What is your favourite MMO?
I'm way too picky to have a favourite MMO! I thoroughly enjoy(ed) certain elements of Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft, and Dark Age of Camelot but I'm still waiting for an MMO to break into my house in the middle of the night, put a bag over my head, and lock me up in indefinite isolation.
My must-have MMO elements include: meaningful PvP, casual friendliness, engaging story and purpose, great combat mechanics, and a system that rewards individual skill as much as an investment of time. Most importantly, I want a highly polished and bug-free experience. Given those requirements, I I'll probably be waiting a very long time before my personal holy grail MMO comes along...
What games are you playing now and what are your characters?
I am currently playing Warhammer Online and EVE Online.
I have been actively following WAR since November 2007 and feel that I have a lot invested in the game even though I'm far from satisfied at the moment. My main is a rank 40/4x Squig Herder on Phoenix Throne named Snafzg. WAR boasts many of the elements from my must-have list (above), but I feel it is currently under-delivering on execution. Still, the game improves weekly and it has a lot of potential to get me on back on board. In the meantime, however, I am taking a bit of a break for...
EVE Online has been on my radar for a number of months but I was always too scared to take the plunge due to the rumours of a steep learning curve and harsh environment. EVE also hits a number of items from my must-have list, so I decided to "man up" and take the 21-day free trial (thanks Mr. Egan!). I just completed the 10-part combat quest tutorial. We'll see how things go over the next few weeks since I am going into this game with almost zero foreknowledge! My pilot's name is Snafzg and I am currently flying a Merlin.
Why do you like MMOs so much?
Sometimes I ask myself that very question! The biggest issue I have with MMOs is that they never seem to release polished enough for my high standards. All the pretty colours, features, and concepts take a back seat to polish for me and the very nature of the MMO genre seems contrary to my values.
That said, I'm still hopelessly addicted! I have all but given up single player PC and console games. I could care less about the next Oblivion, Portal, or Resident Evil because they just don't offer a dynamic massive multi-player experience. When I play a game, I want to feel like I am a part of something big (even though I hate zergs). I am also fiercely competitive and want to test my skills against the skills of others. For me, there is little satisfaction in beating a scripted boss, encounter, or puzzle. Bartle calls me a cold-blooded killer. Bartle knows.
What accomplishment in-game are you most proud of?
Any time I can reach max level in an MMO is a momentous occasion because of the eight or so MMOs I have tried, it has only happened three times (DAOC, WoW, and WAR). That said, my proudest in-game accomplishment isn't from an MMORPG-it's from a MUD.
As a player of a Tolkien-based PK MUD called MUME (Multi-Users in Middle Earth) from 1996 to 2001, the proudest moment came when I made it onto the warlord list for the very first time (it only happened twice). As you killed enemies of the opposing faction, you would gain warpoints. If you died, you would lose warpoints. The warlord list compiled the top 10 players from each faction with the most warpoints.
Given the highly competitive nature of this MUD, it was truly an accomplishment to make this list. It should be noted that I was only on the list for a few hours before I was bumped off!
When you're not playing MMOs, what do you do?
I value casual-friendly MMOs mostly because I have a lot of other hobbies on the go. I play hockey as a goalie. I play baseball as a 1st baseman and center fielder (batting clean-up). I am a member of a poker league. I enjoy reading many forms of literature, including comic books (Buffy season 8 and Angel season 6), fiction (just finished Kavalier and Clay), and non-fiction (currently reading Shock Doctrine). I follow several TV shows, including Lost, Battlestar, and Weeds. I'm also a fan of UFC and hit the movie theatre at least twice per month.
While I do enjoy MMOs, I don't really play any other video games. I don't have a next-gen console and even though my PC is quite good, I only play the odd FPS title like Team Fortress 2 or Left 4 Dead when I feel the itch (about twice per month).