I’m not that hung up on graphics when it comes to the choices I make of which MMORPGs to play or not to play. That’s not to say I care nothing about graphic quality or style, but it’s not top of my list of criteria. So it was with passing interest that I read over at Massively OP that Blade and Soul is getting a graphics engine upgrade from Unreal 3 to Unreal 4.
Some games do manage to make improvements, World of Warcraft’s graphics have evolved enormously since launch (and continue to do so with Battle for Azeroth), but then is WoW an outlier in this as in so many things? I remember reading years ago of Aion having a big graphics upgrade but then I haven’t played the game long enough to notice changes over time.
I can certainly tell the difference in design detail and graphical complexity between many MMORPG starter zones and later zones – signs that the devs are making the very most out of the game engines even if they’ve not been upgraded as drastically. If you compare Darklight Woods to the Plane of Magic in EQ2, or Thorin’s Gate to the splendor of Minas Tirith in LOTRO you can notice this difference even within the same basic game engine.
A wholesale upgrade of the engine is a very big time and money investment indeed; although MMORPGs need never truly die (just see news of Guild Wars 1‘s graphical tweaks for evidence), they can age badly. So I do appreciate greatly any minor improvements to the graphics, or simply the extra effort devoted to fully maximising existing capabilities to offer us beautiful virtual vistas to admire.