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Reader Comments (68)

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 1:42PM Borick said

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@paragonbliss Fun times. Camping the 'orc highway'. 'Lockjaw!' and what was the name of that giant in the turban?
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Posted: Apr 25th 2011 8:46AM Vorender said

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To me anyways, it's a combination of it being our first time playing that type of game, coupled with how linear and ordered newer games are now. Everquest 1 was new, but it was also chaotic, dangerous and unexplored.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 8:46AM ThaneUlfgar said

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For me, if I lose that sense I think its normally because I've been playing the same game, on the same server, with the same people on the same handful of characters for too long.

At that point, its time to either take a break, or find a new game and start completely over. That, or reroll completely on a different server, maybe a different race/faction/class in the same game. I think people get too tied to one character and thus become more susceptible(sp) to burnout.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 8:51AM Jynxed said

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I haven't been able to recreate it either, every since my long stint in City of Heroes and then Vanilla wow I just can't get into a mmo anymore no matter how hard I try.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 9:03AM Deadalon said

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I think noone will be ever to recreate it when they realise what makes the RPG MMOs genre tick.

There are ways to turn it around tho. All it takes is to for us all to remember its just a game - and then give the PLAYERS the create feedom to do things they want.

Give them a piece of land that they can do whatever with - give them a dungeon that they design and others rate. Give them tools to create puzzles and riddles. Give them farmville - portal - and strategy gaming with it. And finally then you have the next genre sandbox mmo.

And this is all very much possible in pretty much every MMO that is out atm. And thats the sad part :S

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 9:06AM Deadalon said

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@Deadalon

The gamers have come up with the greatest things in MMOs for years... Not the developers. What developers need to do is to capture the creative thinking by allowing players to design.
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Posted: Apr 25th 2011 9:13AM Bramen said

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There was magic in those first MMOs because we felt we were cutting edge. Now there is nothing special about an mmo.

If you want to make mmos fun again do three things: Make fun game-play, make an important economy, and lastly make a good story.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 9:26AM Maraq said

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I think MMO's are a specific problem in this regard. MMO's are meant to emulate a "world" to a certain degree, and at time of launch, its hoped that the current standards of realism, immersiveness and gameplay are met. If that is done well at beginning, or more accurately, at the beginning of the players time with the game, its quite possible that player loyalty will ensure a long period of player happiness.

But over time standards, and therefore expectations, change. Graphics and animation are expected to get better, quantities of information dealt with by the system (not necessarily the player) are assumed to increase, and options available to the player are expected to increase. Options available to the player does not necessarily mean that the GUI needs to be more complicated or burdensome. I was more refering to the freedom a player expects ingame. A decent mmo should generally provide more freedom to players to do more things.

Wonder is based on novelty, and novelty is hard to engineer continously. What you need is a game that provides unlimited permutations of what a player is looking for, within a limited framework. Chess is a good example of this principle, though not a good example of what constitutes a good MMO obviously ;). City of Heroes custom character creator is another good real life example. Surprisingly, just being able to create many genuinely obviously unique characters, does add to the novelty of playing each character, and therefore to the game experience. Unfortunately, that game lets itself down with limited mission content, a lot of missions being very similiar and generic, although task forces fare much better.

If you start playing a game that provides the number and variety of permutations a player is looking for, then novelty will endure a long time, and loyalty will grow and set in over time also. It did for me with City of Heroes, and i maintain a sub out of loyalty to the game and community because the game held me for long enough to generate that loyalty.

The MMO industry is a young one, with limited experience in the durability of certain paradigms. Its learning, and this is evident from the number of MMO's that are trying to be original, but are still falling into the same ruts and pitfalls as other games before them, although each takes a slightly different path to the same end.

Unfortunately, the best way to recapture the magic is to play a different game. This means trying other, maybe new games, with standards or paradigms that are possibly more up to date. Your own standards may then be revised and updated, and the old game you were so in love with may not look so shiny anymore, though you may have fond memories. Or, possibly, you may realise just what a good game you've invested all your time in and start to appreciate it all over again. I went through exactly this process with Guildwars.

Eventually though, all mmo games will lose their novelty, if not continually pushed to innovate and grow.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 9:36AM Deadalon said

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@Maraq

True that all games will lose their charm if they dont continue to get new and exiting things. And thats probalby why ppl come to the point where there is talk about recapturing stuff. That would not be needed in a good evolving long term MMO game. Sadly none of the games currently on the market are even gonna be trying that (exept EVE maybe).

Even the sub based games have put most of their developers on new projects and switched in some interns that are supposed to keep the game in maintainance mode. Name WOW, AOC and WAR for example. And these are the games where ppl actually expect more innovating development work cause they are sub based.

Some ppl think this is question of money vs design. The thing is.. Devs know this all along and they need to design a game from day 1 that can evolve over long period of time. They are not.

And money vs design becomes sort a joke when you see BLizzard sending out patch 4.1 in the fastest selling expansion ever. That just shows how total arrogance and lack of respect for the subscripton based gamers.
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Posted: Apr 25th 2011 9:34AM Sente said

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It will be a bit tricky to get back to that point, because it is not just about how they game works or how you approach the game, but also how every other player you may come in contact with in the game.

Playing and fun is about learning to master something really, make discoveries of different kinds etc. Going back to old games may not work here, because our experiences are different from then - so learning and discovery will be different.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 10:32AM DataShade said

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Eh. There are more MMOs out there than I can count. If, 12 years later, you don't enjoy the original EQ (which still exists, and which recently made news for starting a new progression server), and can't find a game you like among the hundreds out there... well, there's a saying: "the only constant among all of your failed relationships is you."

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 10:22AM Aganazer said

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EQ was the first stepping stone on the path toward the soulless cookie cutter quest grind we are so disenchanted with these days. It was the first MMOG with a "right" way of playing as defined by the developers. The "wonder" was lost because there is nothing to wonder about anymore.

If only more games would draw from AC and UO. Just create the tools and the systems then let the players decide what to do with them. Fewer limits on what we can and cannot do. More ways to express individuality.

I used to dream about the possibilities in a MMOG. Now they are all laid out for me in a short bullet point list before the game is even done being designed.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 10:18AM Tom in VA said

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I've played a lot of great MMOs that had features I liked, but, so far, no MMO has had all of the features I want. When (and if) that happens, the wonder will be recaptured for me, I think.

I am really hoping for an MMO (SWTOR, GW2, etc.) with ...

-- a gorgeous (not cartoony) persistent world
-- a rich story that is also accessible to solo-minded players
-- an AH, a mailing system, and a worthwhile and fun crafting system
-- a first-rate story
-- believable and entertaining NPCs
-- general solo friendliness (but with plenty of group content as well)
-- fast travel
-- excellent world, environment, armor, and character graphics
-- a painless grouping mechanism

THAT will recapture the wonder I am looking for. GW2 looks like it may come the closest of any MMO I have heard of to providing that kind of experience, and SWTOR is not far behind it.

Games copying the WoW business-as-usual MMO model (Rift, etc.) are basically yesterday's news as far as I'm concerned. I've been there, done that, and I am not going back.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 10:32AM 8zero said

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Bottom line on this subject is innovation. I didn't think I'd ever again have the same giddy sense of wonder I had with games like EQ or Half Life, then came along Minecraft. :)

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 11:08AM PaterFrog said

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Novel things get old. There's not much we can do about it, keep going for new things.
Of course, it depends a bit on your personality; some get bored with the old stuff quite fast, a few keep with it for decades at a time.

The best way to work around it, if you can't get something new, is to try and discover lots of new things about your MMO. The problem is, there aren't many new things to be discovered. Developers kinda know that and that's why they concentrate so much on content post-launch.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 11:13AM Jef Reahard said

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How do I recapture the wonder? I play older MMOs. Until a new-age designer comes to the table with a world first, game second mentality, I'll continue giving my money to devs who realize that MMOs should be more than lobby combat engines with a chat box.

Modern games have moved away from virtual world features (which are the only thing that differentiates MMOs from every other type of video game), which is why even the best of them feel repetitive and stale in short order.

This observation has nothing to do with the nostalgia/first kiss theory either. The first MMO I played for longer than a few weeks was Anarchy Online, and I didn't particularly enjoy it. In any event, older games were/are provably deeper, more involving, and possessed of more features and gameplay options than the stuff that is being released today (supposedly by the best and brightest, with new tech and lots of money at their disposal).

And that's a real shame.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 11:23AM Deadalon said

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@Jef Reahard

The thing is - unless we only have 1 world (1 server) then we can not talk about a game beeing world first. Two servers can be totally diffrent - sepcially if they are not theme parked.

Virtual world theory simply does not work unless we are talking 1 server. Thats my opinion ofc.
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Posted: Apr 25th 2011 12:39PM Irem said

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@Jef Reahard
"Modern games have moved away from virtual world features (which are the only thing that differentiates MMOs from every other type of video game), which is why even the best of them feel repetitive and stale in short order."

Agreed. Most people seem to get hooked on MMOs because they try one and are fascinated with the world. If someone were brave enough to make a game in which that doesn't give way to the "okay, you're done adventuring, get geared up and into the grinder you go" mentality, I think it would be a big step forward.

@Deadalon

I don't think a game necessarily has to be dynamic or changeable (if I understand you correctly) to be "world first." That would be nice, but a good first step is leading with story and worldbuilding, and not mechanics. The mechanics are important, but I think the best games design them to fit the story and world, and not the other way around. It's really obvious when the world is designed to fit mechanics, because then you end up drawing straws to see which major lore character is going to go nuts and become a raid boss this cycle, and things like that.

In WoW, it was really obvious when world started to give way almost entirely to mechanics. Mainland Azeroth and Outland were easy for me to get immersed in, but with very few exceptions, Northland fell into the "beautiful but soulless" zone. Not a hand's breadth of space was wasted in places like Sholazar; every square inch was taken up with a quest hub or the mobs for those quests. Storm Peaks and the two starting areas (less so Borean Tundra) were the only places that actually -felt- like places to me. Everything else was utterly claustrophobic.
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Posted: Apr 25th 2011 11:21AM ultimateq said

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I recapture the charm of Everquest in a number of ways.

* Lower the graphical quality all the way, and play at 640 x 480.
* Play on a CRT monitor for hours at a time and keep playing even when my eyes are burning.
* Get the worst custom UI you can find and only use one chat window where combat and messages are all sent to this single window; making it impossible to read anything.
* Don't use the Guild Lobby to summon my corpse; I run naked, the long way, through dozens of dangerous zones to get my corpse, and die an extra 4 times along the way.
* Don't use the Plane of Knowledge to quickly travel anywhere. I use boats and good ole' SoW.
* Magical Weapons? What's that? Fine Steel Long Sword for me!
* Buy only armor that existed pre-luclin.
* Don't solo. It's impossible. Even to kill a green you still need a group.
* Take 100 hours just to get to level 35.
* Fall of Kelethin while encumbered... Die.
* Sell your loot in the EC tunnel. Even if the zone is completely empty.
* Run from giants in the Oasis. Pull Spectres to the dock and don't call it, Laugh as you watch the little lowbies die!
* Charm a bat in Greater Faydark, then attack the Priest of Discord with it, and let the guards kill the PoD as they defend your level 1 bat.
* Make lots of new characters, because leveling past 15 is too hard.
* Fight in Karnor's Castle. Make sure you pull the trains to the right side, and don't call. Come back in and laugh at all of the corpses!
* Newbie Log in Nektulos Forest ... :)

Ah yes. Everquest was charming because it is impossible. And attaining any type progress in the game really gave you a feeling of accomplishment. If you got to level 60 (with Kunark), and got your epic weapon, you were a god, and were very highly respected.

Now, at level 150, with purchasable items, you can solo your entire epic, and most of the old content. They made the game a lot easier, so you can level solo.

Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, The game was very hard and it turned a lot of people away. It makes sense from a profitable point of view to increase playability for all users.

I don't really think that new content should increase the quality of items so much. I would still like to find my old epic 1.0 useful, even if I have my 2.0. But really there is no reason to have it. Now the 2.0's are mostly useless with all of the new gear from the new expansions.

Posted: Apr 25th 2011 11:22AM (Unverified) said

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Many of the comments so far address things that are largely out of the control of the gamers themselves. Like most things, I think the answer to this question lies in achieving balance in your own life.

While it will never be possible to recapture the exact sense of wonder you experienced when you first encountered an MMO, you can reinvigorate your enthusiasm for them by dropping them entirely for a while. Pretend they don't exist for a while. Rekindle your love for the other activities that used to occupy your free time. Or better yet, find something new to explore. Not only will you likely find that you missed doing those old activities, or you found something new to love, but when you finally do decide to come back to MMOs, you will be viewing them through a fresh set of eyes.

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