The Daily Grind: What part of older MMOs tends to age the worst?

    
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That's not the problem.

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?

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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Alex Willis

Inventory management. Nothing kills the mood for me faster than returning to a game and finding a clunky or challenging backpack that is full of loot that is obsolete or difficult to store.

kjempff
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kjempff

Not as much the UI as how a game is controlled. Especially if I tried the improvements and QoL of later expansions/development it is roughgoing back to the more tedious and less powerfull control features.
Examples, easy moving stuff around bags, fast looting options, one-click functionality, improved mouse look, ui settings and personalization options, better keybinds.

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nobleeinherjar

Usually the controls and the UI. I have a soft spot for old-school graphics, even in aged (to put it kindly) games like Anarchy Online. But the last time I tried AO, DAoC, and EQ1, I couldn’t do anything without heavily tweaking the controls and the UI first. And I even played two of those MMOs in their prime. But coming back to them was terrible. It’s been a long time since I gave one of the SWG emulators a try, but I remember having the same problem.

By the time I wrenched some semblance of modernity out of the controls and the UI, I barely wanted to play any of those games anymore. Returning to FFXI was a cakewalk by comparison.

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mpandu.nky

Graphics definitely

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Me. I’m ‘effing terrible whenever I try to go back to old MMOs. Like the worst caricature of the player I was better than back in the day. How did I remember all of that crap? Why can I not remember it now? Is somebody burning toast?

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Peregrine Falcon

For me it’s the standard WoW-copy-paste 150+ powers setup.

I REALLY don’t want to play yet another MMO that requires 11+ power bars to hold its 150+ powers. It’s ridiculous. I wish the devs would learn to copy-paste another MMO power style like Neverwinter or GW2.

Yes, it would be better if they’d just learn to make game mechanics that are different and fun, instead of copy-pasting Neverwinter or GW2, but I try to NOT wish for things that are clearly impossible.

Trelfar
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Trelfar

When I first started playing Elder Scrolls Online I couldn’t believe the power tray only had 5 slots plus an ultimate. After a while I realized I was having more fun, and now logging into Star Trek Online and seeing my power tray setup gives me a headache. Definitely agree that Neverwinter is another good example.

Black Desert Online at least tried to do something different with their key-combo control system, but the number of powers still made my head hurt, especially as they weren’t distinct enough.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Graphics. Including character detail and animation. I really enjoyed playing games like original Deus Ex or LotRO but looking at them now – I have absolutely no desire to get back to them after seeing what modern games are capable of. This is also part of the reason why I will not be playing WoW Classic (sure they have made improvements to graphics but it is not enough) and why I never cared about looks of characters in WoW (especially the gear, all of which looks ugly). That’s just my personal preference, for me graphics matter just as much as the story or music in games.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Their fan-made wikis. Eventually, fans fall away and wikis become unreliable. My particular beef is with SWTOR. It doesn’t have an official wiki, instead relying on fan wikis, all of which are not only terrible, but incomplete and mostly out of date.

This goes for forum information as well. Searching for info can bring up forum responses which in the current patch is just plain wrong. Games that don’t have a lot of active (and informative) forum users eventually are just hard to get in to because there’s no current info on the state of play.

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John Mclain

Easy, it’s the graphics. If you took a mmo from 10 years ago and slap modern AAA graphics on it and change NOTHING ELSE, you would resell the crap out of the game easily. At some point we will hit a graphical level where a game doesn’t look like garbage after 5 years.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

for me its the combat. i went back to swg for a month earlier this year and had a blast with everything except the combat. so clunky. queuing combos and watching them happen wasn’t my cup of tea.

besides the combat though, that game has a lot of systems that still hold up and in a lot of ways outshine some games today.