If you’ve been playing MMORPGs for as long as I have, you know that The World of Warcraft, while being the most successful of the genre, managed to set a hard rift in the timeline of MMO games. What do I mean? Well prior to WoW the MMORPG standard was one way, then after Blizzard changed the game to cater to a more casual crowd – well most developers since have tried to adopt a similar model. Well the problem has been that there is only one World of Warcraft and while many other games have had their share of nice elements, the comparison checks have led to a lot of bitterness from the player base, most of which are the older players who consider WoW to be a game-changing poison.
Recently I had a chat about this very thing with my buddy Cadillac Colins, he being a new school WoW MMO gamer and myself being of the old school Elitist bunch. Since this is a conversation that is brought up quite a bit, I am reposting some of it here in hopes that it will answer some of the questions that you new-schoolers have with us bitter old men of the SWG days.
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Cadillac: Most pre-wow people I talk to went from EQ toWoW. So yeah I guess there was some sort of disdain from SWG players against WoW?
Greg Dragon: I went from EQ2 to WoW then went right back to EQ2. The playstyle of WoW doesnt appeal very well to people who played traditional MMOs, it’s not hardcore enough basically. WoW worked because it simplified everything… people who are used to doing things the long way saw it as insulting – that’s why I say its elitist.
Cadillac: The long way?
Greg Dragon: Crafting, grinding xp, not sure if you will get this unless you played the old titles but WoW is extremely light compared to SWG and EQ, we got bored.
Cadillac: You mean grinding xp and crafting took longer?
Greg Dragon: That and it took more, crafting as an example: You had to hunt for skin, spend time making skin into leather, take time to get ingredients to tan the leather, make strips from that leather and then forge ore into metal (sometimes combining metals) to make pieces which in turn you sew together to become a piece of armor. In WoW a crafter could do the same thing in 3 steps. Not being literal here but that was the difference.
In older MMOs a person could get by as being 100% a crafter and nothing else, people liked the complexity. So when it got dumbed down no crafter was cool with that setup. But that’s my point, WoW simplified everything. Shinzo could probably explain it better but we hated WoW.
Cadillac: Yeah they put more emphasis on killing things.
Greg Dragon: Older MMOs emphasized roles: You were a warrior, mage, rogue, cleric, or you were a crafter, or an entertainer. If you were hardcore you could mix it up but that took a lot of time out of everything else you specify in. See that statement you made is why people are so bitter about new MMOs. Killing things is seen as a part of the sandbox, not the point of the sandbox. New games made it the focus… which took the independence away from us players.
Cadillac: What was the endgame to being an entertainer?
Greg Dragon: There was no end game in SWG it was like a Sim game where you ARE an entertainer, I can explain: Lots of girls would play for the social aspect of the Cantina, they would dance, play music (there were tons of moves and songs). So these entertainers would do it for social reasons, then their dancing healed mind wounds so us warriors would pay them to dance. That’s how they made a living, people also loved to decorate so they would pay dedicated architects and crafters for new paintings and home décor.
Entertainers bought their dancing gear from tailors and they could mix in a combat art to come PvP with us and chill in the camp to dance for the wounded when a doc draggd them off the battlefield. The camps they danced in were built by Rangers… so my point is roles, everyone had one.
If all you did was kill shit… you were merely a soldier, you still needed a camp, a doc, and a dancer to keep you in the fight. New MMOs don’t make it that complex, so people who had this are instantly turned off.
Cadillac: You view it as less complex, but it’s merely a different type of game.
Greg Dragon: Nah I view it as barebones. I know I didn’t stick around for new WoW but vanilla was vanilla… a standard table top RPG with multiplayer: warrior, rogue, mage and healer working together to kill stuff; you do quests to level up and you can raid - Everquest Lite. It’s fun but under the surface it’s just too basic for us.