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How Were Pre-WoW MMOs DIfferent?

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  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 6,810
    Utinni said:
    For the most part you only missed time-sinks that people try to put the "challenging gameplay" tag on. Things like corpse runs, xp loss, slow xp grinds etc. Content wise games were pretty shallow aside from RP style games like UO.
    I could solo mobs 6-8 levels above me in WoW...in EQ, mobs the same level were very hard and even some below...I don't remember one pre Wow MMO that wasnt considerably harder.
    mmolouGdemamiKyleran
  • AkulasAkulas Member RarePosts: 2,432
    They were a bit more grindy with less QoL improvements. Like dragging out old skills and putting new upgraded skills in etc. Actually having to walk to the instance or not even being instanced and not allowed to do the content / rotate when you were allowed to etc through dice rolls or "Friendly" pvp matches. Talking to NPCs with actual /commands and clicking the highlighted words for games that had them or guessing the right words to say for games that didn't. Synergy with other classes. Spells that only one class can cast benefited another. Group required content, grinding out death penalties etc. Tanks were also a dps class and CC tanks could be a thing. 60-120 man raids requiring organisation and having to have a required 5 hour min free on a regular scheduled basis. Good times.

    This isn't a signature, you just think it is.

  • CaffynatedCaffynated Member RarePosts: 457
    edited June 8
    One of the things that set older MMOs apart was their willingness to be quirky and break the formula. 

    For example, in EQ Paladins had very poor damage scaling compared to warriors, but they could find holy weapons as they leveled which were far more powerful than normal weapons that you could obtain at the same level. Possessing them would bring a Paladin up to parity with a Warrior using a weapon of the same level. Getting Ghoulbane, Soulfire and the Fiery Avenger were major parts of your character development as a Paladin and you couldn't reach your potential without them. You were like a Wizard who didn't buy his spells. 

    You never see things like that in modern MMOs. Every class's leveling is fairly uniform with few exceptions. 
    PhryAlBQuirky
  • PhaserlightPhaserlight Member EpicPosts: 2,795
    I looked at a number of the early games at the time, (UO, EQ, DAoC, etc),  and did not like them.  This was coming out of a strong pnp background.   Too grindy, too rigid, lacking in flexibility, and so on.  But then, I didn't care for WoW either, sometimes for the same reasons.  Also, early WoW seemed really poorly written, in quest and lore. 

    WoW brought the huge body of Blizzard fans with them, which boosted the numbers early.  And there were a ton of qol changes that eased some of the hairshirt gaming from the earlier MMOs.  But whatever special sauce Blizzard put in their games didn't appeal to me. 
    WoW had a huge extant body of lore to build from.  I have no comment as to the quality of the lore but I will say it was built up around a trio of RTS games, not designed with a MMORPG in mind.  I'd say it worked, though.

    A couple things I didn't like about WoW's questing system were the "quest hubs" where these NPCs would stand around all day with exclamation/question marks above their heads and that the quests stacked so conveniently (X needs hides while Y needs clubs and both happen to be dropped by nearby Z).  The latter first seemed like a convenience, but later a contrivance.

    I'm not sure if they ever developed branching paths through their storylines (I stopped playing around 2007) but this was something I was able to explore through the PCC in the smaller, indie MMORPG I ended up playing long term.

    "The simple is the seal of the true and beauty is the splendor of truth" -Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
    Authored 139 missions in Vendetta Online

  • DMKanoDMKano Member LegendaryPosts: 20,336
    edited June 8
    The biggest difference is that pre WoW mmorpgs had way less hand holding.

    Players had to figure out many things on their own.

    WoW made the games way more on rails and players were led to NPCs with bright yellow ! and ? over their heads.

    WoW made it to where there was very little thinking required on players part - just apoonfed questing all the way.

    By making WoW more accessible they also made it way more dumbed down compared to previous games

    And then with each expansion WoW became more accessible and more dumbed down - to the point where WoW classic today is considered "hardcore" in comparison to present day WoW which has  become a farce of its former self.

    But dont be deluded - classic WoW is still a spoonfed quest experience in comparison to pre-WoW games like Asherons call, UO and EQ1, SWG
    ConstantineMerusAlBQuirkyAmatheDrunkWolfTheocritusMisterZebubMylan12Kyleran
  • gunklackergunklacker Member UncommonPosts: 128
    " Everquest, Ultima, Asheron's Call."  COH was also released before WOW

    ConstantineMerus
  • HarafnirHarafnir Member UncommonPosts: 1,343
    I remember in WoW beta, when they said they had hired some EQ elite raiding guild to help with WoW endgame. There was a tremendous outrage, because quite a lot of people in that time thought EQ had one of the worst endgames in existence. In DaoC it was the RvR that was the endgame. In AO, world bosses and PvP was the endgame. SWG had the open elite areas where anyone could run in and die quickly, and the actual Starsy Warsy as endgame. The whole "go into an instance and kill a big mob over and over and over and over for eternity" was considered the least freeroam, and the world did not open up a single bit by it. To be highlevel in SWG and able to enter those dangerous areas you could not touch before, or to be an actual competitive force in a huge realm battle, it opened the game. Toss all maxlevel into their own instance... close the game. So before WoW... there were so many different ways to playt a game. After WoW it was all the same.
    AlBQuirkySteelhelmDMKanoiixviiiixikcinKyleran

    "This is not a game to be tossed aside lightly.
    It should be thrown with great force"

  • btdtbtdt Member RarePosts: 483
    Believe it or not a streamer said this last night on one of the WoW classic beta streams...

    Vanilla WoW wasn't hard... in fact, no game is really hard... once you figure out the mechanics, they're ALL easy.  

    I agree with that.

    A hard game would be one that forever changes based on your input... being that if it knows you are going to try and sneak by them, they learn to detect stealth... and so forth.  That would be a hard game.  A game that is static... and most games are because they have no real intelligence to adapt to players, can never really be hard.  Your toughest adversary is always other players... not NPCs. 

    And in regards to whether a quest giver does or does not have a ! over its head... that's moot.  Once someone knew where it was, everyone did... either by word of mouth or other means.  Did not knowing there was a quest there break the game?  No.  Make it hard?  No.  It just slowed you down... a bit. 

    To brutally honest... all MMOs back in their heyday would have been dog shit if it weren't for the fact of one simple thing... the people who chose to play them.  And let's be frank... some of those people were dip shits.  So even Eden had its serpent back then.  

    If Everquest and UO and the like were such great games... why did most people stop playing them?  Same old same old drives folks away no matter if it's 1984 or 2019.  


  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member RarePosts: 5,076
    A lot of insightful posts here, making good breakdowns.

    I played EQ before WoW, and possibly CoH, too. The biggest gaming differences there for me were community, leveling speed, character depth, meaningful racial differences, multiple starting cities, and "difficulty", which is different for different players.

    What I found common among many of these older games (mostly through reading others' posts about the games) were the other like-minded players. EQ was not a great, mechanical miracle of a game, but the other players I met online in Norrath made the game fun and enjoyable. This is not present today, since "the masses" have easy access to easy gaming with no dependence at all on others for a good portion of the game (NOT necessarily forced grouping).
    SteelhelmCaffynatedAmaranthar

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • CaffynatedCaffynated Member RarePosts: 457
    btdt said:
    Believe it or not a streamer said this last night on one of the WoW classic beta streams...

    Vanilla WoW wasn't hard... in fact, no game is really hard... once you figure out the mechanics, they're ALL easy.  

    I agree with that.

    A hard game would be one that forever changes based on your input... being that if it knows you are going to try and sneak by them, they learn to detect stealth... and so forth.  That would be a hard game.  A game that is static... and most games are because they have no real intelligence to adapt to players, can never really be hard.  Your toughest adversary is always other players... not NPCs. 



    By that definition of difficulty, almost nothing is difficult. 

    Want to be a doctor? EZPZ just learn a bunch of stuff. Bam. Doctor. 
    Theoretical nuclear physicist? Learn stuff. Bam. EZPZ.
    Want to be a concert pianist? Just learn the keys, dummy. It's easy and never changes.

    Yet less than 1% of people are even capable of the above, and among that tiny minority there are people who are good and bad at their chosen field. 

    Were old MMOs rocket surgery? Obviously not, but there's more to the game than "learn mechanics and collect loot." 

    In Shadowbane there was a hidden system of casting where you could time your next spell just as your current spell ended and you would begin casting again instantly. Mistime it and you had a half second pause as your character finished their animation. A 2.5s animation becomes 3 and a 500dps spell becomes 417dps.

    In a vacuum, this is a simple mechanic, but throw it into combat where you're focusing on a dozen things, from tracking buff/debuff timers, CC, cooldowns, enemy movement, toggling walk/run for movement and mana/stam regen, deciding on which spells to use, watching for adds, keeping yourself stun immune, etc. and suddenly it's not so easy.  

    Modern MMOs give you more choices on what to do, but demands less to pull them off, with a few notable exceptions like B&S. They've replaced precision and strategy with button mashing and reaction tests. 
    AlBQuirky
  • LimnicLimnic Member RarePosts: 651
    Isn't the animation timing example a reaction test?
    AlBQuirky
  • ultimateduckultimateduck Member UncommonPosts: 153
    If you notice, community is being thrown around a lot. Some may think newer games have a good community, but it was nothing like the old MMOs.

    With older MMOs you had a zero percent chance of getting anywhere on your own. You had a zero percent chance of getting anywhere if you were an ahole, selfish, uncooperative, crybaby, etc. You needed others to advance in the game. Your name meant something. Guilds and guild reputation meant something. Once branded negatively, it was extremely difficult to get anyone to help you, and you absolutely needed people. Even outside of the game, the boards were extremely harsh on people who were douches and extremely helpful and fun for those who were easy to get along with.

    New MMOs are all soloable. Grouping is mostly optional and when it's required, it's more automatic than purposeful in who is selected. Names mean little. Reputation means little. Community is shallow and almost meaningless in comparison.

    All the other differences in old vs new MMOs revolve around this key factor.
    iixviiiixikcinSteelhelmKyleran
  • CaffynatedCaffynated Member RarePosts: 457
    edited June 8
    Limnic said:
    Isn't the animation timing example a reaction test?
    A reaction test is when you don't know when something is going to happen, but when it does you have 250ms to respond to it or you fail (usually resulting in death). 

    Starting a 3 second cast, and timing your next action at a specific predetermined point during that 3 seconds is not a reaction. It's about rhythm and precision similar to playing a musical instrument. 
    Kyleran
  • LimnicLimnic Member RarePosts: 651
    So it's a repetitious reflex/twitch skill.
  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 2,995
    One other thing I thought of.  The players of these early games came from a tradition of Role Playing, either in tabletop or computer form.  A great majority of the early UO players were believed to have come from the Ultima cRPG series.  A large number of the WoW players that changed the genre came from the RTS tradition of Blizzard's Warcraft series.  Different sources produced different mindsets in the player base.  That may have contributed to the perceived changes in the community -- RTS players tended to be more results oriented, where RPG players tended to be more about the adventure of the struggle.



    blueturtle13DrunkWolfCaffynatedlearis1DMKanoikcinAlBQuirky

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

  • blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 11,572
    Mendel said:
    One other thing I thought of.  The players of these early games came from a tradition of Role Playing, either in tabletop or computer form.  A great majority of the early UO players were believed to have come from the Ultima cRPG series.  A large number of the WoW players that changed the genre came from the RTS tradition of Blizzard's Warcraft series.  Different sources produced different mindsets in the player base.  That may have contributed to the perceived changes in the community -- RTS players tended to be more results oriented, where RPG players tended to be more about the adventure of the struggle.



    Really good point 

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  • AldersAlders Member UncommonPosts: 2,136
    What i find hilarious is that a lot of the things many of us have been saying about the genre for what seems to be a decade now are just being figured out by many players in the Classic WoW Beta. Not that Classic is some bastion of old school gameplay, but it's much better than the current iteration of the game. People seem shocked at how much more everything means to them when the threat of death is around every corner. I'm not sure if it's a light bulb moment or that they've finally accepting they've been in denial for so long.
    iixviiiixAlBQuirkySteelhelmKyleran
  • Phoenix_HawkPhoenix_Hawk Member UncommonPosts: 142
    The main difference is this, back then the whole online gaming thing was a niche release format for games, not at all the big money business it is today. Back then there was about as many online games available in total, as there can be released in a couple month period now. They were games made to go on, and on, and on, while now they are regarded as disposable games, that will be dropped once their profit margins fall below a certain threshold. In short, back then they were made to be games, now they are made as money printing machines, with a video game veneer.
  • DrunkWolfDrunkWolf Member RarePosts: 1,518
    Mendel said:
    One other thing I thought of.  The players of these early games came from a tradition of Role Playing, either in tabletop or computer form.  A great majority of the early UO players were believed to have come from the Ultima cRPG series.  A large number of the WoW players that changed the genre came from the RTS tradition of Blizzard's Warcraft series.  Different sources produced different mindsets in the player base.  That may have contributed to the perceived changes in the community -- RTS players tended to be more results oriented, where RPG players tended to be more about the adventure of the struggle.



    very true
  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,754
    Mendel said:
    One other thing I thought of.  The players of these early games came from a tradition of Role Playing, either in tabletop or computer form.  A great majority of the early UO players were believed to have come from the Ultima cRPG series.  A large number of the WoW players that changed the genre came from the RTS tradition of Blizzard's Warcraft series.  Different sources produced different mindsets in the player base.  That may have contributed to the perceived changes in the community -- RTS players tended to be more results oriented, where RPG players tended to be more about the adventure of the struggle.



    I found UO literally from looking for U7 multiplayer mod/hack.  I never considered a MMORPG. 
  • ScorchienScorchien Member LegendaryPosts: 6,560
    Ultima Online , Asherons Call , EQ , SWG , Anarchy Online , and Eve were/are all living breathing worlds .. Wow , as others have pointed out began the dumbing down , Bastardization, and Homoginization of the MMO genre , to the point where today we have people thinking games like Destiny are MMOs .. and ultra casual games  like ESO and GW2 .. There still is solid MMORPg gameplay out there , but mostly you have to look to the past to get that .. Pantheon may give it a spark , we shall see
  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 12,274
    Mendel said:
    One other thing I thought of.  The players of these early games came from a tradition of Role Playing, either in tabletop or computer form.  A great majority of the early UO players were believed to have come from the Ultima cRPG series.  A large number of the WoW players that changed the genre came from the RTS tradition of Blizzard's Warcraft series.  Different sources produced different mindsets in the player base.  That may have contributed to the perceived changes in the community -- RTS players tended to be more results oriented, where RPG players tended to be more about the adventure of the struggle.



    I found UO literally from looking for U7 multiplayer mod/hack.  I never considered a MMORPG. 
    I was getting tired of the Ultimas by that point and was playing other RPGs I liked much better, so UO didn't appeal to me at all. I would have gone with EQ but at the time I had an ATI video card that couldn't do EQ (something to do with Voodo FX as I recall) but could easily do Asheron's Call. So AC became my MMORPG entry point.
    AlBQuirkySteelhelm
    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
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  • LimnicLimnic Member RarePosts: 651
    edited June 8
    Kinda came from the direction of action and console games myself, ended up with AC being one of my first MMO experiences and cementing for me the preference of an active playstyle in large multiplayer environments. Kind of made it a step-down in my mind when I moved from that to WoW. 

    I remember games releasing around the same time or even just a bit before WoW still having a lot of that novelty. Ryzom was always a great example, and even for it's faults EQ2 managed to be technically more advanced (and I kinda considered it to have better gameplay at launch too). Think the only other MMO that really stuck with me was Planetside though.

    Think that one was probably the bigger leap. Planetside coming out a year before WoW and showing off 300 player FPS battles with tanks and planes and unique weaponry. It was a tehcnical marvel and it made me want more out of the genre, but a year later we got this codified point where "this is an MMO" now became a thing, and we had an arms race around a way more narrow band of ideas.
    AlBQuirky
  • Vermillion_RaventhalVermillion_Raventhal Member EpicPosts: 3,754
    Iselin said:
    Mendel said:
    One other thing I thought of.  The players of these early games came from a tradition of Role Playing, either in tabletop or computer form.  A great majority of the early UO players were believed to have come from the Ultima cRPG series.  A large number of the WoW players that changed the genre came from the RTS tradition of Blizzard's Warcraft series.  Different sources produced different mindsets in the player base.  That may have contributed to the perceived changes in the community -- RTS players tended to be more results oriented, where RPG players tended to be more about the adventure of the struggle.



    I found UO literally from looking for U7 multiplayer mod/hack.  I never considered a MMORPG. 
    I was getting tired of the Ultimas by that point and was playing other RPGs I liked much better, so UO didn't appeal to me at all. I would have gone with EQ but at the time I had an ATI video card that couldn't do EQ (something to do with Voodo FX as I recall) but could easily do Asheron's Call. So AC became my MMORPG entry point.
    Literally bought a voodoo for EQ. I had my first job.  I remember my first complete build went up in smoke. Had to rebuy CPU and motherboard.  Think it was AMD something.  
    Steelhelm
  • Mylan12Mylan12 Member UncommonPosts: 197
    Harafnir said:
    I remember in WoW beta, when they said they had hired some EQ elite raiding guild to help with WoW endgame. There was a tremendous outrage, because quite a lot of people in that time thought EQ had one of the worst endgames in existence. In DaoC it was the RvR that was the endgame. In AO, world bosses and PvP was the endgame. SWG had the open elite areas where anyone could run in and die quickly, and the actual Starsy Warsy as endgame. The whole "go into an instance and kill a big mob over and over and over and over for eternity" was considered the least freeroam, and the world did not open up a single bit by it. To be highlevel in SWG and able to enter those dangerous areas you could not touch before, or to be an actual competitive force in a huge realm battle, it opened the game. Toss all maxlevel into their own instance... close the game. So before WoW... there were so many different ways to playt a game. After WoW it was all the same.
    Yeah Furor who was GL of FoH was hired by blizzard as a "Lead World Designer" .  
    Of course probably most of the people working on WoW played EQ.
    We had a few ( 3 or 4) in the raiding guild I was in. 
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