Looks like I’m going to be talking about World of Warcraft again. Let’s face it folks, World of Warcraft is just too good to talk about anything else.
I don’t think there’s really any super specific moment of endogenous value in WoW for me, but that’s mostly because the game is constantly providing it. If I had to pick two primary sources of endogenous value they would probably be raiding and arenas.
First, lets talk about Raiding. Raids can be incredibly difficult, especially if your group is trying to run one of the more challenging raids in heroic difficulty. When you go through these raid instances your party is constantly rewarded by drops from the normal mobs, as well as the coveted rare drops from bosses. If you haven’t played World of Warcraft, it’s probably hard to understand how rewarding it really is. If you are in an end-game raid, the bosses are really, REALLY hard to kill. The satisfaction of killing the boss alone is incredible, but then if you manage to win the roll on that rare piece of gear you’ve been trying to obtain for weeks or months, the endogenous value is extreme. There was really only one point when I got really into raiding. It was in the early stages of the Cataclysm expansion, and I can remember sitting there with my guild every tuesday and thursday night from 7pm to 1am trying to beat the latest raid bosses. Every week we would make a little bit more progress, and it would take a little less time. Eventually, we finally did it. We finally finished the raid. After that we would repeat the raid with our improving skills every week to get the best gear possible. After that, we moved on to the heroic version of the same raid and did the same thing. Eventually the next patch of the expansion came out and we continued to do the same thing with the new raids.
Next we have my current personal favorite, PvP arenas. The endogenous value in Arenas comes more often and in a more concrete setting. In raiding you have to bank on your group being able to complete the raid, which has a high chance of not happening. For arena pvp, you run on a more stable reward system. You get an alotted amount of conquest points for every arena you win until you’ve filled your weekly conquest point cap. The matchmaking system will pair you with teams of equal skill level so you can expect to win at least enough to get your conquest cap eventually. These conquest points are used to purchase more powerful gear for pvp encounters. They have statistics on them called resilience and pvp power. Resilience lowers the damage that other players do to you, while pvp power increases the damage that you do to other players. These two stats don’t affect pve in any way at all. If you’re a more hardcore player rather than casual, you can push for rating. Pushing rating means to play a ton of arenas with a person or group of people you play with every week to try and win as many arenas as you can to get your arena rating as high as possible. It’s essentially a ranking system. A player with 2400 rating can say that he is significantly better at pvp than say someone with a rating of 1800. When the games start to get difficult as you go up in rating, the endogenous value increases every time you win. When you beat a highly rated team you feel really good about yourself and your skill and teamwork.
In both of these examples you acquire better gear as you go, and that’s one of the biggest parts of endogenous value. Better gear means that you are more powerful, and a lot of players find that to be very rewarding. In raids it’s the thrill of being the player putting out the highest damage per second. In arenas it’s the satisfaction of being stronger than your opponents and getting those crippling critical hits, or if you’re a healer, the faster mana regeneration rates to keep your friends alive.
Personally, I finally finished my first complete set of highest tier pvp gear, which i found to be really satisfying. It takes a lot of work and time to get the whole set, and I don’t regret it at all. I think that’s what really determines how strong the endogenous value of the game is.