I Feel Lost Without A MMO

WoW Friends

There's nothing better than adventuring with friends. Even if they are noobs.

I’m not addicted to MMOs. Honestly, I’m not. I do however think of them as some sort of comfort blanket. They’re something that I can always rely on to occupy my ferocious mind (I consider my brain to be akin to a thousand exploding suns exploding within an exploding volcano) and soothe my thoughts when I’m unhappy, stressed or otherwise disillusioned. They’re the constant in my life that I know I can reach for at any time to stop me feeling bored or lonely, keeping me company through my bachelor years and now testing the patience of my wife. They are part of me as no other hobby I could imagine. And I feel utterly lost without one.

I had an interesting exchange with Andrew from Systemic Babble on Twitter the other day when I asked if anyone could suggest a MMO for me to play and he replied with “does it have to be an MMO?”. Good question. I guess I could explain how they offer a much deeper experience than any single player game could, how the massive virtual worlds they provide fill me with a sense of grandeur and exhilaration, how the massive communities give me social comfort and competition and simply how climbing the RPG level ladder gives me some sort of faux sense of worth. Possibly all of those things would be true but the real, ultimate answer is that I need a MMO like a vampire needs eyeliner. Without one I just feel kinda, well, bored.

I think I’m one of those people who needs constant mental stimulation. I fill my days with tasks and goals and stay up way too late at night because there’s still so much I need to do. I guess I feel restless unless I have a purpose or a plan. Sometimes that’s a little frustrating and I get a little claustrophobic with all of the technology and demands around me but I don’t think I could deal with the alternative. I just couldn’t stand sitting around with nothing to do. MMOs, thusly, are ideal for me because they never, ever run out of things for players to do. They provide constant and consistent goals and entertainment, perfect for someone like me.

And yeah, sometimes they may just be a big ol’ waste of time. I could, after all, be doing so much more productive things with my time and that can be a tough tightrope to walk. But, that aside, there’s something very calming about knowing that no matter how tough my day has been, no matter how annoyed I am or frustrating things are, I can always come home and log into my favourite MMO for a little R&R. It’s a very comforting thought indeed.

-Gordon

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38 Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Haha I feel the same way. I’ve played WoW, Runescape, Lotro and now Allods Online. I can’t seem to get away from the mmo’s. Now I’m waiting for Diablo 3!

  2. Rose says:

    rift. just saying. :P

  3. B.J. Keeton says:

    I’m kind of the same way. I have cancelled my WoW account for the moment, and I feel like I don’t have any kind of security for when/if I want to waste a few hours on something. Sure, I could be watching TV shows or reading or writing or anything else I love (maybe more than MMOs), but I feel a strange sense of “I have to have an active subscription” since I have had one 98% of the time since I was 15 years old.

  4. Mike says:

    Allods Online is a lot like WoW, except you don’t have to pay. It has a cash shop that gives you the option to pay for special items, but you really don’t have to pay at all. F2P FTW

  5. amcl says:

    love the photo .. those were the days! I’m still on leveling my 32 worgen rogue if you’re interested in some noob-time.

    maybe it’s time to hang up your WoW hat for a wee while and concentrate on “other” activities that can be done in a quiet house in the evening ;-)

  6. Ralkarin says:

    I’m with ya on this one…ever since my MMUDing days, I feel like I need some sort of alter-ego progression to keep my brain stimulated when I’m bored. Here’s some food for thought though. If you feel overwhelmed or you log into an MMO and you just sit around asking “What should I do today?”, drop the MMO for a few days and play something else. You’ll actually find that the things that intrigued you the most seem petty in an MMO. You’ll eventually come crawling back, but a break is always a nice refresher.

    Start another project, do some house work (paint, carpet, craft, etc…), or play another game. Currently, I play League of Legends (when I feel competitive) or MineCraft (when I feel explorative).

    Love the blog, nice observations. :)

  7. ScytheNoire says:

    There’s something defective about us that we keep having to play MMO’s rather than just enjoy a good single player game. It’s like those freaks who only play RTS or FPS games. What is wrong with them?

    I’d highly recommend giving RIFT a look. If you liked WoW, LotRO, Warhammer, and games like them, you might like RIFT. It has a WoW meets Warhammer feel, but it’s Soul system brings an insane amount of versatility and options for character builds, almost too much. It has a public quest type system in the Rifts themselves, a UI that can be moved around and changed how you like it, and developers who really seem to be listening to the players and working hard at making a great game. At first I just thought it was a WoW-WAR clone, but the more I played it, the more I fell in love with it. Give it a shot, two more Beta events still to come.

  8. Naithin says:

    Given my first two impressions of Rift, I still find it somewhat odd to be on the side of those encouraging you to try it, but, try it!

    That said, you’re looking at it with a very narrow perception of what depth is. Where you (and others and sometimes I) see depth in MMOs, others perceive about as much depth as a paddling pool with a leak at the bottom.

    There are many fantastic CRPGs out there which are SP (or very small MP) that focus their depth on story, and choices/multiple paths through any given problem, and character interaction to name a few.

    All things which MMOs are for the most part pretty bad at, which is perhaps the one reason TOR holds much interest for me; coming from Bioware and having a stronger story focus I can’t help but to be curious how well they’re going to manage to merge these aspects.

    Will they succeed in making everyone (well, both sides of this particular debate) happy, or will their only success be in watering both aspects down so much no-one but the hardcore fanboys will enjoy it?

    If you want to explore depth from the other side of the equation; perhaps give The Witcher or even Dragon Age: Origins a go. I think the former works a little better than the latter, but both have their respective sequels coming out later this year so wouldn’t be a bad time to see if they can suit you!

    Presently in my non Rift Betaing moments, I’m going through NWN 2’s: Mask of the Betrayer again. :)

  9. Espoire says:

    I know exactly how you feel. I’ve been “playing” MMOs since late 2002, but it has been far from constant. I drift away from my current ‘main’ game to another for a few months and then drift back. Sometimes I drift away from them altogether, my time finally filled by real life. When I’m between games, as I am now, I too feel lost.

    I recommend Dungeons & Dragons Online. I really enjoyed my short time there. It was short, because, unlike most MMOs, I did manage to exhaust its content. But it was fun, and I do recommend it to someone seeking their MMO fix, but it will be over in 2-3 months, whether you want it to be or not.

  10. SlothBear says:

    LOTRO is the ultimate MMO vacation home. Free to play, totally relaxed and chill. Ever since I’ve installed it I feel like I have that to go back to even when I’m between MMOs.

  11. Mallika says:

    Gordon, I have a 25-use VIP key I can give you if you’d like to join Rift … and maybe invite a few friends…

    (I’m playing on the EU beta server with my guy.)

  12. [...] prompted him to post this response in which he says: Good question. I guess I could explain how they offer a much deeper experience [...]

  13. nugget says:

    Mmm.

    Try Heroes of Three Kingdoms by Perfect World Entertainment.

    Its pricing scheme is less rapacious than other PWE games (i.e. you can actually play for free for a good chunk).

    It does some interesting stuff with instances that I haven’t seen elsewhere.

    Combat architecture is nothing much to speak of, but the animations are pretty.

    It is NOT as pretty as most of PWE’s offerings – very much a budget PWE game, but it does scratch that rat-pellet itch…

    ^_^

    It’s what I’m playing now when I’m not playing Guild Wars. I love Guild Wars, but a rat pellet game it is not.

  14. Bhagpuss says:

    Everyone who is suggesting Rift is right. It’s not original but it is good. Very good. And if you want something familiar and comfortable to slip into, then it’s made-to-order.

    If you do try it, do not pay any attention to the tutorial zones (first 5 levels approximately). They are rubbish and unrepresentative. And don’t get sucked into the “linear” quest progression, either. That’s a self-imposed limitation that some players insist on bringing to the game with them, not one dictated by the game itself. Just run around, jump on every invasion you see, explore and revel in the richness and strangeness of a beautifully detailed virtual world.

    I totally agree on it being MMOs or nothing, though. I’d probably just sit and stare into space, which is always deeply satisfying.

  15. vortal says:

    I feel the same way too, I may have not realized it when I first started playing MMOs but now it is a very apparent fact when I am away from them. Although collecting miniature armies is fun and all, there is a place where it has to stop. MMOs however do not have any limit and can go on forever.

    The fact that you have an Heroic Alter-Ego reminds you of the days when you dreamed of being a superhero, you can now do that online.

  16. Jason S says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. The past year has been trying for a lot of people like us. Between WoW and EQ2 I have gone back and forth and neither keep my interest longer than a few months, so I find myself trying games I have zero interest in. Rift Beta has been able to keep my interest for the time but I’m going crazy the days we CAN’T play…

  17. I know what you mean, and I’ve felt like that too. I’ve been known to take breaks from MMOs, but never for very long, at most like 3 weeks and then I’m back to my sweet, sweet online games. I’m in a place where I’m looking for something to play now too, while waiting for Rift. Good thing it’s only for one more month. I’ve resolved to finish off some of my single player games I’ve purchased from Steam, and I’ve chosen Champions Online Free for all to dabble in.

  18. Shadow says:

    Seems like the more I read across the MMO gaming blogs, more and more writers are finding themselves “between” games. If you’re craving multiplayer action, and like player competition, try LoL. It has some long-term progression, and intense PvP in short bursts (45 min to an hour). It lacks the persistant world and exploration that you can find in an MMO sadly, but it fits nicely into the “Does it have to be an MMO” theme.

    Otherwise, if you absolutely must have a persistant world, meh, don’t know what to tell you. Wait for Rift maybe, as I assume you’ve given everything else on the market a whirl and it didn’t grab you back at this moment for whatever reason.

    • Gordon says:

      The problem is that MMOs seem to last for less and less time now. It’s odd because I played EQ for years and never got bored, partly because I could never reach the level cap :) I think hitting the level cap so easily now is a big factor in people moving on sooner rather than later.

  19. Jomu says:

    i’m lost too without an mmo; lets form a club ;)
    waiting for Rift to keep me occupied until Guild Wars 2 comes out

  20. Epiny says:

    I honestly wish I wasn’t having so much fun with WoW right now. I want to go check out WAR to see how it’s doing and I want to go back to EQ 2 and Project 1999.

  21. Vims says:

    MMOs and online games satisfy two important needs: entertainment and the need to be social.

    Most forms of entertainment – without leaving the house – aren’t social in nature: watching TV, reading a book, playing single player games, etc.

    Online games free players from geographical and spatial constraints, and puts like-minded people together on the same server, world, instance or whatever.

    You are entertained and you can socialize WHILE remaining entirely within your physical and social comfort zones: no need to leave the comforts of your den, and no need to deal with the pitfalls and occasional awkwardness of face-to-face interaction.

    It’s addictive, because it’s also the path of least resistance that’s available 24/7.

    It’s addictive because it’s so easy.

    For many, online games start to replace more ‘difficult’ activities, such as inviting friends over for board games or dinner and drinks, or even just interacting with family members (but we all know that family isn’t really entertainment).

    TLDR version: MMOs and online games are attractive because they’re *easy* to indulge in.

    Personally, I prefer having fun in the old-fashioned ways.

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