The last time I played World of Warcraft was in 2004 during a beta test. I became addicted but somehow managed to resist the temptation to get a subscription. Years previously to that, I had played MUDs like Legends of Cosrin and Achaea, and have dabbled in other more modern MMORPGs in the vein of WoW. I therefore took to Twitter, one of the most popular MMORPGs of the moment, quite easily indeed.
Character creation is quite simple when compared to other MMORPGs. All that is required is a name. Following this, options for how your character looks are really only limited by your imagination. Having to provide your own graphics might be seen as a cheap option by the developers, but it gives the game of Twitter real charm and allows proper personal touch on the players’ part. Much the same goes for class/profession choices.
At first, as with most MMORPGs, the world you're presented with is vast and rather confusing. Going against the trend, Twitter does away with any sort of tutorial. Such a move seems risky as it is up to the player, lost and with little knowledge of how to interact with their new world, to discover for themselves the controls, objectives, and fun of the game. Apparently this puts off many new players, but it didn't faze me. This challenging start is arguably rather fun.
Your quest is simple: "What are you doing?" I have to congratulate the developers on their choice of such an open-ended, seemingly endless quest that should guarantee the return of players for years to come. Side quests can be done, with a little imagination and input on the players' part. This player generated content is arguably some of the best stuff in Twitter.
Levelling up has similarities to classic MMORPGs but also many differences. Experience is measured in 'Followers', the amount of Followers you have indicates your level. The game does not inform you exactly what level you are, but I imagine my current Followers amount of 37 is something over level 3. There is seemingly no level cap; I saw one character called @stephenfry who boasted a Followers amount in the hundreds of thousands. He must be way beyond level 100. This lack of a level-cap is another reason people are bound to keep returning to Twitter.
Gaining experience is still something I am learning, but it seems that going out into the world and ‘Following’ others generates a bit of experience. I am yet to find a way of increasing my level reliably quickly. Perhaps I am just not as good a player as the likes of @stephenfry, and probably never will be.
WoW is controversially subject to abuse in the form of players paying chaps in China to level up their characters for them whilst the account holders are at work etc. So far, Twitter has not fallen foul of the same problem. This is probably due in part to the fact that it can be played anywhere from most devices that have internet access. You can even play by SMS!
I shall keep returning to play Twitter, creating as much of my own content as possible in the hope that this might increase my level. If not, no matter, it is fun enough once you get past the admittedly steep learning curve, and can absorb you for hours.
One concern is regarding its free-to-play status: with no adverts, no subscriptions, and no virtual consumables like clothing and mounts, it’s hard to see how Twitter can continue to exist in its current form. That said, the introduction of any such money making schemes will surely damage the whole feel of this excellent MMORPG.