When we try to sell people on MMOs, we naturally talk about systems or mechanics. If I wanted to convince someone to play World of Warcraft, I’d probably talk about classes or race options or quest design. What I would not talk about are years of roleplaying history or the electric feeling of logging in and seeing Azuremyst Isle for the first time, or the thrill of bringing down Kel’thuzad in Naxxramas when our off-tank was down and my wife was holding adds and the boss in a scenario we all knew would lead to a wipe… except we got the kill first.
Of course, the reason for not talking about those moments is that they’re not universal or easy to replicate. I can talk about the story of Final Fantasy XIV, but not the sense of joy at seeing the most recent patch’s story draw to a close; I can talk about the ship combat in Star Trek Online, but not the smooth feeling of firing phasers as my ship swings around, putting myself mentally in the captain’s chair, and feeling that connection to shows I’ve loved for years as the ship opened up. But let’s try to share them. What moments do you feel people have missed if they haven’t played your favorite MMOs? Not systems, but bits of emotional connection?