MMO Future: Understanding old memories

Almost all of the original MMOs worked. UO, EQ1, AC1, DAoC; all of those games had solid populations and growth in their prime. In contrast, most of the recent MMOs (AoC, WAR, LotR, SW:TOR, Aion, Rift, etc) have not. Either they are getting shut down, closing servers, or in the F2P minor leagues. Based on this, it’s easy to see why many players are interesting in returning to ‘the good old days’, while others are dismissing those feelings as a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience that can’t be reproduced and only happened because of the time, not so much the games themselves.

As with most topics the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but I do want to address why those older games worked as MMOs, and dispel a few misconceptions about ‘the good old days’.

First and foremost, all four of the games listed above worked because they had content for months if not years, rather than weeks. You can say it was a long character grind, or punishing mechanics, or archaic systems, but at the end of the day the fact remains that to ‘max out’ in those games it simply took far longer than in a game like SW:TOR or WAR, and when your business model is based on keeping people subscribed and playing, that’s pretty damn important.

Another factor to consider here is that we are not talking a few months or even the first year when talking about the original four peaking; they all did it later (And of course, we are still seeing EVE ‘peak’ yearly). This is important because it dispels a myth that leads to the often-repeated mistake of cutting your current game short to allow everyone to catch up and ‘get to the good stuff’, which is usually the latest expansion or added end-game content. Today we are so worried about a new player getting stuck in the old stuff, that we completely forget the fact that if the content is good, having more of it is a bonus, not a penalty.

WoW today has a stupidly-fast leveling curve, so fast in fact that you simply can’t complete all of a zone before out-leveling it. Is that really a strength of the game; zipping you to the end-game? Or would WoW today fare better with a much longer/slower leveling curve, one that allowed players to finish a zone without have to trick the XP system? Was WoW ‘broken’ in 2004 with its slower pace? Was everyone dying to get to the ‘good stuff’ of raiding Molten Core? The numbers most certainly don’t support that theory.

Player burnout is happening faster today than before. Is it because many of us are MMO vets now and are just not entertained as long by the same stuff, or is it also a factor that many of the games we play force burnout by zipping us along at a breakneck pace? It’s hard to state “man, I wish I was gaining XP slower!”, but at the same time, are you really dying to get passed the leveling and progression aspects of early life in an MMO? To put it another way, when you recall the more fun moments of a typical MMO (especially a themepark), are those memories all at the end-game, or did you enjoy the ride as much if not more than the destination (spoiler: in most MMOs the destination sucks, which is why you quit).

A related item I want to address is the memories older MMO players have of the early days, such as camping a spawn for hours or running the same content an insane amount of time for a single item. It’s common to see someone state they would never do that again, and hence the older approach to making an MMO simply wouldn’t work today.

First, when players talk about those times, it’s important to understand that such extremes are memorable because they were and are extremes; the average day for an EQ1 players was NOT spent sitting at one spawn waiting for a specific iem, just like the average day for a DAoC player was not a 5 hour relic raid. A UO player’s average day was not breaking into a house, or getting ganked with half your items at the Brit bank. Today massive battles in EVE are news-worth because they don’t happen daily, record breaking thefts make the front pages because, well, they just broke a record in a game with 10+ years of history.

That said, let’s make no mistakes about it, the above are very important to those games; many are the catalysts that inspire others to start playing or to play more/differently. When they go well, they are the highs that make the day-to-day stuff worthwhile, and even when they go wrong, they leave an impression. Keeping everything vanilla is safe, but safe doesn’t inspire year after year of loyalty and excitement; it gets you a 3 week run that is entirely forgettable.

That’s not to suggest you can simply copy/paste 1997 UO, release it with updated graphics, and profit. Changes to the formula are needed, but outright abandoning the core is clearly not working. So when MMO fans talk about bringing back the ‘good old days’, it’s not because they want everyone to sit around a mob spawn for 12 hours daily, or because they would love to play a game where they lose everything at the bank all the time. In addition to a lot of basic concepts I’ll cover in a future post, they want the possibility of something memorable happening, because without those standout moments, your MMO is just another game to check out for a brief period of time, and that is NOT what an MMO is all about.

52 Responses to MMO Future: Understanding old memories

  1. lostforever says:

    I agree with everything you say however I think for WoW 2013 “new player getting stuck in the old stuff,” is a valid concern even if the old stuff is really good since there are not many new players. If there are not many people at your level range then the player will get bored and leave the game. I have done this in the past since regardless of the content, you need LOT of other people for MMO work.

    This is why I think WOW 2013 and EQ2 2013 try to speed up levelling since they want the few new players they get to play with other people ASAP.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yes, but is the correct solution gutting your content (speeding people through it), or by giving your current players a reason to interact with new players so they don’t feel alone?

      • lostforever says:

        Yes I agree gutting is bad however I don’t think WoW or EQ2 has any other options without drastic change to the game and such changes are not worth it since these games are on their way out.

    • carson63000 says:

      Actually, that raises a question for those who played EQ “back in the day” (which was a little bit before my time):

      EQ launched in March 1999 and grew solidly until mid-2001, according to a quick google. What was it like for a new player joining in 2001? The game was two years old, there are two expansions. How easily were new people able to get into a famously group-centric game at that point?

      I honestly can’t recall anyone saying that it either worked just fine or that it worked really badly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Grouping in EQ was bad. Really bad overall. On some servers that wasn’t true, but on the whole it was. There was a total lack of tools to help you build social interactions. When you did, at least in the early part of your career, it was organic because you ran into another group camping the spawn you needed, so tossed in with them if they’d let you. The idea of going out as a group and doing anything didn’t really pick up till months into your career when the content simply became too hard to do otherwise.

        Part of why I think WoW worked is it funneled you into grouping very early, Deadmines? Which gave players real task focused interaction with others.

    • Foobles says:

      I think that WoW has enough newbies to be functional but they’re spread out so thinly over all of the servers so that effectively they don’t on any given server.

      One possible option would have been to have dedicated newbie servers that fed into the real world servers once you got near to the current level cap. I realize that there are issues with this approach like balancing old population server load against friendships formed as people level on the noob server

      Even though it’s an imperfect solution I think it would have been vastly preferable to the way that they neutered all of the existing low level content so that it feels like a quicksand bog of tedium dragging you down as you play even though you’re speeding through the ‘content’.

      • Anonymous says:

        All of WoW`s old content have the battlegroups merged into the same server. Even Northrend has all of my battlegroups on the same server.

  2. Jenks says:

    Language has really done a disservice to the people who liked older MMOs. You get hit with the nostalgia argument immediately, because those are old MMOs, and now there are new MMOs. They’re all just MMOs, and newer is always better.

    The problem is, they’re not all ‘just MMOs.’ What’s being produced now are (in my opinion) a completely different genre of game from what I enjoyed.

    I would compare it to a fictional scenario where someone loved turn based strategy games, and over the course of 10 years they were continually dumbed down. Suddenly you realize the only turn based strategy games are Farmville and its clones. The horror! Oh, but it’s new and it’s turn based strategy. And it’s free! Everyone likes free. Get over it you curmudgeon and come play Farmville with us.

    • spacepilot says:

      Completely agree with Jenks here. I pine for SWG 2.0 but every time I bring it up on a forum I get shouted down by the nostalgia police.

      Only it’s not nostalgia, it’s simply what I like.

      And it’s what I expect out of MMORPGs. If I wanted to play Mass Effect’s story or grind gear in Diablo I would go and do that. The word nostalgia carries with it a connotation of forgetfulness or misremembering, and that’s just bullshit because a) I’m barely 30 and b) I have fraps and screenshot evidence of fun times and mechanics that I loved.

      There’s a very simple and very direct comparison that can be made between SWG (or it’s ancestor UO) and all of the MMOs that came after in terms of “does this have feature a, b, or c.”

      It either does or it doesn’t, and the the rose-colored glasses bullshit has nothing to do with anything other than being a straw man put forth by people who haven’t played enough games to comment intelligently on the genre.

      At this point I’m afraid that I’m going to just have to give up on this hobby, because it has literally changed into something other than what I liked about it. /shrug

  3. Mobs says:

    I agree with everything you wrote. I am playing and enjoying FFXIV because of the old school feel it kind of has and the minimal amount of hand-holding. You are right though, when I log in, I can tell you exactly what will happen to me before I even do it. The game doesn’t boil down to the experiences I have really as much as I enjoy leveling multiple classes within on character. The experience playtime though; is always predictable. I guess it all boils down to risk vs. reward, except now, there is only reward.

  4. Looking at WoW and Cataclysm through the “best content” prism is interesting. Blizz was clearly attempting to break the cycle of “the best content is between the current level cap and the previous one” by revamping the world to put fresh content in the 1-60 level experience.

    They can even be forgiven for making so much of that content solo-focused because that appeared to address the problem of most of the player base being in the level cap sweet spot. After all, WoW has always had any number of quests that punished people for grouping.

    But they went and made the leveling rate so fast that you either level out of zones before you are done or, if you really want to make it to the end of a zone’s story (some of which are pretty good, or at least amusing) and you run down the last quest, the next zone is already green to you and you can easily leapfrog to the zone after that.

    And if you want to actually do instances along the way, well you will be bypassing many zones.

    If only Blizz had held firm on the leveling speed and maybe sold a $10 30-day double XP buff for people who just had to get through to the level cap. I would have bought that for a healing alt I was working on at one point.

    But now Blizz is stuck. They cannot ramp the XP curve back up without people complaining about being punished or the general lack of fairness in the world. And just imagine the outcry if the made leveling slower AND introduce that $10 double XP buff. People’s heads would fall off in rage.

    It is difficult to tinker with the whole level speed process. As we got closer to Storm Legion, Trion made leveling easier in Rift along with handing out all sorts of vet rewards that included XP boost potions. I got a mage to level cap in no time during that phase. But then Storm Legion hit, the potions ceased to work and the level grind was much steeper. The shock of that put a damper on some of the Storm Legion enthusiasm.

  5. bhagpuss says:

    Although I’m much happier with the new MMOs than you are and find myself able to play many of them for the same ridiculous amount of hours I played the old ones and with there or thereabouts as much pleasure and satisfaction, nevertheless I agree with pretty much all of the OP. I’ve received ample compensation for the things that were lost from the things that were gained and on balance I personally feel I’ve come out about even, but that doesn’t mean that, had the things gained *added* to the things lost instead of merely replacing them I wouldn’t have come out significantly ahead.

    I believe it’s entirely possible to keep many of the quality-of-life improvements that have been made over he last decade and meld them with the things you rightly highlight as the original strengths of the genre. Taking a longer view, I believe that will happen. There are better MMORPGs to be made than we have yet seen, I’m sure of that.

    I know you didn’t play EQ and have no affection for it, but there’s one thing about it that you missed in your overview of what the original MMOs did right, something which you presumably would also have experienced in DAOC. It’s something I feel is key to some of the most debilitating problems suffered by many modern MMOs.

    Until WoW I don’t believe there was any concept of “completing” a zone. There were no quest “hubs” only questgivers, who might be anywhere, scattered across the zone or indeed just about anywhere else in the world. There were no achievements telling you you had done 50% of the zone. Originally there weren’t even any in-game maps to let you see parts of the zone you hadn’t yet visited.

    Moreover, the levels of the creatures on a given map might range from a small rat suitable for a character made that morning to a Giant capable of giving a max level a run for his money. If you ever were “done” with a zone it wasn’t because you’d finished all the quests, ticked all the Achievement boxes and got the “I completed the zone” title. Often it wasn’t even because you ran out of things to do that gave you experience.

    No, the reason you moved on was either because you’d seen as much of that particular place as you felt like seeing just now, thanks very much and if I never see another Derv it will be too soon, or because someone had told you about some other great place you hadn’t been yet, somewhere on the other side of a lake and a mountain range, and if you come I’ll show you this great camp.

    That’s what’s I miss most of all. A world that doesn’t make any attempt to explain itself to you or fit itself around your wants and needs. Too much direction, too much handholding. I understand why the pendulum swang that way, but it’s past time it swang back.

    • SynCaine says:

      DAoC you could ‘finish; some zones, but at the same time they also included reasons to go back. The zone-in for Darkness Falls for instances was not in an ‘end-game’ zone, but (as I recall it) a mid-range one, so you would have lowbies, mid-levels, and maxed characters all running across it when DF was open (another aspect a LFG insta-port tool would have ruined in DAoC, but that’s a topic for later). I believe a few other dungeons were like that as well, located in lower-level zones.

      WoW took this to a silly gamey extreme however with achievements, and yes, far too many devs just copy/pasted that design decision without thinking of the consequences.

      Hopefully you are right and at some point someone figures it all out and combines the improvements with the basic design decisions that made the genre work. We’ll see.

      • tmtProdigy says:

        Sorry for grave-digging but i like this post and would like to add that i really hope for future releases to lay-off off the instanced dungeons etc. daoc/uo e6tc had no instances for dungeons it was all the content for everyone, even raid bosses could actually be !down already” when you got to them. i liked that concept.

    • Jenks says:

      “Until WoW I don’t believe there was any concept of “completing” a zone. There were no quest “hubs” only questgivers, who might be anywhere, scattered across the zone or indeed just about anywhere else in the world. There were no achievements telling you you had done 50% of the zone. Originally there weren’t even any in-game maps to let you see parts of the zone you hadn’t yet visited.”

      I agree with you 100% here. These are all symptoms of the problem, which is MMOs designed as video games instead of virtual worlds (back to my two different genres!).

      Also, it always puts a smile on my face reading someone who (correctly) understands that this shift didn’t begin in 1999, so thanks for that!

  6. Asmiroth says:

    So a) content was stretched over a longer period of time which b) had more people at various interactive stages of said content.

    That’s the recipe for success? Slowing down content consumption?

    I’d like to think things standout from those games because they were so slow. It’s the old Salteen joke from Eddie Murphy. If you’re starving and I gave you a cracker, it would be the best cracker ever. If all you ever ate was crackers, then another one would be boring.

    The Hell Levels in EQ are prime examples of grind with little benefit other than the social chats to keep you sane. Camping Liches in UO was eye bleedingly boring as was raising magic resist.

    If everything is explosions all the time, then how do you separate the actual good stuff? PvP games, real ones, are chock full of absolutely boring content with a smidgen of actual events. But those events are so epic, comparatively, that it keeps you coming back.

  7. Pasduil says:

    “Almost all of the original MMOs … had solid populations and growth in their prime…”

    There are dangers in comparing a new and growing product market with a mature one.

    For example, you could say that PCs were selling like hot cakes ten years ago, and now they’re declining, so PC makers must be doing something wrong.

    But the main thing is that most people that want a PC have one already, and there is a heck of a lot of competition for what customers there are looking for a new one.

  8. Anti-Stupidity League says:

    “UO […] had solid populations and growth in their prime. In contrast, […] SW:TOR […] have not. Either they are getting shut down, closing servers, or in the F2P minor leagues.”

    (I’ll take these two games as an example, just because I’m personally the most familiar with these two from your lists, but I’m sure the numbers would be pretty similar when comparing any other classic and current game with each other.)

    When making comparisons like these, it’s good to keep in mind that UO at its prime had between 100 000 and 250 000 players (mmodata charts). SW:TOR started with over 1.5 million subscribers and it still has about 500 000 subscribers even though it’s a F2P game now — if you add F2P numbers to that, it has easily over a million players (PCGamer, May 2013 and GDC 2012, James Ohlen).

    It’s unlikely that even at its lowest SW:TOR has ever dipped below Ultima’s peak numbers since its launch.

    • Jidhari says:

      While i agree with your data points, the way I interpreted Syncaine’s statement is that these older MMOs (UO etc) were growing and/or stable for longer periods of time than the later MMOs he names. By and large mmodata.net seems to bear this out with UO growing or stable for what looks like six years. The new MMOs (SWTOR etc) shed a large portion of their subscriber base within the first six months. I am happy to be corrected but I do not think his statement was arguing that populations levels were higher in those earlier MMOs in an absolute sense (which is what you seem to interpret his statement as).

      • Pasduil says:

        If we’re talking about 1997, a lot of people didn’t even have a home PC then. Even back in 2003 a lot of people didn’t have broadband. Hard to remember that now.

        So when those things were new and fast growing, it was relatively easy for an online game to also be fast growing. If it was only stable in a world where vastly more people were getting online every year, that was a sign of relative decline.

        That said, I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with a game being popular for a year or two, and then getting less so.

        It’s the same as with TV series, books or board games, most have their heyday, and then disappear into the long tail. Only a very few become perennial favorites.

      • Anti-Stupidity League says:

        Jidhari: “I do not think his statement was arguing that populations levels were higher in those earlier MMOs in an absolute sense (which is what you seem to interpret his statement as).”

        No, I’m just saying that when syn considers some current MMO games to be in “the F2P minor leagues”, these “F2P minor leaguers” have regularly 5-10 times the number of players these MMO golden age games had in their prime. What should we call that league then? Non-existent? A niche market (Hi, Mark!)?

        • lostforever says:

          $10 ten years was worth more than $10 now. I thinks same applies to MMO numbers as well so its the trend that matters not the absolute number.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          Do you apply this same trend to other entertainment as well?

          10 years ago, a movie with 10 times less viewers than The Avengers was actually just as popular as The Avengers? Any book that made it to the New York Times Best Seller list got there with 10 times less readers than a book needs to get there today? A current rock band needs to sell 10 times more records just to be as popular as a band 10 years ago?

          No, sorry, that’s not how it works. During the UO’s peak, the best selling computer game sold 16 million copies. Ultima had nowhere near those numbers. The best selling game of the last year sold 12 million copies. If anything, the trend is down.

          UO might have been a better game than SW:TOR will ever be, but the fact remains that it has never had as many players as SW:TOR has had at its worst, in relative or absolute numbers.

  9. SynCaine says:

    “10 years ago, a movie with 10 times less viewers than The Avengers was actually just as popular as The Avengers? Any book that made it to the New York Times Best Seller list got there with 10 times less readers than a book needs to get there today? A current rock band needs to sell 10 times more records just to be as popular as a band 10 years ago?”

    Every single line you wrote above is 100% wrong. That’s pretty impressive.

    UO wasn’t expected to get more than 50k subs, ever. SW:TOR was expected to retain 1m at the very least.

    UO’s budget was less than the cost of just a fraction of the VA in SW:TOR, yet to date has made far, far more money.

    It’s great that you think SW:TOR is in the same league as UO in just about any relevant category, but much like the above, you’re more or less (always) 100% wrong.

    • Anti-Stupidity League says:

      “UO wasn’t expected to get more than 50k subs, ever. SW:TOR was expected to retain 1m at the very least.”

      What was expected and what wasn’t doesn’t change the fact that even at its lowest, the number of people playing SW:TOR has never dipped below Ultima Online’s peak numbers since its launch. If you disagree, please cite your sources.

      “UO’s budget was less than the cost of just a fraction of the VA in SW:TOR, yet to date has made far, far more money.”

      Whatever the budget was, it doesn’t change the fact that even at its lowest, the number of people playing SW:TOR has never dipped below Ultima Online’s peak numbers since its launch. If you disagree, please cite your sources.

      “It’s great that you think SW:TOR is in the same league as UO in just about any relevant category”

      No, they’re not in the same league. SW:TOR has over one million players, it’s in a league of “games that have over one million players”. UO has never had more than a quarter million players, it’s in a league of “games that never had even one million players”. If you disagree, please cite your sources.

      “you’re more or less (always) 100% wrong.”

      I told my sources. If you disagree with my numbers, please prove me wrong.

      Of course you won’t, because you can’t and the only reason you’re upset with the facts that I just told is your fanatic subscription fanboyism, which negates all logic.

      • SynCaine says:

        Farmville had 100m players. Guess by your logic, Farmville is/was the most successful MMO of all time, huh?

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          “Farmville had 100m players. Guess by your logic, Farmville is/was the most successful MMO of all time, huh?”

          I wouldn’t call Farmville a MMO, but if you want to call it that, then yes, at the time when it had 100m players, it was the most successful MMO. I wouldn’t claim that it would make it the most successful game, but it would certainly be more successful (in the amount of players it has) than a game that as never even had 100m players.

          But Farmville isn’t MMO, really. C’mon. Seriously. Why even take it as an example? Even the first Guild Wars wasn’t a MMO, so why would Farmville be. Let’s take a proper example, instead, because hell, why not?

          At its peak, WoW had some 12-13m players. By my logic — that you apparently vehemently disagree — WoW was the most successful MMO at that time. It certainly was more successful than a game that didn’t have 12-13m players. It might be the most successful MMO game of all time as well if no other MMO ever gains the amount of players it has had, by my logic. Strange logic, huh? If you disagree and you don’t think that WoW has been the most successful MMO and actually a game like EverQuest II or whatever has been more successful, feel free to do so but if you do, please explain why.

          And yet, what does this have to do with the fact that even at its lowest, the number of people playing SW:TOR has never dipped below Ultima Online’s peak numbers since its launch?

        • SynCaine says:

          Because those 100m weren’t worth the same as those 12m in WoW, just like that 1m in SW:TOR isn’t worth what the 250k were in UO.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          “Because those 100m weren’t worth the same as those 12m in WoW, just like that 1m in SW:TOR isn’t worth what the 250k were in UO.”

          Is this some elitist asshattery or what do you mean?

        • SynCaine says:

          What I and others are trying to explain to you is that looking at the number of players/account in a vacuum is pointless, which is all you are doing.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          “What I and others are trying to explain to you is that looking at the number of players/account in a vacuum is pointless, which is all you are doing.”

          Oh I’m sorry, when you’re talking about MMO populations it’s very silly of me to take a look at number of players, because with populations you obviously mean flowers and rainbows and moisture and a banana. I seriously thought that you meant the number of people who are playing the game at the time.

        • SynCaine says:

          It is indeed silly.

          Easy example: If the population for SW:TOR was working, like the population in DAoC was working, why is SW:TOR trying to sell you a hotbar today?

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          “Easy example: If the population for SW:TOR was working, like the population in DAoC was working, why is SW:TOR trying to sell you a hotbar today?”

          Because EA makes more money by doing so instead of not doing so. Next question, please.

        • SynCaine says:

          Ah ok. So EA was raking it in ala DAoC, but just got extra greed and said lets sell some hotbars on top of our amazing success so far. Got ya.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          “Ah ok. So EA was raking it in ala DAoC”

          Their operating revenues were certainly greater than what DAoC ever had, so yeah, they were raking it in. Unfortunately their expenses were pretty great as well, but this has nothing to do with its popularity, unless you’ve invested in EA’s stocks.

          Incidentally, the number of players playing Camelot at its peak was about 250,000 (wikipedia). Even at its lowest, the number of people playing SW:TOR has never dipped below Camelot’s peak numbers since its launch.

          “but just got extra greed and said lets sell some hotbars”

          Hello, McFly? It’s a business, not a charity or an indie dream project. Of course they want to make as much money as they can.

          “on top of our amazing success so far.”

          If you had followed my sources, you’d know that they didn’t consider SW:TOR an amazing commercial success, even though number of people playing SW:TOR never dipped below UO’s or Camelot’s peak numbers since its launch.

          Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life was a commerial disaster but might be the most popular xmas movie ever. Everyone in the movie industry would be thrilled to have its viewing figures, I’m pretty sure no one would want to repeat its commercial failure.

          tl;dr: extremely popular, not a commercial success.

          “Got ya.”

          Excellent.

        • SynCaine says:

          Great, so every single one of your comments was ultimately so we could clarify that when the post, overall talking about successful MMOs, said “popular”, it wasn’t talking “number of accounts in a vacuum”.

          Man, glad we got that cleared up for you in such short order and could contribute to the discussion in such a great way.

          My fault for feeding you, sorry everyone.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          When I talk about how successful a game is, I consider how popular it is, i.e. how many people like to play it. I understand that you don’t consider Farmville, WoW, or SW:TOR successful games like most normal reasonable people do, because your definition for success and popularity is something completely different.

          I guess it’s “a subscription based MMO game = very popular and successful game even if no one is playing it”. That’s certainly a definition, all right. Not necessarily a very good one, but a definition nonetheless.

      • lostforever says:

        @Anti-Stupidity League

        “Do you apply this same trend to other entertainment as well?”

        Yes sure you can applies this is lot of different things but not to all things.

        Take movies, a move made now need to attract lot more people than a movie made 20 years to be classified as “just as popular”. For a starter we have lot more cinemas now so people now see them easily. Another big factor is lot of people in India and China see US movies now than 20 years ago etc. Same thing applies to music and books too.

        On the same token, I wasn’t into any games that required an internet connection 15 or 20 years but not these days. I don’t think twice if a game needs internet or not now days.

        Yes sure SW:TOR has more players than UO but that doesn’t mean its more popular than UO.

        Maybe SW:TOR is popular than UO even after adjusting for time but the my point was you can’t compare total number to see if something was popular than another.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          Okay, I see your point, but in my opinion, you _can_ compare those total numbers, because some ten years ago or so, a game was able to sell 16 million copies. Popular games still only rarely reach those numbers. Selling a quarter million copies to a market that can have demand for 16 million copies does not make you very popular. It makes you a niche.

          Sure, UO demanded something extra that most games at that time did not (a good connection to the Internet, a monthly subscription fee), but limiting your markets by yourself does not make you more popular — otherwise, a game that requires Oculus Rift is certainly extremely popular game at the moment because everyone with OR is playing it and no Oculus Rift enabled game in the future can reach that game’s popularity, ever.

  10. Anti-Stupidity League says:

    Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention this nugget of wisdom: “Every single line you wrote above is 100% wrong. That’s pretty impressive.”

    Yes. That’s what I said. Which word in the following sentence was too difficult to understand: “No, sorry, that’s not how it works.”

    Please, try to keep up with the conversation. I know it can be difficult when you’re tilting at windmills with your face all red, but give it a go, will you?

    • SynCaine says:

      You said the trend was down. Total sales in 2013 dwarf total sales in 1997. So yup, 100% wrong.

      • Anti-Stupidity League says:

        Still doesn’t explain the fact that even at its lowest, the number of people playing SW:TOR has never dipped below Ultima Online’s peak numbers since its launch.

        • Xyloxan says:

          There are surely more people playing games (requiring Internet) these days than during UO days. I’m pretty sure that the percentage of computer gamers playing UO was higher than the percentage of computer gamers playing SW:TOR these days.

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          Are you saying that computer games are more popular today than 10 years ago?

        • Xyloxan says:

          “Are you saying that computer games are more popular today than 10 years ago?”

          I’m not. I’m saying that today more people are playing Internet-based games than 10 years ago. Did you get my point about percentages?

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          So you’re saying that even though computer games are less popular today than ten years ago, more people are playing them now?

        • Xyloxan says:

          Where did I say anything about popularity of computer games?

        • Anti-Stupidity League says:

          Ok, let’s try this one more time.

          Are you saying that online games are more popular today than 10 years ago?

          If not, then do you mean that even though you think online games are less popular today than ten years ago, more people are playing them now (as proven already)?

          If yes, then you agree with me. My point has been the whole time that currently running MMOs (GW2, SW:ToR, Rift, EVE) have been more popular than Ultima Online, DaoC, or Asheron’s Call were at the time.

          Let’s use a car analogy, because that always helps and never causes any confusion, right? Let’s agree that the number of cars on roads will globally grow during the next 5 years. Electric cars are a bit of a niche market at the moment, but their number is steadily growing, although maybe still not at the same pace as the gas-powered cars. This means that there will be more electric cars in the future, but maybe even more gas-powered cars as well. Regardless of the relative percentage of electric cars on roads after the next 5 years, do you think that:

          a) Electric cars are less popular in the future than they are at the moment because there are more gas-powered cars in the future as well, maybe even more than now, or
          b) Electric cars are more popular than they are at the moment, because more electric cars are sold in the future than are sold today?

        • Xyloxan says:

          Your definition of “popularity” is based on absolute numbers. Mine is based on market share (i.e., again, percentages that you are trying to ignore). I played UO when it was released in 1997. The market of MMO games in 1997 was much smaller than it is in 2013. I’m confident that UO had a larger share of the market than SW:ToR in 2013. According to your definition of popularity UO should be still called a niche game when it was the first game ever to reach 100k subscribers. I hope you are not claiming that Catholicism is 10 times more popular in China than in Vatican because there are about 10 million Catholics in China but less than 1 million in Vatican…

          And using your car analogy: I’m expecting the market share of electric cars to increase over the next 5 years and gasoline cars to decrease. So yes, I am saying that the popularity of electric cars is going up and popularity of gas-powered cars going down. Obviously, gas-powered cars will be still more popular than electric cars; i.e., they will still have a larger market share than electric cars.

  11. Rohirrim says:

    “To put it another way, when you recall the more fun moments of a typical MMO (especially a themepark)”

    In Vanilla wow me and a friend leveled together :) 2 rogues! we shared everything, we got different crafting skills in order to supply ourselves and every now and then we stopped and farming materials to craft/buy new armor. We found a nice guild full of good people..these memories is like magic days. Everyone was nice, we meet lot of people on the way and everyone stand to talk to each other.

    Now people on MMOs are like NPCs…they run mindlessly from object to object ignoring everything and everyone around them…Half fault is on the developers and the shit games but new gamers generation has also a big part of the fault too..

    (sorry for bad english)

  12. Red says:

    Hardship in games as well in life produces bonding. Making everything easy destroys a community.

  13. Antivyris says:

    Some of that nostalgia for the good old days I think come from the fact we played what by today’s standards would be an unfinished game. In fact, even the available information on said game was limited. Who else remembers their first crushbone belt? Did you ask general chat, or did you check EQHead? If no one was around, you probably vendored it (DOH). EQ did have months of content, because it took that long to get there, do that, and more importantly learn WHAT to do with it. Today, we would call that game ‘lacking polish’.

    I think the WoW gaming community is what changed it all for us. Before, you had small groups in games figuring things out. This time? Massive community. It was only a matter of time before the more mathematically inclined got together. Suddently, Threat had a number, and everything…I mean EVERYTHING, changed.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but around the same time of Blackwing lair to Naxx in WoW, in EVE “Gridfu” came into existence? I’m not well versed in EVE these days.

    As soon as there was a real, tangible number, everything changed. In WoW, Meters appeared, your numbers tallied to a score, and so on. I’d like to think that the research leading to the creation of Omen (the addon for WoW) was essentially the genie being let out of the bottle. We can’t put it back in.

    That’s the real reason their won’t be another WoW unless we find another Genie, and that’s why the good old games won’t be really coming back as the top because we can’t see them through the same glasses anymore.

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