The MMORPG genre has become a significant part of modern gaming. The popularity of World of Warcraft has a lot to do with that. There are however, a lot of myths surrounding the genre and I felt it was time to sit down and tackle some of them. As with anything there will be people who will never want to play this type of game. For those of you on the fence, maybe I can clear up some common misconceptions.
My first taste of MMO’s came with Everquest in the ancient year of 2000. I was given a free trial of the game and it was a for a ridiculous length of time like 6 months or so. I enjoyed the experience, but never felt it was worth paying a monthly fee for. Mostly because I’m a cheap bastard. Then along came WOW and I was left with a hard choice. See I am huge Blizzard fan and the idea of an MMO from them was appealing. In the end the cheap bastard won over and I waited until people started evil “free servers”. When I joined the first of those I really got sucked into the game for the first couple months. It was during my time with WOW I came across the first myth
The myth is that MMO’s as a rule are time consuming sole eaters that you have to spend an extraordinary amount of time with to enjoy or get value out of. There is some slight truth to this myth, but for the most part it’s bullshit. Even if you paying a monthly fee you can manage your time in them smartly and still get a well valued fun experience. Part of what keeps this myth a live is the fact that there are so many people who only play WOW or Rift or Everquest and nothing else. While a large number of those people exist, they aren’t the only ones playing these games. If I am in the mood for an MMO I generally play an hour to two per night and sometimes more on weekends. I have a blast doing it like that and it still gives me time for my 360 or other PC games. The best way to approach an MMO from a time stand point is to figure out how much time you can afford to spend and tailor your game play from there. In almost all cases it’s a rewarding and fun experience, especially when you get a higher level character.
Which leads us to our next myth about the genre. The world is to big and there is to many things to do. Again like a lot of these myths there is a kernel of truth here. When your first starting out the amount of tasks and quests can seem daunting. The best solution is to have a buddy who already plays the game your playing to guide you. In my case that almost never happens, so I spend my first couple of sessions learning the world and all the basic mechanics. After doing that I start to work my way through the quest hoops and other features. The key here in my mind is to focus on one quest at a time until completion. I notice that a lot of people try to do thirty things at once and end up frustrated because they are overwhelmed. Like with the amount of time you play, what you do during your game session is all up to you and so making a plan that makes sense to you is all that matters. Having fun is a key element to any game and you can do so in an MMO without getting confused, frustrated or sinking a massive amount of time into it.
One last myth I want to cover and this one comes from gamers who play normal single player RPG’s. Basically, they will tell you that they don’t like MMO’s because its all point and click or simply mashing the number keys over and over. This is in fact true and makes this not a myth. What makes me laugh about this assertion is that standard RPG’s aren’t much different. Just because your mashing buttons in a slightly different manner doesn’t mean that games like Oblivion and Dragon Age have a much more robust control scheme than WOW does. Having played both MMO’s and non MMO RPG’s I can tell you that there are slight differences between game play style and control mechanics, but not that much. What ends up making the control schemes on MMO’s stick out so much more, is how much more you use them. Dragon Age took me 70 hours or so to beat. In that time I probably only smashed the X or A button a couple hundred times. Meanwhile I probably have 200 hours or more in WOW and have smashed the one or three key five to six hundred times. It can get a little old after that much repetition. Let me make sure I don’t confuse anyone here. I have no issue at all with people who don’t want to put that much pointing clicking into a video game. If it’s not for you then it’s not for you. That said I get tired of idiots trying to claim MMO’s are some how less robust than standard RPG’s and using that argument to shit on the genre. I have played a lot of both types and can tell you the game play mechanics aren’t that different.
You know it’s really bloody hard to write about more than a couple myths without going a thousand words. Like anyone will read this without pretty pictures anyway. The bottom line is if your curious about an MMO, but nervous about certain aspects like I mentioned. My advice is to try a free to play and see what happens. The worst outcome is you don’t like it and have to delete it off your hard drive. For those of you that don’t like them and never will, I doubt this wall of words did a lot for you.