There are countless reasons why people love massively multiplayer online games. I have played my fare share of MMO’s and I really enjoy the genre. I love the feeling of progressing a character through a world alongside millions of other gamers. I love reaching the end of the story and still finding reasons to log back in. I love the constant character progression that happens over the course of multiple years playing a game. But more than anything, I love the sunrise in MMO’s.
The best part of any massively multiplayer online game is the sunrise. Developers attempt to make these worlds feel alive. Large hub worlds are bustling with other players, non player characters, movement, action, and life. The wilderness is full of secrets, monsters, friendlies, wanderers, and treasure. Throughout all of this action, story, and gathering, one things remains constant: the world.
I want my world to feel alive. I want to feel like I am part of something greater. I think this is why I have such a hard time playing MMO’s; because I often become detached from the escapism the game is meant to provide.
I have tried to play a lot of MMO’s throughout my gaming career. I started playing Final Fantasy XI when it had an open beta on Xbox 360. I’ve played World of Warcraft extensively. I’ve previously wrote about the short time I’ve played Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve tried to get into The Elder Scrolls Online many times. Finally, I’ve just recently subscribed to Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Not all of these games have a sunrise. While researching this post, I just discovered that World of Warcraft has a day/night cycle. The reason I did not realize this was because I tend to play games at the same time every night and World of Warcraft’s in game clock is synchronized with the real time.
Final Fantasy XIV does a great job making the world feel alive. Non player characters move around autonomously and the sun rises and sets frequently. The Eorzean clock moves much faster than real time, so during a short 1-2 hour play session you will see the sun move. 12 hours in Eorzea equals about 1 hour in real world time. They even have apps and websites dedicated to tracking the time in your zone.
My favorite part of the game is the changing music between night time and day time, it really makes each zone feel alive. Writing this is making my want to return to FFXIV.
Star Wars: The Old Republic does not have an in game clock. Every time you visit a zone, the world is the same. Everything feels stagnate. As a player I do not feel like I am playing in a living, breathing world.
Elder Scrolls Online has a good day and night cycle. It even has vampire and werewolf mechanics that function within the day/night cycle. However, for some reason I can not get into the theme of the game. I’ve played so much of The Elder Scrolls Online, but to me all of the environments are just bland.
I’ve heard stories of The Lord of the Rings Online and the majestic landscapes within. LOTRO is the holy grail (The One Ring) of in game scenery. Even though the game was released in 2007, the environments are awe inspiring. During the evening the stars light up the sky, and you can even see constellations that exist within Tolkien’s world. Sunrises fill the player with such awesome appreciation that most players can not help but stop and stare.
There is a reason people wake up to watch the sunrise. That reason is not easily quantified, but for many people witnessing something truly awe inspiring is worth a few less hours of sleep. The same can be said of virtual sunrises. They make you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Sunrises assure us that we have lived another day, and give us an opportunity to do something. Even something like defeating the final boss or emoting on a beach.
Maybe writing this article will get me back into the land of Eorzea and Final Fantasy XIV. If only to enjoy the sunrise.
What is your favorite part of the MMO genre? Will you subscribe to Final Fantasy XIV and play with me?