In at the beginning

I went to see The Dark Knight last Friday, which was the day it opened here. I’m not going to review it here although it was an awesome film (if you like that sort of thing) and I expect to see Oscars heading that way next year.

Going to see a big film on its opening night is a very different prospect to going at the end of the run or watching it on DVD later. The film itself is the same, but the atmosphere of being in a packed cinema full of excited people, many of whom are in costume? That kind of event only happens on the first weekend.

A MMO is different of course because players interact with each other. Instead of just sitting quietly (or not quietly if you’re the guy who was 2 rows in front of me, but I’m not bitter) enjoying the film together, there’s a more active element involved. But a MMO feels very very different to play when it’s new than when it’s a couple of years old, even though the basic gameplay may be the same. The basic gameplay will even likely be better later on due to improvements and bug fixes.

Despite this, I’m really hooked on trying MMOs when they come out because the playerbase seems friendlier. I always assumed it was because people hadn’t settled yet into their cliques and were more motivated to meet people, if only to figure out who they wanted to hang out with in the endgame. Later on, the experienced players get more hardcore. They’ve finished their learning curve and aren’t finding it fun any more to do things inefficiently . But somehow for me, the really /fun/ part of the games is in the first 6 months. While we’re all learning together.

After that, it settles into a hobby. And while it’s also fun to know that you’re really good at playing the class/game and hone that as much as possible, somehow the sheer childlike play quality fades away.

What is it that appeals to you about being in right at the start, bugs and all?

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6 Responses

  1. I know what you mean. If at all possible, I try to go to opening days of the movies I really want to see. People are still fresh, they don’t know what’s coming. Everything is more …honest. The best time I had was the midnight opening in Toronto of Star Wars Ep III with participation from the 501st Stormtroopers.

    MMOs I can see being the same. When all are equal before the grind and just as much a noob as the next guy, the world is fresher, happier and holds more promise.

    There will be bugs, but of course Im looking forward to the WAR headstart, no one can tell me where to go because they’re just as lost as I am, and it will be epic fun finding our feet all together.

  2. I love the start of the economy, when things sell for crazy prices and no-one can afford anything. I like being lost (a bit) and I like the sense that you can ask anything and not be seen to be too lame. And I think I like that groundswell of excitement as everyone gets to open their christmas presents!

  3. I think I’m an explorer at heart, but not necessarily just an explorer of landmass. I also like learning about how all the systems work, be it classes and combat, or crafting and the economy.

    However, the achiever side of my nature ensures that I also want to feel like somewhat of a pioneer in my exploration – like I am breaking new ground somehow. I’m not saying I need to be the first to have done something, but my ego demands that I am at least on the more progressive end of the bell curve šŸ™‚

    I feel that if I miss the boat by not playing a game at launch, I may never be able to ‘catch up’ with those that did, and for good or ill, that is a big turn off for me.

    Also, I guess in those early days when the underlying game mechanics are still a bit murky and so much is unexplored, there is a little more ‘magic’ in a game. This can really add to the immersion and fun factor, especially when everyone else is experiencing something similar.

  4. I love the first RvR or PvP experience. It gets the blood flowing

  5. I love betas and I love brand new games. Even a brand new game that sucks is fun for the first couple of weeks. You don’t know where everything is. There’s no cheat sheets available on the internet for every quest. It’s like exploring an unknown land. I can’t ever go back and be Sacajawea, but I can explore virtual worlds and, if I’m there in the beginning I might be the first to see the sun come up over a certain mountain. Learning how new gameplay features work is also like exploring. Lots of fun shiny, new things in a new game — even though there is likely to be server snags and bugs, it’s still my favorite part of gaming.

  6. […] Why pay full price? Posted on July 29, 2008 by Rick Over at The Book of Grudges, spinks is talking about the difference between playing an MMO at launch, and playing an MMO after it’s been out for months or […]

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