Not every MMO zone can be a winner. It’s got to be terrifically tough for designers to attempt to come up with yet another variation on a fantasy landscape with a twist, and I can’t completely blame them for sometimes dipping into the well of stock biomes (then again, Trove has candyland, so it’s not like we have to depend on that well).
I’m deeply affected by my environment, both in real life and in games. A downer zone will make it a trudge to progress through, sucking my interest from the game faster than I can click the button to log out. With that in mind, here are six MMO zones that I feel are too depressing to play.
(1) Old Desolace (World of Warcraft)
I know Desolace got a makeover in Cataclysm, which might have been the smartest thing that expansion did, because boy did I hate this place back in the old days. It was a grey, barren landscape with a heavy sky, the occasional boneyard, and not much else. There’s a good reason that it earned the nickname “Depressolace.”
(2) Angmar (LOTRO)
I know it was important to establish Angmar as an “evil” place, but the devs did such a good job doing that that they created a land where oppressiveness permeated every second of play. The sky was ugly, the trees twisted and stripped of foliage, the cities ugly slabs of stone, and the soundtrack kept pumping out a whine that grated.
(3) Galeras (WildStar)
At first glance, Galeras might not seem as bad as these other places; it’s got some good patches of greenery and trees. But out of all of the zones I’ve played in WildStar, it’s by far the one that I resent the most. It’s ugly with its color scheme, its war-torn lands, that canyon strip in the middle, and it just goes on and on and on forever.
(4) Ziost (SWTOR)
The newest planet in SWTOR, Ziost is certainly a powerful setpiece that shows the tremendous power and lunacy of the emperor. But after a certain even occurs that transforms the planet, Ziost becomes a trudge through blowing ash that quickly loses all appeal. I couldn’t even stomach doing one set of dailies there, particularly after the lush forest of Yavin-4.
(5) The City of the Sun God (TSW)
There’s a lot of sun in this “city,” but it’s the wrong kind of sun — harsh, evil, looming. Call me weird, but I’d rather the gloomy forests of Transylvania to this place, which is by far my least favorite in The Secret World. Maybe it’s the lack of any sort of human outpost or settlement, maybe it’s the annoying navigation of the map, but I think more than anything it’s just a dead place that doesn’t want to be disturbed.
(6) Faultline (City of Heroes)
An earthquake-ravaged area is actually an inspired idea, but the execution of it in Faultline was anything but enjoyable to explore and fight in. It was especially annoying if you didn’t have flight or teleportation, because some of the gaps and crevices were too huge for super-jump and super-running. More than that, I found the blocky buildings that you couldn’t explore tilting at all angles off-putting and not worth fighting over.