Couple words for Brent

Hah. I really was only going to write a couple words, but I got carried away.

I realize I’m not going to change Brent’s mind. I’m not really interested in changing his mind. I think Brent has seen games, MMO’s, that have changed the way he thinks about MMO’s, and he can’t stand the thought of playing a “first generation” MMO any more.

I haven’t played any of the games Brent saw on his Sony Online Entertainment trip (Free Realms, The Agency, etc.), so I certainly can’t judge those games. I can judge Brent’s disillusionment with the state of MMO’s, though, and part of me can almost understand where he’s coming from.

The last MMO I bought at launch was WoW. That was a looooong time ago now. There’s been nothing (until WAR) that really captured my imagination. I’m still playing Eve because it’s the only game that’s not decidedly first-gen, a direct descendent of EQ/UO/Meridian/MUD’s.

I’ve been burned out on MMO’s. The evidence is here in my posts. A short jaunt in LoTRO, finding good ideas and good execution, and just not having the heart to keep leveling. Zero desire left to pay for or level in another WoW expansion. No desire to play EQ2, or to try Vanguard (ok, a little desire to try Vanguard, but only if Eve is down for a week, and I’m out of porn websites to view. So, basically, I probably won’t get to it πŸ™‚ ).

When I first joined the WAR beta, I had a reaction not unlike Brent’s. My first focus testing was like a level 20 template, so I kind of jumped into a new character in a new game, and had no idea what was going on. The art was still primitive, there were no open groups, I didn’t understand (or even know how to find) public quests, and I was having a tough enough time just figuring out which shiny new buttons to push. It was a tough slog for a couple months. In fact, it led to me trying LoTRO and re-subbing to Eve.

Around May, though, I got to start a character at level 1, and I got the hang of the first couple public quests. I felt like I understood my character, and I started queueing for Scenarios, and I actually had a blast in scenarios at like level 4. Shocking! Leveling through PvP, getting Renown, getting great gear rewards, earning more gear through Public Quests. I played a healer for the first time in my MMO career, and really enjoyed what Mythic has done with the Archmage and Rune Priest (I’m not a big Warrior Priest fan yet), getting to heal and nuke at the same time.

Shortly after that, Open Groups went in, and everything really changed for me. Other than DAoC, I was such a solo player in other games (I’m solo mining an Omber spawn in my mission area while I type up this blog post, haven’t talked to a live person in Eve all night), especially in WoW, but Mythic has brought back the fun of playing with other people.

I think, in the rush to judge what Mythic has or hasn’t created with WAR, the one major success of their design that gets overlooked (except by Tobold, bless his heart) is that WAR makes it an absolute frickin’ blast to play with other people in your realm. I tend to be wary of other people, in most MMO’s except DAoC, but WAR just makes it a joy to team up and work together. The first thing I do when I log in is check for groups in my area. I’m chatting, laughing with people, feeling like I’m helping other people and getting a ton of help myself, getting into ALL sorts of crazy high-level keep-taking, siege-firing, bloody, brutal, hella fun battles, and reveling in the fact that I once again have a connection to all these people around me.

It’s been years since I felt this way in an MMO. I distinctly recall Hibernian Relic defenses in DAoC, standing on the walls of our relic keeps with lots and lots and lots of realm mates, people I knew from crafting, from questing, from hearing on chat channels, from RvR, sieging enemy keeps, defending our own keeps…it was a sense of belonging, of shared purpose, of epic adventure that no other MMO has managed to capture. Until WAR.

Brent, if you’re burned out on first-gen MMO’s, I understand. I know you’ve seen sights that make the present games seem dim. I’m not going to try to convince you to play a game or genre that you’re done with. I will say, though, that if you never experienced the thrills of DAoC endgame, or if you pass on the madness that will be WAR RvR, you’ll have missed some of the best gaming this generation had to offer. There’s really little else more deserving of the Massive title than what Mythic created with DAoC, and is creating with WAR. Their whole purpose it to get people together, giving them a reason to get to know each other, to not pass each other by, to be stronger as a group than you could ever be as an individual, and to be stronger as a realm than you could ever be as a realm than you could ever be as a group. Mythic truly understands what it means to game together; not just a group of friends, but a server of realm mates, a huge population of potential collaborators.

Sometimes people talk about the failures of SWG and attribute it to people not being able to play the heroes; Vader, Solo, Skywalker. I’ve heard the same concerns about Star Trek; it can’t succeed if people can be Kirk or Picard. I think those people misunderstand what it is DAoC players, and I suspect Warhammer players, love about their MMO’s. I don’t need to pretend I’m a hero that already exists in that universe. I’m getting a chance to be one of those heroes myself.

I still remember the names of Hibernian heroes on Percival. Raad, Emerick, Blarney, Wayland, Slayne, Valgrim, the Thorns of Eire, and so many more. The names won’t mean anything to people who didn’t play on my server, but damn, I had fun with those people night in, night out. They meant more to me than any Vader wannabe could ever mean. They were selfless, they were inspirational, they were skilled, they were daring, and most of all, they made the game fun.

Mythic, more than any MMO developer out there, knows how to give players a stage to perform on, a place to become a hero, to become a friend, a fellow adventurer. They know how to put people together, and make the WANT to play alongside each other, to crave community instead of craving the solititude of the grind. There’s no greater MMO stage available…unless it’s Eve. I can’t talk bad about Eve, I think CCP really gets it too. But Mythic is about to make lightning strike twice, and I think it’d be a damn shame for someone who’s such a huge fan of MMO’s to miss the kind of magic that Mythic can conjure.

I don’t care if it’s first gen. It’s bloody fun πŸ™‚


9 Responses

  1. I been reading post NDA stuff all week, Rick. But this is the first one that has me excited like I haven’t been since, well….that’s best kept secret. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Thanks for the thoughts. Well said.

  3. Very well said.

    I’ve got some mmo gaming friends as well that were in the WAR beta and came away unimpressed and not likely to subscribe, while the rest of the guild was extremely excited at the prospect of playing.

    I really do think it comes down to how burned out or jaded ones become of the genre and base gameplay. It’s also their expectations for what it’ll take to rekindle that interest in a new MMO, be it a totally new style like The Agency to just get a break from the MUD derivitive MMO’s like WoW.

  4. Good read. My only quibble is that I’d call EVE a descendant of pre-trammel UO in many ways.

  5. It’s late and I’m unhappy to still be at work. Rereading my post it sounds a bit snarky to me so I’ll clarify.

    I think EVE is about as much of a step forward from the basic design of pre-trammel UO as WAR is from DAoC or EQ (take your pick). It was at the very least much harder (if not outright impossible) to control territory, and it didn’t have the deep economic systems in place that EVE does. But it had a similar character development system, FFA PvP with corpse looting, and was very much a sandbox style game rather than a linear Diku MUD descendant.

    Again, very good read. I absolutely concur with the gist of it.

  6. Well if this has done anything for Brent it has made him a Bartle Part 2.

    Amazing what type of press a little WoW competition will churn up. I bet Funcom is pissed right now that their game flopped but Mythic is now on the chopping block. Yeah, I went there AoC fans

  7. Hudson, you’re probably right, except Brent doesn’t have the cool accent πŸ™‚ If I had made Brent’s post, I would have felt compelled to explain why I thought it was DOA for me, and what my feelings were about the genre to prompt that kind of comment. Brent just kind of let it fly and let everyone else churn over it. I enjoy that, just like I enjoyed Bartle’s comment about closing WAR. Personally, I don’t really enjoy being the center of that much drama, but it’s fun to watch other people in the internet maelstrom πŸ™‚

    Yeebo, it didn’t sound snarky, and I enjoyed your description. I think you’re right that Eve comes out of a different sub-genre than EQ and WoW.

    There’s a branching of the MMO lineage (pun intended)…ya know, it would be kind of interesting to see a chart of what game descended from what other games before it. Then we could argue about that for a month until WAR releases πŸ™‚

    Wheatnik, I think we’re going to have a lot of fun next month!

  8. “I still remember the names of Hibernian heroes on Percival. Raad, Emerick, Blarney, Wayland, Slayne, Valgrim, the Thorns of Eire, and so many more. The names won’t mean anything to people who didn’t play on my server, but damn, I had fun with those people night in, night out. They meant more to me than any Vader wannabe could ever mean. They were selfless, they were inspirational, they were skilled, they were daring, and most of all, they made the game fun.”

    Ahh.. You never know what you’ll accidently stumble across on the internet. πŸ™‚ Thank you, very nice of you to say that.

    There’s a lot of folks from Perc/Tintagel planning to try out WH together. They seem to be gathering here, a website I just found yesterday. πŸ™‚

  9. Heya Sleiyn πŸ™‚ I’m just sayin’ it because it’s true. Kept my ranger butt healed more than my skill warranted on many an evening, and you always tried to keep everyone involved. I miss those days.

    Thanks for the link, I’ll take a look!

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