Updated Thu, Feb 28, 2013 by Shayalyn
Over 90% of all the species that have ever lived on this beautiful blue and green ball we call Earth are now extinct. I’m not a scientist, but George Carlin said it and I believe it. Of course, Carlin (may the Big Electron rest his cranky old soul) was saying that we should stop trying to save endangered species and instead leave them alone and let them go gracefully. I’m not advocating for that. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to live in a world without the endangered slow loris. Enough said.
When it comes to MMO mechanics, many have evolved and some have even become extinct over the years, but maybe we should’ve been a little more proactive about saving them. Sometimes, you only realize how cool something was after it’s gone. The poor thylacine (or Tasmanian tiger) knows what I’m talking about.
Most of my experience with old school mechanics came from EverQuest, the game that once sucked years of my life away like Count Rugen’s Machine in The Princess Bride. Your experiences may vary. (And I'll admit that these mechanics are still alive in aging games, so they're not really extinct yet...but I simply wanted to write an article with a thylacine in it, so I had to get creative.) Here are three MMO mechanics we really should’ve tried to at least keep on the endangered species list for a while.
In this age of instances and fair play systems that let everyone partake in the fun of killing a rare monster and gain something in the process, spawn camping has gone the way of the dodo. But once upon a decade or so ago we were still camping out waiting for the elusive bad guy and praying to the MMO gods that someone wouldn’t get the drop on him before we did.
As much as we all grumbled about the long hours spent camping a rare spawn, this mechanic had one thing going for it--it brought us together. For instance, if one of your guild’s beloved mages needed that stupid Pegasus Feather Cloak for his mage epic, then you did what good guildies do--you headed out into the wilds of South Karana with your best Ranger and Druid buddies trying desperately to track the elusive (read: randomly spawned) flying horse, Quillmane. And, while you killed Splitpaw gnolls out of sheer boredom and frustration because that mother*&$%#@ would...not...pop, you talked with your guildies. You joked, you laughed. You had fun, together, as a guild or a group.
I could write chapters on how the social experience in MMO gaming has quickly vanished. Part of it definitely died when spawn camping did.