Impressive MMOs

One of the many reasons that I enjoy MMOs so much is that they occasionally give me some stunning moments when I see, or do, something so incredible it just makes me think ‘wow’. I’ve played a lot of MMOs and some have been very lackluster (*cough* Warhammer *cough*) and unimpressive whilst others have really immersed me and drawn me in, giving me some incredible sights and moments that I’ll never forget. Here, in the chronological order that I played them, are some of those games that impressed me.


Out of every MMORPG I’ve played, EQ will always be the one that really blew me away the most. I was 17 when I first played it and, although I had tried a couple of small MUDs and read about Ultima Online, I’d never experienced anything like it. From the first moment I saw other players talking, sitting, and interacting I just knew that I could never go back to ‘boring’ single player games. EQ was a vast online world that just stunned me in every sense of the word. I remember the first time I saw an Ogre in Blackburrow, the first time I saw a level 50 character run past, the first time I ran the gauntlet of death to get my Enchanter spells in High Keep, and the first time I trekked the oceans to visit the far away lands of Kunark. I know a lot of this is nostalgia but EQ was honestly unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

Everquest One Screenshot

How Did We Actually See Anything?

Anarchy Online

The next MMO I played that really impressed me was Anarchy Online. Sure, it wasn’t as groundbreaking as EQ but it was the first sci-fi MMO and it really tried to do new things. One of my favourite memories is going into a ‘nightclub’ for the first time and just seeing people… dancing.

Everquest 2

Having played EQ on and off for 5 years, EQ2 was a game I was immensely looking forward to and excited about. Although it was pretty rocky to start with (eventually evolving into one of the best MMOs available however) it was still impressive to see and stunning to play. Sure, it initially wasn’t very well polished compared to WoW but it had atmosphere, immersion and a ton of gall. EQ2 really pushed the boat out and coined the phrase ’second generation MMO’. The graphics were beautiful, it had almost full voice work for the NPCs and it took an entire new approach to crafting. In the early days it may not have been perfect but I was blown away by it’s scope and ambition.


Yep, Vanguard. I tried VG when it first came out and although it certainly wasn’t perfect, it did have one big wow moment for me and that was the first time I saw the port city of Khal. I remember being quite stunned by it and really admiring the beauty of the cityscape and all of the effort that had gone into making it. If VG gave me nothing else, at least it gave me Khal.

Port City of Khal in Vanguard

Port City of Khal in Vanguard

Age of Conan

Although Age of Conan was ultimately disappointing, I still found it initially very impressive. I think for me the incredible thing was purely the visuals and the atmosphere. I’m a big fan of Robert E. Howard’s Conan and the game managed to capture the look and feel of the world perfectly. The first time I played it, I was stunned by the graphics and the sense of immersion – Tortage is still a great experience, just a shame that the rest of the game lacks depth.

World of Warcraft

I started playing WoW seriously about four months ago and never really experienced any ‘wow moment’s (pardon the pun) until last weekend. I was playing my level 65 Warrior and entered Terokaar Forest in Outland for the first time and saw… Shattrath City. It completely blew me away, a feeling enhanced by the fact that I just wasn’t expecting to see anything so cool. It’s not the most graphically impressive thing I’ve ever seen but the combination of effects, immersion, atmosphere and my interest the surrounding lore really did it for me. Kudos to Blizzard – I’m looking forward to see Northrend now.

Shattrath City

Shattrath City

Draenei Priest NPC in Shattrath City

Draenei Priest NPC in Shattrath City

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  1. Jhet Bhlak says:

    OMG! The original EQ Interface! Nice screenshot there. I still play EQ and stick with the older UI (Not that old though). Of course Sony discontinued supporting it years ago and made a new UI I can’t stand So I have to get mods from EQUI.

    I have to agree with you. EQ was the first mmorpg that really sucked me in. When I first started, I would play 18 hours straight on the weekends.

  2. Geeba says:

    I would add: The first time you enter Rivendell in LOTRO. Very much a wow moment.

  3. WoW was my first MMO, and what drew me in was after my friend loaded up his toon (he was showing me the game), he said, “Let me fly over here so I can show you how the combat works” and he took the flying wyvern over to the Barrens. Watching it fly over the landscape, and seeing people fighting, actually players out there, really was a significant moment for me, and is what drew me into MMOs. Previously I had seen people playing EQ and I was unimpressed (then again the guy was just kiting something on one toon and killing it with his lowbie).

  4. Hobosic says:

    Ugh, I liked! So clear and positively.


  5. Jerry Van says:

    The last few expansions in EQ2 have been huge yawns for me, but I keep playing. EQ2 at its current stage is visually appealing, it lacks any real artistic direction, but can still be visually stunning at times. What I really appreciate about EQ2, after playing pretty much everything else out there: EQ, Vanguard, LotR, FFXI, Conan, Ultima Online, Ashron’s Call I and II,Guild Wars, Aion, D&D Online, Lineage II, FFXIV, etc is how solid the game is.

    EQ2 just stands head and shoulders above the rest. This is of course my opinion, but after playing everything else on the Market I feel I can get the same, if not better executed in EQ2. Questing, leveling, gearing up, managing inventory, selling and buying, tradeskilling, are all so streamlined and simple that all the others feel clumsy and poorly thought out in their implementation. Until something comes out that is just as engaging but brings something totally new to the table EQ2 will be where I hang my hat for many years to come.

    I think SOE should offer players who leave there MMO, huge XP bonuses so they can level quickly, not that you can’t already, and get into the end game of EQ2 that much faster…My one criticism, too many races, and too many classes…mainly too many classes…I think they should combine many of the classes again…Re combine the priests into Clerics, Shamans and Druids…Oh wow, I have been rambling for like 3 paragraphs…sorry.


  6. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

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