It has been a while since I’ve felt like writing. I couldn’t sleep and have been chatting about MMO content in Twitter this morning. Twitter is often a good source of blog fodder, since it is hard to hold a long meaningful discussion in bits and pieces, but often thought provoking.
This (early!) morning’s contemplation has been about sticking with an MMO. Another large guild that was very active during the build up to the release of SWTOR is shutting down. I see a lot of other people that had been very enthusiastic about the game for a long time leading up to it, and during early game, starting to stray into other games. Fan sites and podcasts are becoming less active or looking toward the next “big thing.” My husband has started to question how much longer he might want to sub for SWTOR. In essence, the natives are getting restless.
It got me thinking about game hopping and why I don’t just go for it and hop about. I spend a lot of time building up a character and the support skills for it, which makes it much harder to walk away and start investing in another one. And yet I enjoy playing alts if there is enough to make a game re-playable for them. The alts often support higher level characters and they all support the guild I am in, so they are all part of the bigger picture. I think my gaming family/guild is the second big piece of why I am averse to MMO hopping.
We build up relationships while we build up characters if we are really doing the MMO vibe. Having those become very transitory or seeing people just walk away when you’ve built up a team with them, either questing or doing end game, can get very frustrating for me. I’ve had it happen in several MMOs now, and it is the main reason I hate seeing people rush through content, then get bored and walk away. It is the main reason why I want to find a game that keeps people engaged for a longer time.
I never seem to consume content at the same pace as others have in past guilds. I get there fairly quickly, but I’m usually several weeks behind the sprinters. To have them already decide they are done and stop playing, to not be able to count on people when you’ve built up a solid team for end game or harder group content, gets old after a while. And yet having people become grouchy because they are burned out is no fun either. It would be nice to find a happy medium.
Game hopping together might be one way, but because I tend to have less marathon game time as others, I feel like I’m always just a few steps behind in being ready to move on. I also find transitory play is not conducive to supporting games and helping them thrive enough to give me all the new content that I want. I do have a harder time justifying paying for multiple subs at a time, but it isn’t the money cost as much as the time cost involved with multiple subs. I really only have the time and energy to focus on one game at a time. I also worry that game hopping builds smaller cliques within guilds as people who group together a lot tend to hop together more. Most games never support the perfect size of team, there always seem to be those few who are left on the sidelines. That dynamic has led to a lot of guild drama in the past. It seems nearly impossible to move a viably large group of people through many games.
Finding that perfect MMO that encompasses a variety of gaming styles, supports people who can game non-stop, supports casual players with limited time, the PVPers, the crafters, those who love grind and those who hate it, people happy to farm, kill festers, quest lovers, those with only a main, altaholics, etc., seems like an impossible dream. People never seem to agree on the level of difficulty they should find in end game. Some want really hard content requiring precision execution and a really solid team. Others want very accessible content that anyone can play and enjoy. I find myself wanting an MMO that can keep a decent sized group of people engaged for long enough to make all the investment in play time and relationship building worth it. There are plenty of single player games out there I can go off and play by myself that have some really fun and intriguing content, but they aren’t an MMO. When I play an MMO, I want the group dynamics to be really solid. Truthfully, I just don’t see any of the emerging games fitting the impossible dream.
Maybe my problem is that I’ve played a lot of really young games lately. I lasted in WoW for a long time before I couldn’t stand the game anymore, but it was several years into existence before I started playing it. Maybe MMOs are like a fine wine. You have to start out with a really solid foundation, but they are only really exceptional once they’ve aged a bit. Assuming one of this year’s MMO contenders lasts long enough, maybe eventually I will get my “fine wine” game with a guild that lasts for a while. In the meantime, I either need to change my willingness to game hop, or find some other way to cope with the revolving door that exists with MMOs lately.