First off I am going to start with a disclaimer. This post is for OG as in original gamers. I'm talking about the guys that brought home Mortal Kombat II and raved about the graphics. ( I'm aware that's not an MMO ) So if you're too young to remember those days then this is not for you. If you care to listen to the ramblings of an OG, continue on, but if you happen to have an opinion on this then kindly STFU and GTFO.
When was the last time you've been fulfilled by a video game. I mean truely fulfilled. This is especially true for those that are fans of the MMO genre. Gone are the days when hearts and souls were poured into games, and here we're left with the days of cookie cutter nonsense. Remember when developers actually took risks when making games? Remember when a new game would arrive and you didn't know what to expect? Can you really play Rift without thinking of WoW? Can you play any MMO anymore for that matter without thinking of WoW? Why? Because all the game publishers and developers just want to copy what succeeded. How did it succeed? To the OG's, it succeeded killing the genre we loved.
Now those are harsh words I know. "Killed" The MMO genre is far from dead, this I am aware. However, the MMOs we fell in love with are gone. What's left is a skeleton of what they were, pushed to the masses. I remember when you actually had to work to do something in MMOs. When you actually had to think about walking to the next town over without an escort. What are the penalties for dying in an MMO these days? You're armor depreciates a percentage? You have a death penalty that doesn't last 5 minutes? You have to walk all of 30 seconds to get back to your previous location?
If you've stuck with me this long I know I've struck that cord that you've pushed far down inside you to cope with what has happened to the genre you love. It means I've weeded out the riff-raff. It also means I can finally reveal the reason this long-winded article of a post took birth. I found my self closing my Guild Wars 2 window out of disgust, not because I died or had problems with a jumping puzzle but because I felt no investment in my toon. Which is why I have 7 of them and not a single one maxed. So then I decided to open my Firefox browser and type in youtube. My first intension was to watch someone stupid get beat up, or go back to those old Kimbo videos from when we all thought he could fight, but then I began to ponder why I felt so unfulfilled. I began to wonder why I have bounced from MMO to MMO without much regard for the time or toons I left behind. Then I remembered....I thought to myself "Asheron's Call."
Then all the memories began to flood back to me. The giant sandbox that I jumped into upon the recomendation of a friend who happened to work at EB. Yeah that's right, EB not gamestop. Electronics Boutique. Remember that place? Remember the distinct smell of the magazine rack? The piled up peripherals that were like a gold mine of videogame surprises and collectables. That's another subject but back to Asheron's call. When I first dove into that masterpiece of a MMO, I remember how lost I was. I remember feeling like a tiny insignificant blip. I also remember the first gamer that came to assist me. So I decided to look for Asheron's Call ( NOT to be mistaken for Asheron's Call 2 ) on youtube. When I did I had an intense feeling, not of nestalga but of heartache. Why? Because I realized I have not come in 1,000 miles of liking a MMO the way I did Asheron's Call since.
There were so many things I remembered that have not been in games since! I remembered that running to the next town over took forever and was riddled with danger. I remembered I was not guided to quests it was my job to find them, but they were NOT manditory. I remembered how you could run from one end of the continent to the other. I thought about when you wanted to trade you went to a trade town and TALKED TO PEOPLE. I remembered if you saw someone being chased you would stop to help like it was your lane partner in LoL because you knew AND FELT the consequence of dying. You asked people for tips and talked while you researched spells because Asheron's Call was HARD. That difficulty lead to an enormous sense of accomplishment whenever you managed something out of the ordinary. ( I specifically remember making the giant jump for the Obsidian Dagger ) I started to remember how exciting raid dungeons were, locked in a maze trying to find the end. How about when you ran your crew over to a rivals mansion and fought on their front lawn because there was PLAYER AND GUILD HOUSING. There were so many things that I had not experienced since I left that glorious player base.
After my flashbacks of glory subsided, I decided to see if any lesser known games had come out to rival the orignals. AC or EQ. SOMETHING. I came up short. As I think back, I now realize the genre has become lazy and geared toward the masses. I fear I may never experience the attachment I had to my toon again. I remember when I closed my account and my heart went out to my little avatar. We had been through so much. Now I erase my little imaginary personalities without a second thought. Half of the time I can't even remember their full name to type in.