Continueing on from Part 1, this is a post about mechanics and features from old MMO’s that I love and wish would return in the future.Â These are probably mechanics that, unless you were enjoying yourself back in the day, you probably hate.Â Nevertheless, these are mechanics that I feel made the MMO’s like EQ special and unique.
Stay on the Path or Die!
The worlds were dangerous back in the day!Â Staying on the path was not just a way to avoid getting lost (no maps) but it was a way to stay alive and a benefit to the game world and immersion.Â If you didn’t stay on the path when adventuring or traveling then chances are you were either stupid, brave, or in a group and wanting to pick a fight.Â Monsters were far more dangerous to players than they are now.Â Even at lower levels, players would stick together in common resting areas where they could protect one another.Â This type of mechanic was present from the start and could be seen with lowbies crowding together in Greater Faydark (EverQuest) while hunting orcs.
Sometimes the actual path itself was the dangerous part and players would actually benefit from hugging zone walls.Â In fact, the higher level you got the more dangerous it was to go anywhere but on the outskirts.Â This created a sense of depth to the zones and created this ‘the deeper you go inside the harder it gets’ concept.Â You might be able to solo on the outskirts of a zone but if you wanted to go inside it meant finding a group or being very careful.
This sense of danger about the world increased the community’s interaction and fostered a very group-centric mindset.Â Players benefited from grouping with others and benefited from being a type of player that attracted groups rather than scaring them away.Â Even though the zones were quite large compared to the ones we play in today, the world was given an artificial sense that it was even bigger and more massive because of what players were unable to see.Â If all that you could see was a scary forest all around you and you never left the path then you were always wondering what was just a few more feet in ‘that’ direction.
Fast and Dynamic Crowd Control
Really, really popular in EverQuest, DAoC, and even the very beginning of WoW to a lesser extent, crowd controlling is a mechanic that has disappeared very fast.Â This goes back to monsters being very dangerous and games being about teamwork.Â The original holy trinity was actually Tank, Healer, and CC.Â Today it’s Tank, Heals, and DPS.Â I preferred the CC.Â Crowd Control was a really dynamic way of creating a challenge for groups to overcome.Â One class’ role was entirely about making sure that the group was fighting only what it could handle.Â A skilled enchanter could CC 4-5 monsters at once and control a fight like a conductor leading an orchestra.
Players were also forced to play better because of CC.Â If you were not paying attention and just facerolling your keyboard like the current generation actually promotes then you were going to break mez and wipe your group.Â It was harder and fights lasted longer, but it was a really unique way of fighting in groups.
This little mechanic is now considered more of a negative than a positive.Â There was a time when people envied a class’ ability to kite mobs around.Â Druids from EQ were my favorite kiters with Necromancer reverse kiting coming in second.Â Snaring, fearing, rooting, and DoT’s were usually the bread and butter kiting mechanics.Â Â Now it’s considered an exploit if you kite and most games will code it so that mobs “leash” and prevent you from kiting them.Â This also ties back in to the challenge that mobs presented and how you really could not let things hit you.Â It was a legitimate technique to kill things and it was fun.
Those Pesky NPC’s that Ruined Your Day
There is no NPC/Mob that I love to hate more than Sergeant Slate!Â Dorn comes in a close second.Â *shakes fist*Â You don’t see too many of these as developers have shied away from creating these dangerous and often frustrating mechanics.Â Funny enough, these are the ones I remember with a smile on my face.
Part 3 will be coming this weekend and will conclude this little series.Â Feel free to share any of your favorite old MMO mechanics that would probably be really unpopular in today’s MMO’s.