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Gather 'Round The Campfire Kids... It's Story Time...


Started by Qallidex
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Taken from: http://www.reddit.com/r/gametales/commen...ot_repost/


What follows is a repost of a story I told last summer. Seemed a good thing to add here. :

It was the people. The community. Living in a virtual world. A harsh virtual world that brought people together and encouraged to you team up. Modern MMOs try everything they possibly can to make sure that you never play with anyone else. I'm going to tell a long story. Like many who started playing MMOs back in 1997-2003, I find modern MMOs lacking in many ways. They're just too different from what we had back then. They focus on singleplayer instanced quest grinding, whereas MMOs back then focused on creating virtual worlds for people to socialize and live in. So I will tell you a story of one of my first big group experiences in Dark Age of Camelot. This story emphasizes many of the features absent from modern MMOs. Settle in, it's a long one.

I was a level 7 Armsman wandering around Camelot Hills looking for something to do. I walked about exploring, but not straying too far, lest I get lost (no in game map, which pulled you into the world like you wouldn't believe). I talked to some players, and many of them mentioned a place called the Tomb of Mithra.

I decided to go up to the local Keep and talk to guards there. They referred me to the local crier. I wasn't sure where he was. I typed "/where Crier Ulwyn". The guards literally pointed me in the right direction. Quests were rare in DAoC, they were done more for the story, for solving puzzles, and for finding new places you didn't know existed. The item reward was secondary. NPCs existed to flesh out the world and make it feel like a place. There were lots of dialogue options with even the lowliest NPC villager.

I talked to the crier, clicking through his dialogue, occasionally typing in words to get more information. On a whim I typed "Mithra" and he gave me a story, basically explaining how it was a horrible hell hole and I should stay away from it. I decided I must go there.

I asked some veteran players that were around how to get there. I still remember the directions. "Go north along this road until you see a guard tower, then go east through the field of bandits. Once you get to the hill, slowly work your way to the top and get ready to sprint inside when you see the tomb entrance. It's guarded by the undead." I was nervous the whole way to the tomb, and feared dying. Another big difference, there were death penalties in old games, which made you feel grounded in the world and invested in everything around you. The world was a dangerous place.

I made it into the tomb with only a little health to spare, the monsters outside had tried their best to eat me alive. I was greeted by the sight of player graves. Dozens of names stood near the entrance, showing where the warriors fell in their final moments. I was in a dark stone hallway, with stairs leading down, and undead guardsmen at the bottom. I was a low level, but if I managed to get one of the guardsmen alone (using my crossbow that I had just recently found!) I could kill one alone. I did this for a while, and then got bold and ran down the stairs.

I slipped by the guardsmen into the next hall. I remember a friend's advice, "Never EVER go right when in Mithra." So, I stuck to lefts, turning through a few corridors. I passed other warriors fighting unspeakable horrors (dungeons were NOT instanced, and in fact were where many socialized, as you will see). I rounded a corner and..bam, I got killed by a horde of Roman Soldier skeletons.

I shouted for help as I bled out and two people eventually found my body and brought me back to life, meaning I only got a minor xp penalty. I thanked them and bowed, they bowed back, and we exchanged a few words before deciding to group up. All right! 3 man strong we pushed deeper into the dungeon, more lefts, eventually coming into what was called "The Promise Room". Inside were 4 other players who were in over their heads, and about to die. Our group charged in to help, just barely staving off the enemies and saving the 4 people. Again, thanks all around, a little joking, and we decided to group. With the 7 of us, we could easily kill anything in The Promise Room, and decided to push even deeper, to areas of the dungeon most of us had never seen. We decided to go right.

We passed rooms with giant meat hooks and flayed skin stretched on walls. We passed ritual chambers full of dead Roman Generals, walking around in their rusty old armor. We had to dodge a lot of these high level wandering monsters, on edge the whole time. (death penalty!) We found a collapsed wall in the dungeon, and underneath, was the basement level, where many horrors spawned from. At the very bottom was a place called The Disciple Room. It was perfect. We made it in and set up shop, killing enemies 8 at a time. Then we'd sit to recover our health and wait for a respawn, talking in chat, laughing, joking. It was one of the most fun nights I can remember. There was a group of notorious mobs in this dungeon called Bleeders, jaguar sized lizards. They'd send smaller faster ones ahead to rooms people might be in, and if the scouts found anyone they'd attack. If they weren't killed fast enough they'd scream and call the entire horde down, sometimes including their brood mother. Everyone lived in fear of these wandering monsters. Rumor has it they were attracted to silver items. I had picked up a silver lined map case.

Two scouts ran into our room and started biting me. I stood up quickly to avoid more double damage hits and pulled out my shield. Our cleric healed me and shouted "Shit shit shit! Kill them quickly!"

We tried, but in moments the bleeders were screaming "SCHUUUUUUCCCTH". About a dozen more came pouring down the stairs into our room, with the massive brood mother stomping behind them. We didn't even entertain the thought that we'd survive, and I was already starting to make peace with the idea of losing another chunk of xp. But then our tank stepped up.

"I'll hold them here, all of you run out down the east corridor! Do it!" We didn't know what good that would do, but we didn't want to make his sacrifice for nothing. We tore down the east corridor. We could hear bleeders dying and the highlander knight screaming from the room we left. As we ran we attracted a horde of zombies that were running after us. We followed the hall and it led... to a dead end. I was about to turn and go down fighting when... "blip". Suddenly, loading screen.
Huh... Apparently there had been a secret invisible exit to the dungeon. Our party was spit out into an...upside down house that slanted heavily to the right. We could see out the windows...some sort of demon gathering. We could even overhear some of the profane dialogue.

We all tried to gather our wits and wait for others to load in. We watched the health bar of our brave tank go down to nothing as the bleeders overwhelmed him. We thanked him for his selflessness. "Hey, it's my job to make sure all of you survive." With a little deliberation we decided to try sprinting out the front door and escape from the demons. I kicked it open and we burst out. As we sprinted, demons starting flinging spells at us. We had no idea where we'd come out or where we were, but we ran. Eventually I began to realize... the river we ran alongside was ...the same river that led back to the guard tower I'd gone east at! "Follow me men!"

We trained the demons straight back to the Camelot garrison and watched as the guards cut them down. We cheered and celebrated our escape and then met back up with our tank. Only then did we realize it was 3 in the morning. We decided to call it a night. We added eachother to our friends lists and I ended up grouping with them at least once a week for the next several months.

I made many friends that night. In fact most of the friends I met in that game were from just doing PUGs in PUBLIC dungeons. These are things that no longer exist in modern MMOs. Everyone levels by solo questing, and follows a dotted lined on a GPS map. No one explores while hunting mobs, no one groups just for the hell of it. NPCs don't have schedules or routines. They don't travel. They're just quest dispensers located in "hubs" with glowing symbols to differentiate which ones are important and which ones are fillers. None of them have any character.

This is why us old curmudgeons tend to rag on newer MMOs that lack so many of the features from classic MMOs. GW2 is bringing several of those old ideas back, and is being praised heavily for it. Why can't more big budget MMOs bring back the ideas that birthed this entire genre, instead of retreading the broken ideas in WoW? I played MMOs to socialize, and now that's just about gone. You have to be part of some clique guild and form pre arranged groups if you ever want to talk to anyone in game.
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well written and many trues in it. thanks for sharing was a good read.
This post was last modified: March 28th 2013, 06:26 PM by UncleBress
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Qallidex
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Public dungeons are great. Now I'm the kind that enjoys soloing because that's my nature (I like looting everything around me, and taking my time to explore - I often feel rushed in group situations), but I also like making friends during random encounters. The public dungeons are exactly what people like myself will be able to enjoy, without feeling like we're trapped in a forced grouping game.
This post was last modified: March 28th 2013, 11:08 PM by babylon
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Fantastic story! I only played DAOC for a brief period, but your story brought wonderful memories of exploration and fun in Everquest. I definitely share your view, that exploration, situations created out of need and desperation, and a good healthy fear of death were a recipe for amazing experiences in an MMO.
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Qallidex
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I never played DAOC; I was content with UO, even post-trammel which took away some of what made it special. But that's the same sort of feeling I got from UO.

EQ... I know many have fond memories of it, and I'll grant that it was still part of the old-school approach to MMOs. But to me: it's also the game that started the end of that approach, and I'll likely never forgive it for that.

(March 28th 2013, 11:07 PM)babylon Wrote: Public dungeons are great. Now I'm the kind that enjoys soloing because that's my nature (I like looting everything around me, and taking my time to explore - I often feel rushed in group situations), but I also like making friends during random encounters. The public dungeons are exactly what people like myself will be able to enjoy, without feeling like we're trapped in a forced grouping game.

Perhaps I'll see you there. Perhaps we'll spill blood together, even.
This post was last modified: March 29th 2013, 01:16 AM by Venitas the Heretic


(March 28th 2013, 10:28 AM)name withheld Wrote: How are two completely independent 4 man groups going to compete?

Obviously by comparing e-peens. :irritated:
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Post #54783
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Great read. Blast from the past. I was about the same level when I first wandered into Mithra.


CITADEL
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(March 29th 2013, 01:14 AM)Venitas the Heretic Wrote:
(March 28th 2013, 11:07 PM)babylon Wrote: Public dungeons are great. Now I'm the kind that enjoys soloing because that's my nature (I like looting everything around me, and taking my time to explore - I often feel rushed in group situations), but I also like making friends during random encounters. The public dungeons are exactly what people like myself will be able to enjoy, without feeling like we're trapped in a forced grouping game.

Perhaps I'll see you there. Perhaps we'll spill blood together, even.

Will be good times.
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Post #54790
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Good story @"Qallidex", Ive just finished writing a similar story about my first experiences in UO. I think its good that some of us who were around for those early days of MMOs, are writing these stories and giving others an idea of what it used to be like. I agree that the genre needs to trend back toward those earlier styles again.

I like your comments on the social aspect as well. Even though I belonged to one main guild almost my entire UO career, I ran with and belonged to others as well. I made and kept MANY good friends throughout the time I played UO, and even after I quit playing it. Games like UO, DAoC, AC, and even EQ all ancouraged a huge amount of socializing.

If I dont go for an actual article, I may actually post my story under this one, if you dont mind @"Qallidex"
This post was last modified: March 29th 2013, 02:03 AM by Balkoth


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loved your point man, i remember that feeling all too often. finding a quest, then finding a group of players for help (physically and socially). but after a while i stopped looking for help, the thing that stopped me doing it in the future was knob heads, getting called names because i asked for help! i know that this is not the games fault and the 'knob heads' are in the minority but because of them i did play the game more like a recluse for a while.
i think we shouldn't be afraid of change, we need this medium to change not stand still, i keep on saying 'you can't say an MMO has to have this or can't have that' but with that in mind there is something it should do, it should encourage, To a large extent! interactions with other players or it might as well be a single player game.
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(March 29th 2013, 02:01 AM)Balkoth Wrote: If I dont go for an actual article, I may actually post my story under this one, if you dont mind @"Qallidex"

By all means... Just to clarify, this isn't actually a story that I wrote, just wanted to repost it so that others could enjoy it as well, especially because I believe in all the sane points.
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Thank you very much for sharing. I never played DAOC, but a good friend of mine often speaks of the good ol' days of Dark Age. I'm going to send your story his way. I'm sure he'll love it.
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(March 29th 2013, 02:21 AM)Qallidex Wrote: By all means... Just to clarify, this isn't actually a story that I wrote, just wanted to repost it so that others could enjoy it as well, especially because I believe in all the sane points.

Ahh my mistake, I see now where I misread that :)


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