Ive been seeing this a lot on the forums lately, nostalgia craving and people thinking one day we'll go back to the good old old and gold well I'm afraid those days have passed and it is time to move onto the future or be lost in times memory.
People forget that there is a reason that the age of MMO's has passed and that reason is that WoW, made it die. It was not an intentional death but it was a tragic reality of success consequences, you do better at something, someone is going to compete with you. The simple truth is, every time WoW got better, someone else wanted a chunk, and piece by piece the MMO Pie has been split into thousands of micro-mmo's trying to copy WoW's recipe with limited if little to no actual result.
The thing is... WoW is a great MMO, it was so great, that these things became an obvious marketing campaign, in many ways we owe WoW a lot including and not limited to:
- Making the PC a globally known console to consider cool to use.
- Publishing PC gaming as a marketing brand.
- Adding significant development interest in PC gaming and more namely online gaming.
There's a list a mile long but those are some of its many accomplishments. It gave publishers an idea to take advantage of and ever since that idea has sadly, turned sour.
It is the inevitability of reality my friends, people like money, money comes from people, and they will use the easiest incentive possible to grab that money. An online role playing game with the ability to meet new individuals that also play the same game and do things together with them, for a fixed cash price, or a micro-transaction fee, its a genius scam that sadly suckers a lot of narrow sighted people into it.
As a result, money becomes the priority and at the cost of quality, quality drops because quantity makes more cash.
This, is where the MMO decline began.
The Age Of Competition:
Some of these names may be familiar to you:
- Vanguard, Saga of Heroes.
- Lord Of The Rings Online.
- Warhammer Online.
- Starwars, The Old Republic.
- Dungeons and Dragons Online.
Probably the most known, excluding Everquest and older titles, but the relevance is clear, what do they all have in common?
Every last one of these MMO's used WoW as its base to create a design on its own game play, concept and development, adding their own little niches as time went on to add flavor to a very old pie.
You see, it became clear that WoW's success was going to be a task few could ever reach, come on, 12.5 million subs? That's an impressive market, everyone wants that pie, and they're going to make games like WoW to get a piece.
Using a brand name was a good choice for some (SWTOR/WAR/LOTRO/DDO) because using an already interesting brand meant people were attracted to the brand more than the game, even if the game turned out to be bad.
For Others (Vanguard/RIFT) they were trying to invent new foundations on old ideas. Unfortunately, those ideas didn't take off far and ultimately using old mechanics proved something, we, as players don't actually "like" nostalgia.
You see, players don't actually like having to do something twice unless there's an incentive to do it. Players have zero motivation to repeat the same content because in a game where the same content is uninteresting, or simply productive instead of immersion, there is no real joy in the experience so much as the relief its over.
WoW was flawed from the Start:
People often think of Vanillia as the golden age but it wasn't always the case. Vanillia had its own list of problems and most actually will remember them, from laggy servers, habits of waiting in a que to enter the game to the fact that only the elite were really able to enter the end game content, which effectively left many downtrodden and depressed that they were penalized for not being able to enjoy the experience.
Most of us, came from a background, that background was stereotypically escapism, because most of us had been bullied in school or had underlying issues, you, me, were the 90's generation, its our generation that's changed here, we cant go back because we've moved on.
Were not a teenager anymore, were not leaving high school or joining collage for the first time, we are now in our 20's, some of us even late 30's, and 40's. I remember playing Vanillia and knowing people that played in their 40's who must now be at least 52 or older.
Doesn't that say something to people?
Our golden era of glory wasn't really golden so much as quantified. We remember it because of its flaws, not because of its greatness, we remember what we wanted to see improve, raging at the forums for hours about class imbalances and difficulty settings. We wanted easier content, or harder content, we wanted stuff now, or stuff later.
Remember when you had to grind Hydraxian Waterlords? Just like you do now with Emperor Shaohao? Is it actually THAT different?
No, not really.
Its not the game that's changed, its you, the player that has changed. You expect more yet you demand less, you want harder content yet you want it to be easier to access, you want a challenge yet you don't want to grind for it.
That's an understandable frustration, I hate grinding myself, I always did.
And it was always there friends...
Right, from the very start.
You grew up, The Game never changed:
So Cataclysm came and revamped our old world, made some more engaging quest lines for leveling but at the cost of the freedom to explore and the enjoyment of going where you pleased to do that content.
Now while it isn't strictly true, you can still go where you please, yet... it doesn't feel the same, it feels, changed, forced, streamlined.
...Then you remember, wasn't it really like that all the time anyway?
I mean, you still HAD to reach level 60 to DO end game content, people often forget that irony.
In fact, id argue that the older quests were not only harder, but downright unforgiving, sometimes your ability to progress was downright impossible, because unless you were prepared to farm mobs for HOURs just to get levels (and believe me I remember that well) you needed a group to kill elites that were literally un-soloable.
It was "not" fun.
To be honest, it hasn't changed that much, I was 16 when I started and now I'm 24, that's 8 years of playing this game and I think back and remember how much I hated grinding then and how much I hate it now.
The point I'm trying to make is, I'm not the only one, you, are the same person, you, were the kid once, now your the adult, your trying to justify the old days being good, but looking back...
...Can you honestly say they were?
We feel like MOP has killed the community but no, in reality, WE killed the community. It happened in Wrath Of the Lich King LONG before now when we were made by Blizzard to be so hyped up about competition that we became competitive, we fought each other, we hurt each other, now we regret making those choices but its too late to go back.
Cataclysm came and we weren't ready for it, we thought we could compete but we had nothing to compete for because Cata's end game started brutal and ended laughably easy.
We stopped caring, that's what happened, we just, gave up.
Because we had been made to, we had been raised to.
Every time we were given a false expectation that the next content would be either hard, long, as memorable as Sunwell Isle, or as brutally arbitrary as the ahn'quiraj preprep event.
Those, things... had some extremely memorable community building events, you know why I loved Sunwell Isle? Because EVERYONE took part in it, the nobody, the somebody, the everyone knows you body.
It was a community building experience that allowed us to unify for a common cause, the goal of it was to drive Kael's evil forces away and retake the Sun Well.
And it was fun.
WOTLK Didn't HAVE that, because not only did every WOTLK quest line pretty much require you to be part of a single movement but it stopped being interesting when anyone could do it. We stopped caring that someone was special because nobody was, we stopped being special from the moment we were able to stop being special.
Yet.... that's not a bad thing, special is a cruel word, it means entitlement, royalties "I am important" nonsense that makes bad players. Its good to see the community die because the humbling element of that is that as time goes on, you realize, it doesn't matter.
Do you honestly care?
The game is good, isn't it, yes? I enjoy it, I might not see as many people playing it but I don't care, I enjoy it as it is, flaws and pros.
Granted, id like things to change or be added, but the more you add to something the less special it is.
What I'm trying to say is... its not the game that changed, its you, you've been brainwashed to have high expectations because the stuff you did before was expected to be quality of a pristine level.
Yet now you cant be content, you'll never be content, because that quality is never coming back again, the first time you did it will never be the second time you do it.
Going back to that wont make you better, it will remind you even more so of how much you missed that time.
Let it go, move on, let the era of MMO's pass into something else, and what you will want "will" come again because it will be something new, something different.
And sooner or later, it will bring things back together.
Just have a little faith
And a little acceptance of what you've lost which does not mean you cant be happy that you've had it.
Don't cry because its over...
...smile, because it happened.
And we, people, for better or worse, were there to see the storm to the end.