Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MMO’s and me

Dynamo-Man and Diana Cutthroat from CoH.
I got my first taste of MMO play when my roomie and best friend let me sit at his computer and try out EverQuest many years ago. I was intrigued with the idea and the interface, if a bit meh about the game itself.

A few months later, a bunch of my friends were playing City of Heroes. I wasn’t able to join because where I lived we didn’t have a stable, non-dial up internet connection. So, I got to hear all about their exploits and view their screenshots with envy. Then that same friend let me log into his account for a half-hour at the local game store where we played tabletop RPG’s, and that was it. I was hooked.

When I was finally able to get into CoH, I was thrilled. Despite my computer chugging along, and looking like a slideshow during fights. Over the following years I managed to upgrade my hardware to the point where CoH became an addiction. I also added World of Warcraft, and for many months would alternate my subscriptions between the two as my mood struck. I even met my current wife on a forum for CoH.

One of the things that I liked about MMO’s was that I could get into the story of the game itself, or I could make up my own. Once I got used to ignoring the fact that there were other characters following the same quests and missions as I was, I was able to immerse myself in the game with my own imagination filling in details.

One of my first WoW characters was a Tauren Hunter. At the time, none of my friends really played WoW, so I played by myself a lot. And I wasn’t into PUGs yet, so I spent a lot of time making up stories about my character as I played. I would take quests, and wouldn’t even pay attention to the narrative. I would make up my own reason for doing the job based on the story in my head.

I did the same thing in CoH for a long time, until I moved to the Virtue server and started playing with friends. And even after that, I still made up my own stories, and created new Alts specifically for that purpose.

Anyways, eventually I got burned out on WoW. And CoH was cancelled by NCSoft. So, I became devoid of MMO outlets that really grabbed me. Sure, I tried others. DCUO was fun, Champions Online was (and still is) kinda cool. Tried a couple of other FTP fantasy games, and even played Star Wars for a long time. But, none of them ever captured the magic of CoH, or even WoW from those early days.

Yesterday I saw a "suggested post” on Facebook for a newer MMO called Wildstar. It’s made by NCSoft, who was responsible for CoH. It’s Science Fiction, but done in a more cartoony, light-hearted manner (kind of like a slightly more mature version of Skylanders). Ironically, after I had decided to just give it a go (it’s FTP), and was downloading it, a friend who is very into MMO’s gave me his 2 cents about it. Not much glowing praise, but in the context of the kind of gamer he is, I understood his points.

So, I finished the install, and logged in last night. It was late, so I only got through the intro cinematics, and made my first character. I’m already loving the art direction, and the controls and interface are pretty standard and familiar. I’m going to give it a go again tonight and see how it goes.

If it does disappoint, I can always uninstall and move on.

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