It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
A lot of you who will read this post will not appreciate the nostalgia of the title of this thread because you are too young to have played Everquest in its earliest stages. I use Everquest to make my point, not because I think it was the greatest game ever (although I did think that for many many years, and quite honestly it is still on my "Top 3 games of all-time list), but because it was in the game of Everquest that the "DING!!!" was born. I will explain...
In Everquest, leveling was by no means guaranteed. Even in the earliest levels of the game (levels 2-5), leveling was slow and difficult. I say difficult, not because it felt like work gaining the levels, but because death was scary. Death was meaningful because when you died, you lost experience AND whatever you had on your body, including all weapons, armor and whatever was in your bag. You were teleported back to town, naked, and were required to go back to your corpse (exactly where it fell) and get all your stuff back (even if that was in the deepest level of a dungeon). This took time, not only because you had to travel there, but a LOT of the time, you were not entirely sure WHERE you died. I honestly believe I died at least 20 times before I got to level 2, as I was a lowly wizard, wielding my worn staff at level 1 skeletons that quite frankly were at least equal to me, if not more powerful. When I finally got to level 2, (TWO!!), I was STOKED!! My friend who I was playing with truly congratulated me on my achievement, as he was still working on getting to my new uber-high level. When he did get there, I truly congratulated him as well, because I KNEW how hard it was to level as I had just been there.
It wasn't until several WEEKS later, when I was fighting in the Oasis killing caimans and running in terror from the Sand Giants, that I started to see people shouting to the zone "DING!!!!" People would shout "DING!!" whenever they would gain a level. In Everquest, the game would sound a loud and shaking "DIIINNNNGGG!!!! when you would level. I still remember the sound vividly! It was AWESOME. I too started shouting "DING!!" every time I leveled as well (which was about once a WEEK). I would get at least a half dozen to as many as a dozen or more "CONGRATS!" from players I had never met. They were congratulating me on an accomplishment that had meaning. High level players congratulated me too, as they knew what it took to level. Not every player in the game even got to level 15, so when someone shouted "DING 15!!!!", it truly was an accomplishment! When was the last time you heard someone in a game (Not in your guild, or a friend of yours) announce to the world that they had gained a level? Why would anyone do that, since EVERYONE who plays these new MMO's nowadays are GUARANTEED to gain 10 levels in the first 2 hours? People would think someone was crazy for telling the zone that they just got to level 8. In the old games, getting to level 8 was a BIG DEAL.
I remember in Everquest seeing another player flying (he was actually levitating, but you can see where I would be slightly confused). When I saw him floating there, my reaction was that of awe and wonder. I remember HOPING that one day I would get to be level 20 and get to fly myself. At that point in the game, I was not sure I would ever get there, and I was not guaranteed that I would ever be able to fly. When I did get there, it felt AWESOME! It was a true gaming accomplishment.
What games lack now is ANY real feeling of accomplishment. A lot of people reading this will balk at this and tell me that getting to level ____ in the game ____IS an accomplishment. What made accomplishments in games like EQ MUCH more significant is that when you died, you lost experience and your gear (until you got it back, which instantly became a non-experience quest in-and-of-itself that was put on the fore-front). You didn't lose just some paltry amount of experience. Deaths in Everquest cost you a few HOURS. And getting your corpse back many times cost you your life again, and again. There were many days that my toon had less experience at the end of a 4-6 hour session than he had when I started....making leveling all the more rare and important.
I know that a lot of people simply wouldn't play a game like that now. And I understand...you don't WANT to EVER lose experience...you don't want to EVER go backwards... Hey...I get it...me either....I never LIKED dying, or losing experience, or having a day where I was a level LOWER than when I started. But I do understand that with real risk, comes real reward. What do I mean when I say "real" reward? I am not talking about a reward I get in the game like a new sword or armor or even a mount. The reward I am talking about is the reward of the feeling of accomplishment. The feeling that I did something hard and succeeded. Gaining a level was a BIG deal...as it should be in my opinion!
I miss the "DING!!" in games....not because I don't hear them (for the love of God, I hear them all the time), but because they don't mean anything.....