I hinted yesterday about anticipation killing games. This idea about hype isn’t a new one. If you read MMO blogs, especially if you read this one six years ago, you know how bad hype can be when a game is built up and put up on a pedestal. Nothing can ever, ever, live up to the expectations we create in our heads.
I’m generalizing a lot and speaking for everyone here, so let me explain why I can’t personally let myself anticipate MMOs as much as I used to.
My imagination runs away
I had a decent imagination as a kid. I still do. When it comes to MMOs, however, my imagination is crazy. I envision worlds functioning almost like real life. I see people working together in ways that really aren’t probable. I start to see PvP like a real medieval battle. I see archers on battlements and rows of pikeman advancing. I see the battle of Helm’s Deep. I think about crafting like a blacksmith really owning a shop in Camelot. All of that is what I want and imagine, but never what translates into gameplay.
I already experienced what I want and love about MMOs
Three of my favorite MMOs are: (1) EverQuest, (2) Star Wars Galaxies, and (3) Dark Age of Camelot. Three very, very different games. All three were (almost) perfect (for me) back in their day. Those games have never been recreated. I’ve gone back and played emulated versions of all of them. I’ve sought out sequels, games created by the same devs, and never have I experienced them again. I can’t figure out why, but I know that’s been a trigger for experiencing that feeling of falling flat on my face when I anticipate new MMOs too much.
MMOs have become too much about business
Whether or not anything has actually changed, I think of MMOs today as more of a business venture rather than a team getting together to build something special. MMOs cost more money so more funding is needed. When more funding is needed you have to worry about making it back and then some. This industry has gone through a phase or awful new business models trying to find itself. We’re just now, maybe, starting to come out of that.
I can sit back and say that no game will ever again be worth anticipating and that we shouldn’t ever get excited, but that’s going too far. I’ve written plenty in the past about the fact that you can still get excited, and should, but keep your excitement in check. Look at the facts. Consider 100% of the game rather than the 5% or 10% you like. If you’re like me and you know why you can’t anticipate games with such zeal, temper those expectations and look for other ways to get excited.