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First off, what defines an MMORPG? Massive Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). The key part of this is Role-Playing Game. I am by no means a role-player personally. I have dabbled with it a bit in Everquest back in 99', was even in a Guild that did it, but didn't require it's members to if they didn't want to. It added to the immersion to be around it however, even though I did little of it myself.
But back on subject...we all (should) know what an RPG consists of....engrossing storyline with twists and turns, epic journeys and quests consisting of battles with strange and powerful creatures, meeting new people and possible allies along the way, etc. These are by no means short games, and (The good ones) suck you into the story and make you feel like you have a purpose and are making a difference.
It has been bugging me over the last several years the apparent direction MMORPG's have seem to moved. I just don't feel the RPG portion is there anymore. Or at least is largely missing from almost EVERY new game released. Most seem to be being replaced with more console-like game features than anything else, leaving the game to feel empty of what they were intended to be....long story driven, quest heavy adventures.
Some of them are packed FULL of quests, which would be great if it weren't for the fact that 90% of the quests were "Collect 20 of X" or "Kill 20 of X" type quests. For instance..I am currently playing Runes of Magic which is a free-to-play MMO. It's actually not a bad game, OTHER THAN it is teeming with the above mentioned quest scenarios. Blatantly obvious time sink with little to no thought put into the stories or quest scenarios. But hey, if I have to do them, I'd rather do it for free than for $15 a month.
I understand companies are out to make money, otherwise, they wouldn't exist or bother making the games in the first place. But there is something missing now that was there when MMO's were first born....the passion. Where has the passion gone? To make meaningful, rich story lines? Epic quests (Meaning quests with depth. Chain quests)? Etc... To make games that are treasured by it's players like EQ1 and UO were for it's player-base?
I can tell you almost every zone from EQ1, where certain mobs are, best grind spots, etc to this day. And I haven't played it since 2002. How many MMO's that you have under your belt these days can you do that? Because they left an impression, because they were good.
Someone needs to step up and make a true MMORPG again.
- Consisting of a huge open world with various creatures, not just the same mob, but with a different color and name in almost every zone.
- Epic quests that tell a story throughout, possibly in a chain quest form. Not 90% "Collect 20 of X" or "Kill 20 of X" type quests. I understand the need for some of these to fill space, but not so many that it becomes a chore and an obvious time sink.
- Take out the GPS that guides players through everything. I LOVED in EQ how I knew areas from landmarks, and sometimes in the quest info (Yes, it was actually read then because you didn't have arrows, dots ,!, ? to show you everything) it only gave you hints of what to do or where to go, which made you have to think and know your surroundings, and made it a quest.
- Make it somewhat difficult again. MMO's these days are WAY too watered down and easy. Predictable mobs that stand there waiting for you to kill them.
I know the above mentioned things will receive some negative responses. It's only common on any forum these days. And players have different opinions on what they like and don't like...but here's where the other problem develops. Old school players such as myself are the minority (obviously), and the majority (new generation players) have only (most anyway) played WoW or later games. So most don't know much about early MMO's and how they started and were meant to be. MMO's in the beginning were a small niche group of players. I'd venture to say most players then were in their 20's or older...since computers weren't near as big with gaming as they are today. Blizzard introduced WoW to the mainstream...making their game super easy, playable over a huge range of low end to high end systems, etc. They wanted to make money, and lots of it, and they did. HOWEVER... With it came a huge swing in the way MMO communities worked.
Again, in the beginning (EQ), the community was VERY friendly, helpful, and eager to adventure with others across continents of content, sometimes for a share of the wealth, sometimes just to be nice and lend to the servers feeling of unity. Very rarely outside of the noob zones did you see the zone chat full of questions on where something was, etc. It had some idiots too, but very little.
In Runes of Magic, as well as MANY other MMO's I have played, this isn't the case...sadly. Zone chat is full of immature banter about body parts, or players slandering each other. And full of players asking questions on where a place is, where an NPC is, if they can be taken through a dungeon by a high lvl, if they can get cash for something, etc. etc. This would usually be ok, but this is in higher lvl areas! It's sad. Almost everyone wants everything done for them, or handed to them with as little effort put in as possible. Read the quest, make an effort!
It's hard to get a group together unless you bribe players with gold. And even when you do manage a group, they are either a bust because everyone tries to rush through and causes wipes, which in turn, causes the group to fold...or members leave half way through when they get the item they want leaving the group gimped...which then folds. MMO's have become a rat race to get to the top and be leet, and it's ruining MMO's and it's communities.
It's ok to have a few MMO's out there that are easier...for people not use to them to get their feet wet with (WoW for instance), but not ALL of them...please! But this is a double edged sword too, because then players come from such games and complain why the other MMO's aren't just like it (easy) and (to them) so tough.Shouldn't be able to get to top lvl in a month in any MMO. Especially one your paying a monthly fee for. No sense of real accomplishment (At least to me) when you can do that, and there are a billion OTHER top lvls right there with you in that first month of release. What's the rush? Want fast games? That's what console games are for I say.
I suppose I am rambling now lol. Just letting off some steam out of disappointment with the direction MMO's have gone, and the plummet in the quality of communities out there these days. I keep hoping for another (EQ) to come along. Not necessarily that particular game, but one that gives me that same feeling again. Leaves an impression on me and keeps me playing for years and not just weeks or months. I guess this is to see if there are others that feel the same and are tired of the cookie cutter garbage and ready for a company to be different and bring some challenge and passion in the making of the game back to MMO's.