Posted in Age of Conan, Darkfall, EverQuest, Star Wars Galaxies

MMOs I Never Played… And Why

1236802798561In these dog days of summer, on the cusp — but not quite over the cuspiness — of new, major MMO releases, the message of the week in the blogosphere seems to be “let’s flee back to the joys of older, established MMORPGs!”  This is actually a recurring theme in the community, which I find endlessly entertaining — how flocks of bloggers suddenly, and almost without a solid reason, dive into a particular MMO and start talking it up for a couple weeks or so.

Earlier this year it was City of Heroes and LOTRO, now it’s EverQuest 2 (and to a lesser, and perhaps more personal extent, DDO).  As I’m not going to be tasting EQ2’s fruits right now — or at any point — I thought I’d go back and explain why I never played certain MMOs that seemed to be en vogue at the time.

  • Ultima Online – Why not UO, which holds an established place of honor as the breakout graphical MMO?  Mostly due to my ignorance of it in the late 90’s, plus a crappy computer and no depedable internet connection.
  • EverQuest – After graduating college, I had some college buddies get really, really into this, to the point where two of them were all but neglecting their newborn child because of it.  That story kind of scared me away.  Plus, by 2002 or so, I had heard about this upcoming World of Warcraft and was pretty sure that I wanted WoW to be my “first” fantasy MMO.
  • Asheron’s Call, Dark Age of Camelot – Also for the reasons above, coupled with dial-up internet that persisted until sometime in 2003 when I got cable.
  • EverQuest 2 – First of all, I simply cannot get past the ugly, offputting, uncanny valley avatars.  It’s a fistful of ugly.  Plus, it released around the time of WoW, and I was in the beta for that and knew that was the path I wanted to pursue.  Since then?  We’ve all heard the stories about how EQ2 has improved, but I’ve seen or heard nothing that’s grabbed me and hauled me bodily to SOE’s website for a trial.
  • Planetside – FPS… pass.  My reflexes are never good enough to compete on a competative level.
  • Star Wars Galaxies – I was close… SO close to getting this and playing it.  This was back in my dial-up days, and I remember buying the strategy guide for it just to read through and see if this would be my kind of game.  To this day I don’t know what kept me from going whole hog into it, but I think I sensed enough “red flags” — the overly complicated HAM bar, the lack of dedicated classes, what have you — to give me pause.  And considering NGE and all that, I’m glad I did.
  • Age of Conan – A lot of potential Warhammer gamers back in spring 2008 were lulled into trying AoC, mostly because of the delay and a need to have something “new” that summer.  Originally I was so on board with Conan it wasn’t funny, but the more I read about it, the less I cared.  The open beta/pre-launch fiasco they suffered sealed my decision.
  • Darkfall – Because I have good taste in games.

14 thoughts on “MMOs I Never Played… And Why

  1. Darkfall’s a right awful game alright, but it does give some insight into what could be accomplished if developers didn’t all follow the same formula. Definitely not worth the cost though. 😛

    Mortal might be a better foray into this style of MMO, but after darkfall I think I’ll wait until AFTER release before I get all hyped up about it.

  2. I always wanted to try Planetside, but I could never pull myself away from the RPG section of the MMO spectrum. I think the idea of an MMOFPS has a lot of potential, but it’s so far been underwhelming, based on reviews I’ve seen.

    When done correctly, it wouldn’t have to even be twitchy like, say, Unreal Tournament or Quake. Even Halo 3 has a little less “twitch” involved because of its slower combat. In an MMO version, implementing stats and levels could be great, and I’m intrigued, but I always heard Planetside missed the mark.

  3. LOL

    That last comment is full of win.

    Well, I still have to question not trying Everquest, but it is understandable. If I didn’t have the time I had back then I don’t know if I would have gotten as far as I did.

    As for EQ2, there is a lot there but I can never stick with it due to combat and the way it plays.

    I played EQ1 with a modem right up until World of Warcraft when I then moved and got DSL.

  4. “the overly complicated HAM bar, the lack of dedicated classes, what have you”

    How are these bad things? The original mechanics for SWG were brilliant!

  5. “Darkfall – Because I have good taste in games.”

    best answer here, made me laugh in real 😀

    Played them all except Darfall (lol), and i still think EQ1 is still a great game even after all these years. EQ2 is fairly good too, but yes the avatars do look terrible.

  6. DAoC was the game that really got hooked into MMORPGs. That was back in the fall of 2001.

    One that I wish you put on your list cause I played it for a month or two and not sure why……Shadowbane.

  7. You avoided SWG due to lack of classes? Ouch. The skill system was amazingly good, IMO. The ability to pick and choose what you wanted to do (and to change it at any time) made that game for me. Well… that and the awesome social mechanics. But as friends drifted away the social aspect declined too, and then with the NGE actually forcing classes upon you…. well, I’d already left for EQ2 by then. I’ve got station pass and logged in to swg a few times to see how it is after the NGE, and tbh it’s really not bad on its own merits, but compared to how it used to be, it’s really meh.

  8. There are some gems of MMOs in that list BUT they are very much of their time. I wouldn’t recommend trying EQ or SW:G now for instance. I think those games will have their place in history and nostaliga but don’t appeal to me now as games.

  9. I think you’ve made better decisions in life than I have. Other than Darkfall (for the same reason you mentioned), I played through all of those. Most of them twice… I may have a problem!

    I might be slightly behind the curve since I just fell into LotRO. I have thought about EQ2 since all of my peers seem to be talking about it.

    It is hard to go back though. Retiring as a rock star and returning as a roady doesn’t sound thrilling.

  10. I agree with Thac0. The HAM bar and the SWG original queue system might be my favorite combat system in ANY MMO ever. They weren’t that complicated either: Each action you did drained a certain amount from a specific bar, and certain attacks done to you drained certain bars. If any bar reached 0, then you were incapacitated.

    I thought it was brilliant because maybe a Pikeman would attack your Action bar, while a Rifleman would attack your mind (HEAD SHOT!), and a Pistoleer would attack your Health. Being attacked by an uncoordinated group was just as bad as them not doing any damage, and being attacked my a coordinated group was deadly. Rarely did the stars align to make it so that it was a real problem on either side.

    It also meant that I could be a Pistoleer and use my Health as my resource pool, fight a Rifleman who attacked my Mind, and my Doctor or Combat Medic friend could throw meds my way that healed them both at the same time.

    It was incredibly intricate, but it was also incredibly fun. It was a lot better, in my opinion, than having every attack drain health and every cast take mana. It actually penalized you for overextending your resources, which is my main problem in WoW and WAR. Overextension only means waiting until it replenishes, not that you can actually die from it.

    And then the NGE came out and ruined a fantastic MMO.

    Oh, I miss old SWG so much.

  11. You definitely missed something with Ultima Online. EQ is still alive nowadays in many other games following the DikuMUD formula, but UO and SWG were great in so far as they allowed more player-item-environment interaction. There was also no silly “TANK-HEALER-DPS” concept and Ultima Online was really a world, not a bunch of connected zones.

    I wonder how long it takes till someone successfully revives Ultima Online.

    It has much more potential than following the EQ/WoW scheme.

  12. It’s odd you mention the ugly of EQ2, I always thought it was a gorgeous game, and the avatars better looking than a lot of other games *cough*WoW*cough*.

    Strange you mention lack of dedicated classes in SWG and then NGE debacle as further reason not to play. The NGE is what removed the skill system so people who wanted dedicated classes could get what they were looking for. /shrug

    I’ll agree that it’s complexing when people run back to old games after dropping them, unless significant changes have been made, you’re most likely just running back to the same thing you left. I get the twitch to return to my Dirge and Shadow Knight in EQ2 every now and then, but I remember the crazy hours raiding requires at the end game, and then log gleefully back into WAR for a couple scenarios in 45 minutes.

  13. @ Shadowwar – Everyone finds different things appealing, and I think it goes to show that how much you connect visually with your avatar can make or break a gaming experience for you.

    As for my list — what I was attempting to do here was to explain my motivations at the time. While I still don’t really care for EQ2’s looks, I’m happy it’s a viable MMO that has a dedicated following, because we need alternatives. And ironically, the things that repelled me about SWG back then are qualities that attract me to games now (especially skill-based character development).

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