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The Rubicon

The mission here is simple. To provoke insightful, intelligent conversations about the MMO genre.

Author: killinger

A love letter with a heavy heart.

Posted by killinger Sunday January 25 2015 at 3:14AM
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This isn't going to be a blog post with a specific narrative in mind. I really don't know how to focus these feelings with out this thought popping into my head, the MMO genre that I fell in love with is gone. Now before this turns into a post about the "MMO is dying" I want to make clear that I don't think its dying. I think its just that I've been hyped up just to be brought back down in 6-8 weeks by basically every MMO that has emerged in recent memory. Let me put some context to this.

My first MMO experience was EQ1. At the time the MMO, and online gaming in general, was very young then. It was easy for an MMO to amaze you at every turn. I have never played a game where you were surrounded by thousands of players, together triumphing over legendary beasts and forging adventures on a daily basis. While I didn't play it as long as others (Due to my little brother becoming absolutely obsessed thus thrusting me out of the game) it still made an impact on me that I hold dear to this day. Final Fantasy 11 was my next, and to this day my favorite MMO of all time. I (and basically everyone else here) had their time with WoW, and while my time was fun with WoW it never had the effect that the previous two games had. Since then I have gone through countless hyped up releases, alphas, betas and everything in-between. I have just quit Archeage for a number of reasons and now here I am pondering what MMO is next.

So here I am tunneling through the internet looking for an MMO to play and all across the web is the discussion of the idea that MMOs are dead. Are they really dead? Am I cursed with never having those feelings of adventure and solidarity with guildmates again? Or is it just that I am an adult now and the responsibilities of real life not allow me such pleasures? The only games I've been playing to have any resemblance to the feelings I got form EQ1 are games such as Day Z, and even then that genre, while young, is already creating carbon copies of one another. While the newly released H1Z1 is very good in my opinion (debatable yes but that's for another post) I still yearn for the RPG aspect. I was turned into a gamer because of the SNES RPGs. Final Fantasy 3 (Technically 6 but god dammit it was Final Fantasy 3 on SNES for the US and that what it was to me) is my favorite game of all time. Before that game I play video games very casually, 1-2 hours before I was done. Once I discover RPGs I could do 8 hour sessions without thinking twice about it. It honestly amazes me that I didn't turn into a basement dwelling hermit chained to the fate of being a socially awkward virgin forever. I think the allure of weed and getting crazy in life was enough to maintain a balance, but I digress.

So where is this all leading? Well really nowhere I guess, because that's how I feel about the state of MMO progression and innovation. I feel that while we are seeing MMOs make highly polished, cinematic, flashy and very expensive games, none have rekindled the fire. And this is the thought that makes me weep on the inside. I don't think its me either. I still have the same love for music, travel, books, film, and basically ever other hobby I enjoy. So I don't think its my age that is really the factor the this heavy heart. Many of us will blame WoW for the stain on the genre. I can see a lot of valid points, but I feel the WoW is just an easy finger to point. Every other genre of gaming has been able to evolve past their respective great games of a past generation. Why is it that MMOs fail to do the same? Why do these companies feel that every MMO they make MUST  fit the mold of WoW in order to be successful? Or that every sandbox MMO must fit the mold of Star Wars Galaxies in order to please? Maybe the MMORPG genre could to a hint or two from games like Day Z.

I know I've kind of been all over the place in this post, but there is an overarching idea to it. I really miss the MMO's of yore. More specifically I miss the organic social structure of past MMOs. I miss the days when getting to level was not the goal but just a byproduct of your invested time. The journey to get there was the goal. The friends you made along the way was the goal. The idea of getting lost in a dangerous world without a million NPCs with fucking exclamation points above their god forsaken heads was the goal. It was about having another life in a world that grew naturally without soul bound items or lame auction houses. A world were getting to the other continent meant running through places where you could die very quickly, then take a boat ride that was dangerous, just to run through two more dangerous zones just to get to your location. Anyways you probably get the idea.

I get the feeling that a lot of others feel the same way, and I understand how tough it is to accept. We keep thinking the next release will be "The One" that will bring it all back, only to be back here a month or two later looking for another MMO to play. Its 3:08 a.m on January the 25th, 2015 and I have very few games to look forward to. Pessimistic? Maybe, but sad nonetheless. There's a quote from the movie "Old Boy" that always pops in my head in times like this. "Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone......."