As 2013 comes to a close I want to reflect back on the MMOs I played this year. It was a weird one for MMOs, and I think this restrospective is quite telling.
Ultima Online Forever
I began the year playing UO Forever, a player-run shard. Practically the entire Keen and Graev Community played together, and we met a dozen new friends. I was reminded of how glorious it is to be able to focus on nothing but gathering materials and crafting. In its prime, UO was able to provide such a fulfilling experience to so many different playstyles. I was one of the top crafters on the entire server, placed the very first house, and became one of the richest players with the largest merchandise selection. The highs of building a player city, and the lows of being ganked repeatedly by other players, were a great way to start the year. This year’s adventure in UO lasted about 3 months.
Graev and I were originally uninterested in Defiance. Then, out of nowhere, we must have been bored enough to pay attention and get interested in playing. We played the beta for a bit, and slightly after launch, and quickly realized it wasn’t for us. We couldn’t get past how generic the game felt, and ultimately decided not to play longer than a few weeks. I’m pretty sure this is the way most people felt. Neat idea, pairing with a TV series and all, but overall “meh.”
EverQuest Project 1999
My next stop this year was yet another player-driven MMO server: EQ Project 1999. I think I played twice this year… I’m still trying to remember. I’m positive I played back in April, but I think I went back sometime during the Summer as well. I played as a Dwarf paladin and a Gnome Enchanter, and rekindled my love for Norrath.
Together with members of KGC, we camped Crushbone Orcs, Crocs in Oasis, Aviaks in SK, all sorts of stuff in Kunark, the bowels of Guk, Sol A, and more. I remembered why I love games that require players to group, and why it’s so awesome to have a massive world all about PvE.
Final Fantasy XIV
FFXIV launched in August, and for the last four months has been the MMO of choice for me and the community. FFXIV started really strong, albeit more themepark than I had hoped. The leveling content is solid, and perhaps one of the more polished MMO experiences outside of a Blizzard product. The class system truly embraces the themepark model by allowing one character to essentially be everything.
Where FFXIV has fallen short for me and a lot of the members in our community is the the end-game. FFXIV focuses on raiding the same bosses over and over, and for a while had a huge leap in difficulty between the grind and hardest encounters people wanted to see.
Thankfully patch 2.1 finally came out this month which added PvP and Housing. I confess myself disappointed by the incredibly high prices for housing and dumbed-down and unbalanced PvP. Overall, I don’t know how much longer I am going to last in FFXIV if they don’t do more to make the game about Final Fantasy instead of about being a theempark.
As you can see, 2013 was… an off year for MMOs. It makes sense if you think about it. This year has been entirely about waiting for the next big thing. EverQuest Next Landmark, WildStar and The Elder Scrolls Online all officially launch in 2014.
The best things to come out of MMOs for me in 2013 were the friends I’ve made. I’ve made at least a dozen new friends — most now a big part of our gaming community — and hope to continue playing with them for many years to come. That’s why I play MMOs, and even in a year like 2013 it’s nice to know that people still make these games worth playing.
I’m curious to hear your impressions of 2013’s MMOs. What did you play?