There is nothing like that new mmo feel. New vistas to explore, new adventures to be had. I remember the first time I set foot in World of Warcraft (WoW). What brought me there from the land that Lord British built (Ultima Online) were the gates of Ironforge. Back then the level cap was 60 and Molten Core was were all of the cool kids went to play. The only other options at the time where Ever Quest 1 and Meridian 59 (which I never played). Rolling into Kharanos for the first time was magical…gaming in 3d! Back then Blizzard was an unstoppable giant, as its numbers climbed ever higher, eventually peaking out at 12 million players. We have purchased every expansion since then….
…up ‘til now.
Like Syp from Biobreak this is the first WoW expansion we will not buy – for a variety of reasons. Fran’s reasons are a bit different than mine. For myself, I considered buying The Mists of Pandaria and then I thought back about previous games I have played: Funcom’s last two games (AoC and Secret World), Fallen Earth, Warhammer Online, Star Wars the Old Republic, Everquest II and Aion Online. I purchased the Rise of Kunark for EQ2 and stopped playing before my highest level character got high enough to enjoy the new content. I tried to come back when EQ2 went free 2 play and found Sony had built a large wall dividing free-2-players and subscription players. They have since torn down the wall but a bit too late to bring me back. I played Aion Online when it first came out and the gold sellers outnumbered the players. Each mmo was the place to be at the time. Each became the virtual world to which players migrated – and shortly thereafter each game went begging for players.
Next is that after so many game companies being hacked (even Blizzard) we are no longer willing to just hand out our credit card number for a subscription. In Blizzard’s case it is possible to buy a game card; however it is at this point I ask myself if I am still willing to pay a subscription and the answer comes up no. When John Smedly said Star Wars the Old Republic would be the last subscription based MMO to come out he was only one game off. Had he said The Secret World he would have been right on the money.
How ya’ gonna keep them down on the (virtual) farm?
WoW still had a great bunch of people playing it when we let our subscriptions go. As for me I find my interest waning beyond the sticking point. The Mists of Pandaria would probably hold my attention for the additional five levels. Leveling my Pandaren monk would be great fun –until she left the starting area. The thought of having to take a character through “classic” WoW (up to level 60), through Outlands and Northrend gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies. There are options (outside of paying for a race change) but all of them are in other games. WoW is still a game that runs on rails (albeit with a few branches). The developers still guide players through the appropriate areas. Thanks to ArenaNet and Funcom quest hubs are a thing of the past. In both games players are rewarded for exploration. I don’t think I could make myself go back to guided gaming having had experienced the freedom of games like Guild Wars2.
What’s that smell?
That smell isn’t our Boston Terrier. No, in this particular case that smell is spoiled gamer. If I don’t want to pay for a subscription there are plenty of options available where that isn’t necessary. If I don’t want a game where a developer guides me from place to place there are plenty of other options where I can play in the virtual sandbox. The time as long come and gone where I am willing to listen to the hue and cry of “looking for healer, looking for tank”…even that is no longer necessary. There are still many players, I am sure, for whom the Mists of Pandaria is precisely their cup of tea. Time will tell if that particular pot of tea keeps brewing. Perhaps the influx of new players is precisely what WoW needs at this moment. Do we miss the “old gang”? Well, yes and no. Fran always says if you want to find out if someone is your friend, ask them to help you move. Fortunately, there are always thousands of “older gamers” to go around. So have fun in Pandaria those of you who have migrated to that virtual world (or are still there).
See you online,