Saturday, November 15, 2008

What happened to the Fantasy MMORPG?

Why is my MMORPG's becoming like Quake III? It's a weird statement, but I'm odd so indulge me on this one for a minute. While I love my FPS, I can't help but weep at the direction this, the MMORPG genre, is going. I've been playing MMO's since the release of EverQuest, stayed with it until Gates of Discord, then moved on to others. City of heroes, World of Warcraft, Vanguard, Eve, Warhammer, EverQuest 2, etc. While some of these have some endearing qualities, none of them have held me the way EverQuest had. I pondered this, and I think I have found the answers.

One of the missing elements I think is both the reason World of Warcraft is making so much money, and the reason I can't say I've ever enjoyed it as much as EQ. Difficulty. World of Warcraft is easy. Now hear me out before you start posting about how " Raid encounter A is NOT easy ", and so on. I've raided every single encounter in World of Warcraft minus whatever came out for Wrath, and there is no encounter that rivals the challenge in older MMORPGS. If it was just the raid encounters I would be ok, but the overall game is the same. To find anything that was not mindless grinding , you have to find group quests or red quests and go solo them if you wanted any type of challenge. Dying is also meaningless in today's MMO. You respawn and go back on shooting in the Quake III MMORPG. That's it. There was never any excitement or danger in any encounter. Walk up, smack, repeat until dead. This seems the trend these days as opposed to when encounters were dangerous. You had something to lose should you mess the fight up, or if you didn't prepare properly. Nothing was more exciting then getting an add and killing them both with 50 HP left.

Another element is the GM event. These were special little quests the GM's of the game would participate with. So you would actually be playing with the Gm's during these events, instead of just true NPCs. These could be small quests, to game story changing campaigns. One such was when Firnoia Vie was captured by Venril Sathir not long after Kunark was release. Now while WoW has seasonal events and special ones when expansions are released, that's it. Perhaps GM events are impossible considering how large the player base is compared to EverQuests, but I still miss this interaction.

So you die, you lose nothing. Each encounter feels the same. While World of Warcraft drew me deeper into the Warcraft story that I've always enjoyed from the RTS series, it never had me in a choke hold. Even today's PVP encounters are based upon the playbook FPS wrote years ago. If I wanted to play Capture the Flag with a bunch of people, I would plug in any number of shooters. Make me feel like I've achieved something, and you'll have a golden MMORPG. Until then, nothing beats going to the Plane of Fear by yourself to get your Paladin Epic 1.0.....

and bringing it out in one piece.

This was something I wrote for, but I brought it over here to try and get even more feedback on the subject. Also, I'm lazy.

1 comment:

  1. On this, I'm inclined to agree. World of Warcraft is indeed a very easy game designed to be "user friendly" to users of most ages. I recall the days of EverQuest, though I never had a character at max level, I still had fun and got myself into all kinds of slippery situations on my Dwarven Rogue, Imathief Checkurpockets. I went places and done things that I shouldn't have been able to do at some levels and a lot of times it amazed my guild mates. I recall working on getting my epic 1.0, Ragebringer. That was a long and drawn out process that I had a lot of fun with. And to compare some raid encounters from WoW and EQ, that's too easily done. I know the last fight to get my rogues epic on EQ was a hard one. At that point in time, the max level in the game was 70. Please keep in mind that this particular fight is one of the hardest ones designed for when characters could only reach lvl 60. Anyhow, on with the story. I set up a raid group consisting of a lot of guild mates and friends. Many of which were lvl 70 and most were anywhere from 63-70 while I myself was only lvl 58. The fight was with the General guy, can't recall his name, but it took nearly 45 minutes to down him. And he was just one little dark elf that was an even con to a lvl 68 character. I have yet to hear of a raid in WoW that would take that long. Anyhow, I still play WoW b/c a lot of my friends and family play it. I do miss EQ a lot though as it was a lot of fun. Just my 2 cents ^_^


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