Sound trumpets! Let our bloody colours wave! And either victory, or else a grave.

There is a hard disk in my PC which is a graveyard for MMOs. An incredibly large and ponderous device, it is the ghostly oil tanker devoid of life, which drifts in an eternal bank of fog, whose hold is filled with an abandoned cargo of games past. The swift and nimble Zodiacs I use for the day-to-day traversing of the great gaming sea are both small and light, and thus carry only the bare MMO necessities—those few games which I currently play.

Upon entering the graveyard of MMOs, every folder is a beige pixel-hewn tombstone, every directory name prefaced in my mind by ‘Herein lies…’.

“Herein lies Lord of the Rings Online.
Long time friend.
Who got a bit boring and greedy
sometime near the end.”

I let my mouse cursor—virtual fingertip—wander across the surface of these hierarchical graves, tracing the memories captured in the names written there. Often I must resist exhuming a game, the swelling tide of happy remembrance threatening to breach the weakening resolve of my cynical defence against emotional floods. Usually I can content myself with browsing through old screenshots, as perfect as the day I took them – our picture albums no longer fade along with our memories.

Rarely do I attempt to resurrect a game from its magnetised mausoleum, but often I wish myself a Frankenstein of files, able to take a perfect piece from this crypt, some small segment from this other, and thence hammer and hew, stretch sinew and stitch, until my meisterwerk takes form. Would it be a monster? Would it be misunderstood? Could the best of what has come before be combined in a such a way that it still formed a whole, one which was greater even than the sum of these mighty parts? Perhaps Vanguard’s quiet lonely lumbering at the edge of MMO society has already answered this.

I dragged another vault to the graveyard of MMOs today: farewell Tera, I have fond memories of what you were, and sad thoughts of what you could have been. Now my Zodiac is loaded with The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, and as I push myself away from that leviathan of expired MMOs, before opening the outboard of my enthusiasm, I bask in the feeling that I won’t have need to return for quite some time.

6 thoughts on “Sound trumpets! Let our bloody colours wave! And either victory, or else a grave.

  1. Helistar

    I understand the feeling, even if I don’t play as many MMOs as you do. At times I wonder if it’s really a good idea to keep them, wouldn’t it be better to have an option “erase the program, burn the CD in flames, delete the account, block my PC from creating a new one”? Every time I return to a MMO, having forgotten the reasons I dumped it, it usually makes a fine work at reminding me of them, resulting in me quitting even faster this time.
    You mention LotRO, where I’ve returned recently…. and where I’m wondering if I’ll remain long….

  2. Melmoth Post author

    I know, it’s a curious thing, but I keep them around so I won’t have to download them again when I finally never get around to playing them, ever. I blame the rapid decline in the cost of hard disk space, along with many years of MMO-based training to become a pack rat.

    Good luck with LotRO! I should never say never, but I think I’m finished with Turbine’s lazy content design for good.

  3. Pardoz

    What, Melmoth, you don’t think “When in doubt, add more collect boar part quests” is the height of MMO content design?

  4. Melmoth Post author

    If I saw a boar in real life now, I’m not sure whether I’d run screaming, or try to see if it was carrying a sword.

  5. Pardoz

    I’d do a quick visual scan to check how many heads/feet/tails/hooves it had before deciding whether or not to engage.

  6. Jim

    Your eulogy for LotRO is spot on…but the gentle tug never leaves. Fortunately I’m an expansion removed from further updates.

    The Moria expansion in my mind was the greatest game killing expansion of all time. It makes me sad sometimes.

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