I'd like to talk about what MMOs you've gone into with expectations, and what disappointments, if any, you've had during your time there. Perhaps you paid just a little nit too much attention to the press releases, maybe you fell for the bullshot
(yes, I know I've linked that comic before), it doesn't really matter. I'm going to share some of my disappointments, hopefully you'll feel moved to do the same in the Comments. Star Wars Galaxies
I love Star Wars, so when I started playing Galaxies
, I had visions of TIE Fighters and Star Destroyers, running battles with Imperial Storm Troopers and making shady deals in the Mos Eisley Cantina. What I got instead was a game where all I ended up doing was taking random missions from computer terminals which invariably involved me running out into the wilderness to kill some 'malevolent' creatures on behalf of some farmers who never actually seemed to appear in-game, for a paltry reward.
I spent a lot of time on Corellia – having read extensively in the Expanded Universe
, I imagined a bustling, thriving metropolis with smugglers and scoundrels round every corner, and with opportunities for exciting adventures right under the nose of the Empire. What I got was a collection of buildings dumped unceremoniously in the middle of the nowhere, at times seemingly populated only by myself and the NPCs.
I knew that you could become a Jedi, although the road was long and hard – I imagined myself going on perilous missions to right wrongs and save innocents in the dark places of the galaxy, instead I got the infamous Hologrind
which left me faced with the prospect of grinding my way through profession after profession with little rhyme or reason.
There were options to interact with some of the heroes and villains from the books and movies through the 'theme parks
' in the game, but you had to be a fairly high level to undertake the quests they gave you, and until you had reached that point, there wasn't really much that felt very Star Wars-y about the game. Yes, there were Jawas, Wookiees and Bothans running around, and if I felt like it I could go run around Naboo and try to convince myself that Episode One hadn't left me feeling like my childhood had been traded away for a nice fat profit, but I never felt that I had a connection with the Star Wars universe, I felt that I could be playing a generic Sci-Fi MMO, only this one happened to have a Star Wars skin over the top of it. The Jump to Lightspeed
expansion helped a little, but the space combat was unbalanced and despite having an expansion to itself, still felt like an unfinished content patch.
At the end of the day, while I enjoyed my time there and made some good friends, it was really only my devotion to Star Wars rather than Galaxies
itself that kept me there. When SOE
rolled out the New Game Enhancements
, I jumped ship. EVE Online
I feel somewhat torn when it comes to EVE Online
. I enjoyed the game, but at times it felt like I was coming home to sit down at another job for an hour or two, and not to relax. Skill progression in EVE
is about as straightforward as you can get – you click on the skill you want to learn, and you just wait until a certain amount of time passes, and you've learned it. It's a little bit more in-depth than that, but that's the basic idea.
You have the opportunity to fly huge spacecraft, start massive corporations, run complex pyramid schemes to part the gullible from their cash, and take part in vicious PvP battles over valuable resources. Unfortunately, it takes a rather long while to get going. You don't really need a degree in economics to get started in the game, but it may well make things a bit easier. CCP
even hired an economist
recently, which shows you just how serious money-making can be in this game.
In the year or so I spent in EVE
, I found myself regularly scanning the market for Ore prices throughout the game, weighing up time and effort rewards and calculating profit margins based on time spent, trying to figure out if I would make more money mining my own ore to sell, or if it made more sense buying somewhere else and selling locally for a smaller profit but less effort. A good half hour of my 'play' time was spent with a calculator in hand, working through the kind of maths I hadn't used since High School. Which is scary, considering I failed Maths. EVE
is huge, really, properly huge, and there is plenty of game in there to go round, and probably something there for everyone, but it's a slow burner. Expect to make plenty of mistakes, and expect to spend a lot of time mining rocks in space – a fact that my girlfriend still finds viciously funny. World of Warcraft
On the other hand, there is little about WoW
that has disappointed me. You may not be surprised to hear that, seeing as how nine million
or so other people across the world seem to agree with me at this point in time.
That being said, one thing that disappointed me quite soon into the game, and still irritates me even now, is the relatively small size of the game. My first character was a Tauren, and while in the lore Mulgore is a massive area, with rolling plains stretching for miles upon miles, in-game you can run across it in about 15 minutes. Coming from Galaxies
(with all its faults) where space was hardly at a premium, things felt a little claustrophobic at first. I haven't really researched the ins and outs of WoW's
development process, so I may be wrong, but I believe one of the reasons for a relatively small game world was that Blizzard
were only expecting a few tens of thousands of players anyway, and with no player housing, there was no need to have massive empty spaces.
I have other niggles about the game; stupidly low loot drop rates on quest mobs - instance bosses not dropping loot appropriate to the makeup of your group; poor quest progression in old-world areas and a forum community that leaves much to be desired - but these are just that, niggles.
So, that's a rather rambling glimpse at what I've expected from some of the MMOs I've played, and how I've been disappointed. No doubt I'll be stupid enough to buy into future PR campaigns and face disappointment again - God, I love being a geek - but what about you? Unburden yourself and share your pain with the world, we'll try not to laugh too much.