The Daily Grind: How much does nostalgia drive your MMO play?

    
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Blogger and MOP reader Serrenity recently pointed us to a Kotaku article on the subject of video game nostalgia. Author Alyse Knorr maintains that video games, unlike some other media, are “uniquely” potent in the nostalgia department because they can be frozen in time and provide “comfort” to those who partake. (Of course, old video games can also make you want to bash your head on your keyboard in frustration.)

I didn’t see much to disagree with in the piece, though I definitely think the MMO industry faces different problems than the games Knorr discusses, and don’t believe there’s something wrong with seeking comfort in games in the first place. Back when Nostalrius and Vanilla WoW was a constant topic here, I argued that nostalgia most definitely can get people to go back and check out old games or play emulators. But when people stay, it’s something else. “No one accidentally continues acting on nostalgia,” I wrote back then. “It is not subliminal in an ongoing way. If you’re continuing to devote large amounts of time to an old game, it’s highly unlikely you’re doing it merely out of some wistful fondness for a distant memory.”

Where do you stand on it? How much does nostalgia drive your MMO play?

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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MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

The next thing is the best thing. Excelsior!

Reader
Anstalt

I honestly have no idea!

I certainly feel nostalgia for old games, my time in SWG pre-cu was great (though i was pretty noobie back then) and the first year of lotro was amazing.

So, whenever I am considering a new game to play, I certainly evaluate the games in the context of games I’ve played in the past. I use my personal experience of what I enjoy and what I dislike to make a decision on what to play next. Is that nostalgia? I’m certainly looking to recreate the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had, but I’m not trying to recreate them in the games I used to play, im looking to create a similar feeling in the next evolution of gaming.

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Fenrir Wolf

Not at all. I think that the thematic elements that compel me are more important, and more fulfilling in the long run. Fresh, new experiences involving those thematic elements unimpaired by nostalgia can be very rewarding.

The more a game can provide for more of those thematic elements, the more I find I’ll enjoy it. That’s what happens when one is part of an under-served demographic.

Nostalgia seems to be a peculiar luxury. I suppose if you’re spoilt for choice, and you have this almost unlimited, brilliant cornucopia of offerings, it might be kind of overwhelming and one might seek the comfort of the known.

If, however, one just so happens to be starved for choice? One jumps at whatever one is able to get. And not even greedily, but with humble appreciation and gratitude as someone has had the kindness and cared enough to notice one exists.

There simply isn’t enough out there that compels me for me to be drawn in by nostalgia.

Though I do understand the concept and, to a degree, even envy it.

harbinger_kyleran
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harbinger_kyleran

I’m completely unaffected by nostalgia when choosing a game to play.

Now if you will please excuse me, I hear the Phoenix calling my name.

Reader
Akagi

I vowed to quit WoW for good, but Vanilla keeps pulling my leg, I will try to resist as there is nothing left for me there.

Cadaver
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Loyal Patron
Cadaver

Nostalgia has nothing to do with it. I currently play an older MMO because it has particular qualities that I appreciate. The only time that nostalgia influences my gaming is when I boot up the old MAME roms that take me back to the arcades of my childhood.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Not much at all. Sure, many older MMORPG games have a superior gameplay and yes I did try to return to some of those but I never continued to play them for long. For 2 primary reasons: first of all, the population is much smaller than it used to be and I don’t like seeing any multiplayer game world “empty” in most locations.

And the second reason – the old MMOs look like complete shit. I know this part does not matter to people who lack any sense of aesthetics (which is ok and you don’t have to try finding excuses for it) but for me it does matter just as much as gameplay. I just can’t force myself to look at dated, primitive graphics in something like EQ or even WoW (even though I enjoyed them back when there was nothing better) after experiencing more modern games with much more detailed textures, character models, lighting system and so on. Call me a “graphics whore” or whatever but that’s just how I am and I don’t see this changing.

There are also many minor reasons, such as gameplay mechanics becoming worse over time or the fact that I already know the whole in-game story and do not want to go through same exact content more than once even for alt characters but they still have less impact as the other 2 reasons.

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

None, if it did I’d still be playing WoW and GW2 on a regular basis.

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Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

My nostalgia is always tempered by realistic expectations these days as I have fallen down that particular pitfall before.

Most “good” games of old rarely pass the test of time imo. They are awesome FOR their time but unless updated or remade they tend to be very poor modern gaming experiences and almost never give you that happy they did when they were new.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

For MMOs, almost nothing, for a few reasons. Chief among them because, contrary to an offline game, it’s simply not the same thing; the community is an integral part of how an MMO feels, so an emulator for an older version, or even an official “classic” server, simply isn’t the same.

When it comes to offline games, though, nostalgia can certainly be a factor, at least in getting me to play again games that I’ve played before. It’s not just nostalgia, though; I legitimately enjoy well made 16 bits graphics and chiptune songs, so playing old games instead of more modern ones often have no downsides to me.