Massively Overthinking: MMO ragequitting
Ragequitting. Most of us have probably done it once or twice from groups or single-player games or even MMO sessions in our time. My husband ragequit (disgustquit?) an Overwatch match the other night where his own teammates were spewing toxic slurs in voice chat, leading to a rating hit for him rather than the people poisoning the game (another problem for another column).
But what about ragequitting an MMORPG altogether? A game where you have time and money and friends and loot and achievements, sometimes years’ worth? Have you ever up and just walked out on an MMORPG? If so, what prompted it, and did you ever regret it or change your mind? I posed these questions to the Massively OP team for this week’s Overthinking roundtable!
Andrew Ross (@dengarsw): I really don’t think I’ve ever ragequit an MMO I hadn’t already left. I generally leave a game for another game I want to play with friends, so it’s more of a migration. That, or I leave because I just prioritize other things first and forget I was playing the game.
That being said, I left Star Wars: The Old Republic again a few times just because of the way Bioware had monetized it. Being asked to pay for hotbars was downright stupid, as were other limitations. I thought, being rich at the time, I’d be OK with it, but the more I felt nickled and dimed, the more I resented the game. When I was logging in mostly to do auctions and not taking advantage of all the stuff I’d paid to unlocked, I’d realized I was done and just stopped logging in, even though to this day I haven’t read story spoilers in hopes that maybe, one day, I’ll care enough to go back and finish my class’ personal story.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): I usually don’t ragequit — I capitulate. There’s usually a point in time when I’m just so frustrated or bored that I push back from the keyboard and say, that’ll do, pig, that’ll do. When games show me they don’t really want me, I’m just done. I give up. I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody with my leisure activities and a million other games to play and hobbies to do in their place, so why waste a drop more of my precious time?
Accordingly, most of the games I quit loudly were from long ago and usually were more to do with the people than with the mechanics. I disembarked the EverQuest train after almost three years with a skip in my step and never looked back (except to praise the Bard class!). The first time I quit Star Wars Galaxies, it was superficially impulsive but in retrospect a long time coming (and I did go back and stay again for years, but boy I needed that break from toxic RP culture!).
To be fair, though, 99% of the games I quit I do so peacefully and much more out of neglect or distraction rather than malice! Hey look over there, shinies!
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): First of all, I’d like to note that there was a really interesting piece by Eric Heimburg (currently best known for Project Gorgon) about ragequitting as it applied to MMOs; in essence, he argued that the player who left because of boredom might come back, but the player who quit in fury was probably gone and not returning. And that certainly holds true to my own experience, as there are systems that earn a pre-emptive ragequit from me just because I can see how badly things could go south and just avoid ever getting involved in the first place.
I’ve never actually ragequit an entire MMO in one night, but there are definitely games which have come close, including a couple of Choose My Adventure picks over the years. My last log-on to Ryzom was punctuated by me loudly proclaiming “fuck this” and uninstalling the client, so you can guess where I mentally was there. My biggest ragequit-esque moment, though, was fairly early on in my career; I was so disgusted with some personal politics that had gone on in WoW that I straight-up deleted the character I had from launch and changed to playing Horde, back when having a level 58 character had required a fair amount of time and effort. I was just not going back there. True to form, I never did; then again, I had started playing on a non-roleplaying server, whereas in the future I would basically always be playing on one.
But just up and leaving a game outright in rage? Nah. If I see that coming, I just don’t play the game.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Games and people have certainly gotten me frustrated before, but usually I’m more “casually stroll away quitting” than “ragequitting” in my attitude if the frustration level gets too high. There was one time way back when in World of Warcraft when I became embroiled in a bad situation with my guild that (to my fuzzy recollection) involved a particular member holding a vendetta against me and spreading false accusations, after which I left the game for a couple of months in embarrassment. But that’s probably not the rage that you’re looking for here.
Now if you want to go back to the NES era of gaming? Lots of ragequitting and thrown controllers there!
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): I am possibly the opposite. I don’t ragequit; I hold out forever even after all my friends leave until I finally fade away from playing alone or the game closes. I don’t MMO to play alone. I can quit in sadness if a toon or housing is lost; then I just don’t have the heart to play. I am too attached to my stuff; I’d never be able to delete! The packrat in me cries from the anxiety at just the thought. As for things not going well in game, when something frustrates me, I tend to I dig my heels in until I am successful at whatever was vexing me. (I might die many times trying!)
I do know someone who didn’t necessarily rage quit SWG after a while from all the changes but did leave in frustration and deleted his launch toon (with untold rares and resources and everything on it) to keep himself from being tempted to return. I cannot even describe the remorse he felt before the month was up! Next time he might listen when I say he’ll probably regret it.