Saturday, April 24, 2010

If You Liked That MMO, Then You Might Like This

While doing some internet searches for relevant DAOC information, when I'm not landing on dead links, I often find myself at old DAOC guild sites. Many of these sites had referring links as the guild has now moved on to another MMO. What was surprising was that in nearly all instances, they had moved to one of two games--LotRO or WAR. The role-play and more realm pride focused guilds tended to be in LotRO, while the RvR "we're going to kick some arse" focused guilds moved on to WAR.

It got me curious as to what players from other older MMO's were more likely to be playing now or for an extended period of time after leaving. So I did some searching through old guild sites, as well as lots of posts by individuals to see where they came from and what they liked afterward. Obviously, everyone's taste is different so there's much room for differences of opinion. But here's a summary based on gamers' first MMO experiences and where they moved on to for long terms:

If you liked Dark Age of Camelot, you might like WoW, LotRO, WAR, or Darkfall. The first three were mentioned most frequently from retired DAOC players, with Darkfall in a distant fourth. Single players more often went to WoW and LotRO, while entire guilds tended to focus on WAR or LotRO.

If you liked Everquest, you might like WoW, LotRO, DAOC, SWG, EQ2, or Vanguard. Considering how hardcore EQ1 was considered, it was surprising how the majority seemed to end up in WoW. WoW offered something for both the raiders and the casual players who had been struggling to continue in EQ1 as each expansion and mob difficulty became more raid focused. But aside from WoW, EQ1 players had varied tastes and ended up across several MMO's.

If you liked Ultima Online, you might like SWG, EVE, DAOC, WoW, or EQ. I never played this to make comparisons, but SWG and EVE were mentioned more frequently. I'm guessing the whole sandbox thing has some relevance here.

If you liked Asheron's Call 1 or 2, you might like LotRO, EQ2, WoW, or Vanguard. I didn't notice a clear number one choice here, but these were the MMO's most mentioned.

If you liked Anarchy Online, you might like EVE, Age of Conan, Ryzom, WoW, CoH, or SWG. EVE seemed to be the winner here, and I was surprised at how often Ryzom was mentioned. Also surprised to see CoH, but I guess they share similarities in the mission styles--pick them up, click on door.

If you liked SWG, you might like EVE, LotRO, CoH, and perhaps STO. LotRO was about even with EVE. Definitely something to be said for a good story line you're already familiar with. More recently, several guilds had set up shop in STO, but still too early to tell if they'll be sticking around.

I'm sure there's some I've left off here, but these were some of the older MMO's I was more famliar with. There's a few things to note here. The taste in MMO's definitely doesn't work both ways. While many EQ1 players may like WoW, odds of WoW players liking EQ1 may be slim. Same goes for DAOC/LotRO. Also there seems to be some brand loyalty in some of these cases. Why are Anarchy Online fans interested more often in Age of Conan than other gamers? Sometimes there's a comfortableness with your developer. You know what to expect from them and you already feel at home before even playing their next title.

It also reminded me how varied the older titles were compared to newer ones. Dark Age of Camelot had features to accommodate different tastes. You had a sense of belonging to your realm rather than a visitor passing through. This created such immersive play which also was a great setting for role-play guilds to form. The PvE content was expansive enough that you didn't have to RvR if you didn't care to. I felt none of that immersion playing WAR. I felt no connection to where I was and just was a visitor plopped down in a blazing outpost. The city was a place to bank, not a place to belong to. And the PvE.....bleh.

But not everyone is into that immersive play and RvR is plenty enough for them. So a portion of that type of DAOC player went to WAR, while some of those seeking the open world adventures, housing and immersion went to LotRO. How could an older game on a much smaller budget accommodate several play styles, while newer MMO's spending millions of dollars are so narrowly focused?

Ten years from now I wonder where those whose first MMO was WoW will be playing. If the new MMO's keep churning out like the last several, I'm guessing they'll still be playing WoW.


Bhagpuss said...

Really interesting.

I've played most of those MMOs but as someone who started on EQ I think there's a very natural progression through the SoE games. Vanguard is the real EQ2. If only SoE had bought it, fixed it and re-branded it before it launched. And if they hadn't already shot their bolt with EQ2, which is a great game now but was a disaster for a year after launch when WoW was setting the new rules.

Ah well, hindsight... roll on EQ3.

Aspendawn said...

I had my start in EQ1 as well and do agree that Vanguard is closer to EQ2 than EQ2 itself.

I love the classes, the adventuring, the diplomacy, the beautiful open world of Vanguard. Their crafting had its good points and bad. If they could have somehow mixed Vanguard's crafting with EQ2's system for something more in the middle. And then there's the housing. I never could afford one and it was way out in the middle of nowhere with no purpose. So again if they could mingle in some of the EQ2 concepts. Same with guild halls.

I loved so many things about Vanguard, just not enough to keep me playing. If only they could have melded the best parts of both games, I'd be all over it.

Yeebo said...

That's a really interesting post. DAoC did (and does) do a lot of things that no other MMO has done. Take the class design of the Warlock, as a minor example. Or take the positional spec based melee combo system as a major example. I don't know of close analogues in other MMOs.

The sheer variety of leveling paths remains impressive to this day. And I agree with you 100%, the PvE in WAR can't hold a candle to what's in DAoC. WAR does a few things really well, but it's nowhere near the complete package that it's older sibling is.

Aspendawn said...

If only DAOC made their interface easier to use. Some things there's just no way to figure out without a lot of Googling. Just basic things like using a ranged attack are way too complicated for newer players.