Struggling to MMO

Posted By on Jul 17, 2014 in General Discussion | 7 comments


When Wildstar first launched, I was super excited. I stayed up until 2am or so just trying to create my character(s) and play around on head start weekend. A bunch of folks were hanging out on Mumble and everyone seemed super excited – and so was I! I played quite a bit for the first few weeks of launch, and maintained a reasonable leveling pace that combined exploring all sorts of things and feeling like I was making progress.

Then, however, life got a bit busy. There was some vacation, some work travel, some heavy work weeks, etc. And, eventually, I realized that I hadn’t even logged in to the game (or any other MMO, for that matter) for almost a month. That would normally be fine – I’m casual or whatever, right? – but the problem is that, even after being back to “normal” for a couple of weeks, I still just… can’t.

I’m not sure what it is, exactly, because I still like Wildstar. And every time people talk about it, I wish I was playing. But the one time I made myself log in, I just sort of wandered around my (really sparse) housing plot, looked at the 5g in my bag and the 1g it cost to make myself a relic farm, wandered around Thayd trying to remember where my quests actually were, and then logged out.

I talked a bit about some of this on the podcast this week, but I think there are a few reasons that I’m struggling:

MMOs reward habits. Or, maybe more directly, they are specifically crafted to be habit-forming. And I think they work best when they are habitual. You get into the routine of logging in, checking mail and auctions, remembering where you are in the questing, figuring out what names all your guildmates are using this time around, and going about your business. Once you break that habit, it can be hard to start forming it again. And particularly hard if you have previously been through the cycle of teaching yourself how to break an MMO habit!

Whether it’s true or not, I feel like I’ve missed out on a crucial period. My highest level character is 21 or 22, but it seems like the critical mass of my guild is now 40+. And so I’m not going to be among them when they are first running into Skullcano and encountering the guy who wants to make them into a stew, or the giant thing, or whatever the hell this picture is showing… And that’s fine, really. It’s not like anyone should feel bad for me that I was enjoying myself on the beach in Hawaii! It’s just that what I was looking forward to the most was the actual process of learning to overcome these things with people while they were learning, too. I think I kind of hyped myself up for that, and now I am left wondering if it’s all just going to be another WoW situation where everyone “knows” the best way to run any instance I go to, or whatever.

And, actually, the fact is that I could probably push hard at leveling and join most of my group by the time the stragglers are hitting 50 and starting to do dungeons and attunement things, and then I could still get involved with the learning of some things, even if it’s not all the things. That’s pretty cool! So then I come up with feelings about how speed-leveling is annoying because I like exploring and reading the stories and listening to datachrons and all that, and then I feel like I have to make that tradeoff which kind of sucks. Or, alternatively, I look at “having” to play 50-60 hours of mostly-solo gaming for a chance at something else later. And if I was going to spend 50-60 hours on a single-player game, I might actually play Skyrim! (hah)

Anyway, I’m mostly just venting here. There’s clearly some merit to the “Just start playing again! Log in for 20 minutes, do something, and see if you keep wanting to play. Then try again tomorrow!” plan. That’s probably how I will get over this funk, even. There’s also an argument to be made that I should just sort of give up on Wildstar (or maybe MMOs entirely?) for a while, since this does feel a bit like burn-out. But that sucks since people are actually playing together!

Mostly, I’m just looking to see if I’m the only person that this sort of thing happens to, and if there are any sorts of tricks that people have used to pull themselves out of it. In the meantime, I’ll work on the backlog or something…

 

7 Comments

  1. I’m with you on the MMO malaise. I love the idea of most MMOs, but in reality I just can’t stick with them. Sometimes this is because the game sucks, but mostly because I just don’t have the time to dedicate to them.

    I know most people hate the concept of pay-to-win, but as a grown-up with a family and a job I wish more games allowed you to plunk down some cash to buy levels. Yeah, I didn’t “earn” it, but it doesn’t take anything away from anyone who did it the old-fashioned way either. Plus that way I could still be involved with things rather than wandering around low-level zones for the few hours a week I can find the time to play.
    Staked recently posted…About those lack of updates…

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    • I’m still a scrooge about free-to-play, but most of it is because there is always that hint of exploitation. That said, I totally, 100% understand why people like it, especially in that situation!

      One thing that I’d really love to see more games do is have better systems for level-normalization (or, better yet, just doing away with levels altogether). More and more games have a way to level down to match your friends, but aside from City of , it doesn’t feel like they’ve explored leveling up. I think that would help a lot, because then I could still come along to the instance run or whatever was happening on a given night!
      gryth recently posted…Struggling to MMO

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  2. Ugh. This is me. Except I didn’t get to go on vacation. I just had a ton of stuff hit at once, didn’t get a chance to play and now… can’t get up the urge to get moving again. My highest character is stuck at 36 I think. I keep thinking maybe I should roll an alt, see if I get inspired again! Then I remember you have to do the exact same quests with every character and the urge dies.

    I will keep trying for a while, but I don’t know if WS will keep me in the long run. If any MMO will.

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  3. This is also me. Totally fell in love with Wildstar, blogged a lot about it, and during my vacation binged on it a lot. Made it to level 34. Then vacation was over.

    After work and cooking dinner and spending time with the SO, I’d often not have time to sit down before 10 pm. If I can’t dedicate a chunk of hours to an MMO, it doesn’t feel worth it making the effort to log on. But I still love Wildstar! I just don’t know how with life going on I can get back to it.

    In the meantime, I have played a lot of Steam backlog because for Bastion, Wolf Among Us and now Transistor it doesn’t matter that I can only play an hour at a time.
    Kadomi recently posted…Wildstar: Addon Corner – UI Improvements

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  4. Having watched the GamevidExpo Q&A with Total Biscuit the other day, he talked about outgrowing MMOs after WoW – sounds like something that happens to many players.

    That said, I remember bloggers going through MMO malaise on and off hehe, myself included. So from my humble experience, the best thing against an MMO down is simply to wait and see it through. Either you’ll fall back in love with them or not (sorry, I know not great help!).
    Syl recently posted…Finding a Guild in Wildstar (and anywhere else)

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  5. I get exactly where you’re coming from, mate. I’m going to be making a post about it soon and you managed to articulate one of the main points I have: being there at the start where everyone is learning something together – whether it be a new game, new raid tier or new fight. Even in something like TSW going through the issues or even just the investigation missions with a steady group of friends (or partner) is exciting, so if you have some time away and they are done without you it feels emptier somehow. They can come back and go through it with you again, but it’s like playing Portal 2 co-op with someone who’s already finished it and knows all the puzzles. Empty and hollow.

    Hell, I balked at the suggestion that I should study and memorise a fight *before any of us have ever done it*. That was a massive contributor to killing raiding for me. Unfortunately I am still trying to figure out what to do myself in regards to that, so I have no thoughts on how to get through it…
    Dahakha recently posted…What I Played: Steam Challenge – Bad Hotel

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  6. I get like that at times. Sometimes I realize I’m never going to play a certain MMO again (usually after trying to log in a couple of times over several months and just “not feeling it” anymore), or sometimes I know I’ll just get back to one….. eventually. No biggie for me as the only sub game I’m playing right now is TESO, and tbh I’m still loving it and logging in more or less daily on it. That will get broken up with a vacation to nowheresville next week, though. I’ll actually have internet where I’m going, but my 5-yr old laptop isn’t really up to current gaming standards anymore, so of the 2 games I’d want to play (TSW and TESO) I really can’t, so… won’t worry about it.

    And frankly, TSW is the game I keep saying “I gotta log in an play in the new Tokyo zone” and still just… haven’t. I bought the DLC for the area. Just haven’t logged in yet. Someday……
    pkudude99 recently posted…[ESO] Still more with the Templar

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  1. Dear MMOs: It’s not you, it’s me | Geekwolf - […] am with Gryth on this one. I wanted to play Wildstar. All my friends were playing Wildstar. But work…

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