Recently I’ve been playing Destiny, a game that isn’t really an MMO but has elements of that in it. With that and the discussion of other games here where I mention not being interested in playing online with or against others, it’s time to talk about the exception to this.
Medievia was (is, I suppose) a MUD, a multi-user dungeon. In the late 90s when I joined up it was all text graphics. Rooms were described as a text adventure and any map you had was one you made yourself. You wandered around different “zones” killing monsters and grabbing loot.
When I joined up in the late 90s, it was because my pals Anna and Kurt played it, and it was a way I could play games and hang out with them. I did this, and had a lot of fun. Eventually I joined a clan and made more pals there, some of whom I’m still friends with to this day.
There was a lot to do with others. You could form up a group with others to take on a tougher zone. You could do trade runs, where you tried to escort a cart of goods from one town to another, usually with disastrous results. There were two kingdoms and occasionally they would go to war and you could fight against others. And of course, there were the PVP zones. I did all of this (except the PVP stuff, which I wasn’t particularly good at.) My clan and I would chat on our clan channel, we’d share loot, and so forth. It was pretty fun.
In fact, one character wasn’t enough. My main character, Beebo, got to HERO status and I started another, named Rafsanjan, who was a middle eastern, Muslim type character. (I was taking a class about Islam in college, and this was before 9/11, when such things would have put me on a watch list.) Here’s Rafsanjan’s character sheet I made to keep track of his gear (I can’t find Beebo’s).
click to make bigger
But then after a while something went amiss. Part of it may have been the fact that I started playing it while returning to college in preparation for being a math teacher, and the realization that this plan wasn’t going to work and had been a huge waste of time and money, causing a deep depression. I did less and less with others. I’d log on, mute various chat channels, and head out on my own. I eventually got booted from the clan and just continued soloing the game. Before too long I had completely lost interest and stopped playing altogether.
That was my last encounter with really engaging with online play. Since then, whatever switch flipped in me that removed my interest has stayed pressed firmly down. I’m not interested in playing against others because there isn’t a single game I feel like I’m good enough at (or want to get so) that it wouldn’t be just getting handed my ass over and over. And playing with others makes me nervous for similar reasons — I always feel like I’d just be an anchor holding them down from having a good time by playing with someone competent. I’m happy to just do my own thing at my own pace.
I had a lot of fun on Medievia for a while, but once I left it I never looked back, not to it or any other MUD (though, briefly, I was invited to create a zone for a MUD that I don’t think ever launched.) And graphical MMOs never really tempted me either (including Ultima Online which I have no idea how I resisted the siren call of, other than hearing when it first launched that it was not very good.) I played Diablo 2 online solely because there was different loot there, not because I was interested in interacting with others. And I know nothing of “raid bosses” in Borderlands. Destiny may change that for me, but it will be a tough change.