The Psychology of Playing MMOs

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Let's see... at $15 a month, if you play for only 15 hours over that month, you're getting about $1/hour of enjoyment. That's a hell of a lot better rate than any strip club will give you.

loc978:
Wow... I mean, I've heard stories from people who got addicted from MMOs before, but never so first-person and self-aware.

I wouldn't call Tito's story one of addiction, though WoW was consuming his gaming time he seems to make it clear that the time was still held separate from family and work matters.

Anyway it's good to see he's gone and put all this stuff into writing after the number of times he's mentioned it briefly in the podcast. I have no experience of subscription MMOs and I'm glad of it, the financial obligation to play a game is already bad enough for me when I've bought one for $3 on steam. The effect a monthly subscription would have on me sounds insane.

Klonoa Prower:
Let's see... at $15 a month, if you play for only 15 hours over that month, you're getting about $1/hour of enjoyment. That's a hell of a lot better rate than any strip club will give you.

Fair point but games in general will beat out most forms of modern day entertainment in terms of price/time. I paid $50 for Battlefield 3 and I've already sunk 180+ hours into it, in the long run an initial lump sum will always beat out the subscription.

I've heard a lot of stories about MMOs ruining lives.

I've yet to hear one about an MMO truly enriching someone's life.

Kanatatsu:
I've heard a lot of stories about MMOs ruining lives.

I've yet to hear one about an MMO truly enriching someone's life.

MMO's can teach you though. It's not about having stuff anyway, it's about experiencing them. Why would you limit yourself to the good and bad? There are neutral grounds as well.

I think they should do a psychology on nosey people who can't let people do what they feel like with their own money. Seriously will you people ever just shut up and mind your own business for once?

I'd just like to say that I don't get the people who say they played wow but didn't enjoy it and yet KEPT ON PLAYING IT.

You are all suckers, slaves to blizzard's bank account. This isn't gaming, you are doing it wrong.

Yes I played wow too, hated it and QUIT. If you don't play a game for fun then you are playing for the wrong reasons entirely. Please get up, take a step back and rethink the reasoning behind your gaming habits.

Sorry if I seemed a little mean, but seriously guys.... seriously.... Why would you make such zombies out of yourselves?

There comes a point when it's just time to put it all away for good. I just recently hit that point a couple of months ago, myself, not just with WoW but with the entire MMO scene. Now that I'm not a slave to the addiction, I feel so much more liberated to actually enjoy my life doing productive things.

To be honest, I've been sliding away from video games, in general. They've just become so stagnant and inbred. It's nothing but a constant recycling of the same stale themes, jokes, and tropes, over and over, and it feels like it's gotten worse these days. I've been getting more into board-gaming(I love games by Fantasy Flight Games, but be prepared to buy a few organizer cases from Home Depot to deal with all the parts) where I actually interact face-to-face with living, breathing human beings who are reasonably civil, as opposed to an avatar of some screaming, elitist ass-jerk who lives in NowhereInParticular, BFE.

deth2munkies:

Subscription games will and should go the way of the Dinosaur once the TOR craze wears off...and it will within a year.

It hasn't gone away in decades, why would subscriptions end in the next year?

As for the post; I get more out of an MMO than most do, it seems. I roleplay, which helps my writing ability and creativity.
I usually like to experience endgame content and it's much less satisfying when I hit an 85, join a raid with 85's... and kill the lich king who'se already become outdated so many months before.

But, this from a casual player and roleplayer. MMO's aren't a chore for me, generally.

Responding to a bunch of different points

2xDouble:
Relevant, but slightly off-topic:
It's incredibly convenient that Youtube personality Totalbiscuit addressed a topic very similar to this one in his Mailbox video just yesterday. The question was about concern for a game's dying community when its progression ended (WH40k, in case you were wondering). He talked about people who play games, not because they're fun or even because they're activities that players want to do, but because there are prizes attached to them: achievements, perks, unlocks, etc. typical "Skinner Box" stuff.

...that's why I enjoy playing The Old Republic, because I don't feel like I'm grinding. I'm there for the story telling, and the combat's kind of fun as well. But I have a feeling that if it got to that point once I reached endgame, that I would certainly stop playing it because I can't be bothered. If your game dies at that stage it's indicative of one of two things: 1. The game isn't fun enough and it's reliant on its progression system because people want the shinies; or 2. There's a real problem with certain gamers today in that they are so obsessed with progression that they don't care about the actual experience.

He has interesting answers to several good questions as well (the first one specifically about SW:TOR and its space combat), but the bit I'm talking about starts around 7:00.

Bold Added. Why would you pay a subscription for something like Netflix or Hulu? Its because it offers you a compelling content that you want on a regular basis, you know that your unlikely to ever run out of content. Consider most single player games, you play them, you explore, you have a good time and then in general your done, maybe you come back for some DLC but in general once your done with a single player, once you've experienced as much as you want to experience your done. Without endgame compelling endgame content an MMO becomes just another single player game, fun to experiment with and explore for a while but then your done. Thats why most MMOs fall apart after launch, they have decent leveling content, a neat idea here and there but nothing to actually make them worth the subscription.

I'd also suggest that the bolded line above is a false dichotomy in raiding progression is part of the experience. That little race between you and another rival guild on the server, if you are on good terms with them the little needling, the trying to figure out how far they are on some fight is part of what makes raiding so much fun. The sitting around chatting trying to figure how to tackle a hard boss. The stories from shared experiences and most of all that feeling when a hard boss dies when you and 24 other people are screaming and cheering because you did it.

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Alexnader:
Fair point but games in general will beat out most forms of modern day entertainment in terms of price/time. I paid $50 for Battlefield 3 and I've already sunk 180+ hours into it, in the long run an initial lump sum will always beat out the subscription.

Yes but the way many people play games gaming itself is a subscription in a sense. You finish up one game and when another big name games out you buy another game, I put a list of games I've bought and played this year on a previous page of the thread. If you play primarily shooters or similar, games which can do a lump sum investment and get a lot out of them, great but if you play primarily single player games then you'll be going through a decent number of games per year, its not a subscription to any one game but its a de facto subscription to gaming generally.

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Kanatatsu:
I've heard a lot of stories about MMOs ruining lives.

I've yet to hear one about an MMO truly enriching someone's life.

Alright let me give you one. Before I joined WoW I wasn't that good with people, I was shy, I was the guy at the party who would find someone I knew and just follow them around, sometimes I'd interact with people I didn't know but always reluctantly and not in a particularly engaging manner. I couldn't much strike up a conversation with someone I didn't know and was terribly shy to even deal with peoples in a professional setting. Then I got into WoW, somewhere along the line I got into raid leading and it turned out I was pretty good at it. Raid leading and later guild leading has done a lot for my shyness and confidence around people. I'm a much more outgoing person now, I'm still not going to be the life of the party but I'm much better equipped to strike up a conversation with someone I don't or barely know and generally small talk. To cap it off I just got offered a research position (that I really wanted) that I'm pretty sure my old shy shelf never would have gotten. WoW has changed my life for the better.

Can people stop dragging all other games down with the monster that is WOW? Whenever someone complains about an online addiction it's WOW. Maybe, just maybe, it's not the game's fault, it's YOU. Plug into an mmo and freaking ENJOY it, chat with your guildies, level up with a friend, and if you're playing SWTOR enjoy the great voice acting and interesting conversations.

Ha, a lot of WoW hate here. I liked WoW. I'm not about to blame it for all the time I wasted playing it. All it did was act as a sponge, soaking up time I was going to spill down the sink regardless. Granted, I never payed for my own account. My brother used to buy my WoW time for me because he wanted us to play together, and now that he's stopped so have I. It's no big deal.

WoW opened me up to the world of online gaming. I was initially too anxious to try online multiplayer games because I thought I'd be terrible, but it turns out I'm quite good and I'm now more willing to try new different games in more competetive settings. I find it far more entertaining than playing single player because, well, most games fucking suck. They have horrible writing and awful plots and I can therefore rarely find the motivation to finish a single player game. Online multiplayers kind of bypass that issue because they're about testing your skills against other players, and it doesn't really matter that the voice acting's horrible or that the story is a convoluted pile of bullshit.

Kanatatsu:
I've heard a lot of stories about MMOs ruining lives.

I've yet to hear one about an MMO truly enriching someone's life.

To sort of counter that, my wife and I play MMOs together. Enrichment...is kind of an odd way to put it, but we get time together, some stuff to talk about, and it can feel like we're hanging out if I have to travel for work. Basically, we're generally happier as a couple when we are sharing a game experience together and we hang out with some other couples online who do the same. We play other games cooperatively but being able to meet other coop players and having a "long term" experience with the game seems to be more fun. In general, people I meet in MMOs are my best game partners and I end up playing other games with them too.

That said, I've had my period of negative MMO effects.

I identify with the article more for Everquest, less for WoW, I played Everquest like a job, and when I was offline, I felt like someone else was getting ahead of me.

In WoW, the ability to catch back up if you didn't play for a while was too great for me to have this guilt trip about playing and feel like I was "wasting my game time" by playing something else. I generally played an expansion for the first set of raids then cancelled my account until the next expansion. I actually read the quest storylines, chuckled at the Blizzard puns and enjoyed crawling through dungeons with friends I already had. I made a deal with myself where if I started to find myself pushing too hard for progression and in job mode I would take a step back.

That step back could be a deep breath and refocusing on why I enjoy the game to begin with, could be logging for the day, could be cancelling my account until some new content came out.

Self-awareness about how much I was *not* having fun with some parts of an MMO allowed me to enjoy WoW in a way that was better for me.

I think this is totally doable and the probably more common way people play MMOs, it just doesn't get as much press as it's not as sensational.

fierydemise:
I guess I'm going to be the first dissenter. WoW is only a job or a chore if you make it one and it isn't the money sucking pit that Greg makes it out to be.

Even a game as big as Skyrim generally only lasts for about 1 month at the outside. People who picked it up at launch are moving onto other games around now. Even a game that really sucks you in generally only has that kind of hold for a month on intense playing before you move on or are playing it for want of something else to do.

If you figure the average lifespan of a game is 1 month then WoW is a pretty decent deal for the money. Skyrim or Arkham City or whatever other big name game that chews up 1 month of your life is going to run you $40-60 so if one of those comes out more often then every 3-4 months WoW is cheaper on a per month basis. Just looking at all the games I've purchased and enjoyed this year and even with almost all of them coming through Steam sales of 50% off WoW comes out pretty even. Portal 2 (40), Witcher 2 (30), Deus Ex HR (25), Skyrim (40), Arkham City (35), Bastion (10), Space Chem (10), Frozen Synapse (15)=205 and this isn't a complete list. 12 months of WoW, also including the cost of Cataclysm spread over its 18 month lifespan (an additional $2 per month), is about 200.

I think you are picking the wrong games for comparison. WOW is a social experience so its a better idea to compare it to COD4 that I bought then played for 2 years straight with friends. I bought Battlefield 3 at launch and my enthusiasm hasnt slipped yet. Or Civ4/5 that I played for years because there is so much to do in content and mods. There are also millions of starcraft nuts currently not paying a subscription. You seemed to ignore all of these games and concentrate on shorter single to strengthen your argument. Thats why I never buy things like batman at launch and I don't feel a subscription is good value for money.

If you want to break it down into $/week then a subscription would not compete with the value I got from COD4, Civ 4 or even Endwar. I refuse to pay to play a game that I've already bought, I understand that Im in the minority with this view but its how I feel.

bjj hero:

If you want to break it down into $/week then a subscription would not compete with the value I got from COD4, Civ 4 or even Endwar. I refuse to pay to play a game that I've already bought, I understand that Im in the minority with this view but its how I feel.

This seems to be a fairer comparison. I also can respect not wanting to pay for something you feel you already paid for.

Modern social games will charge one way or another though. Shooters sell you map packs that you can play without but not really, RTS sell an expansion with new units you probably can't compete without.

The amount of player versus environment content in an MMO is going to be staggering in comparison to these as well. While they're both social, MMOs are more about teams working together against AI than against another team.

If it's a good MMO and it's not just gouging you for price, the 15 dollars is getting you a map pack every month...and if you take a break for a couple, you come back and you get them all at once for one month fee rather than having to buy all the map packs to catch back up.

"The Psychology of a Neurotic Walking Stereotype".

What the fuck is wrong with you? You stop enjoying the game, you stop playing it. I cancel my WoW subscription when I stop enjoying it, I come back when I want to play it again.

Notice how the people who are agreeing with you are primarily people who have never played/liked an MMO but heard on the internet that they're awful (from reading crap like this).

Sincendiary:

This to be a fair comparison. I also can respect not wanting to pay for something you feel you already paid for.

Modern social games will charge one way or another though. Shooters sell you map packs that you can play without but not really, RTS sell an expansion with new units you probably can't compete without.

The amount of player versus environment content in an MMO is going to be staggering in comparison to these as well. While they're both social, MMOs are more about teams working together against AI than against another team.

If it's a good MMO and it's not just gouging you for price, the 15 dollars is getting you a map pack every month...and if you take a break for a couple, you come back and you get them all at once for one month fee rather than having to buy all the map packs to catch back up.

I see your point about map packs. There was 1 map pack for COD4 but they seem to be becoming more frequent now. That doesnt change how I feel about paying to play a game Ive already paid for. I would not buy a pack each month the same way Ive opted out of the whole MW3 elite thing. Im yet to buy the battlefield map pack and there are still plenty of servers I can play on so its not a case of must play like subscription.

Also shooters are becoming more PvE with a hoard mode in each new game after gears 2. I dont see the appeal of hoard but I have friends who are hooked. Why shoot the AI who doesnt care when I could shoot a player? Horses for courses I guess. The same with MMOs.

A few people (not many thankfully) posted really defensive posts like this one.

Arron Teter:
I think they should do a psychology on nosey people who can't let people do what they feel like with their own money. Seriously will you people ever just shut up and mind your own business for once?

No one is saying you cannot play your loved MMO, we all like different things. That doesn't make the reason someone else chooses not to play less valid or mean they are telling you what to, or what not to, play. If you are enjoying it all power to you, its just not for me.

bjj hero:

I see your point about map packs. There was 1 map pack for COD4 but they seem to be becoming more frequent now. That doesnt change how I feel about paying to play a game Ive already paid for. I would not buy a pack each month the same way Ive opted out of the whole MW3 elite thing. Im yet to buy the battlefield map pack and there are still plenty of servers I can play on so its not a case of must play like subscription.

Also shooters are becoming more PvE with a hoard mode in each new game after gears 2. I dont see the appeal of hoard but I have friends who are hooked. Why shoot the AI who doesnt care when I could shoot a player? Horses for courses I guess. The same with MMOs.

Different strokes for sure. I would say that the average MMO encounter is more puzzle and less kill and therefore require more planning on the dev side.

There are people who opt out of MMO expansions/monthlies by playing on private servers with no content updates too. Of course, they're totally on the hook for breaking EULAs and having to break the "law" to play a gamebox you own seems a bit silly.

Guild Wars had a good system going where they release a new chunk of content and you buy that in another box but can still play everything else if you hear it sucks, don't care about it, or are too broke. I would kind of like to see more of that.

Kanatatsu:
I've yet to hear one about an MMO truly enriching someone's life.

OK... here's one... WoW allowed me to chat to people in an environment which I was comfortable with, and learn how to converse better, without the threat of messing up relationships I care about. If you're thinking of stuff to say it's nowhere near as noticeable online, and if you accidentally irritate someone, often there's a lot less consequences.
Also helped me get through some of the difficult times at uni, as I had somewhere to go, with people who understand wtf I was on about. There weren't so many "weird folk" on my course, despite it being computer science ><. Was OK in the first year, but second year was hard as most of my friends were doing cybernetics (or something completely different) so it made it hard to meet up and things.

With WoW, I effectively quit twice - both ended in the same way. Decided the game was no longer interested, cancelled my sub and didn't log in again. Fortunately both times I was in the last month of my subscription. Played in the Cata beta, and it didn't make me want to resub.

With MMOs, I seem to quit them in the same way - one day I just decide the game is boring and don't log in. Happens for a week or two, then I decide not to go back.

Forsaken world I was kinda sad to quit - loved playing my character, but it was such a pain in the backside to find groups for instances at the level I was, and the instances I liked seemed to be the least popular lol. Tried joining another guild that I thought looked good from the outside, but socially it was a bit of a wreck. With most content being a daily thing, it also didn't fit in well with my time schedule - evenings I didn't have enough time to play and playing on a Saturday, sometimes I'd run out of stuff to do.

Didn't sub to TOR for a couple of reasons - it didn't feel "new" enough to consider playing it over the f2p offerings out there (and there's more coming soon) and the conversation both made and broke it. I loved the conversation system, but see it getting very annoying if I alt, and for the fact I was choosing options not because I wanted to, but because the game dictated I should. If I played as I wanted to, I'd end up gimping my lightside/darkside level and my minion's liking of me. If the game wants to dictate my path, I'd rather just watch the damn cutscene.

Well, thankfully I'm enjoying TOR for the game it is, not the stuff I can do in the background. I must admit I have started spacebarring through the "alien" conversations because there's only so much "wanga wanga" I can handle, but other than that, the fully-voiced scenes actually do draw me in.

I installed WoW when they went free to play for the first 20 levels, and well, I was hooked, for a bit.

But then it hit me. I had grinded a fair bit to get to level 14, and realized it was going I was going to do hell of a lot more grinding for me to get even remotely good.

Screw that I thought, there are more important things in life than wasting time in an MMO

This is actually the exact reason why I have vowed to forever avoid subscription games. It's that fear of a sunk cost which is so powerful in the mind. I'd happily spend more than a subscription fee costs on a F2P game rather than sub to a game for this reason. I do not want that weight of compulsion on me.

It's honestly one of the biggest parts of a P2P MMO that makes a publisher choose it. It's not just that they get a steady, relatively predictable revenue stream, it's also the knowledge that they are entrenching their customers into their product because they *know* you'll be scared to "waste" all your past hours playing by cutting off your subscription.

fierydemise:
Even a game as big as Skyrim generally only lasts for about 1 month at the outside.

I hear what you're saying, however... I'm still playing Terraria months after I bought it, and I reinstalled X3 the other day after a long hiatus (before that I played X3 for months). This isn't atypical for me by any means; some games may well be throw-away (most FPSs), but by by no means all. The difference is I don't return to the aforementioned games because I view them as a financial commitment, or because of their Skinner box mechanics, so I'm less likely to come to resent them cf. an MMO.

In addition, I'd like to add that becoming a parent rather radically alters what's value for money when gaming. These days I can grab a few hours of play a week at most, which means games like Skyrim are likely to last me quite a few months. In the case of subscription based MMOs I'll keep paying whether I log on or not which means most games I buy only have to last for ~3 months to reach price parity with an MMO (or less), and I'm easily managing that in the RPG/sandbox games I usually play.

Final thought. Personally, I'm very disappointed with the lack of game-play innovation in the MMO sector; subscription or free to pay it all feels very stagnant to me. Sure Bioware have added great stories to the genre, and I do think that's a step in the right direction, but the underlying mechanics are woefully conservative. There's no getting past it: MMOs are plain dull. Without the community aspect I doubt anybody would tolerate the mediocre game-play experience MMOs offer, much less pay a subscription.

Gift.

Or you can do the right thing save the $ and wait for GW2 since you know its FREE after you buy the disk you can enjoy MMO without feeling tethered to it. ^_^

Spud of Doom:
This is actually the exact reason why I have vowed to forever avoid subscription games. It's that fear of a sunk cost which is so powerful in the mind. I'd happily spend more than a subscription fee costs on a F2P game rather than sub to a game for this reason. I do not want that weight of compulsion on me.

It's honestly one of the biggest parts of a P2P MMO that makes a publisher choose it. It's not just that they get a steady, relatively predictable revenue stream, it's also the knowledge that they are entrenching their customers into their product because they *know* you'll be scared to "waste" all your past hours playing by cutting off your subscription.

The opposite problem is that F2P games tend to become "pay to win" games where whoever is willing to have the highest credit card bill is the most elite. I think the best compromise is the "buy zones/play areas/content" MMO system. Anything where either a timesink is removed by money or useful gear/items is bought with real money breaks my immersion entirely and I can't take seriously.

I can compete with my credit card in reality for higher satisfaction. It's a losing game there too.

tharglet:

Kanatatsu:
I've yet to hear one about an MMO truly enriching someone's life.

OK... here's one... WoW allowed me to chat to people in an environment which I was comfortable with, and learn how to converse better, without the threat of messing up relationships I care about. If you're thinking of stuff to say it's nowhere near as noticeable online, and if you accidentally irritate someone, often there's a lot less consequences.
Also helped me get through some of the difficult times at uni, as I had somewhere to go, with people who understand wtf I was on about. There weren't so many "weird folk" on my course, despite it being computer science ><. Was OK in the first year, but second year was hard as most of my friends were doing cybernetics (or something completely different) so it made it hard to meet up and things.

I'm sorry but this is now the third person who has responded to my post with some vague "it helped me be better with people and not be so shy" stuff, and I can't help but this this is generally a bunch of tripe.

I can't imagine how the WoW environment makes anyone a more confident or successful person in terms of real life relationships with non-WoW people.

I get that it's a nice escape (I played it for 2 years, never obsessively), but whatever inclusion one might feel in the game is not going to translate to the real world, imho.

Sincendiary:

Kanatatsu:
I've heard a lot of stories about MMOs ruining lives.

I've yet to hear one about an MMO truly enriching someone's life.

To sort of counter that, my wife and I play MMOs together. Enrichment...is kind of an odd way to put it, but we get time together, some stuff to talk about, and it can feel like we're hanging out if I have to travel for work. Basically, we're generally happier as a couple when we are sharing a game experience together and we hang out with some other couples online who do the same. We play other games cooperatively but being able to meet other coop players and having a "long term" experience with the game seems to be more fun. In general, people I meet in MMOs are my best game partners and I end up playing other games with them too.

That said, I've had my period of negative MMO effects.

I identify with the article more for Everquest, less for WoW, I played Everquest like a job, and when I was offline, I felt like someone else was getting ahead of me.

In WoW, the ability to catch back up if you didn't play for a while was too great for me to have this guilt trip about playing and feel like I was "wasting my game time" by playing something else. I generally played an expansion for the first set of raids then cancelled my account until the next expansion. I actually read the quest storylines, chuckled at the Blizzard puns and enjoyed crawling through dungeons with friends I already had. I made a deal with myself where if I started to find myself pushing too hard for progression and in job mode I would take a step back.

That step back could be a deep breath and refocusing on why I enjoy the game to begin with, could be logging for the day, could be cancelling my account until some new content came out.

Self-awareness about how much I was *not* having fun with some parts of an MMO allowed me to enjoy WoW in a way that was better for me.

I think this is totally doable and the probably more common way people play MMOs, it just doesn't get as much press as it's not as sensational.

I was expecting someone to come on with "WoW is how I met my wife" or "my wife and I play and enjoy it together".

Seems to me that truly positive relationship building is the massive exception rather than the norm. I know far, far more people who have ruined personal relationships over MMOs than those who have enriched them (meaningfully).

I'm sure some of this article is accurate and being an ex-WoW player I get a lot of what he is saying.

But seriously:

"That changed in 2004 when World of Warcraft fever infected me - I bought a collectors' edition at launch and pretty much lived in Azeroth any moment I wasn't at work or with friends. WoW took over almost all of my gaming time for more than six years and even games I was excited to play like Oblivion received mere specks of my attention."

And,

"I put nearly 500 hours into playing World of Warcraft"

Does not add up. I assume you're missing a "0" off the end of "500" after seven years of WoW?

I agree with the topic of the article but the source is a little suspect at best. Maybe it's just me being someone who can drop 400 hours into Rift within about 6-8 months and still find time to enjoy other games and have a social life.

You can enjoy an MMO just as much as the next game. It's all about balance and the key to that in an MMO is finding likeminded people. If you don't have hours and hours to commit to raiding, don't join a hardcore guild. Enjoying an MMO is easier and less life-consuming than you might think.

My friend, I agree with you so much right now. Especially when it came to your point about breaking away from WoW.

I didn't start when WoW started; I tried it out the next year's Christmas as a present to myself for doing so well in college. Still managed to graduate college with honors, but was definitely devoting a good chunk of my free time to WoW by graduation day. Years into it, I had that "second job" feeling from the game that many people talk about. I went to work, came home, then almost immediately logged into WoW to handle as many of my virtual obligations as I could in a day's time. And good lord, if you are in an active raiding guild, you have SO many obligations.

Finances are what helped me break the bondage WoW had me in. I went for several years without a decent-paying job and had to shift that $15 a month into more important things (y'know, like food). Of course I pined for it--had withdrawal symptoms. But eventually my personal struggles with staying afloat financially prettymuch dissolved any concentration towards games that I didn't already have for free or because I had already purchased them a while ago.

I've had a good job for a while now (even managed to get promoted recently. Woo!), which has allowed me to start rebuilding my gaming library. It kinda thinned as money became tighter around the homestead. And like an old crack dealer who hears that you've got some disposable income, Blizzard started sending me those "try WoW again for 7 days free" emails. I resisted the first three but eventually I decided to give one a try; after all, I was curious about what some of my friends/guildies were doing at this point in the game.

Loading up that free trial was like hopping on a bicycle after not having one for a few years. I was shakey at first, but soon everything went to muscle memory. I stopped playing soon after Cataclysm came out so I wasn't completely unfamiliar with all the new concepts in the game. But two days into my free sample of Wowcrack, I started to realize how I was subconsciously prioritizing the game in my life yet again. I had a "free trial," and I was starting to treat it like I was paying a monthly fee--it was time that I didn't want to waste, and I had a lot of catching up to do on collecting pets and achievements and seeing in-game cinema scenes and waving to NPCs that didn't actually wave back and--and--and--

It was a real eye-opener to me at just how addicted I am to MMOs like WoW. Which is funny because I've had a lifetime sub to Champions Online since its doors opened and I've been comfortably playing it on and off since. But WoW has a different type of pull to it, and because of that I opted not to re-subscribe after the free trial was over. I didn't even play all that time I had on it, once that realization dawned on me. So with that in mind, I probably won't invest in SW:TOR. Not if it's going to give me that same feeling of Second Job obligation.

viralshag:

"I put nearly 500 hours into playing World of Warcraft"

Does not add up. I assume you're missing a "0" off the end of "500" after seven years of WoW?

Nope, you were right. I meant to say 500 days.

Greg Tito:

Nope, you were right. I meant to say 500 days.

In that case I would recommend going into TOR with a lot of caution then. Just keep a check on how much you play and you'll be fine.

It's a decent game. I'm level 41 at the moment and still enjoying it but I don't think I will take to any MMOs like I did with WoW. I imagine you will be the same considering your outlook on it after quitting.

It is hard to get back into committing as much time as you might once have and to be totally honest, as fun as MMOs are, they're more fun when you're not addicted to them.

loc978:
City of Heroes started earlier and lasted longer thanks to altaholism, but after thoroughly exploring every powerset and every mission up to issue 16, I took one look at "powerset proliferation", and promptly canceled my subscription.

I'm not sure I quite understand.

Did you quit because you were getting bored anyway, and you found the powerset proliferation too lacklustre to justify your continued subscription, or did you find something about powerset proliferation itself to be a bad thing and so directly cause you to quit? If that latter, what was it?

Either way, CoH is free to play now, your old account should still be there and you'll automatically be a premium member thanks to your past subscription. You might want to give it another try.

fierydemise:
Bold Added. Why would you pay a subscription for something like Netflix or Hulu? Its because it offers you a compelling content that you want on a regular basis, you know that your unlikely to ever run out of content. Consider most single player games, you play them, you explore, you have a good time and then in general your done, maybe you come back for some DLC but in general once your done with a single player, once you've experienced as much as you want to experience your done. Without endgame compelling endgame content an MMO becomes just another single player game, fun to experiment with and explore for a while but then your done. Thats why most MMOs fall apart after launch, they have decent leveling content, a neat idea here and there but nothing to actually make them worth the subscription.

I'd also suggest that the bolded line above is a false dichotomy in raiding progression is part of the experience. That little race between you and another rival guild on the server, if you are on good terms with them the little needling, the trying to figure out how far they are on some fight is part of what makes raiding so much fun. The sitting around chatting trying to figure how to tackle a hard boss. The stories from shared experiences and most of all that feeling when a hard boss dies when you and 24 other people are screaming and cheering because you did it.

That's not true, and I'll tell you why.

With Hulu and Netflix, there is literally infinite content to experience, or at least more than you could ever experience in a typical lifetime, added daily by hundreds of contributors from any one of a dozen different companies (no single game developer can compare with all of television, that would be like a single movie studio against the entire music industry.). Most importantly, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do to keep experiencing it, other than pay the fees. (that's actually the whole point of Hulu and Netflix, is paying to not have to do things like watch commercials.) If Netflix worked like World of Warcraft, it would occasionally force you to watch Human Centipede in order to get to the next episode of whatever TV program you were watching. And your friends over XBox Live or whatever would talk to you about how far they were into the Human Centipede and how long it would take them to get to the next show so you could start having fun again. Then you would come on the internet and talk about how totally awesome and good that shit movie was because your friends congratulated you on your 37th time seeing it, and then Netflix lights up a little button that says "watched Human Centipede 37 times". (That's what Totalbiscuit was talking about, by the way. Watch the video.)

You describe loving the community, not the actual content. The community, as described in Greg's article, is the main draw. The community is accessible without the content OR the subscription. In fact, if you can keep in touch with those people over skype or whatever, the experience doesn't change (as Greg noticed). Community is what World of Warcraft has that many other games lack, and why those games fail. Was the raid actually fun, or was it fun because you were hanging out with your friends? or because they would congratulate you for completing the raid, collecting the item, unlocking the achievement, etc.? That is not a false dichotomy. That is literally how the game works. The community is the content in an MMO, and you don't have to pay anyone for that, or grind levels for it.

Incidentally, Go play Skyrim. It disproves pretty much everything you said.

I quit playing WoW, then got into the Star Wars beta, and was unimpressed. The number one thing that made me say "meh"? It was still an MMO.

That sounds like a silly point, yet it was true nonetheless. In quitting WoW, I had carefully thought about what it was that made me want to quit and why those reasons affected me the way they did, and decided it was simply the nature of MMOs. The genre had stayed consistent, and I had changed, for the better, I believe.

Unlike the author of this article, I felt no need to play past the beta, and am still enjoying a varied range of titles.

Klonoa Prower:
Let's see... at $15 a month, if you play for only 15 hours over that month, you're getting about $1/hour of enjoyment. That's a hell of a lot better rate than any strip club will give you.

I judge all endeavors by the Strip Club Standard.

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