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Why can't we find MMOs as good as 'Back in the Day'...?

I read through the whole thread about the first mmorpg we each have ever played - and many of the responses got me thinking, "So many people are dissatisfied with what's currently available as it pales in comparison to the first mmo they started playing on (which is no longer available, or has been ruined in some way)... So what is the industry doing wrong?"

What are your experiences and thoughts, what are you wishing you could find again in a game?  For my long-winded thoughts, see below, or just feel free to respond yourself instead ;)

 

For me my first was Gemstone III, way back in the days of it being free on AOL.  It was text based.  It didn't even have a front end client to display that text in any special colors or script commands or anything, it was black and white text, straight up!  So *why on earth* can't I find a game that even comes *close* to giving me the thrill, excitement, and sense of adventure that Gemstone gave me?  I'd be a totally loyal customer for years if I could just feel that feeling again, even *half* that feeling.  But alas, I can't find any game that comes close to providing it :(

I miss the community aspect of GS3 - always lots of people around, always busy.  I miss that it was GM moderated, which kept the idiots out and made it so everyone had to be 'in-character', which in its simplest form just meant "no babbling about your computer or the latest Real Life news headlines."   I miss an aspect of realism - you couldn't carry a hundred million gold coins on you, you *had* to go to the bank and drop your money off at some point!  Items (and money) weighed you down and increased your time and ability to attack monsters and defend yourself.  The game had (has) great depth and a great story line, but didn't force anyone into it -- you didn't have to quest, didn't have to do *anything* really, they just dropped you in a virtual world and that canvas was yours to make whatever of..  I miss the feeling/challenge of peril, for example: At low levels it was dangerous even to travel to the other town and the directions were complicated.  You could pay a higher level player to get you there, but there was still a *big* chance that you could die along the way.  And if you did die, you *depended* on other people to drag your rotting corpse to a healer before you rotted away.  And it was entirely possible for your character to die for good.  This *sucked*.. but I miss it!

I'd still play, *and pay* for Gemstone (it's still around... gemstone.net) except that even it has lost the feeling it once had.  They expanded the world too much and at the same time the playerbase was falling due to the introduction/increase in fees, as well as outside factors like new-fangled graphical games becoming available ;)  Due to this it's all too easy to run around town now and hardly see anyone.  People don't interact as much, it's too easy to be self-sufficient now.

I wish I could find a game that had high player interaction and dependance within the game, in character;  had a level of realism; where peril felt like a real challenge not just like, "oh, no big deal, I guess I'll just respawn and catch back up with my group";  and still managed to have a backstory, if nothing else for inside jokes with those in-the-know.

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Comments

  • Label_ThisLabel_This Member Posts: 171

    Hey man, i've been reading this forum for literally years without providing any input at all but your post made me want to interact.

    Personally i think we're just too old to find pixels & polygons entertaining anymore...

    I'm 30 years of age now. I've tried 'em all and my first MMO was anarchay online (atleast i think it was)

    After reading around this forum i get the sense that people are generally just bored of the MMO scene and are looking for the next big thing to get their credit card out for.

    We can all bounce from MMO to MMO looking for entertainment but it's my personal opinion that some of us MMO-veterans are just too old. Maybe it's just me?? I can't even last 1 week in a 2 week trial on these games anymore. They're all the same and even games which attempt to be drastically different like  EvE online can't keep me glued like they could when my mind was a bit younger and easier to entertain.

    Why are there so many cutesie, fantasy, childish MMO's. Give me blood, gore and a long lasting challenge. I don't need my hand being held along the way. Thanks.

  • RichardShruRichardShru Member Posts: 5

    Hello. I am a new forums member here, but I think I know a game you all might be intrested in. Its a game focused entirely on roleplaying and has just recently been brought online in an open beta. The game, Underlight: Shades of Truth, has gone through several versions before this most recent release. It started out a pay to play game, and after the community took over management of the game, it became a free open-source game. Now, its graphics aren't top of the line like WoW or SWG, but its not like runescape either.

     

    In addition, it has a completely unique combat system that mirrors Oblivion in that it integrates both leveling up certain "attributes" while doing the actual fighting in a real time twitch based combat model, allowing even new players to effectively fight against vetrans if they practice.

     

    The leveling system is also completely unique to any game in the RPG Genere. In this new leveling system, the players seek out "Teacher's" (whom are both Game Moderators and actual players) and who give out certain tasks to complete in order to gain "Power" (experiance), "Orbits" (levels), "Spheres" (basically the allowance to progress from a certain set of orbits to another. If you reach say, orbit 10, you need to complete a sphere task in order to move on from orbit 10. These generally tend to be very involved and difficult, but also very fun), "Arts" (which are basically special abilites. I'll go more in depth on them later), and many other things.

     

    Arts are unique as well in comparision to most other games, more because of the abilites themselves. Most games involve spells such as "Flameball" or "Lightening" or "Heal", but in Underlight, there are also a number of very unique abilites, some of which you start with, which make the game easier and more fun. Some examples of starting abilites (I don't want to take all the suprise out of the game) include:

     

    1) Locate Dreamer - This is a buddy list and a tracker rolled into one. By searching for the name of a person on here, you're able to tell if they're online and where they are. As you train this ability further, your able to search for individual players and find out "very speciffically" where they are.

    2) GateSmasher/SoulReaper/etc. - This ability allows you to summon the primary weapon of your class (see this link for the classes: http://underlight.ixios.net/focus.asp)

    3) Sense Dreamers - This ability allows you to see the three most populated areas of the Dream (as the world is reffered to).

    And many more.

     

    And now, for roleplaying itself in the game. Roleplaying in the game is enforced in-character, therefore you are expected to always be "In character" or acting as your character would. This and the fact that the game has only been brought online very recently has lead to a rather small gamer population, but it is a very close knit community whom is very open to newcomer's regardless of their rp experiance. The Game Masters, or GM's, are very involved in the game by providing both random events and furthering the main storyline of the game. The game isn't just for hardcore rper's though. The game is equelly suited to both casual and hardcore roleplayers.

     

    Even with everything I've said here though, I've only barely begun to scratch the surface of the game. So please, come check it out, you might like it ;).

     

    Here is the forums for the game (feel free to post here if you have any questions or comments or just feel like talking to any of the players): http://underlight.ixios.net/forums/default.asp

     

    Here is some other general links you may find intresting or necessary to play:

     

    Game Guides: http://underlight.ixios.net/guides.asp

     

    Character Creation Page (requires a forums account): http://underlight.ixios.net/account/login.aspx

     

    Full Client Download Page: http://files.filefront.com/Underlight+Client+16412exe/;9857856;/fileinfo.html

     

  • bakon2bakon2 Member UncommonPosts: 125

    My first true 3d mmo experience was with Asheron's Call back in 2000.  I still remember the first time I logged in.  I played that game, much to the disapproval of my wife for three to four years.  Now, nothing has even came close to that same feeling.  Maybe its like your "first" time.  It always has a unique place in your heart.  I have spent hundreds of dollars on the new games and like you, never last very long.  Just this week I finally just formatted my hd and reinstalled windows and no games at all.  I don't believe there are any games that can pique my interest either.  Maybe thats because, as you said, we are older now.  Instead I have turned to books.  Only problem there is those have an ending.

    image
  • maxx233maxx233 Member Posts: 3

    I think the idea that "We're just older" is certainly a good point!  I guess I hadn't thought about that aspect.  But now I do remember my very first hour in my first game.  Bumbling around aimlessly, no on in sight, no idea what I was even doing there, and then someone randomly saying, "Hi"...  I said hi just thinking this was part of the game, and was surprised to find it was indeed a real person on the other end of the conversation!  They were nice, explained totally reasonably and compassionately what "in character" meant, and gave me a nice sword - it was totally a common item but I thought it was the $h!t for longest time...  It does bring back memories of being a kid and geting a gift like some of that fools gold in a little vial or something and thinking "I'm rich!", only much later coming to find out it's really not worth anything.  lol.. are we just looking to have impressionable minds and be kids again?  I suppose that explains games in a nutshell? ;)

  • KatrarKatrar Member Posts: 168

    There's a minefield of reasons why you probably feel this way. And they are probably similar to the reasons why I also feel my "old school" gaming experiences have not been, and won't be matched by anything coming out in 2009.

    First there's simply the different lens we looked at games through when we were younger. When I think back to my "high water mark" as a gaming geek I think back to the crazy fun I had in the mid-late 80s playing such games as Ultima IV, Wasteland, various Sierra adventure games, etc. I simply had more fun then. It can't be explained by the games themselves, because lets be honest, today's AAA games are vastly superior in almost every regard to anything made then. It is our frame of reference that cries out at the injustice of such a statement, not logic.

    Then there's the medium of your GS3 gaming. Text allows certain things to be undertaken in a gaming environment that pixels simply can't match. Anyone who has ever played a multiplayer text based game will know instantly what I am talking about, I don't even have to elaborate. Those that have never played a text based online game can understand the concepts of freedom, imagination, etc but seriously I have never met a MU* virgin that "got it" without having played a while themselves. So, I'd say that your memories of the fun of GS3 are memories of a style of gaming that has been removed from the modern MMO equation.

    I enjoy modern graphical MMOs. But I agree it is really unfortunate that text based gaming was mauled so badly by their rise. They still exist, but the genre seems to be on permanent life support, and there has been little innovation or community development over the last 10+ years. 

    So basically, I think that we all have that double whammy of a combo: things were just generally more fun in our youth, and the things that we found fun back then are in short supply now anyway. It's kind of a one-two knockout as far as recreating that feeling is concerned.

     

  • Azen77Azen77 Member UncommonPosts: 125

    lol, I agree with the majority here in the "getting older" thing.  I also spent a long time trying to find that game that would bring me back, and at times thought I found it in the first moments of a shiny new game.  But in the end, faster and faster, the illusion of the game fell away to the "same old thing". 

    Kind of like how other things like music, clothes, whatever all seem to sound the same, or be regurgitations of old concepts.  We are pattern recognizers and sadly once we've seen the pattern, the magic is lost.

    Not to say I still don't hope to be swept away by something in the future.  Maybe a come back of where we were headed with VR might give another "first" Other than that BOOO on getting older.

    UO,AC1&2,EQ1&2,DAOC,SB,SWG,FFXI, Horizons,EvE,E&B,AO,WoW,VG, Lineage,GW,TR,LotR,AoC,CoH,DDO a myriad of FtP...and still looking...

  • eldanesh117eldanesh117 Member Posts: 141

    I wholeheartedly agree with the older part. You've played it once, you've played it all? :P

    Still being relatively young (see: 16), and as my current state (see: the quote under my name), I've kind of gotten bored of any and every F2P MMO out there. I've never ventured into the P2P world (other than trying WoW and getting myself hopelessly lost in the middle of somewhere with Murlocs), and I really think that they hold a candle over F2P. But that's just me.

    For the record, my first MMO was Silkroad Online. I've never tried UO, DAoC, or EQ, but were they really that good in comparison to today's MMOs (and even then, are they still better even now)?

    TGWTETIPTNMAITC! -Gary Whitta

  • RetroMonsterRetroMonster Member Posts: 288

     I agree.

  • rankor2rankor2 Member UncommonPosts: 115
    Originally posted by Label_This


    Hey man, i've been reading this forum for literally years without providing any input at all but your post made me want to interact.
    Personally i think we're just too old to find pixels & polygons entertaining anymore...
    I'm 30 years of age now. I've tried 'em all and my first MMO was anarchay online (atleast i think it was)
    After reading around this forum i get the sense that people are generally just bored of the MMO scene and are looking for the next big thing to get their credit card out for.
    We can all bounce from MMO to MMO looking for entertainment but it's my personal opinion that some of us MMO-veterans are just too old. Maybe it's just me?? I can't even last 1 week in a 2 week trial on these games anymore. They're all the same and even games which attempt to be drastically different like  EvE online can't keep me glued like they could when my mind was a bit younger and easier to entertain.

    I think you have hit the nail on the head, I'm 32 and i too cannot last 1 week on any mmo atm. Mmorpg's are now old and worn and i think we just need an mmo that we can connect with a bit more. I'm personally waiting for  TOR because i'm a starwars fan and i'm not going to try any mmo until this is released.

  • ZoulzZoulz Member Posts: 477

    I think people expect to much out of MMOs. Face it, it's a game. It will never be a wonderful super immersive world where everything is perfect.

  • SoludeSolude Member UncommonPosts: 691

    I don't get the feeling or drive with new MMOs as I did with the early ones but I'd also say that today's MMO makes those early ones look terrible.

    Ie if UO/EQ/AC launched today along side WoW/WAR/LotRO/AoC/VG/L2... they just wouldn't have had the impact they did in '99.  But then if LotRO was my first MMO, maybe I would get that same hook, don't know.

  • Frostbite05Frostbite05 Member Posts: 1,880

    the reason why so many people say games were better back in the day is because for many their first mmo sets the stage for the rest.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,119

    There are several correct answers to the original question.

    1.  Reality cannot compete with nostalgia.  When you've got an actual game in front of you, you have to deal with the actual problems with the game.  It's very easy to gloss over that and only remember what you liked about the game years later.

    2.  You can only do something for the first time once.  The first time you play an online game, it's really exciting because it's your first time playing an online game.  No other later game can also be the first, and so no other game can recreate the thrill of playing an online game for the first time.

    3.  It is human nature to want what we cannot have.  Usually the reason a game gets taken down is that it should get taken down, because it isn't very good.  But then you cannot play that game anymore, which makes it more likely that you'll want to play it, and remember it as being better than it actually was.

  • ZoulzZoulz Member Posts: 477
    Originally posted by Quizzical


    There are several correct answers to the original question.
    1.  Reality cannot compete with nostalgia.  When you've got an actual game in front of you, you have to deal with the actual problems with the game.  It's very easy to gloss over that and only remember what you liked about the game years later.
    2.  You can only do something for the first time once.  The first time you play an online game, it's really exciting because it's your first time playing an online game.  No other later game can also be the first, and so no other game can recreate the thrill of playing an online game for the first time.
    3.  It is human nature to want what we cannot have.  Usually the reason a game gets taken down is that it should get taken down, because it isn't very good.  But then you cannot play that game anymore, which makes it more likely that you'll want to play it, and remember it as being better than it actually was.

     

  • RdiauodcoRdiauodco Member Posts: 3

     Sure, but if the first MMO we played sets the stage for the rest, and the new MMO's are supposed to be that much better, shouldn't we be hooked on them too?

  • Capn23Capn23 Member Posts: 1,529
    Originally posted by Quizzical


    There are several correct answers to the original question.
    1.  Reality cannot compete with nostalgia.  When you've got an actual game in front of you, you have to deal with the actual problems with the game.  It's very easy to gloss over that and only remember what you liked about the game years later.
    2.  You can only do something for the first time once.  The first time you play an online game, it's really exciting because it's your first time playing an online game.  No other later game can also be the first, and so no other game can recreate the thrill of playing an online game for the first time.
    3.  It is human nature to want what we cannot have.  Usually the reason a game gets taken down is that it should get taken down, because it isn't very good.  But then you cannot play that game anymore, which makes it more likely that you'll want to play it, and remember it as being better than it actually was.



     

    So very very true

     

    Yes, but you can definitely make a game different, so there causing a different experience. You can still get that thrill doing something new and a new place. First time I did a keep siege in WAR I got that feeling that I hadn't had since my beginnings in Runescape and WoW.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Guys! I'm hopelessly lost in a mountain of mole hills! Them damn moles!

  • ViceyVicey Member Posts: 2

    Real Role Play Books, you take your chances with odds vs other players do not know your name unless you tell them. Kill the Grapghics bring in more contents and motions of reality into a MMORPG, Non even came close to a real RPG because you got high grapghic Avator that sits takes hits and no odds againist you or Favors you in the games now days, I always thought of a Physics MMORPG, Where Characters react just as fast as bing attacked on odds of bing hit or bing missed and your odds always depend on Characters level of skills instead of bing mere tank Missle Magical skills, Should be defaulted on how long you leveled up on avoidances vs lower level players always have a chance of killing you if their lucky instead of bing the same boring hit jump to avoid attacks that never work in real rpg. Kinda like having smart characters with awareness rather bing a click fest that all players become bored of very fast rate.

    Vicey

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,119
    Originally posted by Capn23
     Yes, but you can definitely make a game different, so there causing a different experience. You can still get that thrill doing something new and a new place.

     

    That's true to some degree, and indeed, that is the reason why when a game comes out, a lot of players are like, whoa, this is the best game ever.  A few days or weeks later, the enthusiasm dies down and people are like, well that game was sure a failure.  Remember how Age of Conan was rated far and away #1 on this site just after launch, even though in retrospect, it's mostly agreed that the game had a disastrous launch from which it is still trying to recover?

    But there are limits to how much of a game can be new and different.  Certainly, a game can and should introduce some innovations, but games intrinsically have to borrow quite a bit from what came before.  The first time you play an online game, everything online about it is new to you.  In any subsequent game, you're already used to chatting with other actual people, downloading patches to update a game, probably looking for groups, and most likely quite a number of other things.  Even games like A Tale in the Desert or Puzzle Pirates that try very hard to be quite different from everything else on the market necessarily have to borrow some things from the games that came before them.

  • maxx233maxx233 Member Posts: 3
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    That's true to some degree, and indeed, that is the reason why when a game comes out, a lot of players are like, whoa, this is the best game ever.  A few days or weeks later, the enthusiasm dies down and people are like, well that game was sure a failure. 

    See, this is sort of what I'm talking about though.  Why does nothing have staying power?  I think the main things I loved about GS3 were 1) The mystique 2) Freedom 3) Interaction.

    #1 would be incredibly hard to duplicate in a modern MMO.  There's just something to be said for the imagination, reading live action text on a screen and converting that with your imagination to something no game engine will ever be able to reproduce in my opinion.  In graphical MMOs you right click something and it brings up the options for that object, if any.  It's kinda a giveaway as to what can be done with that, whereas with text you've got to be creative and think, "What can I do with this?" and it can be a pleasant surprise when something actually does something neat.  So that's a loss unless there's a huge comeback in text based gaming, which is unlikely - and I'm willing to accept that loss.

    #2 is kinda the same story.  Pretty much any object in GS3 could be looked at, examined, tinkered with in some way shape or form.  Text allows for really easy programming.  And it makes for great experiences and exploring and such... I can't even think of how many really cool places I found in GS3 by accident, slipping behind some curtain or whatnot. I haven't seen a graphical interface that would facilitate something like that very well, and I certainly wouldn't want to be the one coding it.  There's a *lot* more that can be done programatically with text, and it's unforetunate to see that genre dieing off.  Still.. not the worst part for me though.

    #3 is my biggest regret I feel.  Newer games just don't seem to put that much emphasis on player interaction.  Maybe I just haven't found the right one?  Maybe I haven't leveled far enough.  Maybe I'm on the wrong server.  But it just seems that everything these days is so quest based that the only reason people interact is to get an easy answer as to how to finish whatever quest.  I guess at older levels maybe there's more interaction and cooperation required for things (I hear), but I can never pour my time into anything enough to get there, if there even is a 'there' in the game I'm trying out at the time.  GS3 had 'quests' in the sense of small jobs you could do for NPCs for extra money or whatever.  But other than that it felt a lot more like the players created the fun, employed others to do jobs they didn't want to do, etc.  I wish I could find *that* in another game, one that actually had people still playing :(

     

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,119
    Originally posted by maxx233

    Originally posted by Quizzical

    That's true to some degree, and indeed, that is the reason why when a game comes out, a lot of players are like, whoa, this is the best game ever.  A few days or weeks later, the enthusiasm dies down and people are like, well that game was sure a failure. 

    See, this is sort of what I'm talking about though.  Why does nothing have staying power?  I think the main things I loved about GS3 were 1) The mystique 2) Freedom 3) Interaction.

     

    The reason why there tends to be a rush in to play a new games, followed by a rush out of the new game, is primarily something intrinsic to the type of people who play a new game at release, more so than about the games themselves.  Some people crave novelty above all else, and a new big budget game with fancy graphics that look superficially different from other games can deliver that.  Novelty wears off fast, which is why the sort of players who are after it are so quick to quit and go back to waiting for some other game.

    Yes, it's also because a lot of games at launch really aren't ready to be launched.  But that's why players looking for a game with some staying power don't often play games at launch.  The people who pick up a game right at release are primarily those inclined to leave quickly, no matter how good the game is.

    There are games with staying power for those inclined to hang around one game for a while.  It wasn't that long ago that I quit Guild Wars after playing it for over a year and a half--and I'll go back and play it some more again in the future.  Before that, I had played A Tale in the Desert for about 10 months, quit, and then went back about two years later to play it for another 8 months.  Before that, I had played Infantry more or less continuously for more than a year and a half, quitting only when changes to the game resulted in most of the playerbase leaving.  None of those were my first online game, which was Chain of Command, let alone my first video game at all, which was for some old Atari system.

    -----

    As far as games often not requiring group interaction, that's largely because games that require you to group often make you unable to do so.  If you're going to be online for 45 minutes, then spending the first 30 minutes of that looking for a group is not fun.  In order to make grouping viable, either a game needs to be built to make pick-up groups easy to do (as Guild Wars and Puzzle Pirates do), or else allow player interaction between players not doing the same thing at the same time (as A Tale in the Desert does).

  • andy87andy87 Member Posts: 1

    Ultima online was the first and only RP game i had ever played, i have seen others played by friends, they admit they don't match UO. As said in previous posts it was all new to me and unusual and exiting that i could speak to another person online with text in an actual game. I could talk to the person and not see them and so i was confused on how to behave and so, i concentrated on aiding and getting help, from other people online. Gradually asking questions about them.

     

    Now in the present days online games are worldwide and public,  we know that on the other-side of the computer is another guy/girl and we can abuse them, and act immoral etc because in the majority of cases you can get away with it.  i have witnessed this kind of behavior and it didn't occur so much in the past.

     

    I believe there will 100% be games that will match or overtake the old Online RP games too your particular taste. It's just for the gamer makers or new game makers to find the new gaps that need to be incorporated into games.  As well as improving on the past or keeping in the same.

     

    Man im tired should have read this through first oh well!

  • emikochanemikochan Member UncommonPosts: 290

    I definitely agree with the general sentiment here, nostalgia is insurmourntable, though i recently went back to my first online game (phantasy star online) and it was like putting a fish back into water, had a blast like it was suddenly 6 years ago again :)

     

    Games have gradually just been losing their shine, though i have high hopes for the new wave of MMO's coming out at the moment, that procedural, social based "LOVE" seems VERY interesting (i'll be signing up to that when it's released, bonus points for it being made by only one person), it seems like it may have the pull that text based MUDs have, since it's all player driven.

     

    Fallen earth with it's postapocalyptic sci-fi (read: underused) setting, and nice crafting has caught my eye also.

    Maybe i'm getting old (read: jaded) though, i've never been as friendly and social as when I started on WoW (first proper mmo) and second life (second ever mmo).   I seriously can't remember anything bad about wow, though I am very specialised in finding silver linings in everything (terminal optimist :p) as long as there are fun people to share the times with.

     

    Any game based even slightly on something we've already played to death is never going to work, it seems there is one "nostalgia spot"  per genre and once it's taken it's very very hard to usurp it.

    It's also so very painful when you play your first mmo and make the friends that will evnetually leave and never be replaced... though i'm sure it doesn't happen that way to everyone it must be quite widespread.

     

  • alakramalakram Member UncommonPosts: 2,301

    It wasn't the game. It was you. You first online game. Your first time you had sex. You first time getting drunk. Your first job. Your first [insert first experience here].

    Enjoy your first experience, you will never have it again. ;)



  • GaryMGaryM Member Posts: 244
    Originally posted by alakram


    It wasn't the game. It was you. You first online game. Your first time you had sex. You first time getting drunk. Your first job. Your first [insert first experience here].
    Enjoy your first experience, you will never have it again. ;)

    QFT. You're getting old, deal with it.

     

  • emikochanemikochan Member UncommonPosts: 290

    To be honest I don't agree , my first game is not my favourite, my first film is not my favourite, neither was my first MMO, even though nostalgia does give a huge boost to it's perceived quality it doesn't overide it completely.

     

    As is, game design HAS been improving over the years, but now as we reach something of a plateau (as our expectations continue to rise) it feels like games are getting worse. Now we put so much pressure on the "next-gen" MMOs to sate our needs, though with so much pressure it will be very tough to pull in the diehards, there is such a thing as burning out I guess.

     

    I'm still playing smash bros (since release day n64>gamecube>Wii) but that's only once/twice a week with mates after work, MMOs by design get way more played time and wear out much faster, the fact that they last so long even at that rate of consumption is testament to their quality imo...

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