Everquest Friends

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. ~J.A. Laraque

Are we what is wrong with MMO’s?

When you get above age 30 a lot is changing and a lot of has to do with what you believe you should be doing and the direction you should be going. For many gamers there comes a time where they decide if gaming in part of their lifestyle or something they did in their youth and now it becomes something they need to leave behind. For those who continue gaming it will always be different, not only because we are older with different responsibilities, but because many who we used to game with will have moved on.

mmo cafe

When talking about MMO’s many people talk about Everquest and the early days of World of Warcraft the way a man might talk about his college days. You remember a time when you were free and could do what you want and it was celebrated as well as expected. Now, you have to “grow up” and “be an adult” and the fun times as you knew them are over. This is not to mean that there will not be fun times ahead, but that it will never be like it was before and depending on the person this may make them feel that anything that comes next just could never live up to the old and really for the most part, it cannot.

Everquest Friends

So when you talk about that 48-hour camp in the Efreeti room was it that the time spent killing the same placeholder over and over was so much fun or that it was the time in your life that it happened more fun than now. With many of the new MMO’s being released the idea is the teenager with tons of time on his hand in the past now has work, marriage, kids and so on to deal with and cannot spend time playing 12 hours a day. Of course, there is also the people used to having everything handed to them to consider as well.

If you associate, your fun days with a MMO and now those fun days are over then it will be almost impossible to get that happy feeling back no matter what a game does. You could make an exact copy of a game, but now its 10 years later and maybe that awesome boyfriend lost his job and does not do what he used to or your sexy girlfriend is pregnant and angry. So you load up an MMO and hope to have those fun filled nights you had fighting twin emperors and you just cannot find it and you blame the game.

World of Warcraft Guild

I have always said it is the people who make the game so if you played with great friends in EQ then most likely many of those friends have moved on. Now, you have to try and make new friends or gather the few you have left in a new game, but you cannot bring that magic back. This does not remove responsibility from the game makers. Many MMO’s are just lazy and they rather copy and play it safe than innovate. However, many of the arguments comparing the old to the new are the same we do with movies or television shows. The glasses are rosy and the memories seem so much better than the present or the future.

Perhaps this is the reason MMO’s can be played alone more now than in the past. The EQ and even vanilla WOW generation is much older. Can most of you who raided in EQ find 40 good people to raid and play with day after day, week after week. Can you find 25 or even 15 and if so is it just as fun being with them in the game regardless of the game?

Wow guild

Many who find games like Star Wars, The Old Republic fun are not just fanboi’s. I have found people who like to solo like the game. Many who did not have big guilds in EQ or Wow like the game and those who have retained a good core of gamer friends like it because they get together and enjoy each other’s company in the game first and the actual game second.

Personally I think that was the key to EQ besides being the first 3D MMO and alone on the market for a long time. The drama was new and interesting; today it is old and scripted like the worst reality show. In the past you grouped for hours and talked making new friends. Now, you are lucky if you can finish a run with a stranger much less talk to them. In between game time, you would hang out, talk with your friends and interact with the gaming community. Now, you have many more responsibilities and less time.

thunderboss

So for many when a new MMO is announced, especially if you have not played an MMO in a while and have friends interested in giving it a try. You end up putting more than hopes of a good game on the product. People hope it will rekindle that fire, bring friends back together, improve your life and games by themselves cannot do that. There are documented reports that leaving an MMO can end relationships, friendships and even marriages so it is understandable that people think an MMO might create what it can also destroy.

We still have to make sure MMO makers do a good job, and create and maintain the game they promised. However, we should also realize you cannot relive Woodstock, and for many games our “Woodstock” was EQ or WOW.

  • NYCJapaneseTeacher

    Yes. You hit it exactly right. Community. An MMO is not enjoyable without companions. You have two types of companions:

    1) Real-life friends who join you in the game. Those are the most fun but they are tough to get because you need multiple friends who are both into the same game AND will play regularly. That is difficult to come by once you are an adult!

    2) Friends that you make in the game itself. Back when EQ first came out, you needed companions to get things done. In fact, you needed companions just to know what the heck you were doing! It was so new to all of us and I remember being at the foot of a snowy mountain, killing the same couple of creatures over and over again while people nearby were getting themselves into all kinds of mishaps 🙂 Remember when people would yell “TRAIN!” when somebody would aggro a bunch of mobs by accident and if they passed by you, you would get killed almost immediately? Good times! But now that MMOs are so easy and we know the mechanics inside and out, there is no reason to make friends in-game. For the most part, the only people who stay in these MMOs are min-maxers who are elitist and nasty.

    R.I.P. MMORPG 1995-2010.

  • Marcus

    I’m not an MMO vet but having played a few months of WoW and most recently 3 months of SWTOR it is clear that the MMORPG genre needs a massive overhaul. SWTOR is a great example of a copy-and-paste genre which has ultimately resulted in producing a single player experience. My server is virtually empty – there are usually about 15 or so players in my instance and none of them what to socialise. They would rather do the same quest you’re doing on their own instead of grouping.

    The production values in SWTOR are top class – you can see where the $200 million EA spent on SWTOR went. But what they’ve given us is a grind. Its just not fun to kill 30 of that, rinse and repeat for 20 levels until you reach the level cap. Especially if there’s nobody else to enjoy it with.

    MMO publishers have a simple equation for their MMO business model. How do we get people to subscribe to our game every month? And their execution is simple too – just make sure it takes hundreds of hours to reach the level cap. Hence the grind.

    I would happily pay a monthly subscription for any MMO that offers diversity of gameplay and incentivises me somehow. The only incentive right now for playing most MMO’s is to get better gear. And that’s fine if I didn’t have to kill a gazillion mobs to get better gear. Or play PVP which I personally suck at and I’m sure I’m not alone there.

    It will take a brave publisher/developer to really step out of the box and create a new MMO experience. What they need to do is ask the players what they would like to see and do in an MMO. How would they like to be rewarded? Rehashing the same mechanics found in most MMO’s simply isn’t the way forward and is not going to result in creating a vibrant community experience or long term sustained profits. SWTOR is a fine example of short term gain where upon launch there were queues before you could login and 90+ players in an instance instead of the 10 or so we see now.