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After my lastest forray into SWTOR I've finally had it with the genre. That is, I can't really comprehend what's happened over the last 10 years or so. Is this really all a result of WoW? Is this the result of investors wanting the companies to play it 'safe'? What has happened?
A little about me: I started playing mmo's in 98 with Ultima Online, from there I went to Everquest, Asherons call, Shadowbane/DAOC and on and on. I've played every single AAA mmo to have come out over the years as well as many smaller ones. I've watched the genre go from extreme hardcore (Everquest 1 death penalty, Ultima online full loot) to theme parks with 3 or 4 battlegrounds. PvP has clearly taken a 'min-game' type feel to it. Death penaltys are long gone from most MMOs. Real challenge is found in the form of raids that take entire days and are made up of min/maxers.
I guess I'm asking how the genre ended up here? 8 years or so ago when Star Wars Galaxies was released it was a full loot, merciless game...2 months ago when TOR was released it was a WoW clone with the Star Wars IP attached. Even games with successful past as more hardcore games have taken the WoW route..Mythic is a prime example of this: DAOC with 3 factions and a massive end game open world pvp area was replaced by Batrtleground heavy and cartoonish Warhammer. Lord of the Rings online could have had epic PvP with such a solid storyline, instead we get some strange monster play.
Rift is no different, its a WoW clone with a twist on professions. Everquest 1 is another prime example, one of the most hardcore PvE games ever made was turned into a cartoony solo-friendly (and far less popular) Everquest 2.
I just don't understand. It seems the demand is certainly there, and Guild Wars 2 shows lots of promise but why has it taken so long? I look over the game list at left and all I see are WoW clones with different twists on the unimportant aspects. The genre hasn't grown stale, it's been stale for the last 10 years.
A company like Bioware should have known better: In the Star Wars universe which at its core is a story of good vs evil, dark vs light, Jedi vs Sith, we instead are given Huttball and a terrible designed small open world area where there is no death penalty and you can insta spawn and run right back into the fight.
So I guess I leave this with a few questions: Why did the genre take this route? the route of safety, the route of WoW cloneing? And more importantly, why do the gamers continue to support this? (I'm as guilty as anyone)...Seemingly every new AAA game gets super uber hyped by the mmo community (just look at TOR) releases and is a major let-down. Population tanks and that's that. Rinse and repeat with the next MMO.