Characters who die in Ultimate mode will be deleted if not resurrected within 3 minutes. This mode is only for those players looking for the Ultimate experience.

As you can see, as you reach max level in one difficulty mode, you upen up a harder mode, allowing you to create a new, more powerful character. I see this system having both pros and cons. On one hand, your new alts will be vastly different and more powerful, ensuring a new play experience, but you must abandon your previous character; twice if you make it to Ultimate mode. As stated above, many players identify with their first character, kind of a “coming of age” feeling. Leaving a max level character behind, one that is inherently inferior will be tough for many players. This new mechanic, however, allows those with the time and effort to achieve something more casual players cannot: rewarding them with superior characters. I can see this having a large effect on PVP near the beginning, but will even out eventually as more people ascend the difficulty modes. All in all, I think this is a new twist to MMORPGs in general, and I will be interested in seeing how it turns out. Shaiya is currently in Open Beta.


  1. The whole multiple level of difficulty thing sounds like a copout to me. I mean, there basically saying you have to play the game 2 times before you get a chance to use all the spells and items.

    I’m not a fan of levels of hardness, its just a cheesy way to add more replayability without really adding anything to the game.

    It should start at Ultimate with an option for players to play with perm death or not.

  2. On one hand I agree, but on the other, we all have played through MMOs several times. The game is also in Beta, so who knows, maybe they will change the mechanic.

  3. I guess my question is how much of a difference in power and play does it make? Will there be areas that are accessible only by Ultimate characters? Will there be bosses you can only defeat if you have an Ultimate character? How is PvP structured? One thing is for sure if you have an Ultimate character in PvP that’s going to be like having a big ‘ole bullseye on your back, especially with the prospect of perm deletion if you can keep them from being resurrected for 180 seconds!

    I don’t mind seeing experiments like this, because only testing the system out will we see the true merits of the model.

    Oh, one other issue that seems more prominent in a system like this is selling off characters. Gonna have to watch that re: selling Ultimate characters.

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