Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
State of the blog address

This used to be "Tobold's MMORPG Blog", but I dropped the "MMORPG" a good while ago. Nevertheless until this year I still considered myself somewhat as a MMORPG player. I don't know if it is just me or the state of the genre, but this year made me lose interest in MMORPGs in a big way. I found the Elder Scrolls Online (played beta) and Wildstar (played beta and release) hugely disappointing. Blizzard sent me 7 free days of WoW earlier this month, before WoD came out, I logged into the game, and found my guild screen saying that on a Saturday night I was the only character out of 586 guildies logged in. That killed the last bit of interest I had in maybe buying the expansion, so this will be the first WoW expansion I'm giving a miss. There is currently no MMORPG out or announced that I currently would want to play. When Wildstar today sent me 7 free days to explore their new "epic, multi-part story designed specifically for solo players", I just snickered and ignored the mail. I'm out!

Now as you might have noticed I am sometimes writing about Dungeons & Dragons. But I wouldn't consider this to be D&D or tabletop role-playing blog either. I mean, MMORPG bloggers are weird, but pen & paper RPG bloggers are a completely different league of weird. I can barely read some of those blogs, especially the so-called OSR blogs. There are endless arguments about how tabletop RPG rules should be "realistic simulations". And not just of real world things like swords and armor. No, people seriously discuss the "realism" of elven racial stats or wizard fireballs. Very few people care about things like whether the game mechanics work or are balanced. Instead most people waste endless time with pseudo-scientific arguments about why their preferred class would be much more realistic if it was a lot more powerful. Not a community I really want to engage in discussion with.

I still play a lot of other games, both on the iPad and on the PC. But I don't always feel the need to write about them. Many modern games, especially the so-called triple-A variety, have perfected the game experience to something almost cinematic. And it is the same cinematic experience for everybody. Even in a purportedly "open world" game the experience that two different players have of the game is very similar. Everything is broken down into very small, easily manageable tasks. When "Le Morte d'Arthur" was written, a "quest" was something you'd expected to last most of your life. Today a quest is "walk 10 meters and click on something, then come back for your reward". In the right situation that can be enjoyable to play, but it isn't really something to write about.

I am not a paid journalist or writer with a certain number of words to write for a certain deadline. I write when I have something to say. And right now I don't have much to say. So don't be surprised if this blog isn't updated daily any more. 

You should do a compilation blog of all the previous blogs you've written where you were going to stop blogging, cut down on blogging, blog less often, stop blogging about MMOs... Seriously, just blog about what you want to blog about, when you have something you want to say and leave it at that! Feedly will let me know when that happens and when it does I'll read it and comment if I have something to say. I think that's how it works.

As for the state of MMOs, I've played as long as you have, give or take, and in recent years I've played a lot more. In my opinion the form is improving year on year and the genre is just beginning to show some of its potential. Comparing MMOs to movies, for instance, I'd say we are now just about coming into the Technicolor era. UO was silents, EQ was the beginning of talkies, WoW Vanilla-to-WOTLK was the golden age of the Studio System. We're somewhere around the time of the Cinemascope epic now, coming out of that period probably, heading into the experimentalism of the height of the auteur theory.

The best is yet to come.
While it's something that will probably not keeping you playing for long I will say WoD has the best questing content to date. If anything I suggest sometime down the road when the price drops a bit you should try it just for the questing/leveling experience.
"So don't be surprised if this blog isn't updated daily any more."

Didn't you say this last year?


Please keep updating us on the Selunatics, ok?
Its too bad Blizzard gave you those 7 days at the end of the last expansion.

Hopefully when WoD has quieted down, they will do another 7 days. I'll bet a few of your guildies would have come back (or people are overhyping WoD in which case they would have already left again) to see what WoD hath wrought.
I did a quick search of your blog and it doesn't look like you've spent much time in LoTRO.

It has a whole lot of shortcomings re: interface, bugs and general clunkiness which takes a while to overlook, but as far as a vast immersive world with interesting stories I think it can't be beat. It might have that MMO thing that's missing for you in all the other games (it did for me...)

I'd suggest Landroval or Laurelin as fairly populated and friendly realms.
I am actually bored of MMORPG as well, since they're all pretty much the same. I sort of missed the old school sandboxes like Ultima Online or maybe even Sandpark like FFXI.

But yeah now days MMORGPs are all about questing, raiding, and somewhat pvp. Nothing about crafting, housing, exploration, treasure hunting, smuggling, taming or things like that.
"So don't be surprised if this blog isn't updated daily any more." Didn't you say this last year?

This time it wasn't a forward-looking statement. This post is only the 7th of the month of November, over nearly 3 weeks.

I did a quick search of your blog and it doesn't look like you've spent much time in LoTRO.

Funnily enough I have a "lifetime subscription" for LotRO. I very much like the world, and was on an extremely entertaining and friendly RP server. My problem with LotRO is that I hate the combat system which is so unresponsive. This is why I stopped, and it is what stops me every time I reinstall and try again.
You're hanging out at the wrong tabletop blogs. I haven't seen an argument about "realism and " in the majority of my own time spent perusing RPG blogs, and I follow a lot of them. The real problem I run into is the persistent attitude of elitish snobbery that one individual's system of style of gaming is naturally superior to all others....the neckbeard version of hipsterism, I guess.
Consider Penny-Arcade for a moment. I, like many others, visit their site (and yours) every day to see what they are saying in their news section. Sure, the comic is entertaining, but my interest in games aligns closely with Jerry's.

I read these blogs to find things (games, books, etc.) I didn't know about that I might like.

My point is, blog about the mobile games and other entertainments more.
I would have guessed that garrisons, the central component of WoD, seem right up your alley. Have you not looked into them or are you not interested?
I ever you do feel like writing about those older games you are playing the I for one would be happy to read about them.
Totally get it. I blogged when I had something to say and at some point I felt like everything there was to say that was actually interesting had already been said.

There are still occasionally new topics but I find that what I wrote on cash shops in 2009, for example, is still as true today as it was when I wrote it.

Since I not compelled to keep blogging in some effort to convince people of my truths, I never felt the need to keep writing the repetitive posts you see from other bloggers who re-hash the same topics over and over and over.

That said, the posts of YOURS that I enjoy most are the ones where you take a real life topic / issue and make it relevant to gaming. The example that comes immediately to mind is relating the economics of Quantitative Easing to MMO economies.

If those types of posts go away, I'll be sorely disappointed. :)
@Samus, garrisons are very cool and might be up Tobold's alley, but they still have limited customization past a point and right now the revamped crafting endgame you can do through them is annoyingly grindy & time-gated.

To echo others, WoD has the by far best leveling/questing experience of any expansion or launch I've tried. That said, it will clearly still devolve into WoW's gear/raid centric endgame within a month or two. But the leveling experience is fun enough that I'll have easily gotten my $50 worth even if I quit then.
I've got Talisman (fantasy board game) to introduce warriors, mages, quests and loot to my 7 years old son (who already loves that kind of stuff).

Sadly, I'm fed up with mmo's too. The latest WoW expansion seems to be the best one though. Feedback from the web is extremely positive and Blizzard managed to drag-in 3mil players, raising the subscribers to 10mil once again. They're amazing, no matter what.
Interestingly, news is that WoW is back up to 10m subscribers with the new expansion, not including Asia which hasn't hit yet. So who knows. Maybe Tobold will get sucked back in and be number 10 million and 1.
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