Hello everyone =).
I may have somewhat unique experience with MMORPGs, since last time I played them – WoW, precisely – it was 13 years ago. Ah, the long lost youth.
I quit WoW when BC was released, and after that, I haven't played MMORPGs at all. Until last month, when I tried FF14.
This post is simply to share the impressions. I think some may find it interesting. If not, just don't read – this might be long.
There is of course a lot of people who are in the fray since 2007. But, for majority of them, changes that were made into the genre went gradually, I presume. While for me – who for all this time was out of theme completely – all the changes are very drastic.
First, difficulty. Some people are complaining that fights & dungeons are too easy. On that I can only say: yer guys have just got too geek-ish. If any of today's bosses would made it way into vanilla WoW, it would be that time considered awesome, jaw-dropping, insanely hard experience.
All these phases, adds, AoE telegraphs, battle choreography – naught of that existed. I remember how Onyxia was considered awesome because she had several battle stages. But 90% of FF dungeon’s bosses can wipe floor with her.
I still remember basic skill rotation for my WoW rogue in dungeons. On keyboard, it looked like: 4, 1-1-1-2, 1-1-1-2, 3. Rinse, repeat. If you were aiming for madskillz, you weaved other skills into it, but basic stuff was like that.
In FF14, the very basic one-target DPS rotation for samurai looks like that: 1-2-3, 1-Alt2-Alt3, 1-Alt1, F, E. And this in only basic. And AoE rotation is different. And this is not the hardest class to play. Whew! In classic WoW, you had to play such symphonies on keyboard only during duel PvP, very rarely in team PvP, and never – in PvE.
Same with healing, as I main healer. Backwards everything was slow. But no one knew it was slow, ‘cause they had nothing to compare with =). Now tanks run through dungeons at lightning speed, pulling 40 packs of mobs altogether, bosses always keep you busy, and you can’t just chill and CD-spamheal.
If younglings nowadays are not satisfied with difficulty, I don’t really know what else game designers can throw at them to present an entertainment =). Or maybe… it’s just me getting old?.. Nevertheless, I for myself find this very fun, invigorating and challenging.
Second, comfort. Now, it is very convenient and fast to find groups for dungeon runs. Just click one-two buttons and voila, the matchmaking system will do everything for you. Before, you had to travel to dungeon to enter it. And sometimes wait hours to find a group, while whispering here and there "plz invite". Seems tedious, huh? Yes… but at the same time…
Third. Social element has almost completely vanished from gameplay. More often it feels like singleplayer game, where sometimes you have to group for 15 mins with some random guys. As I see it, four things have caused it:
- Everyone now is much more experienced gamewise, and even if not, Internet has guides on every boss for you. No need to ask teammates about mechanics or whatnot.
- Cross-server group finding. Insanely big pool of players to form a group with, but most of them you’ll never meet again. Why bother communicating?
- Duty roulette, which allows highlevels to run low-level dungeons, scaling their stats proportionally. Other than for this very run, big guys are not interested in lowborne, and vice versa.
- Fast mana-and-everything regen. Before, mages had to sit and drink water, creating idle time, that often spurred conversation. Not anymore. Same with “party regen”, so to say: even if a party member quits, system finds you a replacement and conveniently teleports the lad into the dungeon.
This I find the most alarming change overall. Before, you leveled up with the same guys from your serves – you progressed through the game, meet in dungeons again and again, made connections and friend.
You knew that this guy is a good tank, this a ninja looter, this is just OK, and so on. From that, guilds were naturally born. Now there is no trace of this community atmosphere.
This I find bad. Don’t mistake me, I am not some super-social guy, and if someone doesn’t want to be chatty in dungeons, please have your way. But this is now overboard, cause even essential things are not spoken through. A lot of people don’t even say or respond to “Hi”. Or, when party wipes, no one says “sorry” or “mistakes?” or “look guys, focus on adds when they apppear”. Okay, I myself say the last line… often met with silence x_x.
In ye olden times, such behavior could alone bring you to blacklist. But today it is kinda normal… I guess?..
That possibly-MMORPG-killing-thing notwithstanding, I overall stay optimistic. Playing is still interesting and immersing, though a bit in the other way. A lot of progress surely was made in MMORPGs through that time, and hopefully, if genre lives, we’ll see its further evolution.
Thanks for reading =).
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