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Reader Comments (27)

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 8:15AM zgomot said

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It was AMAZING. I wasn't even playing ANY games until I first stepped out in the world of 9dragons. I was playing it Persistand Worlds' (european) closed beta and I found it incredible you could play together with so many people from all over the world.

Then PW went bankrupt, Acclaim ruined the game with in-game ads popping smack in the middle of the screen regardless of what you were doing.

Then Guild Wars - probably my most fun newbie experience, then WoW. Then EVE.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 8:22AM Snichy said

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My first MMO was WoW and I remember putting off playing it for about half a year even though everyone said it was a great game because I was playing other games and I only like to play 1 game at a time. When I eventually took the plunge I remember installing it at about 6pm one evening and then the next thing I knew it was 3am the next morning - loved it so much I didnt even notice the time going. It blew my mind as I had never come across a genre like MMOs that could feel so immersive and social. Only after a few years playing did I see the weaknesses of the actual game but the MMO genre had me hooked.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 8:31AM SgtBaker1234556 said

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MUD's gave the MMO experience long before Ultima Online, that's where I started.

I guess it was -90 or -91 and the MUD flavor was a Diku. It's the reason I ever bothered to learn to code in C and it was my first trip to server/client programming. Quite useful really.

After the "graphical" era started it was EQ,then WoW, Guild Wars and finally EVE. Now, about four years later after finally realizing just how much EVE sucks, console gaming as far from MMO's as possible while I wait for something new and fresh to pop up.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 8:34AM Westcreek said

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My first MMO experience was Everquest, back in 2000 when i was a 13 year old punk. It was nothing like anything i had ever played, and i also stopped playing any other game seriously for years.

There was just so much to see, learn, and experience, and the community was excellent on my server, only made better by the fact that there was a local community aswell, in a netcafe in my town, who really liked the game.

I used to spend hours on end there just talking with the other folks about Everquest, and looking up to the older and more experienced players.

I find myself often longing and reminiscing about those days. I don't think that any game will ever affect me like that again, but i certainly hope that someday it will! =)

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 9:02AM mattward1979 said

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Everquest for me too... Made an Elf in Kelethin (I think that was the name... the tree place!) and just wandering around the platforms that connected across the tree branches was amazing!

Then heading down to kill a few bees, then Orcs then finally into Crushbone culminating in a frenzy of killing Lieutenants, I was hooked.

Just the sheer scale of the world, and the number of players in the same area.. If they could recapture that experience, I would play whatever game managed it.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 9:02PM Not THAT Matt said

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@mattward1979

This 100% mimics my experience, as well.

Greater Faydwer = :D
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Posted: Nov 30th 2010 8:46AM EilertAlemat said

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@mattward1979
[ laughing joyfully ]
Actually, same here. I was completely stuned by the scenery you talk about. Everquyest was the first. Still remember that place.
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Posted: Nov 26th 2010 9:07AM Luxxicon said

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My first one was Asheron's Call 2... I loved it far more than it deserved. Since then I have played piles of them, but buggy, chat-not-working correctly AC2 will always have a spot in my heart...

Luxx

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 9:18AM Doba said

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heh, I am 14 now not very old but when i was 10 I played City of Heroes for the first time because my dad refuse to buy me WoW and it was one of my first MMO's ever.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 9:45AM jeremywc said

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My first MMO was EverQuest. I started playing not long after its release in '99. Players mostly kept relatively close to their home cities since moving to new lands usually required doing some faction grinding. This forced players to get to know each other since you were usually grouping with the same people day after day. I remember stepping out into Everfrost for the first time with my Barbarian Shaman and loving the sound of the chill wind blowing through the valleys. I remember stumbling around Halas, "drunk" on Frozen Toe Rum and falling into the well. Those are still my favorite memories and experiences in an MMO.

As the game shifted into being raid and gear focused, we traded our little online families for uberguilds. I abandoned my Barbarian Shaman and rolled an Ogre Shaman for stat bonuses. Eventually I moved on; these days I'm playing WoW. From a mechanics and game design standpoint, it is hands down a better game than EverQuest ever was. But WoW will never be able to build those small, close knit communities that sprung up in the early days of EverQuest.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 9:50AM Palebane said

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It was like playing dungeon and dragons with thousands of other players. It was great to meet and get to know people that I never would have otherwise and without having to leave home (especially in the winter).

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 10:02AM Birk said

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My first MMO experiences were strange. I remember around 1998 when I played my first MUD. It was set in 18th century France...really cool actually! You could go around to the Louvre and the different places, solving mysteries and defeating villains. People were real Roleplayers in that game; almost everyone had a moustache to twirl.

But being that I was young at the time, and had no credit card, I could not afford the (hourly!) subscription. Thus, my journey in France passed away. It was an epic feeling though, and I still remember it to this day.

My first "real" MMO was WoW. Not to say that I didn't try UO and EQ before it...actually, I tried -many- MMOs before it: (Ragnarok Online, Dransik/Ashen Empires, Runescape (lol) ) and a whole whack load of Free-to-Play games (most of which were absolute garbage).

Like many folks, WoW was the one that hooked me. I logged into the open beta and I was absolutely floored. Time just seemed to melt away as I was playing it.

Though I've moved on from WoW, and don't really have much interest in playing it anymore, I haven't been able to find a game that I can stick to. I float in between, from AoC to LOTRO to EVE...every time I start I have a huge rush of excitement at the possibilities for fun. But my enthusiasm continually dies out 1-2 months later (and I'm a casual gamer...AKA I play like, 4-5 hours a week maybe).

Anyhow, I'm waiting for that next one to "grab" me. LOTRO did for awhile, and I still love it...I just want something that feels as new as WoW did on that fateful beta day.

-Birk

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 10:03AM Birk said

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@Birk

A side note: Jef Reahard has captured my imagination with his preview of Darkfall. Let's see if that delivers!

-Birk
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Posted: Nov 26th 2010 10:31AM jonrd463 said

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I'd never played any MMO until a friend of mine urged me to join her in the open beta for Lineage 2. Having no preconceived notion as to what an MMO was supposed to be like (i.e. no Everquest or UO experience to cloud my judgement), I was amazed. Just the idea of this massive world to roam around in killing things with my friends was cool. The gameplay was grindy, but the fun was hanging out, killing things, watching other people kite a gang of mobs while screaming "HEEEELLLPPP!", or seeking shelter in the starter city with the PK gangs were roving the area, and so on. I never did sub because at the time, WoW was the most anticipated game. As a player of all 3 of the Warcraft games, plus expansions, I decided I'd hold out. So, WoW ended up being the first MMO I subscribed to and played to end game. It's cool and edgy to hate on whatever is popular, but I had and continue to have fun in WoW to this day.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 10:33AM Morreion said

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My first was UO- I'll never forget logging in to Britannia and wandering around the streets, seeing other characters dressed in great-looking dyed clothes. One veteran gave me some gold and told me a story of a previous adventure he had been on while we sat at a tavern with mugs of beer on the table in front of us. I remember my first time in the graveyard, fighting skeletons and ghouls- very frieghtening, because there were real consequences for dying.

My first weekend there, I played so long that I fell asleep at the keyboard. I was just blown away.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 10:46AM Jeromai said

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Circa '95-'96, watched a friend log into a MUD with zMUD and start playing. Strange green glow of scrolling text on a black background... Oh hey, you can say things, fight monsters, and there's other people around doing their own stuff - it's like interactive fiction (Adventure, Colossal Cave and its ilk) on steroids...with combat! And levels! And no turn limits like BBS door games Legend of the Red Dragon and Tradewars 2002. And FREE.

Sold. Got home, downloaded the client, logged into Realms of Despair, a SMAUG MUD (diku variant). Wow, there were a ton of races to pick from - half-trolls, half-ogres, lizardmen, drow, sea-elves, halflings, etc. There were a ton of classes - the standard mages, clerics, warriors, thieves, and not so standard, druids, augurers, vampires. Enter the beginnings of altholism as I end up making 4-5 alts in short order.

The very first newbie area was the name 'auth' area, where your name has to be personally verified by a live human "immortal." Instead of making you wait around, it also served as a well-crafted tutorial that showed, not told, what to do. (They later revised the area, for the worst, imo.)

Examining and looking at things in the room description led you slowly through the basics of walking (n,e,s,w compass directions) and reading signs ('look sign'), you interacted with objects 'pull rope' and got newbie equipment to wear ('wear shirt' 'wear pants') and wield ('wear sword'), and killed basic stuff ('kill snake'). And what completely sold the MUD for me was -secrets-, special knowledge/trivia that had to be learned.

As I was standing around in the newbie auth area dutifully reading things and following instructions, some random people moved past me on their way into the game proper. One fellow did something in my room, and mysteriously vanished, unlike other people who left back west. Wtf?! What did he do?

I refused to budge from the room (pretty much blocking the area, if I recall, that room was limited to 1-2 people inside) and looked at -everything- in the description. Then I looked at other nouns referenced in those descriptions. Under the chair was a rug. Staring at the rug revealed a corner of it turned up and some planks underneath. Checking the planks revealed...a trap door! Wow!

Opening the door chucked me into a secret room, with a secret reward of a earring that let you float/hover or some such. As I left, I was pretty much buzzing around with a euphoric high and staring at all the other people's equipment to see that, HA! They didn't find the earring! Oh ho, this one has a earring, he must be in the know!

The rest of the game past the auth area was simply a deepening of that experience. It was startling how rooms strung together in different compass directions could create a spatial sense of 'world' - Darkhaven was a square city, certain areas would be north, east or west, etc. A friendly mob created a portal that brought you to the doorsteps of friendly-to-newbie-leveled areas to explore, and find more secrets, and kill things for xp to level up.

Truth be told, the rest of the people in the MUD were fairly incidental as I was leveling. The MUD allowed "multi" or multiple log-ins at the time, so I'd see folks zoom by as a group of 8, or 16 people and suspect they were all the same person. Crazy awesome. I'd go around as a group of 3-4 alts as a 'wannabe.'

Wasn't until one of my first characters hit max level that I started looking around for guilds and meeting other people in order to figure out 'what next' - ie, the endgame of "runs" (raids in MMOspeak). There were also live challenges by the immortals "quests" where you'd solve trivia (in game or out of game) and show off your knowledge of the MUD in return for valuable rewards.

My first time in an MMO is mild in comparison. By the time I jumped into City of Heroes, I was burned out on the loot treadmill. I marveled at how the addition of the 3rd dimension changed some of the feel, navigating in 3D meant more ability to dodge and use scenery in combat, but a lot of the rest of it was the same, albeit with more flashy graphic effects.

The most refreshing thing was how CoH tried to innovate away from the standard diku grinds, and the pace of constant, significant change of a paid service as compared to the free MUD which had a pathetic system to decide on new game changes (via a democratic and bureaucratic process worst than the Senate. Seemed like they'd vote whether to fix a typo, sometimes.)

Sometimes I still desperately miss the days of being in a world with secrets that can be kept - and not splashed out onto various spoiler sites and wikis like now. For being referred to as an 'expert' on something, and consulted and respected in that regard. It's not very achievable these days, though I've found A Tale in the Desert, where some of that flavor still remains.

I miss being able to 'multi' and log on a bunch of characters at once. Guild Wars' heroes and henchmen brings back some of those memories. Dual-boxing (in games that support it more easily than needing a bunch of hardware) can recreate some of that feel.

Who knows if the MMOs in the future can bring back some of that spice? Maybe Guild Wars 2 - for a more unpredictable world, a sense of actual world, and being able to interact with incidental people you bump into. I'm not confident of the rest - they are probably theme park-y, fun enough to play, but nowhere near the first time.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 11:01AM Valdamar said

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My first foray into virtual worlds was EverQuest in 1999. First impressions were not good.

I couldn't even find my guildmaster to train with my first two characters - Half Elf Rogues, in Freeport and then Qeynos - the rogue guild was (understandably) hidden - in catacombs under a bar in Qeynos, reached through the sewers in Freeport - and the note that new rogues started with in their inventory told you who to go meet, but did not say where to find them - I walked around both cities for hours checking every NPC - this was on a new server within 2 months of EQ's launch, so there was nobody I could ask for help as there were no spoiler websites yet and most other players were as clueless as I was.

Then I started a barbarian warrior in Halas and the world just opened up for me - Everfrost was so atmospheric, I really felt like I was struggling to survive in a frosty wilderness, having to memorise landmarks to find my way around (no compass on the UI, no in-game map), discovering new places all the time and fearing for my life - I quested/made my own armour, I found allies who became friends, and the world started to live and breathe as my character made a life there.

Back then it was all about the adventure and the friendships, not about the loot and grinding levels. I stayed there 3 years, but eventually the raiding became too serious, I lost my sense of wonder, and newer MMOs were coming out that promised more interesting gameplay than just auto-attack with a Taunt or Slam/Kick every 6 seconds.

When I played WoW I loved Dun Morogh, but it never felt as dangerous as Everfrost and it just didn't last long - MMOs really speed you through newbie levels these days, before friendships can form, and everyone expects that kind of pace to continue. I'm as guilty of powering through levels as almost everyone else these days, but I never stop wanting to go back to those days of blissful ignorance when every new discovery was a wonder.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 11:25AM eLdritchZ said

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my first love was DAoC. I'll never forget logging in the first time with my Cabalist, trying to figure out how the game works, desperately looking for the glorious RvR action, leveling up to 50 pretty much all solo... it was tough and i felt reeeaaaally awesome when i finally managed it ;) No MMO ever kept me gaming so hard as DAoC did.

for the big throng of MMOs coming out next year i have big hopes for Rift. I really hope it's gonna turn out awesome! =)

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 11:33AM Faryon said

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The first time I stepped into SWG (pre-CU) it was all a bit overwhelming tbh. The only multi-player games I had ever played before was Counter-Strike and Starcraft so I had no clue how to do anything really. Spent my first hour in my first MMO wandering the streets of Mos Eisley while trying to figure out how to contact a friend of mine who had played the game for a few months.. Ended up logging off without having done anything other than sightseeing.

The next day my friend walked me through a lot of the basic concepts of the game and showed me around for a bit. One of his guildies even gave me a speeder for free which was pretty awesome.

Posted: Nov 26th 2010 1:15PM FoolishLobster said

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Although my first MMO was Ultima Online, and one of my favourite MMOs being Dark Age of Camelot (RvR ftw!), the best experience I had was when I first played WoW on the second day of release. I started a Human Mage and I was just blown away. I remember being amazed as I walked into Stormwind for the first time and was looking at the huge statues. No other MMO gave me that awesome feeling, and I long for that feeling to one day return. I'm hoping SWTOR will do that for me.

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