PC Gaming Highlights: MMO Launch Day Joy
Great PC Gaming Moments are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.
There’s a special kind of camaraderie that only happens on the rare and coveted launch day of a new MMO. Inevitably, it will be two in the morning and I will have stopped actively playing the game I’ve waited months to stand with my 50 closest strangers in our identical clothes, /dancing and /shaking one by one. the other.
Someone will type the lyrics to Smash Mouth’s 1999 hit All Star in all caps into world chat and I’ll find it charming rather than gritty. A steady stream of players who just logged in ask for the location of a particular NPC and I’m a bottomless pit of enthusiasm to answer the same request 12 times with a smile – I’m so proud to have learned the reply just an hour ago.
I’ve been to my share of MMO launch days (and expansion launch days) over the years, and they always come with a specific adrenaline rush. Everyone is stuck in the same starting areas, going back and forth between NPCs while learning the basics of combat, crafting, or building, and killing the same five boars as everyone else. I inevitably participated in the clamor of a frenzied anthill, which produces sights never to be seen again once players start doling out.
When the colonial fantasy MMO New World launched in 2021, excessive campfires clogged the area where players had to try to build one for the first time. And, of course, the naked creepy glasses.
Although my screenshots are lost in time, I’ll never forget jumping into the long-awaited Guild Wars 2 in 2012 with my first Norn character and exploring the mountainous foothills of the Wayfarer, thrilled by the new ability to jump . With no veteran players, every piece of information gained was so much sweeter and eagerly shared in text chat. Surrounded by dozens of other Norn players in our dedicated starting area, we solved puzzles posed by crow statues and found the first steps with the region’s jumping puzzles.
Although not an MMO, the early days of Elden Ring were almost the same when I saw shades of other players taking their first steps out of the stranded graveyard next to me. The presence of messages from players on the pitch, often the same jokes told by hundreds of people, was like being surrounded by a global chat. A month later, the “hidden path ahead” lies may seem dry, but the first day in a new world made those well-worn words a special joke for those who lived being inundated by them.
New MMOs don’t come often. Not even twice a year these days. I cherish when they do, because there’s a joy that single-player games can’t replicate in being surrounded by strangers who all walk wide-eyed through the same first moments next to me.