I was thinking of the older MMOs I used to play like Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies vs. the newer ones like World of Warcraft, LOTRO, Conan and so on.
As far as enjoyment goes, I feel that the older ones were more fun but way more time consuming. If you had only an hour to play forget it, the travel time alone took a while.
With the newer ones I can accomplish something even if I have only an hour to play but something is just missing. It seems like the theme park MMOs of today just don't have that sense of being in that world.
But one thing I love about the newer mmos are the lack of server crashes and rollbacks. I do not miss that at all.
What are your thoughts of today's MMOs and the older ones?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming "WOW, what a ride!"
Civ II rules after all these years......
A perfect example of the new and old overlapping happens in one of the titles you mention you missed, SWG.
The issue is that as times goes on the generation that is taking part in MMOs grows up and finds that they can spend nowhere near the amount of time in-game as they once used to thanks to real-life obligations. EQ was one of the last to embrace the idea of full-on immersion that resulted in most players' sessions being several hours in length.
As we found that our time was becoming more and more important and most of us couldn't spend 8-9 hours in a game every day the developers (with ultimately the publisher pressure) had to adjust to fit those changes. As time went on game systems changed, things were removed and others were adjusted to suit those who had less and less time to actually spend so as they wouldn't fall too far out of the normal curve.
The best example of when the old setup started to interfere was during SWG's upheaval. When the CU, NGE, and subsequent changes came to be you saw the game go from the two-dozen different 'classes' down to the "iconic" 8 and how they handled Jedis. It went from so many advance setups that were very time consuming down to spoon-fed versions.
The first Jedi in the game took 3 months after release to get and that person spent several WEEKS straight working on it in a way that made sense to the lore, to which pressure from the playerbase forced SoE to lessen the 'grind' to the point that, well, it was pretty much straight-forward set into a quest anyone could do.
It continued this way until we got to the NGE and the point where SoE was forced to do so many drastic things that it effectively killed the game's population and forced the shutdown.
The issue arose when WoW became the dark horse of MMOs, it was simplified to the point even your 'parents' could pick it up and play and didn't require all the time commitment that the rest of the MMOs out there did. Popularity for the game surged and every publisher out there wanted a piece, but they never took to heart other aspects that Blizzard had that most of those didn't, established fanbases that would buy anything with their name attached.
So now, we've got the mix still out there if you're willing to look for it...EVE is probably the newest of the generation that is still classed as hardcore, which is one of the reasons that most people just don't play it, as they feel it went so far into that realm that it was more work than play.
Personally, for me, I'd love to find a game that keeps a mix of that as I'm now an adult and don't have all that free-time as I did back when Meridian 59 came out but I'd love to not be able to roll my way through every aspect of the game in one sitting. LOTRO does have it's issues in this regard with most content being far too easy for us old-schoolers, but at the same time I don't have any feeling that this game is making me work for my enjoyment.
As for stability...believe me, today the servers are far more stable than when I played most first-gen MMOs. I remember many hours of downtime simply because someone found the way to kill Lord British :P
Give a guy a pound of gold...he'll complain about how heavy it is. Enmity of Forum Trolls: 106/5000Of the Egaads clan
It's the depth that's missing. I don't know if I could play an old style mmo, even all updated and shiny. I have to think... do I have the time?
Actually, now that I think of it, I was just as busy then and married and working long hours. I found time because the game was so compelling. Maybe I just haven't found a game that's gripped me like that since SWG and EVE. Even games like CoH had a HUGE learning curve and exp rate was slow and death penalties were VERY BIG, including losing levels... but they had to change all that because WoW and the gang were bleeding off casual gamer dollars.
It's gotten so that most of the population, myself included, are casual gamers. Even Skyrim only gets an hour or so of my time. I wonder... Is it the games or me? Or both?
TBH, I think if SWG old school were still around, or something very similar, I'd probably drop everything and spend my rec time (including my netflix time) in there. There's just nothing really urgent and compelling in today's game world. I'd have to relearn some old habits. Jeez, I tried Hearts of Iron 3 and didn't have the attention span to get to far into it. I'd almost have to train to get in gaming shape.
Someday, some gaming company will go retro on us and put up a game and say, "No, this is how it is. Suffer through it. You're hardcore enough, aren't you? If not, &&&&." If this theoretical game had few flaws, gamers would eat that attitude up. I miss the days where game companies told you to learn to play better instead of giving in to the pressure to lighten up.
Dang it. Now I'm all nostalgic. remember in the first EQ where for like a month you were scared shirtless of everyone because you knew nothing and had to learn on the fly or get pounded? Or UO where leaving town was a death sentence if you didn't train up for hours? Skills actually DEGRADED over time. lol Ahhh.
Maybe it's just rose colored glasses, but I do know for a fact that there were times in those old games where I felt something deeper for my characters and their progress...
I began playing MMOs years ago when my family was young and I wanted to play with them. In those days, I spent most of my gaming hours on Runescape (aahhh ... remember when?) because it was generally kid-friendly and the subscriptions were cheap. I have a lot of nostalgic memories from those days, and the older games.
I think a lot of it had to do with the degree of peril that MMO devs could get away with. Most people I knew were still playing console games (typically due to lousy internet speeds and concerns about security, etc), so MMOs were considered the "big league." People expected them to be difficult ... even Runescape! One of the classic features of this game was that if you died, you lost everything in your inventory and most of your hard-earned armor. Dying also usually meant starting a quest from the beginning with hours of game play lost. Dying was a big deal! I remember fondly the last trip to the bank before each almost impossible quest. You had to plan carefully, and choose your gear and food wisely. But completing a difficult quest had a real sense of accomplishment. I still remember the day that Laurewaie vanquished Elvarg the dragon.
When my family graduated to Everquest 2, I went with them. It was the good old days of that MMO; before flying mounts and swift travel, before voice chat and epic weapons, before the stats were tweaked and you became more or less invincible. Original EQ2 was difficult and it was perilous. If you were an evil-aligned character, you were killed on sight by guards in some parts of the world. Yet there were quests that required going there; somehow we managed.
Travel was also slow, and I loved it. At that time, you needed to ride sailing ships between major port cities; the boats traveled in more-or-less real time and you could stand on the bow and watch the shoreline scenery go by. Sometimes it would take several boat rides to get to your destination. Kunark was remote, just like it was supposed to be! But we passed the time role-playing, and I met some nice people. When I left EQ2, all of these things had been changed to reshape the game into something "more modern." Fast leveling, swift travel, overpowered gear, no more death, no more peril.
Don't get me wrong; I love LOTRO. It has many things that these other games didn't have, such as beautiful graphics, an epic realm and compelling story-telling, and a great community. All-in-all, it's the best game I've played. But there was something about those older games; maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it was our naivete, maybe hindsight is 20/20, or maybe a grue was just scary.
Running LOTRO on a Mac Pro 2x2.66 GHz Dual-Core using Bootcamp