It seemed fitting to begin 2011 with one of the first smash-hit MMOs and the reigning champion of the throne until World of Warcraft
came on the scene in 2004.
gears up for a sequel, we looked back at what made this three-faction MMOFPS work -- and what didn't.
Earth & Beyond
fledgling space title didn't have much in the way of deep content, but players still loved the options to pursue a career their own way, be it fighting, crafting, trading, or exploring.
Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs)
Before MMOs had graphics, they were purely text-based and known as MUDs (and MUSHes, MOOs, et al.). For decades players have engaged in virtual worlds using nothing more than their minds and a few lines of description, and for some, it was way better than anything we have now.
The Matrix Online
Did you take the red pill or the blue one? Players who went down the rabbit hole found a mixed blessing of an MMO, with a flexible skill system, continuing stories, and bugs out the wazoo.
The "What Ifs?"
I took a break from my normal routine in the middle of the year to focus on promising and (in some cases) highly anticipated MMOs that never made it to launch. I called them the "What Ifs."
Created as the ultimate PvP MMO, Shadowbane
struggled during its run to make a whole world full of nothing but PvP and guild-vs.-guild combat work. Some adored it, some raised an eyebrow when the game "rebooted," and some had never heard of it at all.
A Tale in the Desert
Perhaps one of the most unique sandbox MMOs ever made, A Tale in the Desert
not only eschews fighting for crafting but has a beginning and an end (not to mention a rebirth).
Asheron's Call 2
While ultimately a failed experiment in MMO sequels, Asheron's Call 2
is still highly lauded by some for its gorgeous world, live events, weather systems, and player music.
EverQuest Online Adventures
The "forgotten" EverQuest, EQOA
not only continues to operate against all odds on an outdated platform, but provoked quite a few responses by those who were and are great fans of this console MMO.
One of the very first (if not the
first) graphical MMOs, Meridian 59
was brought into existence by two brothers with a crazy dream of making a MUD with a DOOM
-like engine. It survived a shutdown and multiple changings of the guard... and still survives today.
No, hodge-podge isn't the name of some obscure MMO; it's a catch-all category for columns I wrote this year that don't fit anywhere else or were just one-shots.
If you're interested in reading up on all of the columns from 2010, I posted a simlar round-up
A special request
While I have a list of remaining titles I'd like to cover in 2012 for this column, I'd really like to hear from those of you out there with a similar interest in classic MMOs and MMO history. What would you like to see discussed this year? Do you have any creative ideas for the column? Is there something I could be doing or covering that I haven't already? Any developers whom you'd like to see interviewed?
Let me know by either dropping a comment below or sending me an email at email@example.com
! Looking forward to hearing from you.
When not clawing his eyes out at the atrocious state of general chat channels, Justin "Syp" Olivetti pulls out his history textbook for a lecture or two on the good ol' days of MMOs in The Game Archaeologist. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.