After the Matrix Online crashed for the last time, some bloggers talked a bit about the death of an MMO, and what it means to the players.
What about worlds that don’t die, but undergo radical changes?
I haven’t lived through one of these, to be honest, so all I’m going to do is ask questions.
What do the die-hard fans of DDO think about their beloved game going free-to-play? There they are at their picnic enjoying themselves, and they look up to see a tidal wave of noobs about to crash down on them. Let’s face it, free-to-play games are going to pull in a younger demographic, which could impact the culture quite a bit.
Spellborn players are faced with this too, but Spellborn wasn’t nearly as established.
And now there’s this Cataclysm expansion for WoW. I haven’t studied the info coming out of Blizzcon (I don’t pay much attention to games until they’re near-future events), but I watched the trailer, and it made me feel a little sad. I spent so many hours romping around those “old” zones in WoW. To see them shattered and broken… it was a little like visiting your hometown and finding the park you used to hang out in after school was now a Wal-Mart.
Don’t go twisting my words. I actually think Blizzard is pulling off something pretty brilliant and pretty ballsy, shaking up their old content so drastically — look how many people are excited to go revisit those old lands in their new iterations.
I’m a little excited, too. Put it this way, I’ve never felt any desire to purchase or play Lich King, but I can see myself visiting the post-Cataclysm world. But I’m saying my excitement is tempered a bit by the knowledge that the places that hold so many fond memories will be gone forever (at least as I remember them).
Honestly, maybe Blizzard is doubly brilliant, because it just struck me that I might re-visit WoW *before* Cataclysm (like, a week before), just to take one last stroll through the old zones and think back on all the friends I made and all the adventures I had there. And I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking about doing that.
I guess the moral of the story is that we should enjoy what we have now, because it won’t be there forever. This applies to both the virtual and the real world.