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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 11:31AM Rollins said

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I wish UO wasn't my first MMO.

Because of how hard I fell in love with that game, I can't get myself to enjoy WoW or any of the descendants of EQ for any length of time. But at the same time, games like WoW have softened me to the point that I don't have the patience for anything as hard as UO was.

I'm hoping Age of Conan is everything it's cracked up to be - my girlfriend, my cousin, and I have all been looking for something new and fun since our original MMOs screwed us over (my cousin and I being from UO and my girlfriend coming from *gulp* SWG). None of us have really liked WoW or any of the would-be WoW-killers (LotRO, VG, etc).

Well, I guess I'll see how AoC is shaping up this weekend.

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 12:48PM (Unverified) said

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While UO was my first mmo, the one i spent most time on was FFXI, and when things got wrong, i left for WoW in November 2006.

Everything was so beautiful, nice, easy, shiny, it was mmo love! Things changed once I hit 70, and then the slow descent started, nerf to be an "e-sport", the PvP Battlegrounds honor not given right (november 2007), servers crashing more and more often. Even the WoW TCG helped lower my interest in WoW with their loot cards.

Around xmas 2007, i went to EQ2, unfortunatly, while I do find it a superior game to WoW, it required at the time a machine my girlfriend and duo partner could not afford. So I tried other mmos on the market until i found a new one: Lord of the Rings: Online.

If there is one thing I did miss from my FFXI days was the story, it made you feel part of the game world, and gave some purpose. Lotro does have a story that made you feel part of the game.

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 12:48PM Scopique said

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Another UOer here (beta tester, even!). I'm one of the one's who's a serial MMO subscriber: UO, EQ, AO, DaoC, EQ2, SWG, WoW, LotRO, Horizons (now Istaria), VG, EVE, TR, CoH/CoV and even Earth and Beyond. NONE of them have been able to really hold my attention, but games which offer deeper non-combat systems (UO, SWG, VG) are remembered more fondly then one-trick-ponies (WoW).

Part of the reason some of my friends claim they won't try anything else is because they're so INVESTED in WoW. They can't even imagine "starting over" with new rules, new UI, new landscape, etc. I'm sure that guild affliations have a lot to do with it as well: after having made so many friends over the years, if the guild isn't moving, then the prospect of playing alone or with a world of people you DON'T know might be frightening. Plus there's the difference between raiding every weekend and going back to the newbie game.

I don't think it's as simple as "nothing is as good as WoW", because that implies that other MMOs out there (or that will be out there) are either shit, or that WoW is the pinnacle of human civilization (hint: it's not). I believe that people who claim this are just afraid to abandon their years of work and be at the bottom of the totem pole again.

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 1:53PM (Unverified) said

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At this point, I am waiting for something that meets my exceedingly high expectations for a game. I play WoW now for all of the reasons stated.

Time invested, friends, guild affiliations - etc. I have played all of the major MMOs at one point or another and none has held my interest like WoW. Does it have its issues? Oh yeah. More later.

That being said, if anyone ever creates a living MMO I would be there. Instead of the static world that most have I want my actions to matter. If I get a quest to go kill something I want it to have a reason and lasting effects.

My expectations are born of 25 years of RPGs and running RPGs. I miss the organic way that RPGs allow players to effect the world in a real fashion.

For instance, after 2 years, why are we still fighting over Alterac Valley? Couldnt Blizzard looks at win/loss ratios after 12 months and said "Alliance Wins, Frostwolves move out!"?

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 4:06PM (Unverified) said

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I've often said on my blog that the only way you could compete with WoW is if you can somehow manage to stealth-install your MMO on people's PCs and put an icon that looks like the wow icon next to the real one and hope they will accidentally click it.

90% of the friends I have that play WoW it was their first game. About 75% of them it was their first PC game altogether. MMOs be damned, I can't even drag them away from warcraft for one night to play RB6 Vegas or any other fun game they are missing out on.

I will agree that your first MMO is like your first love, and you'll never get over it. I'm convinced that a large representation of the endless hardcore PVP versus Carebear debate stems from people who played UO first (Open PVP) versus people who played EQ1 first (Granddaddy of PvE Raiding).

I really hope that AOC or WAR can chip away a substantial chunk of WoWs subscriber base, and bring back some healthy competition to the genre. The current model of one king of the mountain squashing every new title, regardless of its innovation (I feel real bad for the pirates... [sad yarr]) is really depressing. As good as the game is, I sincerely hope that we are not still using WoW as the measuring stick 5-10 years from now...

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 4:07PM (Unverified) said

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WoW is in fact my first MMO. There is a lot that I love about it and a lot that I don't care for. I could definitely see myself leaving WoW, but the new game would have to be considerably better AND at least some of my gaming friends would have to come with me. As mentioned in the article, that friend factor could turn out to be the stickiest part of WoW.

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 4:35PM (Unverified) said

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"I'm convinced that a large representation of the endless hardcore PVP versus Carebear debate stems from people who played UO first (Open PVP) versus people who played EQ1 first (Granddaddy of PvE Raiding)."

I had never heard that theory before, but I'm sort of inclined to agree... obviously it's a lot more complicated than that, but still... what an interesting way to look at it.

Posted: Apr 17th 2008 5:25PM (Unverified) said

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Posted: Apr 17th 2008 8:58PM (Unverified) said

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Certainly tearing someone away from WoW will take a lot of effort because of the previous time investment, but I think you underestimate the amount of people willing to try something new, the reason being that people actually want something old. WoW continues to evolve and change, frequently in ways that turn off a certain percentage of players. I think that every player in WoW wishes Blizzard did something a little bit differently, or left things the way they were at X stage of the game, but I also imagine only a small percentage will agree on what that something is. This would lead to a lot of people trying a lot of different games, something I think is likely. Roping customers in for good is not something I know enough to talk about.

Posted: Apr 18th 2008 12:50AM (Unverified) said

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I realize now that this comment is far more appropriate here then where I originally posted it, hope you don't mind if I recycle.

I think WoW in some ways is in the same place that EQ was a few years ago. EQ had some serious issues that were pretty obvious to anyone that played it. Yet because it was far and away the most successful MMO of it’s day SOE saw little reason to address them. Things like the horrific downtime and clunky quest system stayed unchanged for years.

When I think of the overall WoW experience, only the endgame might seem as “broken” as parts of EQ did to a new player. The utter lack of compelling content for soloists and small (two or three person) groups is jarring compared to the diverse 1-70 game. And that’s not a weakness that it’s realistic for a competing MMO to capitalize on.

If a game doesn’t give the impression of being a vast improvement over WoW in the first few hours of play, few players will switch. I’m not sure that’s even possible in an EQ style MMO.

LoTRO tried to do it with improved narrative and presentation, and it seems to be too subtle a difference for most players to care about (based on the market reaction). The endgame is also much more casual friendly than WoW (and to my tastes simply more fun all around), but how is a new player to know that? AoC is apparently trying to do it with gory combat and semi-nudit . . .14 year olds everywhere rejoice? And WAR is going to try it by integrating PvP with the entire game, as well as with some interesting innovations to quest mechanics.

I’m honestly skeptical that any of these games will end up drawing many players from WoW. I suspect all are looking at 200K-500K players (EA's hopes to the contrary). MMO inertia is a very real thing, and it takes some pretty stunning and obvious improvements in a competing product to overcome it.


Posted: Apr 18th 2008 10:22AM (Unverified) said

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"AoC is apparently trying to do it with gory combat and semi-nudit . . .14 year olds everywhere rejoice? And WAR is going to try it by integrating PvP with the entire game, as well as with some interesting innovations to quest mechanics."

As I always say: One swallow... erm... One feature doesn't make a blockbuster.

The next big thing must be veeeery different. It's not enough to have a revolutionary system, which I can see first at level 20 or 40 or whatever, because the rest looks like the same cookiecutter game. That is for example WAR.

Maybe they have good features, but my first few hours in it felt like i were in WoW. It was just more brown...

I think you can take people away from WoW, but the whole game MUST be the exact opposite (I don't say sandbox only) in one or another way.
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Posted: Apr 18th 2008 2:33AM (Unverified) said

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Thanks for the link in your article. Interesting reading but just for the record, I am not in the market for a new MMO. I am doing the MMO trials on my blog so that I may highlight in each individual trial, how well the games company in question has made their virtual world accessible to the 'new player'.

...my first MMO was M59 back in 1996.

Posted: Apr 19th 2008 9:47AM (Unverified) said

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Ya, it took about five and a half years before someone came along and dethroned Everquest, and that was with all of the glaring problems you mentioned. It wouldn't surprise me if WoW stays on the throne significantly longer.

Posted: Apr 19th 2008 9:48PM (Unverified) said

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Cameron: I enjoyed the read, and I have a couple comments.

Many of my WoW friends have, indeed, invested a ton of time, energy, effort - and love - into the game. But there's not a single friend who wouldn't switch to a better game if they thought it would be a much more fun, social, and engrossing than WoW.

The number one aspect of the Next-Gen MMO will be, in my opinion, a completely different take on the world itself. Instead of the world being pretty much static (where the Defias will forever be causing havoc in Westfall, for example) the next-gen MMO world will have to be truly dynamic. If players understand that they can cause real change in the game as a whole, they will be able to invest in it on a level that WoW will never be able to. "End game" would take on an entirely new meaning if you could really have a lasting impact on the future of your world.

Here's an example I came up with: Imagine a max-level player walking strolling through the farms on the outskirts of Elwyn Forest when he sees an NPC unconscious in a field. You wake him up and ask him what happened. He tells you that undead came and took away his wife and two daughters, and that they're planning an invasion of the area. He passes out again, which presents a real choice for you. If you carry him to an inn for healing and rest but don't rescue his family, he might be bitter and resentful - perhaps eventually becoming a depressed beggar. If you leave him there in the field, he would die and will never been seen again in the world. If you help him and save his family, he might reward you and recognize you every time he sees you in the future (even on alts, he might somehow notice that you're familiar). You could even kill him and aid the undead invasion. That invasion force might grow large enough to destroy Stormwind itself.

I doubt that the current technology exists to allow designers to create that sort of world convincingly. Maybe in 10 years though. But if they did create a world of that depth and complexity, it would definitely be the true next-generation MMO.

Posted: Apr 26th 2008 8:49PM (Unverified) said

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I get what you're talking about and think that kind of game would be great, but in that lies one problem, the online aspect. If you do help an undead invasion of Stormwind what would a new player get out of the game? He'd walk into the great Stormwind he'd heard his friends talking about and be killed.

WoW is a static game because if it was ever-changing then many new players would get a raw deal and hate the game. If a game that can change like that is made it would havto be offline.

I am a WoW player. I've played for about a year and love it. Its my first MMO and I can't see myself leaving it, but then again I could never see myself leaving my old PS2 games and now I can't stand to look at them.

I think that the MMO that can beat WoW will be the one that can offer it all. If WoW had different servers where the players could turn the tide of the game and make an invasion of Stormwind that would stand and make it a Horde city while keeping the static servers where everyone can experience the same thing then it would be a game many times better than it is now.

The MMO that can beat WoW will be the one that gives players the choice as to the MMO type they want to play. And who knows? Maybe in the future WoW will make some new servers like that and it will be considered the best for many years to come, or it may be bashed by a new amazing game that everyone will switch to.
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Posted: Apr 21st 2008 1:59PM (Unverified) said

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It really is true, but I don't think you can pidgeonhole people like this... even among first-time WoW players, everyone is looking for something different.

I'm an old-school MMOer, played UO, EQ, DAoC, EQ2, and then WoW. While I've made plenty of shifts in each game, from PVP in UO, to PVE in EQ/EQ2, to both in WoW, the main thing that gets me going is real competition. The reason I barely play WoW anymore is the lack of real competition on a large scale. I guess I can illustrate this with a story of the times I enjoyed playing WoW more than any other:

I think my main was my third character, after me and 3-or-so buddies rerolled onto a new server. Leveled up relatively quickly, started guilds, played politics, merged, etc. Where our server was, both our (Alliance) guild and a Horde guild were neck-and-neck just finishing up Ragnaros when Ahn'Qiraj was announced. Needless to say, this sparked an enormous "arms-race" to push into BWL, in order to get the three-hour clear down and be the ones to open the gate. This also sparked a huge competition for the world dragons, as a PvP server we needed to compete to get the rest of the pieces to open the gate. That competition was so much fun, so enjoyable, so all-encompassing... I guess it was because it DID affect the server more than temporarily, and did encompass all aspects of the game for those involved (we won, by the way).

That is what the next generation MMO needs to provide more often. WoW did it very well for a while... every time you joined a battleground, you played against another team from your server... real competition, beyond whatever silly honor points you earned, emerged. Battlegroups ruined it, and made it so that the Arena never really had a chance.

My formula is as follows: Discrete competitive goal -> some type of Enduring achievement -> ability for competitors to catch up so one team isn't so far ahead -> New Discrete competitive goal.

Any game that can regularly provide that (AoC's battle-keep system might have a chance) will be the game that keeps me the longest.

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