There’s a little meme going around on the blogs I read: Are you returning to MMOs you have left? Do you have favorites you return to multiple times? Syp at Bio Break and Syl at Raging Monkeys have something to say about the issue.
Before I can tell you which games I am returning to, it might be helpful to know what is currently on my hard disk. On second thought, I shouldn’t do that, considering how many of tags and categories this will produce.
||Needs to be deleted. Played in beta for about 1 hour
||Will certainly go back, just because of the looks
||Never subscribed, but had a couple of trial accounts. Might even go back just to look at the class model
||Played on opening day, returned two or three times once it was free-to-play. Spent hours playing with the offline character generators.
||Currently in beta, fumbled around with it for a while, won’t be playing it
||Project 99 client. Everquest private server like it was during the Kunark period. Fun. But leads to moments of “did I really have that much patience?”
||Love it. Returning frequently. The fact that the original creators offices are 1 mile away from my house may have something to do with it
||Did only a trial. Not sure why I didn’t stick with it. Tried it only years after it came out, and most likely was waiting for another game to come out.
||Friends of mine beta tested it way back when. It has certainly a sandbox feel. And is free to play now.
||Started playing it also years after it came out while waiting for MMO #27
||It’s up-to-date and waiting to be played. I like the soul system, but wasn’t to happy about some play-on-rails aspects
|Runes of Magic
||Spent some time playing, never got a character beyond 20, but liked the dual class system and the fact that it didn’t have any quarrels being a WOW clone
||Last played when they opened Fippy Darkpaw. Awaiting F2P
||Was there when it opened and came back many times
|Star Wars Galaxies
||Can’t delete it, yet. It has been played only before the revamp. Syl was talking about nostalgia. There it is.
||Played the beta, was subscribed for a couple of weeks on and off, did some free trials. Waiting for the F2P announcement. Like that will ever happen
||Did the Open Beta, turned me off. Went back once shortly before they announced that monthly payments would begin again. Didn’t see any real improvements
||Currently subscribed and played 95% of the time
||Tried it in Open Beta and a few weeks back, still don’t like it.
||SWG private server. More nostalgia than real interest
||I am in beta, but seriously wonder why I bothered
||Was subscribed when it went live and a couple of times since. I am having fun with it usually for 2 month at a time
||Played open beta and subscribed since day 1. Use it on occasion to help my wife or to chat with friends I left behind there
||Will certainly go back, just because of the looks.
What used to be there:
|Age of Conan
||Played it for a while, even got a guild started, might even try to go back some day.
||The fun lasted through open beta and the free month
||Tried a couple of times, but never got really into it
||Uncounted numbers of betas, open betas, some f2p’s which I didn’t enjoy and pretend not to remember their names.
What’s my short list of games I want to go back to or most likely will go back to in the near future? In descending priority, which can change daily: Rift, Everquest, Fallen Earth, Everquest 2, WOW, Aion
Rift has just fun mechanics, dynamic events and some other nice features.
Everquest will be a nostalgic return to the roots. After all, I started a few weeks after Velious came out.
I like Fallen Earth because of its sandboxy feel, and to be honest a little bit because it used to be so close to home.
Everquest 2 is halfway nostalgia and halfway amazement that it keeps coming up with new stuff.
I know I will be rolling a monk and a panda on WOW, not necessarily a panda monk, though. Pure curiosity.
I’ve been reading various blogs this morning and this post by Keen caught my attention and triggered a couple of thoughts on the subject. Why are we playing MMOs? Why do we drop some of them so fast and why do we stick with others way beyond a point where it seems reasonable?
There are three main reasons why we play MMOs: the achievements, the socializing and the storytelling. MMOs and many other games give instant rewards for all kinds of in-game achievements. It’s part of our nature that we grave recognition and rewards even if they are only given by a machine. The socializing aspect of the game is obvious as well. Humans are social animals and tend to do things in groups and tribes, guilds or clubs. And there’s more to it than just storytelling: The immersion, escapism, exploration, role-playing and the fun from customizing your characters looks, in game housing and even whole dungeons. (See this article by Nick Yee )
According to this article, not all players are built the same. Some are in it for the achievements, others spent their evening in the game chatting and yet another group will move around carpets in their virtual homes until it is perfectly matched with the hobbit painting on the wall. Obviously we will play a new game to find out how it will satisfy our tastes and quit as soon as we find out it doesn’t do it at all, or not as well as the old game, or after a while it just won’t be able to satisfy your needs anymore. You’ve reached max level, all achievements, know in your sleep that a 21/2/18 build is inferior to 23/0/18 for leveling purposes. Or the socializer, troll or extrovert is sitting in the games main hub all night talking to himself without any feedback, because the world has grown stale to most people and nobody feels like talking.
As the Gartner graph posted by Keen shows, an MMO will go through these phases:
- Trigger: “Game of Thrones MMO announced”
- Inflated Expectations: “Play GW2, meet hot chicks and win the nobel price”
- Trough: “SWTOR has no endgame”
- Enlightenment: “Rift has cool features, is well implemented”
- Productivity: “WOW, 13 mio subscribers”
As time moves on, competing games will offer new features, like SWTOR’s voice overs, Rift’s and GW2’s dynamic content. If WOW can’t keep up with it, people will move. Should Blizzard come up with feature people don’t like, lets say pandas, people will turn away.
However, and now we are getting more into people issues and toward an answer to the third question, players tend to stick with the things they know. Like old shoes, unfit to walk in the rain with, or an old hoodie with a hole the size of a DVD in the sleeves, people will not leave their game because it is safe. They know it inside out and know how to get their kicks out of it, even if they have to get higher and higher doses of it to be happy. They fear the new game, don’t know how it will react to their whims. And that’s why Everquest is still around. The game has changed ever so slowly, just enough to not alienate the remaining base of players. And that’s why the frog stays in water that’s slowly heated, but jumps out when thrown into boiling hot water. (so they say, don’t do this at home)
Back to the pandas. I strongly believe that the pandas are scapegoats for the general dissatisfaction with WOW. People have become bored with the game and see the need to justify their decision to leave their partner (game) of seven years. And that’s why they bash pandas, because the real reasons are many fold and much harder to explain.
Attribution: Gartner hype cycle and the panda picture are copied from http://wikipedia.org
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