Apart from a brief dalliance with City of Heroes, my choice of MMORPG has always been those set in the fantasy genre. I played Everquest for many years before switching to World of Warcraft. Along the way I dabbled with Dark Age of Camelot, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online.
I have a friend who’s in the early stages of writing his own MMORPG. I don’t know if it’ll ever come to anything, but there’s one thing I’ve been quite forceful in telling him, as he works on his design.
There must be dragons.
For me, there is something magical about battling those huge, mythical creatures. In Everquest one of the first raids I ever went on was one to kill Lady Vox. The feeling when our Guild bested her for the first time was wonderful. Raiding was very different in those days. We had to co-ordinate buffing by bringing several higher-level characters along. Once each group was buffed, they’d log out, and connect to the chat server, then when everyone was buffed the call would go out in chat to relog, and we’d be on a strict timer to kill the dragon. And if you were above level 52 you would get ported out of her lair as soon as she was engaged, and yes, we did kill the foolish Wizard who had levelled to 53 back down to level 52 so he could join in!
In World of Warcraft the first dragon I encountered was Onyxia. Again, this was one of the first raid encounters I ever experienced in WoW, and it really convinced me that WoW was going to be a long-term game for me. First of all, the quest to gain access to her lair was long and complex, and thoroughly enjoyable. Then the actual encounter – the mechanics, the different stages, the joy of working with a large group of friends to learn the encounter and finally to beat it was something I really enjoyed.
So when Blizzard updated the Onyxia encounter, and the Officers of my Guild set a date for an encounter, I dusted off my raiding head, and signed up. We got enough raiders signed up to attempt the 25-man version of the encounter, which, whilst not as large as the 40-man original, still felt large 🙂 And it took us a few tries to learn the encounter, especially as most of my guildies had not seen the original version, but by the end of the evening we had a dead dragon on our hands 🙂
And I’m happy to report that the Onyxia encounter is still my favourite encounter in WoW. It’s been updated for level 80s, with some added complexity, but the fundamental mechanics remain the same. And standing in the huge cavern, watching Onyxia take a Deep Breath and fly from one side to the other, breathing fire, made me feel small and vulnerable. And it was magical.
Yes… There must be dragons 🙂