As editor of retrommogamer, one thing stands out to this blog’s eye which is pretty blatant and exciting in the mmo gaming community. Nostalgia is a huge factor in the mmo world at the moment and retro-style games or progressive servers (private or sanctioned) appear to be getting a lot of buzz, deservedly so. I think it is time for some big game developers to take note and give the players what they clamor for.
Some already do.
Take a look at Everquest which was released in 1999. Though the community is still going strong after all this time, there is no denying the influence that nostalgia played in the developer’s decision to open up the progressive servers Lockjaw and Ragefire this summer. Even though the launches were anything but smooth, at least initially, I would have to say that the response has been phenomenal.
Take a look at this vid which depicts a raid on the lockjaw server. It looks like the population is healthy and having a blast!
Everquest 2 has followed suit, invigorating player’s interest in the game, including yours truly. The appeal is undeniable: While an older mmorpg like EQ2 was initially difficult to approach because the high level characters and players were already very engaged, the new servers (referred to as time locked expansion because the game’s multi expansions are not available but will presumably be open at a later time) provide a fresh entry into the game for newbies, as well as a chance for nostalgic players to go through old content in a fresh way. It’s a win-win.
More game developers should make this possibility available, I am looking at you Blizzard. Some will argue that World of Warcraft does not need a retro-style server because the new expansions, including the recently announced Legion expansion, already make use of old lore and mechanisms are already in place to provide entry to newbies such as level 90 boosts and a relatively easy leveling grind.
I think otherwise and apparently so do others as evidenced by the popularity of wow themed private servers and so called “vanilla” servers which emphasize the more difficult content of the game’s early days. Even players who have spent a great deal of time on the retail server are tempted to at least sample a vanilla server. It is easy to see why, these servers provide an intensity, difficulty and in some regards a level of nostalgic fun that the retail version of the game lacks.
Heed player’s requests Blizzard, bring vanilla progressive servers to wow, it will add to your game population and earn you trust from the throngs of players devoted to the lore and game who are turned off by some of the changes by the later expansions post Cataclysm.
The developers of Everquest and EQ2 have seen the value and need for progressive style servers, it’s time for other game companies to follow suit