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Reader Comments (91)

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 3:23PM Saker said

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I have my collection of ancient alpha/beta cd's too! A fellow crotchety old bastard here!
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Posted: Aug 10th 2010 9:47AM jonnyfrag said

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Aside from Meridian 59 and Shadow of Yserbius, AC was my first MMO as well. Yes indeed, good times and the communities were FAR better then, IMHO. Nothing like stumbling into the bottom part of the dungeon just outside of Holtburg and realizing there was a Lich at the bottom. The mechanics of that game haven't been surpassed since, but I think the death penalty wouldn't fly these days in a new game. Way too hardcore for everyone accustomed to really no death penalties at all.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:01AM Pewpdaddy said

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Not to say that you missed anything per se .... But EQ was quite a unique experience... I was seriously into Diablo 2 when I jumped the boat to get into EQ.... OMG what a difference, EQ was everything I wanted out of Diablo but could never get. Don't get me wrong I love the Diablo series but seriously it was great. My then GF now Wife supported me for a full 7 months while I played EverCrack non-stop. I'm taking my lumps now though she hasn't gotten a paycheck in 6 years, raising our kids is her current job. ;3

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:15AM zaneithan said

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you forgot about asheron's call, it was around the same time that the original EQ was out, and had a pretty large playerbase. great early MMO from turbine with an awesome story line, PVP and item drop setup

Posted: Aug 10th 2010 10:06AM jonnyfrag said

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It was one of the original Big Three (and from the makers of the beloved LOTORO) but it largely forgotten these days. It's still running and all, but a shadow of it's former self. They let too many 3rd party things into it and too much about loot chasing, but it's more well supported than some other games running (cough cough SWG cough cough)
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:20AM ScottishViking said

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Like others here, I started out on BBS quest games right after Commodore 64 was released, so I was an EARLY online gamer (Curse of the Red Dragon anyone?). Then I stopped during the console craze in the late 80s-early 90s, and didn't get into MMOs until well into the 2000s, though I did play a lot of online RTSs in the interim.

I think this is a pretty standard story for a lot of people.

And while I'm sorry I missed Ultima Online, I am not sorry I missed Everquest or DAoC or some other second-gen MMOs. I played these briefly and while the communities are fierce and proud, I think you'd be crazy to call these games "better." There wasn't a lot of motivation to play, say, Anarchy Online in 2003 when you could play Morrowind or other fantastic single-player games. (I am sorry I missed EVE Online's early days though.)

Things are different now, though. I'm a fanatical EVE and LOTRO player. And while the industry is a bit stagnant right now, I do think that online games will only get better, and that innovation is just around the corner.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:21AM (Unverified) said

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MMOs have not improved or fallen in quality since the days of UO on dialup and text-only MUDs. They same mechanics are there, they're just slightly more refined and slightly more dated than before.

The only reason they seemed better in the past was because everything was exciting and new. The idea of playing a game with people you've never met, exploring an online world and creating your own little place was something strange and unusual. Now it's been done and everyone is doing it, and it's just turned into another heavily saturated genre.

You can get the old-school feeling by joining small scale games with tighter-knit communities.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:30AM Sorphius said

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That's true. As maligned as its been, Darkfall (with its small, close-knit community) is very similar in many ways to the early MMOs, from its harsh death penalties to its awkward UI and slow travel.

I've left the game now, but it wasn't at all uncommon to spend upward of an hour traveling through the wilderness between cities. And if you died along the way, if you hadn't hit a new bindstone along the way you'd get slingshotted right back where you started.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:24AM (Unverified) said

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Was that screenshot from the corruption of Kithicor forest event?

Because if so, oh man the memories of that day.

I missed MUDs but started with EQ1 a few months after launch, I was around for the unveiling of Kunark, I walked shoulder to shoulder with some of the great explorers of my time (the heady days of Sebilis being a myth before the Internet and its explosion of information) and the gnashing of teeth that people didn't have SoW so they couldn't be the first to make it to Firiona Vie. But I was also 1-2 years late for FFXI and enjoyed the hell out of that game for the last 4 or 5 years. I may not have been the first to clear BWL (though I was the 3rd in the world to kill Chromaggus), and I haven't even killed the Lich King despite countless efforts by my small guild of friends, but the victory will be just as sweet (if less noisy on vent).

MMOs have never been about being first, they've always been about being there to begin with. I think the best is yet to come.

-tali/thargor

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 12:53PM (Unverified) said

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It looks, to me, like action on a PvP server (red names) in East Commonlands near the Nektulos Forest boundary. I believe those skeletons are necromancer pets of the dark elf and gnomes in the picture.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:35AM (Unverified) said

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I started in Meridian 59 and moved on to EQ shortly after it launched. As others have pointed out, I think the big differences back then were difficulty and community.
In EQ, things were not easy, at all. You strove for those levels, you deeply appreciated help and those that grouped with you, and each level gave you a thrill of accomplishment. You COULD solo grind, but the game really did require not only grouping, but knowing your class, capabilities, and role in a group.
When Kunark first came out, I went exploring on my bard, found a small cave inhabited by goblins, fell in a hole and spent the next 8 hours trying to get my corpse back. Was that fun? Not really..but it certainly left an impression and a sense of accomplishment when I was finally successful.
These days are about instant gratification. While that makes things far easier on the casual gamer and far more accessible, it also makes for a spoiled and less freindly and sociable gaming community.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 2:14PM Nickelpat said

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I may be one of the newbies with MMOs, but I don't think I missed anything. I've found games seem to age like wine, the older, the better they get. My best example is Two Worlds, was just destroyed by critics, but then it was posted to GoG.com and we get...

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/two_worlds/reviews/sort/most_helpful

Lots of acclaim for it. There's those who don't like, but there's a lot more that do. Personally, I thought it was a lovely game at release, the voice was bad enough to just act like they were trying to be campy with it :P

So, I think in 10 years, a new generation will be playing "Duke Nukem: Forever 2: The Return of Duke Nukem Never Returning" and we'll look back on World of Warcraft with fond memories of doing raids and complaining that the games today have too much instancing and are too much of a grind.

If we have a Golden Age of MMOs, they haven't come yet. MMOs are still very much in their infancy, heck, gaming is still in it's infancy. No way we've reached the Golden Age of either yet. If we have, I'm pretty scared that we made the best of the best right when it all started :P

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:01AM (Unverified) said

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I remember the good old days of EQ1 and playing on Fennin Ro (by far the best server)...I chuckled at the delight of having a Druid and being paid to SoW people, exchange it for Clarity and be paid 5pp for a port to Butcherblock.

Do you remember the first time you rode up the elevator to Kelethin, or bought your first Mino Axe? Saw the Barbarian Warrior running by in full Rubicite? Camped Upper Guk? Completed the Paw of Opalla quest chain? Heard everyone /shout and /ooc that they were bringing a Sand Giant or Spectres to the docks at the Oasis of Marr and seeing the resulting panic by groups of level 15-20 characters.

I say EQ/AC/DaoC were the Golden Age of MMOs...these games required skill, communication and a general sharing of knowledge that I don't think is as present in newer MMOs (other than 'Where is Mankirk's Wife?'. I play WoW and love it, the myriad amount of variability in playstyles (casual/hardcore) and item/character setups makes the game fun to play and easy to pick up. But will I sit there and just 'know' that this player is good or respected by his guild because he spent weeks to get his epic class weapon rather than paid 20k for a Battered Hilt? It's just not the same.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 5:37PM (Unverified) said

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The Journeyman Boots camping, Guk Trains, killing those two island dwarves over and over and over, swimming the Ocean of Tears, the bugged out Mistmoore Castle. Plenty of great memories from the old EQ.

While in a group in WoW the other day, a couple of us were discussing the old EQ when one of the group members popped off with something along the lines of "EQ sucks, you can't even solo a spider there." That's when I realized that those of us that played the old EQ have a greater appreciation the strategy and teamwork needed in groups that was needed then that is lacking now. Sure, each person has to have their role, but now it's a bunch of people with the same spec using strats that they see on YouTube. In EQ we didn't have any of that, and it was a great experience when you downed a boss for the first time after 20 tries.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:45AM TexRob said

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The golden age of MMOs was when most people had no idea about strategies, the mistakes hadn't been learned from (moss covered twig anyone?) The only people who got to level 50 semi quickly in EQ were those who played in BETA, but even then it took a very long time. Part of why EQ was so good was because it was it, you were either playing it, or you weren't playing an MMO. Because of that, it made achievements and value in that game insanely high. When I quit EQ, I sold my account and made $3800 total from selling items and my characters. There are 100 MMOs now, that isn't ever going to happen again.

The newness and sense of danger in EQ were both because of how new the concepts were to all of us, and how it was designed (almost lost my corpse in Plane of Fear early on, when I went from 50-45 doing corpse recovery, had to grind spectres to get to 46 to get back in to get it within 24 hours).

All of this said, the sheer number of people playing EQ is what made it so good. I am getting that feeling again since starting EVE a few months ago. Single server instance MMOs are amazing. EVE is the past, and I see it as the future. So many MMOs are disposable, but CCP is so dedicated to EVE that it baffles me. I really think a company like them only comes around every once in a long time. They don't appear to have any desire to make another MMO. Since they keep updating it, it isn't really an "old MMO" as far as graphics, it's actually amazing looking, as good as anything out there. This is how an MMO should be. I wish the market would implode, so we'd have a few quality titels with everyone playing them, rather than 100 MMOs, 5 of which are actually decent, but the numbers aren't there because there is too much market bloat spreading out players.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 10:54AM AlamoeJones said

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Yes, I missed it. But then again, I don't really have hours upon hours to wait for a boat :p

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:02AM (Unverified) said

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When i was a freshman in high school, which was... damn graduated in 07... so.. 03 i had a friend who always played DAoC. and during this time, nor did i have a credit card and nor did my parents want me using theirs on the interwebs. That changed when i got FFXI. but during 03 i was playing a f2p conquer.

yeah i totally missed out. by a few years

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:09AM (Unverified) said

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Ah, I remember the early days. I played a half-elf ranger in 'vanilla' EQ1. My character made money by using his tracking skills to help people get safely from Qeynos to the mage teleport area in the Karanas (NK? WK? I can't even remember anymore).

Now? There are a thousand online maps with precise directions on how to do everything. I think that's what I miss the most out of modern MMOs - being useful outside "NEED DPS FOR BLAH RAID" or "NEED X CRAFTER TO BE MY BISH".

Like another said above me, I also miss the more carefree attitude of yesteryear. It didn't matter that I had a particular spec, only that I knew how to work with a group, and had a rough idea on what I could do. You could walk up to a group of people, be friendly and get a spot in the group (Hey, the more the merrier!).

I think the social aspect of the game's changed dramatically. Back in the day, you could meet cool people ingame and that was considered 'the norm'. A new game usually meant new people. Nowadays, when a game is announced everyone's forming guilds of old friends from other games, and tend to stick with those groups.

I guess the gaming has gotten more homogenized too. Everything seems to be categorized to death, with "this is the ranged magic DPS class" versus "I am a wizard! I cast spells!"

Perhaps I've reached past the point of being enamored with MMOs, to the point of a 'grizzled veteran'.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:16AM (Unverified) said

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Two words... Esterian Conquest The EVE before EVE .. LOL... that was the funnest BBS game EVAR. I never got into the MUDS. But I was aware of them. My first paid MMO was Everquest.. I played a gnome enchanter. I was so good at my class people used to come watch me play to learn how to play the class. That made me feel good. Played on Solusek Ro. I then moved to DAOC. That game is/was so under rated and I wish it would make a come-back.... without relics. If they do end up going free to play. I'll be there. Right now I play Atlantica. I just cannot devote the time I used to. And Atlantica fits the bill for me. I feel sorry for the gamers that never played DAOC. The game is that good. Happy Gaming everyone.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:35AM (Unverified) said

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I started with EQ. I still remember having the hair on the back of my neck stand up knowing that if i die here its going to be hell getting my corps back. I will still have to agree with Darkdust i think the best is yet to come.

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