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Shock and Awe
Thats the best way to describe it. I had played the Ultima series for years and logging in to Ultima Online for the first time was like nothing I had ever experienced. It was like a massive larp session full of actors and other players right there on my computer. It was Renfest meets Battletech to a degree for me.
I could do anything and be anything in an interactive virtual world with a fantasy setting full of rich lore and history full of other people.
Shock and Awe
Like many of you it was EQ. I remember making a Dark Elf shadowknight and it took me well over an hour to explore the starter city, Neriak, and talk with some npcs and get some quests. Then I stepped out into Nektolos forest. I was amazed at all the other players running around. I couldn't get over the fact that these were real people behind these characters sitting at their computer just like me and we all existed in this same world at the same time. I started exploring and killing things, and eventually got my ass handed to me by a shadow man. That's when I realized that this was not going to be a walk in the park. Then something amazing happened. Someone came up and started talking to me. This was all such a new experience for me that I actually thought it was part of the game. I grouped up with the necromancer, named Mourning (can't believe I still remember that) and eventually we found a cleric and nothing could stop us.
I completely lost track of time, until I heard the birds, and saw the sun peeking up and into my window. How did I feel? Amazed, euphoric, a little tired. I called out of work that day, and played some more. I played from January 2000 not long before Kunark, until 2006.
EQ; It felt like entering a whole new world and leaving the real one behind... I had the same feeling for EQ2 but never again
The very first time?
It was shadowbane. It was on sale. I loaded it up, logged in and couldn't quite figure out how to move, it looked ugly, I couldn't quite get the hang of what I was supposed to do let alone how do do anything. someone then spammed a party invite and I had to decline as I felt useless.
The 2nd time was Lineage 2,
I was only going to spend "maybe" a week just seeing what an mmo was like and I loved the art design. I read it was "click to move" so I thought that might make sense given I was used to Neverwinter Nights.
Logged in, it felt right, looked great. suddenly started meeting people, actually accepted a party invite, then witnessed one of the more infamous players get attacked but beat his attacker.
killed my first red.
stayed 4 and a half years.
I was in awe. My only other online social experiences was a MUD and online chess. Totally different to actually see people's avatars and be able to interact with them inside a game world. And AO's Rubi-ka was a huge and varied game world then and still is compared to most game worlds now. To this day I still haven't found the equal of flying around in my first yalm in any MMO.
I feel sorry for gamers logging in to their first MMO today anyway. The first thing they are likely to see in the chat box is a troll. Their first grouping experience will probably suck. Most people are also coming over from console shooters anyway so they aren't going to experience that awed sensation anyway.
They also have to deal with all manner of cash shops and nomadic gamers that hop and skip through MMOs constantly, never staying long in one place. Although I love variety and choice there is a downside to a flooded market with a lot of fairly high quality games out and new ones releasing every day.
I sound like granma whining about the good old days when peach preserves really tasted like peaches, don't I?
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.
My first mmo experience is easily remembered but less so in describing it, but im actually smiling now, widely, thinking about it. so allow for a bit of nostalgia.
I remember walking out of mos eisley (spelling), i say walking because my oc started lagging alot, so i walked out, and before i turned the corner, i knew there would probably be some nice gfx or something that my pc would have trouble with, but when i went around the corner, i saw it wasnt super advanced gfx or anything, it was PEOPLE, all over...
i saw people shouting out selling wares, haircuts and whatnot, even droids doing the yelling while the guy was talking to another person. I saw aliens and ppl talking in laguages i couldnt understand, but apparently learn from other players too.
and down the street i saw a crowd gathering, and 2 ppl where fighting, naturally i went over there, saw it, and learned it was a DUEL. and my feeling of anxiety was slowly becoming something else. maybe the word im looking for is possibility.
I smiled more and more, and then saw a cantina, where apparently people outside it, where calling for adventurers to come join them in some hunt. i was almost in disbilief, and then i went inside the cantina...
And there my first mmo adventure began, and boy do i miss the people i met, and the things that could happen.
but i think its a feeling that none of us will never re-experience, for we are no longer "virgins"
Sorry for the wall of text.
ps: and to the OP love your post, i dont now what it is, but hearing ppl´s first mmo steps are always interesting to hear
NWN on AOL was the first time I had ever heard of this type of game- I BEGGED and PLEADED with my parents to let me play but they were not going to let me play a pay-by-the-minute/hour game with their credit card.
After much yardwork and dreams of playing "D&D" n a virtual world shared by others- I was able to log in.
Was amazing. The concept of having a world to be shared and "lived" in by role players was daunting and amazing and invoked a million thoughts of what technology would bring to the table in time-
-Then UO came and I saw the technology evolving the genre- Worlds we share, crafting, player shops, boats, a world to explore and amazing hidden treasures to find-
-Then gaming online began to go mainstream and has de-evolved ever since into this abyss we have now. =(
2-4-6-8 keypad keys (standard in a lot of MUD keybinds) wasn't working.
What'd King's Quest use?...oh, left hand?...awkward...oh right, guess I'll need a mouse for this.
Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.
The very first MMO I played was UO. I didn't log in for long though. I just couldn't get into the isometric graphics after playing Doom, Mechwarrior, Hexen, etc. Then, after a long time of not playing any games regularly, I played WoW. I had spent a long time not playing any games, mostly writing web software and managing a bunch of servers for a web hosting company. I did play Alice, but I can't remember if I played Alice before or after I started playing WoW. The difference between the games I had played and WoW was startling. The graphics were good, the game play was interesting, and there were all these other people running around. I had no idea what I was actually doing because as I said, I hadn't really been playing anything, much less anything with the built in complexity that an MMO has. So to start with, confusion. My priest would constantly run out of mana, and I'd have to beat things to death with my hammer. Forget even trying to heal. Stats? What were those? Do I need to buy all this gear from the vendor, conveniently standing here where my trainer is? Wait, I can't even buy all my priestly skills, do I need to slit the difference? Then there's the realization that the world extends beyond the starting area. Not only that, but there are other people out there. The world just kept getting bigger and bigger. It was, dare I say it, awesome. It lead to many late nights of gaming, arguments with the wife, snide comments over vent and to a couple of computer upgrades and a switch from Linux to Windows XP. Eventually, it lead to other games, most of which I've really enjoyed. To this day, the way summer smells when it just starts getting warm reminds me of playing WoW.
I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.