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Liminal Places in MMORPGs

Content of the article: "Liminal Places in MMORPGs"

This is going to be a bit of a weird topic, but this is a feeling I have gotten from really immersive MMORPGs from back in the day, like Neocron, Everquest, FFXI, and a few others. If this doesn't fit the tone of the sub, feel free to ignore and downvote, but I think this can be an interesting thing to discuss, since I feel like it's something missing from modern nonstop action mmorpgs.

A liminal place is hard to define, but it gives you a very distinct feeling of nostalgia/anticipation. It is like driving down a deserted highway at 3 AM, and seeing a single gas station on the side of the road with just a light on, kind of like this. This feeling is everywhere in old Silent Hill games and movies like The Shining%26mweb_unauth_id%3D%7B%7Bdefault.session%7D%7D%26simplified%3Dtrue&psig=AOvVaw2cGYg47_kxediQ3wm2M076&ust=1598687993876000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCPiE2Ya3vesCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAJ) and Blade Runner, but it doesn't necessarily have to be creepy or ominous. Portal 1/2 was also huge in this.

It gives a sense of altered reality – kind of like urban exploration, almost like it's something that you're not supposed to see like the back areas in the first Portal, or the overgrown areas in the second one.

Neocron had a ton of this in its post-apocalyptic world, and basically felt like an immersive version of Blade Runner, and I had more fun exploring the world and finding these places than anything else in the game. It makes the world feel alive, and it makes you start to wonder about the lore of the world itself. FFXI had this in spades in its early life with all of the huge mysterious dungeons that have extremely dangerous creatures roaming in the deepest areas.

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One specific example was a dungeon called Fei'Yin – it was a destroyed tower located in a very distant part of a snowland. None of the NPCs ever really mentioned it, and because it was destroyed so long ago it was mostly forgotten. The more you learn about the lore, you see that it is PURPOSELY not talked about because of the role the location played in an event thousands of years before the story. With how far out of the way you have to go to see it, and how mysterious and dangerous the location was, I liked to make trips out there just to wander around and take in the atmosphere.

I know this is a weird topic and it's hard to describe what I'm talking about, but does anyone get this? I recently learned what this was, and I've always loved things like this but never knew what it was called.

Do you get this feeling in any MMOs like WOW, BDO, ESO, etc?


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