The Daily Grind: Do you think you’ve aged out of MMOs?

    
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Less than a sister act.

There’s this particular template for covering MMORPGs on mainstream gaming websites that I cannot stand: the old “haha, MMOs are weird and old, let’s poke at them for our ironic amusement” article. Polygon ran a piece earlier this month that could’ve run the risk of falling into that trope but actually managed to raise good points instead of just taking a snobby dump on the whole genre – probably because the author actually likes MMOs in the first place.

Taylor Cooke ponders why he didn’t feel the urge to return to World of Warcraft for Battle for Azeroth, in spite of still enjoying and even craving some content – like raiding – that just can’t compare in more instant-gratification titles like Warframe and Diablo III. In fact, he wonders whether it’s the genre that’s changed too much – or him. Is it that he’s getting old, aging out of MMOs? Or are MMOs simply failing to keep up with the rest of the genre?

“The more ‘adult’ my gaming patterns become, the more I need that quick dopamine hit of regular rewards for long-term commitments. With more disposable income and more access to games (largely thanks to my job), it takes a lot for me find the willingness to commit to something that takes over a life as much as an MMO. With less time to play games overall, I need something that respects and rewards me for my time. Maybe one of the reasons we player fewer MMOs when we’re older is that we don’t have to; earning more money and setting your own schedule means that you have more options about what to do and play. Of course that means we don’t spend as much time on each game as we did when we were kids. […] For me to get back into an MMO like I did in my youth, it’s going to take a combination of all the things I love about gear-driven games. It’ll need the constant gratification from pure loot games, the set pieces from more traditional MMOs, and strong moment-to-moment gameplay. It’s not enough to have thousands of quests resulting in little more than a bump in experience and a few coins in my bag. It’ll only help if there’s a clear, direct path to the endgame.” (Emphasis ours.)

I thought it would be interesting to examine the piece and then reflect it back on ourselves. I don’t feel that I aged out of MMOs at all, but I do feel that in aging – and as the MMO genre has developed and spread out – I very much gained the freedom to play the styles of MMO I preferred all along, rather than being stuck in one of a handful of titles I didn’t much love to begin with. I might play less than I did as a teenager when I had plenty of free time, but I enjoy the time I spend much more because it’s more focused and more tailored to my personal tastes.

But other folks are going to feel that no modern MMORPG suits them, I’m sure. Do you think you’ve aged out of MMOs? Or is it that MMOs haven’t kept up for you?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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psytic

I’ve moved more to the casual side of things for sure. I jump in and play a quick 10 min game of Hearthstone or I log into GW2 where I run around and bust out some achievement and log out. Anymore then that is probably to much time commitment. I really like What GW2 is doing from an mmo front I just wish they added some of the simmy and commerce stuff from other games like BDO that I could manage like supply lines, have it auto run over night or more less attention span tasks like fishing.

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Veldan

Yeah, I think so. More and more I realize that I’m not actually interested in MMOs anymore. I’m older now, I see more important things in life that need my attention, and for my free time I prefer an activity that doesn’t push me to spend a certain amount of time per day through dailies etc.

I prefer activities that when I don’t do them, it feels good because I’m saving the fun for later while getting more rest now. MMOs actively try to make you feel bad for not logging in, because that’s one of the ways they keep game worlds populated. I know I’m vulnerable to those tricks (when there are dailies, I know I’ll be doing them every day, and I know I won’t quit the second my dailies are complete either), so at this point I’d rather not expose myself to them at all, and simply keep MMOs off my hard drive. I feel no regret, which probably means I’m finally truly “over” MMOs.

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Your Honor

For me, it’s the fact that there is almost no innovation in the whole genre. It is so painfully incremental that it feels like it’s on standstill. No one is taking real risks and pushing the possible limits of online MMO games.

WoW is pushing same expansions for a decade now, and no matter how good or bad it is people always bitch until the next ones come out and somehow the last expansion becomes great and this new one sucks now.

TESO is like wtf are you doing? They released a second expansion which basically just added a new zone and quests and so SO little new GAMEPLAY. And I fucking bought it. God damn it.

GW2 is in a weird phase of its life as well.

And there is nothing on the horizon that is pushing the boundaries and has a CHANCE at coming out any time soon.

The sad thing is that I genuinely believe people want the next wow. It’s been a long time since an MMO became a huge deal in a gaming world. Yeah, there are big ones out there but there is nothing out there like what WoW was at it’s prime.

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camelotcrusade

I’ve been thinking about this after reading the article and many comments, and for me I think it’s an issue of having re-discovered what I really like about my MMO experiences in another medium. Looking back on what I played and how, it was character building and RP that really lit my fire, and adding a dose of social interaction was the glue that held it together. An MMO gave me a sense of progression and a context in which to do that, and the ones with more RP tools (housing, custom outfits, or just plain lots of choices on where to go and what to do) held me the longest.

At some point I realized I could do that better in D&D, and so I drifted away from MMOs and into that. I haven’t played an MMO in almost two years now, and most of that time has gone to roll20. I can create my world, grow characters in it, explore a wide range of situations and settings, and do it with a close group of people. And during downtime it’s not dailies or fishing, it’s me building new maps, new adventures, and new stories to use when we play. It’s a great fit. ♥‿♥

Anyway, that’s what happened to me. MMOs were my gateway and I found a better way to hit all the notes in the song I wanted to play. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy an MMO, and I do keep an eye out (there are certainly still some unique-to-MMO things I miss sometimes, like heroic instances or even the auction hall!) but for now I am quite content.

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Jacobin GW

Yes

New content is usually enjoyable but once it turns into rinse and repeat dailies and raid resets the interest/patience is gone.

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Suikoden

I’m glad you posted this, because this is exactly how I feel. I don’t really play MMOs to be competitive. To me, it’s more of a relaxing escape. However it feels like the larger the age descrepency, the more competitive/abrasive the younger players are. I was probably like that in my 20’s too. Now that I’m in my 40’s I feel like I have to stick to offline games so that I can go at my own pace.

To the MOP community: In your opinion, what is the best MMO for that type of play and that type of community? I think ESO is pretty good for that. FFXIV is like that for new players, but end game doesn’t really feel like that. GW2 is kind of like FFXIV is that respect. What are your thoughts?

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Jeffrey McKinney

I’ve aged into mmos. I enjoy Overwatch, Diablo 3, and several other types of games more than Warframe, Elder Scrolls, and the random mmo that catches my eye, but I play them less because the eyes, fingers, and mind aren’t as fast as they used to be.

I would probably be playing more turn based strategy if the I didn’t like the last 2 Civ games so much.

I do look at new mmorpgs with more hope because I have time and money to get in early and maybe leave a mark in AOC, New World, and Pantheon before you kids erase my presence.

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Jiminy Smegit

I may have aged and changed considerably since the dawn of MMO’s but my general gaming likes and dislikes have stayed much the same. I think gaming itself has changed considerably. In the 80s and 90s the pace of change was monumental in the gaming world but past 2000 this slowed considerably as technology started to reach a plateau.

Money also entered gaming in a big way and in much the same way as cinema has largely started to stagnate, gaming has followed the same path. When games (or movies) are designed by committee, in order to protect your investment, you end up with a product that is much the same as the others that came before it. Innovation is still possible but it is risky and much less likely to gain any serious investment.

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Lieutenant BaconWaffles

We’re the ones that change. I don’t plat nearly as much now that I have an office job. Burnout sets in after two weeks, then I go hiking or read comics until the urge to game returns.

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Specus

I started playing MMOs back when I was 40ish. That was, um, let’s just say it was a while ago. If MMOs back in the day could attract and hold the interest of someone 40ish, but MMOs today can’t attract or hold the interest of someone just as old, I don’t think age is the problem here.