I’m not the first blogger to write a post like this recently and I wonder why it’s happening all of a sudden.
Nickle tour of my MMO gaming life: I’ve been playing them pretty much since they’ve been making them. I played MMOs before they were called MMOs and you had to pay $6/hour to play on GEnie. Or even more on Compuserve. All the big early players, I played at least for a while. And I might be done.
I came to this realization when thinking about this weekend’s SW:TOR beta. I wasn’t excited to partake in it. I have the client, have the account set up. In theory once it opens all I have to do is log in, and I probably will, just to gawk a bit. But really play? No, I don’t think so.
I was thinking that it just wouldn’t be worth the effort, given that our progress gets wiped on Monday.
And that’s when it hit me. I play MMOs for progress and really only for progress. I don’t play them because the minute-to-minute experience of playing them is fun for me. It used to be; I remember a time where every battle, or at least many battles, felt exciting and interesting. These days it feels more like an exercise in mundane repetition.
Just to be absolutely clear, this isn’t a slam on SW:TOR; the game systems of pretty much all MMOs are the same way. I’m just using SW:TOR as an example, and anyway this is about me and my personal preferences, not about the games, which continue to be wildly popular. Also consider I solo much of the time; battles of course get more interesting as you add more people to them (and therefore more variability). That’s why I liked Rift so much in the early days when people fought the titular rifts.
Anyway I’ll wait for SW:TOR to launch and play it then when my progress will be saved. I’m still interested by all the people talking about how compelling the stories are. In my first beta weekend I only got to level 7 so really didn’t get engaged in any stories that time out. If the stories are really that interesting I’ll stick around, otherwise I’ll just play my 30 days and move on.
I might need to give DC Universe Online another look; as I recall that had combat that was a bit more fun. But why can’t MMOs have combat (and other) systems as rich and interesting and compelling as non-MMOs? How about throwing in the odd puzzle, or climbing section, or something to mix things up? Why do I have to turn to Uncharted or Skyrim to have a good story and fun combat and a rich mix of things to do? Shouldn’t we be getting more from a $15/month game than we do from a 1-shot $60 game?