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When MMO's were hard


Started by Gimpyloser
Post #52827
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Aldmeri Dominion (Altmer)
I was looking at some of the new upcoming games when I strolled upon this story from an old EQ player. I've been playing mmo's since the beginning and this brought back some memories. Many people who started mmo gaming in WoW and even in expansion sets of Wow really have no idea what gaming was like before and how the increased difficult added to the game. My character in EQ meant the world to me because it was so freakin hard. I think the new games could learn alot from this story and realize that catering to the casual player doesn't mean you have to make the game super easy. So on to the story that inspired this post.

EverQuest – My First Experience

Ahh, how could I ever forget the first time I ever loaded up and played EverQuest. I had no idea just how immersive mmo’s could be. Jathan had brought up the idea of playing EQ one day to me, and the more I looked into the game the more I liked about it. I wasn’t a huge fan of first person style games at the time and to my knowledge that was the optimal way of playing EQ however I still decided to give it a chance.

That fateful day my Troll ShadowKnight Kuros was born. Oh boy what a horrible first impression I had of the game! Grobb wasn’t exactly the most user friendly zone to start in. Roaming around the city, I already had that itch to go and kill some stuff to level up. I finally manage to make it to Innothule Swamp, I look around at my surroundings and get excited at the prospect of exploring this mysterious place. I go ahead and attack my first monster and successfully kill it. I then start exploring a bit further out not knowing what exactly was waiting for me.

After a few minutes of walking I approached a frog like creature. I knew I had seen these in Grobb in mini prisons. I figured they were bad guys but I ‘C’ [conned] him and relized he was red. I slowly proceed to backaway knowing a battle with him would ensure my death. Low and behold I happened to back into a few of his friends and was promptly killed on the spot. That’s ok, dying is part of the game. Respawning at the small camp near Grobb I realize that my equipment is gone and I am now naked and have to go retrieve my corpse. I must have tried 5 times but they were corpse camping me!

Patience for me was not a virtue at the time! I got frustrated. So frustrated I promptly hit the power button and said to myself, I quit this is BS! I told Jathan about my experience, as he had yet to purchase the game and was getting it that night. I get a call later that evening and it went something like this

Jathan “There is a cool starting zone called Qeynos, it isn’t too hard I am able to get around and kill the monsters no problem with my Paladin, I think the place you were in is just harder”

Kuras ” So how do I get there????”

Jathan ” Just create a new character and make him a human and you can pick to start here”

Kuras “But what about my Troll Shadow Knight?”

Jathan ” Umm what about him, didn’t he make you quit! Make a human you can make a Shadow Knight also if you want eh”

Kuras ” Fine fine, I will try one last time, game better not suck”

So instead of recreating my SK, I decided to make a Human Monk. What can I say other then Jathan was right. It was a much more user friendly starting area then Grobb/Innothule. What a smart choice the monk character was also at the time. I had so many great memories of Jathan dying while I was safely feigned death at his feet haha!

While Malkil the Monk ultimately didn’t remain my character of choice (My main was Kuras the Necromancer), it did provide me with some of my fondest memories and a great intro into the world of Norrath.
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Post #52849
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The ideas that were so fundamental and common back then seem utterly lost to current MMO development houses. Well, either lost or more likely purposely ignored for broader 'reach', aka all that least common denominator money.

Difficulty and earning hard-fought advancements, be it a level or a piece of gear bred a close tie to your avatar, so much so that you practically could look through your character's eyes and feel the caution and fear that they would based on your environment.

Isn't that what an MMO is supposed to do, the really successful ones? Put you as a human at your keyboard into the shoes of an alien character on an alien world, as literally as is possible via your computer?

The current 'norms' seem to be:

- you pay more attention to the game UI like macros, keymappings fast quest completion and non-traveling LFR dialogs than concentrating on the game environment and lore; i.e no one 'lives in the game' anymore

- you are aware of non-game things like cash shops, web sites and such lathered all over the game itself, and player tolerance of these just emboldens developers to try ever more invasive and immersion-breaking junk, in the name of making more money from you (but certainly not in the name of making the game actually more fun and immersive)

- uncivility and solo-friendliness are in this symbiotic spiral; people claim to need to solo due to the lack of socializing in MMOs, and then people claim to become less social due to the ease of soloing and not caring what anyone thinks of your actions

- the giant disparity between personalities, ages and behavioral tics is unlike anything in Real Life, but somehow it is put up with in MMOs
(can you even imagine any Real Life setting where you would put up with 5 seconds of what passes for global chat these days?)


People who came to MMOs mostly after they starting going in the above directions don't understand thinking like yours or mine. And I don't blame them since you had to be there to know why it mattered, and why it seems gone now.

But I do blame the developers who lead us down these evolutionary paths. They know all too well what they have done to these games, and why they did it.

And I am waiting for some developer - just ONE developer - to break out of these bad habits. Sadly I don't see it yet.
This post was last modified: March 21st 2013, 11:29 PM by RedGiant
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Post #52909
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There is a difference between making it challenging and making it unnecessarily hard.

Leveling for example: I don't mind taking the time to level as long as that time is spent solving challenges and coming at things from a different approach rather than spending it killing the weakest enemy in the starter area for 5 hours to get to level 2.

Bosses too, it's better for it to take a while to kill them because of the challenging (and fun) mechanics rather than the boss having 700 billion hp and each character doing 300 damage.

Challenging and fun- Ok

Difficult and annoying- No thanks
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