There is something completely cathartic about my memories of Final Fantasy XI. It’s not that I have rose colored glasses about that wonderful, frustrating game. I remember the highs and the lows. I remember reading James Mielke's blog post about the game. It filled me with such wonder and awe that somebody could love and invest themselves into an MMO like that. Final Fantasy XI was a great game and an experience I am not likely to ever see again. The industry has largely moved away from the grinding, party heavy MMOs of yesteryears and that’s a good thing, still it leaves me with some melancholy. Those days of sitting in an XP spot grinding out levels with a good party, shooting the breeze about nothing in particular are over. Guild Wars 2 has been a fresh breeze of delight in recent days. I’ve often been helped by and helped a passerby kill a boss or revive themselves; good deeds are not only customary, they are rewarded in Guild Wars 2.
It’s a small thing maybe, but MMOs in general, and online gaming in particular has a rather nasty reputation for bringing out the worst of people. Like alcohol in real life, people will say and do things online they’d never dream saying or doing in real life. There’s a line in The Secret World, where a character says "If I truly want to understand humanity, I need only read the comment section on YouTube" and then follows that up with “I hate the internet”. I laughed when I heard that but there is a truth in those words that is a sad indictment on humanity. It’s one of the reasons why Guild Wars 2 hits the spot. Time and time again I’ve seen people help each other out, stop what they were doing and revive somebody who bit off a bit more than they could chew; it’s like a world full of good Samaritans and no lawyers. I’m joking about the lawyer part, surely, maybe, probably.