Are MMOs always best in the early days?

I’ve just read Raging Monkey’s post on vanilla WoW memories. Of course I joined in TBC so I missed many of those older systems and experiences. But it does still remind me of the game I first started playing; I wonder are all MMOs better at the start?

Two more recent experiences of my own spring to mind:

Allods Online open beta launch
This game started with so much promise. There was *huge* coverage and buzz on it when it went from closed to open beta. Some friends and I downloaded the client and sat avidly playing it for the first week or so. The starter areas were heaving with players, all discovering the game together, grouping up, chatting in channels. There were some group quests to do almost immediately so the community had a good basis to gel.

Then we realised about the forced PVP in later zones, and that the very exciting Astral ship end-game was also affected by forced PVP and my love for the game died very quickly (even before the disastrous launch of the in-game shop).

Rift launch
At launch Rift was an amazing experience. Again started playing in the first week with some friends and we had a blast with questing, rifting and invasions. Sadly since we continued playing other games as well we fell very quickly behind the curve and if anything games like Rift with public event content suffer badly from the ‘top-heavy’ syndrome that all MMOs seeem doomed to repeat. With very few people in the lower zones the rifts and especially the invasions become very difficult if not impossible to complete.

Maybe Trion will fix this and encourage people back out of instanced content again, but as it stands the gameplay now is nothing like what it was in those first couple of months.

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