The Daily Grind: What would cause you to stop playing your main MMO?

Yes, we're all very impressed over here.

In the broadest terms, it’s easy to know what makes you stop playing an MMO. Specifically, you’re just not having fun any more, or at least not enough fun to make it worth the effort. But there are still changes that cause you to slip over the edge to “this isn’t fun any more,” like realizing that the game is still catering to a player type that you no longer adhere to, or finding out that the stories you liked to read about are over and done with, or knowing that there’s never going to be another real update to the content in the game.

Some of you reading this don’t have a main MMO, of course, and thus you need not answer. But for those of us who do have one… what would cause you to stop playing it? What sort of changes, either on the development level or in the actual game, would make it no longer worth the effort? We’re not talking about shutdowns here, since then you can’t play; what would make you choose not to play?

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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I remember seeing the Battle for Azeroth trailer and the feeling I had when Sylvanas shouted “For the Horde!”. It was a truly emotional reaction. I was excited and couldn’t wait to play.

Now I am unsubbed and have deleted WoW from my computer for the first time since I installed it in TBC (not counting new computers).

The way the story unfolded in large and just the total feeling of getting weaker as I progressed through the expansion just totally turned me off the game.

Ben Stone

A really shit expansion. Sentinel’s Fate for EQ2 did the trick. So did Warlords of Draenor for WoW.

Fenrir Wolf

What would cause anyone to?

I think the primary reason would be if I felt like I was contributing a lot to the game and they had no respect for my demographic or me as a sapient being. Which happens all too often with MMOs, really.

I’m not entitled, I’m not going to say hey, add this to your already existing game to suit me, punks. That’s just not cricket. Besides, it’s rude. And, frankly, nasty. I don’t like that. I know people do, but I refuse to be a part of that crowd. I will campaign for certain things to be taken into consideration if a brand new game in development appears to be targeting a demographic I’m a part of but otherwise? I just want to be respected.

I want to be able to enjoy the game as much as others do. That’s all.

However, if every patch is just going for that operant conditioning chamber and nerfing the theorycrafted numbers to keep the hardcore addicted, ruining my concept builds in the process? That’s the #1 way to get my kind of player to drop out ASAP. It’s unfortunate, really, as I even stick around longer than most of my demographic will, and what I see is exactly what I’d expect to see.

Champions Online, Battleborn, Heart of Thorns, you name it. Casual audiences that love concept builds being by far and wide the largest demographics in those games, which were tossed under the bus to appeal to a tiny minority that a fanciful developer believed was a massive crowd of eSports players who wanted their game and their game alone.

Can we keep egomania out of video game development? Probably not, eh?

I’m still so mad at Battleborn for chasing that eSports unicorn and ruining a bloody brilliant casual experience. Sigh. It’s funny because, after Heart of Thorns, I’m just watching ArenaNet very carefully handle balancing. It’s morbidly fascinating to watch. They are actually being responsible and changing things in smaller, more reasonable increments. The usual PvP whiners feel like they’ve been left to twist in the wind, but there’s nothing they can do about it as ArenaNet recognises how much of a minority they are, now.

I mean, let’s be honest, eh? If someone is good at PvP, they’re going to be playing something like one of the competitive one-on-one fighters, or a MOBA, or an arena shooter. They won’t be playing an MMO. MMOs are for those who just can’t cut it in more skilled competitive scenes.

I used to have a lot of sympathy for them. I mean, as a player with autism and anxiety, I’d love to be more catered to. The difference, though, is in entitlement, toxicity, and contribution. I’ve long documented how hardcore raiders and PvP players are so spoilt for choice that they don’t really value the game they’re playing, they’ll just make obnoxiously entitled demands as they’re so used to being catered to.

I think that many developers are finally beginning to realise the Universal truth that the number of people playing doesn’t equate to incoming profits.

The only exception to this I can think of is Champions Online, where they dropped the ball so badly that player count and profits dropped off rapidly with each patch. That was a really sad display.

That this keeps happening is why I don’t trust online games much, MMORPGs far less. I like the idea of them, as I’ve said elsewhere, but I find that the management leaves a lot to be desired. They don’t ever seem to understand the business they’re running or the product they’ve created. I mean, just look at The Elder Scrolls Online. By far the biggest demographic there are solo players.

And yet, despite that, do you recall their One Tamriel advertising campaign? “Come and play a game so massively multiplayer it’ll make your tiny little head spin! You’ll be surrounded by millions of players in a truly multiply multiplayer environment that’s just so multiplayer! MULTIPLAYER! And did we mention that we’re basically just a WoW clone that’s been skinned to look like The Elder Scrolls? M-M-O-MULTIPLAYER!

I remember watching those trailers and thinking “Is the entire marketing division drunk? I mean, I know the meme is that I’ll have whatever they’re having but in this case, please keep whatever chemicals they’re imbibing as far away from me as possible.

So, I guess… I want to be respected, but more it’s that I want there to be competent management. I feel that not respecting your primary source of profit isn’t good business sense or managerial competence to begin with. So I guess the reason I’d leave an MMO behind is down to managerial incompetence.

At least ArenaNet got their act together.

So… let’s call it bad management, then. The main reason I’d leave an MMO behind is bad management, and I’ve left behind (or been forced to leave behind) so many MMOs for that reason alone.

Though I wish every manager had a name I could abuse as much as Smedley’s. Smeddling is just too fun.

Bánóczki Róbert

Only one thing, if it closes, nothing else.

I’m only playing a few hours a week, but I’m playing with the Guild Wars series since its Korean beta, 2005, I’m going to play with it as long as it runs.

Steven Williams

At this rate, my main man FFXIV has me too deep to leave. I actually wrote 3 paragraphs in this comment talking about how excited I still am about the game 8+ years in, then deleted all of that and wrote this single sentence you are now reading. Take that as you will.

As for the two other games I play sometimes – Elder Scrolls Online and (recently converted to) Old-School RuneScape – there are some pretty legitimate concerns.

Bethesda could keep going where it’s going and piss me off enough for me to not want to give them money. If TES 6 is ANYTHING like the last two Fallout games, I’m washing my hands with them, TESO included.

As for RuneScape, RS3 is slowly descending into a long and painful death and it’s all Jagex’s fault. Here are a fair few examples:

-Microtransactions up the hoo-ha.

-Promising people 3 expansion packs in a year, followed by releasing a (rather good for midgame players) expansion pack, then shelving the entire process midyear, then promising to release smaller and quality-of-life updates people actually asked for, then not actually releasing them in a reasonable timeframe.

-Long development streams showing content in progress like the forever-upcoming Seers Village/Camelot rework that, years later, has never actually happened.

-Many painfully, repeatedly-delayed promises for content that eventually get shelved or further delayed so they can choose instead to work on yet another painfully, repatedly-delayed promise that may or may not actually come out within the next year.

-Sooooo much moooore.

So I’m done with RS3, and pretty bitter about it. I play OSRS now, but not nearly as much as I did with RS3. And a creeping fear that the entire community collectively shares is that, once RS3 does actually die out and lose the players it has left, the bigwigs and decision-makers at Jagex will turn their hungry, ill-satiated eyes toward OSRS.

Soooo…. Yeah.

Adam tecnavia

I’m gonna go with being owned by a Russian Oligarch that has a vested interest in destroying our countries democracy.


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Bad decisions.

Jim Bergevin Jr

I am one of those who play many MMOs in addition to other games. However, I have had three MMOs that I could qualify as my “main” MMO as they were what I played almost to exclusion for an extended period of time (at least a year). Two of them I have stopped playing for the most part.

The first one, and the one I have played continually for the longest (except for a short span of a month or so after my main account was hijacked by RMTs and I was just in a state of shock at the loss of items), has been the original Guild Wars. Short of ArenaNet turning the game more into GW2, I simply don’t forsee myself ever quitting this game.

The first MMO that made me cut back on the time spent in GW, however, was SWTOR. While I still played GW on a regular basis, a couple of months after SWTOR was released, the bulk of my play time was spent there, and I even had two subscription accounts I played with. Up until the point that 4.0 released. That day was the day I stopped playing SWTOR entirely and didn’t even bother logging in for over a year. The reason I stopped was because they implemented the “enhanced” XP gains and Level Scaling with that expansion, and forced those systems on every player by not making either one an option in the leveling game. Prior to that point, the 1-50 leveling experience was the best part of the game for me and the reason why I had two subbed accounts. I detest speedleveling in all its forms, especially when there is no way to opt out of it. Prior to this, I thought the leveling was a bit too fast anyway, with all the content available to play, it made it difficult on occasion to maintain a proper level in relation to the point of the story and planet your character was on. But it was still an enjoyable experience and I was able to get my main character, a Jedi Knight, to level 43 without ever graying out a quest or outleveling the planet he was on. The speedleveling completely ruined the 1-50 gameplay experience for me, and though I have been back on occasion in the past year for certain stream events, it is still now a lackluster experience that the forced level scaling does nothing to counter.

The second MMO that ate up a lot of the time spent playing SWTOR and GW for a year was Defiance. I started playing because I was interested in seeing how the cross-media content would be handled and ended up really liking the game because the leveling experience was somewhat different compared to your typical RPG. In Defiance, you leveled up your weapon types. Your actual character level – the EGO rating, wasn’t really a character level system per se, but a way accounting for your various achievements and exploits in game. As your EGO increased, it would mean that the weapons you were able to obtain would see a slight increase in power, but that increase really didn’t amount to much in comparison to your leveling up the weapon type and just getting better at shooting things in the face as a player. That all changed when the 5th and final DLC dropped a year after the game’s release. There were many problems that us founders had with the game by that time, but the Arkbreaker DLC was the last straw so to speak – by creating bullet sponge enemies, tying the EGO system into a more traditional vertical progression system, and simple mismanagement of the game content by the then lead designer, Trick Dempsey, who all but insulted a good portion of the player base with a blog post he wrote in relation to the new raid like content added with the DLC – the Volge Warmaster.

I briefly returned to Defiance when 2050 was nearing release, and found that some of the issues we had back in 2014 seemed to have been smoothed out to one extent or another. However, the handling of the transfer of achievements and items from D13 to 2050 was done so poorly, and the simply fact that we had to start over in 2050, along with the substandard new mechanics implemented, just turned me off from the new game completely. I continued to play D13 for a month or so afterwards, but it seemed the writing was on the wall, with the cash shop being down for many months after 2050’s release that it didn’t seem worth putting any more time into since there were other MMOs I wanted to get in to or back to over the summer. With the sale to Gamigo, I am just waiting now to see what happens to the Trion games before going back to any of them.

Roger Melly

In the last 14 years I have stopped playing my “main mmo” twice .

The first time was after 5 years playing WoW , the reason was that the developer was constantly dumbing down the content to the point it was no longer of any challenge or interest to me .

The second time was after 6 and half years playing Rift and that was because of a content drought , Trion being sold and an uncertain future .

But I intend to play WoW classic and if they ever get around to the pristine server idea which maintains the original challenge , difficulty and complexity of vanilla through the expansions I will play them as well . Also if Gamigo show they are interested in giving Rift a future by developing the game into a further expansion then I will go back to that as well .

I am continuing with my other main mmo Lotro because I have a lifetime subscription and the only way I will ever give that game up is when the servers shut down .


Facinating how the OP specifically asked what would cause readers to quit the MMO they are “currently playing” and even said if they did not have one no need to reply, yet most responses are a laundry list of why they quit games in the past.

It even would appear many (most?) are not playing a MMO currently as few replied in terms of their current game.


Even if you have a main MMO right now, it can be helpful to list why you left games in the past because showing why you actually left back then might be a good indication of the type of changes that would still make you leave now.

Same for if you don’t have a main MMO now, but did in the past. Still fits the topic and I don’t know why any of it should be excluded.


In my role as a Tech PM over the years how people communicate effectively (or fail to) has always been a subject I’ve been interested in.

It has always been a challenge with email in particular to get people to answer the questions specifically asked and not toss in a lot of extra info which can obscure things.

In this case the OP could have been phrased “what MMO(s) are you currently playing and what factors might cause you to cease playing?

I realize players listing things the way they did isn’t totally off topic by any means, but all of the examples of the past weren’t really asked for in the OP.

Again, more of a communication observation than anything else, carry on.


I actually had classes on how to communicate effectively and without ambiguity in my college days; it’s kinda essential for many technical positions, in particular if people’s lives might depend on others correctly following your orders.

Those classes were not about communicating in English, mind, which isn’t my first language.