At Loose Ends on the Fantasy Front

I seem to have fallen off the fantasy MMORPG wagon once again.  This seems to happen every so often.

I stopped playing WoW a couple months after the Legion expansion hit.  My Winter foray into EverQuest II kept my interest for about a month, which seems to about par for the course.  I poked my nose into Lord of the Rings Online long enough to buy the level 95 Blessing of the Valar upgrade.

Two blessings, depending on your need

Two blessings, depending on your need

That got me a pile of stuff and whisked me off into a different place where I met up with Eowyn.

Yeah, about you and Strider... he's not that into you

Yeah, about you and Strider… he’s not that into you

However I soon lost interest there.  Well, “lost interest” might imply I logged in again after that, and I did not.  Of course, I might have been influenced by wanting to start out on something only to be hamstrung by the legendary weapon system.  I had to choose a weapon, which I then received.  But you cannot just use the weapon yet.  You have to find the special NPC to identify it and then choose a bonus and then something else.  I forget.  I am sure, as with every aspect of every MMO, that legendary weapons are somebody’s favorite part of LOTRO.  But it ain’t mine. I just wanted to grab it and run not worry about reforging.

So that fell apart.  I might go back, but the fact that I haven’t felt any need to do so for a couple weeks is pretty telling.

At some point in the last few weeks… erm, months… I also made a RuneScape account, played for a couple of hours, then never went back.

The fantasy MMORPG thing just isn’t holding me at the moment.  But the habit of at least the last decade and a half… or more if you count the TorilMUD, in which case we start to reach back past 20 years… makes something inside of me think something is missing if I am not playing one.

So my eye wanders down the list of possible other choices.  Do I try out The Elder Scrolls Online, which just added in housing and seems to be doing well enough to be secure?  Do I give GuildWars 2 another try?  Is there something still in Rift that I might enjoy?  Is it time to start digging into Project: Gorgon yet?  What titles on my 2017 MMO Outlook post are even live yet?

But should I bother.

EVE Online doesn’t fill that niche for me certainly.  But I continue to play Minecraft, which does much to fill the world and building and housing drive I might have.  And right now Pokemon Sun seems to have a lock on the RPG… or maybe just the collecting and achievement… aspect.

And there is also something I will call “virtual world weariness” in me that feels the essential sameness of all of these games so that they blur together into a gray, uninteresting mass.  It might be time for a longer break from such games.

11 thoughts on “At Loose Ends on the Fantasy Front

  1. Bhagpuss

    There certainly can be a degree of diminishing returns involved when you focus on any particular genre or subgenre . I work with someone who’s been a lifelong SF fan, to the point of having books published on the subject, but who’s reached the point that nothing new in the field interests him any more and he can’t find the enthusiasm he once had for re-reading the classics he used to love. Sometimes people just find they’ve had enough.

    MMOs in general and fantasy MMOs in particular *are* very samey. They have to be, really. If you change too many of the tropes and standards then it won’t be “fantasy” any more. I was playing Aion this morning and although it is definitely a cut above the run of the mill badly translated imports we’ve been taught to accept you could hardly say it was anything original. Some of the mobs look a bit funny and some have odd names but other than that it’s very much business as usual.

    I think there are still huge untapped opportunities though, both in imaginative reinterpretations of the genre and in many major IPs that have never been explored. If the relevant rights owners were to authorize a Harry Potter or Narnia MMO for example. Plus I do believe that if you can;t do something that hasn’t been done before you can always do something that has been done before *better* than it’s ever been done. I see no reason at all to believe we’ve already seen the best iteration of the Standard Fantasy MMORPG.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Malcolm Shinhwa

    I routinely swear off the entire MMORPG class of games. I get sick of the endless buff/nerf cycle that sees the grinding I didn’t want to do anyway casually tossed aside by developers who didn’t get it right before or just want to shake up the meta. The problem is, I like the endless fiddling of bits you get to do in such games. Mucking about with gear, mods, tactics while getting to play with my friends doing the same things.

    Maybe you should branch out a bit. I return to Star Trek Online about once every year, or two, and have a good time running the new content while fitting out ships and ground gear. I’ll never grind enough to get the best gear, but its still fun for awhile.


  3. zaphod6502

    I still keep coming back to WoW. I’ve been playing the Legion expansion continuously since it was released. They made so many great design decisions to keep people playing and active in the world. It also helps I made the switch to a warrior tank (only ever played ranged DPS and healers) and it is a refreshing change.

    As for your current MMORPG malaise maybe it is time to switch to something completely different. I keep over 70 games installed on my PC so if I ever get bored of one game I simply switch to another. The only MMO I have installed is WoW. When I get bored of that my immediate choices I switch to are Darkest Dungeon, Overwatch, Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, Conan Exiles, Watch Dogs 2, Far Cry Primal, The Division, and GTA V. I am also looking forward to Wildlands.

    There is so much choice if you are prepared to broaden your gaming horizons and not limit yourself to one or two genres.


  4. Corelin

    I always vote LotRO but then again I’ve done a couple videos on it. Legendary items are one of the worst aspects unfortunately. If the new team is smart they make the weapons ACTUALLY GROW WITH THE CHARACTERS, not turn into something you throw away every 5-10 levels as you outgrow it.

    If you like Lord of the Rings it’s worth taking a tour of the world at least. It’s beautifully done even if some of the systems are a hot mess.


  5. Calthaer

    In the 1990s, MMOs were fascinating largely because they’d never been done before. But they haven’t grown up with the times. In today’s world of personalization, and dynamic content, nobody has figured out how to have a living world (factions, NPCs with motivations, etc.) that generates interesting content for players to engage in. So a “quest” becomes a mechanical set of hoops to jump through rather than an epic adventure filled with thrills, danger, and real consequences. There are so many single-player and limited multiplayer games out there that do have a compelling story, and with the indie revolution, there are some real gems out there – Bastion, Braid, and Fez are among my personal favorites.


  6. Jeromai

    I agree with the above posters that it’s time to branch out. To what game depends on your motivations for playing a fantasy MMO though. If it’s for player interaction/socializing while in a fantasy environment, then something multiplayer like Conan Exiles or a modded Minecraft server with a heavy dose of fantasy might do the trick.

    If the attraction is something like being able to use lots of different fantasy skills or make interesting builds or learn a new system or enjoying grimdaek fantasy or the love of loot drops, may I suggest Path of Exile for taking an ARPG player really far down the rabbit hole?

    For consistent lore and feeling like one is in a fantasy world, a singleplayer RPG might also suffice. If it’s something like a need to see and be immersed in fantasy art landscapes, then yeah, MMOs like GW2, ESO or FFXIV would probably do the trick.


  7. p0tsh0t

    Hope springs eternal. Ula and I spent a good deal of time watching the recent pre pre alpha (is that really a thing?) footage of Pantheon gameplay– at Ula’s request yet. Not overwhelmed by the animations and really, they shouldn’t let Brad speak, but boy I sincerely hope they execute half of the vision has decently. I’ll be down with that. Its definitely got the promise of the old school experience that is an unscratched itch.

    I hope I live to see it go live…


  8. Delakar

    I sympathise deeply with your predicament. I find myself in the same boat, idling until something new and shiny comes out. That could be Pantheon, Crowfall, Chronicles of (the name escapes me) or anything else that tickles my fantasy fancy.

    I tried restarting WoW recently, and made it to level 101 before realising it wasn’t what I was looking for.

    Currently I find myself building and crafting in a tiny niche game called Wurm Online. You mention that you like world building in Minecraft, and this is something of a slower paced version. It’s less blocky, for sure. =)


  9. Krumm

    I have to agree with Bhagpuss in that you can reach a point of saturation. On many fronts its a question of to many options…so many fall of the radar and just don’t seem to warner enough enthusiasm.

    LOTRO – I love Lord of the Rings and have spent a couple of hundred on unlocking this area or that area but my play time in it has been abysmal. I have maybe a months time in total of play time in it. I absolutely love Dwarves and typically go hunter…hay even dwarves have scouts! Lord of the Rings allows Surnames which is cool and the housing is awesomely done and should be immolated elsewhere….but I just cant get myself into the classes enough to enjoy the game.

    WOW – its a old hat now, I find more enjoyment popping into the vanilla server emerald dream then I do the regular game now. The game has just grown so much in the progression direction. I think its the above situation that WOW has never made any area feel like really home… there is no housing to pin a person to a given area after the quests have been grinded out. The garrison system attempted to do it but they made it a chore and a grind to work it up and as soon as the next expansion and its abandoned for a new attempted order hall. I think what WOW needs to do is to carry over the level mechanism that they have in the broken isles somewhat, which they mirror Guild Wars 2 in that the zone you go in dictates what level you are.
    So if you are in gold shire the murlocs will remain everso troublesome. I feel that dying to the murlocs there is a right of passage that we have lost.

    SWOTR – A game that I do enjoy but have not had the time to dedicate to it, I have spent much more then a couple of hundred dollars on this. I don’t like to be pend down to a subscription so when you give me the ability to unlock features and I like the game I tend to become the ideal shopper. I unlocked the races, double the character count so I could have one of each class and so forth. It has player houses and space fighter pvp that can give you things to do outside of leveling, much like LOTRO does it. I have been dying to get back into it but every time I think about doing so EVE distracts me…

    EverQuest II – I leveled an Ogre up into exile and then changed factions and loved the ability to do so however Everquest gives the ability to have so many different usable abilities that its daunting and given the fact that they gave me a free upgrade I was dumb enough to take it and find myself at (85 or 95…cant remember). That was a couple of years a go and I have not played it sense. Free levels takes the fun out of it sometimes I guess. I might have to retry my hand at it and delete and do again.

    EVE Online & Ultima Online – Sand Box games in space and through Moon gates…these two have a different time element to them. They are designed so that it takes real time to do just about everything. As anyone who has played the games will tell you even traveling across the maps will take you forever. Due to their nature it takes an adjustment to the time factor. Until one gets acclimatized with it one will struggle to have fun. Doing repetitive actions can burn you out on EVE so its best to attempt to keep your self to doing short sessions in my short noobish experience. Even then it takes up my few hours of offtime each day.

    D&D Online does not do the D&D game world any justice… Neither does Neverwinter. Forgotten Realms has so many books and source materials that it could draw from and create a hugh world but has yet to even be properly thought out. There are rules for fast numbers of levels and any number of stories but they will probly never get this right.

    My number one worry is not getting burned out on games per say but that the games last long enough that I can come around to playing them through. I Know that of the list above LOTRO is probably going to be the first of these to be discontinued. Will we ever see it get to the end…probably not, will I ever get a character to the end of it should they do manage it….probably only on some future private server year and years in the future.

    ok I’m done rambling now…


  10. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I probably need a follow up post to this to reflect on the nature of my gaming interests and how a number of factors such as having other people to play with, other games (I have 143 in my Steam library alone, so I do not lack there), and what is going on in RL. Some of the comments seem a little much on a post that opened with “I seem to have fallen off the fantasy MMORPG wagon once again. This seems to happen every so often.” But the concern is appreciated.

    @Potshot – Pantheon… yes, I am interested yet worried in that way that only Brad can stir up in me. We shall see I suppose.


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