I coined the phrase ‘Quit Wall’ in a WildStar post I wrote the other day, and thought I would elaborate a bit on what they are and maybe how they can be avoided.
What is a Quit Wall?
A Quit Wall can be any of the following. I’ve added a quick example in parenthesis after each.
- A point where players feel like they are halted and unable to progress (Don’t have a large enough group to participate)
- When the game radically changes from one style of play to another (Questing from 1-50 then having to raid in end-game)
- A natural breaking point in the game where players feel like they have nothing to do (Ran out of quests and content)
- Drastic changes in difficulty (This one seems obvious)
Recent ExamplesÂ of Quit Walls
Destiny – Graev wrote yesterday about Destiny and included a very clear explanation of the quit wall. When players reach level 20 the only way to progress is to grind tokens to purchase gear. This has to be done in the form of dailies in order to get to level 26 and participate in the “end-game” content. This isn’t how 1-19 was played, and radically changes the game. If you don’t want to grind, you can quit.
WildStar – This Quit Wall was so obvious it caused me to stop playing before I reached level 30. The end-game of WildStar is all about “hardcore” raiding. When you level from 1-50 you do nothing but quest grind solo. When you reach level 50 you have to form large groups of players and do raids. If you don’t have the numbers, or (before it changed) didn’t want to work your butt off you get attuned, you had to quit.
World of Warcraft – The huge gap in content before WoD releases can easily be looked at as a Quit Wall. It’s like a huge wall in front of players and unless you want to climb that wall and overcome the lack of things to do you can quit or … I guess you’re a masochist at that point.
How to Avoid Quit WallsÂ
Themeparks are more prone to Quit Walls than sandboxes, but even a sandbox can have a point where you have to climb some wall the devs have put up or quit. The point for developers here is that players do not want to feel like something has suddenly popped up in front of them halting their ability to continue enjoying your game.
Create a consistent experience designed from the beginning. The very idea of ‘end-game’ lends itself to creating Quit Walls. Avoid having an ‘end-game’ and have the entire game circle around itself and create a virtual world wherein players are constantly progressing and the world is constantly fueling their ability to play the way in which they have always played.
Sometimes certain Quit Walls are unavoidable. Even some of my favorite games have had them.Â When you reach a point where you feel like you’ve done everything… that’s a Quit Wall — albeit a less intrusive one. Â Combat those Quit Walls with constant development. That’s why I’m okay with paying a subscription to a game that continues to expand and grow. I can’t perceive that wall — I don’t want to.
And finally, avoid designing a 3 monther. 3 Monthers are 3 Monthers because of Quit Walls.