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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: The Other Top 5 Hardcore MMORPGs

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83 posts found

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1272

6/23/14 1:03:10 PM#21

Very cool list!

Of those listed this go around, I'd say I've had the most experience with Shadowbane, FFXI and Lineage 2. Though I played L2 and FFXI far more than Shadowbane. Shadowbane was one of my first MMOs and was a great primer for what would come with XI and L2 later.


I'll speak specifically on XI and L2.


For FFXI, it's interesting to see it described as a "hardcore MMO", because in the almost 8 years I played it, I never thought of it that way. I thought of it as a massive virtual world with many goals to set and tons of things to do. It seems to me that if your goal is to "get through content as fast as possible", then yes, you would need to make FFXI "a full-time job". But only if that's your goal. To me, XI never felt like a second job. It never even felt like a chore. I did what I wanted, for as long as I wanted. When I started getting weary of my current activity, I'd find something else to do.


Sometimes, I'd do next to nothing at all. I've spent plenty of time just sitting in Lower Jeuno (by the stairs, next to the AH) with other online friends, just hanging out chatting, joking around and enjoying the general shenanigans that would take place there on a regular basis. FFXI had an amazing community back then, with some truly awesome and often hysterical people (I'm talking CoP era in particular, before Aht Urghan released and Whitegate became the new Jeuno). 


Point is, in MMOs, the way you approach them determines the experience you have. If you approach it like a "job", it will feel like one. If you approach it as a "grind", it will feel like a grind. If you treat it as a hobby, a fun pastime... that's what it will feel like. FFXI was certainly the latter to me. Great times, awesome memories.


I'd go back to those days in a heartbeat if I could. Sadly, that FFXI doesn't exist anymore. With Abyssea, SE pretty much gave up on keeping it as the deep, vast experience it was, and chose instead to try and shoe-horn "mainstream accessibility" and vertical progression into it. Ah well. At least I got to experience it when it was still a great game with a great community that wasn't all about "racing to level cap at the dismissal of all else". 


Lineage 2 was my go-to PvP counterpart to FFXI. To this day, I've yet to see a MMO designed around PvP as well as Lineage 2 was. PvP was woven - in some way - into every aspect of the game. Even PvE content had some influence on PvP (and vice versa). 


The thing is, as this article states, L2 is often dismissed as "nothing but a grind". To that, I can only say that while understand where that impression comes from - there's a lot of grinding, to be sure - I can not agree with it. L2 is far more than "just a grind". Grinding levels in L2 is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The heart of L2 is (or at least was) player-driven conflict, competition, politics... Once you got into that aspect of the game, got involved with the clan-wars, the alliances, the betrayals... all that went with it, that's when the true heart of L2 became clear. And anyway... even during xp grinding sessions (almost always done in a group with fellow clan/ally-mates), PvP could happen. You never knew who you'd run into, or who would run into you. That unpredictability made even something as "mundane" as leveling an exciting and often fun experience. 


NCSoft blew it on RMT/Botting. Absolutely, no question. However, in terms of creating a game built entirely around player competition and cooperation.. they absolutely nailed it, in my opinion. And to reiterate, I've yet to see another MMO come close.


Sadly, NCSoft also jumped the shark by turning the game fully F2P and it's now nowhere near the game it used to be. Again, I'm glad I got to experience it when it was still awesome. I have tons of great (and not so-great) memories from my time in Aden as well. 



Spotlight Poster

Joined: 8/24/06
Posts: 3203

6/23/14 1:18:06 PM#22
The weird thing is 3 of these are in my top 5 all time mmorpg, The other two are 6 and 7 though lol.

Novice Member

Joined: 6/16/13
Posts: 28

6/23/14 1:38:47 PM#23

Oh really? Classic Pre Trammel Ultima Online doesn't even warrant a mention?

I'm not sure how  you define hardcore.... but UO had some of the most heart pounding moments that I'm confident at least one or two nerds have had heart-attacks.!


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/13/06
Posts: 190

6/23/14 1:47:24 PM#24

On Shadowbane, Changyou (the Chinese company that bought the Shadowbane name and source code in 2011) hasn't done anything with it.  So you have a worst case scenario where a great IP has been locked up to rot like the Man in The Iron Mask.

I have often wondered how a "sure thing" like a Shadowbane 2 - the original concepts, tweaked some, with better graphics and game engine - doesn't get made.  Same with a UO 2.

Instead we get a downward and apparently continuing slide into beautiful but lifeless game worlds where player choices come last.

EQN "may" reverse the trend.  We'll see.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 7/09/11
Posts: 1973

May the game be ever in your favor.

6/23/14 1:58:22 PM#25
I will never forgive you author. Still you ignore Mabinogi. At least go play it. I refuse to believe you've ever even touched it after I saw you listing it on the "Top 5 Casual MMORPGs" list.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/30/11
Posts: 72

6/23/14 2:07:02 PM#26
Bout time AC got some credit. I've been searching for an MMO for years that even compares to that game in its prime. 

Novice Member

Joined: 10/24/06
Posts: 80

6/23/14 2:17:51 PM#27
If it wasn't mentioned. Asheron's call is going to a B2P model. Pay $10 (if you have an old account still pay $10 once) and it's active forever. They are also looking into releasing the client closer to the end of the year so people can start running there own servers.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/03/04
Posts: 79

6/23/14 2:28:39 PM#28
Great to see FFXI, the best MMO ever made hands down make it, and lineage 2 as well, my personal favorite open world PvP MMO.


Novice Member

Joined: 12/22/04
Posts: 3

6/23/14 2:38:55 PM#29
If anyone is interested in playing or contributing to Meridian 59 (which is now open source) see

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/23/09
Posts: 3394

I thought what I'd do is I'd pretend I was one of those Deaf-mutes.

6/23/14 2:53:28 PM#30
Originally posted by LuposDavalte

Oh really? Classic Pre Trammel Ultima Online doesn't even warrant a mention?

I'm not sure how  you define hardcore.... but UO had some of the most heart pounding moments that I'm confident at least one or two nerds have had heart-attacks.!

Was on the first list.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/24/09
Posts: 15

6/23/14 2:57:29 PM#31
Originally posted by Cuppett5
Bout time AC got some credit. I've been searching for an MMO for years that even compares to that game in its prime. 


Couldn't agree more.  

Played on Thistledown for years and was the greatest gaming experience of my life.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/10/07
Posts: 358

I'm not your type. I'm not inflatable.

6/23/14 4:06:56 PM#32
Holy shit. Those games are dated and I remember them... damn Im old.

Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/09
Posts: 452

6/23/14 4:47:46 PM#33

Although it should probably be pointed out that FF XI got easier and easier, and more generic with each expansion..

The original game was almost kind of ridiculous in the "hard factor".



Advanced Member

Joined: 8/24/10
Posts: 288

I just ate your cat!

6/23/14 5:31:34 PM#34
Originally posted by Scot

The MMO story has been one of a transition to easymode solo play. Unlike the previous article said it was not just a change of what we wanted, it was where the game designers led us. The solo play was brought in to attract solo game players to MMOs, to make them bigger selling games. Players in the days of DAOC were not all on the boards asking for more solo play.

I wonder if might consider another top ten? 'The solo games with the biggest multiplayer element' top ten. While MMOs have gone solo, solo games have gone multiplayer. I get more grouping gameplay from Battlefield and Space Marines than I do from a MMO. Solo Multiplayer Online, 'SMO', that's what MMOs are today.

You could always solo in MMO's.....


Novice Member

Joined: 8/06/03
Posts: 334

6/23/14 6:50:50 PM#35
Ultima Online... Should be #1 hands down. I am glad it was at least on the other list.. ;)

Elite Member

Joined: 8/19/07
Posts: 1666

6/23/14 7:57:32 PM#36
Originally posted by Grinnz
Originally posted by Scot

The MMO story has been one of a transition to easymode solo play. Unlike the previous article said it was not just a change of what we wanted, it was where the game designers led us. The solo play was brought in to attract solo game players to MMOs, to make them bigger selling games. Players in the days of DAOC were not all on the boards asking for more solo play.

I wonder if might consider another top ten? 'The solo games with the biggest multiplayer element' top ten. While MMOs have gone solo, solo games have gone multiplayer. I get more grouping gameplay from Battlefield and Space Marines than I do from a MMO. Solo Multiplayer Online, 'SMO', that's what MMOs are today.

You could always solo in MMO's.....

Being able to solo was one of the bigger selling points for Asheron's Call. Sure there were plenty of opportunities for grouping, but one could exist as a soloer if they chose to.

I still remember heading out of Rithwic with a pack full of supplies and following lifestones on a tour of northern areas going out killing, and selling excess loot and junk to the random vendors scattered throughout the area. Being out in the field for weeks at a time, running into random people having similar adventures, bouncing from lifestone to lifestone. The exploration in AC was outstanding.


Advanced Member

Joined: 1/03/14
Posts: 226

6/23/14 8:58:53 PM#37
I still find it silly that people now need SE to make a new FFXI because the company blew the old one up with Abyssea.  I played FFXIV ARR for a couple of months and while it is a good game in it's own right, it just doesn't have the magic FFXI did.

Novice Member

Joined: 11/16/05
Posts: 185

6/23/14 9:33:41 PM#38
Its funny how it seems that everyone has their own list, probably based on which games they played the most.

Novice Member

Joined: 4/24/10
Posts: 530

6/23/14 9:48:05 PM#39
Originally posted by jdkskip
Every time I see a "best" list, I always look for Shadowbane to be there. Guess I'm just one of them immensely dedicated fans, lol.

Same here.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/31/13
Posts: 8

6/23/14 9:49:54 PM#40
Without EQOA this list is garbage. EQOA was twice as hard as anything on this list! Just because it only lasted 9 years and ran on PS2 doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a spot! It was THE FIRST console mmorpg. 
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