I just received an email from Codemasters informing me that LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) is stopping its European service of the game, and moving all of the players to the American servers.
First let me say that I do not play the game anymore, I played it for a few months with some real life friends before we moved on to other games. That said though, if I was still playing I would be pretty mad right now, the game has been running for a good few years, but apparently does not have the population to support a European server anymore, and I blame Blizzard and World of Warcraft in particular for this.
World of Warcraft, as a game, is ok. It’s not great, it’s average. The one thing that it excels at however, is being ridiculously easy. Compared to most other MMORPG’s, wow is a stroll in the park; players are flooded with shiny items and rewards from the get go, removing any sense of progress.
Back in the day, I played Everquest religiously. A game where rewards were few and far between – obtaining a new magical item or achieving the next level was a real achievement because it was damn difficult, and took time and effort, worlds away from wow’s easy levelling system.
Perhaps it’s an outmoded view of games, but I strongly believe that a player should have to earn progress in a game, it should take skill and effort to actually be good at a game; which is why I haven’t played Wow properly since the first expansion was released (Level 60 raiding in wow actually required skill).
I believe that while world of Warcraft still exists, there is no point developing any other fantasy based MMORPGS, as players have become so spoiled by the constant ratification of rewards in wow that no one will play anything that has a minute amount of difficulty… except Eve Online.
Admittedly, Eve is targeted at an older market. It has the harshest penalties of an MMORPG since vanilla everquests corpse runs.
In Eve, if you lose your ship, you lose it. There’s no quick respawning with all of your items, you have to go out and buy a new ship, with money that you have toiled to earn; it gives meaning to the risk of PVP, true risk versus reward – Kill the enemy and takes his stuff, or die and lose your stuff – brilliant.
Using the Carrot and Stick metaphor, World of Warcraft feeds the player carrot after carrot, just by mashing buttons. Eve takes the stick and whips you into submission until you have the skill to take it and beat others with it.
TL;DR – Stop playing Wow, stop taking the easy road, and start giving money to developers that make games that actually challenge you.