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Kill 10 rats - OR how the MMORPG industry got very generic
22 September 2011
Posted in MMORPGs
There is a HUGE difference between when I look at the old-school MMORPG's and single-player RPG's compared to the modern (post- World of Warcraft) MMORPG's, and the title of this post gives it away a bit already...

In most old-school MMORPG's and most certainly in most single-player RPG's, there's a huge story around you and your character, which allows you to feel more connected to your character. When I look at the modern MMORPG's, there is little to no background story, and they're mostly to hit maximum level as soon as possible.

Just look at MMO's like Final Fantasy XI, Lineage II and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. These MMO's are not about hitting the maximum level ASAP, but more about the world you're in and how you develop your character
In Final Fantasy XI, you can pick up subclasses to mold your character the way you want;
in Lineage II, leveling is only a tool to become stronger and play in the political sandbox that the game actually is;
while in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, you have 3 spheres of leveling you can follow (generic XP, diplomacy and crafting).

When I look at the modern MMORPS's, it's all about hitting the maximum level ASAP and then go into the treadmill of daily quests and instances. World of Warcraft is the best known example, where you can hit level 85 in less than a month (I bet even in less than 2 weeks), and when you're 85, you can do a lot of instances over and over again. And the problem is that most MMORPG developers have taken over this concept with the (most likely) thought that is WoW can make it successful, they can too.

But how did WoW make it's concept so successful? By keeping the game as simple as possible, and one of the simplest quests is to be sent out in the open, kill a number of monsters and return to tell that you did the task (the 'kill 10 rats' quest type). And this is repeated over and over again
I am aware that there are more quests-types out there, and that World of Warcraft indeed uses those as well (deliver this item to that person, the 'FedEx' quest, just to name one), but they are too little used in MMORPG's in my opinion.

I am just wondering where the innovation of the old-school MMORPS's and single-player RPG's has gone? As a very experienced pen-n-paper role-player I am really spoiled, and I'm used to work my way around the environment. Heck, I have even played long sessions without even killing a single monster! Instead I was trying to figure things out, walk from X to Y only to talk to NPC's to get pieces of puzzles together, and I even did things like writing books and building houses (a lot more than the  regular crafting in MMORPG's).

When I look at the MMORPG horizon, at the games coming our way, I see little to no MMORPG's that could really get my attention. Most of the things coming is the same old 'kill 10 rats' all over again, sugarcoated with some delicious eye-candy.
There are only 2 titles coming that might actually be worth to take a look at for me: TERA (but I have my doubts after they said to introduce chronoscrolls) and ArcheAge, where TERA will be a political sandbox (much like Lineage II is) and ArchAge a RPG sandbox where you can influence the environment (from what I've seen in the movies).

Other than these two MMORPG's, there seems to be no place left for an old-school role-player like me

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