When World of Warcraft: Cataclysm launched, I was playing. It wasn’t too much longer after that when I was not. And I never really made any sort of formal commitment to leaving, I was just taking a break. It turned out to be a particularly lengthy one; I didn’t return until midway through the long content drought after the last Mists of Pandaria patch. All told, it was around three years, and easily my longest single stretch away from the game.
The funny thing is that it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between a break and just leaving and coming back. Sometimes you know full well you’re just stepping away for a while, and then that “while” becomes longer and longer. So what about you, dear readers? What’s the longest break you’ve taken from an MMO? We’re not talking about cases where your break turned permanent, but ones where you left meaning to come back… and it wound up being far longer than you had expected.
It’s possible I just haven’t played a large enough number of MMOs, but I’m relatively certain that there are no games which pop up a helpful notice telling you to stop playing the game forever at a certain point. That being said, I know that I personally have signs indicating I should probably stop playing. If I find myself dreading logging in, for example. If I no longer can answer the question of why I’m playing. If I lose all of my RP partners and see it as a relief rather than a loss. If certain individuals are associated with the game. You get the idea.
As much as we might say that certain things lead us to leave the game, I think most of us have a more organic system; it’s not one thing that causes us to drop WildStar or Star Wars: The Old Republic or Guild Wars 2 from our play rotation, it’s a lot of things that we tie back to one observation. But perhaps that’s just me. Tell me, dear readers: When do you know it’s time to stop playing an MMO? Do you ever regret making the decision when you do?
Blizzard’s long-time community manager, Bashiok (known in the earlier days as Drysc), is leaving the studio after more than a decade of wrangling the World of Warcraft forums. Bashiok, who has been a constant figure in the WoW community since October 2003, has announced that he’s leaving to pursue a new opportunity. In a short-but-sweet post on the official forums, he notes that his time with the studio and the community had “an incredible and positive impact” on who he is, and he signs off by wishing players the best: “I’m looking forward to what’s next, and wishing you a life of joy, insatiable curiosity, and happy gaming.”