Just not feeling it with MMOs lately.

The problem is this: at the moment, I’m not finding MMO-style gameplay very compelling. It’s not necessarily a failing of the genre. It’s more of a personal preference. In fact, I’ve been trying to put my finger on it for quite some time and ultimately I just don’t think I’m feeling it at the moment. I’m not even certain it’s a gameplay issue, but a combination of content, effort, and social expectations.

When it first became noticeable it reminded me of how I felt when I stopped gaming entirely. It is similar in the sense that time and study are contributing factors to both situations. In the original sense, though, I had convinced myself that gaming held nothing of tangible value. I don’t agree with that now, as I better understand the value that it has.

The extra time afforded by lack of work and class transition allowed me to work on some of the games in my backlog, and I rather enjoyed that. So this is not the same. Those games were largely single-player, which led me to believe that the problem was something specific to the MMOs I would normally play. My first thought was time, but if I have time to play the single-player game, I have time to play the MMO, so that doesn’t really add up.

As recently as yesterday I thought it was related to the social commitment that MMOs represent. Most gameplay involves some manner of instanced content and it’s a bit of a dick move to just up and leave or afk in the middle of it. The in and out nature of house cleaning and project work seemed much more suited to the games that I could simply pause at will and the idea of being “on the hook” for any length of time was… not ideal. Still, there are plenty of MMOs with solo style content and lax enough death penalties that getting up and walking off is of little consequence, so that doesn’t seem quite right either.

At the moment, this has led me to believe that I simply don’t find it compelling enough to be bothered. My FFXIV social group is effectively disbanded for the time being, and without the shared experience I find that I don’t care. In theory, I could find a different social group to engage with, but I… don’t want to. I’d rather get caught up on the backlog and write blog posts. I find that the shared experience of 2-3 player co-op gameplay with people I already know much more interesting than PUGing away.

Of course, that could just be the impact of the “new shiny” also. Time will tell, I suppose. These things ebb and flow and it’s just odd to me that I find myself somewhat estranged from my go-to genre. There are some related thoughts that I’m not going to get into here like research and larger industry trends. Those can wait for another post. They’re tangential at best.

Today’s Plan: Clean my desk off so I can set my HOTAS back up. Maybe fire up Elite and double-check my keybinds if I have time and my brother is busy.

Y’all take care and stay safe.


blapril-2020-200Hey, it’s Blapril time! The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

6 thoughts on “Just not feeling it with MMOs lately.

  1. I think most MMORPG players go through this at some point and many of them drop out and never return, often after several desultory and increasingly irritable attempts to re-capture whatever it was they feel they’ve lost. You can see it in blogging all the time, where people who used to write mostly about MMOs start to write more and more about single player games or non-gaming topics until eventually they almost never mention MMOs at all any more.

    That leaves the real hardcore hobbyists, much smaller in number but far more consistent, who plug away both playing and blogging about MMOs, even though they may have less and less ground to cover that they haven’t covered already. But hobbyists almost by definition can maintain an interest in the minutiae of their hobby and require far less in the way of novelty to sustain it. Which is why most people tend to try and keep their friends off the subject of their hobbies as much as possible.

    I certainly class myself as a hobbyist in this regard. I’m still playing MMORPGs after two decades and writing about them. Even I feel a need these days to do other things and write about other interests, but I am certain that would change fast if someone released a new MMORPG that really grabbed my attention. I’m not really anticipating that until and unless Pantheon hits beta. Although I am looking forward to New World, which I have on pre-order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I’ve been at it off and on since vanilla EQ, I’m just not a particularly social player. I’ve been doing MMOs so long that I don’t actually think I could part with them for a significant period of time. A year or two, perhaps, but I eventually come back.

      I think the problem is FFXIV related. I log in every day just long enough to do my research-related work, but the idea of actually playing the game beyond that is… not appealing. I was fairly medium-core at the outset of the ShB raid tier and I think I’ve just hit the burn-out point with it. That and I’m just not willing to invest the time required to actively participate in the raid scene like my brother does. So I say MMO, but I think I really mean FFXIV.

      I would probably be well served by sitting down and going through the laundry list of other MMOs I know I’ve liked and set aside. Change the scenery a little bit and all that. I was already working on this before things went sideways. Poking around in STO, reconsidering GW2 or ESO, and some random F2P stuff I never put any effort into that my son likes like Elsword. Actually like the sound of this and my “search for a new game” will give me something tangible to write about through April. I just need to reconsider my approach just a little.

      For all the advantages of single-player games, they never quite manage to hit the same level of emergent gameplay that MMOs do. That’s my problem with Elite. It’s a wonderful simulator, and I love the way it plays, but most of what occurs in the game is just that, a simulation. It’s Microsoft Flight Simulator crossed with European Truck Simulator but in space in the future. It’s good at what it does, and enjoyable enough, but a little too much empty sandbox and not quite enough game to sustain interest.

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  2. I get this post — and I’ve been in a similar place for a number of years now. This is not to say I never play or get excited by MMOs any more. But it’s certainly more fleeting than it once was. I never quite found my way to the hobbyist rhythm that some like Bhagpuss have managed.

    My theory, as for my situation at least — because clearly this isn’t the case for everyone — is that I was amazed to the point of nigh having my mind blown when I first encountered the reality of an MMO. The transition from these level-based, very small scale arena shooter style games, where a typical game might include 16-players maximum… To these actual open worlds, with very few limitations on player counts… Just… Wow. I still recall vividly the experience of running out from the starting town of Holtburg West in Asheron’s Call and slowly coming to the realisation there was no level ‘wall’.

    But since then?

    …Very little has changed. Not really. Not fundamentally.

    Yes, graphics are better. Design sensibilities and even my player preferences around design sensibilities are different now.

    But the virtual world aspect promised in those early days has never quite been realised. EVE in many respects might be the closest to it we’ve come to, actually. But that is one aspect I really want to see brought to the fore, aided by new (and future) technology the likes of which we still on see in movies like Ready Player One.

    Those sorts of developments would likely see me super excited for MMO’s as a genre again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aye, I remember fondly my early days in EverQuest. I find that I have enjoyed much different as time goes on, but I agree that the basic formula only has a few basic varieties.

      I’m going to start floating from game to game and see where I end up. Might just be FFXIV that I’m sick of. Since I wrote this, though, I have arrived home to find my desktop non-functional. Until I get that sorted my options are going to be limited.

      We’ll see. I’m just now done enough with classwork that I have time to poke around and see what’s up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All the best with your home desktop situation. I could imagine that being difficult to rectify right now if it ends up needing new parts. 😦

        Like

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