Editorial: My First Foray Into an MMO

Many of our longtime readers and listeners already know that I am not a fan of World of Warcraft or MMOs in general.  Lately a few of my friends have tried to get me into playing WoW, even going so far as to offer to just take my laptop and power level my character so I can play with them.  Up until two nights ago my answer was also a strict “NO!”  I had neither the time nor the patience to deal with level grinding during school, but that all ended with my last semester.  As of two days ago, I am now a WoW player.  Here I have chronicled my first day with the game.

8:00 P.M.: Created account.  Chose server and made an Undead Rogue named “Naters.”

8:10 P.M.: Semi-watched some cutscene about the Undead or whatever.  Did not really pay attention.

8:12 P.M.: Some dude at a tomb told me to go see some other dude in a church about a quest.  Again, did not really pay attention.

8:14 P.M.: Dude in church told me to kill some things right outside of town that the town guards could easily take care of.  Not really sure why I did this, because I did not read what this guy said.  Too many words.

8: 17 P.M.: Finished first quest.  Friend signs on with her new character and I stand around waiting for her to finish the same quest.  Tried to buy new skills, but had no money to do so.

8:20 P.M.: Friend finished quest.  Started level grinding with friend doing other quests around the first area.

9:00 P.M.-12:00 A.M.: Traveled to second town, finished countless quests, and leveled up to level ten.

12:01 A.M.: Fell asleep at computer.

So, there is my first day with World of Warcraft!  To be completely honest, I actually had kind of a good time.  But now my question to you, my dearest of doves, is what you think of MMOs in general.  Which ones have you played, if any at all?  Are they fun or are they dumb?  Are they worth a player’s time and money, or are they just stupid and pointless?  Let me know in the comments!




    Anyway, that’s how it starts. I downloaded WoW as a way to break up my study sessions in law school (I can’t go more than 3 hours per session without going mind-numb). I started with a Warrior (the one I still play), and would study 3 hours, level one hour, study 3… soon, I was at the level cap and said, “hm, guess I better run a dungeon or two.”

    And now I raid 4 nights a week. It’s insidious how much it grows on you. Eventually, you’ll stop just playing and start experiencing the world around you, and that’s when you know ye art truly lost.

  2. <— FFXI 4 LIEF!!!!!

    Nah, but I've been playing it for a while. Less so, lately. I only log on now to do random events with some Linkshell (aka "guild") people mostly.

    MMOs are generally a waste of time that could be spent playing many other games. But if killing rats or whatever is fun, stick to it!

  3. I’m in the stupid and pointless camp, for now. Final Fantasy XIV and Blade and Soul have caught my attention. my problem with them is that they all seem to be designed to be addictive first and fun second. enjoyment in an MMO comes from playing with friends (which is not an accomplishment. plus I can do this in much better games) and leveling (something I can also do in much better games). the combat, the actual playing of the damn game, is invariably a hateful experience. whoever thought combining one-click combat with cool-downs deserves to get raped in the nostril. the simplistic quests ain’t really bad in and of themselves but combined with horrible combat it’s tedious and annoying. here’s hoping FFXIV and BaS change things up with their battle systems.

  4. FFXIV’s battle system is getting terrible reviews from the beta. Heartbreaking.

    WoW’s battle system is improving, and the resource mechanic changes in the new expansion promise to help. Then again, I can see why it would be a bad experience if one is clicking. Keybinds! Clickers are bad players, always.

    I agree on leveling, however, and pointless “kill ten rats” quests. However, I’m not sure that most modern MMOs (over)use these mechanics any more. You’ll encounter them until 60-65 in WoW, for example, but most quests in Northrend are story-driven. The Wrathgate quest line, for example, is just epic.

  5. Argh, Nate you totally stole my post for today. Now I need to do a re-write. After I find you and stab you, that is.

    Anyhoozle …

    My first MMO was FFXI. I did not like the fact that the game was so frakkin’ hard to solo. I dislike grouping with random internet schlubs. They are usually idiots.

    When we quit FFXI (because it was too grindy and the economy was borked) we went to WoW, which I have to say is probably the best MMO out there. If you bother to read the quest text, it is interesting. And with the xp requirement changes, it’s not too grindy to get to endgame. And WoW probably has one of the best-supported endgames.

    I recently quit WoW, because I was tired of the endless cycle. The cycle where I raid week to week, kill the bosses, and get all my epics. Then new shit comes out, my epics are not so awesome anymore, and I have to raid the new crap to kill new bosses and get new gear. And once I get THAT gear …. the cycle repears yet again. Anyway, I quit WoW and got Aion …

    Aion is definitely a game where you do not want to play by yourself. All you really need is one other person to make the game much more enjoyable. Because this game IS a grind. It was originally a pay-by-the-hour Korean moneymaker and it shows. They really are trying to fix that, though.

    Overall, I’d say MMOs are great if you have friends to play with. Leaving yourself up to the tender mercy of a party of strangers can be less than fun.

    Also the older the MMO, the better it usually is. Part of the problem with FFXI, part of why it died, is because it took them too long to realize that they needed to change the game to make it more newbie friendly.

    ps – for the horde, Lane can go suck an egg.


    I think playing MMOs is an ultimately futile endeavour. However, I think every serious RPGamer should play enough of WoW and FFXI to get an idea of how they work and what they are about. These are things which are impacting traditional games, and so it is important to understand their origins.

  7. @Lane & Ginia – need to wait for level 65… the endgame is good… I find that these types of things are said by MMO players a lot… am I weird in thinking that if a game sucks for the first few dozen hours/levels then it’s a bad game? gimme some perspective here: approximately how many hours would it take me to get to level 80 in WoW? in Aion?

  8. @Breaka: I’d actually say a lot of those same sayings apply to FFXIII, although 35 hours isn’t as bad as getting to 65 in WoW, I’d wager (haven’t played nearly enough myself to know for sure). Personally, I’ve played about as much WoW as Nate, apparently, and I had a much less… positive reaction. It wasn’t that I actively disliked the game, I just never saw fit (at least in the 2 week trial period) to log back in. I actually found FFXI more engaging (apparently I’m weird like that), and at least played it several times during the trial period.

    Overall, I think I just can’t justify paying a subscription for an MMO when I have plenty of games I can play on my own terms. Maybe there will be an MMO that changes my mind at some point, but until then, I’ve got plenty of games I can play without relying on monthly fees or raiding parties.

  9. @breaka – In terms of WoW, honestly, the leveling process is fine and enjoyable and can be powered through in a few weeks. Technically a few days, but I’d encourage new players to take their time, explore, read quest text, etc. You go to new zones and gain new abilities often enough that the game feels fresh.

    Aion is another story. They are making improvements, but the game is REALLY grindy right now. It’s so bad that they’ve implemented “double XP” weekends to try to appease Western players who don’t wan to run around killing mobs or gathering resources for 3 days to gain a level. But, again, with a friend it’s not so bad, and they are trying to fix the grind. Dunno how long it takes, my buddy and I are level 28 after a month or so of playing on average a few hours a day. I’d guesstimate I’ve put in about 50 hours.

  10. @Ginia – I’m amazed that someone can say “a few weeks” without irony. I’mma wait for BaS where I can hopefully hit things properly.

    now that I think of it, why don’t more developers make action MMORPGS? it can’t be any harder to make than an FPS. I’ve been seein a few crop up from Korea but the idea doesn’t seem to be catching much steam. If I actually controlled an avatar instead of just givin ‘im vague directions I’d pick WoW up right now.

  11. @Breaka: You do control your avatar in WoW. Non-spell actions are immediate upon the press of a button. The only difference is that your normal attack ‘auto attacks’ as long as you are within range.

    The reason ‘action MMOs’ don’t take off is because they are generally designed with action-game mentality in mind. Whilst ten or twelve attacks or combo chains might be fine for a game like GoW III, which is only a few hours long, it’s not going to sustain a populace which is going to need to play for thousands of hours. A much deeper system is needed with a much larger moveset in order to keep people from being bored. Look at WoW, which has a MASSIVE collection of abilities, and even then people don’t have enough variety to keep them entertained.

    As for your comment about “a few weeks”: if you look at what Ginia said, you’ll note she said that the levelling process in WoW is, itself, enjoyable. It’s not like you can’t have fun until L.80. I thoroughly enjoyed levelling up to 80, and took my time doing it. In fact, I had much less fun at 80 than in the time prior to that, despite getting into a respected raiding guild.

  12. @Lusi – I know you control your avatar in WoW but it doesn’t feel like it. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to properly get across what I mean but no luck. at best I can say that in FFX I was a party, in FFXII I was a director, and in FFXIII I was a leader. in MMO combat I feel like an assitant. I feel very disconected from what’s goin on and I can’t explain why. there’s something fundamental about it the bores me to sleep (not a joke). or maybe I’m just crazy. yea, it’s pro that

    and as far as people needing depth, while that is certainly true for rpgamers and hardcore gamers that’s not a general rule. case in point, Halo. I also don’t get why developers wouldn’t try to combine GoW with ME to get two different demographics.

    and regarding my “few weeks” comment, most MMO players I’ve heard seem to regard the endgame as the “true game” so I guess I’m jaded before I started but unless WoW is radically different from the other MMOs I’ve played (I DESPISED grinding in those games) my statement stands.

  13. “yea that’s probably it”

    my PS3 wouldn’t let me type “probably”. what the fuck?