My introduction to multiplayer games was around 1999 or some-time when Age of Empires 2 was the game to have, I played on a 56k connection at my home in the country, 50c to dial, $30 a month for unlimited downloads, 56k speeds, excellent. I always got around 40k speeds, if I dialed into the city number I would get slightly higher, but the cost to dial was more expensive.
After gaming with strategy games from the likes of Age of Empires and Rome: Total War and also some FPS games, I soon got broadband as soon as it was available and that is how I got into more serious multiplayer gaming...
I played a small MMO game called A-Tractor - now known as The Universal, a cute game that has a player driven economy and is always in beta, and a small community, that was the first MMO game I ever played, apart from browser based MMO's (if you can call them that). I played that on and off...
At the time of the South Park episode of Make Love, Not Warcraft I was introduced to WoW - by the episode of course, I bought it from my local EBGames and brought it home to install on my system - a P4 with a 6600GT and 1GB RAM. The package had no CDKey so I was screwed and I bought a CD Key online off a popular retailer and started playing, I leveled a Human Paladin by grinding - not questing, as I thought it was the easiest method - oh the woes of a noob to Warcraft. I got it to 60 and joined a DKP raiding guild and raided MC on our raid days, I played until BC and got to level 70 and quit, thus ends that period, I went back to FPS and other MP games. I returned and leveled several other characters and played off and on and got back into it more seriously at the release of WOTLK, I now have a Dranei Mage (80) and a NE Boomkin (80) and 1 horde 70 warlock and a horde undead DK (80)... I play the game frequently to do daily CD's and sometimes play for fun but I am awaiting more content and only play to raid.
Around the time of Gods and Heroes being advertised I got into the beta and played that - I have been a heavy ancient time fan and wanted to play a Roman-themed MMO for ages and I played this until it was closed, I was heartbroken, so I had no MMO's to play, until I found AoC.
During one of the phases of my WoW breaks I was following AoC and managed to get into the closed beta, managed to download and install the game on my crappy computer and it didn't play - no surprise. So I upgraded my computer completely and now have a Q9300 and 9800GTX with 4GB of RAM. I managed to get into early access and played a ranger until level 60 and at the time the content was quite dismal so I quit and returned recently and leveled a barbarian to 80 mainly on quests with help of grinding groups, transferred to Bloodspire and now am waiting for paid transfers so I can go to Cimmeria, as it's dead.
I am however, still finding the right MMO for me, AoC wont do it I don't think, as IMO honestly it might be a lost cause as there's not enough financial backing and the company making it hasn't got the best of track records... So I am sad to say I think AoC is a highly niche MMO kind of like Vanguard.