Over the last few years, it seems as though the MMORPG audience as a whole has become more cynical. Now, that could be because of a perception that the quality of the released products that we have seen over the last few years has dwindled since the heyday of MMOs (though no one can really pinpoint an exact time when everyone loved the games that launched perfectly and butterflies and unicorns pranced merrily overhead). It could be because in a post 9/11, housing crisis and economic depression era, we're all just a little bit more cynical and jaded than we used to be. Or, it could just be that it's easier to complain on the internet now than it ever was before.
It could be any one of those reasons and any one of a dozen more, and I'm not going to be the one to decide. That's going to be the job of some poor, unwitting anthropologist or sociologist that's braver than I am.
Instead of trying to pinpoint the cause of the trend toward hating everything and trusting no one, I've decided to embrace it, because nowhere is it more evident than it is on video game forums as everyone, it seems, has a strong reason to hate on a game or two. The thing is, the hate isn't always terribly original.
In this week's list, I've compiled my own list of ten reasons to hate MMO X. Basically, it's a run down of some of the more common complaints I've heard about MMOs over the last few years. Some of you are going to tell me I should have pointed fingers at the specific games in question, which I would have done had not each of these complaints been so common among so many titles:
#10 There's Too Much Lag
"Man, MMO X sucks. Every time I try to log on, it's like a slideshow. Why can't these developers get their s%#! together and fix this stuff before launch."
Lag may be one of the single least understood element of online gaming that gets picked on the most. What is lag, exactly? Is it a server side problem? Is it a problem with your computer? Your internet connection? Programming issues?
Maybe the reason that we hear this complaint so often is because so many different things are called, "lag."
#9 The Graphics Look Like They're From 1999
"I don't know how you losers can like MMO X, the graphics look like they're from 1999."
I'm not sure what everyone's hang-up is with the year 1999, but if you've actually looked at graphics from that year and compared them to pretty much any current MMO, there's going to be a world of difference. That fact aside though, we hear time and time again that, to the hardcore MMOers out there, gameplay will trump graphics every time. If that's true, why do we so often hear this particular reason to hate an MMO?
#8 It's Just Another Theme Park
"Well, I'd play MMO X if I wanted to be led by the nose through the game with no choice and no world."
A departure from what many perceive as the origins of the MMO, the open, sandbox world, has more than a few people upset, kicking and screaming. It's difficult to argue against the fact that as time has moved on, the MMO industry has evolved to more and more closely resemble their linear, quest to quest single player cousins. For some, this has become a problem and they're not afraid to let everyone know about it, every time a new game launches.
#7 This Game is Only Going to be for Griefers
"I don't want to play a game that's going to be populated entirely by griefers."
That particular phrase seems to be the most used as a reason to hate any game that uses PvP as a main feature. That's not to say that there aren't a fair share of PvP games out there where griefers do indeed rule the roost, but every so often a company makes a PvP game that's designed to deal with annoying activity like griefing. Not everyone who likes PvP is a griefer.