I have had lots of experience with MMOs… and simultaneously, I have absolutely none. The number of MMOs I’ve bought is astounding; how quickly I’ve dropped the games doubly so.
- World of Warcraft: played to the early 20s as a human rogue.
- Burning Crusade expansion pack: got to about level 28 as a Draenei paladin. I really like the Draenei, even if the whole “hey fantasy world, THIS IS A SPACE SHIP” thing is sorta weird. I tried to play with my sister, but this never materialized.
- City of Villains: got to somewhere in the 20s as a scientist-turned-zombie-summoning Mastermind. Of any MMO, this is probably my favorite. However, the time I started playing wasn’t conducive to MMOs, and I always felt like the game was just a wee-bit repetitive. Not that I minded – I loved being a villain, trashing both cops and lesser bad guys. Equal opportunity ass kicker, Dixon Aztek was. I never really enjoyed the hero side of the game, though.
- EVE Online: Torrid affair here, with me subbing and resubbing several times, but never restarting the same character. I eventually used Plex to get me my Drake, which is pretty much the most awesome space ship ever.
- DDO: Never subscribed. I tried out their free-to-play model. Got past the starting island, and ran a few missions in Stormreach.
- Warhammer Online: Got to the early-20s with an Inquisitor. Man, was she awesome! However, Tier 2 never was as fun as Tier 1.
- Tabula Rasa: Man, I really really wanted to play this game. I bought a copy, but my university’s internet blocked certain ports that the game needed to connect. Which is completely strange, because no other MMO was affected in the same way. The game was cancelled before I got a chance to play it – maybe on account of their shoddy network programming, we’ll never know.
- Pirates of the Burning Sea: played it for less than an hour, I kid you not.
- Champions Online: Amazon had it on sale for $30 a few weeks after launch. I’d played the free beta, so I thought I’d give it a shot. The game was fine, but it just never clicked for me.
- Star Trek Online: Have a lifetime subscription, man.
- Age of Conan: My current hang-up, on a lark I decided to sub to it for a year. There’s an expansion coming out soon, too.
So here are the trends I’ve noticed:
1. They’re all female.
I prefer playing females characters because I’m male, no big surprise there. It’s not for any nonsense like “special treatment” or the free gifts people assume girls must get showered with everywhere they go. I know MMORPG actually stands for “Many Men Online Role-Playing Girls,” and so the fact that I’m a guy-playing-a-girl is to be expected; that doesn’t change the fact that I try to make it abundantly clear that I’m a guy, and that I shouldn’t be hit on or treated like anything other than “one of the guys.”
Like GeeCee has said – I’d much rather stare at a woman’s butt than a man’s the whole time I play. In the table tops RPGs I’ve played in, I’ve never been a female – I just don’t think I’d be comfortable actually acting like a girl. In MMOs, girls just tend to look better than guys, honestly. The boob thing – all my chicks tend to not be top-heavy. Back pain and all that. I prefer more realistic, less fetishized characters, thank you very much.
All this said, I’m starting to regret playing as a female in AoC. I think it’s because I’ve been reading the actual Conan short stories. Conan makes being a badass, crazy, male barbarian sound fun. Oh well, I’m not really interested in re-rolling.
2. I’ve never gotten past the early mid-game.
As a general rule, I don’t play MMOs past the first or second month. I usually quit about ten or twenty hours after the “tutorial” is finally finished – I’ve gotten all the basic abilities, probably started doing some sort of simple gathering and crafting, and maybe I even purchased most of the pieces to a matching set of armor. Then I quit; if I return, it’ll probably be with a new character.
This is probably because, in the past, I’ve not been as financially stable as I am now (single undergrad supported by his parents, versus happily married, financially independent grad student with a good stipend). I’ve felt that I needed to get “$15 worth” of gaming each month – and unfailingly, when undergrad schooling got too hard, I couldn’t justify the expenditure and quit. It doesn’t help that I tried to play alot in the first month (though, when compared to other players, “alot” is relative here), and ended up burning out really quickly.
I’ve also felt that I couldn’t justify the time investment. It seems that MMOs grow more “hardcore” the longer you stay subbed – as you level, you have to invest more and more time into the game. Bosses grow increasingly difficult and require successful grouping. Levels take longer to finish. Rare drops grow harder to get. Basically, to get the same amount of achievement (“I got a new set of armor!” “I gained two new levels!”) you have to invest a proportionately greater amount of time.
Recently, I’ve tried to buck this feeling: I did a lifetime sub to STO, and a year sub to AoC, so that I could escape from the pressure of having to play every day. It also helps that I’ve two strangely complimentary games – STO is about having a space ship, AoC about bashing in peoples’ skulls.
3. I like backstabs and dealing lots of damage.
I don’t want to be the tank. Sometimes, I flirt with being the healer. But what I really, really like? I want to see my enemies die, quickly. I guess I really do take this line to heart.
Honestly, I didn’t even realize this trend till too late. WoW‘s rogue was just… my favorite. I liked to stealth and to have really high DPS. When WAR came out, I liked the sword and gun combo Inquisitors use, and their background fluff naturally appealed to me. In STO, I like melee combat, so I rerolled as a tac officer. When I started playing AoC, I didn’t even realize that the barbarian was a rogue class – and then I found out I could Hide.
It hindsight, it makes sense. I want enemies to go away, and fast. I like the rush of coming out on top, after a short vicious fight that has left me at 1% health. For me, it’s the most rewarding way to play the game.
At times, I think about being a healer. For instance, I think that being a Science Officer would actually be really useful in late-game STO. But that’s mostly driven out of a feeling of civic duty (“Someone should do heals!”)
However, I should also point out that my roguish qualities are tied to a second, even more important, aspect of my preferred game play: to steal a page from D&D/KOTOR, I prefer skills to feats, intelligence to wisdom, dexterity to strength. In BioWare games, I’m always the one that’s hacking/slicing/persuading. That’s just how I roll.