Back in the 90s, before the horrible time known as “Eternal September”, those of us who wrote our own SLIP scripts and dabbled in the dirty realm of the TCP/IP stack reminisced about a time where we used to play in MUDs (that’s Multi-User Dungeon) on BBSes (bulletin board services). Those were computer servers that you would manually dial into; they were running bulletin board software where you could download files, share information, and play in these multiplayer games. When Tim Berners-Lee shared the invention that would connect these computers together in an “inter-net” the MUD jumped across the divide, continuing to grow. Graphical interfaces were added, addictions were formed, and marriages were destroyed. Yes, I lived through all of that. It was a good time.
What is an MMO?
Strictly speaking, an MMO is a game where players join together in a persistent or semi-persistent world, to do stuff together. There are MMORPGs – that’s a massively multiplayer online role playing game, there are MMOFPS – that’s a massively multiplayer online first person shooter (or TPS, third person shooter, depending on the game), and there are MMOSSGs – space simulation games on a grand scale. In most games you create a character, and they become your avatar in this game world where you go out adventuring or questing,
Many MMOs have a monthly fee attached to them, this model is referred to as P2P or Pay to Play – EverQuest, World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy XIV all use this model. Some have taken an approach that you can play for free after you’ve bought the game–that’s called B2P or Buy to Play, and it’s used by games like Destiny and Guild Wars 2. Finally there’s the F2P (free to play) model, which is generally supported by micro transactions and B2P expansion packs.
Top 3 Favourite RPGs of 2015 to date
The MMO space is undergoing some change in 2015, with some old and new options available. Here are the top 3 MMO games of 2015 for me.
3. World of Warcraft Warlords of Draenor
If you haven’t already played through the epic that is World of Warcraft, you owe it to yourself to check it out. The undisputed king of MMORPGs since 2005, WoW is a juggernaut with two factions, and a handful of races and and character classes. There’s a decade worth of content to go through, with a recently re-launched level 1-60 experience and an accelerated path through the 60-95 level so you can get to the new stuff faster.
Warlords of Draenor is pretty phenomenal, with some issues. The expansion starts out strong with you landing on the world of Draenor in an alternate dimension / timeline in an effort to stop Grom and Garrosh Hellscream from invading the past to protect your future. I’m not sure if you eventually end up ensuring that Marty’s parents still dance together at the Under the Sea ball, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
Anyway, whether you’re horde or alliance you’re set to invade this land to neuter the Iron Horde to protect Azeroth. It’s a blast to play through and level up to 100, and you get your own garrison to build… which is where things fall apart a bit. This particular part of the game has turned WoW into a “log-in daily Facebook game” which sucks, but there’s new raid content on the way that might fix that. In the meantime, you owe it to yourself to play through the expansion until it becomes unfun, and hopefully Blizzard will have new fun content for you soon after. I’m still waiting, but I found the experience worth the money I paid for it.
2. Final Fantasy XIV
I own this for PC and PS4, and played it for a time, but nowhere near the level that some of my friends did…and they love it. Set in the world of Eorzea, FFXIV: A Realm Reborn bills you as a hero of light, set to fight against the darkness in a world recently remoulded by a war that’s actually a stand in for when they had to relaunch the game because it was so terrible the first time it came out. It’s a good thing that they did, because A Realm Reborn (the subtitle for this version of FF14) is actually quite good. The graphics are beautiful, the game plays well both with a keyboard and mouse and with a controller, and there’s cross platform play for both PC and PlayStation systems; I find that to be quite cool.
There’s a lot of depth to FF14, with a ton of races and job classes to choose from, along with player/guild housing, and raiding content that will keep you and large groups of your friends busy for some time to come.
Destiny is one of those games that launched with huge expectations, and despite the gameplay being absolutely fantastic, the content wasn’t that impressive. The shooting, jumping, powers, and combat was great; the reasons they gave you to do so and the way they asked you to do it wasn’t great.
We’re nearly 8 months on at this point, with two expansions released, and despite a lot of mistakes being made along the way it’s a much better game.
Destiny is a massively multiplayer online first person shooter; you can have up to three characters of one of three character classes and three races. You’ll start out being awoken by a “Ghost” robot voiced by Peter Dinklage, rushed off to find a gun before you’re re-killed by some bad-guys named the Fallen. There’s a story in Destiny somewhere, but it really doesn’t matter (it pains me to write that) because there’s plenty of shooting to do. Play through the story and get to level 20 where you can start gathering gear with “light” on it to level you all the way up to 34, where you can take on the game’s toughest content.
Upcoming MMO game in 2015 to watch out for
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
Release Date: June 23, 2015
The story continues for FF14 players with Heavensward. There’s not much you can say about the plot without giving it all away, but there are three cool new character jobs to pick up at level 20, and there’s great new stuff like flying mounts. One of the coolest features, if you’re rocking an Apple computer, is that the game is now Mac compatible for the first time (if you already have an account you can just add the expansion because the Mac client is included with your PC account).
Why should you be on the lookout for this?
If you’ve played FF14 you probably want to see where the story is going next, as well as rolling new characters or adding these cool new jobs to your existing character. If you haven’t played FF14 yet… it’s time to give it a shot! It’s a great MMORPG experience that isn’t WoW, which should be grounds enough for trying it out!
My favourite MMO of all time
Having paid for and played World of Warcraft for ten years, I can safely say that this is my favourite MMO of all-time; I keep going back for the expansions and generally have a great time with it until other stuff comes out to play.
Honourable mention goes to Destiny; I new from the moment that “MMO Halo” was announced that I wanted to play it, and it’s a darned sight better than Halo: MCC–so if you want to get some co-operative MMO-style shooting on, check that out too.