Rewriting An Old Joke for MMOs

There is an old joke that compares heaven and hell and how they are run:


  • the police are British
  • the chefs are French
  • the mechanics are German
  • the lovers are Italian
  • and it is all organized and run by the Swiss


  • the police are German
  • the chefs are British
  • the mechanics are French
  • the lovers are Swiss
  • and it is all organized and run by the Italians

Sunday afternoon Potshot and I were in LOTRO and he trotted out the idea of MMO heaven as:

  • Housing like EverQuest II
  • A market place like EVE Online
  • A world with a sense of place like Lord of the Rings Online
  • And polish like that of World of Warcraft

Taking that, I swapped it around to come up with the idea of MMO hell:

  • Housing like World of Warcraft
  • A market place like Lord of the Rings Online
  • A world with little sense of place like EverQuest II
  • And the polish of EVE Online

Can you suggest other options?

Remember to make the joke, the MMO must fit in both in the heaven and hell category.

Maybe we can make a T-shirt out of it… though something easier to read than this one.

The old joke on a shirt

I prefer bullet points.

12 thoughts on “Rewriting An Old Joke for MMOs

  1. Sara Pickell

    Heaven is where the players are from EVE, the classes are from WAR, the CMs are from Tabula Rasa, the coders are from WoW and the Artists are from Aion.

    Hell is where the players are from Aion, the classes are from EVE, the CMs are from WAR, the coders are from Tabula Rasa and the artists are from WoW.

    As always, your mileage may vary.


  2. Jason

    I think you’ve got it mostly right, but there are plenty of games less polished than EVE. Like Darkfall, or Conan. Maybe even WAR. But Darkfall is probably best.


  3. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Want to see a terrible marketplace, take a look at DDO. The only thing you can filter by is level. Want a “Superior Devotion” item (weapon, shield, armor, helmet)? Good luck searching through all that crap.

    LotRO isn’t too bad, but it could be better.

    I’d go “Heaven: Quests like DDO Hell: Marketplace like DDO”


  4. Drew

    I can’t second Brian’s marketplace comment enough. They’re finally adding a search string in Update 7, which is great, beacuse that thing is virtually unusable in its current state. Even when you try to sort highest to lowest it only does so on a given page, which I think is only 10 items per. What an absolute disaster it is.

    Can you tell I dislike it?


  5. mbp

    The Massive Open World of Eve online
    The Business Model of Guild Wars
    The Engaging Gameplay of Allods Online
    and the learning curve of Progress Quest

    The Massive Open World of Guild Wars
    The Business Model of Allods online
    The Engaging Gameplay of Progress Quest
    and the learning curve of Eve Online.


  6. SynCaine

    The PvP of Darkfall
    The IP of WAR
    The polish of WoW
    The community of EVE

    The PvP of WAR
    The IP of EVE
    The polish of Darkfall
    The community of WoW


  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Jason – The joke has to be internally consistent, you have to keep the same games and same categories, just swap them around to make the two lists.

    Yes, I could think of many games less polished that EVE, but on that list, a list which represents the four MMOs I have spent the most time in over the last five years, EVE still feels the least polished, though LOTRO isn’t exactly lightyears ahead.

    And polish isn’t just making whatever system you have concocted work consistently, it also means making it comprehensible by mere mortals. EVE still has too much oddball, head scratching, what in the hell were they thinking pieces to be considered fully polished.


  8. Keen

    EQ2 has plenty sense of place. LotRO, being a linear themepark designed to keep you moving zone to zone on a path, has no sense of place.

    Sense of place MMO’s would be… Vanguard, UO, EQ1, and essentially any large world sandbox or pseudo-sandbox game.

    Oh, and I’d go for housing like SWG.


  9. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Keen – Um… what?

    First, EQ2 isn’t a linear themepark? Sorry, not buying that one. Nope, not a bit.

    Second, EQ2 killed any potential sense of place, certainly relative to EQ, with the whole bells based travel method. And the various rearranging of said bells didn’t help.

    Add in the avoidance of the EQ lore until the third expansion, substituting in the Arabian Nights complete with flying carpets, and you have only a sense of chaos.

    Meanwhile, LOTRO oozes of place, at least for me. You’re traveling through a beautifully rendered version of Middle-freaking-earth! Have you no soul?

    Finally, you missed the whole point, the discipline of the joke. You can’t just throw out “I like housing in SWG.” I wasn’t trying to argue that a given game had the best sense of place, but that we could come up with a few titles and juxtapose features for the heaven/hell scenario.

    Scroll up and read what Sara, MBP, and SynCaine had to offer.


  10. Volkai

    MMO Heaven has the mounts of Final Fantasy XI. (Chocobos are just awesome.)
    MMO Hell has the death penalty of Final Fantasy XI.

    Oh, and MMO Valhalla has the challenges of Final Fantasy XI.


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