June 1, 2005

Is going back a good idea for the MMO world?

I was reading this thread on VN boards and started thinking back to my early days in MMO's and why I was so drawn into them back then. I started in Ultima Online(UO) and moved onto Dark Ages of Camelot... never playing Asheron's call.

Reading that thread though about people's experiences from Asheron's Call made me wonder something. Does the MMO genre need to go backwards in order to progress forward?

Would a 2d "looking from the top down" game work in the current day? Years ago when I was still in high school I was a frequent reader of Inquest Gamer, a tabletop, pen and paper, video game, card game, and misc. fantasy game magazine. One issue they had put out a hit list of "what would make a great online game".

Of course Star Wars topped their list and they had chosen a unique graphical look... over the top just like UO. I remember drooling over the fake screen shots they had made and reading over the details of their make-believe Star Wars MMO.

And now it dawns on me several years later... that article had it right. Not the graphics... but the ideas behind the game. Reading that thread on VN just confirmed it... the people weren't talking about graphics AT ALL! Everyone was into the gameplay and the game world.

Maybe what we need in the MMO market is the following...

A low budget company with good ideas and a passion for gaming. A small title game that doesn't focus on graphics and hits all the major points of good solid gameplay. Sure there is probably some out there right now, but nothing that has caught my eye enough for a few of my dollars.

Maybe the MMO market just needs to go backwards... find its roots again and then progress from there.