I've only played MMORPG's since about 2004. Oddly enough, my first game was Lineage 2- talk about a slog and grind, man- it's a wonder I've tried others.
Anyway, I've been looking over other games. I can say that CO's the one I've stuck with the longest, because I like comic books and I like roleplaying. That being said, I still keep my eyes on other ones and I like to take a peek at what else happens.
I find myself wondering what the 'next big step is'. There have been some huge innovations that I've seen since Lineage 2- some good, some 'meh'.
So, what do I like?
CO's character customization is leaps and bounds ahead of everything else. I love it, and I wish it were the standard. I don't like being shoehorned into using a specific race, body size, and forced to look like a weird hobo until I hit max level. I find myself tinkering with the character creator, just making random whatevers, and ask 'why isn't this in other games?' Certainly the science fiction genre has been neglected and has room for cyborgs, aliens, mutants, and a wide array of clothing options for anyone; and I'd love to see fantasy gamers' imaginations run wild with something like this and create their own elves, monsters, and things of that nature. So, really? CO's nailed it here, and I wish this was more 'the standard' for MMORPG's so I can 'be the ____ I want to be' anywhere I play.
I was blown away by the valiant attempt at Star Wars: The Old Republic's story aspect. I liked the idea that someone took an MMORPG and made it 'not a bunch of fetch quests' and at least gussied it up with some morality options and dialogue. To me, that made 'playing alone' still have some appeal in an MMORPG- because let's face it, I'm a jerk and sometimes I don't want to talk to anyone else. It makes me wonder if someone else in the future will take this and run with it.
Allods online was an 'okay' WoW-clone that had ships floating about in the Aether (or something, I dunno, cyber mummies were cool but I lost interest). If I recall correctly, an entire crew could fight others in ship-to-ship combat... so where's this idea on a Pirate game? Or even a Sci-fi game where we can have massive space battles in PvP? I think it's a great idea, I do- I just want to see it taken further.
The Secret World did something I didn't expect, which was make an interesting Modern-Era dark themed MMORPG with some decent story. Granted, after about a week of killing zombies and dealing with the annoying controls, I kinda gave up. I do think it could have used more customization in the tailor, but points for taking a step into something most people didn't.
So, what's not to like?
I despised WoW's gear-grind. I hate the idea that in order to 'look cool', I need to invest ridiculous amounts of time into raids, PvP, or flat-out grinding. Are the concept artists so strapped that they say 'let's make everything look like dookie except like, five pieces'? I would think with the ridiculous amout of artistic talent out there, we could come up with a game where you look cool no matter what level you are.
Liscensed properties keep cropping up in video games, and it's no surprise that they've tapped the MMORPG market. The problem I have with these? While they get funding, it's still not something that can take a massive amount of writer/artistic liberties. You're at the whims of the people who own the brand, working within the confines of their lore. When it comes to superhero MMORPG's, it still seems like you're a glorified minion. I'd like to see people steer away from this concept, and let new creative ideas flow.
Gamble boxes seem to be all over the place. I realize that this is a 'money-maker', but when I see games with these? They're usually on their last leg. It's a bad sign, because I'm kind of old-fashioned. If I see something I want, I'll throw cash at it. I don't like the idea of gambling, especially in something that has an appeal to younger players. I don't like the idea of trusting a system to be 'fair' when it comes to winning something at random. I mean... isn't there some better way?
Pay-to-win games draw ire from me. I'm of a mind that nothing you can spend real money on should give you anything other than a cosmetic advantage or a 'fun trinket' of some sort. Sure, I'll pay $5.00 to look like a badass while I clobber cellar rats spiders with a dirty swamp root and love it. But when I see some guy throw $50.00 and just faceroll a game? Get real. That kinda cheapens the entire concept of the game. I've seen this mostly in the Asian gaming market- so, can someone shed light on this for me? Why do these things... exist? It's a terrible idea, and I'm surprised there isn't more action trying to get this sort of gameplay removed from existence.
So, what now?
What's the next push to 'revolutionize' online gaming?
Why, in the course of a decade am I seeing different games, with one or two ridiculously awesome selling points... and no one saying 'let's do like, ALL THOSE AWESOME THINGS!'?
Are we ever going to find a way to break away from the 'WoW mechanics' without turning MMORPG's into arcade-style games?
Are we constantly going to see 'fantasy' MMORPG's, or will someone make something else in the realm of Sci-fi, Steampunk/Weird West, Modern, or another genre?
Personally, I think the MMORPG market is going to drive on for many years. We've seen people that don't even play 'other games' come to MMORPG's, and the market draws a lot of income. Even console non-RPG's are taking some elements from MMORPG's and incorporating them, which only increases the appeal.
I'd love to hear some thoughts on this, have a discussion, and see what people think.