Sometimes there are those stressful days where I'd just like to escape it all, climb through the looking glass monitor, and settle down in Norrath somewhere. Maybe a cabin hidden in the forests of Greater Faydark or a homestead in the fields of Antonica.
There are some games that elicit that feeling. I look around the world and think "Yep, I can live here!" I have to wonder if that's been a big part of why I enjoy one game over another. When I think back on the games I most enjoyed, they all had that livability factor. Not only is the world pretty, but my character felt connected to it.
I experienced this in EQ1, EQ2, DAOC, SWG, Anarchy Online, and WoW to a lesser degree. I'm sort of on the fence with LotRO. But with Vanguard and more recently Warhammer, I just didn't feel part of the world. I had this feeling like I was a visitor just passing through.
I don't know if it's a gender thing, an age thing, or maybe it's just me. But I need to have a home base in my MMO. And as much as all MMO's are pretty much all about slaughtering things, I need to have a peaceful home and safe haven there. In Vanguard, while you had a starting home, there was little reason to visit again once you left and it was too dang far to travel to anyway. From then on, you just move from outpost to outpost with no connection to anywhere. In Warhammer also you have this movement from outpost to outpost. While there was the main city of Altdorf, it was a long trip that I rarely made and even the city wasn't safe. And when I envision setting a house down anywhere in the Warhammer world, my first thought is that it would be burned to the ground within hours.
I have a feeling this is likely the trend of future MMO's. Rather than town heroes, we're nomads traveling down the one and only path.