Last week the Pantheon MMO Twitter account asked this simple question, and I've been thinking about how I'd respond.
There are plenty of moments in time that stand out to me as memorable that I would love to relive. My EQ Story about the run from Qeynos to Freeport, logging into a 3D virtual realm for the first time in Active Worlds, roleplaying in The Realm, winning a Warcraft 3 tournament, racing to the front lines of a relic defense at 3am in Dark Age of Camelot... the list goes on.
Instead of focusing on a specific moment or event, I'm going to pick an era that I'd love to relive. I'd like to relive the time when games would come out, and each game was radically different from anything else we'd ever played. That goes for all games.
Specific to MMOs, since that's probably what VR is getting at (since Pantheon is a MMO), I'd go back to that time when The Realm, EQ, DAoC, FFXI, SWG, etc., were all out or coming out and you could pick any of them and have a unique experience. Seriously, truly unique.
That was also a time when excitement was at its highest for MMOs. We were awestruck on a yearly basis -- often more. Cynicism hadn't crept in about future releases. No one talked about clones. Business models weren't even a topic of conversation. People still had their favorite games and would bash on the ones they didn't like, but no one was doing so for the reasons we see today.
MMO gaming was smaller back then, and as a result the companies were smaller and their interactions with the community more intimate. The guys actually coding the games were on the forums talking to people (forums were a thing), and community sites dedicated to a single game were often the hottest source for developer/community interaction. I think the developers themselves cared more, or at least it felt like they did because it was often entirely their brain child, rather than many of them being just a cog in some bigger machine.
How about you? What part of your gaming past would you relive, and why?