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Reader Comments (91)

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:33AM (Unverified) said

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the addiction started with UO and went on with SWG and so on :D.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 11:46AM (Unverified) said

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I played some MUSHes back in the day and was in on EQ, AO pretty early. You did not miss anything.

In fact I am very glad these games were not more available when I was in college or I would not have graduated or gotten laid nearly as much.

Seriously, this stuff is like pot, fine once you are established in moderation but should be avoided by developing minds.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 12:01PM (Unverified) said

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32 hours of camping the Ancient Cyclops was. not. fun. Me and a friend "working" in 6 hour shifts, only to have the first pop stolen by a druid while we were paying the pizza guy.....
Oddly somehow I miss that level of annoyance

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 12:15PM Anatidae said

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Unlike many people here, I actually believe that the gameplay is very different in modern MMOs compared to early MMOs.

Early MMOs, especially text MUDs, like Ultima Online were more experiments in creating simulated worlds. Modern MMOs are centered around combat and winning a prize.

Using Ultima Online as an example - you never had to kill a monster or player in your entire time in the game and yet you could end up rich, famous, and enjoy a rich gameplay experience. There were many mechanics that had nothing to do with killing or being killed.

Ultima Online still, to this day, maintains a huge RP community. This is mostly due to its gameplay nature. The world was made for players to "live" in it. And although it missed some of its early goals, it is still a place where players feel they can log in, homestead some land, and carve out a nitch for themselves.

Conversely, take WoW. Part of the many modern MMOs where you have a wide array of choices to do two things - deal damage or heal/prevent damage. Granted, there are a few things in the game that are not about killing something, but usually those are just support items to help you either get to where you need to kill something or a task that sends you into an area that you'll have to kill something to safely make it through.

In WoW, all rewards stem from killing bigger and bigger things. The complexity is about knowing what ability to use when and to follow visual indicators to tell you to run somewhere or use some ability.

In Ultima Online, the best players are the ones who find ways to combine the social, the world mechanics, and their clever use of them. Of course, in this game the "best" is very subjective. Best warrior? Best blacksmith? Best tourguide? Best player town mayor?

In WoW the best players are the ones who can keep a consistent gaming schedule to make their raid time and follow directions quickly. This includes PvP. If I keep my arena schedule and follow directions (in this case the ideal counter to my opponents action) then I am awarded my prize. WoW is full of prizes for following directions.


A simple action difference between the wild west UO and modern WoW in open PvP. In UO, my main was a blacksmith. I had no combat skills, but I carried around a trapped box. Without fail, every time a player killed me, they would rifle through my body, open the box, and BOOM. They died. I was, of course, already running back to the spot where I proceeded to claim my gear and loot their corpse as well. A quick recall spell and I was off to safety.

In WoW. If I am attacked in the open, I just need to hope that my level and gear is greater than them. Of course, if I die, I don't need to worry about my stuff. The only thing they get from my death is honor points if I am within their level range. Points they can spend on a prize in order to kill other players more efficiently in the future.


All that said, WoW is a fun game. I think in the end, early MMOs were "worlds" and modern MMOs are "Games". Not a hard rule (aka EVE Online). I would like to see more "worlds" in the future.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 2:48PM (Unverified) said

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You said everything I was going to say :)

In my opinion UO was the last great virtual fantasy world. No MMO has even tried to attempt what Origin created, a real living and breathing world.

The skill system meant players were constantly coming up with new builds and new tactics, and you had to actually *use* the skill to raise it (boggle!). The housing system with player vendors sitting on the stoop, and the clang of the blacksmiths hammer coming from inside. Socialization happening everywhere, from the massive crowds at brit bank to groups of players sparring outside guild halls. Finding housing spots and decorating your house knowing players would pass by it regularly. Finding that treasure map and finally finding

Everything fit well into the world, everything was intertwined.

In my opinion players that did not play UO missed out on the golden age of virtual worlds. No game that has come after it has created a world so rich for exploring and socializing in, and a world so intractable and persistent.

The game took a really bad turn and foreshadowed the future of the genre when the world was split to cater to the mainstream. Thus started the great decline of MMOs into the stale state of "me too" games that have come out one after another trying to cut out a piece of WoW's player base.
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Posted: Aug 4th 2010 1:04AM (Unverified) said

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Thank you for givin UO the true reconginition that needs to be mentioned. I happened to have the pleasure to play the game before it got took over by EA, and that game is prolly the best, not to mention its the first MMO.
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Posted: Aug 4th 2010 1:22AM (Unverified) said

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Darkfall is a game thats based a lot of UO its like UO times 10 and on crack and the pvp is almost because is first person shooter mmo.
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Posted: Aug 4th 2010 12:26PM Anatidae said

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@hayatoj There are a couple games like Darfall that are trying to create a more simulated world instead of a game world.

My only problem with all of them, so far, is that none of them are putting in mechanics to help develop a society that can enforce morals. In fact, this very mechanic is probably what hindered UO's future growth as well.

Specifically, I mean Player-Killing, Ganking, or whatever you want to call it. The truth is, almost every game enjoys it. Otherwise how would games like Team Fortress 2 do so well? But in a virtual world, we also desire the mechanics of, well, Law and Order.

Darkfall, and games like it, need a system to emulate laws, order, and moral consequences. I have a number of ideas I have posted various places over the years (even in these comment systems), but the net result should be that a non-combat player ganked in the woods should feel as though there is somewhere to go for justice (or even revenge). A set of tools to allow for such that work in the challenges of a virtual environment with non-persistent avatars.


I have often wished that I had the time to reprogram one of the many available WoW private server codebases. I think WoW has an incredible library of content with acres of land to utilize. It would be facinating to drop the general game mechanics and philosophy of Ultima Online on top of the graphics of WoW. I doubt that player housing would be possible, but I bet the server could be set to allow players to purchase and own the billions of existing buildings on the WoW mapspace.

You could even program (using LUA and the add-on system) a completely different interface for the WoW client to go with the new server mechanics.
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Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 12:30PM TexRob said

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Matt, so true, the dynamics have changed. I was a paladin first off in EQ, and they sucked until later on, but I was deemed valuable because I worked with what I had. It was all about working with what you've got, so to speak. Now, like you said, there is a guide for everything, and if you're not playing a certain build you're regarded as an idiot.

I met people in EQ I met in real life, and still keep in touch with. WoW I had a few people like that, but none since then really. I think those days are largely gone. In EQ there was a lot of opportunity to ninja, kill steal, etc, so you had to earn a reputation of being someone people can trust and count on. I can remember rage when things were ninja'd, but those people were banished and always regretted it. My server, Xegony, definitely had a strong sense of community and self policing.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 1:05PM (Unverified) said

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I began MMO's with the release of WoW, and there was a real feeling of exploration and experimentation. We weren't sure what was around that corner, or how to take down that boss, and our build reflected our vision of our character. Now every raid starts with the admonition to watch the vids on the boss (if you haven't done that boss, tho you have probably killed him 10-15 times already). And of course you had BEST have the exact cookie-cutter build, buffs, etc. that give max DPS/heals. WoW makes me feel like a mouse on a treadmill, and new MMO's, like AION, are very quickly corrupted by the same attitude. I understand the desire to excel, but the number-crunching and pressure for perfection are stifling.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 1:40PM Miffy said

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MMOs died after WoW, nothing good has been released since.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 2:26PM (Unverified) said

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I started with EQ on a PvP server (Tallon Zek)...best experience in gaming I've ever had. The community was big but not big enough to where you didn't know everyone who was at the upper levels. The community policed themselves really well and players who pulled lame sh*t found themselves outcast. Corpse runs sucked but one thing no MMO has ever been able to recapture was the sheer thrill of being in an area where you could be killed at any time and faced a really long run to get your corpse back. You really had to watch yourself whereas now you don't. Danger was fun. There isn't any danger anymore, just groans at paying repair bills.

There isn't any feeling like taking down your first Ancient Cyclops then walking, encumbered, with a crapload of silver through neutral territory where lots of hostiles passed through to other zones, looking for a gnome who gives you jboots. Click click click "you begin to walk faster"

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 2:35PM Budukahn said

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I dunno. I got into it the hobby with Everquest but personally, I'd say we're living the culturally relevant golden years right now with Warcraft. Loathe it you may, but WoW is to MMO's what the Playstation was to console gaming - something that brought the hobby out of the niche and into the limelight.

Over the next ten years, I think we'll see lots of people saying that they first got into it with the big W. They tried it to see what all the fuss was about, and went on from there.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 3:08PM Zach Adams said

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I did the roleplay MUSH thing in the mid-90s (even adminned and built on a couple), but never made the graphical leap until Planetside and FFXI, because I never had a computer that would run UO or EQ1 until they were largely past their sell-by date (I didn't have a 3D accelerator until 2003, for God's sake!)

I hear all these insane stories about UO and EQ1, corpse runs and talking repeatedly to unintelligible NPCs to learn PC-race languages instead of just buying a book in EQ2 and one story from somewhere about falling off a boat and drowning, and having to find a necromancer to raise the corpse so he could get the armor back, and NO MAPS, and part of me wishes I'd been there for it, especially UO's heyday. But I am under no delusions, and I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't have enjoyed them as much as the reminiscence makes me think I would've. I do regret missing out on pre-NGE Star Wars, though.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 3:20PM Saker said

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I was in the alpha of Meridian59, and tried to beta UO (couldn't get it to run on my machine), beta'd Asherons Call, beta DAoC, played EQ1 Kunark era (you can still get a taste of it by playing Shards of Dalaya, or Project 1999) many other alpha/betas pretty much hit all the best times for the good games. Truth is I've usually had alot more fun with alpha/betas then "released" games. Will say I have some hopes for Guild Wars 2, and am currently enjoying Fallen Earth.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 3:26PM NickJames said

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I started Anarchy Online back when it first appeared in 2001, my first and most favorite MMO of all time. Played for 5 years until I decided I couldn't put up with the abnoxious GM's the game had. Funcom overall was a terrible company at the time and hired some of the most egg headed Game Masters around who constantly tortured and bossed players around. You could get banned for some of the stupidest things it was unbelievable. So then I quit and never went back.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 3:38PM mattward1979 said

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I started on EQ1 and left that for Anarchy online..

EQ has such a distinct flavour for grouping, where no one was in too much of a rush to pressure others into over performing, because that resulted in wipes and the inevitable XP loss (especially in the hell levels! Jesus... I go cold thinking about them!)

You would fight for as long as you could, then you would sit and chat for a bit while your bars took the scenic route back up to 100%. (WTB CLARITY!)

When i left for AO, this theme continued, albeit in a different setting, and with different end goals for grouping. Bearing in mind I played before team missions, the grind to 1000 badges for your shoulder item was the most extreme in any game at the time (that I had played!)

Then came WOW. Very easy to get into, very social... and pretty much every "very" that you could throw at it.

I believe that the changes in the way WOW operates is the biggest single contributing factor to the change in MMOPRG players attitudes. With the sense of feeling "Epic" being so close and achievable with such a small amount of time expenditure and dedication, the experience has become hollow and Expected.

That is not to say it isnt a great game.. because it is truly the shining beacon of success in the MMORPG market (in terms of business and repeat subscription).. and in a way, us old(er) school players are to blame by having a relatively strong voice in the communities.

I dont think MMO's will ever go back to the original communities that were pretty much forced together because of a common goal, and instead will become more and more fragmented as instanced play trundles on to the inevitable "solo" dungeons. And in a way, If someone DID try to recreate the "good old days" it would fall flat on its face due to the expectations of the gamer.

Easy, Fast, Rewarding, Epic........

Keywords for an MMO these days, and the depressing death knell for the early adopters that wished for things to be different...

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 4:01PM (Unverified) said

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Everquest, the golden days of MMORPGs, when a 6 man group was an evenings event, not a 15 minute break from standing around in Dalaran. When dying was something to be afraid of. I still remember the cackling of the skeletons in Nektulos Forest and the fearful corpse runs into the depths of lower Guk.
I miss the experience of that game and wish there was a new Game like this, tough as nails like old lady EQ with new graphics and the quests and mass of content of World of Warcraft. Make us group up again to level, make the way to maximum level the centre of the game again, not just an inconvinience until "the real game starts"...

Posted: Aug 4th 2010 3:04AM (Unverified) said

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The only thing "golden" about that age was perhaps DAoC's PvP model. Not the game play, but the basic concept. Everything else about that era sucked. Not that it wasn't unexpected, being the early days of MMO development. But there were some ideas borrowed from tabletop games that just don't work very well in graphical games.

Posted: Aug 3rd 2010 6:34PM Zombie Jesus said

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Back when I played EQ, one of the factors that made players into being better was the death penalty. Oh sure there were wipes and corpse runs, but people were always open to suggestion and advice as to what to do next time so that doesn't happen again. Nine times out of ten, when someone would break one of my mezzes (high threat spell) causing my enchanter to die, I'd get an apology, because they all knew dying sucked. And being the only chanter in a raid sometimes, if I died, chances are so would everyone else because the bard would be next to bite it.

These days when I play something like WoW, alot of players have no fear of dying. There is nothing that says "oh hey, you screw up, we'll make you pay for it in something other than gold and a short fast ghost run to your body" so I think a lot of people get lazy. They don't care how their play, or lack of play affects others that are in that group or raid with them. I can't recall how many times I'd give another guildy an idea of some trick to try and I get "well you don't play my class as your main class, don't give me advice" comeback. If someone breaks a CC in that game, there aren't apologies or a "who did that?" it's a "oh hey another mob to kill quickly" mentality.

I think the current MMOs, while more user friendly as older ones, are maybe too user friendly. After my guild killed Lich King, it was never on that same level of satisfaction I got from doing something as a required breaking into the Plane of Hate.




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