Remasters and Refreshes are all the rage in the games industry. Classic games throughout the last console generation have been given remasters or simple a refresh, modernizing the visuals and sometimes gameplay of older games to make them shiny and new in a different time. But MMOs typically don't see this - but what if they could?
We don't see this in MMOs, partly due to the monumental task it would be to recreate a full MMO on a new engine. But it does happen - Blade and Soul earlier this year made the shift from Unreal Engine 3 to UE4, effectively boosting the visuals of that already pretty game by a lot. Games also throughout the years tack on updates to their existing engines to add new graphical techniques to their game, such as Lord of the Rings Online over time supporting DirectX 10 and 11 features. World of Warcraft has made some visual improvements over the years, and EVE Online, now that they've depricated the 32-bit client has their eyes set on art improvements like the ones they made earlier in 2019 to improve the look of wormholes and stars.
But none of these games have really be "remastered" or "remade." In the world of MMOs, especially older ones, many of the games we grew up playing and the worlds we know don't exactly look....modern. They look great in our mind's eye, but revisiting them in 2020 may not necessarily leave a lasting impression. However, the industry as a whole is obsessed with remasters and remakes - just look at the Yakuza series. Every game in that series has either been rebuilt or remastered for the modern era. If it were simpler, what MMO would you love to see get that treatment?
While the natural choice for me would be LotRO, we have Amazon working on a Lord of the Rings based MMO right now. If it looks anything like the visuals in New World, I'll be pretty happy to stroll into Mordor. For me, the MMO I'd love to see get the full remake experience would likely be World of Warcraft. Can you image some of the starter zones getting a modern coat of paint? The further you go back in time in Azeroth, the clearer it is that those zones were built in a different time on less robust visual tool sets.
The same thing happens in LotRO, you can definitely tell older zones from the newer ones just by the visual variety and density. I'd love for World of Warcraft to, excuse the pun, wow people when they start out near Goldshire, or explore Durotar. I'd love to see the same visual density and variety we saw in Kul Tiras transported to Orgrimmar.
I'm one of those MMO fans that never played World of Warcraft during its heyday, instead I played LotRO. So when I finally sat down and played WoW, I remember being underwhelmed by Stormwind, Goldshire and the lot. It wasn't until I started seeing areas in Mists of Pandaria that I felt truly awed by some of its visuals. I have to imagine there are other MMO players like me who felt the same.
Arguably the developers could just go back and update those areas, other games have done so. But what if they were to completely remake WoW on a modern or new engine? The counter argument is that the visuals and style of Warcraft is what gives the MMO its charm for many people. And I totally get that.
So I ask you, reader: Would you want to see your favorite MMO get a remake or remaster? If so, which one and why? And conversely, if not, why not?