I recently reconnected with a friend who I had not talked to in over 15 years. While doing the requisite ‘catching up’, my friend mentioned that she was playing an online game. Eager to share my hobby with an old friend, I asked, “Which one? World of Warcraft? Guild Wars? Everquest 2?”
“Last Chaos”, she replied.
“What’s the game’s full name, so I can look it up online?”
“That IS the name – Last Chaos.”
“But that doesn’t even make any sense! Chaos is a concept, not a tangible object. It’s not something that you quantify sequentially. That’s like naming your game ‘Third Havoc’, or ‘Intermediate Ennui’!”
I could tell at this point that my friend was becoming frustrated by my grammatical pedantry, so I agreed to download it and meet her in game.
I’ve been playing MMOs long enough to be able to assess a game’s enjoyability simply by viewing the in-game screen shots. I took one look at this website and groaned. A Korean free-to-play MMO ported to the US by Aeria Games, Last Chaos has ugly graphics, generic game play, an archaic-to-the-point-of-prehistoric user interface, and nonexistent localization. In a word – it’s BAD.
But the point of this post isn’t to discuss Last Chaos’ flaws, which would be like shooting fish in the proverbial barrel (with a bazooka). Rather, what alternately intrigued and disturbed me was its immense popularity. When I played Last Chaos a year ago, the 10+ servers were frequently filled to capacity. The starter area was as crowded as Stormwind City, and my friend’s guild was 20-member strong. Where were all of these people coming from? And more importantly, WHY?
I spent a month grimacing, squinting, and groaning my way through the game with my friend. Although I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with her, watching paint dry would have been preferable. Despite my efforts to convert her to a better game – I even offered to purchase a copy of Guild Wars for her – she would not budge. By her own admission, she spent hours a day playing Last Chaos and paid over $50 a month on items in the in-game store. She was never able to fully articulate why she liked the game so much. When I attempted to point out the game’s multitude of flaws she would shrug off my complaints with ambivalence.
It saddens me to see far superior MMOs flounder, or even fail (Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa come to mind) while dreck like Last Chaos survive and even prosper. Can this phenomenon be attributed to lack of knowledge? Poor taste? Or simply apathy?
Tags: Last Chaos