MMO starting areas are one of the most overlooked concepts despite being directly related to one of the most debated subjects out there: The World. Â The latest EQ Next poll asks for feedback.
I am 100% against having just one starting area. Â I feel like I’m always saying this, but that’s one of the big problems with MMOs today. Â The experience is controlled, throttled, and linear. Â I don’t want one starting area, and I don’t care how much the lore of the game is involved. Â If your lore restricts you to one starting area in a MMO then there’s a big issue with the lore.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes and EverQuest are two of the best examples out there for starting areas. Â Heck, even WoW didn’t do a bad job back at launch. Â Players need to be spread out however it makes the most sense. Â And I don’t mean spread out like you’re seeing in modern themeparks today where there’s a 2 minute walk or teleport to each of them. Â Starting areas need to be very far away, and actually be part of the character creation process.
The classic example I’ve given in the past is #MyEQStory. Â Players start hours apart, and in areas of the world so different from each other that the social mechanisms are different. Â I remember seeing people say, “We do things differently in this part of the world.” Â Someone hunting in Crushbone might be used to players behaving differently than those in Blackburrow. Â Even the experiences are totally unique; Players on one side of the world might have a dungeon crawl deep into the depths of a vast cavern network, and players on the other side fight camps of orcs in a forest. Â The unique experience matters because people can swap stories.
I like knowing that my decision to start somewhere matters. Â I can’t be a shaman and start on the continent of Faydwer. Â That makes meeting different classes and races a really neat experience. Â I like knowing that the world is big and there are players far away experiencing something unique. Â That feeling enhances my own experience and gives the MMO a huge sense of replayability.