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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 11:22AM Sephirah said

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Reading the article, I think that pioneers of the MMORPG genre must have been a bunch of masochists...
It doesn't really take a genius to understand why WoW, introducing "casual" playing, reached the number of players it has now...

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 11:25AM (Unverified) said

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Asheron's call is still the most fun I have ever had playing a game online. If they would just fix the *($@! graphics I would have never left. Then again Anarchy online I could say the same thing, the only thing between me and a sub to both of em is a graphics engine I can stomach. I dont need conan level graphics, just not lego man characters. God I really miss AC, I had the bestest life/archer :(

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 12:34PM Alarie said

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Agree 100%. I think AC was the best. The dungeons, the lore, the atmosphere, was the best. Collecting the early keys in the low level dungeons so you could unlock the doors later on in the high level dungeon to collect your SOLL! (sword of lost light). Best times!
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Posted: Apr 8th 2009 11:53AM fzzzt said

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Wow. I have a few blog drafts on my personal blog very close to this; but I differ on some points. For example I don't think the system work "well" necessarily if people can just ignore quest text clicky-clicky and keep pounding away mindlessly. I preferred EQ's "talking" system, and the challenge and risk involved in the game, which is practically nonexistent in current games. Nice read, Tim.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 11:56AM fzzzt said

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Oh, BTW, EQ had group XP bonuses before WoW launched.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2009 12:22PM Evy said

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This is one of the best articles I've read on Massively. It looks like this is Mr. Dale's first post? I definitely want to hear more from you, sir.

MMORPGs have definitely changed since I started playing, which was around the same time you did. I felt EQ was far too punishing. I never felt comfortable exploring the world because a wrong turn would bring a corpse run that might ruin hours of gameplay. As a result, I rarely explored on my own and felt forced to stay in the safe areas of the game. I also hated waiting around, sometimes for hours, to find a group to adventure with. I enjoy grouping with other players, but I don't enjoy being forced to do it.

Some people complain that WoW has dumbed down the industry. I'm happy to play my "dumb game" where I'm not punished for wanting to play it my way. I can explore to my heart's content and discover every nook and cranny of the world without fear. I can group with people when I want to. I can solo when I want to. I never felt fully immersed in EQ because I was too AFRAID to play it! WoW is a totally different story.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 1:04PM Durinthal said

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I disagree. For me, fear is part of the immersion. I loved running across the wilderness in Asheron's Call partially because of the tension; I never knew whether or not there was a creature that could murder me in a second just over the next ridge.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2009 6:39PM Evy said

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Durinthal: I like some tension, I just felt EQ was overkill on that front. Whereas maybe WoW is a little too easy on people. Dying means nothing. Sure, it costs money, but I don't know anyone who's so poor in WoW that they can't afford to repair their armor.I'd like to see more of a happy medium between old EQ and WoW.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2009 2:10PM (Unverified) said

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Good Lord, look what the cat dragged in... :D

It's wonderful to see one of my favorite podcasters moving up in the world! I'll have to get back to the wall of text later...busy day at work. Congrats, Van Hemlock.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 2:24PM (Unverified) said

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Evi, with regards to reading more by Mr Tim Dale. You're in luck!

Tim has been blogging for many years as "Van Hemlock" at: http://blogs.chimpswithkeyboards.com/vanhemlock/

5 years of back posts, well written and fun. Enjoy them, and do tune in to "Van Hemlock's Podcast", part of the Virgin Worlds agglutination, 46, so far, 60-90 minute podcasts. In my opinion, the highest quality (In both production and content) podcasts in the blogosphere.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 6:40PM Evy said

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Thanks for the info! I appreciate it.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2009 3:02PM (Unverified) said

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I felt the same way when King's Quest went from a typing based system to using a mouse to point and click.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 3:50PM (Unverified) said

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Funny how I only tweeted Van Hemlock this morning to enquire about a lack of activity on his own blog. He tried to fob me off with some 'busy on the podcast' excuse, but clearly that hasn't been his only distraction! Regardless, great read, and lo- Massively is added to my Reader list.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 8:14PM (Unverified) said

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While the MMO's of yesteryear were often harsh, I don't mind a bit of loss in my games...when it's part of a shared or collaborative effort. While corpse runs were despised, I regret but savor the loss of a shared city or keep. The pain is less bitter and more poignant when you share it with your compatriots, your gamers-in-arms.

While complete, overwhelming individual loss can be "game-ending" and "unsubscribing", when loss is endured as a group, one has the opportunity of commiseration and renewal, a new beginning that, as a collective, is eminently (along a continuum of realistic goals) achievable in a well-designed game.

At this juncture, gamers such as myself are caught in a maelstrom between games *representative* of WoW (simplicity), LOTRO (pedantry), EVE (complexity) and Darkfall (brutality), when all we really want is a glorious and reasonable synergy of all four, regardless of the fictional genre or setting.

And, yes, we all want a plethora of well-refined choices, which is why a company shouldn't develop an MMO unless you have the cash and time to hang with the big boys.

Posted: Apr 8th 2009 8:50PM (Unverified) said

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I've been a long time fan of the podcast and I really appreciate this article. I never got into Ultimate Online, Everquest, or Asheron's Call when they were released but I did watch these games unfold from the sidelines with much interest. I think you identified my largest disappointment with modern MMOs: while the harsh lows and frustrating downtime have been eliminated, so too have the triumphs and satisfaction of achieving something. WoW's endgame raiding gets close to what I think you must have felt in the EQ days of yore, but even that is getting experience is getting progressively more attenuated. What I want out of a fantasy MMORPG: something like a highly polished Darkfall with a lot more PvE content and arching story line that plays out in successive world events. Here's hoping.

Posted: Apr 9th 2009 1:46PM (Unverified) said

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I have to agree about Asheron's Call. I just returned for the umpteenth time and am enjoying the hell out of it. I think it has a great mix of classic and modern MMO features and is just so much more fun than any game out there.

Yes, the graphics engine is dated but this means on my older laptop I can max all the graphics and the game actually looks pretty great, especially the spell and environment effects... and some of the newer armor and environment textures look great as do the newer monster models.

The game has both solo and grouping activities, fast travel but a huge seamless world to explore as well, a great variety of monsters and dungeons, a super helpful community, player vendors, PvP that some still feel is the best ever, crafting, character and equipment customization and enhancement, player housing, guild halls, and (in my opinion) the best implementations of melee, missle, and magic combat yet... to name just a few things that I love about the game.

On that last part, even when I am just grinding to level up I never feel like I am just hitting buttons over and over. The combat has strategy and is different from moment to moment and never bores me.

I love to try new MMOs but AC will always be "home". It is the first MMO that really "clicked" for me and I may take a break from it but I always know I will be back sooner or later.

Posted: May 6th 2009 2:39AM (Unverified) said

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I hope that when the game should be concerned about their own health.

http://www.000health.com

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