My vacation into the virtual lands of MMO’s began with Asheron’s Call in 1999. Playing with friends in a persistent world had a certain novelty to it. Granted, the release of Diablo II the following year quickly put my stay in Dereth on hold. Not one to limit myself to one game, I “toured” multiple MMO’s up until World of Warcraft’s (WoW) launch in 2004. Multiple MMO’s huh? Take a look at this virtual itinerary:
- Ultima Online (1 month)
- Everquest (1 month)
- Final Fantasy XI (1 month)
- The Sims Online Beta (a few days)
- Asheron’s Call 2 (a few months)
The release of Asheron’s Call 2, in 2002, marked the first time I had set up a base camp in an MMO since the original Asheron’s Call in 1999. My stay in AC 2 did not last long, however, the group of friends that I was playing with ended up quitting the game. For the first time in years, I was no longer traversing the virtual landscapes. A whole year would go by before I would once again venture forth.
- Saga of Ryzom Beta
- World of Warcraft
In 2004, the perfect storm came together in the form of the Warcraft universe becoming an MMO.
Blizzard + Warcraft + MMO = WIN!
Blizzard games have been a staple of my PC gaming diet for years. Warcraft II, Starcraft, Diablo, and Diablo II were go-to games for me and my friends.
Sidenote: How many of you remember playing the original Diablo with a modem? I remember many late nights, on my Macintosh, spent listening to the pinging/ ponging modem language as I hooked up to battle.net. Good times. Haunting music. No option to run!
World of Warcraft came out the year that I went away to college. The game quickly became a way to communicate/ game with friends three states away. WoW had a darkside, however, one that almost cost me my love in the summer of 2005.
Guild Wars launched the following year (2005). Though technically not an MMO, Guild Wars provided a few alternative to WoW. Unfortunately, the beta period for this game all but killed the game for me (there are only so many times you can create a character, level, and then have it deleted). So I went back to WoW until things came to a head with my real life. Decisions had to be made.
Girlfriend or WoW?
Girlfriend of course! She won.
Girlfriend now wife.
I have played many MMO’s since WoW.
- Dungeon Runners.
- Lord of the Rings Online
- Warhammer Online
- Dungeons and Dragons Online
So many hours poured into games I never plan on returning to again. Reminds me of books left half read, tossed under a bed. In the end, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed the different worlds that I have explored. Each has offered a different experience that the game previous could not provide.
2009 marked the year I returned to Azeroth with my wife’s blessing. In playing, I have found that World of Warcraft does not have the same pull it once did. So I left the game once more to try:
- Maple Story
- Guild Wars (again!)
- Lord of the Rings Online (again!)
As you can see, I am an MMO tourist with a passport full of stamps. If 2009 has been any indication as to my less than monogamous gaming habits, 2010 is sure to be a busy year.
(Used as a resource for this article http://biobreak.wordpress.com/mmo-timeline/)
(1/26/16 Update: Reader Kevin Woodberry emailed me and asked that I link to his guide as a further resource. Check it out: Guide to Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games.)