If you’ve read any of my articles, I’ve probably made mention of being a big fan of the MMORPG genre. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, because when I look above my fandom and look at the genre without my rose tinted goggles, I see some very terrible things about them. For all logical reasons, they should give me reason to never want to play them. One could say they are all the same, grinding monsters and quests till you get to the end, and then just doing the same dungeons and what have you over and over to gear up for the next one. One could say that paying a monthly fee is silly for a game you’ve already bought. One could say that the players make up one of the worst fan communities in the nerd world. To the outsider these are probably very true, but for me, I dunno. I feel in my mind I can give counters to each of those statements and I wouldn’t feel bad doing so. It’s an interesting genre for sure, and I’ve played a lot of them, probably at least two thirds of the ones people have heard of. I’ve also played the ones that don’t get much press (Trickster Online anyone?) Well, here are five MMORPG’s that I feel were/are my all time favorites. (So far, I have yet to play the much-hyped Guild Wars 2).
5. Star Wars Galaxies (PRE NGE)
Yes, this game was pretty remarkable at the time. I think its original form could have continued to hold up today. It was very much a sandbox MMORPG. You could play and progress as several non-combat classes like Entertainers or Craftsmen. The progression wasn’t in levels (The Secret World eh?) but in the form of skill trees. You’d level up specific skills and then use that experience to obtain more weapon choices and abilities, and eventually with the right combination of skill trees climbed, unlock advanced classes. This also reminds me of Secret World for some reason. There were no Jedi either, not at first. In the beginning you could find holocrons, and they’d give you clues about how to unlock a force sensitive character slot. The problem is, sometimes these holocrons would lead you to a dead end and you’d have to find another. Some said these quests could take nine months or more to complete, so you can see how this would make player Jedi scarce. But it made sense because the time of the game was between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. So yeah, no hoards of Jedi running around. Another unique thing was that if you died a certain number of times due to other players, your character would permadie. This made it rough to be public about your Jedi. If you were in a guild, they’d probably protect you with in their city walls, and that was another great thing about SWG. Player Cities were an amazing concept. Let me quickly say that Player Bounties were also very much fun. SWG before the “New Game Enhancements” was great.
4. City of Heroes/Villains
This game is a prime example of doing the same thing a lot, but man it was fun. It’s probably still the best Super Hero MMO out there. Champions and DC both have some great things in them, but CoX is hard to beat. I played back before it was Free to Play. I remember staying up all night with Anthem, Nightwave, Red Sprite, and Red Typhoon doing task forces. Unlocking a new power was the key to the game’s appeal for me. Every time I’d earn one, I’d run out on the streets and find someone to use it on. They had a decent amount of power sets to choose from, so there was a lot of customization. Speaking of customizing, CoX has the best character creator hands down. Going free to play has helped the game spread to new fans, as well as give the old fans a cheap way to come back for a few days to relive memories of Paragon City. Adding new powers and still pumping out content, it’s still a fresh game after all these years.
3. Final Fantasy XI
It was the first MMORPG I played for a fair amount of time. Two years if I do recall. It was a unique experience that really felt like Final Fantasy. The game was just so different than other games in the genre. It was such a time consuming game that would devour large chunks of time without even trying. I can remember coming home from work and thinking about how long I’d get to play depending on when I started that night. There was a lot of waiting in the game, especially from some classes. I played a Dark Knight most of the time, and they had a bad rap. Basically bad players were making us look, well bad. I knew I played the class as intended, but until people grouped with me, they didn’t know. The game had some of the best music and wonderful locations. I will never forget it, sometimes I even get that itch to go back, but really it’s not a game I had time for.
2. World of Warcraft
You knew it would show up somewhere. I played for somewhere close to four years. I loved it and sometimes miss it. I think what I miss most are the friends I made in the game, many I still keep in touch with occasionally though I wish it were more. Grouping up with the guild was always fun. Despite people saying the game was Easy Mode, it was fun for me. I experienced challenges and I was rewarded. It’s a game that does a lot of things right, so much so it is often copied. Along with people copying it, there are always people bashing it. WoW gets attacked by so many mmo fans, but at the same time it has the most subscriptions, so it’s obviously doing something right. I have not played WoW since August of last year, and yeah sometimes I think about reinstalling it but usually I don’t. That ship has sailed…. But who knows, Mists of Pandera might be at least worth a try?
1. Star Wars: The Old Republic
Yeah, I said it, but to me, it’s the most fun I’ve had in an MMORPG. Bioware has me wrapped around their finger with this game. With the constant updates, 1.2 being huge and 1.3 around the corner with much requested group finder tool, It has a lot going for it. The future is going to only get better with the stuff they have planned. It’s one of those games, that when I play it, I lose track of time. I have so much I want to do in the game, so I’m always accomplishing something. The worst part of the game is that all the classes are fun in their own way. It’s definitely a game where Alt-itis applies.
There you have it, though it could change over time. There are still a few games coming out I am interested in looking into, so who knows?