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AC2 Player RIP Final Death Jan 31st 2017
Refugee of Auberean
Refugee of Dereth
The best years will always be when you first entered the fray of MMOs. That is when connectivity of people and gaming neatly focused the genre and the social need. This question is like asking what Saturday night live season was the best (in some ways), very generationally dependent. WOW/EQ2 was the apex for a majority of people. This in no means denigrates the eras before but truly we found our path during this monolithic epoch of MMO gaming. The future is much less certain but this is not to be feared but understood
No Predisposition as to What an MMO ‘Should Be’
Asheron’s Call, Ultima Online, Everquest and Dark Age of Camelot paved the initial road for persistent state worlds with rather varied approaches to advancement, game design and community structure. There was no One True Path yet as each was exploring new approaches to creating these incredible new online worlds. An MMO at the time was not measured by the restrictive and unrealistic standard that MMOs today are held to. I want to stress that I’m not speaking about quality, stability and polish as those should be expectations regardless of when or how the product is released.
Over the past 6-8 years, most MMOs have become so similar and followed the same high fantasy, class-restricted, level-based, gear-dependent design and the surrounding common mechanics, that when an MMO deviates from that, the developers have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to sell the new direction or mechanic and why the path was chosen over the tried and true method.
A More Defined Target Audience
These MMOs were not trying to be everything to everyone. Their core audience was obvious to everyone from the start. From ToonTown’s publisher and artwork to Shadowbane’s Play to Crush mantra, the games were clearly being made for specific groups and the advertisement made it clear which groups they were for. They weren’t trying to mix and match unlike playstyles and conflicting communities within a single game world. This allowed the developers to attract a strong core group for their game and to focus current and future development for that audience.
The Forgotten Trinity
MMOs are made up of scripted content (themepark), player-driven content (sandbox) and social content (coffee house). Each exists as part of the virtual world to one degree or another. Most modern MMOs weigh heavily toward one or the other of the first two. Also, most modern MMOs seem to relegate the last one to an IRC-style chat box and a system or need for grouping with other players to kill stuff. In many cases there is more functionality to support social interaction on a modern MMO's forums than there are in or around the game itself.
I wonder how much nostalgia et al distorted the results of this poll. If someone gave you a game that played like EQ or UO today, would you?
Definitely pre-WoW, but can we really call 2012 to present post-WoW? All of the current big games during the last 5 years are still largely emulating WoW's design in all the ways that matter most.The real post-WoW era won't begin until all of the niche games currently in development launch in the coming years. The post-WoW era begins in 2018.
..because we're gamers, damn it!! - William Massachusetts (Log Horizon)
Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.
"Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee