Trying and failing to care about WoW-like MMOs.

I’ve had my level 75 cleric on Luclin for about… four months now. The level cap on EverQuest is 80. There have been three expansions since I last played her, The Serpent’s Spine, The Buried Sea and Secrets of Faydwer (I played TSS just long enough to get to level 75). A new expansion, Seeds of Destruction is about to come out.

And I don’t care. I haven’t even joined one group her level. Because I know what my job will be — sitting on my ass watching other people have fun while I press the heal button occasionally. Doesn’t matter what level or what expansion, my job was the same. Same as when I was a rogue. Druid was a little different; when the druid was my main, I could solo well, or be bad at stuff in a group. They’ve since made druids better in groups and given clerics the ability to solo somewhat, but really, my complete frustration at the mindless repetition of playing EverQuest, combined with the difficulty of finding a group, drove me to quit. I only came back for the Nostalgia group, but once again, I find I have zero interest in leveling, except insofar as I get to see areas of the game one last time. SoD may well raise the level cap to 100 and promise pie, but there is absolutely nothing that will get me to willingly join the grind again.

I almost quit EQ when I heard TSS would raise the cap to 75, but I enjoyed the people I raided with enough that I (with their help, of course), grinded out the levels. When I heard about SoF raising it to 80, that was when I quit EQ.

I played WoW enough in beta that I had no interest in playing it after release, but I eventually did, and started and finished the game in six months and quit before anything was known about the expansion. I was actually glad that there was a game out there (WoW) which was fun all the way through, and that you could actually *finish*. Naturally, they had to add a lot of grind to it but I was already gone by then. There was nothing they could really add to WoW to make it worth grinding for anyway.

I don’t have any interest in grinding levels in Vanguard, EverQuest 2, Lord of the Rings Online or any of the other WoW-likes out there. Zero, zilch, none. I log into EQ2 once every few weeks to say hi to my stuff. My alts sit before the RoK quest grind level and I see no reason whatsoever to do that twice (my troub and inq did it simultaneously so they only count at once). If Shadow of Odyssey raises the level cap, I’ll probably quit EQ2.

Just counting my main characters, I figure I have heard the ding 2270 times (counting AAs in the EQa). And that’s really low, since I have bunches of alts in every game I didn’t count. Also that doesn’t count DAoC, FFXI, LotRO or the others. Call it 3000 times counting everything.

That’s enough to become immune to ding. This old rat is no longer pushing the lever that sometimes but always longer than before, drops a sunflower seed into my salivating mouth.

I look at upcoming WoW-likes and wonder why they have to be that way. If the focus of Warhammer Online is city sieges and mass battles, then why level? Why not just get in on the city sieging from Day 1? If WoW’s raids are so great, why have all that cruft before you get to them? If EQ2’s lore is so terrific, why do we have to fight at all? Guild Wars lets you start a character at max level if you just want to do arena combat. That sounds like an EXCELLENT idea. Why doesn’t every game do that?

I’ve spent a few hours trying to figure out what could bring me to strap myself to the grinding wheel once more and I can’t think of anything. Not even friends or family.

I do know why I play MMOs, I’ve always known it. I play MMOs to tell stories, with myself as the main character. That Wizard 101 comic is part of the story I tell myself when I play (and there’s a lot more to that which will unfortunately have to wait until I unlock Marleybone). I had a story for leveling Dina and Dera through the RoK quest grind. I had a story for Etha as I went through EQ for the first time.

But the less WoW-likes let you tell your own stories and the more they force you to do whatever little evil treadmill schemes they’ve decided upon, the less I am interested. I play Wizard 101 a lot because, though it has levels, they don’t matter so much. A level 1 wizard could teleport right into Mooshu, the level 35+ world, and still contribute to the fight, because fighting isn’t based on your level, it’s based on your deck of cards, and being higher level just gives you more options. When i DO port into those fights, though being way lower level, I DO contribute.

It’s astonishing.

This is why I have started trolling the free-to-plays. Because WoW-likes don’t interest me any more. Not even the ones I play right now. I’m glad Cameron and others aren’t tired of them, but geez. These games are like punishments to me now. Punishments I pay for.

PvP? If, in Warhammer, I could make it so that every member of the opposing faction died, without hope of resurrection, if I could destroy all they had ever made, if I could make it so that not one brick of their homes rested upon another brick and all memory of their civilization was stamped out forever, I’d probably play. But instead they just reset things after awhile. Zzzzz. If I really wanted to PvP, I’d play a game that didn’t require you to level to do it. Like Call of Duty or Halo or TF2 something. WoW-likes and PvP will always be shaky partners, since levels and gear ensure few fights are purely about skill.

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52 thoughts on “Trying and failing to care about WoW-like MMOs.”

  1. Defense of the Ancients, the WC3 mod? My son was deeply into that for a long time. Syncaine over at Hardcore Casual loves that one, too. Of course, RTS games have long been PvP that was solely about skill, since every player always starts out equal. RTS and FPS games just seem a more natural fit for PvP than in most MMOs.

  2. Must be something in the water.

    Past couple of weeks I’ve been finding it harder and harder to get up the enthusiasm to log into any of the MMOs I have here and instead have been playing console stuff (GTA IV, Battlefield: Bad Company and all the usual bang bang you’re dead suspects.).

    Ah well, there’s always Scrabble…

  3. @almagill.. There USED to always be Scrabble till Hasbro got their panties in a wad about Scrabulous on facebook *Sigh*

  4. @Sejal: Scrabulous is back and re-named to Wordscraper. A few changes to graphics and rules to keep Hasbro at bay, but it’s back nonetheless.

  5. @Scott, its funny because I was just coming here to pass along the same information.. I wonder how long it will last this way.. Anyway… There’s always Knighthood..

  6. @Scott

    DDO is also not an MMO as you say..
    The issue is Turbine continues to treat it as one with the ridiculous monthly fee.

    Remove that fee, and I would think about playing that game….maybe.

  7. Tipa: try GW and then please blog about it, I’d like to see how do you like it. As a game it certainly beats WoW-likes. As a virtual environment, it’s quite weak: it lacks mailing, auction house, etc, etc. Not being able to jump is strange but you get used to it. I’d recommend to start with a more interesting profession like mesmer or necromancer. Mesmer is one of the most interesting classes in any game that I’ve ever seen.

    PvP and MMOs: I completely agree, the combination is unnatural. If you want to try your wits, you always have chess-like games. If you want to have fun, try an FPS. RTSs are somewhere in between.

    … Currently I wish Metal Gear Solid 4 were available for PC …

  8. I enjoy reading your blog Tipa, specifically because I also have found an attraction to Wizard101. Although there is a leveling sequence and a level cap at 50, I don’t find it quite WoW-like or grindy. I agree with you, this is definiately because of the card-based combat. I’ve heard rumors from interviews posted online with the devs about them working on a PvP system that will be released after launch. Although very different than your typical ‘pvp’, perhaps this could be what you are looking for.

  9. Yeah, I like W101 a lot, very fresh and new. Hence I have stopped playing it. Having come to Marleybone and done many of the quests there, I have decided to step back and save some content for release :)

  10. DDO goes free-to-play next month. All of the “All MMOs are just WoW-clones” people, I’m looking at you. Combat is fast-paced and is sort of like a third-person shooter, and if your buddy is getting hit with arrows or whatever, you can stand in front of him to block them. Quests actually feel like quests, and DDO has the best dungeons in the business. If you like PVE and grouping and want something “un-WoW,” there you go.

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