Did you know about all the MMOs I hate? I sure as heck didn’t! I mean, I knew there were a few games I hated (Scarlet Blade, Alganon) and some that I have pretty poor feelings toward for various reasons (Star Citizen, EVE Online, League of Legends, H1Z1: Kash of the Kow), but those are also games I discuss only in particular circumstances.
Yet thankfully, I have been informed over the near-decade of writing about MMOs that there are a number of games I thought I liked but that I do, in fact, hate. This was a surprise to me, but I think that for purposes of comprehension, it’s best for me to list for reference all the games that I apparently utterly despise. It’s all very confusing to me, but I’m confident that by sharing and making the occasional off-color joke, I’ll be able to decipher it all.
1. The Elder Scrolls Online
When I played The Elder Scrolls Online for the game’s beta phase, I had very little nice to say. This was due to a number of factors, not the least of which being that the game’s mechanics brought nothing new to the table and the lore and franchise connections certainly didn’t have me enraptured. Apparently, this meant that I hate the game forever.
Of course, when I tried the game for another round of Choose My Adventure, my evaluation was, “Wow, the game has improved a lot,” and I’ve had lots of nice things to say about the game since then. But then I was told again when I said that the game’s battlegrounds were, well, just straight-up battlegrounds that I still hate the game. I wasn’t aware that saying that PvP battlegrounds are functional PvP battlegrounds counted as hating something, but you learn something new every day.
2. Lord of the Rings Online
My concentrated effort to push forward on Lord of the Rings Online resulted in the biting, incisive commentary that it never really connected for me. It mostly left me wondering why I didn’t like it more, not that there was something wrong with it. Clearly, this means that I have turned my animosity upon this game with the fire of a thousand suns.
The funny thing is that the game’s designers have subsequently started doing stuff that I actually do hate, but that’s now and this was then. So perhaps the people who said I hate it were time travelers from the future? They could have warned me about this stuff, though. That would have been helpful.
3. Black Desert
It’s true, I really do hate gender-locked classes. Especially if you’re then going to just give an equivalent class to the other gender. That is totally accurate. Why this means I hate Black Desert for its sandbox elements when most of my critique was about how accessible it makes those elements is an exercise left for someone with a broader view of history.
4. Final Fantasy XI
On many occasions, I have put forth two things that seem to be truisms about Final Fantasy XI. The first is that the game has a very long history of being needlessly opaque and antagonistic toward its players, often sacrificing fun in favor of more or less arbitrary inconvenience. The second is that the idea of making Final Fantasy XIV into just a modern graphical remake of Final Fantasy XI is a boneheaded idea.
I’ve also said, many times, that the modern version of the game is the best it’s ever been. Yet apparently that means I hated this game, which tracks well with reality; I hated it so much that it started a lifelong hobby of playing MMOs which later turned into a full career. That’s a lot of hate.
5. Guild Wars 2
Honestly, I forget why I was told that I hate this one, but I know it’s happened before. I have had a lot of niggling little criticisms about the game over the years, though, and I seem to recall one year when I wrote a rather scathing critique of the game’s notable flaws. As a result, my friends who work at ArenaNet have never spoken with me again.
Oh, wait, I was speaking with them the same day that article published without any trace of animosity. So, the opposite.
If you’re noticing a trend, it’s not by accident here.
I believe that one one memorable day I was accused of both being a shill for WildStar (a game I was madly excited for) and hating it because I had lots of criticisms of the game’s brutally raid-centric endgame. It seemed like the sort of thing that was going to cause problems for the game, espeically when it was downplaying the many sandpark-heavy features that made the game a standout joy to play.
So… that’s exactly how the story played out, and now we’re here. I’m going to go ahead and throw out the idea that maybe I didn’t hate the game then and still don’t now but instead recognized something that was being done to the game’s detriment that wound up killing its playerbase once more people hit the level cap. It’s just crazy enough to be plausible.
7. Star Wars: The Old Republic
This one came about when I was laying out the strengths and weaknesses of both games for the Epic MMO battle between Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Trek Online. Despite the fact that the former came out ahead, some of the negative things I said about it mean that I hate it, when I have traditionally been one of the voices of positivity for the game (sometimes even surpassing MOP’s SWTOR columnist Larry in having nice things to say). I’ve got the book published as a reference for the game on my shelf, even; it’s next to my FFXIV lorebook.
There’s a lot of stuff I don’t like about the game’s direction over the years, and boy, if you know me you know I needed time in the angrydome about the latest bone-headed management of server merges. (Hey, no more roleplaying servers! Bye forever.) But that’s not the same as hating the game. That’s the opposite of hating the game.
8. City of Heroes
When the game was live, there were various reasons I was accused of hating it. I got a lot of them, even, since I was writing a weekly column about it. Now that the game isn’t live, I’ve been told that I hate it because I still do have critiques of the game and have suggested on multiple occasions that moving on from the game’s shutdown is probably a healthy idea.
Of course, pretty much anyone who’s read my writing over the years know that’s absurd. I do my best to remember City of Heroes as it was, rather than the idealized everything-was-fine version that it’s so easy to lionize now that it’s not around to have issues. Sometimes that means I still do idealize the game, but it’s not for lack of trying to avoid that. (I recently had forgotten how bad its Enhancement inventory was, but I was thankfully corrected.) None of that means hating the game; it means caring.
9. World of Warcraft
Boy, if only I had written a whole article about positivity not being the same as affection… oh, wait, I did. Specifically about World of Warcraft, but also about games in general. And the sort of thing that puts the lie to the whole premise here because every single game on this list so far is a game that I like.
Yes, this is a direct sequel to that one, but sometimes you intentionally hide the lede to make a point. This isn’t even the first time I’ve done that.
If you asked me to list my favorite games of all time – not MMOs, but video games in general – World of Warcraft would be on there. It’s definitely one of the greatest MMOs ever made. And I have a lot of criticisms of how it’s being handled these days, not because I hate the game but because I know full well it has the possibility to be better. I have lots of nice things to say about Legion, lots of less-nice things to say, and tons of feelings about the title from top to bottom.
The thing is that the most insightful criticism comes from a place of affection. Someone who doesn’t know you or dislikes you isn’t going to be able to give you a clear picture of how to improve your life or your behavior; someone who knows you inside and out can give you the harsh feedback you need. Sometimes I need people in my life to tell me that I’m fucking things up horribly. That isn’t because the people telling me that dislike me; it’s because they know me well enough to evaluate me from a place of compassion.
My feelings about WoW have never been “darn, you suck.” They’ve consistently been “why are you not doing a better job with this when you have the resources.”
Dismissing criticism because “oh, you obviously just hate the game” is a knee-jerk reaction that makes it easy to stop evaluating that critique, but it doesn’t offer additional insight. If anything, it tends to suggest that the criticism was on-point enough that it’s uncomfortable.
All right, you got me, I really don’t like Darkfall. Fair cop!