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Respawn: Nostalgia and Sentiment in MMOs

Posted Wed, Jan 15, 2014 by Xerin

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The roots of the “MMO” industry and the return to such ideals is what a lot of “die-hard” MMO fans want most, if you listen to developers (and old school Everquest players). However, we all have to take a moment and just kind of understand that the roots of the MMO industry is more or less sitting on a Tandy personal computer, a phone inside of this large device running up long distance minutes trying to type with insane amounts of lag commands to a server that outputs strings of text that make no sense unless you have intimate knowledge of Dungeons & Dragons.

Of course, that’s now what people mean when they talk about the “roots” but it’s what I am always brought back to when people ask for the MMO industry to regress to what it was before. Nostalgia is an interesting thing, because we will always have fond memories of our childhood but we always forget that we couldn’t go and drive anywhere, buy anything, or do anything without someone holding our hands the entire way. The comfort of memories is that we remember them at that moment without comparison to the world as we know it now.

LotRO Helm's Deep Review - simbelmyne flowers growing on the barrows outside of Edoras

LOTRO is a pretty good old school MMO IMO. It's pretty successful, but it's sort of a modernized old school MMO.

I’m going to say one thing - I was an avid Dark Age of Camelot player. I played it for 40 hours a day every single day and then some, depending on if I could train my body for marathon computing sessions trying to trim down minutes off of my required sleep like runners trim seconds off their time. I loved it. Do I wish I could go back to that same frame of time and enjoy the game at that very moment? Probably, it was fun and that’s why I did it (well and other reasons but that’s another article). However, loading up DAoC today has my eyes wanting to jump from my skull, the painful grinding, and everything else just being so… barbaric to today’s standards. That’s talking about playing 1:1 emulated servers (which I don’t condone nor have I done).

There is a lot of Kickstarted projects out there with the main selling line to return to the glory days of MMOs. Let me say something right now - the glory days are here and they are here to stay. Connected computing is a thing that’s only growing and even if the industry is changing and our definition of MMO is broadening, online gaming is pretty much the future for a long time to come.

This is relevant to the fact that Ghostcrawler, aka Greg Street, is now possibly lead game designer for Riot Games (League of Legends). Most players will point the finger at him when it comes to discussions about who began the trend of “nerfing” or “dumbing down” WoW to where it’s at now, you simply select what you want to do, select what skills you want to cast, and you’re done versus the olden days of trying to calculate what to do perfectly with 40 points.

Vanguard

A lot of people will blame the “dumbing down” of WoW as the reason it stopped being fun. Those same people play League of Legends day in and day out now, which is in my opinion a lot simpler and less complicated than vanilla WoW. Then again, there are people who want to go back to the first season and find the current season unfun.

Something kinda cute though is that there is a lot of outcry over jungle items being nerfed. I wonder if Ghostcrawler touched that. Food for thought.

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