| Mail |
You might also like: WoW Insider, Joystiq, and more

Reader Comments (104)

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:28PM Mhaer said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Jef Reahard

I agree with you that in most ways newer games do have less non-combat gameplay features. So I think the people looking back wanting those things have a very good point.

Where I disagree is when you say something like combat is pointless to talk about. This one of the areas where much of the development of games like Conan, Vindictus, and DCUO has been focused. Some other major areas of improvement being graphics, character animation, and movement.

I personally am a bit guilty of looking back at a game like Anarchy Online and comparing it to Age of Conan ( to use two game from the same developer). I complain about the more in depth crafting, the crazy large world, the amazingly in depth character building, the events, the twinking, etc. All of those things that I do not have in Conan. It is true, they are not there, and the absence was a pretty large hole for me personally.

However, I cannot go back because of the advances that AoC made in areas like graphics, combat, and movement. Forgetting these advances and saying they are pointless to talk about because all games have them is a big part of that rosy-tint.

I now find myself pretty much not playing much anything because I want the fun combat and movement, along with the prettier graphics of the newer titles I mentioned, but I also want the in depth worlds and alternate activities present in the the older titles.

Rose tinted glasses only come into play if I forget what the older games are missing. I don't think it is asking for too much for a game to have all of these things. If it is, then I will just have to wait until it isn't.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:38PM Jef Reahard said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Mhaer

I'm with you. I can't go back and play Ultima due to the graphics, even though the rest of the feature set puts almost every MMO released since to shame.

My comment about combat was borne out of frustration with the fact that people value it above everything else, and the result is a genre that has regressed in every other way. It's not so much that we shouldn't talk about combat; it's that it shouldn't be the only thing we talk about when the subject is MMOs.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:53PM digitaldisharmony said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Mhaer I agree 100%. I was first introduced to MMOs through Guild Wars several years ago, but I never spent any time in the genre until I started playing F2P MMOs, so I consider my "first kiss" to be Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine.

Granted, MegaTen is in no way one of the "classics" of western MMOs such as UO or EQ, but I think it still conveys the point. I've repeatedly proclaimed the awesome quality of MegaTen to my fellow gamers: the history of the series; the interesting storyline; the post-apocalyptic setting as opposed to typical fantasy; the skill-based system instead of classes; the complex crafting and customization; and the detailed and open-ended pet system. I understand that many of these features are not the "non-combat activities" the article refers to, but my point is that, feature wise, MegaTen appears to offers much more than most new MMOs just like those classic MMOs and, just like those classic MMOs, I could never go back to MegaTen.

I sometimes regret what I've given up with MegaTen, but the quality of living has improved so much in new MMOs, in my opinion. I enjoy the more steady pace of leveling and I love being able to log on and spend five minutes just admiring how beautiful my character or the scenery is. Those are features to me, just as much as anything else and they add to my enjoyment of the game.

I'm not implying your argument has no weight, but that it may be even more subjective than you're assuming. To me, "pretty" is a feature that is just as valuable as "housing."
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:04PM StampyIRL said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
My first kiss was FFXI - not so old school, I guess. I certainly don't think that grindfest was better than games I've played since.

How do you feel about EVE Online? Many reckon it to be a masterpiece of a sandbox, but how does it stack up to something like UO?

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:15PM Jef Reahard said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@StampyIRL

I love EVE, but find it lacking in comparison to UO because there's no personal space. UO's housing was a game unto itself and EVE has nothing even remotely like that. Incarna is a baby step towards it though, so I'm hopeful.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:10PM Muddleglum said

  • 2.5 hearts
  • Report
The first kiss theory is hogwash. People may not agree with the examples given here but that doesn't make it untrue.
I hated my first MMO, loved my second. Then after a couple hits and misses found my favorite much later.
I admit there is somthing special about a first experience but that doesn't mean everyone uses it as a benchmark.

Posted: May 25th 2011 1:11AM VioletArrows said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Muddleglum No, not hogwash, you're just an outlier.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:22PM Plastic said

  • 3 hearts
  • Report
I couldn't agree more, Jef. There have been advancements in the genre, but they have not been in the direction that many of us older players hoped to see.

Every time I go back and play a pre-2004 MMO, I'm struck by some cool little feature that leaves me scratching my head thinking "why wasn't this polished and expanded upon in subsequent titles?" I don't understand why I still haven't seen mob A.I./pathing or crafting that rivals what can be found in Ryzom, a title that launched over 7 years ago. I remember logging in to SWG when it first launched and thinking to myself "they've finally built my dream game, and it can only get better from here." Boy, was I wrong. The industry hasn't made a single step in that direction since, and worse, they even decided to cannibalize that once great milestone with game-changing patches.

People wonder why us "vets" are so bitter. It's because we remember a time when the genre was moving in a particular direction and the possibilities seemed endless. Now we're pretty much left with MMOs that are essentially single-player RPGs with chat integration and the occasional arena match-up. Again, it's not that certain areas haven't improved; I do think the core-combat mechanics in AoC are better than any previous MMO, and the UIs and character movement in many early games were downright painful. It's just that so many other aspects of MMOs have been neglected, if not completely abandoned.

Nostalgia, or rose-colored glasses, may play a small part, but the simple fact is that there are many older games that I'd play without hesitation over newer offerings, if they would only just update the graphics and UI.

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:22PM Gojant said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
I think the readers are trying to simply point out that your check list is far incomplete, sure you discussed points in the text but the checklist doesn’t reflect those marks. Look I don’t care for either game, either way, but have some consistency if you are going to compare two things, compare them properly. Don’t feed one side to prove your point.

And on the topic of your point, what is it? What theory are you proving right or wrong? You debunk the theory that the first kiss is better as we look back at it? You proved you yourself are looking back at old games rose colored glasses.

Look I will admit, every once in a while I think back to my first MMO, FFXI and I think man that was a great game, but I am only thinking of the great memories, not all the memories. We tend to look back and see one side of things, either all good or all bad when we get nostalgic. When I look back I see good times, but I go back and actually play and realize its flaws and remember the reasons why I left, slow mechanics, difficult leveling, overly punishing death mechanics, etc. I see one side when I get nostalgic and remember them when I open up the full memories. I think you are one-siding your view of your list as well.

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:32PM Jef Reahard said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Gojant

I'm not talking about memories at all. Nowhere did I mention anything to do with perception or memory of a game.

I'm talking about feature lists, which are black and white. A game either has a feature or it doesn't. If people want to argue that I stacked the deck in favor of EQII, by all means point out some examples (and as I contended above, I didn't stack the deck, I listed what the developers developed).

My lists were of major gameplay features, i.e., combat, crafting, achievements, etc. I'm not talking about anything other than features that a game offers in terms of large, bullet point gameplay options.

I think it would be awesome to see an exhaustive list of every little detail in terms of EQII vs. AoC, or RIFT vs. WoW, or whatever. I don't have time to do that in a 1000 word column, so I opted for the large, obvious features and functionality.

Make sense?
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:49PM Gojant said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Jef Reahard

“This "first kiss theory" -- as I'm calling the bundle of nostalgia-related charges…”

The whole point of your article and title of it as well points to one “Theory” of nostalgia related items.
nos•tal•gi•a [ no stáljə ]
1. sentimental recollection: a mixed feeling of happiness, sadness, and longing when recalling a person, place, or event from the past, or the past in general
2. things that arouse nostalgia: something, or things, intended to arouse a feeling of nostalgia or to evoke the past in a way that arouses nostalgia
3. homesickness: a longing for home or family when away from either
So while yes you didn’t say the word Memory, you sure put it into context when you used this word.

Get to the root of your argument, that you, and some old specific gamers had a specific set of events in your gaming life that lead you to have this feeling towards your first love, and nothing has replaced that first love “For You” since then.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:02PM Jef Reahard said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Gojant

No dude, you're completely wrong in terms of my motivations and my argument, lol. My first kiss was Anarchy Online, and I really didn't like it that much which is why I left to play UO and then SWG. When you get right down to it, my third kiss is the one I remember. But again, and for the last time because there are only so many ways it can be explained, this is not about memory at all, it is about features.

As far as getting to my argument, I can't make it any plainer: the first-kiss theory is bunk because it ignores the fact that older MMOs typically have much larger feature sets than newer MMOs. Unless you think less features, less variety, and fewer options equals a better MMO, that's the end of the argument.

People that use the first-kiss theory in a discussion like this have a fundamental misunderstanding of the way things are. Older MMOs were provably more feature-rich.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:03PM Gojant said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Jef Reahard


Look I am not trying to say your point was right or wrong, and I really could care less if Game A is better than Game B. My point is that your references and your checklist, and even your arguing statement are disconnected in the entire article. Just look at this statement, it’s confusing under its own comparison.

“There is, however, accounting for the fact that Game A has features C, D, E, F, and G while Game B has feature C and maybe a half-assed implementation of D (if we're lucky).”

You’re generically referencing games as a letter and then referencing features within those games also as letters. Does Game C have Features A, B and D? I understood what you were shooting for but your confusing your point with a poor approach to your argument. The entire approach of your soapbox reads this way.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:05PM Gojant said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Gojant

"As far as getting to my argument, I can't make it any plainer: the first-kiss theory is bunk because it ignores the fact that older MMOs typically have much larger feature sets than newer MMOs. Unless you think less features, less variety, and fewer options equals a better MMO, that's the end of the argument.

People that use the first-kiss theory in a discussion like this have a fundamental misunderstanding of the way things are. Older MMOs were provably more feature-rich. "

See now this I understand and agree with. Why couldn't you put this in your article man! Go edit it... Ill wait.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:06PM Jef Reahard said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Gojant

Lol, that's fair enough. I can accept the fact that I'm a bad writer easier than I can accept the first-kiss theory.

/tiphat
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:48PM Plastic said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Gojant

"And on the topic of your point, what is it? What theory are you proving right or wrong? You debunk the theory that the first kiss is better as we look back at it?"

Jef's point (not sure how you missed it) was that one's preference for older games is not always due to those games being one's first MMO experience. Instead, we prefer them because they are superior to newer games in many respects. The checklist supported Jef's argument by highlighting the lack of features in newer games, features which Jef, and many other gamers, find extremely important to their enjoyment of an MMO. If people don't need those features to enjoy an MMO (and many don't), that's fine...but they shouldn't dismiss our preference for older games as being solely driven by nostalgia.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 5:51PM Plastic said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
@Plastic

Oops, submitted this a little late.
Reply

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:31PM hereafter said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Making a good MMO isn't just about taking some standardized list of features and throwing them into a game. I feel like that just causes stagnation in how games deliver their content and their worlds. If a game is all about being a sandbox and letting you forge your own path, then yes having a bunch of different systems to play around with is a good thing. But other games offer a more focused experience. For instance, WoW to me is all about questing, PvE group content and PvP. Your characters are your way of moving through that content and growing with it. Based on it's current structure and design, I don't see how something like housing or player-generated content would work. It would feel tacked on since the game was built from the ground up as a dev-driven experience. Blizzard has the reins and we're along for the ride. This is a very different approach than the virtual world, player-driven experience of a sandbox.

Ultimately, I think the two approaches have their own merits and one doesn't always appeal to fans of the other. I don't think it's fair to take the feature list of a more sandboxy game, where giving a lot of different gameplay tools and features to a player is paramount, and compare it to a themepark game where the gameplay can be more focused to fit the nature of the content being created by the devs. It would be like trying to criticize League of Legends for not having an open world or player housing--it simply doesn't fit the goals and objectives of that game.

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:44PM Enikuo said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
The problem is that we don't use a check list when evaluating an MMO. We use a flow chart.

Does this game have ?
- Yes, continue on
- No, this game sucks

Posted: May 24th 2011 4:46PM Enikuo said

  • 2 hearts
  • Report
Was supposed to say:

Does this game have "insert really important feature I want?"
Reply

Featured Stories

Engadget

Engadget

Joystiq

Joystiq

WoW Insider

WoW

TUAW

TUAW