My 2018 MMO Outlook – Mining for Old Gold

Here we are again, a common refrain at the top of these annual posts, but what else have I got going for me?  This will at least be the last of the annual posts for quite a while.

Last month I posted my review of my annual MMO outlook and found that I had played nothing on the list.  That was in part because most of the list didn’t ship, but also because I just reverted to the mean and played what I always play, which is WoW, EQII, and EVE.

So this year I am going to eschew the looking forward aspect of my annual post.  Let’s face it, there isn’t that much coming that both interests me AND is likely to ship in 2018.

I am going to, here at the start of the new year, buckle down and commit to playing a new MMO in 2018, but only one that is new to me.  There are plenty of old MMORPGs still knocking around, classics of the genre, storied in their time, that I have never touched.

I will spend at least a month playing one of these titles seriously and blogging about it, because that it the point of the exercise to a certain extent, so that old timers can come by and mock my ignorance and tell me how things were back in the good old days and all of that.

So here is the list I am mulling over with some pros and cons as I see them from the outside.  Each game has some minor claim to fame in my mind, has come up occasionally, and is more than ten years old.

1RuneScape

A re-tread from my last year’s list and a bit of a cheat since I have actually spent a few minutes playing this.  But it is an old title, having launched back in 2001

Pros:  I have, in fact, tried it so know that I can get it running, create a character, and play.

Cons: Was not in love with the camera and controls.  Also, as it has been modernized so much that I wonder if I should go play the “old school” version of it.

2 – Ultima Online

Hard to leave this one off the list seeing that it was the first of the big wave of popular titles in the MMORPG genre.

Pros: Really getting to the old school thing, might be a free to play option soon.

Cons: Isometric, third party camera view always seemed odd to me in screen shots.  Might indirectly lead me into giving money to EA.

3 – Dark Age of Camelot

I had some friends who left EverQuest back in the day and found it a pretty decent time.  At that point I was living in a house with spotty internet at best so wasn’t keen to invest in it.  But now connectivity is no problem.

Pros:  It was supposed to take the “suck” out of MMORPGs and also has some sort of free plan.

Cons: It is really a realm vs. realm sort of game as I understand it.  Am I ready for old school PvP?  Also, as above, some of this money goes to EA, which does not please me.

4 – Anarchy Online

The original MMO launch disaster movie and one of the early free to play titles by necessity.

Pros: It is one on the list that isn’t fantasy based and Funcom is talking about rolling a new server.

Cons: The stories about it might be true and most MMORPGs are fantasy for a reason.

5 – Silkroad Online

Token Asian MMORPG?  There were some people in an old guild that went off to play it and reported having a decent time.  It is old-ish, and still around.

Pros:  7th century Chinese theme, a bit different, free to play, and has survived this long.

Cons: PvP-centric, grindy to get you to pay, everything else on this list has survived even longer, and I might be thinking of a different game when it comes to where those old guild mates went.

6 – Maple Story

Why wouldn’t I put a 2D side scrolling MMORPG on the list?  Another one of those “been around for freakin’ ever” titles that I have never tried.

Pros: Low system requirements… hell, there was a single player Facebook version of the game at one point… free and it has lasted this long.

Cons: Browser based 2D side scrolling MMORPG might be warning enough, right?

7 – Entopia Universe

Unbridled virtual capitalism where some guy bought a moon and then resold it and because rich or something… the details are kind of vague.

Pros: Very much free, storied, and still around.

Cons: Very much designed to make you spend money and I am not sure what the real objective of the game is besides the Burnsian “make more money!”

8 – A Tale in the Desert

A non-combat, social MMO that resets to a new “telling” of the tale every so often, one of those games that gets mentions a lot but rarely by anybody actually playing it.

Pros: The first 24 hours are free.

Cons: Social might be a problem for me going in solo, especially since the current “telling” has been going on for over two year now, so I might feel late to the party.  Also, after the first 24 hours you have to subscribe.

So that is a list of eight possibilities.  I won’t be jumping straight into any of them.  This will likely be a spring-to-summer sort of event.  That means if I am missing some vital option from the list you can chime in via comments or the poll below using the “other” field.  Otherwise take a moment to pick which one of the above might be the most worthwhile venture.

If there isn’t a poll above this line AdBlock may have eaten it.  It happens.

I won’t say I’ll follow the will of the respondents, but if one title seems to be leading the pack substantially I will give that some weight.  Also, a bit of trivia; I had previously made tags for every game on the list above.  I suppose that says something, though I am not sure what, besides that I have mentioned them all here at some time before.

And, of course, if you want to see how this sort of post has played out in the past, you can check out attempts from past years:

16 thoughts on “My 2018 MMO Outlook – Mining for Old Gold

  1. Gripper

    I voted for Runescape – only because it will have a iOS or mobile port, and thought that would be cool if it does come out!

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  2. bhagpuss

    The poll went through UBlock just fine but of course NoScript wasn’t having any of it. Once I could see the poll I voted for DAOC for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, I think there’s a non-trivial chance you’ll enjoy it. It’s a DIKU-MUD clone that’s extremely similar to EQ. It will be very much familiar territory but just different enough to be interesting. Assuming you don’t discover your new spiritual home there (unlikely) you’ll probably never even get as far as the RvR part. Unless it’s changed radically at the very start (and it may well have) the first fifteen or so levels are PvE in a safe zone and I reckon that will last you a month (again, assuming they havn’t done some WoW-like acceleration to the xp gain). At one time there was actually a co-operative PvE server with no RvR at all. I don’t know if that’s still running.

    Secondly, I not only played DAOC but I can still remember it very clearly. Absolutely no-one in blogdom ever mentions it in any context other than historical and I’d love to hear a report of how it is to play these days. I am amazed it’s still running because it’s ancient and presumably it relies on a critical mass of players to keep the RvR going. You’d think someone in the blogosphere might at least play it once in a while but apparently not, so you’d be performing a public service.

    Of the others, Anarchy Online is quite hard going, or so I found when I went back to it a few year ago. I have a modicum of affection for it but I wouldn’t play it again. Silk Road I played in beta, when Chinese settings were not just a novelty but unheard of. I didn’t think much of it but Mrs Bhagpuss liked it and has occasionally spoken of trying it again. Entropia I also tried in beta under it’s old name, which I have forgotten. It was dismal. I don’t believe it’s a real game. Runescape is historically and culturally significant but I couldn’t summon up much enthusiasm when i tried it. Ditto UO. ATITD and Maple Story I haven’t played.

    The two I immediately thought of suggesting aren’t old enough. Allods is only 7 year sold and Wizard 101 is ten years old next September. Save them for later.

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  3. Fenjay

    I voted for DAoC also. I have fond memories of it and agree with Bhagpuss that (unless things have changed) down the road from the new player experience and optional to boot. Though I will be interested to see your take on any of them, both the ones I’ve played and not.

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  4. ranger10700

    I would like to suggest Old School Runescape only for that full nostalgia/old school hit. The new Runescape has gone through quite a few systems designs understandable and almost plays entirely like another game. It all comes down to personal preference of course, but the slightly slower and less complicated system of OSRS as it’s known is definitely my favourite.

    Although any game on this list would make for some interesting articles :)

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  5. Jeromai

    I was waiting for ATITD to pop up on your list. At least it’s the last option. I’d wait for a new Telling before getting stuck in though.

    I see on their Facebook page that they recently had a Welcome Back Weekend over Christmas, and a Discord discussion on End Of Tale stuff, so I’d guess that plans are in the works for Tale 7 to close and Tale 8 to begin… sometime in 2018… maybe. (I haven’t gotten around to getting Discord yet, no clue what was discussed.)

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  6. Mailvaltar

    I voted for Other: Black Desert Online.
    Mainly because I’m enjoying the heck out of it right now. Coincidentally I just published a new post about it, maybe that can help you decide if the game might be your cup of tea. ;-)

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  7. SynCaine

    Also voted DAoC, for many of the same reasons others have listed, mainly to see how the PvE has held up. In a month you won’t really get into RvR, but you might get high enough to access Darkness Falls (assuming its still in the game and functions the same way).

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  8. Mailvaltar

    It was late yesterday, so I somehow missed that candidates are pretty much required to be old. :-)

    I have played UO myself, it was in fact my first MMORPG. I loved it. It must have changed so much since then that I can’t really say if I should recommend it or not though.

    I’d be very interested to read your impressions on DAoC, so yeah, I’m going with that too.

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  9. Krumm

    I love me some Ultima Online but it is much like Eve in the fact that the goals for the most part have to be person driven. I find it hard to suggest a casual walk through its current content. Much like I don’t think suggesting Everquest to someone who has never played it by now.

    It is suppose to begin its free to play version in the spring…perhaps they will revise the new player experience as well for that…

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  10. Jenks

    Voted for AO, I never got far in that game because my PC when it came out just couldn’t handle it. It had an interesting setting I wouldn’t mind seeing again.

    DAOC to me was a fun game during the big RvR battles, and possibly the most boring, bland MMO ever created when it came to PVE.

    ATITD has always looked interesting from a very far distance.

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  11. Random poster

    I voted for AO as it was my first MMO. PLAYED IT ALL THE WAY TO LEVEL 200(5) before WoW came along and snagged me away from a free trial on one of those old demo disc’s that used to come with pc gaming magazines. I’m curious what it’s like now with the f2p buildingt in to it. I remember it being Incredibly complex at times. Specifically I remember spending a large amount of time looking for the right combo of buffs and armor pieces to help me get into another higher level piece of armor. At the higher levels it could take a whole session to get it done

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  12. calthaer

    I voted for UO, thinking it obvious to go back to the first big mainstream mmo. Good to see a lot of diversity in opinions though. I very much read this blog to vicariously experience the mmo games I don’t have time to play, so would enjoy reading about any of them.

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  13. hegemon

    Voted for The Secret World, excellent story throughout with no real grind. I would only recommend playing through the fully storyline including side missions, beyond that is just end game grind. Also serves as a nice break from the common high fantasy setting.

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  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Just to clarify, the two parameters I have are that the MMORPG in question must be “old” in a continuum of time where 2005 seemed almost too new (things that pre-date WoW would be better) and it should be a MMORPG I have not played before. So far nothing on the “other” list fits that criteria. The “other” list, as it currently stands:

    EverQuest (I’ve played it a lot)
    World of Warcraft (I am probably playing it as you read this)
    Black Desert Online (Released in 2015)
    The Secret World (Released in 2012)

    Meanwhile I am surprised that Anarchy Online is doing as well in the poll as it is and that nobody has voted for Entropia Universe. Or maybe I shouldn’t be surprised about that last one.

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  15. Fenjay

    Still no votes for Entropia out of 74. That one lost me with its “Mature MMO Gamer?” ads featuring a sexily clad woman. Between that and the cash aspect of the game, the whole thing has always seemed slimy to me. Maybe someone who’s played it can confirm or deny.

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  16. Pingback: ATITD: You Can’t Go Home Again? | Why I Game

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