As an old-school PC gamer, it was huge online experiences that truly ruined me as a person. MUDs like Legend of the Red Dragon gave me my first taste, and early MMORPG's like Ultima Online set the hook. I dumped cumulative months of playtime into patrolling the Britain Crossroads with friends I made who I still keep in contact with today. There was something incredibly captivating about early MMO's, in that they weren't just single player games with levels that you eventually beat then traded back in to Funco Land, instead, they were worlds you lived in. Hell, I'd go as far as to say the first year of Ultima Online was the best year of gaming in my entire life, and something I've since spent decades chasing. Oh, and as an aside, just to give you an idea of the new ground UO was breaking, the game started with a cut scene that basically set the scene to make the concept of servers make sense with the game's lore:
Fast forward nearly 20 years and we're all walking around with devices in our pockets that thanks to the magic of Moore's Law, are far more powerful than the 266 Mhz Pentium II in my Ultima Online-era PC. Nearly every genre imaginable is represented on the App Store, but finding a great mobile MMORPG to get invested in has forever eluded me. Sure, there's a bunch of MMO-like games, as I suppose you could argue any of the random social RPG's on the App Store technically qualify as an "MMORPG" by a vague definition of the term... But none of them provide the same feel.
There's Order & Chaos Online [Free], but that always kind of rubbed me the wrong way as too much of a World of Warcraft clone. The recently released Forsaken World Mobile [Free] also didn't do much for me as it seems so Asia-centric, complete with massive anime angel wings on your character from level 1. There's been others in between, but they all seem to fail to capture what interests me in an MMORPG, which is basically any kind of sense of wonder.
What made these games so ...