Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Is this MMO Burnout?

December has returned, bringing us to that introspective window for the end of the year.  I think the term MMO Burnout is generally over-used and over-dramatized.  However, looking back at the year gone by, it looks like that may have crept up on me after all.  A few arguments for and against:

Things I have NOT done
  • LOTRO: This was the year I finally gave up on even the token effort to maintain the level cap and epic story.  
  • FFXIV: This is arguably the best pure MMO to (re-)launch in the last two years, there's nothing I would change about the game... and it hasn't made it to the top of my playlist, causing me to stall out midway through the level curve.  
  • GW2: Bought, barely played
  • TSW: Bought at the tail end of 2012, played a bit in early 2013 until the included VIP-time ran out
  • Rift, EQ2, DDO: New expansions, haven't done either
Things I have focused on:
  • SWTOR: Significant amounts of time subscribed here, including clearing the expansion on my main Trooper, finishing the class story for an Agent, and getting most of the way through a Sith Warrior.  That said, I'm playing this game primarily for the single player-like story experience.  I'd consider paying real money to trade the entire game in for an interactive movie where my character wins all the fights automatically and moves on to the next story scene, as I might actually like that product better.
  • Marvel Heroes: Pure action RPG here, I've spent more time helping to sleuth out the hero release schedule on this game's forums than I've spent on several of the above games.  
  • League of Legends: Instant action MOBA
  • Hearthstone: Instant action card game
Overall, the trend appears to be towards instant action and gameplay experiences.  While there is still some progression in all these things, it's very different from the traditional vertical progression model for an MMO. 

Which brings us to the exception that proves the rule - I have spent significant amounts of time subscribed to and actually playing World of Warcraft.  I did technically hit the level cap, and farmed all of the gear out of the first 2-3 tiers of raid finder.  I also skipped the majority of the questing content in the expansion - and incidentally didn't even try to level until my lack of having leveled caused problems for my pet collecting efforts.  In many ways, Azeroth is actually a lobby that I use to access the pet battling minigame, the farming minigame, and sometimes even the daily quest or random dungeon minigame.  I'm arguably not using the game as an MMO.

Is this the new face of MMO burnout?  Or am I just in a rut waiting for the hypothetical next big thing? 

7 comments:

marcleoseguin.com said...

Is time a factor? All the ones you actively play can be done in really small chunks. FF14 is great but the time investment is hard to juggle.

Jeromai said...

Considering you've been playing two MMOs (SWTOR and WoW) plus other games, I wonder if it's simply lack of any more time to commit to other MMOs.

What is "using the game as MMO" anyway? Is this strictly describing the questing and leveling experience?

Mainstream MMOs have pretty much struck me as a social lobby from which you can do all kinds of various activities as you desire.

Helistar said...

Probably not "burnout", but simply lack to invest a lot of time/energy in a single game.
I'm in the same situation, if I were to write a list like yours it would look very very similar.

I particularly agree with the SWToR part, as I have the same problem but with LotRO. I'd like to keep pushing along the epic questline, but the "side" kill-ten-rats quests are killing me. Actually I find that WoW's approach (= one storyline/zone) works better than an all-encompassing story which keeps being broken up by unrelated and irrelevant side quests. I think LotRO reached the bottom when they sent me (a level 82 Warden) to deal with the feud between two kids on a broken wooden sword. I mean, I looked for the "nuclear strike from orbit" gambit in my skill list.... then logged out.... and I've failed to login again it would seem.

I end up spending time raiding in WoW (and not much lately) as an "organized activity" and playing quick World of Tanks games for "unstructured activity". Quick games where you can jump in and be in the action fast have their advantages.....
LoL is up next on the "to try list", after World of Warplanes survived exactly two evenings on my hard disk.

Bhagpuss said...

I suffered a small, light bout of MMO ennui recently. Far from Burnout and the amount of time I spent playing MMOs barely dipped but it did occur to me that what I was doing was a long way from the MMO experience as I once understood it.

The two main things I've done this autumn are WvW in GW2 and the main sequence questline in EQ2's Chains of Eternity expansion. My main motivation for doing so much WvW was The Season, a form of competitive team-based PvP tournament. It's an activity within an MMO framework, sure, but is it playing an MMO? The EQ2 activity was done entirely solo, in a linear progression that could just as well have been a standalone offline game.

On the other hand, as Jeromai says, MMOs have always been gateways to all kinds of activities. It just seems that whereas once you tended to have to go through some activities you ere less keen on to get to the ones you really liked it's becoming increasingly easier to skip straight to the stuff you want to do and ignore the rest altogether.

Is that a good thing? Still not sure...

Phil Walters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Walters said...

have you played path of exile?

Green Armadillo said...

Time is certainly a factor, as I do play more 15-20 minute sessions than I used to. Often I will sit down with a relatively uninterrupted block of a few hours in front of me and choose to spend that time on a longer session in one of my short-session-friendly games rather than going back to a traditional MMO. Then again, it's possible that the traditional MMO's are less attractive in general because I know that my overall rate of progress will be limited. Good comments!