As I imagine many less than hardcore MMO players tend to do, I got into a bit of a funk over all my games and cancelled them. I had resubbed to WoW and CoX to hang out with some friends, and my WAR account was still active, but I nuked them all. For a few months, I buried myself in single-player games and programming, but just like it always does, the MMO itch returns...
You know, that uncomfortable, burning feeling you get when you aren't collecting 10 wolf paws for some cardboard NPC. The shakes that come when you haven't "ding"ed in weeks. When you start gaging the quality of appliances in your home by their color (I just got a blue tv, but my oven is white... should vendor it).
One problem, what game to play... I scanned my shelf:
CoX -- I do like CoX. It is a great game that has kept my attention for a long, long time, but there is no possible way I can play CoX again. I have done pretty much everything I want to do there and my regular group of buddies have turned that game into an exercise of tedious farming. They routinely 3 and 4 box and create insane teams of characters. Running with them is fun for the first farmed level or so, but then you realize you could activate powers, or head to the bathroom and the outcome of the battles would be the same. I think I am done with CoX.
EQ2 -- I still rank EQ2 as the best mainstream fantasy game out there, but somehow, I cannot bring myself to load it back up. Great game, but I just can't bring myself to load it back up.
AoC -- No... well maybe. I have heard that Funcom keeps plugging away on this one and has made significant improvment. I admit I am a little curious to see how this one turned out, but I am still a little wary.
FF11 -- I hate the fact that they delete your information if you unsub for longer than a set amount of time. Not that I ever got that high in this game, but it would be nice to not start this massive game from zero... hunting bees for hours on end solo.
WoW -- WoW is another game I think I am done with. Good game, but there is very little there I want to do.
You get the idea... Eve, GW, WAR and many others have graced my hard drive for a while, but I have little interest in getting back to any of them.
Now, I have dabbled in f2p games in the past, but found them lacking... polish, content, options, fun. A couple of years ago, I would have told you that no f2p game could possibly be worth your time. However, driven by my latest bout of mmo malaise, I searched through lists of free games and came upon Runes of Magic.
RoM is a fantasy f2p game that borrows ideas heavily from the more popular p2p games. The graphics, crafting and interface are similar to WoW (though without the character models looking so cartoony). The two class system was first seen in FFXI (though I would argue that RoM does dual-classing better). Public Quests from WAR were recently implemented.
It might sound like I consider RoM to be "more of the same". I don't. It is a fun game that provides the core MMO experience of hunting, questing, leveling, powers, instances, gathering, etc., does it well, and adds its own minor twists. Back in the day, before WoW became the Kleenex Xerox of MMOs, this is pretty much how you would have described it -- "Same old game, but darn good at it."
It's a fun game, and free doesn't hurt either. With a subscription game, there is always this realization that I am paying whether or not I am playing. There is something in my psyche that makes me feel guilty if I don't log in for a couple days. With no subscription fee, I feel no guilt and no need to commit to the game, or no need cancel it if another game comes along.
Now all is not wine and roses... and the cynic in me can't help but feel that the other shoe is about to drop and that when it does, it is going to cost me a lot of diamonds. But analyzing the pros and cons of RoM and f2p games in general is for another post. For now, I just want to bask in the glow of having cancelled all of my subs... and yet still be enjoying MMOs.