This post is the first in a two-part series for Blaugust 2015. Check out tomorrow’s sequel on “MMOs we don’t like but never played”!
The trouble with MMORPGs is that player engagement tends to be mutually exclusive of other titles. Many of us cannot or do not want to invest in more than one MMO longterm nor do we wish to pay for several subscriptions simultaneously. I have found a mixture of one sub-MMO and one b2p/f2p-MMO to be quite enjoyable in the past, especially when two titles really complement each other well but truthfully, I still long to immerse myself as much as possible into that one game.
That also means sooner or later, we have to leave some MMOs behind and they’re not always games we disliked or got bored of. Sometimes our timing just wasn’t right and we were late to the party. Sometimes we miss the community from other MMOs or we just can’t put up with a single but essential aspect, such as the graphics.
My absolute favorite MMORPG that I am not playing anymore is LOTRO. In fact, I would go as far as naming LOTRO among my top 5 MMOs of all time. Possibly even top 3. I came late to LOTRO in 2013, joining the inofficial EU RP server Laurelin. I stuck to it for about 6 months, joined a fellowship, did all the content up to Moria and the dreaded mid-40ies EXP grind. The world blew my mind and remains one of my favorite virtual places to this day. For all its flaws and oldschoolness, LOTRO excels in immersion, world building/feeling and travel, one of the most precious and precarious things to capture in MMOs.
I’ve written about the music and sound effects as part of this accomplishment as well as the significance of scale or realistic armor design. It’s the subtle things that create immersion in MMOs. Other than that, Middle-Earth is just one heck of a beautiful place to visit and enjoy the turning of the seasons (between zones) and the fading light at dusk.
In the end I felt lonely; after leaving my longtime WoW community, I was unable to reconnect with people in my subsequent MMO attempts. LOTRO is not the most beginner-friendly game either. Soon I was overwhelmed by different types of grind while also really disliking the slow, stationary combat.
But I will never forget my time playing and listening to music in the Prancing Pony, the claustrophobia of the Old Forest before finding Tom Bombadil or the sound of my horse’s clippity clop over Bree’s merry cobblestrone streets. Some moments in MMOs are forever, no matter if we stick with a game or not.