My Dusty MMO Road

Zyngor | Monday, August 25, 2014
Immersion can means all sorts of things when it comes to an MMO. While it may traditionally refer to the length in which you feel drawn into the virtual world (a la roleplaying), some may simply say it could be how much fun you are having with your MMO experience. I could see it as a mixture of both. By enjoying your time and having fun, you may get yourself sucked further into the world. If you enjoy roleplaying, but do not enjoy the game at the same time for what the developers have produced, how much are you really going to be immersed while you struggle to enjoy the mechanics?

While LOTRO takes its place as my current top MMO (probably followed by Rift), it was not my first true MMORPG experience. That honor would likely go to Silkroad Online (SRO, by developer Joymax). This was a F2P fantasy game released in 2005 (I believe I started playing around this time), which I was casually hooked to for a couple of years. As the title may suggest, this game has pretty heavy eastern cultural themes. The game also had a fairly rich PvP system, which was linked with either protecting or attacking trade routes (you know..that whole Silk Road thing). I suppose Archeage could be a loose contemporary, give or take.

I won't beat around the bush - the main reason I was attracted to SRO was because it was a F2P title. I know some a little eh about the model, but as a fairly non-competitive gamer, others' thoughts on the whole "buy to win" bit that is sometimes associated with some F2P premium stores means diddly-squat to me. Why do I care if other people are "winning" when I can just have fun playing the game and not worry about how they are doing? If that means they are that much stronger if I happen to do any group content (although when I played, SRO was very light on the group stuff), wouldn't that work in my favor?

The glowier, the better
Anyways, off that mini diatribe, SRO was a pretty nice-looking game at the time. Different areas may be representing different cultures (such as Chinese, Islamic, European, etc), so there was a variety of architecture to come across as you progressed. Combat (from what I can recall) would likely be pretty lackluster as compared to today, and I will say the game was very grindy. It was not uncommon to be required to kill hundreds of an enemy type to progress with some quest or find gear, so I can imagine it may not be everyone's cup of tea.

This was not an uncommon sight in towns
What I thought was one of the neat features that made SRO stand out was their implementation of a stall system to auction your items to others, in lieu of an actual auction hall. This meant that you would toggle on your stall in town, queue up the items you'd want to sell, and others could come up and either bid or purchase your goods. While this made selling your goods in this means a static activity, I think it added a nice level of immersion to what was otherwise just "another" MMO in the mix out there. I can recall putting up items for sale before going AFK for class, hoping I'd come back a few gold richer.

Silkroad Online servers are still going and receive maintenance, as far as I know. You can head on over here should you want to try out the game.

What was your first MMO experience, whether it be RPG/shooter/etc? What was it that made you decide to play it, and how doe sit compare to your modern MMO titles? Share in the comments below!

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