The Daily Grind: Which MMORPGs are nearly different games with max settings or upgraded clients?

    
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MOP reader Nibbana has a great question for The Daily Grind today. “So I just picked up Shadow in order to run my favorite MMOs at max settings on my three-year-old Macbook Air (don’t judge). My question is this: What MMOs are almost a different game when played at max settings vs lowest settings?”

Nibbana’s query couldn’t have come at a better time. MOP’s Justin and I were just discussing Lord of the Rings Online in the context of game age and new clients; his screenshots of the environments in the new patch, for example, are jaw-dropping, but videos of the low-poly critters… yikes, not so much. Likewise, I’ve been immersed in a Star Wars Galaxies emulator this summer, without without all the texture settings boosted to the max (plus a player-made texture pack mod), it would look much closer to the 2003 MMO that it actually is. Ultima Online is another contender in my mind; its most modern client and models actually bring it into this millennium, which I cannot say for its original (and still in-use) 2-D client from 1997.

Which MMORPGs are nearly different games with max settings and all the bells and whistles turned on?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Oleg Chebeneev

Archeage comes to mind

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Sally Bowls

query couldn’t have come at a better time.

I just assumed the timeliness was as people pondered whether they could convince themselves and their auditor-of-purchases that a new RTX 2080 Ti or two was a sensible upgrade. Then I remembered that Bree and Justin are what passes for responsible adults in these parts.

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Pandalulz

Has anyone ever turned the settings all the way down on Wildstar? It very quickly starts to look like OG Doom. It’s hilarious how bad it can get.

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TheDonDude

Everquest!

When I first got that game, I had to keep the view distance super mega ultra low. It was like having a perpetual fog twenty metres ahead of you at all times.

Then when I upgraded (Pentium, baby!) I was able to increase that to max, and oh my goodness the landscape was so gorgeous. It was like a whole new game.

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Arktouros

The level of graphical difference for BDO is pretty insane between min-max. I normally play on Max but had to turn down to Min during a few of the events that all the game population pile into one area and was pretty taken back by the difference.

This is becoming even more true tomorrow with their Remastered graphics where the new maximum setting actually drops me from 60 FPS (capped) to 40 FPS on High End and down to 7 on the new Ultra mode (mostly designed for screenshots) and that’s on a 4k display, i7 4.0GHz and a 1080Ti.

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Carebear

Thats true! I was changing the game to lowest possible settings when I was about to leave my char afk for fishing, and the difference was tremendus.. btw, I didnt know they drop the remaster patch tomorrow :P will open up the game to check it out to see if there is really a difference.

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squid

If you had a computer powerful enough to handle Vanguard on max settings and still move around—though I’m not sure such computers existed at the time—it looked pretty great.

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Bryan Turner

My wife had a 2005 custom built Alienware PC, (one of the first Dualcores which explains her overheating issues since the case it came in couldn’t cool it properly), and she never hit 60FPS in Vanguard.

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squid

I remember it being heavily limited by HDD read-times. This was back before SSDs really went mainstream, and the recommended HDD was the…WD Velociraptor? I bought one specifically for VG and it actually made a big difference with all the hitching.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

SWTOR looks like pure ass on minimum settings. It does not degrade well at all from highest settings that it was meant for, to the point it is legit unplayable from being so ugly.

Most other games I have played are noticeably plainer, but still look good enough on low settings. With some like WoW it may be hard to even tell the difference between minimum graphics and maxed out. Others like ESO I’m just amazed they run at all and still look passable, with playable framerates, even on potato integrated graphics.

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Bryan Turner

Yes I am surprised ESO looks as good as it does on my PC, I only have a quad FX 3.8 speed CPU with Geforce 650 GPU, 8g Ram.

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Carebear

ESO is the most well optimized MMO I have ever played… the graphics/perfamance values are top. I can play ESO at maximum settings with no issues, no stuttering, no fps drops.. but I cannot do the same thing on wow for example..

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Robert Mann

Sadly, I had a different experience when I played. I would spike down from 60 fps to less than 10 in the open wilderness with nobody around at an odd hour of the night… and with other players it was worse.

It didn’t happen as a constant, and usually was only down to the 20s range, but it was very annoying. I’m guessing they really hadn’t optimized for my specific hardware at the time, so maybe it would be better now, but I lost interest in it by and large. Far too easy in the open world, I missed the beta difficulty where some strategy or grouping was a requirement. Having played at that point of beta (and oddly without the fps drop issue) I really couldn’t take just how easy they made it. Even many of the 4 person mini-dungeons just weren’t as tough as that old beta tuning, and honestly without a good challenge or something else really well done themeparks are… kinda not deep enough for me right now.

raineybell
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raineybell

There is a world of difference in WoW between Min and Max settings.