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It's not Nostalgia that made past mmos great. I wasn't first generation mmo, I jumped in during Vanilla WoW and EQ2 days........But I can say this.......The depth of the game was built into interactions of playing with others.
You had your own abilities, but YOU ALSO HAD TO COUNT ON OTHERS ABILITIES !!!
It's like this :
Remember how every so often you would get that great ability that you had been waiting for ?....The one that would change your play style, the one that makes you rearrange your action bar. It maybe finally getting your pet, or getting that group heal or getting that real strong casting AOE damage ability.
To compliment this, your groups also changed your play style. You had to think differently. Maybe not send in your pet so quickly, or step back and play the healer and not so much damage but keep others alive.
EVERY GROUP WAS DIFFERENT. Maybe because of class makeup, or reaction times. This caused you to have to adapt, and this was fun in itself.
In order to have this kind of fun......EASY has to go, scripted content has to go, play-to-win cash shops have to go.
You need to have hard situations that need to be figured out by the group. If anyone hap-hazardly (new word) runs in, they get the entire party killed......Something your group naturally stumbles upon, not scripted by developers to be done one way.
Simple situations, but not simple to do. If your solo you have to go around until you have friends with you. Even Vanilla WOW had random keeps and towers, where if you entered you died. Vanguard had simple holes in the ground where you can jump in......a hole !..... Nothing drew your attention to it other than simply saying " what's that, lets go see ! ".
Well, maybe it's just me. Maybe I just tired of doing part 157 of my solo story line like in Final Fantasy 14. And I could do without my Chuckaboo pet ( another new word ). I think they were yellow, I'm not sure and I don't feel like looking it up. I'm going back to bed.