I’ve played Myst Online (Uru), an online multiplayer game, for forever, in game years. I was in the 2003 beta. I’ve played Uru through three multiplayer phases, and its solo player phase. I’ve been a forum moderator on two official forums. I’ve became friends with someone who worked for the publisher. I’ve corresponded with people on the developer side. I have a history. I know Uru. I’ve been a part of something.
I’ll play online multiplayer Uru again, when it comes back. Sometimes I don’t even know if I like Uru anymore, but I can’t stay away. I’ll play Uru, but it won’t be an “exclusive” deal – another MMO calls.
I’ve been playing Guild Wars for two months. I’ve never played an online RPG (MMO role playing game) – so I’m new, and I’m slow. Many people play Guild Wars – though estimates vary since there are no subscription fees. Over 5 million units were sold, but there are no good figures on how many are playing. It’s got experts, forums with many members, and people who have been playing since 2005. Some of the players must have played in the Guild Wars beta, so they’ve been around even longer.
It’s interesting, going from one game where you have a history, to one where you have no history. I love Guild Wars, and I’m playing Guild Wars for the right reason, because I love it. Guild Wars is beautiful – a big world with a story and a lot to do. It’s an online, multiplayer game, but you can play this multiplayer game by yourself, with others, or you can head up a small group of AI (artificial intelligence) characters, when you are on a quest. What’s even better is that I, a new slow player who doesn’t play much – I’m in a guild!
Here’s the story. You online players have heard this story before, but it’s new to me!
In Guild Wars, a guild is a group of people who make up a social network (reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild_Wars#Guilds). Many MMORPGs have guilds; Uru has something equivalent, called a neighborhood. In Guild wars, guild members get a special “channel” in game, where you can talk to your guild mates, via text chat. The guild can purchase a guild hall, where you can hang out with members of your guild. The Guild Hall is a private area open only to guild members and guests. There are other goodies in the hall, but you get the general idea. “Hall” is something of misnomer, if you count the surrounding lands that make up your Guild hall. Our hall is beautiful.
Our guild is great. Some of us play a lot, some of us play a little, and there is no pressure on how and when we play. As far as I can tell, my guild operates on the principle that we all have busy lives, so we should play how and when it works for us. Not all guilds in all games are like that. We are also in an alliance with other guilds, many of whom are former or current Uru players. Our alliance has a shared chat channel (talk via text), and we can visit the guild halls of the guilds in our alliance. We can also participate in alliance battles, but I don’t know how that works. I’m a PvE (player versus environment) sort of player. I engage in battle with opponents in my world (such as monsters), but I don’t fight other players.
And how did I get to be a member of my guild and my alliance – through Myst Online Uru. Uru players started playing other online games, both before and after Uru’s cancellation. I was recruited by an Uru player (thanks C!) who noticed I was online in another game called “There”. She visited me in There, We started talking, and then C. saw my post in an Uru forum which said that I was playing Guild Wars. C recruited me to her guild. Aside from being a really nice person – she’s got a genuine talent for low key but effective PR!
Long time online players may think “what’s the big deal”, but Uru attracted players who had never played an online game. Before Uru, many of us thought we could never play online multiplayer games. After Uru, many of us thought that we could only play Uru. Then it happened – people recruited their online Uru friends and acquaintances to other games, and their friends brought in other friends, and our game world expanded. I would have played Guild Wars without being magically asked to be in a guild, but it makes it extra wonderful to be in a Guild. I didn’t have to look for a guild. Thanks to C., I was invited to join a guild.
So – this moving on thing is weird. I’m playing Guild Wars for the right reasons, because I love it. I’ve got no history in Guild Wars, unlike Uru. I’ll never be a legacy person, or an expert. But, oddly enough, I have connections – a community of Uru players who went to Guild Wars, and I can be a member of their group. I’m still playing by myself, but I also have a small group (a guild), and a big group (an alliance). I like it.
Here’s a picture of my ritualist character, in our guild hall. “Ritualists channel other-worldly energies that summon allies from the void and employ mystic binding rituals that bend those allies to the Ritualist’s will.” (http://wiki.guildwars.com/wiki/Ritualist)