My first MMO was City of Heroes. I’d heard about Everquest and was thoroughly unimpressed by the idea of a game you had to pay a monthly fee for. It sounded like a scam. It was further bolstered by the fact that I had a friend who actually loved Everquest, and he would tell me about (what I guess were) early raid bosses where it would take an entire server several days to whittle some sort of rainbow colored blob down until it died. The whole experience sounded like it was designed to waste your time so you’d stay subscribed.
The beta for City of Heroes was free! It was my chance to see what all of this was about without having to actually remain on the hook for anything. City of Heroes was great; I made a character that looked like B.A. Baracus from The A-Team called “Herbal T.” With everything being so new, playing it with my friends made it feel like there was something new and exciting around every corner. The treadmill I’d feared so much from Everquest just wasn’t a factor. I was actually having a lot of fun!
My computer wasn’t good enough to handle the game. Being in any heavily populated area for too long would grind my framerate down to the single digits. When it came time for the beta to end, Cryptic had set up an event where aliens invaded the home city. With so many players in such a tightly compacted area plus a flood of aliens, I actually achieved framerates below 1fps. When that happens, the game starts thinking you’ve lost connection and eventually boots you from the server.
A few years later, with a more beefy system in tow, Cryptic sent around one of their “free weekend for lapsed players” events, and since I was in the beta, I was included in that distinction. I decided to see what had become of City of Heroes in the intervening time.
I tagged along with some friends as they did their dailies and I almost died from boredom. They knew every zone like the back of their hand; there was no sense of discovery, and the rote act of cleaning up trash mobs to grind out collectathon missions was everything I hated-by-proxy from Everquest.
I never looked back. Not just with City of Heroes, but the entire MMO genre, period.
There’s always a part of me that wonders if I should at least give World of Warcraft a look, though, before it finally shrivels up and goes away forever. I also bought the vanilla version of Final Fantasy 14 in a Humble Bundle nearly three years ago with the intent of joining some friends who seemed to be having an awful lot of fun with A Realm Reborn, but… I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.