Hail! from a MMORPG refugee
I am really looking forward to following the development of this game, this game looks like it has a load of potential. Boy! How many times have I said that over the years
I have been a MMORPG refugee for at least 15 years.
My MMORPG of origin was Ultima Online. This was my first MMORPG and I have struggled to find a game that even came close to the complexity, thrill and sandboxiness of it. Despite some of its flaws, there was so much that Ultima Online did right, I don't even know where to begin.
I have struggled to find a new MMORPG home ever since.
Since leaving Ultima Online all those years ago (it eventually became a different game in its attempt to compete against Everquest and WoW; it also just got tired and aged) I have found myself venturing forth into many foreign MMO lands without ever being fully satisfied.
I found that I spent more time following MMO development than actually playing MMO's! I really enjoy following a games development and being part of the community; even if it is simply just lurking and eating popcorn.
Dark and Light (the original vaporware), Horizons (the original vaporware), Darkfall Online, Mortal Online, Age of Conan and World of Warcraft were the main games I either followed development and/or spent a decent amount of time playing.
Over the last 6 years I haven't really played anything seriously, but did try out Guild Wars 2, Bless Online (puke!), FF14, Terra Online, Black Desert Online, Star Trek Online, Shroud of the Avatar, to name a few. None of them really captured my attention, they were just missing the MMORPG element I grew to love.
Most modern MMOs (particuarly korean MMO's) I simply do not get! I just don't see the value in them. Most MMO's these days simply just play as single player games. There is no sense of community or comradery. Rarely have I had someone walk up to me and say "hi", and if I say "hi" to someone else they typically will ignore me... or simply not notice.
I was super disappointment by Shroud of the Avatar. It was great in some ways, but I struggled to move past the "Mario-land-esque" overworld and the decision to include some archaic features like old school text-type.
I missed the Archage release. Having since read about it; it looked like it could have been the MMO I was looking for.... but it looks like that ship has long since sailed. Pay to win, and all that. I also missed the Lineage 2 boat; I heard good things about it too.
I have some serious faith in Ashes of Creation, and Pantheon to a lesser degree. I am also enjoying being part of the development of Star Citizen, but that is a different beast unto itself.
What I like about AoC is it looks like the devs are going to mix a bit of the old with a bit of the new. Innovation is key in moving this genre forward, but it is also super important to acknowledge what made MMORPGs great in the past! I also love how Intrepid are mixing themepark elements with sandbox elements, and LOVE the concept of a constantly evolving world. I love that Steven Sharif is a successful businessman (in his own right) and a serious MMO gamer, this is unique! I also like that the team is comprised of some seriously experienced devs. Many of the amazing concept MMO games I have followed in the past failed not because of the concept but because of the lack of experience in the dev team... and also because of incompetence at varying levels of game development.
I am also looking forward to Pantheon. My only problem with Pantheon is that I don't think they are going to innovate enough. It looks like it might just be a rehash of Everquest; which I think will be fun but might also limit their population reach and longevity.
I was hoping that Everquest Next could of scratched the itch that Pantheon is trying to itch. But alas, it wasn't to be.
I am surprised that I still have hope for this genre after all these years; I thought I gave up on this genre many years ago. I have had my heart broken so many times. I am sure that part of the disappointment is a product of my own expectations.
In any case, it seems that AoC has awoken the youthful MMORPG fan that still resides deep in this old mans heart. Whether it lives up to my expectations, that will remain to be seen. But either way, I wish Intrepid all the success in their endeavors!