Originally Posted by Piobaire
I see your point but guess I need to clarify/refine mine. I am not saying the joy of discovery for said 14 year old will be less than it was for me in 1999 (and I was twice 14!).
The difference is now we have a huge experienced, and often jaded, player base. There are a plethora of developers that have been around the block on this a few times and there are new business models. Back in 1999 it was new to everybody. Sure there had been some pre-runners to EQ, but nothing quite like EQ had been out there before. I read Verant's initial business model called for some tiny number of subscriptions, nothing like what developed. Sometimes the players (like my guild) understood the game and its issues better than the devs!
Now I am not saying WoW is not a well done game. I have my problems with WoW, such as it being far too easy to level, but then again, level 45 in original release EQ and even RoK, was insane. Ditto 54 in RoK after the level cap. However, you knew you had a quality player by the time you got to the then current major encounters. With WoW any fanboi can hit 60 and run around like an idiot in MC. Speaking of MC, there is no way I should have been doing the MC grind three months after release. That was the top encounter in the game. I quit after farming MC for six months; it was just too easy.
So I agree the joy of discovery is the joy of discovery. However, when you just know you are part of history being written, it puts a different feel to it. 1999-2001, MMPORPG history was being made. I think for current MMP history, you have to look to second life. I checked it out and it is not my cup of tea, but I realize when a social phenomena is happening and it is in SL right now.
Lastly, yes WoW is wildly successful. So were Pet Rocks. Do not mistake popular culture acceptance for quality!
You're right about the jaded playerbase (that's why i haven't played in 2 years), although there's something else as well.
When I played my first MMORPG, I didn't know how to play them. I was a newbie on darktide and i didn't know how to level quickly, although getting constantly ganked by higher-levels turned me in to a powergamer pretty fast. On the whole I was pretty inefficient for my first 20 levels.
What changed from when EQ first released (or anyone's first MMORPG), is that hardcore players have emerged. Nobody goes in to a game just to play it anymore. It's become a big competition. Uber guilds didn't exist before EQ and there probably weren't a lot of people that went in to EQ1 thinking "omg I need to hit 50 asap b/c I don't want to be left in the dust."
When guilds start a game today, you can be sure there will be a level race. It's unavoidable, and although I'm sure there were some people that did this to a certain extent in EQ1, it wasn't as organized or planned for. I leveled very quickly in AC1, but I hadn't planned on it. It just sort of happened.
These days however, when I go in to new game, I'm usually doing so competitively, to be the best, the most notorious pk, the first, etc. Every other hard-core player does the same thing. Because it's a competition, right from the start we tear apart the mechanics of a game, figure out the most efficient ways to do everything, parse DPS logs, learn to exploit pathing bugs, figure out the ideal character build (which is why beta is so key), the best places to level, and on and on. Hell, I'm not even playing EQ2 competitively or with any of my guildmates but I just can't help myself. I started sunday afternoon, and by monday night I was lvl 19 (ask me how much I slept).
As a playerbase, we seem to have come to the conclusion that the game isnt' worth playing until you get to the end game. For raiders this means downing Gods or dragons and for Pkers that means capping out so you can focuse on pking. WoW is the ultimate culmination of this. They've developed a game that takes you by the hand, step-by-step (and it's just as gay as the new kids song!), until you've reached the end.
Accomplishments in EQ meant something I think. In WoW accomplishments were just a matter of time (and not much of it) and numbers. EQ had end game encounters that to this day haven't been matched, even though so many games have been able to look back upon it. Ssra, RZ, Xegony, PoW, etc. Each of those were unique encounters that required specific strategies or else you failed. From what i've seen of WoW, it's just a matter of putting in your time and sending enough people. The game almost plays itself.
The other thing about WoW is that it has taken the MM out of MMORPG. Instances have no fucking place in an mmorpg. If people want to run around in tiny little dungeons all to themselves, they should play Neverwinter Nights, not an mmorpg. Besides, I hate running around doing stupid little kill this, get that quests. I'd much rather grind it out in a cool dungeon with some friends. It's a lot more interactive.
That's a long way of saying that despite all our bitching at the time, we play for the challenge (whether PvP or Pve). EQ1 was challenging. AC1
T was challenging. WoW wasn't. DAoC wasn't. AC2 wasn't. EQ2, my vote is still out on. When there's no challenge, we lose interest quickly. EQ1, despite it's faults >>>>>>>>>>>>>> WoW
Btw, didn't Thott go work for blizzard towards the end of WoW beta? or was that the gm of FoH? You'd think they'd have learned something.
So much for a quick response. I need to get back to work ;p