Beware the MMO
Massively Multiplayer Online games. Primarily the MMORPG (Role-Playing Game).
Oh boy, this is going to be a long post.
For a long time, I looked down on the concept of a MMO game. For several reasons.
First, I simply preferred single-player games. I like to play at my own speed, and not have to worry about whether other players will help or hurt my progress.
Second, I had disdain for the concept of paying a monthly subscription for a game, and having to maintain that subscription, otherwise I would no longer have access to the game, and all of my progress.
Over time, my taste in games has grown and evolved, and I am far more open to different gaming genres than I ever was a few years ago, let alone a decade-plus ago.
Growing up, the only internet at home I had was dial-up. Where you had your computer connected to the phone line, and nobody could call you while you were connected. And everything loaded up SUPER SLOW.
Mind you, I was in middle school, soon to be high-school. So this is probably around 1999-2002.
I was only allowed to be online for about an hour a day (because it would take up the phone line, and my parents would of course want to be able to make/receive calls if needed). But I would routinely stay on for as long as possible, and only getting off when it was absolutely unavoidable. (I.E getting caught)
Much of my time online would be spent looking up game information on websites such as GameFAQs.com (which surprisingly still exists, unlike many other websites from that time).
I would download FAQs for many different games, so that I could refer to them whenever I wanted to, even when I wasn't online. Not to mention, everything loaded super-slow, so it was better to have them on my computer where it was easier to access.
So games were very much a solo experience for me at that time.
Even as technology improved, and we finally got high-speed internet (and then soon after, actual wifi), games would be a single player experience for me.
Even through high-school, my access to games was dependent on how much money I could save up from birthday/Christmas, and I had to choose which games I got carefully.
So the concept of a subscription-based game would never even cross my mind at that point.
Even years later when I had a job, I was making so little that I was more worried about paying for my phone and computer, rather than games.
I was a fan of Starcraft and the Brood War expansion, and played the heck out of them back in the super-late 90s and early 2000. So I already knew of Blizzard being a game company I liked. Even played a bit of Diablo 2.
World of Warcraft came out in 2004, so that would have been firmly in the middle of my high-school years. At that time, I was deep into Nintendo Gamecube games, and then obsessed with the Nintendo DS's release.
Throughout the following years, I would hear all the stories on the news and cartoons making fun of World of Warcraft, and how addicting it was and people being irresponsible, etc etc. Things like that would indirectly enter my consciousness and would cement my bias against MMO games.
Sometime in 2008, a friend I was regularly chatting with online was very big into WoW, and convinced me to give it a try. He even gave me access to his account so I could create my own character and play as much as I wanted when he was at school. So that was my first taste of WoW.
A couple years later, two of my friends started playing WoW, and so I joined in for a month or so so we could do some quests together. I never really got into it, so I stopped.
Most of my gaming during all this time was solidly Nintendo-based. GameCube, Wii, GBA, DS, 3DS, WiiU, and getting into the PS3/PS4 as well. (This was also in a time when I didn't do much PC gaming. PC games I played would tend to be the ones you'd find on the budget rack at a store. You know, the ones where it's just the jewel case. Otherwise, it was primarily consoles)
And the computers I had for most of my gaming experience were cheap pre-built computers, which as it turns out, are not really designed with gaming in mind. And the built-in Intel graphics chips were rather lacking. So again, pc gaming for me was a hit-and-miss experience.
Being primarily Nintendo-based, I didn't have much experience with Final Fantasy. I was aware of it, of course, FFVII was "the popular one", with the movie related to it too. But I hadn't really played any of them. My experience with Final Fantasy was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles for the GameCube, and I loved it so much. Along with several other games in the Crystal Chronicles umbrella.
And over the years, liking games so much, I would pick up more information about Final Fantasy in general.
Because of all that, I was one of the first to get Theatrhythm Final Fantasy for the 3DS when it came out. And I LOVED it. Being able to enjoy all the history of Final Fantasy and the incredible music (especially the Crystal Chronicles music that I was so familiar with), it was great.
Meanwhile, I eventually got an iMac, which was the best computer I had ever had to this point. With Steam giving easier access to finding great games, for both Windows and Mac, and being able to use BootCamp to run Windows on the iMac, I started amassing a larger collection of games on the computer. And now that I had a reliable job, and a consistent income, I was able to afford more games, and was always on the lookout for sales on Steam.
Fast forward to February 2014. Final Fantasy XIV had just came out 6 months prior. Steam had one of their routine sales, and FFXIV was on sale for $15, which included a month of game time. So I figured, Yeah! Why not? I wanted to try out a new Final Fantasy game.
And boy, did I get hit by the bug hard.
For the next 6 months, I spent many hours every day playing that game. Maxed out my Disciple of the Hand/Land classes, and making my way through all the story quests.
I loved it.
Somewhere during this time, I got the PS4 version of the game, so that I no longer had to reboot my iMac into windows when I wanted to play. Which encouraged me to play even more.
The game is one of the best-looking games I've ever played, and the game gives you so much freedom to play however you want. You can play the vast majority of everything alone. And any time you need to go through a dungeon, the game will automatically pair you up with other players. So you can go through as a Healer, and the game will automatically pair you up with a "Tank" and "DPS" players to complement your run through the dungeon.
And I really appreciated that.
Playing as a DPS (damage-per-second) player, you will sometimes collect different items/materials from enemies.
As a Crafter, you can use these items to create new weapons and armor, which you can then use for your battle classes, or trade for "gil" (the in-game currency) with other players. I loved how all the elements worked together, and I could really just spend hours playing whichever class I wanted, and do whichever quests wanted to.
Eventually, I was spending so much time playing, that I found myself juggling running through a dungeon on the PS4, while trying to reply to a coworker on my computer. I quickly realized that I couldn't keep doing that or it could really hurt my job.
So, I stopped playing.
The expansion pack was released the next year, and I had considered getting it. I eventually decided not to, since I had many other games to play.
Over the last 6 years, Blizzard just kept doing its thing. Released Starcraft 2, and Diablo 3, and I enjoyed both, along with their expansions. Then last year, Blizzard revealed Overwatch. I tried out the beta, and didn't really care too much for it. But by the time it officially released, I was fully on-board. (and the rest was history. You can read my post about Overwatch I posted before.)
So, at this time, I was spending more and more time in Blizzard's Battle.net application, for playing Overwatch and Starcraft. And of course, World of Warcraft is there in the application as well.
Another friend had recently gotten into WoW, so I decided I'd sign up for it again to try to play along with them. Around the same time, I decided to give FFXIV another try as well.
Well, it's been about 2 and a half months since then, and I'm again spending hours every day on FFXIV. With the expansion, there's new areas, and classes, and raised level cap, so I've been going through the story quests, and working on my crafting classes, and just enjoying everything.
Yup, it got me back. Hard.
I'm not complaining, and I'm not letting it affect my job either haha
And I am looking forward to the next expansion.
Once I get satisfied with my current progress through the main story quest, I'll probably then switch into playing WoW while waiting for the FFXIV expansion.
I'm not really sure what my point is with this post. I titled it "Beware the MMO", which is true, since it is easy to get lost in spending so much time playing these games.
But on the other hand, I think the point I'm actually making is don't be afraid of the MMO.
Hear me out.
Growing up, I had to be conscious of which games I got, since I couldn't afford much.
Then, based on my previous gaming experiences, I stuck with single-player games.
As I could afford more games, and had more time to play games, my taste in games grew/expanded and I was more willing to try out new things.
However, I think along with that, I started to get a bit burned out on being frustrated at spending upwards of $60 on a new game, only to find that I only played an hour of it and never touch it again. That money adds up, and it's a lot of money wasted on games I don't actually play.
It boils down to quite a lot each month.
But here's a game where you can play as much as you want, and gives you a lot of freedom to play however you want, and it's only $13-15 a month, for however much you want to play. And considering the hundred and hundreds of hours I've spent playing, that is a HUGE value compared to all the wasted money spent on games that I don't play.
And there are MMO games where you don't have to pay every month. Elder Scrolls Online and Guild Wars 2 are both fantastic MMO games which are free to play after buying the main game.
So, it's worth taking a chance on these games, to see if you like it. And if you don't, then you cancel and move on to something else.
So over time, all the multiplayer games I've been playing, along with FFXIV, I've grown a new appreciation for these games, and I'm much more comfortable with the online nature of the game, and value certain aspects of it.
So as long as you are able to manage your time and not let it affect important things, then there are games available that can give you a lot of bang for your buck.
Pokemon Sun/Moon and Final Fantasy XV are coming out later this month. I am definitely excited for both of them. So I'm going to need to find time away from FFXIV to play those. haha
Yeah, I really don't know what my point was in this post.
Maybe my point is that you shouldn't let old biases get in the way of trying new things, as you may be pleasantly surprised.