For some time now it seems that everytime I see a blog or forum post where someone is reminiscing about one of the old school MMOs like EverQuest someone always has to jump in with the “Everquest was horrible!” and “There will never be another game with such “harsh” gameplay!” Now I can’t help but think to myself why can’t there be another game like that? I for one long to play a game that is full of challenges! A game that doesn’t get nerfed everytime some whiny little brat makes a forum post about how he doesn’t have all the epic loot in the game yet!? As a matter of fact I’ve talked to several MMO players that I know and we all seem to agree that we would all really enjoy playing a game in the same vein as the orignal EQ.
There are multiple reasons why I feel a game of that type is more fun than some of the current games that are available. An element for me that I’m sure would send most of todays MMO population to the forums en masse is an actual death penalty. Back in the original EQ I actually worried about dying. When I was exploring Clan Crushbone there was a real sense of thrill and danger. I wanted to move into the castle and see how far our party could get, see what mysteries were hidden away there. I still remember the first time I ever heard the name Ambassador DVinn – that name still strikes fear into me! I’ve never had such feelings in WoW, EQ II or any other mmo, because dying comes with no penalty… No corpse run, no Exp loss, no actual sense of failure at all… Without the death penalty some of the game’s liveliness fades, and thus the level of fun is diminished.
Another thing that I feel made EverQuest feel more like a real living world, was the amount of zones. At any given level there were so many possibilities for where you could go to advance your character. Many people would deliberately choose to level alts in zones that they had never visited the first time they came through. It gives the game more life and more replayability than running through the exact same quests time and time again. In contrast many of the current MMOs lead you around by the nose and tell you where to play at any given time during the leveling process. Where is the fun in that!?
Grouping is probably the number one thing that is missing for me in the MMOs of today. Back in EQ and even in EQ II pre Kunark I actually enjoyed leveling! There’s so much to be said for getting a group together and sitting down in a good dungeon and grinding mobs a for a couple hours. Both of those games had much more social activities from very early in the game all the way to level cap. I’ve made many a friend (some very close) from getting into amazing parties to grind a bit of exp. This kind of leveling is so much more engaging and fun for me than I think any questing system can ever hope to achieve.
I believe that there is still a market for this kind of game. I think there are still people out there who want something with more of a challenge set in a world that feels whole, cohesive, and alive! It certainly won’t have the mass appeal that World of Warcraft enjoys, but there are plenty of games that are enjoying lots of success in their own niche markets, EVE is a great example of such a game. Surely me and my friends can’t be alone in wanting to play this style of game. So what do you think? If a company were to invest in creating an EQ style game with updated graphics, ui, etc. would you be interested in playing it, or would my friends and I find ourselves exploring the world alone?