Where are all the good, new MMO’s?
I remember a few years ago when MMO’s were coming out regularly. Now, their poor quality and reception may be the reason why we don’t see more of them today, but that shouldn’t act as a deterrent to game developers — not in my mind.
The first MMO that ever really gets mentioned — and was before my PC gaming time by a few years — was Ultima Online. The game was really the first successful foray into the pioneer world of Massively Multiplayer Online Games. It was the Wild West, and it was amazing. It doesn’t stand the test of time, of course, but it’s there as a memorial to what started it all. Next was Everquest, and if you’re a gamer, you’ve heard of Everquest. It was the first real 3D MMO, with beautiful environments, and one of the longest running worlds, having released 22 expansion. TWENTY-TWO!
There were a few small-release games in between, basically piggybacking the formula used by their predecessors. In 2001, a little Java game released called Runescape. What was different about this game was that it had a free version and a paid-for version that allowed players to experience the game, but to really delve into the world of Gielinor, players needed to be “Members”. This subscription method let them release the game’s new content for “free” essentially, which usually equated to a new quest each week. Runescape was my first foray into the MMO world, in March of 2002, thanks to a player whose username was Crusader85.
I played Runescape religiously until 2007-ish, when I picked up World of Warcraft, which had just released The Burning Crusade. World of Warcraft is a household name. It’s been parodied dozens of times on shows as popular as South Park, and studied for gaming addiction, and blamed for players who played so long and so hard, that they literally died. It was blamed for obesity, and lack of human interaction, and so many other things, that it was almost comical. In reality, it was probably the best — and the most game changing (ha) — entry to the MMO world, and it’s still going strong to this day.
Other mentions worthy of announcing were games like Final Fantasy: XI, whose legions of players were required to play in shifts to defeat bosses that were unbelievably difficult. It has since been replaced with a more “casual” entry to the series, Final Fantaxy: XIV (dubbed A Realm Reborn). Elder Scrolls Online was an intriguing entry, even though it encountered some major bugs and issues not only at launch, but in early release end-game. I was one of many players who got stuck in the final bosses hand, and couldn’t get out. It took days — if not weeks — to remedy the problem so players could finish the fight against Molag Bal (I think). ESO is now a thriving MMO community. Another, and I suppose final, mention is Star Wars: Galaxies. I briefly got to play the game, but the PC I had at the time really struggled to get the game moving. I got to experience this one almost vicariously, with stories from the people who played it for years.
All that behind us now and I look at,and see that the options are slim, and stale, and undesirable. Maybe I’m just bitter and becoming a “get off my lawn” gamer, but there needs to be some new faces. One day, I hope that a new MMO will come along that will sweep the gamers from their other games, and bring us all together again for one, epic, MMO to rule them all.