Both Guild Wars and World of Warcraft are MMORPG’s. For the less technical/non-gamers amongst us that stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game. Now, for me, this has become somewhat of a misnomer. For those of you who follow my site, you’ll see that I’m a regular whiner about how great Neverwinter Nights and Baldurs Gate et al were. Not only were they great games, but also you played a ROLE.
I’ve had a fair bit of experience with MMORPG’s now. I’ve played (a long time ago) the original Ultima Online, as well as the new stuff like Guild Wars, Eve Online and of course World of Warcraft. However, only the early stuff seems to actually have any role-play. The rest suffers from a massive bout of the ‘grinding’.
Once again, for those of you not in the know, ‘grinding’ is a term which signifies going through a monotonous routine to ‘level’ your character – i.e. make him or her better in order to kill more difficult foes, pass greater areas of difficulty and wield better weapons. Generally you’ll do this a lot until you completely max out your character. In case anyone tries to tell you otherwise, roleplay this is not.
In the early days, characters were smithies, journeymen, bards (with no combat focus), storytellers and more. They had to work at being a character before they could venture off into the wilds. Now you have reached level 10 before you blink and are killing dragons within the month. I’m less than impressed. An exaggeration perhaps and a little tainted by the ‘drop-in/drop-out’ nature of Guild Wars but you get the idea.
I guess what really bites me about this sort of game is the whole premise. I’ve played a reasonable amount of Guild Wars – but I’ve also started Oblivion (you can see my first days of play here). You couldn’t play any more totally different experiences. One is literally ‘grinding’ whilst the other is exciting, original and completely freeform. Lets put it this way, I know which one I’ll be playing in a few months time – and unfortunately it’s the one which features only non-human interaction.
Before anyone complains – I have tried and will try other MMORPG’s. I just think that the genre has perhaps lost its’ way a little bit. This is quite sad, because I remember the first ones coming out, and I remember the fun everyone had and the sense of community of it all. If you ask me, things like Second Life has driven us in the wrong direction – whilst genious like The Kingdom Of Loathing continues to both surprise and impress. So tell me, where do you like to reside in your vitual world?