When I was a kid and didn’ t even have any kind of internet access I always imagined how damn awesome it is to have this huge world in which thousands of players interact , wage wars, build cities, explore epic dungeons and otherwise shape the interactive world around them. I remember once visiting my friend when I was younger (I’m 18 now) and seeing how his brother was playing Star Wars: Galaxies.His character was on Tatooine wandering around aimlessly and just showing me the game. That’s when I fell in love with the genre. I started reading about all kinds of different MMO’s in gaming magazines, imagining how my character would become famous architect or designer.How me and my friends would go through some high level dungeon, covering each other up, plowing through hordes of enemies and in the end having a cinematographic showdown with a boss, just like in those single player games.
I started researching what good free MMO’s are there because, heck, I was 13 or so at the time and my parents sure weren’t going to pay 15$ a month for a stupid little game. I started visiting my fathers workplace, using their pc and internet connection and trying out different free games. First game that sucked me in was Eternal Lands, a little free top-down MMO with a small community and not that much to do. I knew all of the areas, all the enemies and most of the players. I used to sit all day in that game doing nothing but harvesting for the guild and chatting. After that came many other free games like runescape and a lot of asian grind-games. (That’s also how I found out about MMORPG.com)
Slowly I started getting familiar with the „big” MMO giants like Everquest 2, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes and many others. At that point I started to understand, that MMO’s aren’t anything like I had imagined. I got bored of them really fast, I used to get level 20 – 30 or so in any game and then get bored. Exploring new setting, new races/classes was fun, but after that it got boring. I was faced with doing essentially the same in any game – delivery/kill quests, level grind and doing the same instances over and over again. What made it even more tedious was the combat system. I was expecting an action paced, exciting adventure but instead I got boring, gear and level based number pressing games.
Despite all that not so long ago I got myself a level 80 priest in WoW. At first it was relatively cool and even fun compared to rest. Heck, I was playing with the big kids now and had so much available to me. Things like reputation grind, daily quests, daily dungeons and doing the same raids over and over again with my guild. Oh and PvP which I don’ t do but which could actually be fun so I won’t bash it. Ofcourse, at first the raids and instances are fun. It’s awesome the first time, still sort of interesting the second time but after that I would much rather log off and play some fallout 3 for the umpteenth time.
Yeah, ofcourse, it’s cool to develope your character sure, but why can’t we do it in a fun way? Why am I forced to do all this boring daily stuff to progress the game? Why the fuck is gear always so damn important? I used to play battlefield 2142 a lot and it had this weapon unlock scheme –You progress the rank, unlock new stuff, have more ways of solving different situations/crediting the team etc. But it never meant that rank 1 couldn’t kill rank 20. Yeah, rank 20 had more shit on him but if he’s not skilled, he’s screwed either way.
So what the f*** should developers do in my opinion? Check out what the developers of ToR and Mortal are doing. ToR seems to be an epic adventure with a great story and that special feel to it. Heck, if they can pull off both the epic storyline with single-player like quests and right next to it an open world where forces of dark side and light side are battling constantly for power than that game could be a damn revolution in the genre. Same goes for Mortal’s combat system. First person twitch based combat system that actually depends more on the skill of the player than the gear? Sign me the F*** up.
Then there also are open sandbox games that are fully controlled by the player. Darkfall tried to do this, but from what I hear they failed to deliver. Well, too damn bad for them, because if the gameplay is actually fun and players have enough power to shape the world to their bidding, heck, I’m ready to slave away at the mines all day long if it brings my guild one step closer to world domination. Or building giant anime robots. I F’ING LOVE GIANT ANIME ROBOTS.
Basically this was just a not-so-short rant in which I tried to point out my initial expectations from the genre, the disappointment I had when I faced it one on one and my hopes for the future of the genre. That, my fellow nerds, is all.
Don’t mind my shitty and at times random punctuation.
Also I didn't proofread this just because i'm a lazy bastard.