So we’re talking about the likes of Ultima Online, Everquest, Asheron’s Call, Anarchy Online, etc; those foundation games that developed the concepts we take for granted in modern MMORPGs. Imagine one of them getting the chance to have an up to date game engine, fancy graphics, a polished UI, the works…
My initial thought was (shock horror) Ultima Online. I first played UO sometime around 1997/8, in its relatively early days and I bloody loved it. It was a wild and dangerous game world where you just never knew what would happen and because of the ability to kill and loot other players, it was a game where the server community really mattered. It developed its own self policing community, with guilds built around murdering scum, or those defending against them and even trade guilds. There’s a lot of old UO in EVE.
Alas I just don’t think original UO can be recreated with the very different overall MMO community we have today. It was too harsh, too risky, far too broad in scope and just isn’t easily accessible enough. Plus the purple pixel obsessed gamer of today wouldn’t understand the era of UO I would want to return to, since their motive for playing wouldn’t be there. Yet the main reason I’m not picking UO is perhaps an odd one; it’s the game I have the most epic tales and awesome memories from. I don’t fancy tarnishing those memories watching some ADHD epeen retard jumping around everywhere spamming chat about WoW.
As such my regular readers will no doubt have guessed what game I’m going for…
DARK AGE OF CAMELOT
It’s still a good game today, not without issues, but they are mainly due to its age and there is still just so much that is so bloody right about it. If DAoC’s graphics were updated and, most importantly, it had a major UI overhaul (as in every department), then I think it could step up and deliver the goods.
The oft talked about three faction RvR system works perfectly. The population auto balances itself as under populated factions battle the common enemy and every fight has a level of wonderful uncertainty. It also provides a smorgasbord of characters to choose from, it is an alt-o-holics wet dream.
The gameworld has a great feeling of being alive and is incredibly atmospheric. This is down to a combination of the varied and well executed racial themes, the art design, the sound effects, the bloody huge scale of it all and the proper day/night and weather systems. Fighting battles in the pouring rain as thunder rumbles around you… just glorious…
Whilst the RvR system is less “jump in and play” friendly than WAR’s, the DAoC campaign itself is far, FAR, FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR superior. I used to bang on about how WAR needed to work on having an epic campaign, rather than the ping pong one we’ve got and I stand by that. Yet all those years ago DAoC had it nailed. Taking keeps was a big deal and certainly in the old days, stealing a Fortress relic was a proper achievement. Then there are the details of fights themselves, the destructible walls, siege towers, properly mobile siege weapons, the truly massive frontier zones to fight in and so on.
It would be easy to wax lyrical about Darkness Falls… The classic PvP/E dungeon gets all the hype, it was (and still is) great, yet that takes away from all the other solid PvE that so often has a risk of PvP. All the frontier zones had PvE elements; I’d go so far as to say DAoC combined PvP and PvE seamlessly.
I could go on for ages about DAoC, hell I’ve posted enough about it since I started this blog. The thing is though I genuinely think it would succeed; a modern version of DAoC would have so many of us dropping everything to play it. Of course a fully realised DAoC2 would be the ultimate dream, but I reckon there is awesomeness to be found in just taking the original game and sorting out a posh up to date version. A fresh server to start from scratch on, with all the UI mod cons the modern MMO gamer expects and graphics to make me weep with joy. Yes please, DAoC revamped… That’s the one for me.