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Observations that apply to excellence in implementation and execution in the MMO universe

Author: Finfid

Is it real or is it MMOrex

Posted by Finfid Thursday April 7 2011 at 12:56AM
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I've played allot of MMOs over the years. My first was Dark Sun Online: Crimson Sands technically. Certainly I played a few MUDs back in the day, but I could never agree that they were anything like a graphical interface multi-user game. UO was however probably my first and most memorable MMO experience. UO had something that really seemed to allow a person to suspend disbelief. It took on a sort of life that while I was playing blotted out reality in that way that only really compelling novels and movies can do. I developed an identity for my toons and it became what I was while I was online. The relationships that I developed with other players weren't mine, they were my toon's. The role-play was reality, at least for the time spent in game.

I tried Everquest when it came out, but my hobbit like toon drowned in the first 20 minutes of play and I stopped playing. At the time I had been watching my best friend beta test Asheron's Call and I just could not wait for the game to come out. Asheron's Call, like UO seemed to possess some force, or magic that made immersing yourself in the game a simple matter. Logging out was akin to waking from a vivid dream that you did not want to forget. When I was playing Mitsi in Asheron's Call, I was essentially her, and her friends in-game were her's, not mine. When I logged out I went back to my life, real friends and my job. The game allowed me to escape to a different place and it was nothing like reality proper. That experience has yet to be found again since leaving those games.

After Asheron's Call 2 demonstrated its failure in beta, and DAoC started to lose its luster there really wasn't much out there that could bring back the magic that UO and AC possessed. Shadowbane came pretty close, however it became a tedious affair post level 40. World of Warcraft had many things going for it, and certainly I played it for many years, but it has never been able to get me to feel for it, to truely care about my toons and the world they inhabit. It was merely something to do for a few hours each day, and someplace to chat with people that seemed to share the same basic interest. However we all accepted that we were people going about our in game business, and not a band of surley Orcs hell-bent on collecting Night Elf ears as trophies.

I've tested, purchased and played just about every MMO since, even the Asian variety that generally end up as shallow attempts at capitalizing on basic greed. So far not a single one has truely been able to awaken that realism and engrossment that the earlier ones did. I'll be honest, it may not be the games themselves. I'm sure that I have changed as a person as well. However, I should like to think that I would recognize a really immersive experience when I see it. (Mass Effect 1 vs Mass Effect 2 for example?)

Skuldin writes:

I completely share your sentiment and I think it's what makes me get surly so quickly during new MMOs. The market has become a greed pit missing the key elements of what made RPGs and MMORPGs fun and engaging in the first place. It's all in the sake of making them accessible to soccer moms and ten year old kids. There is room in the market for a harder more deeply complex game but everyone is trying to gather 10 million subs.  The reality is that there will never be another 10 million sub game again, WoW was like the Beatles. Right place, right time with the right product. 

Thu Apr 07 2011 9:31AM Report
Finfid writes:

I was reading some of the Bliz forum posts about the current state of Raiding and I came to the same conclusion about your 10 million subs observation. In fact I predict that this year will mark the beggning of the end for WoW's mammoth monopoly. Like the Beatles analogy, they had a good run but at some point the band had to break up. Indeed I also agree with you that their really is room in the MMO market for smaller more focused games. Games like AC and Shadowbane would probably still be around (AC is actually and That a subject for the next blog post) if they could simply get a modern day MMO facelift. EQ pulled it off with EQ2.

Thu Apr 07 2011 10:11AM Report
Skuldin writes:

EQ2 was a WoW-esque game though, not hard core in the least. If you mean facelift with graphics, yes I agree. If you mean EQ2 was just an updated version of EQ1, not really.

Thu Apr 07 2011 10:44AM Report
kjempff writes:

No doubt about it, games now are more shallow and missing spirit. Also I have changed and might not be as good at going into character that I was, but ...

There is one question, that has bugged me for years, that I can't find an answer to. Has player mentality changed ?.

 

I mean back 10+ years ago, we remember players with integrety who were helpful, polite, and respected other players. And now players seem to be selfish rude punks. And yet .. were players really different back then, or were we just better at ignoring those without getting frustrated.

 

Dropping back to everquest with the progression servers, made me question this again. I see the same type of players that any other game has (such as WoW), selfish, rude etc. Thing is, almost all players on progression servers are old everquest players, but if they are ... then they are actually the same people as played back then.

Are we just getting sour with age (as stated in the eula of life), or have players actually changed - Maybe a combination of these things ?

Thu Apr 07 2011 7:27PM Report
Finfid writes:

Well Kjempff, I can recall more then a few, for lack of a better word, Punks from the UO and AC days. In UO for example on the Napa server there were the Dead Presidents. A very aggressive band of thieving, PKing gank masters as ever darkened an MMOs domain. In AC there were quite a few of the same type on Thistledown, although these guys were mainly just rude but still tried to play the game with a little character. Perhaps its merely a matter of scale. In AC we had like 2000 players at any given time, and the number of those that actually played enough to be known is probably alot fewer. In Wow, there are 10s of thousands on any given server. The Ratio of Punks to Decent folk must scale upwards with the higher population :-)

It would make an interesting study I suppose. I don't think that the decent players get more sour with age. Perhaps more leery of whom they chose to interact with. One thing I've found is that the key to a good MMO experience is usually a decent guild. People that you like to interact with, who take a positive outlook on the game. The more RP the better too I say.

Mon Apr 11 2011 7:25PM Report

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