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Nostalgia in a virtual world - Ryzom

vqlyvqly Member Posts: 274

Hello!

I would like to share with you guys a story of a unique gaming experience I have encountered recently that completely surprised me, but was also pretty cool and amazing. Namely, nostalgia linked to locations in a virtual world that only exists in-game. (And maybe along the way, praise this game a little bit as a gamer advertisement for other gamers that have not played this game, or have but didn't get that much into it - /end disclaimer).

I played Ryzom for about a year back in 2004/2005, then I left for WoW and then on to other games. I just recently came back a few months ago because of the Open Source initiative and the addition of Occupations, and as I was traveling around getting re-familiarized with the game, something unique happened.

As I ran around the world, I started feeling really really nostalgic. It took me by surprise. I had no idea that a game, a "virtual world", could do that. I was running around to different areas reminiscing old times, and not just old friends that are no longer there, but the actual physical locations of the places, which was unchanged and little details of the area came rushing back as I see them. It is similar to the feelings you get when visiting old neighborhoods or schools. Here was where I did a 20 hours marathon hunting with a good friend, there was where I met this group that grew into a huge hunt group that almost got wiped by the water, I sat by the water here watching the sunset while another friend was digging, etc.

Ryzom was launched a month before the launch of WoW back in 2004, and like WoW with its unique art style and direction, the graphic still holds up pretty good 6 years later. Atys (the main tree planet in Ryzom where everyone lives) feels more like a living world as oppose to a "game area", mainly due to the animations details (swaying trees and fireflies for example), day/night cycles, weather system that affects game play, yearly seasons cycle (transforming the same area to snow covered winter lands or colorful foliage in other seasons), and complex mobs behaviors. Mobs don't just stand around waiting to be killed - carnivores hunt the herbivores, herbivores band together for protection, huge herd migrations between seasons to different places, non-aggressive animals running up to you to sniff you, or dragging aggressive mobs to you while you're digging... such simple things that add so much to the immersion of the world.

Add to that the opposing religions of kami/karavan, the differences in the 4 civilizations with their own unique histories and lore that make sense, a common enemy called the kitins (which are like giant insects that poured out from the Prime Root, the underground area of the tree planet), live events, players crafted items that are fueled by mats collected only via players harvesting or hunting down mobs and quartering their body parts (as oppose to just dropping pieces of armors and sword from their animal pockets ^^), and it's very easy to slip into roleplay and/or just feel like your character is living in the world, as oppose to being a gamer hacking through it.

I have seen comments in different places on this site, e.g. the rating pages and some of the threads here, where I don't think the posters realized all these details unless they're paying attentions to it -- and especially if they haven't left the starter area to experience the more stunning places in the main land like the windy desert of Dyron, the rolling snow covered hills of the Void, or the tumbling waterfalls of Hidden Source.

It is probably the only game that I feel such powerful nostalgia in, almost like fond childhood memories, and I think it is due to the details of the world I mentioned above, but also because of the sandbox style of game play and the open skill system that lets you train all skills and group with different level players easily, so you tend to spend a lot of time in certain good hunting spots and social gathering places, 'living' in those places as oppose to being hand-railed around in games like WoW, EQ, Tabula Rasa, LOTRO, DDO, Conan, Fallen Earth, etc (games I've played) where you go to an area, do all missions, leveled, and move on to another area, repeat until you get to the end game.

The other "sandbox" game I played was EVE, and while not hand-railed, I definitely didn't get emotionally attached to the coldness of space or the slickness of empty space stations :p Ok, I probably do get a bit of the same feeling about Ironforge and Stormwind in WoW, but not as powerful.

Has anyone else experienced such nostalgia also for locations in a virtual world? Please share!

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Comments

  • NizurNizur Member Posts: 1,417

    I agree that Ryzom is unique among the MMOs I've played. And I agree that it's because it feels "alive", like an actual world and not some virtual room with premade activities you're supposed to do.

    I played for a few months and stopped early this year. I get the urge to check it out again fairly frequently, but I don't think I've been away long enough to get nostalgic.

    I'm glad that the current developer has been steadily working on the game and adding new features. I'm looking forward to seeing what else comes down the pipe in the future.

    Current: None
    Played: WoW, CoX, SWG, LotRO, EVE, AoC, VG, CO, Ryzom, DF, WAR
    Tried: Lineage2, Dofus, EQ2, CoS, FE, UO, Wurm, Wakfu
    Future: The Repopulation, ArcheAge, Black Desert, EQN

  • RectifyerRectifyer Member Posts: 103

    Is Ryzom free to play? Your post makes me want to play the game!

  • CeridithCeridith Member CommonPosts: 2,980

    Originally posted by Rectifyer

    Is Ryzom free to play? Your post makes me want to play the game!

    It's $11 a month to subscribe on the 1 month plan, less if you buy larger blocks. There's also a level/area restricted one month free trial.

  • RobsolfRobsolf Member UncommonPosts: 4,506

    I loved Ryzoms customization of powers, where you can choose to modify certain aspects like damage, range, and recharge time.  Very cool, and what I'd hoped CO would do.

  • vqlyvqly Member Posts: 274

    The trial has been changed to 3 weeks, but no areas or levels restriction :) Here's a really good video of the details I was talking about. Captures a lot of it :D

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RiXc3XFTu0&feature=player_embedded

    Anyway, thanks for reading guys! I wish other major mmo developers would take notice of some of these awesome features in Ryzom and incorporated it into their games. I guess the other main factor of the nostalgia feeling that I get to experienced is because of the game age and longevity. 5 years between visiting it is probably require for the kind of overwhelming reminiscence I was talking about. I am just so glad that the game is still around after the history it's been through.

     

    The current devs seem to be pretty focused and passionate about updating it though, so we'll see if it get a second life (hehe, no pun intended, sorta).

  • JimmacJimmac Member UncommonPosts: 1,667

    If you're feeling this degree of nostalgia, then in my opinion this game must be done right. I've only ever felt that for DAOC, and it is a great feeling indeed. 

  • NizurNizur Member Posts: 1,417

    That was a great video! Very well done. Definitely highlights some of the best things about Ryzom. Unfortunately some of the footage looks like it was taken when there were significantly more people playing. When I played, there were times when it felt like I was the only one in an area. Chat was always lively, but because the world is so big, there'd be times I wouldn't see anyone for a while.

    Still, seeing that video makes me want to jump back in again.

    Current: None
    Played: WoW, CoX, SWG, LotRO, EVE, AoC, VG, CO, Ryzom, DF, WAR
    Tried: Lineage2, Dofus, EQ2, CoS, FE, UO, Wurm, Wakfu
    Future: The Repopulation, ArcheAge, Black Desert, EQN

  • vqlyvqly Member Posts: 274


    Originally posted by Jimmac
    If you're feeling this degree of nostalgia, then in my opinion this game must be done right. I've only ever felt that for DAOC, and it is a great feeling indeed. 

    Alas I never got to play Dark Age of Camelot :( It was before my time (didn't get into mmo back then when UO, DAoC, EQ, AO, SWG, and AC were competing for each other players-base).

    What are some of the features of DAoC that would cause the same kind of nostalgia we're talking about? Is there a re-visiting of same area, as opposed being hand-railed? Major social/meet up area like capital cities? etc.

  • JimmacJimmac Member UncommonPosts: 1,667

    Originally posted by vqly



    Originally posted by Jimmac

    <>

    Alas I never got to play Dark Age of Camelot :( It was before my time (didn't get into mmo back then when UO, DAoC, EQ, AO, SWG, and AC were competing for each other players-base).

    What are some of the features of DAoC that would cause the same kind of nostalgia we're talking about? Is there a re-visiting of same area, as opposed being hand-railed? Major social/meet up area like capital cities? etc.

    Like you said, much of it was the geography followed by an overflow of remembering a lot of cool memories all at once.

    Although I'm not a Hibernian loyalist now, the game had 3 realms, one of which was called Hibernia. The starter village for some reason just felt great to start in. It was called Mag Mel, and for some reason just everything felt right about the location. I have memories of going up and down the continent running quests and trying to figure stuff out with friends, and Mag Mel always felt like a social hub to me.

    Also nearby was this lowbie dungeon called Muire Tomb. Although there was absolutely nothing special about it relatively speaking, it's always just been one of my favorite dungeons and places to level. I could go on to describe how cool I think it is, but in honesty it's just a regular dungeon that I happen to really like a lot. 

    The game isn't hand railed like Warhammer is. I feel the design of the continents is pretty good overall, and there is nothing like entering Thidranki (the level 20-24 PVP zone) for a few exhilarating solo kills or duoing again in New Frontiers (the max level RVR zone) after months or years from taking a break. 

    The game has been one of the most immersive mmorpgs I've ever played, right behind EQ1 and ahead of old time SWG. If my 8 mean team or even the guy I used to duo with were still playing, I'd probably still be subbed as well. 

    Nothing like good memories. Cliche inc - they don't make em like they used to. 

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