“Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?”
As mmo players I think we all suffer a bit from nostalgia where we remember things in a much better light. This may be due to our age, ignorance, or fond memories, but for what ever reason it blinds us at times. Some times it even blinds us when light is shown upon aspects we ignored at the time because it becomes a affront to what we believe to be true.
I would like to start off by saying that I played SWG while it was live, but I didn't really get into it until it was on a private server years later. I returned to playing wow with everyone else after a short time originally. Playing it years later after the height of wow had past, and I had played many other mmos I was shocked at what I found. I found that SWG had the best systems of any mmo ever made. At least of those that I had played which is more than I could count or even remember at this point. This game was a masterpiece covered in shit that I missed because the shit was all I could see. I am not suggesting that anyone plays it, because despite these systems it is painfully broken in many ways. I am going to talk about the good aspects of SWG and other sandbox MMo's, Their failures, and why I think this is where the MMo world really has to go.
“Wherefore each of you, when his turn comes, must go down to the general underground abode, and get the habit of seeing in the dark.”
Through the history of MMo's we have seen a division in worlds. This started with flagging in eq, sharding in UO, and so on which some believe this to be the norm. Which wouldn't be bad if we were seeing a distillation of these aspects, but I think apart from a few stand outs we are seeing a de evolution of these gamplay aspects. Even if there were some potential in these divisions I think trying to maintain and develop two seperate populations is not only costly, but even counter productive. It ultimately leads to a poorer experience for all players involved.
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light."
We have only seen two MMo's with continual play cycles that do not rely on heavy development cycles. Those titles are Eve, and Albion which is largely a copy of eve. These guys have used full loot pvp to create sustainable content fueled through human interaction. I think this is where the future of MMo's lay. I think that developers need to capitalize on the blueprints that lay before them of a perpetual motion content creation devise. Eve has a great economy which I liked, but I could never get into its combat. Albion was the complete reverse I liked the combat, but the economy was broken which killed the rest of the world for me. In both of these games there is room for tons of improvement even in their best aspects.
"The beginning is the most important part of the work."
This is where SWG comes in SWG had the best econimics system I have ever seen in any game. With quality being a factor in each component of a item, Blueprints that allowed you to bet on what you felt may be a good item, and a factory production limit meaning your efforts could make you the best crafter on the server for a little while. It had housing systems that allowed you to create cities, it had political systems that allowed you to vote for mayors of these cities, it had multiple combat stances, and most importantly it had a one toon limit with skill distribution that required every player to rely on other players. Sadly all of these amazing aspects that should be in every mmo were buried by the poor responsiveness, AI, pathing, and lag that turned most players away from the world before they ever got to experience it.
"Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge."
I want to thank anyone that took the time to read this, and I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts. I would also like to thank Plato for the quotes.
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