Yep. Today we are covering the most maligned and embarrassing set of games I own. MMOs.
Short for Massively Multiplayer Online , these games were something new and exciting in the late 90s to mid 00s. Now? Most fail miserably unless they are free to download and have you spend real money for in game things. And I generally have trouble even enjoying them throughout their free trial sections. It is another genre of gaming that I just don't care about any more.
Outside of the game that will show up whenever I cover one of the most important and beloved RPGs ever to be put on silicon and magnetic disk, this is all of the physical copy MMO software I own. Much of which is completely useless outside of being a collectible or giving me maps and stuff I could mine for tabletop RPGs and the like.
Here we have America's Army, which was a multiplayer FPS mostly paid for by taxpayer funds to try to kind of promote joining the Army. As this came out during the GW Bush administration they needed any help they could get. Anarchy Online was a sci fi RPG mostly famous for being buggy and unplayable. By the time I bought this version it was pretty playable and amusing for a month. Asheron's Call Dark Majesty was the updated Asheron's Call. An RPG with very bad graphics (even for the time and this rendition's updated textures), but it had one of the best and least grindy character advancement systems ever. You could basically spend XP on anything and improve it. Want to run faster? Ok, spend XP on your Run skill. Jump higher? Likewise. A very fun game in spite of looking like a high res PS1 game. Plus the game world changed as the seasons did in real life. Dark Age of Camelot was an ok improvement on the Everquest Dikumud mold but I played it for a single month, mostly to support Lum the Mad, a guy who wrote the funniest and smartest things about the early MMOs before working for the company that made this game. He was working on it so I wanted to support him.
City of Heroes and its main expansion City of Villains were RPGs with the BEST real time combat system and amazing character creation to make your own super hero or villain. The problem was that was really all there was to do. Kill stuff with cool powers and combos, get a few more, do it again. It is now defunct. Everquest is the first MMORPG to really get the genre rolling taking out many of the flaws of Ultima Online but using the Diku Mud format to make it a brutally hard and grindy experience where you made your basic class and race and got new stuff and level upped only to be required at a certain point to team up with people and then spend hours on boring raids against bosses who were super hard to kill and needed dozens or more people coordinating to kill it to get one silly item that didn't always drop off the corpse. Also you could die within minutes via falling off walkways with no railings from the start of the game. Yeah.
And did I mention you would lose XP if you died after a certain point? And in many cases one death could wipe out HOURS of XP gain?
Final Fantasy 11 is the anime version of Everquest that is slightly less abusive while still being slow, grindy, and full of raiding and XP loss on death. As one person from a Lum the Mad spinoff community put it, "The game for furry midget lovers". Guild Wars is the only game here I may go back to. It was a mixture of a free to play game and an offline title based around multiplayer combat but with a storyline mode you could do solo or with friends. But always online. The design concept is you would keep buying new expansions to keep the game going. Buy the game and no subscriptions. Neat. Star Wars Galaxies (V1) was the slow and BOOORING MMO in the classic Star Wars timeline. Everything you did required other people. From healing wounds to fighting anything it was anti solo player. Even buying any gear. Yet there was almost no content otherwise. The entire game was a social experiment where the players were basically tasked with making the content by hanging out and roleplaying with a handful of things to shoot and a PVP faction mode that was rarely used. They made an action space expansion that was buggy and bombed and then the entire game got a revamp to make it play more like the Diku Mud style nearly every other game in this installment followed to some degree or another. Which then ran off anyone still playing who liked this style of game and failed to get anyone back who wanted their Star Wars game to involve Jedi and Stormtroopers and not you know, being a Wookie Hairdresser.
And then the final MMO I bought. The end of the line. The king of the genre that itself is now leaking players like a spaghetti strainer with water. The game that did the Diku Mud styled game right so well nearly every other MMORPG that followed it basically copied it and failed miserably, subscription or free. World of Warcraft. It looked great with a cartoony style that ran well on most systems. It was playable on Macs and PCs. It had practically zero death penalties. It was fun to play solo or with friends and even had a fair number of PVP options. But like all these games for me and many others they got boring.
What happened with me? Well for one I rarely joined up in any guilds or communities. The few times I played it was either with small forums who weren't on much especially my mostly late night EST availability, or with friends who were almost never on with me or would be on for less than an hour, sometimes falling asleep at the keyboard at 9PM on a weekend!
I am a relatively shy person. I have trouble reaching out to others and in many cases didn't know or look for communities to join. And most MMOs, especially RPGs are designed to be hard to play alone, and get boring and tedious as they want to keep you playing as long as possible.
Even though in the end? THERE IS NO POINT. No real end to the game unless you count fighting super big bosses or engaging in PVP combat against players who are mostly equated by their equipment as you are. Nothing you do matters honestly. There is no real effect on the gameworld for whatever you do. You might stop a great monster but then "Baron Von Boner", "Bluekakke", "Chronicus Tokesdabong", "Choadbacca", and "Jenna Jameson the Sausage Queen" will be right behind you to kill it in 10 minutes when it respawns. (By the way. Only one of those names isn't a name I saw in an MMO.)
And actually role playing in your RPG? HAHAHA NO. Almost nobody ever did outside of idiots cybering. While there was the odd guild or group I hung out with who did some RP it was generally just tryhards wanting to get better gear and kill faster, or people being nimrods.
Games with no point full of people reminding me why I am alone a lot, and others sometimes making me happy about it that always require you to play online and usually pay a fee?
Yeah I think I will stick to cheap offline games thanks!