Failing the Challenge

Tipa at West Karana reminded us last week of her MMO Challenge. Which is, in short, to pick one MMO, stick with it for a whole year, and ignore everything else. The idea being that you don’t really get the full MMO experience if you dabble in a bunch of different games.

I pointed out at the time that she was quite right, and waved a hand or three at limiting myself to just one game, but it’s never worked out. I’m just not the kind of player that can play just one thing, and this dates all the way back to my tabletop days. I think I stuck more or less exclusively to WoW for about five months, but that’s where I stopped. I have failed at Tipa’s challenge.

What I have managed to do, since the original challenge, is narrow my selection a bit. EVE, which I am currently playing, and Age of Conan, which I am not but plan to get back to, are my go-to subscription games. Titles like DDO, LotRO and EQ2X are too attractive as free-to-play games for me to ignore entirely. And I have a lifetime sub to Champions Online, so I’ll be checking in on that again later this month. That’s my roster. Other games of which I was fond or that I played for a while, like Vanguard, City of Heroes, Guild Wars and WAR, I’ve written off permanently.

And I don’t intend to partake immediately in any of this year’s offerings, including Rift and Star Wars: The Old Republic. I’ve even cooled off a lot on Guild Wars 2, which I was pretty hot for a few months back. But if there’ll be an exception, GW2 will be it.

That’s because of the free-to-play phenomenon. It used to be that the available F2P offerings were all junky Asian grinders with predatory cash shops and a design and visual aesthetic that I just can’t stand. That’s not true anymore – we now have high-quality F2P titles built to big-budget Western standards. Consequently, it takes a lot to get me to pay a subscription fee these days. EVE and AoC offer me what I’m willing to pay a subscription for, while other titles do not – and that emphatically includes World of Warcraft.

But that brings me back around to the challenge. If you only could play one MMO – call it your desert island game – which one would it be? I suspect that for most the answer will be the pallid but agreeable WoW. For me, today, it would be DDO. I might have a different answer tomorrow, but it would be one of the games on the roster above, regardless. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

6 responses to “Failing the Challenge

  1. I think Everquest 2 might be that game for me. I’ve yet to reach max level, you see. 🙂

    The thing is, their decision to make the freeblood vampire race a paid transaction instead of something that comes with the game purchase kind of rubs me the wrong way.

  2. My answer for the last three years has been EvE, because of all the human-created drama – to the extent that it’s the first and only ORPG which interested me after I stopped playing MUDs in the last century.

  3. If I could only play one MMO it would have to be Everquest. Other MMOs I could play indefinitely, probably forever, are EQ2 and Vanguard.

    The key for me is that playing them has to be a similar experience to listening to music. One can listen to the same piece of music hundreds, even thousands of times and always enjoy it. The same is true for me of large swathes of the content in those three MMOs. I spent most of this weekend doing content in EQ2 that I’ve done literally dozens of times before, just for the sheer fun and pleasure of doing it. And when I say “content” what I mostly mean is “killing gnolls”.

  4. EvE, it’s been EvE for the last 3 years. I did try DDO, I made it to L4, it was an OK diversion, but I doubt it could ever be my main game.

    I’ve even stopped finishing “normal games”, HL2: somewhere in Ep2, Fallout 3: part way through the “final mission”, Bioshock: 2/3rds through maybe, Minecraft: fun for some limited time gaming…

  5. If I could pick only 1 it would be EQ2. I like EVE, but I could drop it easily enough. Don’t care for WoW the couple of times I’ve tried it. DDO and LoTRO being G2p would be nice to have, but I usually forget I have them installed and just play EQ2 anyway, so. . . EQ2 for me for sure.

  6. If I picked only one it would probably be LOTRO right now. However, if EVE were ever available without a subscription, that might be the one game I could see challenging LOTRO as my desert island game. The thing that makes LOTRO my pick is that it’s not just a game I enjoy playing, it’s a world I enjoy living in. I could see EVE becoming that, but I don’t do subscription games.

    EVE is probably the most tempting game I’m not playing though, as the first games to really enamor me in a story were the Wing Commander series. I think Privateer was the first one I owned, followed by Academy and Armada. Privateer was really my first love, and its spiritual successor Freelancer took it several notches forward. EVE is likely several steps forward from Freelancer. It’s only the subscription that keeps me away.

    I played DDO with Ardwulf and company of course. But the combination of our group fading and my getting into the LOTRO f2p beta killed that. I haven’t logged in there in probably 4-6 months, but by being f2p it will still be waiting for me if I get the urge. The only other MMO I’m playing right now is Pirates of the Burning Sea, which I just started dabbling in. It has a bit of SOE’s patented “why do you make me use a cash shop to do this essential game function?” nuisance, and the controls are not perfect, but I’m liking it overall.