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Once upon a time I had fallen in love.

Posted by Nominal Saturday July 5 2008 at 5:28PM
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I've been playing Massive titles since roughly 1999. I played many of the early titles, UO, EQ, etc. Beta tested games starting with Ragnarok, then Dark Ages of Camelot, Anarchy Online. I decided recently that there were probably a few games I chose to love preemptively, long before release, ergo I did (Anarchy and FFXI being the best examples). I've occasionally been surprised (RO, EVE, Shining Lore). Though due to changing times, age, groups of friends, and the monster that is WoW, I'm feeling entirely disillusioned at the moment.

I realize I simply want the game I'm playing to move me. I want it to drop me into a real experience. Something that makes me truly feel I've escaped the grind of real life. Of all the aforementioned, and dozens of other titles I've tried in the interim, two continue to stand out.

Final Fantasy XI, despite the awful control scheme. Despite the two years post development it took to reach North America from it's launch. Dated graphics, limited resolution requiring registry edits, tedium and lack of solo game play, it touched me. I quickly had formed a static party with local friends, and we were working together through the storyline, leveling various jobs as we went. There were no structured guilds, no DKP minus (did anyone adopt this in XI?), just simple linkshells. End game was a sprawling adventure, with a point, story, an end. You didn't fight through end-game content for the epic gear, you fought through it to see the outcome. The sense of comraderie I felt was tangible and amazing. Never mind we weren't at war with another faction we couldn't even communicate with.

The other title that stands out, EVE. Easily the most beautiful environment I've been privledged enough to explore, I adore that I can spend hours doing absolutely nothing yet feel so relaxed and entertained while doing it. Sure there is this tremendous possibility that the next jump will lead to your undoing, but money comes and goes so easily. You learn quickly not to fly anything you can't afford to replace. Exploration is amazing, and CCP continues to give incentive to do so (scan probing anyone?), and the bounty system (though I've yet to explore hunting/pirating myself) looks like a blast.

World of Warcraft succeeded because they themselves managed their own unique innovation. They took elements from a huge number of previously successful titles and polished it until it sparkled. Since then it seems like a good half of other developers are attempting the same, releasing the so-called "WoW Clones" (which is an absurd statement) and wonder what they're doing wrong.

I personally feel it goes something like:

"Gee. I'd like to play a MMO. That will run with my existing hardware. What are all of my friends playing? Well I really like this other IP better, but since everyone is playing this other game, and it's still pretty fun, even if it's not what I really want to be playing... now I have six level 70 characters and this expansion is coming up. I've already invested so much time in this character. Dick and Jane need a tank. Oh well."

That is certainly where I am right now. While eagerly anticipating Aion and Earthrise. Hoping maybe, just maybe, one of these two might perchance be intriguing enough to lure a handful of my friends from Feathermoon to try something new. Maybe then I can stop dual subscribing.

Sepulcher writes:

I am in a similar boat.  I played WoW, made alot of friends.  I even ran a great guild for a while.  But I got burned out after 3+ years of playing and I quit.  I keep in touch with my friends in various ways.  But I am off playing other games alone now while they all play WoW together.  I miss the interaction, but I just could not support a game I no longer enjoyed.

There really is no way to win in this situation, you just need to do what is best for you.  Your friends will understand.

Sat Jul 05 2008 7:33PM Report
steelfrenzy writes:

haha i know the feeling i started playing mmos with EQ in...well i believe it was around the year 2000. seems its been awhile away, but in reality i suppose it wasnt very long ago. great games come and go, and for those of us who have lost the good times need to welcome the bad with the realization that there will be another mmo eventually. i have my doubts aion will be my thing, but i am eager to see what earthrise holds in store for gamers. atm AoC seems to be holding up and im expecting to see even more from it in the future...despite the uprising of spoiled children who grew up with WoW in its better form. anyway now im rambling so ill end this with saying good luck to you i look forward to seeing more posts :)

Sat Jul 05 2008 11:50PM Report
jeam89 writes:

Well said Estrid.... Very well said. My account with FFXI remains active to this day, since 03, and I don't log in regularly. Vanadiel has moved me in so many ways, and I can't turn my back on it. My very first true MMO experience... all came from FFXI. Ragnarok was my first MMO, and Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, and all the other pay to play MMO's were great too in their own way, but FFXI still remains on top for me. I really hope Aion will grow to be just as joyful to me as FFXI is...

Sun Jul 06 2008 2:11AM Report
reisu writes:

I actually agree, except for WoW.

Mind you, this is my opinion, this point in time, the MMO was beginning to shine, and beginning to grow. EQ had been out for some time (and AO, and UO, and heck, even Meridian).

The multiverse was ready for something new, give WoW credit, everything in it was relatively 'new'. Granted....we still had the same ol' FedEx quests, and kill me a_moss_snake type quests, but it was more involved.

Still, WoW is bound to 'evolve' one day.

Regardless, I still remember EQ, AO, FFXI, DAoC and...well, even E&B with fond memories.

The one thing that I *can* appreciate is just how bad these were when they were released, each and every one of them (DAoC was probably the least painful).

Good luck to you in your future endeavours. You should probably also look at Fallen Earth, which looks awesome as well:)

Sun Jul 06 2008 5:34AM Report
Morbius_v1 writes:

All I can say is that I have a feeling Warhammer might finally shake things up a little. WoW has monopolized the market for long enough.

Sun Jul 06 2008 5:49AM Report
vohn88 writes:

I understand where you are coming from here. I started my MMO gamer life with a little Korean title called Dark Ages it was fun but FFXI is what got me hooked. I played it for 2 years and still think it is one of the best games I have ever played. I have played many others Eve, WoW, EQ2, DDO(for a very short time in bata), and the one I just stoped playing AoC.

I am looking forward to Aion but am not sure it will hold me either. I am hoping that some game will take a risk and break from the mold that has been used to make a lot of the games of late. All we can do is wait and hope.



Sun Jul 06 2008 10:12PM Report
Nominal writes:

I'm hoping for the best, expecting the worst with Aion. I don't want to claim bias against Korean titles, but the majority I've played have felt entirely shallow. I'm kind of experiencing a knee-jerk response with Huxley right now as well. Fallen Earth looks really interesting, looking forward to seeing more on that.

I'm certainly not saying WoW is bad, but I started playing in Beta and have since experienced significant burnout. WoW isn't a MMO to me anymore, it's a phenomenon. I just hope Blizzard's new IP is sci-fi, there is something about the future I find much, much more compelling.

I'll just cool my heels in Eve for now. :3

Mon Jul 07 2008 1:07PM Report writes:
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