I’ve been a console gamer for almost my entire experience with the medium, only venturing onto PC for the odd RPG or Steam deal. I also played Runescape for all of 3 months before dropping it in favor of jumping onto the Xbox 360 to join the Halo bandwagon. So, I admittedly have very little experience with MMORPGs. I’ve always thought about fixing that and trying to go back on and try one since so many other gamers out there seem to enjoy them. However something stops me every time before I get too far with that thought, a notion that I simply cannot ignore: They just don’t sound very fun!
I recognize that they do possess some kind of kind of mass appeal, otherwise World of Warcraft would be the online juggernaut that it is today, and every major studio wouldn’t have tried to get a piece of that pie instead of making a proper sequel to an awesome franchise (okay, I might be thinking of one studio in particular there). I just have not been able to put my finger on exactly why so many find them so compelling, at least in terms of the gameplay that’s offered.
The biggest selling point has to be the idea of getting to share the same world with thousands and thousands of other people, and indeed the thought of cooperating with groups ranging in size from 2 other people to raiding parties of 50 or more sounds pretty cool. The thing is though, all that doesn’t really come about unless people are interested in the game itself, which, if the internet is to be believed often boils down to and endless cycle of repetitive tasks/fights to either level up and/or continually get slightly better equipment with which to continue said tasks but only faster or against slightly tougher enemies. (Woohoo?) So why buy the game in the first place? Is it more for the promise of cooperating with other players than the gameplay or is that genuinely fun?
The only conclusion I’ve been able to come to is that it is only for the social aspects, if that wasn’t the case, I can’t help but think that World of Warcraft, the game everyone is already on, wouldn’t have been able to maintain its death grip on the genre as newer games with newer gameplay were released over the years. If that’s the case though, is there even anywhere for MMO’s to go from here? If World of Warcraft is the be all end all, how will the genre see any further innovation, and is it really worth sticking around for something that’ll likely remain stagnant for a few years yet?
I’m used to games that are always building to some sort of end. That’s the point of them, to enjoy a journey through a story or series of challenges with the ultimate goal of completing it. Looking in from the outside, MMO’s are the complete opposite. They’re made to be endless, to always have something to do, and I suppose that’s what mystifies me the most. How can anything be considered accomplished if there is no end? How can it have any point? Why start the trek if there’s no where to go?
…Maybe I just don’t get it. 🙂
In all seriousness though, if you’re an MMO fan, please share your experience! I’m asking just for the heck of it!
Or, if you’ve never really got into them either, what was your reasoning?