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Reader Comments (91)

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 8:54AM Pingles said

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While I don't particularly miss the specific games I DO miss the attitude of gamers when MMOs were young.

But it was short-lived anyhow. I remember the transition happening from "Hey, let's see how a group of four rogues, a Mage and a Warrior does!" to "Sorry, but if your Healer is not spec'd exactly like we expect then you cannot be in our group."

That transition also included the cutthroat PvP attitude. I can remember people not attacking groups because they felt the fight would not be "fair".

I feel bad that many newer MMO players never got to experience that.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:40AM Skruff said

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That basically sums up my early MMO experiences. I remember playing Asheron's Call and EQ1 and just feeling like the player communities were a lot more patient and respectful of each other. I actually enjoyed PUGs back in those days, particularly EQ1, where I didn't have to be the greatest bard or mage or enchanter. I could screw up, and the world wouldn't come to an end. We'd dust ourselves off, retrieve our bodies and try again. Instead of insults or complaints, polite suggestions were often made to improve our chances of survival the next time.

Now, if you're not perfect and/or perfectly specced right from the get-go, then players seem not to have any interest in grouping with you.

Still, I don't miss the death penalties or the recharge times of those old games... that just always made it feel like a big waste of time (although it gave me time to watch TV shows I'd recorded, so it wasn't a complete waste!)
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Posted: Aug 4th 2010 2:15AM Joshua Przygocki said

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I wish I was born earlier... That is what I cant stand, people taking it to serious, ignoring the fun, and just being all around jerks. I just quit WoW(again) today because I realized how much it felt like a job...

Luckily LotRO had a nicer community so I'm getting back into that.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 8:57AM Platypus Man said

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I cut my teeth on MUDs and started playing Dark Age of Camelot a few months after release, so I consider myself something of a veteran. Like Scopique, I don't know that I'd call it a "Golden Age" though -- I think that has yet to come. I'm still hopeful that a true next-gen MMORPG will emerge - something that truly builds upon the framework provided by those early games.

Maybe I should change my name to Pollyanna.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:01AM timthel0rd said

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I wish I had been there for the first ones.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:04AM Beau Hindman said

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I wouldn't go back to the days of dial-up modems, horrible lag and leveling -- well, at the pace that you leveled in EQ -- for anything.

Sure, we had some good times. Some great times. But I used to have fun playing in the dirt, too! hehe And we are having fun now, right? But with better games! :) A sidenote: there are a lot of the older games still available and waiting to be played. Many of them really hold up well.

Beau

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:11AM Dumac said

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I only feel i've missed out on the classic WoW raids, i started playing the thing in late 2006 and just as i reached level 55, TBC launched, and i went into outland along with everybody else. Returning to the raid dungeons as a level 70 wasn't that fun.

And i wish i started playing Guild Wars earlier, i started that in mid 2006 and I've very much enjoyed the period of rapid expansion until EoTN, after which it just sort of dragged on in a downward spiral.

Those are the two things I'm sorry i missed (technically didn't miss gw, its just that it's golden days were short for me), sometimes i think about what Ultima Online was like, but that's just curiosity, not regret.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:12AM pcgneurotic said

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Yes, the respect issue stands out in my memory. I started with base EQ1, and the difference in attitude between players between then and now is day and night. No wonder there are people who don't like grouping any more!

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:23AM (Unverified) said

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yeah, i loved the fact that eq forced you to group. I still have friends that i talk to weekly that were just random group invites. Being LFG was an awesome ice breaker.

I also miss the sense of community that eq1 had. (and its wierd, i also miss the penalties... exp loss on death sucked, but it made you more careful, destroying items while tradeskilling... ouch, but hey part of the game)
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:14AM Darkdust said

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Funny. I think, in many ways, the Golden Age has not yet dawned. The best is yet to come...

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:04AM archipelagos said

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I'm with you on that. I really don't think that we've had a 'Golden Age' of MMO's yet, not by a long shot. The medium is capable of so, so much more. We just need to hope that somehow the people with the great ideas work with the right talent to see them come to life and on top of that they get the money to make it work.

A lotta big ifs in a notoriously conservative medium.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:18AM (Unverified) said

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I played a couple of MUDs and dabbled very briefly in UO but I didn't catch the bug until EQ1. The main thing I miss about those days is that the unforgiving nature and lack of fun in the actual gameplay resulted in the formation of a lot of close ties and great teamwork. If you couldn't laugh with people about a total wipe in the Plane of Fear and the inevitable 2+ hour recovery process the game couldn't really be endured.

It was much easier to form these friendships because MMOs were only on the radar for a bunch of geeks who tended to have a lot in common. Nowadays MMOs are ubiquitous, attracting a huge range of players and massive numbers. In most of the modern MMOs I've played grouping and teamwork are transient at best--it wasn't unusual to group up for 10 minutes to knock out a quest in WoW with no more than two or three words exchanged. Behavior like that in the early days of EverQuest was quite rare.

So, the tl;dr version: I miss the more social aspects of the old days but the gameplay sucked.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:28AM Damn Dirty Ape said

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Funny how I can look at that picture and hear, in perfect clarity, the 'he he he he' laugh that the skeletons made, the crinkle snap sound as you hit them, and the clang that they made as they crumpled to the ground after you killed them.

The original EQ was just such a vibrant and imaginative game. As an older gamer, I don't have the time to do the kinds of things I used to do in EQ. Corpse runs, camping the same mob for hours and hours, boat trips across the sea, etc. Heck, it used to be an evenings work for me to cross from one side of the continent to the other. That kind of thing is unheard of in games today (people get annoyed when it takes over 15 minutes).

But still, I think a lot of newer gamers today are definitely missing out. I am not saying that older games like EQ (back in the day, I have no idea what it is like now) were better because that is far from the truth, but they offered a far different experience than what games offer today. EQ had a sense of danger and exploration that WoW can never match (mostly due to the major death penalties in EQ and the fact that each player was far less powerful in EQ than an equivalent character in WoW).

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 12:02PM (Unverified) said

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I believe the skellies -- including necromancer pets and illusions -- in EQ2 have that same mocking laughter!
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:34AM (Unverified) said

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I was heavily into (dial-up) BBS "door" games but am glad I missed the first commercial multi-player games on services like AOL, GEnie and CompuServe. Why? Most of those services were pay-by-the-hour (like $6-8 / hour!) so anything as addicting as a MMOG could be as expensive as a drug habit.

When EQ came out, in 1999, they did not call it "EverCrack" for nothing but at $9.89/month (989 Studios) for unlimited play it was something I could afford to be addicted to.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:40AM JTShadow said

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You know, you have a point with your article and I never even realized it. I use to play MUDS (and occasionally i check back in with them), and I started MMO's when Ultima Online and Everquest came out (and arguably Meridian 59) and sometimes I think those days were better then they are today. Back then you had to search for quests, if there even were any. NPC's didn't fly signs over their heads letting you know they wanted you to do something, or show up on your map to let you know where they were. Everquest didn't even have a map, we had to spam direction sense to know which way we were facing, travel by landmarks, and remember paths, nowadays in MMO's people are spoonfed so much it takes a lot less to play, sure they are more userfriendly, and much more accessible, but sometimes I think times were best when things were harder, and where poor players never made it to end game because the game wasn't accommodating to soloers, and if you constantly screwed up in a group, you were out. In Everquest if you made it to max level you knew what you were doing and how to play your class and so forth (or you bought it on ebay), in something like WoW, people hit max level without having a clue how to really play.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:26AM Sorphius said

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That's the truth.

I recently returned to WoW after an extended hiatus (left right before Lich King), and am absolutely amazed by how completely terrible some of the better geared players are. Even with Omen, DBM and every other raid/threat addon flashing red lights and screaming "RUN AWAY LITTLE GIRL!!!" at them, they still can't do something as basic as move out of a black puddle on the ground.

After seeing things like that from people in "hardcore" guilds, I know why the guild I'm in let me right in when I told them I was a vanilla raider.

On the one hand I like that they've made MMOs more friendly to casual players, but at the same time I very often cringe at the level of watering down that has taken place over the years, be it from user-generated addons (DBM) or reciprocity in buffs (Kings from drums? wtf is that?).

Player bases have expanded because of it, but as far as I'm concerned it's cheapened the experience, even if I HAVE reaped the benefits from it as I've entered adulthood.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:41AM (Unverified) said

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First mmo I played was sega dreamcast phantasy star online. Shortly after I bought my first pc, and SWG. I think 10 years+ of gaming makes me a chisled vet. Although I always wanted to play ultima online and EQ, I never did. I knew that I'd become an EQ addict and tried to avoid it. The stigma of nerdness also helped me keep my distance, but I gave in with SWG anyway. Since then, I've always been active in at least 1 mmo, and probably will be for a long time.

The golden age of mmos could very well be vanilla wow and games like swg and ff11. Nothing will ever come close to the first time I cleared the Molten Core and Blackwing Lair with 39 other people, or pvp'ing for hours at Tarren Mill and the Crossroads for no other reason than pure adrenaline and fun.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 9:52AM Stormwaltz said

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I've got a CD at home that labelled "Asheron's Call Preview 2 - October 1998."

I think my old fogey plankowner credentials are solid enough.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:09AM (Unverified) said

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heh, Asheron's Call was my first MMO when it first appeared at the Microsoft Zone where i was playing Spades online at the time. I played the first 4 years of AC. ah, wonderful times. btw, your name is very familiar.. prolly from some old AC forum/board somewhere.

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