Worlds that end, worlds that change

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.

4 thoughts on “Worlds that end, worlds that change

  1. “I might re-visit WoW *before* Cataclysm (like, a week before), just to take one last stroll through the old zones”

    I am one of those who think the same thing, although I didn’t spend much time in WoW compared to a bazillion other people out there. It wouldn’t be revisiting anything special (my time in WoW was one of the worst I think I have personally ever spent in an MMO), but I might like to say that I remember the original, without having to fake it 😀

  2. The psychological leverage that Cataclysm has on players is the most brilliant aspect, because even if you don’t necessarily want to play new material from them (I passed on Lich King too), the nostalgia and curiosity factors combined are a powerful force to check it out.

    Blizzard could be even more brilliant and after Cataclysm is out for awhile, they could launch “classic” servers too.

  3. Me, I’ve better actually play WoW, and visit those “old” areas, before they’re drastically changed by “Cataclysm”…

  4. Rog, I think this will pull the demand for classic servers out of the woodwork. They really are a good idea. Of course, I’d go a slightly different direction with it, but yes, there will always be those who want that nostalgia kick.

    Pete, great article, and I share your apparent ambivalence. I’m excited that they are having the guts to move the world forward, and I mourn that I never got to all the places in the old world that I wanted to. If I could get this Map Viewer to work, I’d keep my current installation of the game in one folder, and then maybe, just maybe, check out Cataclysm in a different installation. 🙂

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