There’s no way of knowing that your last good day is “Your Last Good Day.” At the time, it is just another good day.
-Hazel Grace Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars
Yes, I am going to take a quote from a movie based on a book about teens with cancer and try and apply it to video games. I will take it as read that this makes me a horrible person and probably guilty of cultural appropriation or some other first world thought crime. I even have a graphic just to seal the deal on my horrible nature.
Anyway, my daughter, who had read the book, insisted that the whole family go see the movie back when it was in the theater despite the fact that she knows that my wife will cry at anything sad or emotional on screen. And tears were indeed shed as this sad and emotionally manipulative film ran on before us.
But what stuck with me, aside from the abuse of the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and how much seeing this movie made watching Divergent difficult/amusing/distracting (Augustus is her brother! It is Luke and Leia all over again!), was the whole concept of there being a “last good day,” a high point in any endeavor, after which things are never quite that good again.
So, yeah, of course this applies to video games.
Well, at least to MMORPGs. So maybe I can change that graphic.
I suppose I could make it more specific, or a version for each MMO I might play, but I think that is sufficient. If you are dying to have one of your own, I made a background template, you just have to provide the text. You’re on your own for the font. I used one called “eraser dust” I found on the internet.
Anyway, that is all off the subject at hand, which is that of a last good day in an MMORPG.
There are MMOs where I can identify that last good day. In Warhammer Online it was probably that one great keep battle we had before things went south for our group as the game emptied out.
In Rift it was no doubt some date not too long before the first expansion came out. Everything was good, I played a character from each of the four base roles up to level cap, and then Storm Legion hit and changed the nature of the game for me.
For EverQuest it was likely to initial stages of the Fippy Darkpaw server, when Skronk and I were playing, the game was active with lots of low level players, and the whole thing felt… if not as good as day one back in 1999, then a reasonable facsimile of that time. Certainly there was less crashing.
But those are all games I stopped playing. Even EverQuest, for which I bubble with nostalgia, hasn’t really been a destination for me since Fippy Darkpaw.
And, in having stopped, I can pick out the high point. I can find that theoretical last good day… or week… or era… or event. But that might change if I would… or, in some cases, could… go back and pick up the game again. Probably not, but there is a non-zero chance of good days ahead.
This all came to mind because of a more current game. Not EVE Online. I made that graphic at the top for Rixx Javix a while back. No, this all came about due to the the Legion expansion for World of Warcraft getting a ship date.
August 30, 2016 and the whole thing goes live, while at some date a couple weeks in advance of that there will be the pre-expansion patch that will have the warm-ups for the whole thing.
I am coming up on a year of not having been subscribed to WoW. I have a two copies of the expansion pre-ordered for my daughter and I via Amazon. But now that there is a date set and a timeline out before me. I won’t be resubscribing today or tomorrow or next week, but at some point over the course of that timeline, between now and August 30th, there is a date at which I probably should subscribe and get back in the game and start getting warmed up to fight the Legion.
But the announcement of the date also made me question whether or not I really want to go back. I do not feel a lot of enthusiasm for the expansion. In large part that lack of enthusiasm is due to how Warlords of Draenor played out for me. It wasn’t horrible, but it was dissatisfying, and garrisons carry the lions share of the burden on that front. Dungeons were mediocre, mostly in how sparse they were, and the story line was mostly just okay, but garrisons were the anchor.
Garrisons failed to be the right thing for me on all fronts. They were not optional, you had to do some garrison stuff if you wanted to play through the expansion. And they were not housing, or at least did not have any aspect of housing that I wanted. There was no way you could make the garrison really your own. Meanwhile, they did exactly what Tom Chilton told us housing would do, back when he was saying they would never do housing, it took people out of the world and hid them away.
In my view, garrisons were basically the worst possible set of features, doing what Blizz said housing would do without any of the beneficial “sticky” features of housing that make people feel like they have a spot in the game that is uniquely their own. I guess if I were to make a prediction now that Tom Chilton is saying that Blizz will never do a vanilla server, I might guess that they will end up doing some sort of special rules server that will satisfy neither fans of vanilla nor more recent lapsed players, at which point Tom can say, “I told you so.”
That is all my view of the expansion. So when I think back in search of a “last good day,” which at this point I am likely conflating with a peak of enjoyment as opposed to saying every day thereafter was “bad,” I have to go back to Mists of Pandaria to find a real happy time… which is odd because I was pretty dismissive of MoP when it was announced and didn’t buy the expansion until nearly a year after it went live. Meanwhile, Warlords of Draenor, with orcs as the bad guys yet again, that I was up for.
So perhaps missed or misplaced expectations were the real problem?
Nah, garrisons just sucked.
Anyway, as the quote at the top says, you can never know if that last good day is happening as it happens. You can only identifying it in comparison to the days that come later. The question is whether or not there is a peak of enjoyment waiting for me in WoW Legion or if I have simply had that last good day already. I guess I have a few months to consider that, but I am feeling doubtful right now.