It feels like whenever people talk about parts of old MMOs that aren’t holding up as well, we fall back on the graphics. Some titles like Anarchy Online have basically always been mocked for the graphics, and even those of us who love City of Heroes tease the game for its mitten hands and flat faces. But I don’t think that graphics are really the part of MMOs that tends to age worst; no, I think a lot of older titles suffer more from the assumptions of communities.
Older titles like Final Fantasy XI often relied on community knowledge being available and thus were built off a certain level of obtuse design. There was stuff that was basically impossible to figure out without insane levels of trial and error… or just being told what was happening by someone else. Now that we’re years on from these games being novel, a lot of the community sites and the in-game communities meant to transmit this knowledge have withered away.
There are, of course, other elements that can age poorly in these games, including game systems, server architecture, chat limitations, inventory screens… the list goes on. So what do you think? What part of older MMOs tends to age the worst? Is it the graphics or is it something a bit more esoteric?