Caster's Realm, Allakhazam, EQ Atlas and a host of others found their way into my Netscape Navigator bookmarks but in those days knowing where to look up quests or guides or maps was only the first step. Next you had to find a way to access that information when you needed it.
In those days you couldn't even tab out of most MMOs reliably. Chances were you'd crash the game. For EverQuest it wasn't even legal to try because running EQ in anything but full screen was a bannable offense. The only way to do it was via the EULA-breaking EQWindows, which I never even downloaded.
Dual monitors may have existed back then but for most players the virtual worlds of their choice played out on a single 14" CRT screen. Most players' second monitor was probably a lever-arch file with a sheaf of printouts. I still have reams of pages from the three key EQ sites above in a cupboard somewhere.
Over the years third party websites have proliferated and increased enormously in sophistication and scope. Any MMO worth its salt has a wiki up long before launch. Twitch streams and YouTube videos have become mainstream alternatives to word-and-picture websites but as yet they show no sign of replacing them entirely.
Most resource sites are dedicated to one game. It's unusual to find one that caters to several unrelated MMOs, let alone one that's compiled and fronted by a single person, but that's what Dulfy.net appears to have become.
Dulfy was there from the beginning in GW2. She's so embedded in the process she even has her own permanent namesake in Tyria. I only really began to notice and rely on her regularly-updated, accurate information a couple of years ago and as far as I can recall at that time her site only covered GW2.
Since then it's expanded to include full divisions for SW:TOR, Black Desert and ESO. Checking something on Dulfy yesterday I noticed she's added another: Revelation Online.
I don't believe I've mentioned RO here before but I've had it vaguely in my sights for a while. I have the official website bookmarked and I pay attention to the mentions it gets on MassivelyOP and other news sites. My attention was first drawn to the game by the averagely-spectacular "World Trailer" but it was only when I found out it could be played (optionally) in full tab-target, WASD "WoW Mode" that I added it to my list of probables. It also didn't hurt that it's published by MY.com, with whom I already have an account for Allods.
After a small hiccup, Revelation Online went into "Closed" Beta four days ago. Of course, its a beta that's closed only as long as you refuse to open your wallet. The final payment model for the game has yet to be announced (bet on Buy-to-Play with hyperactive cash shop) but right now you can join the Closed Beta for the price of a Founder's Pack, the cheapest of which is just $17.99.
Dulfy has an excellent New Player Guide that lays out what you can expect most clearly. I read it yesterday and felt myself getting flashbacks to several recent MMOs, most particularly to ArcheAge. Although it's been promoted with the usual sandbox features that have become de rigeur of late, RO looks, on paper, somewhat more PvE Theme Park oriented than either AA or Black Desert.
To quote Dulfy's guide
It is a high fantasy game with some scifi elements set in an ancient Chinese Wuxia backdrop. It has action combat, dungeons, raids, 3v3 Arenas, battleground (10v10, 20v20, 30v30), territory/guild wars, open world PvP, reputation grind and minigames. It has a very large open world with no load screens (unless you are teleporting around using waypoints).
All of which sounds very familiar. This, also from Dulfy, less so:
(RO) is not your typical Asian MMO grinder. Leveling up is easy but to actually progress in the game you need to do doing group content with other players. Endgame is all high end group content like hard dungeons and raids.
If I was in an MMO lull right now I'd stump up the eighteen dollars (or sixteen euros) and give it a run. Based on my previous experiences in ESO, AA, BDO and Blade and Soul over the last couple of years I could reasonably expect to get four to six weeks of fairly intensive play and have a lot of fun before suddenly stopping for no definable reason and never playing the game again.
Oh, and I'd get a dozen or more blog posts out of it and a month of increased page views for covering the new hotness. So there's that.
In practice, though, Revelation Online has landed at a bad time for me. I have the EQ2 expansion coming in a week or so and there's a good chance I will get Legion for my birthday, which is also just around the corner. With that and GW2 there isn't really a space in the calendar for yet another MMO.
Not that that will stop me indefinitely. I still want to take a look but that can probably wait until Open Beta, which will no doubt be the real soft launch. Can't discount the possibility I might still buy in early on a whim, though.
So far I feel no such draw towards Smed's pixel-art project, Hero's Song. That odd duck, which seems to be neither Massive nor Multiple, having no official servers, but which is definitely Online and purports to be an RPG in some not entirely clearly defined fashion, went to Steam Early Access today.
By most accounts I've read it isn't anything like ready. The consensus seems to be that its been forced out of the door by financial constraints. The first flurry of Steam reviews are very positive, though, with the almost universal caveat that Hero's Song has great potential but is currently nothing like ready to be played as a working game.
The comparisons to EQ and the suggestion that the game may be quietly re-using some of the more interesting concepts originally touted for EQNext have, I must admit, managed to shift Hero's Song from the "not interested at all" pile to the one marked "hmmm...maybe one day", which is progress of a kind, I guess.
Once again, though, I think I'll pass for now. Too much on my plate already. And I have to leave some room for Heroes of SkyRealm.