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Reader Comments (7)

Posted: Jun 8th 2010 3:22PM Ocho said

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Rock on, Beau.

I think the main issue with burn-out in MMO's these days is basically the fact that people don't have fun anymore. Get to the top as quickly as possible, then grind the big bad guys till you get the best stuff.

But you're absolutely right, in games like LotRO or WoW or what have you, the sights, community, and economy provides ample opportunity to just stop and smell the roses and enjoy the game. You don't have to be the best and most elite to get that feeling of accomplishment.

Posted: Jun 8th 2010 4:56PM pcgneurotic said

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Yes! Another map-taper! Some of my old EQ maps covered an entire wall. :D I'd love to know though, Beau, what *are* some of your all-time favourite games?

Posted: Jun 8th 2010 5:37PM Beau Hindman said

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Some of my favorites? Here ya go! : http://www.massively.com/2010/06/01/free-for-all-my-top-five-f2p-games/

And thanks for the comments! There is just something cool about taping maps together and filling them up.

Beau
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Posted: Jun 9th 2010 3:08AM pcgneurotic said

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Hey man, it's why the gods gave us graph paper :D
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Posted: Jun 8th 2010 5:14PM Birk said

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Bang on, Beau.

Your concept here has brought to the surface of my mind, some element of my psyche of old.

You see, before World of Warcraft, I was a complete novice to the MMO genre as a whole. That's not to say that I had never played any MMOs beforehand, of course. No, I dabbled in EQ, Dransik, Ragnarok Online, and a variety of MUDs that seemed to me more real then than any virtual world of our time. Some might call it nostalgia calling, but I don't think so.

I traversed through those lands with very few bearings about myself; where to go, what to do. "Endgame" was a concept that I found unfamiliar - indeed, I did not really know what "Endgame" was until several months after I started my first warlock on US-Black Dragonflight.

Instead, I remember just trying to be a part of the world. I never will have as much fun as I did in those days, unless I find some way of removing the formulaic method that I approach MMOs with recently. No, at that point, I simply stumbled about the game world and tried my very best to meet people and immerse myself - but I did it without being conscious of that goal.

The most vivid memory of an online game that I possess lies in a MuD that I played back in 1999. I cannot remember the name of it, but it took place in 16th-century France. It was incredible; I would wander up and down the streets of france, duelling people under the cover of night and thieving paintings from the Louvre. People would stop and talk to one another for hours; hanging out in taverns and doing a quasi-roleplay dance of words. It wasn't forced RP - they were just being sociable within the setting. You could almost feel the rain on your face and the mud on your boots.

And better yet, I didn't have an inkling of an idea about stats or equipment. I had a rusty knife and not much else. I didn't troll the forums and inquire about what the "end-game" was like. Really, I didn't do this in any of the games that I played after that, either.

Ragnarok, Dransik, EQ...I simply went out into the wild and did what anyone would do. Stick the pointy end of my knife into the hordes of evil, and chum around with as many folks as I could.

I'm sure there were others who were as diligent as they are nowadays. Who would game the system; running around finding the most efficient experience spots. Exploiting and complaining about every deficiency in game balance. Metagaming and powergaming for the most uber crafting profession. Analyzing and re-analyzing boss strategies, and camping them for hours for a shot at the best gear in the game.

This is what has lead us to the modern era of gaming, I believe. This is what is encouraged; constant focus on the fastest way to level up for end-game raiding. How to make ISK as fast as possible, regardless of how mind-numbing it may be. What pack of mobs to kill ad-nausem so that you can descend into the abyss for glorified PVP.

The sense of wonder? I'm not harping for anything as ambiguous as that. But the ability to stray from the beaten path and experience the most fun parts of the game, not just the most profitable - that is what I want. You can say it's the players fault, and indeed it is. But there's an itch - you know? The itch beneath my skin that is telling me:

"Don't spend so much time exploring this cave. Go do a quest so that you can get to the real fun stuff. The raiding! The loot! The full-featured PVP battles!"

The irony is, that none of those things are very much fun. Certainly not more fun than exploring my cave, or hanging out in a tavern. But I suppose that's not a very fun thing to admit either, when the whole purpose of investing your time into the game is progression.

Posted: Jun 9th 2010 4:06AM (Unverified) said

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This really strikes a chord with me, great article! I've been playing WoW for years and have gone from loving the sense of wonder and exploration to feeling trapped in end-game hell. The best moments for me were always in the original game areas where the little beautifully and imaginatively crafted things were hidden in corners or hard to reach places. Often it had nothing to do with quests it was just a nice thing to find. So many players only care about getting more tokens for more purples, even on the RP servers!

Then I discovered LOTRO, another game with a very rich and detailed setting, but it just seems to me a lot less about forced leveling. I've recently created a new character who's a scholar. Scholars look for relics in ruins and use these to create magical scrolls and other items. Gathering for a Scholar means finding ruins and looking for relics! That's an absolute dream side-task for me. Turn up your viewing distance to max and go hunting in the hills for ruined buildings! :-)

Posted: Jun 9th 2010 3:25PM kgptzac said

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"Try to keep in mind that, like life, an MMORPG provides many more opportunities than we think if we just take a minute to notice."

Nexon's marketing people got something right, that is, subtitling this game "Fantasy Life". Unfortunately during my time in Mabinogi I couldn't really get my character to be a real mirror/extension of my envisioning. Though there are many who casually enjoy this game and was inspired by the core mood of this game, which is a great condolence to all the negativity toward this game over the course of playing.

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