The Downfalls of Two Great MMO's
World of Warcraft
Oh, World of Warcraft. I remember the first time I played you. A Night Elf Hunter, exploring Nordrassil, and amazed at some of the particle effects and how smooth everything ran. My experiences with World of Warcraft are somewhat limited, I played that Hunter to level thirteen before my dad cancelled the sub (I was eleven years old when this game came out, mind you) and I thought I would never again play it. When The Burning Crusade came out, I had a gift card to Hastings so I went and purchased the game, made it to level thirty on Blizzard servers, spent a lot of time tinkering with different classes, and my sub ran out. Unable to renew it, I looked in to private servers. I know, I know, very grey line legalities. However, I didn't get really "in" to the game except for the Player Versus Player (PVP) content until Wrath of the Lich King came out. Being a little bit older at this point, and with a computer that could run the game better, I dove in with a vengeance. On break from EverQuest because I no longer had a sub, World of Warcraft somewhat filled a void. The leveling was fast-paced (which as a power gamer, I enjoyed) the content was somewhat appeasing, but it still wasn't as immersive as EQ. After reaching the max level and obtaining some PvP gear, it was game over. I was on WoW at least six hours a day murdering people in the battlegrounds. After a few months, I grew bored and moved on to X-Box Live.
Returning from X-Box Live after a few months, I decided to become a GM on a 255 server and handled every aspect of it, database, development, forum administration, as well as handling a large percentage of the tickets. At the time, with no other responsibilities, I was on eighteen hours a day. It wasn't long before I was burned out and took another break.
The TechGen Feral PvP 4.3.4
A year later my brother came with me to World of Warcraft on another private server, Molten, for the remainder of Wrath (at least for the server we were on before it went to Cataclysm) and we pounded out our 80 levels and started raiding. From my brief experiences in vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King was WoW's height. After the private server we were on went to Cataclysm, and got the bugs fixed after launch, we switched toons and pounded out our 85 levels at severe disappointment in the changes to the talent trees. At 85 while doing PvP, we were so disgusted with how much customization was taken away from our talent builds that we quit PVP altogether for a time, my brother just about completely quit playing, and I went on to raiding for a short while. Again, shortly after, I quit the game almost for a good while, and still not playing.
As I've seen with EverQuest, developers do make bad expansion choices and patch choices, but from what I've heard with Mists of Pandaria Blizzard has just about shot themselves in both feet. I've encountered thousands of Warcraft enthusiasts who left Cataclysm for Wrath, and the same with Pandaria for Cataclysm. Unless they can make a huge comeback with Warlords of Draenor, their stranglehold on the market with "10 million subscribers!" will swiftly decay just as EverQuest's did.
Sony's EverQuest. The first major MMO that kicked off a parade of other MMO's. I started playing this game in 2003 at nine years old during the Legacy of Ykesha expansion, and at that point the game had already been around for four years. I started a little tadpole (Froglok) paladin named Brackleck, and started out twinked by my dad's Wood Elf Ranger, Gruelien Brytefayme. For those of you who don't know what "twinking" is, twinking is getting a bunch of gear that a low level couldn't possibly acquire with much better stats than anything they could get their hands on, and giving it to them. At the tender age of nine, I roamed around the Froglok city of Gukta, looking at all the mosquito pets flying around, marveling at the adventure my tadpole was about to start on. After I was acquainted with Gukta, I went out in to the Innothule Swamps, massacring spiderlings and the occasional Froglok zombie. Ever since those first few hours, I was hooked.
EverQuest has long been called EverCrack, topping out around 450,000 subscriptions in 2004, before the release of World of Warcraft. There were more then a few thousand reports of hard-core players getting in trouble at work doing some number-crunching at work. I personally play with the leaders of Euphoria, one of the best raid guilds on my home server of the Nameless. The male co-leader (the leaders were a married couple) was a math teacher, and while he was having his students doing in-class work or while they were at recess or lunch, he would run some numbers on the raid they were doing that night and what drops (gear drops from mobs) he would need to improve his character.
Call of the Forsaken
Ever since those glory days, EverQuest has dropped off due to poor patches, expansions, and tweaks made by SOE. It is a long-running joke that whenever SOE announces a fix with a fixed date, it'll be another two weeks to six months later. EverQuest is now fast becoming an obsolete, yet for those of us who are veteran players, nostalgic and still extremely fun, MMO with all the new combat systems and in some scenarios the graphics, although the biggest turn-off that I've heard from friends I've had play the game, is the annoying and clunky UI. In my personal opinion, instead of releasing EverQuest II, Sony should have instead changed EverQuest's combat system, UI layout, and a few other minor changes. Not necessarily the graphics, EverQuest II is a major resource hog and because of that, it lost all the neat flora and fauna that you can still see throughout EverQuest. Watching little squirrels running around the forest floors of Kelethin is still a massive moment of nostalgia for returning players.
Now in it's 20th expansion, which I beta tested and was the first player in to the last zone that was released, Dead Hills and also the first one to tell the dev team it's not challenging enough if my Shadow Knight and a monk can run through it with just a healer mercenary (mercenaries were added several expansions back while I was taking a break from the game, they were introduced to relieve the stress of grouping due to loss of population, almost all EverQuest content requires a group of players), EverQuest has gone free-to-play micro-transaction to try and attract previous players as well as new players that couldn't or didn't want to purchase a subscription. For some of us veterans, that was also a slap in the face. However, us dedicated veterans will most likely stick to EQ until they close the servers, I know a ton of players that will not be moving to EverQuest: Next when it launches, and through all the bull, EverQuest is still one of the best games on the market.