Hello, I'm Patrick the fortune teller. We'll take a peek into the crystal ball today to see if there's actually some kind of curse or other magical spell binding network games. We shall also perform some conjurations of ghosts, as there's a slew of games we bode farewell to a long time ago, and only a few people alive have heard of the others. We will also set up a tarot to see what the future holds. And all that to try and figure out one thing: what is it about sequels?
We shall therefore focus intently on the number 2. It's a powerful figure that, in many beliefs, is viewed negatively. The Ancient Romans, for example, attributed it to inauspicious, and the number itself was dedicated to Pluto – his feast day was celebrated on the second day of the second month. The number two is also associated with jin and jang, the two opposing forces symbolizing balance. You'll see for yourself how important this is to network games!
SUPERSTITION ASIDE, WHAT'S WITH ALL THIS MAGIC?
Don't worry, in the text below, we'll not actually resort to divination. Instead, I will present to you an peculiar circumstance of MMO games and their sequels. So you don't have to worry about black magic – you'll find that number 2 in this genre is simply no guarantee of success. So no, no curses involved – just a pinch of magic.
Two ate one
There's no shortage of MMO games appearing on the market with the number two. . There's Lineage 2, or Metin 2, for example. These games need no introduction. They're pretty old, but still very popular – some even claim these are the best MMOs to date. But what came before them?
It seems obvious – Lineage 1 and Metin 1, right? Today, however, almost no one remembers these titles. And it's not because they were bad, they just came into Western markets too late, not necessarily in legal form. It is a funny situation when almost everyone has heard about the follow-ups to these games, while virtually no one in Europe or the States has played their originals.
The first Lineage, for example, is still one of the most popular MMORPGs in South Korea, forming the backbone of NCSOFT's revenue. It mostly went by unnoticed here, though, and few people even realize what the game looked like. That's not required to be able to enjoy playing Lineage 2, but this is a rather unusual situation.
STAR WARS GALAXIES VS STAR WARS THE OLD REPUBLIC
In MMORPG games set in the world of Star Wars, the rule of two that applies to the Sith unfortunately doesn't exist. According to the rule, "there are always two of them" – the master and the disciple. When it comes to games, there is a rule of one.
Star Wars Galaxies is not the original Star Wars The Old Republic – the two games are radically different from each other, but ultimately, the former had to yield to the latter. It remains debatable which of these games ultimately proved to be better, though undeniably Galaxies fit the definition of MMORPG better than the Old Republic, resembling a singleplayer game with optional multiplayer. Unfortunately, when the new came, the old had to be forgotten.
Even more interesting is the series The Legend of Mir, which boasts a successful part two, a part three that received mixed reviews, and the original about which... we know very little about. Searching for more details, we can come across some information regarding the Korean project, but the release has not been confirmed. How come, then, that the first Legend of Mir was released with the number 2 proceeding, later followed by The Legend of Mir 3? This could have to do with a legal dispute between the creators of the series and the Chinese company Shanda.
A good example of a forgotten original is Phantasy Star Online, the second part of which is now available in the United States. The sequel to that game has also been around for many years. Despite this, it still enjoys significant popularity, not only in Japan. But is there anyone who still remembers the original Phantasy Star Online? Probably not, since the game ultimately never made it outside the islands.
Another example would be PlanetSide 2, which is theoretically the best (the only one?) MMOFPS – available for free. However, the original failed to generate more interest, or shine like the sequel. It was covered by the dust of history, and today, no one actually talks about them. And that's completely wrong, because the game's servers were alive for entire 13 years! The same is true of the MMORPG Twelve Sky, the sequel of which simply pushed the original out of the market, as its natural evolution.
KINGDOM UNDER FIRE 2
If there's a Kingdom Under Fire 2, then where's Kingdom Under Fire 1? But unlike the sequel, the original was a single-player game. It was an RTS with RPG elements that somehow evolved into an MMORPG with RTS elements. I recommend the original, because despite many archaic solutions, it's still able to pleasantly surprise you.