MMORPG: not the genre for me

Don't get me wrong--I love a good online game and I've been a fan of RPGs for as long as I can remember, but the two combined? In my admittedly limited experience, I've had a very hard time getting into MMORPGs like WoW and Final Fantasy XI. I often find them tedious and uninspiring, no matter how much time I put into them or which character class I choose.

For most of the more popular ones, I've been told countless times that you really gotta hang in there until around level 40, 50, 60--whatever--before it starts to get really fun. I've only ever played as far as the free trials allow me, but I've played enough to get an idea of just how long reaching that high of a level takes. And that's a really long time...especially considering that right now, most level caps are around 75 and 80, which means that for half of the game, you could very well not be having much fun at all. Let's not forget the $13+ monthly subscription fees. And expansions.

Now, I'd say that the whole monthly fee thing is largely what turns me off, but I find free MMOs like Fiesta and Gaia Online's zOMG just as boring and unappealing. I suppose they're just not linear enough for me to invest my time and money into and get any sort of worthwhile satisfaction out of. I prefer games that allow me to indulge in some alone time, which doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be single-player. I just feel that when the quality of gameplay is determined more by those you're playing with and less by the actual care and detail put into the game's design, it's not really worth the effort. That has been precisely my experience with MMORPGs (thus far).

Most of my friends whose opinions I value highly are avid WoW or Final Fantasy XI players and I wouldn't be so brash as to criticize the overall quality of these games (okay, maybe FF XI...have you seen the controls for that game on the PC?! WTF?). In fact, the MMO subculture has brought about a lot of awesome things like "The Guild", which I have grown very fond of.

I do plan on delving a little deeper into the genre with the release of Final Fantasy XIV in late September. There are still many aspects of MMORPGs that remain a mystery to me and I feel like I should broaden my understanding of this hugely popular facet of gaming. Expect an in-depth review of the game some time in the fall after its release.

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