As you likely know by now, I have been, for close to 20 years now, a fan of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs). Since 2004 I have played literally dozens upon dozens of them, from “Anarchy Online” to “New World”, and most everything else in-between. Some I loved and played for years, others… not so much… but the genre itself was something I gravitated to, as these living, breathing worlds really spoke to me in a way nothing else had up until then.
But now I sit here, older and (hopefully) much wiser, and I find myself not really playing MMORPGs at all, anymore. Only one is currently installed on my computer, and I haven’t logged into it for months, for a variety of reasons. But what do I find myself still playing, many years after their original launch?
Japanese-style roleplaying games (JRPGs).
Going all the way back to the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), my brother and I used to rent JRPGs every weekend, taking turns trying to get as far as we could in games such as “Final Fantasy”, “Dragon Warrior”, and so forth. Personally, I was huge fan of the Dragon Warrior games, and remain so to this day. “Dragon Quest XI” is one of my favorite games for the Nintendo Switch, as it really captures the feel of those old DW titles, while embracing a more modern roleplaying game model.
Regardless, When I break out my old Gameboy Advance, what game do I inevitably play? “Golden Sun”. When I fire up my RetroPie machine, what do I usually play? One of the “Pokemon” games, or one of the FF or DW titles. If it is a JRPG, or similar to that style (especially the 8-bit games), I am on board for it!
Why is this? Because I know what I’ll be getting, every time I play. With an MMORPG, you never know how your gaming experience will go. There are too many factors in play that can change your experience, from other players to bad luck with mobs, even just RNG going against you, which can make your experience either awesome or a complete dumpster fire.
But with a JRPG, you always know what you will get, when you play. The story is static, but you can go off path and just fight mobs, explore the world away from the storyline, and wring every last ounce of fun out of the title that there is to be had. Also, the turn-based combat allows you to take your time to devise a proper plan of attack, and even just get up and step away from combat for a bit, if need be. Yes, random chance can adversely affect your play, as with any video game, but if that’s the worst you have to fear from a game session, that’s really not all that bad.
No troll players ruining your experience.
No server issues throwing you out of game.
No internet? No problem!
So if you are wondering why I switched so abruptly from being a hardcore MMORPG-stan to a complete Console Peasant, with a slight bend towards the Weeb, now you know. Old-school JRPGs are better than any MMORPG, by far, and that includes “Final Fantasy XI” and “Final Fantasy XIV”.