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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 8:05AM davidarmstrong488 said

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Features are important. Let me put it this way:

Classic Cars. Would you buy a new car today without anti-lock brakes, a radio, air conditioning, or power steering/windows? How about seat belts? Or a rear-view mirror?

Now those are just features. A car does not need any of those to function. However, for a car I will be driving everyday, I want those things.

You buy a Classic Car for that specific feel. I would play a classic game for the same reason. I played an attack chopper game on my SNES the other day, Desert Strike, purely for the nostalgia. And it was great. However, I would not buy the game today.


Some games are too old for the new investment. Features, surprisingly, do matter.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 8:57AM archipelagos said

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Perfect comment, I got nothing to add. Well...I may purchase an old-school game if it were available on a download service for cheap, otherwise no (unless there is significant sentimental value.)
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 10:38AM (Unverified) said

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I long for the return to the days when gameplay was rated over graphics. It's sad that the graphics > gameplay philosophy has taken over the MMO genre as well. You just have to look at Aion to know what I mean.
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 9:04AM infinityv said

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I more often then not find my self looking back with longing when the topic of Everquest comes up.

Perhaps I'm starting to become and old man but when I look back I remember that things were more difficult and more fun in the days of yore. Sure you'd lose xp, sure you'd have to get your corpse back. Loot was rare and players were forged by learning form their mistakes, if you didn't learn you didn't progress. Things were hard, and we liked it that way.

Far to often I find myself dumbfounded with the current generation of MMO's and their general ease of play. WoW's a great example of this change too easy mode done to appease the masses substituting fun and challenging game play with content that is good enough for players that are good enough.

When WoW launch and all though its Vanilla years while WoW may have not been one the of most difficult MMO's to come out it still had its curve. Game play progressed in a fashion where you learned your character, group dynamics, role responsibilities and more then likely had a damn good time doing it. Dungeons and Raids were introduced and they took months for top tier guilds to progress though. The fights were challenging and forced players to get better. If your guild had trouble with the content there was no need to fret though as time went on content was nerfed and things became easier. Everyone could have a piece of the pie, your dedication and skill just reflected how long it took to get to taste its flaky goodness.

However as time moved on we find ourselves two expansions deep and Blizzard has left us (well me at least) feeling as if they no longer care about the learning portion of the game. That your experience as a player doesn't really start until you enter the most recent expansion and all the skill you use to learn like group functions, non-douche-bagery and general skill / class function well, don't really matter any more. Instead your job is just to get to the new content as quick as possible and to encourage this they have trivialized all the old content. Beyond that they want everyone to feel special, and while I think that is a good thing as everyone is paying to play this game I think they have gone about it in a poor fashion. Instead of setting goals which give your the feeling of achievement your presented with simplistic content which takes weeks if not days to learn and progress though. Yes the story arcs are good but the game play has simply taken a ride in the crapper.

Is it fun, at times. Is it worth paying for, at times.

More often then not though I find myself logging on for the first few weeks of new content moving though it and then either beating my face into my keyboard for the next few quarters as everyone gets geared out doing boring encounter after encounter week after week or I simply stop subscribing until the next piece of content is introduced to entertain me for a couple more weeks.

Mediocrity is never the answer to appeasing the masses.

Cheers

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 10:11AM archipelagos said

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The key thing to appreciate here - and something that Blizzard realised to their success - is that what people constitute as fun is different for everyone. I know that seems like an obvious comment to make but it's surprising how many people cannot grasp that single fact, or to put it this way: people like different things.

To be more precise in regards to this topic: some people find all the traits of a hardcore system fun but some - and if the success of WoW is anything to go by, possibly most - do not appreciate the 'old' tenets of being punished overtly for failure; Blizzard realised this and the rest is history.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2010 6:38PM (Unverified) said

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I wish that the people who hated WoW would talk about it less.
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 9:30AM (Unverified) said

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Meridian59 is a good choice to showcase here. As an old school M59 player from Server 105 I have actually gone back and tried it a few times since. It definitely loses something now. It is kind of fun to play for a day or two, but there really was so little to do in those games.

So much of M59 had a lot to do with small server populations and a lot more required social interaction. UO in the same way, but taking it to the next server size level. These are games where PvP is not a choice, so the game was very different on both a game play and a social level. And in M59 and UO there were consequences for PvP deaths.

We talk about graphics, hardware, game play a lot, but the sheer numbers of people playing now makes a huge difference. Even the small games have 50k subscribers, M59 might have had 10k at its height, and those spread across a bunch of different servers too.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 10:32AM Cinnamoon said

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I hated EverQuest in its day, and could see exactly what it was even back then, so no longing from me; as far as I'm concerned it was a huge step backwards to a grindy lootcentric borefest from UO, which was a lovely sandbox only replicated a few times since. I don't think it paved the way for anything that UO didn't, and in fact I think EQ held back the genre a couple of years just as WoW has done.

But most old games have their charm, and many of them have more than mere nostalgia or that feeling of having paved the way -- many of them continue innovating long past their peak subscriber zone. There aren't that many games with true player housing, for example; fewer still with non-instanced housing like UO and SWG. There aren't very many games that dissociate your stats from your appearance like LOTRO, SWG, and COH. Yeah you could play WoW's latest entry (and I do) and go with the shiny new car, to carry on the above analogy -- but sometimes you want perks that new cars consider too expensive or difficult to implement, and you have to look back to older models.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 10:32AM Ohhlaawd said

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To answer the question posed, I would say it depends whether or not I played the game in the first place. Nostalgia is a powerful force, and can more than make up for old graphics or game mechanics.

I played UO off and on between 1997 and 2005, continuing long after it stopped being the biggest MMO on the block. During that time I tried numerous other games, including: EQ, AC, Shadowbane, and even the "guild" alpha for Guild Wars. What kept me coming back to UO, even more than the friends I had made, was my familiarity with the game and the nostalgia I felt walking around my house on the Minoc Peninsula. It wasn't a 3D game, but the graphics felt "right" to me.

I don't think it would be the same if I tried a slightly older game like DAoC, but I'm sure there are tons of DAoC fans out there that feel exactly about their game like I do about UO.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 11:38AM Pingles said

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While you can go back and look at what the game looked like and perhaps even how it played what you can NEVER get back is what new things the game brought to the table.

A lot of those games innovated quite a bit.

Just the way that Dark Age of Camelot focused on the three-sided faction combat was SO new and innovative that it barely worked on release!

WoW did a masterful job of grabbing bits and pieces from all the innovators and homogenizing it for mass consumption (and I enjoyed WoW for years so I am sincere in my back-handed praise!).

So in looking back on our old friends one thing that is hard to duplicate is the outright awe and wonder that is felt when experiencing some of the game mechanics for the first time.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 1:00PM (Unverified) said

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You can never go home again lol. Much like anything else, over the time, we puff up the memories in our mind and as thing age, they don't age well, especially here in MMOville.

Highfive to Infinityv for a great post. Love it. Moving on lol.

I think MMOs the missing piece is community. As MMOs as a market used to be so much smaller, the communities (as far as my own experiences went) were much tighter, you knew people on reputation (which was important, not too many were offering server transfers every couple months lol).

The difficulty scale was good for the times, as it weeded out most of the retards and shit people, and left people that were passionate about their game, and their "world."

With the sub numbers like they are nowadays, and a big budget game with under a half million subscribers considered a "failure", I don't think we can get back to this kind of "community". Its just Barrens chat after Barrens chat after Barrens chat.

Now, all that being said, I don't want to go back to that era either. I don't have the time to put in that many hours a week/month, and i don't want to sit LFG for hours either. A lot of the advances that have came out in the *cringe* WoW Era have been fantastic.

But I do need some degree of difficulty. I played WoW a lot during Classic, but BC and later killed it for me, as someone mentioned above. Any real difficulty to it died at that point, and has further and further degenerated.

I guess thats why I have high hopes for Final Fantasy XIV. If they could have made it more feasible to solo in FFXI, I'd probs still be playing. But, this IS Square, so I'm trying to keep my hopes a bit restrained lol.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 2:40PM (Unverified) said

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I remember playing in the beta of Meridian 59 on a 14K dial-up Internet connection. We called it a "graphical MUD." Yes, kids, I'm that old.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 2:48PM (Unverified) said

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I still call them all graphical MUDs, it's just what they are. :)
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 3:09PM (Unverified) said

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Eh when I look back at EQ now I think of a game that was just in the right place at the right time. There was an awfully lot that was wrong with it, and much has been inherited by later games. Enjoyed it at the time, but now I think it's regretful that between UO and EQ it was the latter that won out because it had 3d graphics. I imagine we could be a lot further along if things went differently.

And yeah I try not to be a graphics whore, but it's hard for me to look at older 3d games. Stuff like WoW, Anarchy Online or EQ are just too ugly for me. It's just like looking at stuff from the PSX era, just wasn't meant to be viewed on high resolution monitors. 2d holds up so much better in that regard.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2010 4:41PM Lionhearted said

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EQ was and will always be one of my favorite games ever. To this day, it's still one of the best MMO's out there... with tons of amazing lore and gameplay that is true to the MMO spirit. Some of the things that make it a little 'harder' are exactly what make it fun -- I found that the guilds I played with in EQ were so much more tight-knit and more integral to the game, because you needed a group to accomplish any major goals, and many of the classes need/needed a group just to level up. (Some classes could solo and play the game alone, but good luck finishing that epic quest or getting the 'uber loot.')

WoW, on the other hand, while perhaps a more balanced game, never did the same for me. I could solo just about any content except for dungeons. The gear I had for my character was as good as possible for the level and I never really participated in any guilds -- I just did pvp. A lot of the "MMO" spirit that exists in an old-school game like EQ just wasn't in WoW. I felt the same way about other MMOs I've tried (SWG, Guild Wars, etc.)... few of them could even touch the community that existed in EQ in its heyday and probably even at present.

If people are really interested in the genre, they should absolutely try some of the old school games, even if they only play it for a few months. The ones that were successful are still great games, with tons of dedicated players, stable servers and lots of content, lore, raids and other reasons to play.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 9:46AM (Unverified) said

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EQ is a perfect example of the power of nostalgia goggles. I remember it being very much a 'book game' when I played it when soloing. By that I mean that I spent more of my time reading while my character sat there meditating than I did actually playing the game. I also spent a lot of time reading while sat at a zone border looking for a group.

The main way in which modern MMOs are better than EQ is that you don't spend so much time hanging around. They are not book games.

The next real improvement I'm hoping for is the removal of grind from MMOs. Many have tried, but it always makes its reappearance, especially with end game content. That's usually when I cancel a sub - I do not find doing the same things over and over again an interesting experience and that's all you do with end game dungeon runs.

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