Few genres are as nostalgic for me as the MMORPG. While EverQuest and Ultima Online remind me of summer, I strongly associate World of Warcraft with Christmas break. In a bid to recapture some of that glory, I felt a bit weak during the holidays and resubbed so I could try out WoW Classic for the first time.
Old is New, New is Old
Before I caved, I tried giving EverQuest (via Project 1999) another go just to see if that might tide me over long enough to get past the “I want to give Blizzard money” phase of an obvious sickness.
It didn’t. In fact, it made things worse.
Truly, and not just on a purely nostalgic basis, I miss the pacing of MMOs of yesteryear. While some genres I feel have not aged well (like the Western RPG ala Baldur’s Gate), the humble “relaxed-but-not” and “social-but-not” MMO still has a place.
You Make the Game, Not the Other Way Around
Like EverQuest, there’s an automatic breeziness to World of Warcraft Classic. After creating a character, the game does little to hurry you along, outside a few quests here and there. For most classes, the speed of combat is tied exclusively to your health and/or mana bars holding up.
Unlike EverQuest, it feels possible to succeed early on in WoW, and less likely to be overwhelmed (outside of early cave sections). Its a relaxing pace, and, had it been fresher content, I might have been more entranced by it.
I poked my head in on my characters of current WoW. The comparison was stark, to say the least, as I quickly felt overwhelmed by multiple bars, abilities, pop-ups, world quests, etc. It has been a while since I played WoW on even a semi-regular basis. I could probably figure all these things out again, but I kinda wish it wasn’t a requirement.
Not Sticking the Landing
As much as I applaud the easy going nature of MMOs of yesteryear, neither re-hooked me. That’s not exactly a fault – I don’t feel cheated of my $15 dollars, for instance. That’s cheaper than a lot of museum visits, and that’s how I treated my time.
Both my brief tour of EverQuest and World of Warcraft Classic do confirm one thing for me: I want a new MMO like these games. There’s a lot to love about Final Fantasy XIV, but once I hit max level, that locked-in-feeling sets in with the gear grind. I hate it.
I used to be able to play MMOs in a far more serious-casual manner. It rarely mattered that I accomplished anything noteworthy as long as I enjoyed the journey. There were always things outside my reach that inspired me to stretch a bit further, or just appreciate the success of others. I felt comfortable switching between winning a PvP duel, deep diving into a dungeon, or worrying over house decorations.
Most of the fun was making friends along the way, not upping a gear score.
You can still make friends in MMOs, of course, but its a lot harder when everyone seems so busy all the time.
5 responses to “A Brief Journey in World of Warcraft Classic”
I spent a couple hours this morning in project 1999 helping a friend get three Pegasus Cloaks in SK. (One for each of his alts). No progression for me, no money, no loot – just hanging out spawning a rare-ish mob with a rare drop to help his journey along.
Enjoyed every minute of it. There are so many moments in p1999 like this. Helping a guildmate get a tough piece for their epic? Sure, I’ll take the time. Porting people around for free and helping them get a CR? Why not.
It’s great when you just hang in a virtual world, doing virtual things when there isn’t even any gain in it for you.
Yeah, and that sort of thing can still be done but the culture seems less focused on it.
You said, “Both my brief tour of EverQuest and World of Warcraft Classic do confirm one thing for me: I want a new MMO like these games.” I recently spent time in EQ2, and I came to the same sort of conclusion. Sometimes I think it’s the “feels” that we long for and not the actual thing itself.
I sided with EQ2 for a long time when it came out. My friends slowly drifted over to WoW, and I did too. I fondly remember EQ2 though, mostly because it was so innovative and new for the time (even when compared to WoW).
Unfortunately, loving EQ2 these days is a lot like loving a 3D Platformer before they figured out how cameras worked.
I can’t play it anymore, but I would take a do-over remake of EQ2 with an engine that doesn’t run 99% off my processor at any time.
I have very found memories of EQ2. I would love a 3 as well. I fear though, that the MMOs, I once enjoyed are pretty much regulated to the past. I’m not much into the action-based style that kids these days prefer, and that seems to be where the market is headed. Holding out some hope for Pantheon.