Tobold's Blog
Monday, August 17, 2015
Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention

Syp started the latest MMORPG blogosphere trend talking about regrets, followed by Rowan Blaze and Telwyn. I was a bit surprised that they all shared the regret of not having gotten into MMORPGs earlier. I'm not in the same boat: I played LPMUDs on a university mainframe computer with ASCII terminal, 25 x 80 text characters "resolution". I played Ultima Online on dial-up, and quit after the first telephone bill arrived. I played Everquest relatively early on, even if I wasn't there for release. I started my MMORPG blog over a year before World of Warcraft was released, and at that time already had played pretty much every game on the market. I'm just not sure that Syp, Rowan, and Telwyn missed much.

Certainly, the early period of MMORPGs pre-WoW had more variety, the formula of what a MMORPG is was less fixed and less static. There was a lot more experimentation going on. On the other hand, a lot of that experimentation went horribly wrong. There are events, like the launch of Anarchy Online, where my regret is to have been there rather than not having been there. Anarchy Online also showed what could go wrong if you designed worlds and stuff by algorithms, for example by creating weapons that actually had negative stats, because the weapon existed at 200 different levels and the formula designed the stats at level 100 and the slope of increase/decrease per level could be so steep that the low levels fell below 0. Several games experimented with open world player housing, leading either to horrible overcrowding (UO) or deserted player cities when server populations shrank (SWG). Star Wars Galaxies was full of failed experiments, like the first Jedi design, or the NGE, but probably had the best resource gathering and crafting system I've ever seen. Everquest and Final Fantasy XI showed up the limits of forced grouping. Nearly every early game failed to foresee that some people would camp or grind stuff 16 hours a day (and modern games still haven't found an adequate solution for that). So the early days of MMORPGs kind of resembled the mythical Chinese curse of "may you live in interesting times". I don't regret having lived in interesting times, but the experience wasn't always pleasant.

Overall I can't say I regret much of my long years in MMORPGs. The worst regret is possibly having fallen for the hype and buying the lifetime subscription for Lord of the Rings Online, and then playing the game very little because of the unresponsive combat system. I certainly made mistakes, both with playing MMORPGs and with blogging about them, but I tend not to regret my mistakes but rather cherish them as a learning experience. Thus the Sinatra quote in the title. The very definition of a game is that it provides a safe environment for experimentation, with limited consequences, thus I would say it is natural to have less regrets about games than about real life.

I hated SWGs crafting system. If you wanted a "high end" item, it was actually worse then "lesser" items because it had less variability in it's ingredients. Beyond that, it was ludicrously complicated and totally ignored reality in every way.

To be fair, I started playing it when it first released and quit soon after, I thought the game generally sucked. My boss played it too, (Everyone at work played pretty much every game when it came out... at work.) he thought it was hilarious that his rifle could fire backwards.

I dislike variability in crafting systems. It SOUNDS like a good idea? But what you invariable get is a factory that makes thousands of items and then either keeps only the "good" ones, or floods the market with crap.

In Dark Age of Camelot, I ran 4 multiboxed characters in my in-game house (With all the crafting equipment.) I churned out thousands of items, then recycled all the ones that weren't perfect and sold the perfect ones through the vendor on my porch. I was plat capped in no time. I regret spending all that time doing that, but not the realization that the system was so messd up in that it allowed it.
"buying the lifetime subscription for Lord of the Rings Online"

ahahahahaaaa.......omg! Pity you missed my post on MMO regrets then Tobold (which is actually the kick-off post, as this was my blaugust prompt), Nr.1 on my list would've been a good laugh ;D
My LOTRO lifetime sub isn't one of my regrets. When the dysfunctional relationship between Codemasters and Turbine finally broke down and Turbine took back the EU servers; Codemasters got a slice of revenge by offering up lifetime membership in a flash sale. So EU vets, like myself, could get a lifetime sub that Turbine had to contractually honour but for about %40 of the original price tag.
I did continue to play the game for some time after that and part of the reason was the ability to dip back in as I felt and with most of the obnoxious Turbine Store stuff ignorable.
I'm sort of in the same boat as you Tobold. There were some choices that I can look back on and say "That was probably the wrong choice" in hindsight, but I don't really regret any of them. Nothing was a CATASTROPHICALLY bad choice or a LUDICROUS waste of money.
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