Ladies and germs, you’ve likely been following the writers of LoreHound.com for quite some time (If not, welcome aboard!). We’ve introduced ourselves, talked about our time in World of Warcraft, discussed our past and even revealed the origins behind our now-familiar names. But what we haven’t done is reveal how we got here.
How is it that we went from players to bloggers? Was World of Warcraft our first drug, or just the latest taste? Exactly how long have we been in the MMOG scene? Are we newcomers with a penchant for deep discussion, or are we long-standing players well-versed in the genre? Perhaps we’re casual sight seers, whetting our palate with a smorgasbord of flavors and diverse textures. You’ll gain insight and answers from my personal timeline (dates are when I played).
- Ultima Online (Summer 1998) – I still didn’t have a computer in my house at this point in time, so it somewhat surprising that I became hooked on a PC game. Ultima Online was my “summer love” for 1998. I frequented a friend’s house and it just so happened that his father had an account. Junior was allowed to play a character, so we tore through Trammel with reckless abandon. And had little clue as to what we were doing.
- EverQuest (Winter 1999) – I picked up EverQuest at the behest of an addicted friend. We had tons of time to kill during midterm break, and he promised to show me the ropes. It went well for awhile, but he soon got tired of playing his alt and abandoned me. I shortly abandoned the game after having no one to play with.
- Phantasy Star Online (January 2001 – September 2001, September 2004 – January 2005) – Mixed Offline and Online modes drew me in to the game, but ultimately ruined it for me. Both times. Being the original console MMOG on a console that offered little security and no means of patching meant that the experience was ruined by cheaters, exploiters and trolls. Blue Burst, relaunched the product on the PC years later and (I believe) is still running. I’m currently waiting on the sequel.
- Final Fantasy XI (May 2002 – July 2002) – I tried to like it, I really did. The grind was just too much for me. I quit as soon as summer activities rolled in.
- Earth & Beyond (September 2002 – March 2003) – Westwood was responsible for getting me into PC gaming. When I heard the company was making an MMORPG, I was on board. I didn’t even need the details. Its science fiction setting just hyped me further. I was dirt broke at this point in time. Old hardware was salvaged and eBayed, food was ignored, blood was sold, all to keep me in the space opera. Funds dried up after my birthday, and stayed that way for awhile.
- Star Wars Galaxies (June 2004 – August 2004) – SWG was my summer gift to myself. It’s generally a slow period in the gaming industry, and I saw it on sale at a discount. The severe sandbox nature isn’t really my style – I like a narrative – so it was abandoned as soon as I entered WoW’s beta.
- World of Warcraft (November 2004 – January 2007, March 2008-Present) – Finally, my brother and I had separate computers and an MMORPG we both wanted to play. We tackled the game with earnest, bringing nearly a dozen close friends from other games and real life with us. From the ragtag bunch of friends, we created what would be the most powerful guild on Magtheridon during the run of vanilla WoW. By the launch of The Burning Crusade, few of those friends remained, and I became disillusioned with WoW’s direction (mainly the story). After being a hardcore raider for almost three years, a break was in order. I took one until Wrath of the Lich King chat picked up. Suffice it to say that my hardcore WoW playstyle lead to the following few games receiving little attention from me.
- The Matrix Online (March 2005 – Fall 2005) – MxO attracted me for a few different reasons. First, it was original in its design and set in a very cool universe. It wasn’t a typical fantasy game and even allowed players to become a part of the lore. Three distinct factions, canon storyline, live events, lots of cool things were planned, and even executed (at some point). I left for one reason — financial. My playstyle in WoW lead me to be a very casual player. It didn’t make financial sense as a cash-strapped college student to drop money on a game I barely played.
- Guild Wars (April 2005 – November 2005) – Although I’ve never been a hardcore player of Guild Wars, I latched on to the game because of its business model. I hated the idea of paying a subscription and buying expansions, so ArenaNet’s model was right up my alley. I haven’t touched the game in years, but the company’s track record has me very interested in Guild Wars 2.
- Auto Assault (April 2006 – September 2006) – A Cyberpunk post-apocalyptic world beset by Twisted Metal and Mad Max gameplay. What’s not to get excited about? Unfortunately, there wasn’t much interesting content to partake in down the road. You know, like the one we drove on the whole time…*tap*tap*…Is this thing on?
- Tabula Rasa (November 2007 – August 2008) – TR is easily the biggest missed opportunity of any game I’ve ever been a part of. Back in beta, we were screaming for news on end-game content. We didn’t even know if there’d be any, let alone anything about it. Yet, I stuck with the game. The game just felt so alive to me. The story telling, exploring, alien invasions and town defenses made you feel as if you were part of an on-going battle. One where you actually mattered. Despite my love of TR, I gave up on the title before the decision was made to abandon it. I went back for the closing ceremonies, which pained me more than I’ll ever admit.
- Warhammer Online (September 2008 – April 2009) – Games Workshop has interesting properties, period. Everything the company does is done with its full set of resources and creativity. The world that Warhammer Online is based on had me hooked, Dark Age of Camelot developer Mythic Entertainment at the helm reeled me in. I enjoyed my time in WAR, but it was too PvP-based for my taste.
- Runes of Magic (March 2009 – April 2009) – I was a beta participant for RoM for a long time, so I felt somewhat obligated to check it out when it went live (it’s free, why not?). There was so little difference between the beta and live version that I was scared off, and have never looked back.
- Champions Online (September 2009 – April 2010) – I needed a break from the fantasy worlds of WoW, WAR and RoM — and Champions Online fit the bill perfectly. A superhero MMORPG from the company that designed City of Heroes. Too bad there was nothing exciting for me to do after level 20. I hear the game has gotten better, but I’ve found a better non-fantasy fix…
- Global Agenda (February 2010 – Present) – I discovered Global Agenda while walking the halls of PAX 2009. After realizing Hi-Rez Studios had made the “No Elves” trailer, I decided to take it for a spin at the booth. Months ahead of release, the gameplay was well-polished and (relatively) balanced, a far cry for most titles. I inquired about further details, and although the MMOG aspects were flimsy at the time, I knew it’d be worth following from the strong core.
- Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (February 2010 – Present) – Honestly, I got into DDO:EU to start a community project for all you Lore Hounds. I’m glad I did, it’s been a fun ride in a fun game.
- Forsaken World (March 2011- April 2011) – The Western audience needs to take a hard look at this one. Perfect World Entertainment dedicated a ton of time making sure the company’s latest release resonates well with our mindset. It has all the trappings of a PWE game – autopathing, numerous daily, even hourly quests, carrot-on-a-stick to the max – wrapped in a moderately polished yet original fantasy world. It’s still installed, but I haven’t touched my character due to a game featuring tons of steel.
- Rift (March 2011- Present) – The freshman entry from Trion Worlds has been a breath of fresh air. It doesn’t seem to matter to many gamers that it’s a WoW-a-like. The title has its own panache, a style of its own. A unique take on stale mechanics and iterations on others keep sucking in new subscribers. My sheer ignorance keeps me going.
- World of Tanks (April 2011 – Present) – War games have always intrigued me. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been a long-time fan of WarGaming.net, a company specializes in simulation war games. Take that 10+ game pedigree, apply it to WWII-era tanks (and beyond) across randomized maps and a F2P business model and I’m there. I don’t play WoT as much as I’d like, but it’s always there when I need to kill some nazis or blow the lid off commies.
Titles in bold mean the game is no longer with us. Only games that I actually subscribed to (with the exception of UO) are included in the list. Not included are the dozens of games I helped test in alpha and/or beta stages or titles that I was introduced to by friends (EVE Online).
I had quite a poor streak of choices during World of Warcraft’s rise to prominence. I honestly never realized how many MMOGs I played until I compiled this list. Pretty shocking, a personal revelation. What have you played?
In case you are wondering, here are the actual release dates (and closing dates) of the titles:
- Ultima Online (September 1997)
- EverQuest (March 1999)
- Final Fantasy XI (May 2002)
- Earth & Beyond (September 2002 – September 2004)
- Star Wars Galaxies (June 2003)
- World of Warcraft (November 2004)
- The Matrix Online (March 2005 – July 2009)
- Guild Wars (April 2005)
- Auto Assault (April 2006 – August 2007)
- Tabula Rasa (November 2007 – February 2009)
- Warhammer Online (September 2008)
- Runes of Magic (March 2009)
- Champions Online (September 2009)
- Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (September 2009)
- Global Agenda (February 2010)
- Forsaken World (March 2011)
- Rift (March 2011)
- World of Tanks (April 2011)