I was doing well lately, all warm and cozy sleeping under a rock, not caring much about the world of blogging at large and discovering the simple joys of playing FF14, A realm reborn whenever I managed to beat the dreaded login issues. For those not in the know, the servers have been screaming uncle since day 1.
So me being me, I did the rounds of blogs and forums to see if anyone had a magical solution or simply share in other people experiences and what I found was… disturbing. Lots of angry screaming kids calling themselves critics or pro players shouting at the top of their lungs to decry the evil of A realm reborn.
But don’t worry friends, I grabbed my trusty chainsaw (saw Evil Dead yesterday), slew a few of the offenders and now it’s my turn on the soap box.
Something old and something new
I’m not going to launch in a long rant of A realm reborn itself because I believe that if you’re reading this you’re a smart person and you can deduce information. Realm Reborn is an old school MMO wrapped in shiny new clothes, incredibly pretty new clothes in fact. Think Burning crusade WoW but with new graphics and a dungeon finder.
For those who were not around during Burning crusade let me try to put things into perspective. Burning crusade was the meeting point between old school Everquest like MMO and the new breed of MMOs we have now. It was slower paced, grindy, put more emphasis on the RPG elements and was less accomodating to the players. Living in the world was often more important than giving players quality of life improvements. In short, if it made more sense in the world to make you run 15 minutes in mob infested forests then that’s what would happen and that was it.
On the other hand, there were some new elements present to make players lives a bit easier that reflected common sense. Players needed something else to do at endgame other than raiding, they needed ways to advance their characters, dungeons duration were more manageable (no more 4 hours BRD) and endgame didn’t need to be a full-time job.
A Realm Reborn is exactly that. It’s an old school MMO that put emphasis on world building and storyline with a few modern sensibilities and personally I love it.
These past few months I’ve had a lot of time to meditate on my disinterest from MMOs and what I wanted out of an MMO. What I came back to most of the time is that I felt we had lost somewhere that feeling of being part of a living world. If I want to run dungeons endlessly, do pvp or play an RPG I have other games out there which will give me those experiences faster and without subscriptions models. The one thing an MMO has going for it that can’t be replicated elsewhere is that feeling of being part of a community, living in whatever fantasy world is offered.
And I believe that in order to achieve that blissful state of community and belonging, some suffering must be endured. The path to the golden land of a living MMO is not made of game mechanics, it’s made of people sharing experiences, wether together or separately in the same world. That run from Darnassus to Ironforge did more for WoW popularity than the dungeon finder ever did.
So to all the critics out there who are having the time of their lives blasting A Realm reborn a new one while simultaneously praising the games of old I have this message for you: please shut up. Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!!
Either you like old school MMOs, with all good and the bad that comes with or you don’t. You can not like Realm Reborn because you don’t like the story, the world, the combat or any number of reasons but not because it’s dated…
Newsflash people, it’s not dated, it’s world-centric. What you call dated mechanics are a way of doing things that focus on the story and the world first. It’s ok to not like that particular way of doing things but if that’s the case please have the honesty of saying it’s not your cup of tea. Also, say what you will, but WoW reached its peak on those mechanics… maybe there’s something to them that’s worth going back to.
I’ll finish by saying that A Realm Reborn is the first MMO in a very long time to shake me out of my MMO disinterest and I’m not the only one. In fact there’s so many of us that the servers are full to capacity every night since launch. So much so that Square Enix will have to add servers. Maybe the game will turn out to be a disappointment later on but right now, I feel like we have something special going on.