I have a recurring dream.
In the dream, it's usually after me and Leala have gone to a great dinner with people we know, in some nice city like New York or San Fran, and we walk out of the restaurant with a good buzz as the snow falls. The scene is always amazing, a combination of perfect moments from my life.
Then, I see it. Somehow I have switched scenes and I am standing inside a small packed store. Think of a junk shop that sells mostly watches and other miniature goods, but the real stuff is in the back. In a hallway are stacks of drawers and inside those drawers are little robots, tiny metal army men, wind up toys and figures. All of them are something like 50 cents and I have an adult wad of cash in my pocket. The feeling is spectacular!
Some games give me this feeling. I can see the little box of 1's and 0's sitting there, waiting to be double clicked and installed. Some games, once I log in, overwhelm me with a sense of joy. The first thing I do is load up the cash shop, look at all the great items for sale, little digital packages waiting to be delivered to me! I can explore the entire toy box, buy some neat things along the way, meet people.
Then, some other games give me a feeling of going...very.....slow....
Not in a bad way, in a good way. Spellborn, for example, has been so enjoyable because of it's pace. I read some more of the Lore through quests, I accomplish a little here and there. The world and music make me feel as though I am playing in a world, in something bigger than my character.
Ryzom does this, too. It does it by making their world seem alive. The mobs, the weather, all combine together to form a living, breathing world.
Vanguard always had this, too. Telon is a massive world. Often you come across giant collapsed towers or destroyed buildings and you stop and wonder about when it was first built, who occupied it.
Both feelings have their value. We all know that some nights we want to relax and play a little mini-game, or we might feel like wrapping ourselves up into some epic lore. Some games do a pretty good job of wrapping up these two feelings together. Free Realms has some surprising lore, and Dream of Mirrior Online and Mabinogi really get me with some of their quests. I love when I am logged into a "toy" type game only to be surprised by moments of "world-ness."
Maybe that's why I love this old PC. It's desktop is packed with 30 or so MMO shortcuts, all windows into worlds or toy-stores. That's another reason I love F2P games, the fact that they can sit there forever and you can explore their store shelves at your own pace.
I hope this makes sense. I'm pretty sure it does to most that will read it. I am basically speaking to those feelings we got as a kid during the holidays, or at certain stages of our lives. Sometimes we had incredible fun, while other times we sat quietly as we discovered something new and grand.