Your Old Favorites Suck

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | 8

When Everquest went free to play, I decided to take a minute or two to see how it holds up after a decade of irrelevance. It really doesn't.

Everquest Sucks

It's really not good. When people speak fondly of the old EQ days, they're really only talking about a game that took a step backwards from Ultima Online in terms of visuals, interface, pace, PvP, and everything else. The only thing that Everquest has that modern MMORPGs don't is difficulty and tension created by the stiff penalties they slapped on dying.

I'd also like to take a minute to point out how shameful SOE's F2P model is. You can only play like 4 shitty races/classes, and if you want to not suck, you have to pay to unlock better ones. I can only imagine the people who pay for new classes do so before they try playing the game because 2 minute of that garbage will make you hang yourself.

Once I was finished trying my very hardest to feign excitement for playing that horseshit, I moved on to Dark Age of Camelot because I had marginally fond memories of the Realm vs Realm combat.

Dark Age of Camelot Sucks

A lot of people use DAOC as their example of what PvP is supposed to be, but those people are jaded at best. Dark Age of Camelot's interface was probably worse than Everqest's. How hard is it to make a button give you feedback when it is pressed? Not hard, right? (I'm looking at you, Darkfall)

I would have loved to have gotten back into the RvR, but I couldn't bring myself to grind in a game where you have to press "`" to enter combat mode. That just seems like an unnecessary step. I wonder why some of these antiqued games with solid end-game content don't just let people start at the end, since they just going to quit after a few minutes anyhow.

Just to go for the hat trick, I have a few comments about the other game that was most people's first MMORPG.

World of Warcraft Sucks

The problem with World of Warcraft isn't the interface, gameplay, or visuals like the above games. The problem with World of Warcraft is the kid-gloves they have been slowly slipping on since release.

Blizzard captured the usual suspects with their Vanilla release, but like most corporate entities they had to increase their value for their investors so they started looking at other 'potential' gamers... Your parents... Well, needless to say, in order for the game to be easy enough for your parents to play, they dumbed the game down significantly with a massive abortion known as 'The Burning Crusade'. This removed a lot of statistical ambiguity that power-gamers (a small minority) enjoyed.

That wasn't enough for them. Companies have to continue to grow, so they decided to turn World of Warcraft into a game that a five year old could easily master. Wrath of the Lich king made sure to remove all systems that a five year old couldn't grasp, and made equipment progression more linear. The problem was that the early vanilla content was still not intuitive and stupid enough... So they redid it with Cataclysm.

Well, 3 year olds couldn't play it, but 3 year olds love panda bears... I think you can see where this is going. WoW had extremely high production values, but as all successful things, it has been copied 100 times. Because of that, World of Warcraft has done irreparable damage to the genre as a whole (though they aren't entirely responsible for others making copies).

Forget Anything?

I don't know enough about AC or SWG to really knock them, but I'm sure they're both just as bad.

8 comments :

  1. Yep, biggest problems with these old games is getting past the antiquated UI. Another issue is grasping the layer upon layer of content/systems added to the game over time. It is rewarding to grow with a game and enjoy the new systems/content as it comes out but returning to an old game can be daunting. And it becomes easy to go "hmm fuck this, I'll go play another new shiny".

    You forgot Anarchy Online. Large chunk of the game is free to play and it is generating some recent buzz with more info about a revamped graphic engine. I tried to go back to it last year and failed. I just couldn't get it to run on my modern desktop. So despite the fact that I know I would never seriously go back to the game. I am looking forward to the revamp just so I can play the damned thing again.

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  2. I left out games that I can still enjoy.

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  3. AC and SWG were both really solid, not too much room for criticizm there outside the already mentioned ui/controll/etc. problems with these older games.

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  4. Pretty much. WoW's the only one off that list I'm actually sad for, because the gameplay is actually engaging enough to be fun over longer stretches of time. The kid-gloves thing you mentioned is what made me hate this game, even though I continued playing it well past Wrath in the vain hope of re-capturing the challenge it once provided.
    What makes me cringe more than the steadily increasing carebearishness are the legions of WoW players giving you an earful about how the game's *still challenging* at endgame (a.k.a. heroic raids & rated PvP the heroic raids thing of course being a complete lie what concerns Wrath at least), as if that somehow excuses the fact that the game presents you with absolutely no challenge whatsoever outside these two gated activities, and as if challenge shouldn't also be provided by the QUESTS in the first place. (At this stage allow me to laugh at all the people who suggest harder hitting monsters. How about puzzles, something that requires a different strategy each time e.g. skilled kiting, more penalties on the skills you use, etc.)
    And the fact that the game doesn't penalize you, ever, means that you approach the few challenges it provides in the knowledge of being able to afford as many mistakes as you like, since the worst case scenario is simply not getting what you were after, and not, oh, say actually running the risk of BREAKING your epic sword, or losing crucial faction standing if you die to the extent of being locked out of certain questlines or challenges FOR EVER on the character that made the mistake. Oh, and where the hell have group quests gone? No, not those, I mean the ones that can't be solo'd. Isn't a large part of an MMO about playing together? WoW's tactically removed every single need to play with someone else right up until endgame. I seriously ask myself why a large part of those "solo WoW players" don't just pick up a single player game?

    And no, I'm not a hawdcawr player. Actually, I'm a casual. Who just happens to enjoy playing games that don't hold your hand 24/7, because, and let's face it, every MMO is a grind and a seemingly infinite loop of quests & professions with the very occasional good episode of PvP, so the least a game should do is redeem itself a little bit by designing quests in a way that require some thinking, and the excitement of possibly being worse off afterwards if you make a mistake.

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  5. AC was good. On the open pvp server anyways. Death penalties were high enough that you didn't engage unless you thought you could win. Also, truly an MMORPG where you could have a mind-numbing amount of players in the immediate vicinity (to the point that they had to move respawn locations outside of cities. Even on the PVE servers, you could go pray to the devil, turning red to fight other red players.
    UI was okay for its time, but animations were repetitive, and movement was so horrible and clunky that if you tried to play now...forget it. Graphics awful, though they were better than EQ. Also, no quests. Just here you are, do die on that player's spell/weapon (or mob). It was great not knowing what the hell to do. You just picked a random location on the map, or random direction and headed out.

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  6. Ragnarok Online were a social grinding game,now adays it's a anti-social casher's pay to win game...

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