My MMO regrets

Yeah, I’m lifting another topic from Blaugust without doing Blaugust. And I’m late to the party again. But what the heck.

I first read of this prompt on MMO Gypsy last week, and was tempted to hat-tip Syl in the title just for some déjà vu fun. That lovely snippet on ending their WoW career in Elwynn, “where it all began”, did it for me. I immediately began thinking back: did I ever have that sort of thought? Do I regret anything in an MMO?

Well, maybe not something quite so fierce, but it turns out I do…

1. Not keeping informed on the MMO scene much earlier

Failing to stay abreast of the latest news and developments means failing at a lot more in general, in many jobs. Gaming isn’t a job (though it certainly feels like one at times), but all the same, I wish I had mustered the interest to learn about RSS readers and top gaming sites and all that, back then.

Tirn en Nimbarad spooning

I never was much for those things. In fact, to this day, I still limit my usage of them – and preachy lifehacker types who wave their mastery of said things like terrorists waving AKs still cheese me off. But to be practical, I acknowledge their utility. Perhaps, with them, I would not have missed out on so much.

One example should cut it here. The Lord of the Rings Online hit the scene in 2007. I only came aboard in 2011, some months after F2P hit. In fact, it took the wildfire that was the news of F2P to bring it to my attention – and even then, the alert came through a friend. Who didn’t even play MMOs.

I remember how amazed I was that a LoTR MMO existed, let alone thrived for four years. Whether or not I would have paid the sub (or a lifetime sub) at the time (I was still a hapless, and quite penniless, army conscript in 2007) is irrelevant. I missed the boat that became the ‘main’ of my MMO career. The glory days – when the LoTRO roleplay scene was young and its legends unborn, when the Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu might as well have been Mordor, and when Gondor was a distant dream amid wonder and hope.

2. Not taking any screenshots of my WoW RP

It may sound impossible to believe, but it’s true. What little roleplay I did find on Azeroth and Outland, I completely neglected to capture. I cannot explain why – I know only that the same malaise (I choose to call it that) would strike me again years later in Neverwinter. But at least I have chat logs from Faerûn.

Sheryn meets Jha'ahira

From WoW, I have only memories, one in particular. It was still the Burning Crusade era, and a Hellfire Ramparts PUG threw my Human Warrior, who I was roleplaying as a Stormwind knight, together with this Human Paladin player who shared my love of Orcs & Humans throwbacks. We charged the Fel Orcs completely in-character, with my knight crying vengeance for the lives lost in the First War and his considerably more tempered paladin providing the voice of reason. And, naturally, the group leader threatening to kick us if we carried on this nonsense (he didn’t, though).

Any shots from that would have a place of honor on this blog (maybe as a case study of the persecution RPers face). But sadly, I have none at all.

3. Not doing my homework on LoTRO when I joined

Ah, LoTRO again. I did eventually sign up, like I said, but where to begin on the regrets? I’ll just bring one up – the first. A combination of impatience, over-zealousness, and blinkered romance leading to months of sunken time.

Redwine Eardwrecca with the Nine Walkers

I knew from the start I wanted roleplay with my Middle-earth MMOing, but WoW didn’t teach me anything. What I should have done, right off the bat, was research the servers on offer to pinpoint the ones where the RP action was at. I didn’t. Overeager, my patience tested by the game’s long installation process, I dived into the server the launcher recommended. This was the only Middle-earth MMO on the market! Surely there’d be plenty of Tolkien geeks around who’d be up for the spontaneous, open-world roleplay I looked forward to.

Like I said, blinkered and romantic. Imladris turned out to be one of the smallest servers, filled only with typical MMO jock types either unwilling or unable to compete with the jock-ness on the big servers. Even after finding out, I actually made it as far as level cap (one or two quests away from finishing the Siege of Mirkwood Epic Quest) before deciding to pack up and leave. So I guess that counts as two regrets in one.

Heh, remembering all this certainly takes me back. We all have regrets, from what I’ve read on the blogosphere, but I suppose I’m fortunate that none of mine (at least, none of the three I’ve brought up) involve things beyond my control – like guild drama. Many say it’s easier to accept that. I prefer to own my regrets. They make better learning experiences then.

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3 Responses to “My MMO regrets”

  1. I fully disagree on #3. I made the mistake of “learning” about MMOs before starting to play them and it took me a while to give up this bad habit. The best way to start a MMO should be to just enter and play. (That’s the one thing i still blame TSW for. While it’s a great game, it forces the player much too early in his playing time to deal with the skill system, which indeed is very powerful but also overwhelmingly complex for a new player. ) All the finetuning and stuff can be learned later and the game should give some pointers on when it’s time to learn more about which mechanic.

    All in all, my personal experience with MMOs has become better since i started to “just play” and only study the finer details if the game managed to captivate me by itself. Of course, that also meant that some MMOs didn’t make it over the trial week or month, but while that’s sad news for those MMOs (one paying customer less), i think i am better of by playing those games which feel “comfortable” and “welcoming” to me.

    • Definitely, if one is evaluating MMOs by ‘feel’, that’s the right and only approach. But to be pragmatic, there are other factors that may turn out to have greater weightage on one’s decision to stay in a new MMO, and that deserve attention early on.

      These aren’t necessarily the granular stuff like skill systems and builds – they’re typically more of the unwritten stuff. Like server community dynamics. Or certain classes/roles being effectively locked out of high-level content unless they can become hardcore or join a good guild.

  2. […] My MMO regrets: The Iron Dagger […]

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