Grinding: all massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) have it. Some more than others, but it is always there. Go forth and slay 50 rats. Collect 10 copper pieces, 32 rat pelts, 19 rat tails. Turn in same. Repeat 245 times. Graduate to killing skeletons. Repeat 895 times. Ding! You leveled! Now go forth and slay 2,655 ghouls…. It is like factory work, but without the pay cheque. In fact, we actually pay someone else for the privilege of doing this, and call it “entertainment”.
You’d think we’d hate it, that these types of games would never catch on, yet tens of millions of players log in every day, strap on their virtual swords, and head out to slay another few thousand denizens of the countryside in pursuit of the elusive level. Every new massively multiplayer online game that comes out perpetuates the grinding “feature”. It is weird, doubly so because I seem to be afflicted by the same behavioral quirk as all the millions of people playing MMOGs. There has to be some reason why…
I’ve been playing massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) more or less since the genre got its name: about 1996. In that time I’ve played at least ten different games of this type: I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the horrendous. And I’m aware that MMOGs face a tremendous challenge beyond just the initial appeal of the first few weeks of play: they have to somehow capture and hold the players attention for years. And when those years have passed, it is nearly invariable that even the best game will end up being remembered by its flaws and disappointments rather than its strengths.
Thus it is that any review of a MMOG is purely a “point in time” perspective. And at this point in time, after about two weeks of play, I can say that Age of Conan is a brilliant game. I can not remember a MMOG that, from day one of its launch, performed so well or impressed me so much.
I recently mentioned to my nephew, more or less in passing, that the Age of Conan massively multiplayer game was about to ship. I expected this to result in a “ho hum” sort of response: both he and I have become somewhat jaded over the years from consuming a half score or so different online roleplaying games in the last decade. We play EQ2, there are other decent games, but nothing worth getting excited about.
I’ve been playing less and less of EQ2 during the past year or so. Other than logging in for our regular Saturday session with my Sister Judy and her husband Bryan, my Nephew Shane and his wife Monique, and of course my wife Irene, I really haven’t been playing at all.
I’ve been playing massively multiplayer RPGs for over a decade now: I have a collectors edition version of Ultima Online 🙂 So I could easily chalk it up to just being “bored” or tired of such games in general, and that’s what I did. I even tried a couple of other games. Vanguard was one, but it didn’t appeal, and ultimately the game itself sort of “died out”. More recently I re-activated my World of Warcraft account- that was fun, but more importantly I started to figure out myself and my disinterest a bit more.
Then my Nephew called up and suggested I get out of that WoW crap and create a new character in EQ2- that might be just the thing. Once I started playing that “new” character (actually one I created a year or so ago- a Kerran Paladin), the final piece explaining my ennui fell into place. I’m back to playing a couple of hours several days each week in addition to our Saturday session. And I’ll likely cancel my WoW account again shortly.
I played World of Warcraft a couple of years ago when my Nephew and family decided to check it out. I didn’t mind it, but was just starting to get into EQ2 when we moved and so it was a bit frustrating in that regard. Within a month or two we moved back to EQ2 and have stayed there since.