The Daily Grind: What’s your favorite ‘vanilla’ MMO memory?

    
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With all the talk and testing swirling about World of Warcraft Classic this past week, the full nostalgia gates have reopened and a flood of memories are washing over the gamer community. Everyone seems to be stumbling over each other to share their favorite story from “back in the day.”

I think that’s pretty awesome, to tell the truth. I love hearing tales from back when MMOs were young and we were but fledgling adventurers in these seemingly endless worlds. There’s something special about looking back at the original, “vanilla” version of an MMO and thinking of hours spent exploring and fighting in them.

For today’s discussion, let’s open the field to ALL vanilla editions of games — what was your favorite memory from those early days of playing that MMO?

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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Jamie Lapionte

Going to give my age away here but EverQuest per pok. Was by far one of the best MMOs I’ve ever played. I remember almost failing freshman year test,due to staying up to do the raid. 😀 I would send days just taking to guildmates and players. It was very group focused were each class had a few and was needed.

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LawfulGood

I miss the pre-cataclysm levels of WoW. But not enough to take on all the other pain of Vanilla.

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ichi sakari

attacking Undercity and damn near peeing myself watching a level 7 Undead repeatedly run into the battle and get crushed, fearlessly, relentlessly, until we were repelled

we were laughing about it just the other day, its meaningless to anyone who wasn’t there but at the time we were having fun

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Random MMO fan

Let’s see. In original WoW I really enjoyed the large open-world PvP battles with waves of players constantly pushing each other back and forth, or all the failed and successful attempts of taking over Stormwind or Orgrimmar. Other than this, my other favorite moments were just hanging around and chatting with individual people in large cities. Never enjoyed any dungeons or raiding in it (always felt like I was doing some kind of job) so nothing “favorite” about them.

In LOTRO it was pretty much the same – just chatting with people in places like Bree or at festival events or just hanging around with some individual friends. And I really enjoyed teleporting people as Hunter back when it was useful ;-) Also the roof jumping in Bree. Monster Play felt very limited so I did not do much of that.

If you count Planetside 2 as MMO, my favorite moments were mostly fighting in large groups, defending or attacking the place like the Crown or Biolabs. Back when it was released, it was really cool seeing few Galaxy transports suddenly appearing above a fighting area and dropping dozens of players ;-) One of the best multiplayer PvP experiences I’ve had, even considering many flaws and performance issues and frequent cheaters.

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drew who

Ganking lowbies with my hunter pet a pig called Porksword from a hill opposite Tarren mill until I saw about 10 high level horde arrive in the flight path upon which I legged it down to south shore and took refuge in the in while they tried to get to me , all the while calling for guild backup . This escalated to a battle where hundreds of people from the two sides came to fight the good fight .

I blame the pig .

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

I admit I only rarely used Mind Control to run people into the lava while waiting around for BRS. Mind Vision, however, was trolling at another level. Perfectly rational people will go insane when they know they’re being watched, and the range on that in Vanilla would cross multiple zones.

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Pandalulz

I know I give Classic a hard time, but I did actually enjoy WoW Vanilla at the time. There was the orc rogue named Angwy who hung around on the Menethil harbor dock right outside the guard detection range so he could gank noobies. And considering the number of characters I had to run from Ironforge to Darnassus or back to train weapon skills, he became the bane of my existence. And then there was the PVP battles on the bridge to Molten Core that were actually more fun than raiding MC itself. Never forgive, never forget Tarren Mill. There was the stealth Devilsaur in Un’goro that killed me a billion times. I miss the Linken quest there as well as well as the lore, that was exciting and mysterious before it all got over explained in later expansions. There were some amazing trips through Sunken Temple and some of the other longer dungeons, during the rare time where I’d find just enough guildies who were bored enough to come along. There was the first raid drama when the main tank auctioned his set gloves when they finally downed the first MC boss, so he could buy his high-speed mount and he got a very very stern talking to from the raid leader.

And then, before that, there was Asheron’s Call. The best times were the days we all got together so we could rearrange and clean out the monarchy. Talk about a pyramid scheme. Or there were the days we would just run through and annihilate the olthoi queen nest. And most importantly the day I first went to the Arwic subway and realized I hadn’t put any points into my jump skill. Splat!!!

And then there were the days I tried and tried to get my best bud to jump from AC to WoW, and he refused and refused, and then the day our Monarch said, “uh, so guys, I’ve uh, been cheating with WoW, and I’m going over there permanently.” And then my buddy jumped ship.

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Sorenthaz

Pretty much any time I was in an MMO and felt like it was an actual world. Didn’t mean to write up this much but here goes:

Runescape (the now defunct ‘Classic’ variant) – Played it back in 2003-2004. First foray into MMOs. Felt utterly lost and was totally one of those newbie noobs who would try to trade my bronze junk for a set of Mithril Armor. Remember being “betrayed” by one person I had as a friend as we went out to the Wilderness and he decided to kill me for minor loot. Also stupidly fell for one of the dumbest scams (“change your password to to get free !”) but then was able to turn that around by getting my brother to impersonate a Jagex mod and tell “me” to do a different password change scam (it was like “Change your password to 1rune1 and you’ll get a free set of rune armor” which was a scam someone tried to do on me once before). Also I remember my first pieces of rune equipment were a rune scimitar and chainmail that I’m pretty sure I lost later on due to poor decision-making.

FFXI vanilla was another one of the first MMOs I got into, and really the only reason I ever learned about it was because of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-RSiDpt9wY (God I miss X-Play/G4 before it went to shit…). And yes part of it was totally because I saw it had catgirls (I was in my early teens at the time, in my defense). I played it on the PS2 though, so this was back when we had the big bulky original model and then strapped on a ridiculous attachment that cost quite a bit. I remember even just getting to the point where we could play it was a nightmarish obstacle due to the UI and everything we had to go through. Ultimately it was a game I could never get very far in, often being indecisive about my race/starting job and getting turned off by the insane group grinding required, but I did have a little social sphere and would run around exploring even if it killed me. Stuff like that is what kept motivating me to try and push through, only to never really make it past like level 7 or so.

Phantasy Star Online was another early console MMO I managed to get into on the Gamecube with its 56k dialup attachment (complete with the joys of my brothers and I trolling each other by picking up a phone to cut off our connection), one of the only games (if not the only one?) that actually made use of that optional part that you could put into the Gamecube. Hacking and duping was a serious issue, and me/my brothers learned to avoid certain ships/lobbies because people would FSOD (frozen screen of death) bomb certain ones because it could corrupt our memory card data. I remember there was always a dumb trick to it where we’d like, take out the disc from the Gamecube before shutting the Gamecube down in the hopes that it would save our memory card data. Also I ended up getting some stupidly strong duped weapons and near the end of its life I got powerleveled up to insane heights with some weird VS mode hack that would just make me level up repeatedly every time I died in it. But the sense of community in that game was really cool, and I ended up making a friend on there who was someone I had argued with extensively on the Runescape members forums prior over some stupidly trivial stuff… it was a small online world at the time, I guess.

WoW was a very easy choice for me to get into and was one I had wanted to get into sooner than August 2005, but the original copy I bought off Ebay was a scam as they deliberately removed the CD keys/etc. and I was too naive/dumb at the time to worry about that. So once I took that plunge my first character was a Night Elf Rogue who had the Illidan-esque stripe over his eyes. We had bought the WoW strategy guide thing with all of its outdated info, so I would often read through that extensively. Ended up not going with the NElf Rogue after dying repeatedly in Darkshore around level 10. I’d keep bouncing around servers with different race/class choices, not really making up my mind until spring 2006 where I finally was able to settle on a Human Warlock after firmly making Kirin Tor my server choice in like December 2005 ’cause I got into a RP guild my brother originally was on, though he would ditch it while I stayed around with them. Probably my fondest memories were on that Warlock when the guild I was in died out and the remaining members migrated over to a guild that was called the Academy of the Arcane. It was set up like an actual school-esque system, where guild members were “students” and you had to regularly attend classes which the Officers (Professors) would schedule with a calendar addon that was required. It was quite cool, and I even got to do my own class at one point which revolved around Demonology since that’s what my character specialized in and I had been digging through wowwiki lore articles to learn more about that stuff. Also they were part of a raiding alliance with other guilds on the server, and that’s where I eventually wound up joining Piscus Inferno which was where probably my fondest memories were had, outside of the RP moments prior to that. Ended up getting to see Onyxia and Ragnaros, killing Ragnaros only once, but it still felt amazing nonetheless, and it sent chills down my spine when seeing them for the first time with my own character. It was a great goofy/casual fun guild and we did shenanigans like naked gnome races and generally just tried to not take things too srsly but would still raid on weekends with that alliance. ‘course, things changed in BC, but that goes beyond ‘vanilla’. That’s only some of the fond bits and pieces of Vanilla WoW though… I could dive into so much more but that can be saved for some other Classic column’s comment section. :p

I could go on with others like CoH, LotRO, and WAR, but I figure I’ll just end with RIFT. RIFT was pretty much the breath of fresh air to me after I ended my WoW subscription due to straight-up boredom and not caring to support it anymore after the first month or two of Cataclysm (wouldn’t pick the game back up again until the end of MoP). I was all aboard that RIFT train, loving the community interaction and how much Trion seemed to care about building a good reputation with its customers. My first time fighting off a zone invasion was intense, and I loved how it felt like you were actually fighting a battle to protect quest hubs and so on. It was such a ballsy move of them to do stuff like that, and of course they toned it down later, but man, RIFT pre-Storm Legion had so many good ideas and systems going for it. The world design was absolutely gorgeous too even if the character models were fugly, and I loved all the artifacts you could find by exploring. It’s a shame that my experiences with RIFT had to end on a sour note due to Trion taking a nosedive, ’cause that was like the last real open world game that felt really good to me. BDO somewhat did but its lackadaisical PvE content turned me off.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I really enjoyed launch Rift as well. I’d run around looking for invasions to get into. (It reminded me somewhat of the fort battles in WAR.) And then the boss would appear somewhere and you’d have to run to where it was, hoping you’d get there before it was taken down. Perfectly enjoyable.

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Melissa McDonald

being a naughty child and discovering i could walk around in my underwear in The Realm back in like… uh.. 1997 ;)

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Bývörðæįr mòr Vas´Ðrakken

there are a couple that come to mind, really far up there was getting in an argument with another player on one of the Japanese servers over if beating this one stupid pestis (gaint snake dragon) to complete the quest. I lost the argument over if it was possible but I finally beat the stupid thing by standing just inside the point where it would turn around when I stepped forward and if I stepped forward at the right point the cone of damage that was not survivable would aim the other way.

I found out a couple weeks latter the person I had been arguing with who showed me it was easy with a ranged dps class was one of the developers and Nokei, the person who was offering suggestions to try, was another of the developers. It was fascinating to realize how different the view points of the two developers in culture that outside the hard sciences people would not speak up like they did pretending to be players that were testing the game on the test server. The game had gone gold some of the feed back was not going to be used until the first expansion the soonest. Mostly due to viewpoint players have to be able to play the game they bought without extra cost on xbox and playstation, unless an internet connection is listed as required, and some people play on slow connections or do not have the space on the consoles for more data.

Having seen several game launches that was still likely more fascinating, I felt like I was glitching the mob and the developers saw it as valid mechanic.

Another funny one was people standing around rough shell of a tavern in ashrons call and people spending more time chatting about what ever random thing in life that was going on.

Back in the early days of wow warriors had a charge ability were you moved at I think it was 300% and people playing on isdn frame relay, ASDL, DSL, Cable, and fiber, saw normal movement, people playing in the same area saw people teleporting around. No one could figured it out until months after the warriors lost there charge ability, which has long since come back. Some times to make a game work you need a minimum threshold of equipment. One of the funnier things is how much more efficient wow is at sending enough packets without having to send the megabytes of data they did when the game first came out.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

I’m grinding through Butcherblock, doubting this MMO thing, doubting the choice of cleric and just about ready to go back to my roleplay MU* when I round a corner and see this group of gear-bedecked champions at the druid stones just moments before they get whisked away to what must be amazing realms of adventure and loot.

I’d never seen such a thing in a game. I was hooked.