Before I begin, this post was hugely inspired or rather, made some memories surface by reading it from this one: https://www.reddit.com/r/MMORPG/comments/atwf8d/in_2006_i_decided_to_quit_mmorpgs_and_get_a_life/
and just like the author of it said
This is something I wanted to get off my chest for the longest time, but I wasn't sure where to post it. I guess this is more psychology than gaming related, but I'm writing in hopes of reaching other former mmorpg addicts like me, so I guess this subreddit should be appropriate. If not, I apologize for a misplaced post.
Caution, very long post ahead!! "
With that out of the way, don't feel obliged to read all of this. This is me sharing my own experience as well. I'm not as old as the person in the previous post and before I go any further I do not wish to bandwagon on him. Now with that, lets finally start this…story.
The year was 2005 and I was quite young. I didn't grow up in the best of neighborhoods nor did go to the richest school since my family was quite poor. I was bullied for the stupidest of reasons and to this day, even if it doesn't affect me that much anymore, still left a scar. What basically happened was that I was on my second grade and like I said, this wasn't exactly the best of schools so older kids that shouldn't have been there, still were. (The shool was only a elementary school, so only went to the 4th grade but we had kids that were 13-15 still in these grades) So one day, I decide to approach these older kids since they were seen as cool and I was just a naive 8 year old and I remember they were talking about dogs. Now my family just had adopted this adorable poodle that is no longer with us(still live a happy 13 yo life though) and I said I also had a dog and that it was a poodle. One of them shouted something along the lines of "What? You're a poodle?" and that stuck for whatever reason. It's dumb but it ended up causing me a lot of mental stress and some kids also get violent with me. Now I dealt with that in its due time but lets get back into the real story.
So there I am, 8 years old and being bullied, I get home and see my brother is playing a game(we're 13 years of difference apart) so I go and check it out. I still remember to this day, he's playing Ragnarok. Playing on his assassin. Usually he'd tell me to go play somewhere else but this time, it was different. He allowed me to sit down and watch and I, instead of constantly talking like an annoying kid, was actually paying attention. This ended up becoming the norm. I'd endure school (my grades never actually failed since I'm pretty smart and managed to keep an overall pretty high grade through out everything up until I graduated) and rush home to sit down and watch him play. We'd figure things out little by little, sometimes I'd even remember little details like the path through the desert. My english skills developed pretty early since my cartoons weren't in my native language and instead were in English on the good ol' CN. I saw his character go from a lowly thief to a pretty strong assassin and one day, he finally trusted me enough to play on his character while he went out. It must've been like 4hours I spent playing before my dad told me to get off, heh. The character kept evolving with us taking turns in it and I still remember the sound of the main city clearly.
For anyone who hasn't heard it, here's the theme if you'd like to listen to it
Just like the top comment says, we could never go back. What I loved the most about RO was that, there wasn't any information about the game, no bots, people would help each other all the time, cities actually feeling like cities and walking around was a bit hard with so many players and when you made friends in it.
Time passed and eventually, we left Ragnarok behind and by the time I was around 10/11, we finally picked up another game, a game that my brother chose and that would become iconic to myself and that was…MU. MU Online. I remember everything from making my BK to MG and DL and eventually going back to making my BK a beast. All the while competing with my brother, we each having our guilds and no one actually joining mine but it was still fun. Fun that lasted for years.
Here's the main theme for MU if you want to listen to it
By the time I went on to the 7th grade, I had already played a variety of MMO's from Wizard101 to Flyff and even Angels Online. I had also finally made some RL friends, only three of them and only because they played an MMO that they taught me the basics off. The name? Metin2. Now by this time my brother had stopped playing MMOs and moved on with life. I don't blame him, really. Anyway, I ended up distancing myself from those friends since they made some pretty poor choices. One of them as got his life straighten out, the other is jobless and the last one is in jail and while they all left metin behind, I kept playing.
Now this game was bad. It was the biggest grindfest you could ever join, the most pay 2 win MMO you could think off and no one in his right mind would play it for its experience. So why did I? Because the players made it good. It took me three years but I clawed my up, inch by inch I raised myself to the high levels with one of the best PVP equipments one could get. I made a guild. I still remember the name, it was pretty edgy but I enjoyed it. L0stS0uls. I did something different though, instead of recruiting people of high level and with decent sets, I picked up on noobs and new players that I constantly saw in the main city of my Kingdom(I was pretty lazy and thus ended up just idling around the city, screwing around, having duels and just doing anything instead of something productive.) The guild started off with a total of 18 players. The first one I kicked out was because he kept getting into arguments and ignoring my orders/rules as the guild leader. The people in my guild didn't know about my RL troubles at all and that…was fine.
I was happy with how things were. People came and go and we ended up with only 8 players in the guild. I think I might still have the screenshots around somewhere since we had the tradition of taking a guild photo every year. I regret it to this day that I deleted the videos I had with the guild because of some stupid shit that went down IRL. Basically one of my bullies found my youtube channel and mocked me for the things in it. The 1v1 videos, the silly inside jokes I placed on them, etc. All gone now. Nothing but a memory in my head. It was pretty hard to explain it to the players in the guild, the 8 people that decided to stick around for over two and half years with me so I did the next worst thing I could have. I created a false identity. Well somewhat false. Got a fake picture from a girl I knew and used that and her first name. I then said she was my cousin and that I was taking my leave so I swapped the leadership to her. This way I could keep both sides intact or at least my little naive teenage mind thought.
I never anticipated how popular it got but by three months in, everyone knew who "M" was. It spread like wildfire. Some loved "M", others hated her. Some even wanted her as the emperor of the kingdom. I had everything I wanted right there. I never stole nor catfished someone yet I felt unhappy. Sure, I had ALL of that but…it wasn't me. It was nothing more than a glorified lie. Speed forward five more months and on Xmas and I finally swallowed my pride and pulled L0stS0uls members together to tell them the truth, every nasty detail. How I was bullied, my mental health, who the girl really was, everything. I remember I was crying like there was no tomorrow that night. Hell, I'm tearing up a bit just typing this and I don't care how stupid that sounds.
Now the group was still around my age group at the time 14-17 asides from one Shaman girl that was 21/22. She kinda was like the mother figure of the group. I remember I was scolded pretty hard and with due reason however once that was done, they still took me back as me.Not the fake overly strict me nor the fake girl me. Regular old me with all my flaws. This might sound stupid but they were the first true friends I had. I trusted them more than people I knew IRL since they were always there for me with time and their help I straightened up, fixed myself up and got myself back on track. Things kept going on a steady, happy, content pace for another 3 years until eventually, little by little, one by one, we lost contact with each other.
I even lost my skype account so I can't even check if one of them tried to contact me.
One more year passed and I made another good friend IRL while taking my IT course. I began playing another MMORPG named "Grand Fantasia" and my brother actually followed along. We played it for the course of two years and in those two years I met a lot of great people. I had a great guild with me. The guild leader was a bit awkward but she was a good girl.
She also acted like a mother figure keeping us in check for most of the time and solving conflicts whenever they occurred. One of the most marking moments I had in that game was when a really shy person contacted me to be my friend because the guild leader told her I was a pretty nice guy or so she told me. We chatted a bit then ended up riding on her black dragon around the map just to have some fun. I still have her whasapp but never bothered to message her since it just feels like one of those…"in the moment" things. It'd just feel awkward to message her now so I just hope she has a happier life now than she did before.
Lastly the most remarking member I met was this girl named Abbie. Abbie and I met while looking for a "Lover" now I know what the term implies but hear me out, the in-game system kinda forced you into having a Lover for the PVP buffs. So we made the agreement and by her words, I'd have to promise to never fall in love with her to which I agreed.
I get reminded of Abbie every single time I listen to the song-
I kept my word, I won't lie I may have felt something for her since we spent nearly every day together for 4+ hours a day. You can't just spend that much time with someone and not get a bit attached to her. I remember clearly, I had this awesome electronics teacher that since we had 4 blocks of lesson in a row, he'd only teach the first 2 or the last 2 and let us do whatever we wanted in the others. Translating that 4 blocks was 180 minutes. So I'd usually bring my laptop to take notes and play on it. So one day we had this test and the teacher let us do whatever we wanted in the first 2 blocks.
So I decided to login to Grand Phantasia. Everyone in the guild was on, so I greeted them and only a couple answered. This was kinda worrying me since the guild leader, the black dragon girl, Abbie and a couple other close friends had been ACTIVELY avoiding me for the entire week. They still answered my whispers but if I wanted to do a dungeon or needed help with something, I'd just get no answer. I barely got any progress done that week in terms of character progression.
Now at the exact same time the teacher was telling us we had to pack everything up since we were starting the test, the guild leader told me to come over to our base. I had to tell her I had to go AFK. It took me the entire 2 blocks to finish the test and then I packed everything up and rushed home. I don't think I ever got home that fast. Got onto my seat, booted up my desktop pc and logged onto GF. I whispered the leader and asked her what she wanted, she still insisted on me going there so I did. Upon entering, I face myself with every single one of my guild friends, the guild leader, black dragon girl and Abbie.
I remember not typing anything for a minute before finally typing something along the lines of "Uh, so what's up?" to which point the guild leader faces towards me and simply says "Abbie has something to tell you." and well, you guys can guess where this is going right? This was around, what? Maybe a year of meeting her, that she came to me and told me she loved me. I was in shock, I still vividly remember not being able to move or type for like five minutes straight, just usually typing the, yeah I'm still here type of messages when they asked me if I was still there. Now after she said that, the feelings I had for her, that I buried in hopes of letting everything run smoothly and keeping my word came back up. I still played it cool and told her "I thought you made me promise to not fall in love with you." to try and tease her and it worked but moving forward about two and a half hours later and we began dating, well online dating. Now that might sound stupid to some, even downright retarded to some but to me, the people in the guild were like a second family, day in and day out we stuck together for years. Me and Abbie ended up dating close to 3 years, all the way up until my graduation then one day she messaged me on skype (she was always an unstable suicidal person and I always kept trying to pull her up and be her shoulder to cry on when she needed because that's what friends do.), crying and told me she was sorry.
I asked her "Why are you sorry?" and the only answer I got from that was a "Goodbye, Tiago. I hope you live a happy life." before she went offline and I never saw her again for another two fucking years. I thought she had killed herself and all that I had left to remember her, was this stupid picture she gave me then randomly, one time I logged onto skype and I had a message from her account. A simple "hello" which I answered to but then lost my password and I haven't bee able to recover my skype since.
Today, 24/02/2019, I redownloaded metin2 out of nostalgia and started anew on a different server however, three hours in, I realized it was pointless. I didn't miss the game. I didn't miss the MMO. I missed the friends I made through my journey and that's something I feel is slowly killing MMOs (asides from other obvious reasons like p2w), people are too concerned with PVPing, having the best gear and reaching the end point that they forget, it isn't the destination that matters, it's the journey and people you met. I never see someone stop and admire the scenery anymore. I have a somewhat old PC so I can't run the most recent MMOS and there really aren't any on the PS4 but I played ESO as well and overall, I miss the feeling of friendship I found while playing MMOS. I miss the sweat, the tears and the nights we'd stay up all night grinding but those were different times. I'm a 21 yo, young adult now and I can't find an mmo that gives me that fix to the point I shelved MMOs to the side. I hope one day, I have another experience similar or even greater than the ones I had before.
This is my journey, something I decided to share with all of you. This might seem like bits and pieces because well, that's what it is. It's experiences or pieces of experiences I had that made MMOS great for me.
I'm curious if anyone has had any sort of similar experiences like the ones I've talked about? Let me know.
PS: As for the bullies, I ended up signing up for martial arts at an early stage, around a year or two after it began and used what I learned to force them to leave me alone for the most part. They couldn't cause me physical harm but left a pretty big mental scar. Currently though, I've been handling it quite fine and it isn't even something I think about too much anymore:)
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