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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » IN THE SPOTLIGHT: What made old skool MMO's harder than modern day MMO's.

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  Calerxes

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/06/09
Posts: 1658

 
OP  4/02/11 6:54:17 AM#1

I was not there at the birth of the fully graphical online roleplaying game aka the MMORPG, I've tried free shards of EQ, UO and SWG, I picked shards that tried to produce an authentic version of the original game but really its not the same as actually being there at the beginning so I did not stay long, though I do pop back in every now and again. 

 

I started my MMO career with...... yeah you guessed World Of Warcraft (boo hissss) in 2007 and I read much about this malligned game for being easy mode, solo centric, anti social etc.. but my time in the game was far removed from those coments. I spent from about a week in game predominately in groups up until about a month before I left in late 2008, I inherited leadership of a guild early on so I built that up to about 10/11 regulars on ever night so grouping for quests and instances was easy and we went through loads of 5 mans but never really made it raiding status. Eventually real life got in the way for a few people and the guild imploded. During that time we took on orange and red quests out in the open and took part in, with a fellow guild, some overland raids on places like Southshore, jumped into BG's regularly and helped each other gain specific gear or in my case my Warlock's epic mount. I've played many other MMO's since I left WoW and have grouped up in every one of them (well except the low pop ones of course) to do quests, I've socialised, helped people out and just made merry and thats why I play MMO's to interact with others.

 

Of course I'm not saying its a bed of roses in MMO land and I left WoW because it became a bit one dimensional for me and I wanted to explore the MMO landscape a bit, Rift left me wondering what the fuck were they thinking, Darkfall drove me up the wall with its tedious combat and general gameplay, Aion could have been great but fell before the winning line,why didn't Fallen Earth just copy pre-cu SWG as its bloody obvious that was its inspiration and the less said about AOC and Warhammer the better. While exploring the wider MMO world I found some great games along the way both p2p and f2p that I feel have depth and challenge coupled with great social building elements ie... EQ2, LotRO, Lineage 2, DDO, Vanguard (though VG has many problems still) POTBS, EVE, UWO, Atlantica, Perpetuum, Loong, Forsaken World... though these games all have problems to some degree they all throw up an immersive, challeging world for me. Also as a final point is that there is variety out there if you look and that its not just the older MMO landscape that had it, its here today also though the more sandboxy style game is a bit in a sorry state I must say.

 

So correct my ignorance as I was not there.... what makes Ultima Online, Everquest, Asherons Call, Anarchy Online, Dark Age Of Camelot, FFXI more difficult and immersive than modern day MMO's like I have listed? 

 

 

Cal.

  

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  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11822

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

4/02/11 7:27:32 AM#2

 

Online resources weren't as prevalent. For example, wikis didn't exist and fansites were more about events and guild news than walkthorughs.

NPCs weren't marked and quest logs weren't as detailed.

You could actually do things or have certain rep levels that would get you guard-killed in otherwise-friendly towns.

In UO, there was no global chat and even when one was introduced, no one used it. All chat was based on proximity.

Ingame maps were very limited, IIRC, in EQ, I had to constantly spam 'Sense Heading' to raise the skill that told me what compass direction I was facing.

No respeccing or skill builders available. If you took cooking on your swordsman in AC and were 30 levels into the character (took al ong time to do that back then), you either lived with it or rerolled.

 

 

People also played very differently back then, though.

  • People used their first character or two to learn the game before making their actual character. The first character almost always ended up a mule with a skillset or build that was entertaining to see years later. Now people expect their frist character to be their main and, as such, MMOs are designed to support that which means less expeerimentation and more direct information, less choice and more handholding, and definitely as little consequence as possible.
  • People back then also came from group gaming backgrounds. The early MMO gamers were that cross section of PnP gamers and computer users. They were people that actively looked for groups, wanting to emulate the teams they read in their fantasy books or played in their DnD games. As such, with a group-focused audience, the games were designed to offer challenge to groups, resulting in often torturous gameplay for most solo players (*cue the jackass that has to reply with how that isnt' true because they leveled their druid/necro/whatever to cap solo*).
  • Politics were more a part of gameplay.In the older games there was more of a hierarchy, and when you had a problem with someone you didn't start spouting profanity in general/local but rather went to your guild leader who went to their guild leader to resolve it. As such there were a lot of rules, written and unwritten that players generally followed.

  prizm1234

Novice Member

Joined: 3/06/11
Posts: 51

4/02/11 7:36:58 AM#3

there was an actual sense of danger. you did not res with all of your items still equipped, you could have a realistic chance of not only losing things like your level, but everything you carried with you, plus you would have to run back to your corpse naked unless you had a spare set of equipment in the bank. what that means is that groups generally learned how to play, and do it well, they did not have the slobbering retards who just rush into everything like they have in most newer MMOs (WoW had a lot of these). things like strategy and discussing pulls actually mattered.

  montin

Novice Member

Joined: 11/28/05
Posts: 220

Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten. B.F. Skinner

4/02/11 7:38:09 AM#4

Getting kill and having to run back to your corpse naked. And then of course trying to avoid the thing that killed you in the first place whilst you retrieve all your kit. Did that a few times in AC. The games these days cause very little problem if you get killed. In fact being killed is something that I no longer even care if it happens.

Though go back further than AC and EQ, back to the days of MUDs and being killed then was a real pain. As most of the games would have xp loss from death. Of course there was no broadband then and often the dial-up connection would drop. It was annoying to play for 6 or 7 hours, go link dead and log back in to find you had been killed and lost all the exp you had made during that time.

Ah yes, corpse looting. That was a real kick in the teeth. You get killed, run naked back to your corpse only to find some bugger had stolen all your kit.

I could on (been online gaming for 15 years now), but you get the idea. Basically mmorpgs are a pale imitation of those first days of real hard core games. Which all I can say is thank god. As I'm too old now to play for hours only to get killed and lose everything I just did ;)

  mastersam21

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/16/05
Posts: 39

4/02/11 7:41:49 AM#5

Ive been playing MMORPGs for a very long time now, Im currently 26 years of age. It all started with Ultima > EQ > FFXI > WoW > many others. I dont think MMO back in its infant were more difficult, but rather just...new. No one really knew what can come from it so it really the genre just fell on me before I knew  I was getting into. In those days MMO really did earn its RPG hence MMORPG was born conpared to todays stale and lackluster MMOs. The world felt immersive... a true living breathing world. I know you use this word as well, but I dont think your immersive is the same as mine. 

 

Community - 1st generation MMORPG felt like I was apart of it, lets take FFXI for example. FFXI required you to group to get anything done because of this grouping is required pretty much throughout the entire experience except the first 14 levels give or take. There was a time when players took responsibility for their actions good or bad if you were branded as a type of village idiot... people knew about. No server transfer and no name change can save you, rerolling was the only way to get away from it. This is probably one of the biggest reason why Im so fond of those early MMOs because I pretty much felt like the entire server was one big guild/linkshell, I even made a ton of Japanese friends.

 

I can probably list many other points, but it's late so maybe ill update it later. I really like to hear some other comments on the matter. Again I don't think there were more difficult, we all have fond memories of our first MMO that we still clinge onto hoping one day we can relive that experience again. In fact I would say some of todays MMOs are more difficult because it challenging mentally, and the MMOs of the past more about its community.

  User Deleted
4/02/11 7:54:48 AM#6

Just a few things that have changed in WoW since I started (in the middle of Vanilla).

 

Tough group quests to get epic mounts for Paladin and Warlock.  Now they are just purchased from a trainer.

 

Priests wore healing gear with +heal stat.  Mages wore cloth with +DMG.  Now healing gear is no more and +DMG also helps healing.

 

Training a pet for a specialty pet for a hunter meant that the pet stayed at its own level and you had to work to level it up.  This took days of effort.  Also pet started out as unhappy and working with it improved its happiness.  Now pets are full happy and full level as soon as they are trained.

 

Earning skills on some classes meant special quests to get them.  Now, I'm fairly sure most or all of these has been removed.

 

Many classes were designed to fill specific group roles.  For example, Druid made a good second healer but couldn't heal damage quickly enough to main heal.  Mages were crowd-control plus burst DPS.  Many of the classes have been stripped of most of what them special, so now a healer is a healer is a healer... etc.  (I hear that some of this improved with Cata.)

 

Mobs with loot or items on that ground that needed to be picked up for quests did not have anything about them that made them look special.  Sparkling was added to make it easier.

 

Using a web resource to do quests was considered cheating at first.  Then quest helper mods were made available by third party mod suppliers.  Then Blizzard added their own which made questing on par with playing Playskool games.

 

Mounts at 40, epic mount at 60, flying at 70.  Who knows where they are now, but it is normal for people to quest Outland on a flyer.

 

I'm sure there are more, these are off the top of my head.

  someforumguy

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/25/07
Posts: 3473

4/02/11 7:55:37 AM#7

Back then I played shooters and RTS games. The early MMO's were too boring for me. I never had any understanding for the dull and painfull mechanics that made everything take so long. The only challenges I saw in oldschool MMO's were challenges that had nothing to do with gaming in my eyes. Camping, corpseruns,waiting for mana to replenish, travelling times even if you were just going back and forth were ridiculous in my eyes.

Not fun and not a gameplay challenge. I wanted to be challenged in skill (twitched based) or tactically. This was nowhere to be found in those oldschool MMO's. Oldschool MMO's would never become popular in current market. (Most) people have a job already.

  nytemareh

Novice Member

Joined: 9/03/07
Posts: 164

4/02/11 8:06:05 AM#8

I started in DAoC just after the Shrouded Isles. expac.  Imagine no map.  No quest tracker.  No global chat.  Just you out somewhere in this huge world without a clue of where you are.  I remember being lost one time for 10 hours.  Just kept making wrong turn after wrong turn.  I don't think todays mmo gamers as a whole could deal with that. 

Also, mobs could actually destroy you at anytime.  The cost of death was much higher than it is now.  So death meant something.  Not only did your armor, and weapons degrade badly you had a  long walk back to that sweet spot you found to grind.  Ontop of that you didn't get xp at the rate you do in games now.  You was lucky if you got 1 out of 10 bubbles in a session, and even luckier if you got in a group that didn't wipe.  There was no such thing as /faceroll through anything.

oh, and no personal mounts.  no addons.  Alot of times just the player versus the game.  I miss those days.  Developers made players lazy, and completely dumbed down a great genre.  I personally find that most games that come out are far to easy.  That is what the genre has evolved into now. 

The best thing about it was that your guild members would travel for 45 mins. just to help you out on one mob.  They would take time to help you get a few bubbles of xp.  Which would take hours depending on your level.  I miss those days.  The challenge.  The thought of what will happen to me today.

<img src='http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0320200000031cd29/signature.png'></img>

  Slapshot1188

Elite Member

Joined: 5/06/07
Posts: 4078

4/02/11 8:13:37 AM#9
Originally posted by someforumguy

Not fun and not a gameplay challenge. I wanted to be challenged in skill (twitched based) or tactically. This was nowhere to be found in those oldschool MMO's. Oldschool MMO's would never become popular in current market. (Most) people have a job already.

And THAT my friend is the difference.  You want a twitch ("player skill) based RPG which is kind of like asking for a round square.  In an RPG you are playing the role of a character.  When my archer who is 35 and lived in the woods for the last 20 years draws back his bow to shoot, his success (to me) shouldn't depend on my twitch skills.  Not in an RPG.

 

Today's games are moving more toward persistent world MMOFPS.  They might be fine games.  They might be much more popular. But they are very much a different genre than an MMORPG.

"I should point out that no other company has shipped out a beta on a disc before this." - Official Mortal Online Lead Community Moderator

Starvault's reponse to criticism related to having a handful of players as the official "test" team for a supposed MMO: "We've just have another 10ish folk kind enough to voulenteer added tot the test team" (SIC) This explains much about the state of the game :-)

  echolynfan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/26/10
Posts: 718

I ain't got a gat but I gotta soldering gun

4/02/11 8:35:50 AM#10

Well OP - I'm not sure if "harder" is the word to describe old school MMO's - try more interesting than the current offering.

I've played many MMO's but one of my favorties was Star Wars Galaxies and as messed up as the NGE was/is - it's still one of the most fun MMO's around. Why? Because it's not raid, dungeoun, gearscore, raid, dungeon blah blah blah. Every freaking MMO is a fantasy one which involves getting to level cap and basically raiding for gear and loot and this is supposed to be fun?

I recently tried Rift and while this is a very polished game - it's the same thing: Dungons for gear and I'm just plain sick of this.

In SWG for example: I can have my own houses...vendors and shop where people can visit and buy things 24-7. Currently I'm working on mutations for Beastmaster which in itself is a game. Space combat is awesome with multiplayer ships (I know Eve has done this and I've played Eve but you can keep the hours and hours of gate hopping and pvp gate ganking) and while the combat stuff is not the best - there is so much in the game to do BESIDES combat it doesn't matter.

And this leads me to my main point: Old School games may appear harder, but they're really were/are more involved and require a little more brain power. My thinking on why this was the case is that early MMO's were directed towards the table top D& D gamer who was generally a more thinking kind of gamer and not an FPS type.

World of Warcraft was released and all of a sudden coprporate interests took over and SWG was eventually ravished with the NGE mess to compete with Wow which was making HUGE amounts of $$. We all know how well that worked out. This same kind of corporate interest has ruined the music industry which basically churns out short term bands for cash and discards them. I don't think you'll see any current bands doing the senior type Rolling Stones touring gig in the future.

I'll be camping out on SWG until The Old Republic comes out but I'm not holding my breath for that game to be any different than a Sci-fi version of Wow. We'll see.

Currently playing as Pete Puma on Excalibur. FF ARR - The best MMO I've played since SWG!

  Castillle

Forum Bunny

Joined: 10/24/10
Posts: 2678

4/02/11 9:29:24 AM#11
Well... At most i can say umm... If you turn mobs everywhere in wow to elite mobs that should give you an idea on the difficulty difference o.o start of the game =easy. But usually by the time you reached 20 or before that, youll usually start fighting mobs a lot lower level than you unless you have team mates o.o

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  EndDream

Novice Member

Joined: 12/07/05
Posts: 1170

4/02/11 9:40:15 AM#12
Originally posted by someforumguy

Back then I played shooters and RTS games. The early MMO's were too boring for me. I never had any understanding for the dull and painfull mechanics that made everything take so long. The only challenges I saw in oldschool MMO's were challenges that had nothing to do with gaming in my eyes. Camping, corpseruns,waiting for mana to replenish, travelling times even if you were just going back and forth were ridiculous in my eyes.

Not fun and not a gameplay challenge. I wanted to be challenged in skill (twitched based) or tactically. This was nowhere to be found in those oldschool MMO's. Oldschool MMO's would never become popular in current market. (Most) people have a job already.

UO was all about skill.

Remember Old School Ultima Online

  Sovrath

Elite Member

Joined: 1/06/05
Posts: 16937

4/02/11 9:51:44 AM#13
Originally posted by Slapshot1188
Originally posted by someforumguy

Not fun and not a gameplay challenge. I wanted to be challenged in skill (twitched based) or tactically. This was nowhere to be found in those oldschool MMO's. Oldschool MMO's would never become popular in current market. (Most) people have a job already.

And THAT my friend is the difference.  You want a twitch ("player skill) based RPG which is kind of like asking for a round square.  In an RPG you are playing the role of a character.  When my archer who is 35 and lived in the woods for the last 20 years draws back his bow to shoot, his success (to me) shouldn't depend on my twitch skills.  Not in an RPG.

 

Today's games are moving more toward persistent world MMOFPS.  They might be fine games.  They might be much more popular. But they are very much a different genre than an MMORPG.

Yeah, I agree with you, there is a contingent of players are are looking for mmofps and that's not what early mmo's were about.

I miss some of the old school ways. This is probably why, even though I have a Rift account, I keep a Vanguard account and I'm even finding myself playing final fantasy 14 precisely because I do need to figure things out such as crafting because it's needed or that I can get a mob that will devastate me if I'm not lucky.

  BCuse

Advanced Member

Joined: 11/12/05
Posts: 140

4/02/11 10:01:38 AM#14

i find newer games hold your hand too much.  The people playing tend to want everything given to them in a short period of time rather than building up your character. 

  User Deleted
4/02/11 10:05:42 AM#15
Originally posted by someforumguy

Back then I played shooters and RTS games. The early MMO's were too boring for me. I never had any understanding for the dull and painfull mechanics that made everything take so long. The only challenges I saw in oldschool MMO's were challenges that had nothing to do with gaming in my eyes. Camping, corpseruns,waiting for mana to replenish, travelling times even if you were just going back and forth were ridiculous in my eyes.

Not fun and not a gameplay challenge. I wanted to be challenged in skill (twitched based) or tactically. This was nowhere to be found in those oldschool MMO's. Oldschool MMO's would never become popular in current market. (Most) people have a job already.

Wait, aside from DF which models itself on 'oldschool' mmos, which modern mmos have these challenging twitch mechanics again?

 

The gameplay challenge in oldschool mmos came from working with dynamics which promoted community interaction and, you know, actually working with others. Most modern mmos you simply log in, within a few days you've solo'd to level cap (with big fucking arrows showing you exactly where to go, because actually having to work it out for yourself is such a chore isn't it...) and then it's just the same old repetitive arenas over and over again.

 

Not trying to be rude but if you think the whole point of an mmo is about twitch or some kind of rts challenge then you are missing the main point of an mmorpg.

  Maaku

Novice Member

Joined: 5/02/06
Posts: 93

Live or die, do it with style!

4/02/11 10:19:23 AM#16

Everythime this topic pops up, it makes me reminisce ((I have no idea if I wrote that right)) and laugh a little.

 What made old skool MMO's harder than modern day MMO's

 

The truth... Crappy design :) Haha. It's not that it really was crappy but simply that the medium was still very new and designers/programmers and etc... Didn't know better.

 

You think that if back then we had todays ideology, experience and technology people would still make a game like UO or EQ1? Hell no. In 10 years from now the same topic will come around and people will say: What made WoW so popular? Because compared to the games of the future it will most likely suck... Or not be on par with whatever is coming. But WoW did have/ and still having a really good run but hey, UO is still running right? So, who's really the king of mmo's?

Awards

Ultima Online's success resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the game 8 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. These records include "First MMORPG to Reach 100,000 Players", "Longest Running MMORPG", and "First and Only Person to Kill Lord British", which was done by a player named Rainz during a server reset which turned off his invulnerability.[21]

In 2010, Ultima Online was the first inductee into the Game Developers Choice Online Awards Hall of Fame.[22]

 

WoW definitely merits many awards as well but it will never take away those above :)

________________________
"If RL was an MMO, I'd probably be getting laid more often..."

  khanstruct

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/07
Posts: 368

4/02/11 10:45:06 AM#17
Originally posted by ActionMMORPG

 Tough group quests to get epic mounts for Paladin and Warlock.  Now they are just purchased from a trainer.

Ah, I remember trying to get a mount in UO. I had to find a grandmaster animal trainer, then head out to a dangerous part of the forest and protect him while he worked to tame a swamp dragon (this could take a few minutes to well over an hour). But in the end, my necromancer had a very cool dragon mount :)

  Loktofeit

Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11822

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

4/02/11 10:49:54 AM#18
Originally posted by Slapshot1188
Originally posted by someforumguy

Not fun and not a gameplay challenge. I wanted to be challenged in skill (twitched based) or tactically. This was nowhere to be found in those oldschool MMO's. Oldschool MMO's would never become popular in current market. (Most) people have a job already.

And THAT my friend is the difference.  You want a twitch ("player skill) based RPG which is kind of like asking for a round square.  In an RPG you are playing the role of a character.  When my archer who is 35 and lived in the woods for the last 20 years draws back his bow to shoot, his success (to me) shouldn't depend on my twitch skills.  Not in an RPG.

 

Today's games are moving more toward persistent world MMOFPS.  They might be fine games.  They might be much more popular. But they are very much a different genre than an MMORPG.

People want stats to be the defining factor until their skill is more competent than the stats, then they want it the other way around. A good example is stealing in an MMO, The thief always has to get flagged because if it was done based on character skill, the players would go ballistic when they watched that sack of gems disappear from their bag but their character didn't notice it.

  soulmirror

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/18/04
Posts: 93

4/02/11 10:51:00 AM#19

"easy mode, solo centric, anti social"

 

   What made the Original MMO's harder?  I really can not say they were harder, they just required a different  generation and computer timeline. 

    When I cut my teeth on computers cutting edge technology was the 75 baud acoustic coupler at the local Radio Shack and the computer accepted programming 2 ways, user input or cassette tape.  As such, not a lot of people used computers recreationally and those who did, and set up bulletin boards, were hard core as it demanded a lot of time.  That ethic translated to early gaming, not easily accessible, difficult to play, impossible to master.  Catering to that crowd was not easy and back in the day software pushed the limits of hardware, another thing separating games from the common community.  So games were not harder, they just tended to attract a certain type of person.  Because this generation cut their teeth on king of the hill, playground mentality, it's idea translated to early games.  Playing as a team was rewarded and even encouraged as player types were clear cut in their abilities and without certain classes, the chance of success exponentially decreased. (Warrior, Healer, Crowd control anyone?)

  WoW changed that, as a corporation they knew that by making the game and not maxing out processes to push hardware to a new level, they would get more people to play the game with existing hardware and that person, casual gamer, found a way to finish the game, attracted a lot more people to the gaming community.  WoW also catered to it's clients which were B-Net script kiddies, the game had to be easy on the pocket and easy on the atention span.  With that came a blurring of the class lines, more different types of characters could tank, heal or control crowds, making it easier to complete the game.

 

   In the end it comes down to what makes corporations the most money, the easier you make it to log in and kill moss snakes with out insulting anyone's intelligence, the more money you make for the company.

   

  Akarn1007

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/27/11
Posts: 46

4/02/11 10:55:20 AM#20

the endless leveling system. AC, EQ, both had you grinding XP for YEARs on end to max out your character, same with AO. WoW started with the once you hit cap its over.

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