MMORPG set Archives

MMORPG set Archives

MMORPG set Archives

MMORPG set Archives


MMORPG Hours vs. TV Hours

MMORPG gamers spend on average 21.0 hours per week playing the game (N = 1996), and spend on average 7.7 hours per week watching TV (N = 1996). The national average for TV watching per week is around 28, which is what the above averages add up to. In other words, this lends support to the claim that time that was spent watching TV has been displaced by MMORPG playing. Female players are on average older than male players (33.0 vs. 28.4, N male = 1587, N female = 379, p < .001) and also spend more hours in the game than male players (22.3 vs. 19.0, p < .001).

Among male players, age correlates positively with hours of TV watched per week (r = .08, p = .003). Among female players, age correlates positively with hours spent playing an MMORPG per week (r = .12, p = .02). With both male and female players, hours spent playing an MMORPG does not correlate with hours spent watching TV (r = .03 and r = -.03 respectively, p's > .05).

The following table shows average weekly hours spent playing MMORPGs and watching TV among MMORPG players. Of interest is the spike in play-time among female players over the age of 35. The trend among male players appears to be mostly linear.

I can absolutely confirm your findings. I watch almost no TV anymore since I started playing MMORPGs. TV is pretty much a solo activity, while (at least for me) playing a MMORPG has a large social aspect.

I think this is a positive development.

Posted by: Lediel of Hibernia (DAoC) on January 12, 2005 3:13 PM

I agree. And the same could be said of anything that involves interaction. Even if the action is through a joy stick or a keyboard. Being able to affect what happens in a story versus watching one you can't control is what draws me to games.

Posted by: Damien on January 12, 2005 7:04 PM

I agree 100%. To me, gaming has always been preferable to television because as the previous posters said, games are a mentally engaging and interactive experience whereas television is a passive experience.

I wonder if game companies are aware of this sort of information? I should think it would be very useful for their marketing departments. (e.g. don't advertise to MMOG players via television commercials!).

Posted by: Owen on January 13, 2005 5:33 AM

Actually, if you'd asked me this three years ago, when the only shows I'd watch on TV were The Sopranos, Law & Order, and Good Eats, you'd have been right. In my own case, the increase in quality television shows, like Lost, Desperate Housewives, Nip/Tuck, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Shield, etc., plus the strengthening of existing shows like SVU, 24, Alias and The Simpsons, place me square in front the TV several nights a week, and the other nights are spent out. Of course, nearly every show I mentioned has something in it that has me thinking or learning, whether about cooking and science, my ethics, or the mystery of the storylines, when I watch.

As for MMORPGs giving me the feeling I'm affecting the story: hasn't happened yet, at least within the confines of the player experience, after several years of playing these games from EQ to AC to AO to SWG to WoW, and others. Knowing that 1000 other people are doing pretty much the same thing, and the systems of player interaction, where quests, missions, etc. are referred to as commodities to be acquired, instead of as personal experiences, as opposed to a single player experience, only detracts from the feeling of story and immersivity even more.

The real way to affect things in MMORPG-ville is to do something REALLY big or become close to the developers. Either of these are hard to pull off in MMORPG communities, and in the end, it's their world, their rules anyway.

Finally, I just happen to feel that, at this moment, the better entertainment is being offered on TV. The pendulum will surely swing back again, but for now, TVs got my free time spent at home.

Posted by: Chris on January 13, 2005 9:24 AM

One of my jobs is at a cyber cafe. I play a wide variety of games, including online RPGs. Certain RPGs are more conducive to my needed style of play than others (certain games have more of an "autopilot" feature, for when I have to step away and help a customer).

I enjoy playing games with the people that come here to game, and we'll often jump into the same game server online to play with/against each other and others online. There are people here who play Anarchy Online, Final Fantasy, and Star Wars Galaxies (as well as all of the other more traditional games that we offer).

If there was a tv here, I might spend time watching it during my downtime, instead of playing. As it is, I sometimes bring in DVDs and watch them, pausing when I need to. I'm currently working my way through Smallville, Season 3, whenever I'm not playing a game.

Posted by: Bart on January 13, 2005 4:16 PM

I play more than watch TV simply because there is nothing on. Sometimes I end up playing SWG because there is nothing good on TV. But im aways looking through TV Guide channel for good shows, and I never miss them just to play.

Posted by: David on January 13, 2005 4:48 PM

I don't watch much TV at all these days, and I don't miss it. Too many stupid reality shows and bad sitcoms. And if I see another show named after a city or another CSI spin-off or wannabe, I think I'll puke. Even channels like G4-TechTV have gone for the worse. Those channels were pretty good before the merger. If I did watch TV, it would have to be either HBO(Sopranos, Deadwood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ali G, various stand up acts), good sitcoms/reruns(Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, King of Queens), classic shows(All in the Family, Three's Company, Sanford and Son).

I used to watch maybe too much in my younger days, but these days I'd rather read or play a good pc/xbox game instead.

Posted by: JK on January 14, 2005 8:02 AM

I am not much of a MMO games, RPG or otherwise. Could be because of the less then admirable connection. :)
But I always prefered games to TV for the same reason stated by other people here. YOU INTERACT. I am not a passive observer, but a part of the game. I choose what to do, and even in the most linear game you have a choice of doing things. After all, we all know that gamers have different styles, dont we? :)
Can you say the same for TV viewers?

Posted by: Gremlin on January 15, 2005 6:55 AM

"I can absolutely confirm your findings. I watch almost no TV anymore since I started playing MMORPGs. TV is pretty much a solo activity, while (at least for me) playing a MMORPG has a large social aspect."

I don't play a MMORPG currently, and hardly watch TV anymore either.
This, because there's mostly shite on, lately, and commercial breaks have gotten longer, and more frequent. ( Here in the Netherlands, at least )

What TV-series I do watch, I download, BTW. No more taking 45 minutes to watch a 30 minute TV show.

Posted by: Soulfox on January 16, 2005 2:41 AM

Lediel: "I can absolutely confirm your findings. I watch almost no TV anymore since I started playing MMORPGs. TV is pretty much a solo activity, while (at least for me) playing a MMORPG has a large social aspect."

Um. Hate to point this out, but the findings in the article actually contradict what you've said.

The sentence: "With both male and female players, hours spent playing an MMORPG does not correlate with hours spend watching TV" basically sums up the opposite.

There are those who play lots of MMORPGs and watch lots of TV, there are those that do neither, and its not statistically significantly linked.

Posted by: Andrew on January 16, 2005 5:42 AM

I keep telling my friends that I'd rather spend hours playing a MMORPG than watch TV.

At least by playing games I keep my mind active -- places to go, monster kill strategies to formulate, crafting to improve, quests to complete, keeping your group alive while killing boss mobs, zones to explore, etc . . . and there is the whole social aspect of chatting with guild members as well.

Watching TV is good for a break but I feel like my brain is turning to mush when I do it for too long.

Posted by: Ron on January 17, 2005 7:03 AM

I find that I do displace TV with MMORPG play, however I seem to go through cycles. I've played UO, DAoC, SWG and WoW, but between games I revert back to TV/Movies, then retro style games (platformers, shoot-em-ups), then FPS games, then mack to MMORPG again. It's like a compressed version of the history of entertainment. More precisely, it replicates my personal entertainment history.

Each time, the cycle has newer versions of games, but the genres remain the same.

Posted by: Justin on January 17, 2005 6:02 PM

I have the TV on while I play the game. Just as backround noise, otherwise I go nuts. I included time the TV was on as 'watching TV' when I took the survey... because I do, rather. I just don't pay as much attention to it as I usually do... and, it could easilly be replaced with a few good music albums. :shrug:

Posted by: Pheonix on January 18, 2005 12:24 AM

I quit watching TV when I was in graduate school, and I have never begun again. Partly I think this is an age thing... when I was growing up TV was free. I still can't justify paying money for cable :D

I enjoy games much more than watching television. When I'm playing a game, I'm advancing in some way, either leveling, learning a skill, exploring a new zone, meeting new people, or enjoying questing with my friends. I don't get a feeling of advancement from television. Also, I'd rather set my own agenda and engage my own imagination than have the content prepackaged and presented for me to consume unthinkingly.

Posted by: Lisa on January 18, 2005 4:51 AM

Is there a catagory for those of us that can multi-task? We watch T.V. while playing our MMORPG online game. What does that say about us? My husband and I both play the same game so there won't be a disagreement of how much time is spent in these games. We have been online for 4 years with the same players for the most part, and have seen T.V. shows we like come and go. ER, CSI, 24, Desparate Housewives, etc. are must see for us, but we'll skip them if it comes down to an event in-game that we must take advantage of. FireFly was a show we loved, until FOX canned it. T.V. for us is more of a distraction, whereas the MMORPG we play is a goal oriented, interactive, way to relieve stress, spend time together, and generally just have fun finding new stuff, new friends, etc. And NO commercials! Although there has to be something wrong with us, because anything you enjoy doing can't be good for you.

Posted by: Jamie on January 18, 2005 9:14 AM

I've found that the same is true for myself. Also my wife has started to watch more TV as a result of my MMROPG playing. I wonder if there will be an article on spouces and how they act as a result of their spouce playing MMROPG

Posted by: Vetrusio on January 18, 2005 6:33 PM

Here is a question for all of you who enjoy the occasional tv watching: Would you tune into a show that compliments your game or MMORPGS in general?

Posted by: Dimitry on January 22, 2005 3:50 PM

I think we should also consider that different TV programs offer different kinds of entertainment aswell. Some people only watch documentaries or discussion and news. TV programs can offer thoughts, ideas and valuable information aswell as emotions. Or, on the other hand they can also be just a timesink and a rather passive form of entertainment.

An online game is also played for different reasons and in many different ways. This is why I wouldn't claim that MMORPGs are a better form of entertainment, even if they involve 'interaction'.

Posted by: Shmn on January 25, 2005 1:35 AM

I absolutely positively will never and can never get involved with a MMOG.

Did you look at those numbers? The AVERAGE MMOG player plays 21 hours a week?? That's a part time job. On average. And you're not making any money. And even though I play lots of games on my xbox, you're arguably not doing anything that will get you anywhere in life.

On the other hand, that really is arguable. It is a social experience. You make friends, form alliances, learn leadership, contribute to factions, etc. However, being that you still have to pay rent and order pizza, you still have to live in the real world for now. How real is a virtual world that is controlled by people, that would shut down with a power failure in the right area or a few keystrokes by a malicious person with the right connections?

Posted by: Mike on January 26, 2005 5:03 PM

To Mike:

Every hobby consumes time. Most consume a lot more money, too. You don't make any money by playing tennis either, do you?

Getting somewhere in life. Well, people already dedicate most of their time for work or studies, which aim at getting somewhere.

I'm not saying MMOG should be a substitute for life. It isn't. It's just a way to spend time, and a lot better in many ways than many other ways. MMOGs are also temporary as you said, but of course, we will just live with it.

I understand your concern about MMOG-addiction, however. It can easily become unhealthy and create difficulties with advancing in life outside the game. I suggest you read the addiction -secton here too to get a better understanding of that, if you already haven't.

Posted by: Shmn on January 28, 2005 4:23 AM

Ever since the first time I played a MMOG, a MUD, (without graphics) text based, game (for those who are not familiar with MUDS) my TV watching has dropped to just a few hours a month, if that.

I simply can not stand most commercials, except for the occasional but most often I end up switching the channel when they come on. So many times I can never watch the entire show I started off to watch because of this habit.

As for MMOGs, there isn't this distraction plus I get to interact with others. (as already stated) Since playing games, watching TV, socializing, ect, are basic distractions or escapism from the mundane or stressful parts of living, I choose to spend my time with the one that is most engaging for me and that happens to be MMOGs.

Posted by: Krumpel on January 28, 2005 12:24 PM

Well, on EQ2 we got the /pizza command, so we can order Pizza hut Pizza and play at the same time :-)

I have a TV next to my computer. Wonder how I would quantify how muchtime I spend doing each when I do them both simutaneously.

Posted by: Josh on March 1, 2005 12:15 PM

Prior to my recent MMORPG playing, I used to watch TV all the time. Seven months ago I started playing Runescape 2, and since then I average watching two hours of TV per a week. Before I was introduced to RS2, I used to watch TV up to 10 hours a week.

The only times I am willing to watch TV now are when most of my clan members are offline, and the forums are dull. However, because I have dual monitors, I can be on the forums chatting, and have TV on the other monitor, so I can do both at once.

Also, my TV shows I watch changed too, since I started playing RS2. I now mainly only watch shows that share similar attributes to that of the game I play. If it resembles it in some way, I will like it.

Posted by: George on March 5, 2005 10:39 PM

Interesting information. My personal experience confirms this data, however, I'm wondering how the data was collected? A self reported questionairre brings with it certain biases that may skew the data. Furthermore, data about other activities besides TV and MMORPG's games may also show important trends, like less physical activity or social outings.

Posted by: Mike on March 15, 2005 9:07 AM

You are a complete morone for playing games all the time. Your gay.

Posted by: Idk on March 16, 2005 7:44 AM

nice spelling ldk. You are a true intellect.

Posted by: kake on March 16, 2005 9:10 AM

I find your findings not surprising at all. Anyone who plays an MMORPG is most likely more likely to play and further themselves online than spend time watching TV.

Posted by: Josh on March 16, 2005 12:29 PM

See I really don't think that the really important factor to look at is the TV to MMORPG ratio because it seems to be pretty much a wash. The important issue is the fact that Game addicts will have very minimal motivation to experience "real life". A Generalization but probably fitting in most cases is that with the exception of having a full day to themselves were they could partake in a half day activity of experiencing "real life" and then play MMORPG later that nite. The gamers would tend to lets say go to work or school and then use the rest of their time to interact within the game rather then to spend it with friends or family. They spend pretty much all of that free time playing rather then creating or maintaining out of game relationships. Also an important factor to keep in mind is that while you do indeed create relationships when partaking in MMORPG, when or if something catostrophic schould occur in your "life" you ususally can only rely on your out of game relationships that have as a direct result of the excessive gaming been dimished to some degree even if it is not evident to the gamer . Now pretty much all of you are on the other side of the fence, but try to imagine being your friend who isn't engrossed in the game doesn't actually play at all and you will see that hanging out with yourself when your engrossed in the game is extreemly unrewarding for the for the individual standing by. It's quite a sad thing when communication breakdowns are more common place then not. I agree with the notion that it's ok for players who play a couple hours a day but, when you get into 5/6 hours a day letting it fully consume you it's affecting the people around you even if you don't know it. Being an individual on the "other side of the fence" the difference I see in people who play MMORPG 21 hours a week and the people who watch tv 28 hours a week is that the tv watchers are more in control and that those numbers will actually fluctuate and won't usually render them slaves of their characters as in this case of online gamers in the sence that someone would more likly miss a tv show they like then some instance that happens to come up about every day in the game. Tv viewers will ususally have a couple shows they really wouldn't want to miss were as high levels of attention must be spent on a much more common basis in the "game world" Now of course their are TV addicts who spend 40 to 50 plus hours a week watching tv and can't pry themselves away but I would guess that this addiction to the MMORPG the games are much more evident in it's player then in tv. I also think that addiction to the gaming it much more evident in the smaller gaming popultation compared to such a large population of T.V. watchers. Feel free to comment.

Posted by: friend of a friend on June 11, 2005 9:00 AM

Friend of a friend and others who post negatively towards gaming,

What you fail to mention is the undeniable fact that everyone has hobbies that they do alone. Ex...your wife is not going to sit there and watch you make your model airplane, or surf the net looking up Football stats. I work with people that could tell you how fast the entire NFL roster can run the quarter mile, but they arent labeled as sports addicts or nerds.

Furthermore,if you come home and can hold a 6 hour conversation with your wife, or call your mother on the phone and talk to her for that long (I am using 6 hours because thats the average amount of time a day I have before bed) then you are NOT NORMAL!!!

In a nutshell, I am just like you. I work fulltime (PROVIDING THE FREEDOM THAT ALL AMERICANS POSTING HERE HOLD DEAR), I enjoy time with my family and I am training to become a pilot at a local airport(Im a Air Traffic Controller in the USAF so this is off duty time I am speaking of). So do NOT label me as a dork or a loser or an addict just because I did a 3 hour flight from Nassau to San Juan last night during an online session of FS2004. I game frequently, in fact, I spend most of my "free time" gaming. It makes me no less of a person for doing so and I am in no way ashamed. If most of you GAMER HATERS would just give it an honest try you might actually enjoy the experience as well.

However, if you choose not to don't FLAME us gamers for doing something we enjoy. The beauty of life is that each of us is blessed with the power of choice. Granted, those choices, good or bad, have consequences that we must live with. That is for the chooser to deal with though so judge the person by who they are, not by the things that they do that you do not understand.

Posted by: Calyphia on June 26, 2005 8:13 AM

weak man . your didn't hear me out at all cause your tainted and can't see outside your box if you thought that was a negative post and not just a pure objective post

Posted by: friend of a friend on July 1, 2005 7:52 PM

Couple comments, mostly for friend of a friend I guess. Yes, I do realize this was just your opinion, and now I am simply stating mine. I have play WoW, don’t really over the summer since its my boyfriends account and my comp sucks going through the router at home. If his account is still up in September when I go back to University I will probably start playing again.

Anyways, my point is, like Calyphia mentioned, it’s a hobby. I agree it can be addictive, my bf for example I feel is addicted. But, like I said it’s a hobby. Just like some ppl watch tv, or hang out with friends, or read books, listen to music, etc during their free time, some like to play games. Correct me if im wrong, but I think your more generalizing all MMOG players as addicts. Not all who play do so for 40+ hrs a week. Also, those who do play for 5/6 hrs a day aren’t always addicted, nor is it necessarily a bad thing that they do this. IMHO it shouldn’t matter how much you play, -IF- you are not neglecting your real life friendships, family, or real world responsibilities (work, bills, etc). If you are able to manage all things you need to in real life and still play for however many hrs a week then all the power to you. I believe the problem starts when you ignore everything around you and start calling in sick to work so you can play and other negative things like that. There are people who watch tv for more hrs/wk then many people spend playing MMORPG’s. People seem to think it’s better for someone to be reading for 5-6hrs a day rather then playing a game for that long.

I agree that if game addicts would maybe have a minimal motivation to experience things in the real world. However, if someone would rather spend their time playing a game then going to a movie, watching tv, or reading a book etc, I don’t see why this should be a problem, again as long as they aren’t neglecting other responsibilities. Like I said, just my own 2cents in there. And as a side note: both me and my bf are 20yrs and I got introduced to EQ and then WoW by him.

Posted by: icy on August 11, 2005 11:27 AM

I've noticed a trend with my online friends and myself. We've moved a tv into the computer room. Now while we're doing some tredmill leveling, we can still catch our favorite shows. Most of the people I play with are male between the ages of 18-40 but still tend to watch 'cartoon' or 'anime' while playing. We also use voice over ip while playing and comment on the shows while playing.

Posted by: Keerius on September 1, 2005 2:30 PM

A ">story I wrote. Its about an Addiction to RuneScape.

Posted by: Frogmaster13 on October 5, 2005 5:33 PM

I spend a good deal less time in front of the TV, but I feel that I watch more of the shows I like. This is because I have a Tivo-like cable box with my cable subscription. This enables me to record everything I want to watch and go back to it when I have the time and desire to watch. Also, I am able to skip the commercials :) Much more efficient use of my time. Also, since it records what I am watching on live TV, I can walk away and do dishes or other housework. If I don't quite catch something, I can just rewind it.
So...long story short, I do play more than watch TV, but that is partly due to technological advances...

Posted by: rosie on October 27, 2005 9:49 AM

It would be interesting to find out how the amount of time people invest playing compares with the amount of time they spend reading, and I don't mean the papers.

Gamers, at least in the UK, are considered to be a pretty boring kind - The assumption is that if they like playing so much, surely most of their free time is spent on "mindless" activities which leave little time for feeding of the brain with literature, history, philosophy, etc.

So, the question is: do gamers read more/less/the same as the average person?

Posted by: Jacobo Borrero on November 16, 2005 12:54 PM

I have a question to the person who wrote this article and also all those who will ready this: What do you consider excessive playing?
I am doing this cause of a research paper for my senior project. What i mean when i saythat is what do you consider too much in hours of playing video games in a week. I have some reports from some doctors who say 12-15 hours is excessive while i also heard that the limit could go to 80 hours a week. Please answer my question it would help me with the public opinion part and also genral veiws as well.

Posted by: Gandalf on November 29, 2005 8:32 AM

The big picture rules!

Posted by: Leena on December 18, 2005 4:17 PM

I wasn't much of a TV fan, but I did watch a lot of movies and/or screw around with other games, and I spend almost all the time I spent on that playing MMOs now. So it's basically been a shift in how I spent leisure time.

The only thing with the TV is that other family members can sit there with me, so I'm "accessible." Alone on my computer does not feel as accessible to some.

Posted by: Fortunato on January 26, 2006 11:06 AM

I hardly ever watch tv since i started playing MMORPG's about 8 years ago. All my friends play just as much as i do and never watch tv and i got alot of friends that play. So, yeah i totally agree with this. Also, just talking with people in game they all say they hardly watch tv anymore.

Posted by: Elly on March 24, 2006 4:56 PM

I never watched tv much anyways. Maybe 1 hr a week if that. I have always played games and have always preferred them over tv. Also I would like to include that I am a full time student in college. I play for about 25 hrs a week. And I wouldnt trade that time for a night at a club or party. I go to school, I make my grades (and they are good), then I come home and I play. I have alot of friends in rl that play too. Sometimes they will come over and we will all network and play mmos and fps and what ever else on the weekends. I prefer this to 'going out', in the traditional college sense.

Posted by: Paul on March 31, 2006 5:54 AM

Before I continue let me just quickly state my absolute disgust with television.

However, Although the average person watches more TV per week than the average MMORPG player, I think it is obvious that TV is a 'healthier'choice, especially if you have family or friends or social requirements.

When watching TV, people tend to eat if they are hungry, or go to the bathroom if they feel the urge, or go to sleep when they are tired. If the phone rings then the person watching TV generally answers and has a comprehensible conversation, or if a family members asks them a question then they will answer. However, generally speaking, none of the above applies to players of MMORPG.

When playing an MMORPG people often delay meals, or skip them altogether. They often delay mandatory trips to the restroom until their party 'takes a break' or some other in-game requirement has been met. If the phone rings then many times the player would not answer, or if they do answer then they tend to carry on a very despondant and unresponsive conversation with the other person. If a family member asks the player a common question such as "What time is it?" then often times the question will be followed with a long pause ............. and then the MMORPG player will say ..........."I'm sorry what'd you say?".

Quality over quantity, that poll is void.

Posted by: Shingle on April 20, 2006 8:12 AM

....and I forgot to add the fact that most MMORPG gamers suffer from sleep deprivation due to the addictive nature of the MMORPG.

Posted by: Shingle on April 20, 2006 8:23 AM

i play runescape it is sort of addicting i am not a member yet. well if MMorpg players delay and skip meals and the TV watchers eat in front of the TV then we are healthier. i do not answer the phone because of telemarketers. yes sleep deprivation my sleep cycle has changed alot i do not mind though. i do not ignore my hw and I spend time with my family. i prefer playing on my free time then hanging out with friends. i consider an excessive amount of playing about 60+ hours a week. i play about 20+ hours a week and have no prob with it. i used to watch tv 15 hours a week but now only 5 hours a week.

Posted by: warrior on April 24, 2006 1:37 PM

Firstly skipping meals / not eating
is extremely unhealthy. I think people assume
that because the abovementioned meals may
be eaten in front of the TV they are all tv dinners or something.
Not in my house.

My husband is addicted to WoW.
Straight home from work, on the computer,
bed at 5am for the last three months.
I used to tell him I wouldn't cook dinner
til he was off the computer,
but he pretty much stopped eating,
so now I just bring a plate in so
he doesn't starve to death.

I play comp. games (or used to when
I had access to the computer),
so I understand staying up for the
first couple of nights of a new game
to beat that guy, or get to the next level.
But this wasn't a "couple of nights",
and its way past the "new game" stage.

We're both 25, in Australia and have only
been married for 2 years. We used to have so
much fun together, rarely watched TV,
instead having friends over for meals,
picnics, weekends away, you name it.
But this is wreaking our marriage. I know
he still loves me, but when I bring it up
he just goes quiet and plays more then says
he could stop if he wanted to.

Yeah, right.

Posted by: vc on April 28, 2006 4:06 PM

Being only 18 I don't have a wife so i don't have a whole lot to stop me from playing all night. I can only hope i can budget my time better when I do have a wife that i don't ruin my relationship with her over an MMO

Posted by: Exarch on May 7, 2006 6:26 PM

Ever sence I played mmormpg games i only watched T.V. about 2 hours and before i watched like 7 hours and now i play computer for 90 mins to! it really takes off T.V. time.

Posted by: David on May 21, 2006 6:07 AM

I experienced the same phenomenon of replacing TV time with MMORPG time, but I find my mind much more stimulated by gaming then by slounching on the couch. Interesting enough, I would still keep watching TV if nothing interesting was on, but I find myself switching my online gaming off if I get bored. I guess it is because my expectations for TV are much lower in terms of the quality of entertainment that it delivers than my online game. Keep up the great work, Nick!

Posted by: Sardionerak on October 12, 2006 6:28 PM

I have only recently started playing WoW, last 4 months, it is a revelation! I can not remember the last time i watched TV.

WoW is so much more involving and the interaction with other people who are sharing or have shared your experiences within the game are facinating, just sitting and reading guild chat is great.

I can not imagine that TV can ever be as interactive, a passive experience although sometimes educational is insignificant when compared with the dynamic nature of WoW. I used to sit for hours on my days off and flick through channel after channel looking for something to watch, and never finding anything, but now i can enjoy WoW with others who share my interests.

Posted by: Peter on October 12, 2006 9:05 PM

stop wathcin the idioy box and stand up and have fun
ur only in this world 4 a certain period of time so y not make a difference. God loves you and he cares 4 u he has a purpose and a plan 4 your life

Posted by: David on November 11, 2006 12:47 AM

I don't watch TV as much as I did before I started playing mmorpg's .. but the TV is always on in the room. In WoW I usually solo so can easily pause for a bit to pay attention to something that I want to on TV. EQ is a different matter as I almost always group. But I find I don't even log in to EQ unless I'm willing to devote my full attention for the next 2 or 3 hours. As for WoW .. I'll log in throughout the day play a bit, get up to get a drink.. end up doing something else and before I know it 30 minutes or more have passed since I left the keyboard. I still enjoy both games equally though, but in different ways.

Posted by: Lykopis on December 4, 2006 2:35 PM

As Nicks findings show, I’ve found since I was introduced to online gaming (WoW) 2years ago, I’ve basically stopped watching television. I still watch some shows, but they’re almost exclusively boxed DvD sets that I’ve bought/borrowed from friends. What I don’t do anymore is sit down and watch junk TV such as game shows (sorry Countdown, I miss you ;)) re-runs and “entertainment” shows.

To me, this makes absolute sense. The time I spend playing MMO’s is my free time it doesn’t displace work, RL socialising or exercising. They are, quite frankly, totally different things and I find I have time for all of them.

As to the comments posters have made about behaviour of people while they are playing MMO’s compared to the behaviour of people watching TV, I’d have to disagree. Mainly because its hard to categorise peoples behaviour. Some people will sit around and chat while they’re watching TV. I’m sure these people do get up and answer the door or phone when in rings. I’d argue that this is because they’re not really watching. Others will fight about who has to go and get the door/phone because they don’t want to miss part of the show. And some just wont go. I’m sure the same thing applies to MMO players, but at the very least, even when I am in a group, I can stop playing for a few minutes without actually missing any of the action. Sure, I may miss bloodying my sword on a few extra orcs, but there are always more around the corner.

And further more, if any ones going to try and argue that MMO players neglect their RL needs, I find that a little hard to swallow. The most common thing people type into their keyboard is not “what time is it (I’ve been playing so long I don’t know anymore)” its “AFK” “BRB” “sorry, phone/door” and maybe “Heal!” (quite possibly because said Priest is AFK ;))

Ok, to friend of a friends comments about people (especially Teenagers) neglecting family/friends in order to play online games, stop day dreaming. It would be nice to believe that we all have supportive families that eat dinner together 5 or more nights a week, have time to deal with each others problem and parents/children that are able to understand each other. Cute, but that’s just not realistic. When I was growing up, I normally saw my dad for maybe ½ an hour a day during the week, if that. He was just too busy commuting/working to spare me any more time. I don’t begrudge this now that I’m an adult (I did at the time) because he had to do that in order to succeed in his job. And don’t think that friends are any better. We pick up all sorts of nasty tricks and habits, and get into all kinds of mischief with them. I don’t really want to get into this too much, but put these in order of most problematic amongst teenagers (Smoking, drinking, shoplifting, pregnancy, vandalism and MMO‘s). And if you think normal teenagers don’t get up to these things (or that they’re related to income bracket/intelligence) I think you need to step back a step and reassess your point of view. And as to the original point of the post, TV vs. MMORPG’s, TV maybe more social acceptable, and it can indeed be a great educational tool, that 28 hours a week watching TV is primarily things like Sponge Bob (not saying I don’t like Sponge Bob btw) not CNN and the discovery channel. Teenagers are much more likely to find like minded and knowledgeable friends online, who can help them with their issues, than on the box.

Posted by: Rob on December 7, 2006 5:46 AM

I could not agree with the above post more!

Posted by: Mack on January 25, 2007 11:12 AM

i am a lv 114 runescape player i have 9mill and a wip with obby cape and all typs of dragon armor and wepons if u want any of this stuff just send me ur user name and pass word and ill transfer the itms ....must be lv 60 or above to get items or money

Posted by: steven Moore on February 28, 2007 12:01 PM

The reality storm kept me away from Tv some years ago, I choosed the first mmorpg : Ultima Online.
From that game nothing is grow in theese games, maybe is lowered. Now the mmorpgs are basically a BEAT'EM UP like WOW, nothing behind, a funny almost unuseful game for the players minds. What you can learn from that game, where is the claimed "strategy", where is the intellectual interaction?
It's a click and kill game with cool furniture, nothing more. Crafting? LOL!

Posted by: DDRZ on March 3, 2007 11:45 AM

For intellectual interaction try Eve Online,
you do not need to use your brain for this game but if you do then you will find it a challenge.

Posted by: ? on March 22, 2007 9:47 AM

I'm just wondering cuz i play a lot of video games and I know it's not good for u for many reasons. so how many hours a day do u spend playing games? i spend like 5 and a half, and i think that's too much

Posted by: ? on June 27, 2007 3:52 PM

I stopped watching TV a few years ago because programming just isn't as good as it "used to be" IMO. I have a TV for the SOUL purpose of a DVD player (so no cable or channels or anything), and I probably only rent a DVD every one or two weeks.

Posted by: Derek on July 23, 2007 9:02 AM

Would there be any of data like this available for virtual worlds/MMORPG's for kids? That segment have been the fastest growing in the industry of late to my knowledge. It would be interesting to know if adult or kids log in the same amount of hours or that the adult are the real power users of this medium...


Posted by: Peder Burgaard on September 16, 2007 12:41 AM

Not that I'm a perfect person or that i think I'm better then anyone, because I'm not, but after reading that chart its very sad. First off I don't even play this game and I don't really know what its all about but if your reading this its happened for a reason and I ask you to really ponder upon this question. Whether its watching TV or playing this game, what happiness does it bring you after spending so so much time with it and what good is it for you once your placed in front of God's face and he asks you what you were doing with the time he gave you? I don't know what you believe but I'm telling you that there is a God and I can witness that! Please don't waste the time God gives you because he loves you. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" that goes for everyone. Don't waste your time on this earth but treasure it and don't seek earthly things because in the end that's all going to perish. May God speak to you and work through you. God Bless!

A Concerned Believer

Posted by: Concerned on February 25, 2008 5:14 PM

To the "Concerned Believer"
Your ignorance towards an entire group of people shows why this research is needed and furthers the importance on Nick's work. Please, keep your judgements to yourself.

Posted by: Nofo on February 27, 2008 9:31 AM

Is there a comparison between MMO play time and T.V. hours for non-gamers? I think this would be an interesting thing to see.
Oh, and "Concerned Believer"... are you saying that we aren't allowed to enjoy ourselves in this life or what?

Posted by: Elmo on March 26, 2008 1:25 PM all have no lives...

Posted by: somekindofwownerd? on August 6, 2008 11:39 PM

Who has less to do than the guy who posts comments like " all have no lives..."? Research suggets: no one.

Posted by: somekindofhypocrite? on August 9, 2008 4:23 PM

i play world of warcraft. it has a /played function. my total is roughly 90 days. WAIT.
before you think "Christ! you've sat there for three months playing a game?!" read this math: (and as a note, ?! is known as an interrobang, and is the correct order of punctuation for a quizzical exclamation)
i am not actually !at! my computer for all of that time, for about 1/3 of it, i'm not even concentrating on the game at all. i often do homework and check every half hour or so to see if something's happened. so take it down to 60 days. now two months may seem like a very long time, but now also note that this was over !exactly! 25 months. (I did this math two days ago, after checking payment history to learn my account was first made on 2/2/07.) so:
(60days*24hours)=1440 hours.
25months*4weeks*7days=700 days.
1440hours/7days=2.05 hours a day, which rounds to two.

time:that's about 1/3 the average free time of a working adult. so i spend 2/3 of my choice time !not! playing wow, whatever i may be doing.

in regards to socialization:
until i played wow, i was the most socially awkward guy most people knew. i rolled a healer and, over ten months, ran hundreds of instances. each instance 'requires' five people...four other people i had needed to get along with. fortunately, they pretty much had to suffer my lack of social skills because i was a member of the group, and an important one at that, and it is very rare that people will kick you just because you're awkward. this gave me a chance to improve my social skills. I can now socialize as well as anyone else. so my 'real life' friendships are actually !more! close than they were before i played mmo's.

(25months at $15a month)+$30game+$100xpacs =$505.
$505/25months=$20.2 per month
twenty dollars a month....5 bucks a week.
going to the movies once a week often costs more than that. but let's say that the tickets cost $5.
If the movie is about 2.5hours, fairly long, then it is $2 per hour of entertainment, but at two hours a day on wow, it's $.35 per hour of entertainment. that's nearly six times as efficient financially.

also, teenagers who play mmo's are less likely to have sex outside of marriage, which increases the likely-hood that their marriage will be successful.

Posted by: pyronus on March 4, 2009 4:54 PM

Quote from pyronus:
"also, teenagers who play mmo's are less likely to have sex outside of marriage, which increases the likely-hood that their marriage will be successful."

In some cases they're also less likely to have sex EVER, or even get married. The assumption that the marriage will be more successful is based on the assumption that they will either play with thier spouse, or stop playing long enough to have a spouse.

To calculate the financial efficiency of MMOs you must also calculate the cost of your internet access. For me it is around $60 a month. I share it with my wife who plays the MMOs with me. About 75% of the use of the internet connection is for MMO's; the rest being for watching movies online and for my son watching TV streaming online. So in our case we should each add in $22.50/month to the cost of playing an MMO. These numbers might vary based on your internet connection cost, who you share it with and what else you use it for.

This also doesn't take into account any cost of the actual computer itself, which might come to $30 a month or more if you only upgrade once every other year. While you might use your computer for other things, the portion of money that it took to get your computer over the minimum to surf the internet effectively is probably the part that you should be calculating into your gaming budget.

I also spend a lot of time away from the computer while logged on, but I probably spend at least three hours a day actively playing the game. My calculation brings me to about 72.91/month to play MMO's, or about $0.79 an hour.

There are a whole lot of hobbies where you could very easily spend more than $73 a month. If you're interested in classic cars, I wouldn't be surprised to see that at $73 a week. Spend $73 a month on Model-anything building? That's believable as long as the models aren't powered. Spending $73 a month on wargaming only gets you a couple of miniatures a month. $73 a month on roleplaying gets you two books or a book and some miniatures or dice or other accessories. $73 a month isn't a lot to spend on a serious biking or hiking or rock climbing hobby. At today's prices, $73 a month gets you less than ten movie tickets, or about 18 hours of entertainment, assuming you don't eat anything.

Posted by: Pat on September 2, 2010 11:55 AM

There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also. Keep working ,great job!

Posted by: DSLR-A900 on November 12, 2011 6:45 PM

It's good to see someone thinking it torhugh.

Posted by: Millie on January 3, 2012 12:15 AM
Источник: []
, MMORPG set Archives

The Game Slashers

byNodrimon August 30, 2020

Amazon Games is hosting a preview on Steam for their upcoming MMORPG, New World. This is a way to thank the players for their patience following a series of delays. Now set for a spring 2021 release, the game can be tested in its current state by anyone who pre-ordered it or signed up for […]

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byNodrimon October 17, 2017

Guild Wars 2 is the only MMO I allow myself to play, mostly because I don’t have time to check other games of the genre while I’m pretty invested in this one (I will make an exception for Crowfall). I’ve dedicated hundreds if not thousands of hours to this game and a good amount of […]

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byNodrimon April 12, 2015

                After finishing Pillars of Eternity I find it hard to get started with another game. Strangely, I feel exhausted at the moment and there is not much that I want to play right now. I’m continuing some casual Guild Wars 2 farming and trying to beat the singleplayer campaign of ARMA 3 (which is […]

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byNodrimon April 5, 2015

                April’s Fool Day was this week and like in every other year the gaming industry had some hoaxes prepared. What I find funny about this day is that I never realize is April 1st until I get tricked at least once. This year was Obsidian’s that reminded me is April with their joke announcement that […]

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byNodrimon February 21, 2015

               In the long years that have passed since the initial success of MMORPGs with Ultima Online (1997), Everquest (1999) and Asheron’s Call, the genre hasn’t evolved as much as it should have. There was the big breakthrough of World of Warcraft in 2004 that put together most of […]

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Источник: []
MMORPG set Archives

Go Play Listen

If the clue wasn’t in the title, this article is the continuation from MMORPGs Part 1, which spanned the early years of the genre (1996 to 2003). Here I bring it home to where I pretty much dropped out of the hobby; real life commitments meant I didn’t feel I had enough spare time to be a useful member of an online community and without really being involved an MMO soon loses its lustre.

Do I miss it? I sometimes harken back to the good ol’ days when spending 36 hours of the weekend in my room really wasn’t an issue. But now I’m much more likely to be able to spend the odd hour in a game – so a solo game that comes with a deep story is far more appealing. So for now I’m going to stick with the mm-memories.

Much like Horizons before it, there was something about Ryzom that made it stand out from the crowd; and once again its uniqueness came from an evolving and dangerous environment that encouraged players to work together.

Another advantage was the lengths they’d gone to in creating a unique world; races weren’t your typical orcs and elves and there were no level one badgers to get bored killing. Instead it was a sci-fi landscape that really fired the imagination and better still, like Anarchy Online, it felt dangerous.

I remember an early experience in which I wanted to move from one area to another but it was too dangerous for us low level characters to go on our own. Instead we had to wait for a group of high levels to escort us across, protecting us (and some died trying) all the way. That’s a lot more special than walking through some ‘magic’ portal.

And you could just watch the world going on. Predatory creatures would stalk the edge of herds and kill weaker creatures while you watched, like some nature documentary. It was hugely ambitious and had me in awe – right up until I realised that the actual things to do weren’t really that interesting.

The world of Ryzom is still happily spinning today and it very much plays on its role-play and sandbox credentials to do so. It has regular interactive events with live NPCs, as well as an animation team in place to actively encourage people to create and write their own events. If my life hadn’t moved in a different direction, this would definitely be high on my list of MMOs to revisit.

  • Tried: City of Heroes (2004)
    As was so often the case in my MMO history, my path to Ryzom was a solo one as my friends opted for the villain-punching antics of City of Heroes. At launch it ‘featured’ empty streets, uninspired content and very little to hold the attention for non-comic fans, so I got out fast. Closed in 2012, but may return…
  • Tried: Everquest 2 (2004)
    After missing out on the original Everquest experience, I did try EQ2 when it came along – but it didn’t live up to the hype. Original EQ fans were disappointed that the hardcore follow-up they’d hoped for was more of a linear, hand-holding WoW clone (see below). It was OK, just not what many fans wanted. Still going and free to try.

Whether you love or hate the cartoon graphic style, and despite its shonky launch, World of Warcraft easily holds the record for most MMO subscribers with over 10 million (Nov 2014).

And despite its detractors its easy to see why. Once Blizzard got its house in order the game was every bit as polished and smooth as you’d expect from a ‘Craft’ game. It was mostly linear, sadly repetitive and had boring/pointless crafting, but when it was this pretty, accessible and well written it was east to forgive it.

What World of Warcraft did so well was streamlining. It kept many of the fun bits of an MMO – the fighting, levelling and grouping – and stripped most else away. And once running smoothly it introduced fun PvP zones and endgame dungeons that required big groups to complete – just what most people wanted at the time.

I had a lot of fun with it initially and I’m certainly not a detractor – I hate people who get bored of something and then feel the need to go back and trash it. Personally, it simply became a drudge; when the thought of getting to the next level no longer excited me, I knew it was time to move on. This happened when they released the first expansion; I bought it, gave it a go, but the thought of doing another section for another pre-set 10 levels had lost its appeal; I was done.

  • Tried: Guild Wars (2005)
    Guild Wars took a very different approach to traditional MMOs, centring the action around small group ‘instances’ where you could group up with friends (or strangers) for short, violent little quests. While it was polished and very successful, and still going strong today, it didn’t suit my play style at all.
  • Passed: D&D Online (2006)
    This licence seemed perfect for an MMO and on first glance it looked great; but unfortunately it proved to be just another rush job with linear progression, a lack of content and no real staying power for most players. I don’t know anyone who stuck with it beyond a few weeks, but it still seems to be going.

After several years of playing WoW it was going to take something special to challenge it; and that something turned out to be Tolkien.

It looked beautiful and promised a campaign running alongside the Fellowship’s journey, taking you to all those places in the books you’d always wanted to experience. Sold.

And for a long time it did exactly what it said on the tin. New areas opened up as you levelled up, revealing more beautifully rendered parts of Tolkien’s world – the elven lands being particularly stunning. And in each area your quests led you on a parallel path to the fellowship, meeting characters and doing quests that would clear a path for them, sort out problems etc. It was awesome.

Right up until it wasn’t. I really should’ve seen it coming, as exactly the same thing happened as it had with WoW. The first expansion came along, I started doing the next lot of ‘kill 10 orcs’ quests and lost the will to live: another expansion purchase wasted.

They have to keep creating content to keep the levelling brigade happy, but its just smoke and mirrors to cover the fact the true nature of these MMOs is the grind, not community – not building something together, as you did in Ryzom and Istaria. Here the challenge didn’t change – the colour scheme and numbers did, but little else.

I’m a lifetime member of the game, so may go back one day – it would be worth it to relive the storyline once more. And if you love Tolkien and computer games, you can play the game for free now – you’d be mad not to give it a go.

  • Passed: Age of Conan (2008)
    This had some neat ideas, with day and night essentially being different worlds and with an interesting combat system in place that felt epic, with you fighting several enemies at once on a regular basis. Unfortunately it was terrible at launch, being very light on content, and few stood by it. Now free.
  • Passed: Warhammer Online (2008)
    As it had to be with this licence, Warhammer was all about the PvP – which meant it held very little interest for me. It was never going to drag me away from LotRO, and the early reviews didn’t help its cause. It died a death in 2013.
  • Tried: Star Trek Online (2010)
    Another day, another woefully wasted licence. At launch it was almost unplayable, which saw me logging off in frustration after a few minutes each time I tried it. I’m not a fan of the show, but its such a good setting for a game – and it tried to do things differently, giving you NPC away teams to join you when solo. Free to play.
  • Tried: Star Wars – The Old Republic (2011)
    See if you recognise this story: great licence, rushed and almost unplayable game at launch. Yup, its probably the best summation of the MMO genre’s history. This again looked great in screenshots, again promised an interesting new take on combat, and again failed to deliver at launch. And again, it’s now free to play.
  • Tried: Rift (2011)
    With WoW and LotRO both having ended the same way, I was highly dubious about Rift. All it proved to be was somewhere for people bored of earlier MMOs to moved to, offering scant real difference beyond the ‘rifts’ themselves; pop up battle areas you could help defeat. Free trial and done for me – but it’s still going.

I wrote about my experiences with The Secret World at length already. After three months I still felt thoroughly immersed – but the astute amongst you will note I didn’t go no to write a ‘six months in’ follow up post.

As I’d feared character progression quickly ground to a halt and the second huge area, while challenging, really lacked the personality of the first. I saw little to no improvement in cabals and crafting, while the number of interesting quests (gaining knowledge, sneaking etc) seemed to really dry up.

What I was left with was a game which I wanted to explore the storyline of, and which has some interesting features, but that seemed wasted on an MMO. Everything interesting seemed solo, and having other players around didn’t seem to add to proceedings at all. One day I woke up and realised I hadn’t played it for two weeks, and didn’t care. So that was the end of that.

  • Passed: Guild Wars 2 (2012)
    Again, I passed over the second Guild Wars game as the play style didn’t suit mine and the crafting looks weak, but the more I hear about it the more I’d like to give it a go. The game seems to have done a lot to rid players of the tired MMO mechanisms that were really brought to their natural conclusion by World of Warcraft, with the action and storyline being closer to a solo RPG but with teaming for big battles – and apparently exploring is rewarded.

For a few months I found myself deeply immersed in the world of Dragon’s Prophet. It was new, free to play and, best of all, after about an hour you were riding around on a dragon – which would also fight for you in battles as a pet.

This was hugely entertaining for a while, especially as you can collect dragons and train them up, almost Pokemon style. They have very different characteristics to suit play style and you can switch them mid battle if you need a different ability set (perhaps extra healing, or more direct damage).

But unfortunately, once you’ve pulled this wool away from your eyes, you realise that underneath this (admittedly awesome) fluff is ‘just another MMO’ – do storyline plus UPS quests, get better items, move to next linear area, rinse and repeat. As soon as that initial shine had worn off, my interest was gone.

With Dragon’s Prophet long gone from my hard drive and nothing seriously tempting me to look at another game, this could well be the end of my love affair with the MMO genre. It’s been a wild ride but I just can’t help thinking that while I’ve moved on, it hasn’t.

When I think of what I want from a computer game nowadays, it isn’t the camaraderie – which should be an MMO’s biggest asset. And even if I was in the market, I think most modern games in the genre fail to deliver on the group/roleplaying experience in anything other than PvP combat.

For now I’m happy getting my social from board and card games, and my solo from computer games. But if the right game came along, all bets would be off…

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Posted inComputer Games, Games | TaggedAge of Conan, City of Heroes, D&D Online, Dragon's Prophet, Everquest 2, Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO, MMO review, MMORPG, online rpg, Rift, Ryzom, Star Trek Online, Star Wars The Old Republic, The Secret World, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft | 1 Reply

Back in 1998 I got my first home PC – I still can’t quite believe I got through my degree on an Amiga, but there you go. Once I’d got it set up, and online, pretty much before I did anything else I got immersed in the time-sapping world of ‘massively multi-player online role playing games’, or MMORPGs (or MMOs).

I’ve had a love-love relationship with them ever since, although in recent times the thrill has gone. Few of my friends still play and where once players stuck to a game for years, now there seems to be much more transience and cynicism; it becomes hard to keep believing in another new community only to see it fade just as fast.

I may return to them (in fact I may do it this afternoon – so fickle), but for now the long affair is over – so what better to do than mull of the good times with a tear in the corner of my eye, while boring anyone in internet-shot to death?

Skye, GrowL and me kickin’ some ass, January 2001. Such realism…

The first game I got into was The Realm, which was already well established by the time I arrived.

None of my friends were interested, as even back then the graphics were terrible, but I found a thriving and friendly community of players and immediately fell in love with the MMO concept.

While it didn’t look the best The Realm managed to pack in a bit of tension on occasion, while having 300 levels to grind through certainly made it a game you had to stick at; and those levels didn’t come easy either – there was none of this, “Well done, you’ve completed the tutorial and are now level 10” nonsense.

I was happy in The Realm for five years and I’m thrilled to see it’s still going strong today. Better still, it has a monthly charge of about £5. Nice to see a game from 1996 can still go with a subs model and only a one-week free trial, while every man and his dog is being forced to go free with in-game micro payments. I really should give the free trial a go…

  • Passed: Meridian 59 (1996)
    As the first real MMO it was very tempting to give this a go instead of The Realm, but it was very much combat oriented – especially PvP, which wasn’t really what I was looking for. The game did die, but it’s back and free to play.
  • Passed: Ultima Online (1997)
    This was the first properly massive multiplayer online game, being the first to reach 100,000 subscribers. I also shied away from UO because of the game’s strong focus on PvP, but it is still going strong today.
  • Tried: Everquest (1999) Unfortunately I was a year into The Realm when EQ came along and was still loving it. EQ’s bog standard fantasy setting and graphics didn’t inspire me enough to move; but I kind of wish it had, as friends had such a great time with it. I did take a look at it later, when I was losing faith with the AO beta (see below), but by then the graphics had gone from uninspiring to laughable and the end game content had become all about raiding (which didn’t interest me).
  • Tried: RuneScape (2001)
    This was a breath of fresh air when it arrived: free to play, browser based and with lots of content. But the first two plus points seemed to attract every 12-year-old numpty on the planet and a short trial ended in frustration. But guess what – it’s still doing really well, with a HTML 5 version released in 2013, and is still free to play.

Posing outside Wine, late 2001. I swear that armour was cool back then…

Having turned down many a graphically superior game already, it took the promise of a beautiful and original sci-fi world to finally lure me away.

I got into the late beta testing of Anarchy Online (AO) and, despite the bugs, totally fell in love with the world they’d created.

And ‘bugs’ is really an understatement – the game could barely stand on its own two feet at launch, but many of us saw enough potential to stick around; and if anything this helped us bond as a community. We rather ridiculously wore that ‘we suffered through the pain’ badge with pride, but looking back now I’m glad I did.

Even today (AO is very much alive), while the graphics are clearly dated, the unique world, creatures and mix of ranged and melee, sci-fi and fantasy, still hold it up as an exemplar of what is achievable with the right imagination. Not an elf in sight. I spent a couple of very happy years with AO (you can get a feel for what playing it is like with an old diary of mine here) and it is my second most played MMO (in hours spent). I still revisit on occasion and am still amazed at the awesome complexity of character development.

Unfortunately while the game started out as a fascinating blend of exploration, storytelling, crafting and combat the most vocal part of the community – as always – was the PvP one. Crafting went almost totally by the wayside despite having an amazing system in place, while expansions focused on guild battles and grouping for battles. All I was really left with was a level grind, so I started to look elsewhere.

  • Tried: Dark Age of Camelot (2001)
    Another game that friends went to and that I had a very short dabble with. Again the focus was on PvP which immediately put me off, but worse was the incredible lack of scope; every time I tried to explore I ran into an invisible wall – utterly frustrating compared to the wide open spaces of AO. As for the generic fantasy world…

Couldn’t find a mudball screenshot 🙁

Some friends in other MMOs had joined the beta of Asheron’s Call 2 and once it went live encouraged me to join them. As I was in an AO rut I decided to check it out.

What I found was a slightly less generic fantasy settings: I got to be a ‘Lugian Raider’, which was a big grey thing that chucked massive balls of mud at people…

But the graphics were nice enough, the gameplay pretty smooth and overall I quite got into it – until my friends left for pastures new shortly afterwards as its lack of deeper content became apparent.

And the game certainly had its problems behind the scenes, with talk of its failure seemingly hanging over it from the beginning. Publishing wrangles between Turbine, Microsoft and Sony were pretty ominous from the start, with US and EU servers being run by different companies – rarely a recipe for happy endings.

It also didn’t help that Asheron’s Call 2 came out while a lot of big name games were in production and getting a lot of buzz, which encouraged many to stay where they were until some of the expected big guns hit the market (see below). It was a time of very stiff competition and AC2 simply didn’t have enough to stand out from the crowd. The game finally died in 2005, came back for a while, but has since disappeared again.

  • Tried: Eve Online (2003)
    There’s no doubt what an amazing achievement EVE Online is, making a truly epic space combat and trading game really come to life, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually any fun for the casual player. This game works best with dedication and skill, but more importantly when you’re putting everything you’ve worked for on the line in ‘winner takes all’ space battles. As a crafter, it was totally not for me!
  • Tried: Star Wars Galaxies (2003)
    I remember the first time I saw screen shots of SWG – it was Star Wars and I couldn’t wait. Even some friend who hadn’t played MMOs before committed to it so I had to give it a go. Unfortunately Sony completely dropped the ball with it – and just when it looked like they’d picked it up, they kicked it over the fence of that neighbour with the rabid dog wandering the garden. It’s hard to believe how much this stank on release, but even harder to understand the choices they made later in completely overhauling it just when they were getting it playable and on-track – it was is if they were trying to get it canned. It was put out of its misery in 2011.

Working on my Istaria plot, January 2012

Despite some stiff competition, I’ve ploughed more hours into the world of Istaria than any other – and I wouldn’t rule out returning either. It was buggy as hell on launch (a common MMO story), and its history was fraught with disaster, but it had the same key ingredient that had hooked me with Anarchy Online: originality.

But this time, not the setting: it is bog standard fantasy world with just a few different races added to the mix. You could be a dwarf or an elf – or a lizard or a cat – but most importantly for many people you could be a dragon. Better still for me, things you did to the landscape actually changed the game. Yeah, Minecraft didn’t invent that concept (and has worse graphics).

You could get together as a community and rebuild a bridge – which would then open up a whole new island for everyone. Or buy a plot of land near a forest and build a saw mill on it, so people could bring local logs to your workshop and craft them into items.

Well, you can now – and that was the theory in the beginning. Unfortunately at launch half the features didn’t work: a group of us spent weeks building a communal building, only to finish it and wait for it to appear – and nothing happening. At that point all of my friends quit – except me. Who can blame them?

I’m glad I stuck with it though, as no other game I’ve played has created such an amazing spirit directly through its own game systems, rather than relying on the players to use their imaginations. In the end the only thing that stopped me playing were protracted takeover wrangles. Servers merged, ownership changed and it looked inevitable it would fold. I got out before having that awful experience of trying to login one day to a blank screen.

But somehow it’s still alive. I did go back and had another couple of happy years progressing my old character again. I’d still be there today, but in the end the high level grind was just too boring and the guild I was in imploded. If I could play a day or two per month for free, or pay per hour, I’d have kept it going – but for the amount I wanted to play I couldn’t justify the cost. Bring on that lottery win!

  • Tried: A tale in the Desert (2003)
    A fully crafting oriented MMO set in ancient Egypt you say? I’m in! Unfortunately it was very basic graphically and simply wasn’t fun enough to stick with. Just crafting is fine, but just grind? That’s too hardcore for me. It does also have a government system, which appeals to many but didn’t do it for me. The current version of the game is A Tale in the Desert 3 – well worth checking out if you like your games without the bloodshed (and don’t need tip-top graphics).
  • Tried: Entropia (2003)
    Now retitled Entropia Universe, this is another game I might revisit if I won the lottery. Entropia stood out because it was pretty much pay to play via in-game purchases rather than monthly fees – common now, but deemed a rip off by most back then. You could eke out a free existence and hope to get a lucky kill (critters all gave a random value of in-game currency, so a lucky hit could give you a massive payout – which could then be ‘cashed out’ for real money). I got bored of the grind pretty quickly, but it looks very good now. Bring on retirement!

2004-2013: In part 2

The things I’ve taken from those early years in MMOs are the friendships I made and communities I was part of. I’ve made real-life friends from those days, some I’ve met in person (hello Ireland, hello Sweden!) as well as others I’m still in contact with on Facebook (hello Scotland, hello America!) who I’m sure I’ll meet up with sooner or later. I’ve made more long-lasting friends from MMOs than I did in three years living in Nottingham…

In part 2 I’ll move onto 2004, which saw the introduction of of a somewhat popular title named World of Warcraft, and later Lord of the Rings Online, amongst others.

Read more:MMORPGs: A biased history part 2, 2004-2013

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Posted inComputer Games, Games | TaggedA Tale in the Desert, Anarchy Online, AO, Asheron's call 2, Dark Age of Camelot, Entropia, Eve Online, Everquest, Horizons, Istaria, massive multiplayer online game, Meridian 59, MMO, MMO review, MMORPG, MMORPG review, online role playing games, RuneScape, Star Wars Galaxies, The Realm, Ultima Online | 5 Replies
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