hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The joy of MMOs

8:00 PM on 04.11.2014 // Chris Carter

From AOEs to Zul'Farrak

Read this list and let me know if it sounds like a good time.

Crunching numbers in the wee hours of the night to maximize damage output. Grinding out levels and letting auto-attack handle things for a few seconds while you play the air drums to Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." Watching 10 different damage meters and battlelogs to see if everyone is running an efficient rotation.

Do these things sound like hell to you? To me, it's by and large why MMOs bring me joy that many other genres can't.

Allow me to explain why.

My love affair with MMOs started in the '90s when Ultima Online was released. Regarded as one of the greatest RPGs of all time, Ultima had it all -- player-ran economies, ganking, bounties for hunting down said gankers, books that could be written by actual players and sold for gold, dungeons, world events, politics, player housing -- you name it. Many of these mechanics wouldn't even be possible in current MMOs due to technical limitations, but Ultima sprouted countless stories that couldn't be experienced anywhere else.

I got into a lot of trouble in Ultima, mostly due to the acts of hanging out with my player-killing, house-swindling friend, who used to con people out of their wares and cash. The entire game was basically policed and governed by the players, which was an unreal feeling amidst the typical linear world of gaming. I actually felt bad when I killed my first and only innocent player deep into the forest and took all his loot.

Here, the healthy feeling of escapism was alive and well, as you were able to live out your wildest digital dreams. Heck, if you really wanted to you could play the entire game as a merchant, providing others with tools, gaining a reputation, brokering information, and writing novels -- it was insane. This was my gateway.

But it wasn't until World of Warcraft that I really started branching out into the "massive" side of things. I had just started college when WoW hit, and as a result of my new relationship (with the lovely woman who eventually became my wife) and my desire to do well in my first year at school, I refrained from playing more than casually -- mostly leveling through beta and hopping on every so often on a low-level character when I had free time.

Once the Burning Crusade expansion dropped, things changed a bit. Most of my friends had quit the game due to poor grades, and my best friend (who hadn't played prior to this arrangement) made me an offer I couldn't refuse -- we would casually play WoW together, level a pair of characters, and see what we had been missing all this time. Minutes of play became hours; hours, days; days, weeks.

We made our way up to level 70 so quickly that I had decided to completely ditch my first character (an Orc Shaman) and level an alternate (a Draenai Priest) to help my chances of joining a guild -- a character that eventually became my new main. I had gone completely overboard -- our rule of "no raiding" turned into "once a week," then "twice a week," but "only 10-man dungeons."

That eventually turned into us joining the top guild on the server and joining the first string raid squad, that raided two to three times a week. Given the rigorous application process (that probably sounds ridiculous to all of you out there), we had to completely change our attitude. Now we had to learn our full rotations (order of spells/abilities), theorycraft (research and look up viable strategies) in our free time, and teach others how to more effectively use our class (which often involved writing guides).  It was basically a job that paid nothing -- but we had a blast doing it.

There's nothing quite like joining up with 24 other people for a raid, having fireside chats about what was going on in our life, and feeling a real sense of community. Wipes (full party deaths) were rare since we were so disciplined, but every so often we hit a snag -- only to overcome it within a week's time. To many, this sounds droll and unexciting. But if you find the right group of people, the feeling is indescribable when you best something for the first time with a giant collective of friends that have the same goal as you.

I hit an absolute high when we were the server-first kill for Illidan -- a huge part of the Warcraft lore in general and the toughest boss in the game at the time. It was then that I started to slowly ease off of MMOs to plan for my wedding, effectively ending my career as a "full-timer" for quite some time.

I would keep playing MMOs though for years to come, usually only getting max level and stopping before I got the itch to raid. Dark Age of Camelot, Conan (yuck), Warhammer Online, EVE, Rift, The Old Republic, TERA, Secret World, Aion, Lord of the Rings Online, Guild Wars 2, Elder Scrolls Online -- you name it, I've probably played it. But one particular MMO really brought me back in recently -- Final Fantasy XIV -- the second time around, that is, when it relaunched.

Something clicked with me while playing A Realm Reborn. The art style is beautiful, the music is outstanding, and the battle system is a bit more action-oriented than most MMOs -- to the point where I'm heavily reminded of Phantasy Star Online. It doesn't help that it has a healthy serving of nostalgia either! Right now I'm in the process of joining up with a few of my old MMO buddies (including one that I played Ultima with way back when) to start endgame content and really kick things off. Things will never be the same now that I'm not a college student anymore, but the call of the genre is unending -- in some ways, I'm a "lifer."

While I understand that MMOs don't appeal to everyone, I've had far too many fond memories with them to give them up. I've made friends that have stood up at my wedding. I've learned multiple videogame mechanics and concepts that have served me well as a writer and as a gamer. As ridiculous as it sounds, these games also taught me some form of responsibility, showing up on time for raids and owning up to my actions.

It's for these reasons and more that MMOs bring me joy.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Shinta avatarShinta
MGO's pretty fun! I suck at it though. I mostly hang back and just mark enemies and get the occasional sniper kill. It's pretty fun to be semi-useful with a very hands off role like that. Love my avatar character guy too.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Fuck Insecticons
nanashi avatarnanashi
they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food they pooped in my food
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
I have been accused of the greatest of crimes - cookie snobbery.
Yanick Bourbeau avatarYanick Bourbeau
Zombie eating player from my game: [img][/img]
KyWii avatarKyWii
Rock Band 4 is really fun...takes me back to my teenage days of high school. Also reminds me of all the hours I wasted on a plastic guitar instead of getting better on a real one xD
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Team Fortress 2 just got a massive community-made Invasion update. SFM short, reskins, cosmetics, and 4 brand new maps?!?! God, I love this game and its wonderful community so, so much. [youtube][/youtube]
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
AARRGGGHHHH!!!, GODDAMIT!, fucking SOMA has crashed 3 fucking times in a row and I always lose ~20 minutes of playtime!, playing the same section over and over kinda ruins the tension! >.<'
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
N-Not that P1 isn't perfect the way she is! Isn't that right sweetie? Yes it... Oh, now don't you go and listen to those P2 fans! They just go around spreading rumors and pretending Hitler was just a handsome gentleman in sunglasses, that's what THEY do!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Persona Q has made me realize I really want a Persona 1 remake on 3DS in a similar style. A lot. A loooooooot. You listening, Atlus?
Super Mario Maker, the announcement of Sonic Lost World for Steam, and remembering all of the mods that got made for the PC version of Sonic Generations makes me wish SEGA/Sonic Team would make their own dedicated Sonic level creation game.
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey, is your fridge running? You better catch it. I mean, it has all your food, and without food, you die. Like, forever. You don't wanna die right? If you die, how will you watch The Good wife with your favourite bowl of Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Go.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
My local Best Buy is drowning in Marth & Dark Pit amiibo
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Spooky yet totally true gaming fact: the bushes and the clouds in Super Mario Bros are the same exact shape. #Spooky
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
It is coming fast AAAAAAH
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The newest PS4 update finally got rid of that bug where I'd get the "you can customize your power options" message every time I turned on my console!
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Should I just pass on MGSV? I haven't really liked any of the games after Snake Eater, and it's being used as a money sink at the moment.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
[Youtube][/youtube] All the episodes are on youtube now. Also I never knew they got to do a season 3. Pretty cool. Now back to Transformers. Scored a gc to my favorite thai place too. Pad ahoy bitches. It's been too long.
ashamasha avatarashamasha
i have almost all the pieces i need to build my own Arcade machine... and the last one arrive this Saturday! Soon, one my childhood dream will became true!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Interviewer: Konami, why are you selling cosmetic DLC for MGSV? Konami exec: I breathe through my skin.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -