Aion kicking off has lead to the usual menu of MMO first day woes; server queues, connection issues, and other problems veterans of the genre have seen on past occasions. And so the usual question comes up:
Is it worth it to play an MMO on day one?
On day one you face the queues, the lag, the technical glitches, and the crowding as a bowling ball sized mass of players try to squeeze through the garden-hose sized content all at once. Almost every MMO is a mess, a madhouse on day one. What could make it worth the effort?
Well, there are some perks, though how tangible they are is up for discussion.
For a short time, everybody in the world is of equal stature. For a day or two, even the hardest driving grinder and the most distracted altaholic are on par.
There is the feeling of sharing a new world with a mass of fellow players who are all starting out just like you.
And there is the fact that you are shoulder to shoulder with that mass of players, that you need never feel lost or helpless because you there are so many people around in the same situation as you that you can almost always find help or directions from somebody headed the same place you are.
Finally, there is the sense of an overall shared experience. No matter how bad things are going on day one, you were there. You are part of a club that saw the world in a state that will probably never exist again. You can be the cranky old coot who tells those who show up days, week, months, or years later how things looked on that first day and how easy new players have it now that so much has been fixed and that the population has settled down.
Does day one of an MMO release hold any appeal for you?
For myself, I tend to be in favor of the day one experience, regardless of the aggravations. I was there on day one for EverQuest, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, and Warhammer Online, and each offered a unique experience that won’t ever be repeated. I do tend to be something of a tourist though.
And on the other hand, I don’t necessarily feel cheated having first played World of Warcraft five months after launch. That was still early enough in the history of the game that I experience things like server queues, auction houses limited to the local city, and only being able to fly between two connected flight points. Then again, the population of Azeroth was still growing, so WoW might be a mild exception to the first day rule. Starter areas were still crowded when I finally showed up.
I do wonder what EVE Online felt like on day one. That certainly had quite the potential for calamity and confusion.