Before I headed overseas a couple of times I’d been playing Neverwinter Nights on AOL with their GEOS (GeoWorks) DOS interface. Overseas I kissed online gaming goodbye. When I got back the new generation of games were out. EQI was available, but seemed “old school” at the time. I really wanted to play Star Wars Galaxies, but it wouldn’t play on my laptop. I picked up Lineage II when it released. That got me back into an online MMORPG. And later that fall, when EQII came out, I was seriously considering jumping to that ship. And then World of Warcraft appeared. With my experience in Warcraft (Humans and Orcs, etc.) it was a great match, and so WoW it was.
Now, nearly ten years later, and 10+ for Lineage II and EQ I, those two, as well as EQII *and* World of Warcraft, are still “going strong.”
Since picking up World of Warcraft in December 2004, I have also played EQII (dabbled on a character in my wife’s account), Lord of the Rings Online (made it to Rohan), Warhammer Online (Collector’s Edition feeling a little like a mistake even as I left the store with it, me being unfaithful to World of Warcraft and all), Rift , Guild Wars 2, (the wife spent some time in GW1), Neverwinter (I got out of the city), Elder Scrolls Online, and most recently Wildstar.
The wife’s been with me in each one. Sometimes I take a lead in getting us into the game (WoW, Warhammer, Rift, Wildstar), or she does (LotRO, GW2, TESO, Neverwinter).
None of them were bad games. Each offered something that got me willing to suscribe (WoW, LotRO, Warhammer, Rift, Wildstar) or to otherwise invest a bit of time(Neverwinter). Graphics mostly. But setting too. And gameplay mechanics.
Lord of the Rings Online was a soft start for me. The wife stuck with it and got me back into it as well. The “free-to-play” model is bogus, because subbing is really the only way to access areas in which to quest. We took our couple all the way to Rohan. Riding mounts, nice costume pieces, etc.. Beautiful scenery, and okay graphics, didn’t manage to keep us for ten years. A good number though, as we subbed, unsubbed, resubbed, and now unsubbed.
Rift grabbed me with the incredible graphics. Gameplay seemed standard enough. The storylines between the two factions oddly asymmetrical. The “Rockridge” desert graphics are my favorite in any game so far. We actually unsubbed from WoW for a bit while we played this. We got to nearly max level, and pre-expansion, got to the final zone. We toured it, revealing the map, and then logged off for the last time. That last zone, with the mobs standing around … dang if it didn’t feel like I suddenly realized the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes!
TESO had nice graphics, but finally I wearied of the dark undertones. And the bots were crazy. Even grouping was fubared, to put it kindly. We even tried the PvP, the main selling point, and she and I could not link up in the same instance. The game refused to allow us to play together. We agreed to unsub after a month. She’s talking about resubbing, but not yet.
Wildstar has great graphics, a fun setting, interesting mechanics, but my wife didn’t like the graphics as much, thinking WoW’s were crisper. And while I was fine with the jumping around fighting style, my wife wasn’t moving as fast. In a game requiring you to get out of the fire on every fight, and only getting more and more challenging, crispy bits were on the horizon. She wasn’t enthralled, so we’re unsubbing after getting our first mounts. (As apparently most the rest of the blogoshpere is too).
The time factor has a lot to do with it. We didn’t have a child to look after when we started all this ten years ago. Now we do. We’ve got 2 hours, tops, a night, to play. That doesn’t allow a lot of different titles, not really. So the game needs to be fun, deliver that fun in bite size pieces, and if it’s an old friend we know, even better.
Our one sub right now is our Ten-Yearer, World of Warcraft.
On the side, she’s seeing the new content in Neverwinter, and I’m messing around with voxels in Landmark.
Maybe we need a new Ten-Yearer when the current Ten-Yearer goes away. (A sentiment I undoubtedly share with anyone whose been in Lineage II, EQII, etc., for ten or more years.) But until it does, I’ll keep looking, wanting the “next big thing” but fine with the current “big thing.” (And it doesn’t hurt that my current “big thing” is huge.)