Or maybe it is? Or maybe it's both.
I was playing WoW with work friends last night, they convinced me to roll a new character and level through the new leveling experience that premiered in Shadowlands.
Basically, you start at level 1 in a completely new starter zone/campaign instead of the old starting zones in Elwynn, etc. That gets you to level 10 where you are then ported to your home city, and you can choose an "expansion" to return back in time to, to level the rest of the way to 50. You can jump around to other expansions or stay in one the whole way.. it seems fun, until you realize what it actually is.
At 15 you can start queuing for "dungeon finder" which instaports you to pretty much any dungeon you have access to do, which is most of them at this point.
I played for 2 hours and went from 15-25… I was changing gear so fast, there was really no point in even doing it, because I replaced the fancy blue I just got, 5 minutes later with something else. By the time I got back to questing, I realized that technically I shouldn't be in this area anymore, because i've outleveled it.. except.. the quests just scale to me now, so I can pretty much move wherever I want, and those quests will be doable by me at whatever level I am… kind of cool I guess? But, I started to realize that what was happening was that the game itself is now encouraging me to rush to the end, because they believe that's when the game actually begins, and all of this other pointless questing and dungeon running I'm doing, is just to get me to that faster. I guess I should have just used my boost.
Now I appreciate some of the QOL changes games have made to make it more accessible to me, who is now an adult with other responsibilities and can no longer devote 12 hours a day to any game, much less that one. But, I feel like the games have gone too far with this, to the point that there's no game left to play.
So, I started playing Runescape a couple of days ago, having never really given it a fair go, and I started to have fun again. I didn't know where I was going, what I was doing, and there were a plethora of options of things I could do, it was just deciding which one of them I wanted to pursue. It feels like THIS is the game, and I'm already playing it. I'm not trying to rush past it as quick as possible to get to some other part of the game, that the game itself has decided is THE GAME..
I realized that what I am looking for in an MMO isn't some hardcore, no hand holding thing with full loot PVP or whatever everyone thinks is the "golden ticket" for MMO features. I am just looking for a game that makes me feel like I'm doing something/accomplishing something when I login. It can be as simple as like crafting something, or growing a crop, or collecting something. The progression of your character, giving them quality of life within the game. Where quests are there for adventure, not for just getting to the endgame to raid. The quests in WoW are all there for only one real purpose, to get you as much XP as fast as possible, and items so that you can get more gear once you get into the dungeon finder. There's no treasure to uncover, no secrets to find, no locations to explore, it's just a map, with a predetermined path everyone else is also going to take (with some exceptions).
Just crafting a bow and some arrows in Runescape felt like I had accomplished SOMETHING. If I had locked off after that, I would have felt like I did something.
I think it's possible to have fun in just about any MMO these days, with the right people, but maybe we as the player have changed just as much as the games have, and the games are just trying to give us what they think we want, when in reality they don't really know what we want.
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