I played both EverQuest and World of Warcraft today. These two games have worlds which are quite disparate, but one key difference kept coming into focus: I’m not afraid of monsters or the worlds in most new(er) MMOs.
Modern MMOs do not readily create experiences that are dangerous to the point of making you think twice about going or doing something. In fact, games encourage players to give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happens really is the mantra. New MMOs will encourage you to scour every corner of the world, and in most cases protect you from dangers by giving you very clear indicators that the area you are about to enter could be tough (if they allow you in at all).
Older MMOs mixed danger right in like chocolate chips in pancake batter (can you guess what I had for dinner?). You wanted to explore. You felt like the world was tempting you to explore, but you knew that exploring really wasn’t in your best interest. You still tried, and were quickly reminded why you should hug zone walls.
While working on a quest chain in WoW today I died 3x due to some weird mechanic I didn’t pick up on. While frustrating, I ultimately brute forced my way through. I put into a situation in EQ where I almost died and it made the hair on my neck stand on end and my heart beat hastened. I was terrified and it caused me to decide not to go into this particular area to pull mobs.
In WoW I was blowing through 8 mobs at a time that were 2-3 levels above me. I was running through a group of elites to get to a quest objective I had to click on. I simply didn’t care about what was around me. Everything in the world was just in my way and I would ride my mount through and be on my way. In EQ, I’m terrified of what level mobs are and I’m always thinking about how close I am to anything.
I like both. Both work. Both provide a different experience. I tend to like the games that are a little more dynamic, though. I found that today I bored a quicker while playing WoW and opted for grouping in Kunark slaying Sarnaks in a fort.