So, this is going to be a slightly weird post. I don't really care about how x set of mmorpgs used to do y things with their systems that modern mmorpgs fail to do now, I can understand, but I don't think nostalgia is particularly important in the present state of things. Is the idea of an "mmorpg" still attractive to people who have never played one before?
I'm asking a question that I know can't factually be answered just because I'm curious. Take for example, ff14's upcoming expansion, Shadowbringers. If the absolute vast majority of resubscribing players for that game are just returning veterans and mmorpg vagrants, then it's possible that there's something fundamentally wrong with mmorpgs as a whole. Can existing mmorpgs still offer more "fun" to the average, "unfamiliar" (with mmorpgs) player than the alternative games/activities he/she already has available in this day and age? If they can't, then it doesn't really matter if Shadowbringers is somehow the absolute "perfect" game that current players could envisage, at least long term. While certain games will continue to enjoy success in the industry, mmorpgs will simply only be able to reflect an existing playerbase rather than adapt to shifts in the video game market as a whole. Not quite dying, but certainly fading.
Having said that, I don't quite think mmorpgs will reach the not-quite-dead state that fighting games have achieved. However, I feel that whatever new brand of mmorpgs happen to succeed in the future will be so fundamentally different from what existing players think of when they envision "mmorpgs" that they become unrecognizable. In short, if there is no significant new interest for what we define as "mmorpgs" as they are now, then changes in the interests of various customer segments will cause mmorpgs to morph in order to fit those new needs. Such a "new" genre might take the "massive" or "rpg" completely out of the name while keeping what core elements made mmorpgs fun: socialization and community, wonder and exploration, customizable personification, combat or whatever else, and repackage that into a different game that ultimately describes the same experience that players may have felt 20 so odd years ago. If this is true, then that means that it's likely that mmorpgs have technically already been replaced- More accurately, that the experience that was once uniquely offered by playing mmorpgs has already been altered in such a way that they can be experienced in full and perhaps more appropriately in other modern video game genres.
If that's true, then I don't think most of the people on this sub should waste their time waiting and hoping incessantly that next year's set of mmorpgs will scratch just the right itch, because that might not be what they should be searching for. WoW Classic might be absolutely fantastic, but I don't think that that particulary should be used as an excuse to feel that parts of that experience couldn't be matched (or at least, partially substituted) from other games, or even things outside of games.
In closing, I guess this post is really nothing but a rant posed by thinking about the title in question. In a sense, this is kind of the summary of my own frustrations with finding mmorpgs becoming increasing dull (not the games in question, but rather my own feelings towards playing them), and of course eternally questing to find some holy grail that would give me exactly what I wanted out of the genre. Perhaps I just don't like mmorpgs anymore simply because I don't value that particular experience anymore, and that I believe that nostalgia is being actively played out by kids who are growing up experiencing fortnite. Who knows, I spent too long writing this already.
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