– Est. 1981

Lvl 6 Mage LFG. The State of MMORPG; Part 2

I recently had a friendly back and forth with someone on the forums about why people must compare WoW and EQ. His point was that the demographic is different and so the games are different. I'll concede this point, the target demographic for EQ was a more mature audience as where the demographic for WoW is EVERYONE. That being said I am not comparing the two games. I am comparing the different types of games. I feel the need to do this because there aren't any games around that target the mature audiences. Companies are creating these games and failing because they are trying to appeal to everyone.

With that out of the way I will get on to what I intend to talk about today.


When talking about skill I need to tread carefully as it is not my intent to piss anyone off and if there is one subject that will do that, it's skill. The skill set required to play an old EQ style MMO vs. a new WoW clone is very different. I'll start with a little story about learning curve...

When I reinstalled EQ recently I had been playing more modern MMO's for years and really not finding the amount of joy I had been searching for. I entered the world with my level 1 Erudite Mage and immediately ran outside to the port area for a little nostalgic exploring and saw a familiar sight. A shark in the water under the pier. I looked around my interface for a few minutes remembering where everything was and finding my spells. The game doesn't do everything for you, so I had to memorize my spells and put them on my spell bar manually.  Once done I thought it might be fun to cast my Burst of Flame on the shark. I remember from the past that these sharks are around level 30. **BAM** My burst of flame hit the shark for 1 damage. The shark then swam very quickly to the edge of the pier and ate my face in a single attack and I was dead.

Granted, that's a serious pathing issue. However, I'm level 1 and that shark was a red con level 30 and I have no business messing with it. My point is that this thing is in the newbie zone and served the purpose of teaching (or reteaching in my case) the player that being safe is entirely based on your actions.

After re-memorizing my spells I embarked on my next adventure. The newbie leveling zone on Erudin is Toxxulia forrest and my first victim was a grass snake. I did a quick con on the snake, even fight. I can take him no problem. I ran out and started casting and stabbing at this snake, it used almost my entire mana bar to kill the bugger, but it wouldn't get that far. Half way through the fight I was attacked by a kobold that was a red con, meaning he was at least 2-3 levels higher than I was. "This is freakin' brutal" I said to myself as I sat re-memorizing my spells. My mistake here was fighting this creature on his terms, in his territory in the middle of the damn woods. It's dangerous out there, you need to be careful and I was on my next try. I grabbed a decaying skeleton that was of an even con, pulled him away from where other creatures may be roaming about and successfully killed him. I rested for a few minutes and did it again.

By level 2 I have already learned a healthy dose of fear and fear is what drives skill improvement early on in the game. Later on you apply this fear in different ways. Learning to pull and kill creatures (mobs) while grouped with many different character classes and knowing their individual roles, knowing what they are capable of so that you don't exceed the groups abilities. These skills are also valuable with modern MMO's except they come much later in the game and are nearly completely irrelevant early on.

Without putting the fear of death into a player you really remove a lot of fun that could be had. For instance, my girlfriend who has never played an MMO until recently said "I want to play a game that scares me!" This was said while we were running through the zone destroying everything without the fear of death. Afterall, it's not like we'll die and have to run a long distance to our corpses. It's not like when we die we'll actually lose anything of value, like time or experience.

I will say this, modern games do well with the end game. There is relative skill involved in a raid, it would just be nice to have players develop these skills BEFORE they are needed on a raid. Grouping at lower levels would accomplish this.

NEXT: Leveling / Questing

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