The Daily Grind: How do you avoid MMO burnout?

    
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If you’ve been playing video games long enough, you’ve probably bumped up against burnout at some point. But for MMO players who are invested in an online game’s community and creations, that burnout can be a lot more painful. You’re not just logging out of a game and moving on to the next one; you’re logging out of a guild, a server, a house, a character you probably put a lot more than the standard 40 hours into. Consequently, finding ways to stay engaged in an MMO – and avoid that feeling of pure burnout – is something we deal with on a much more extreme level.

And yet, clearly we do it. Some folks have been playing the same couple of MMOs for decades and keeping it fresh. We develop all kinds of coping methods: We embrace alts, we tackle fresh content, we take breaks, we set time limits, and so on. And sometimes we give up and walk away, succumbing to the flames – and maybe that’s OK too.

How do you avoid MMO burnout? Do you have a trick, or is it something that comes to you naturally? What’s your best tactic for dodging it entirely – or at least putting it off as long as humanly possible?

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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Anstalt

Step 1: Choose a good game!

This is by far the best method of avoiding burnout – make sure the game you are about to start is actually worth playing. Choose something with depth in combat (so that fighting remains engaging for months instead of just days), depth in the meta-game (so you can set progression targets, experiment with builds etc, again keeping you engaged for months). Choose something with a variety of activities/playstyles and not a niche game (this helps you deal with changes in mood so that there is always something to do). Choose a game that values community and has developed features to prove so (because friends make everything better and MMOs are all about playing with other people. If you play solo, you’re only going to get like 20% out of the game – but playing solo is better than being in a toxic community, so ensure the devs understand this!).

Step 2: Engage with the game!

My experience with MMOs is that the more you put in, the more you get out of them. By engaing with the whole game and community, by putting some effort in, all your time will become more rewarding. If you are just a passenger on your ride through the game (like 90% of the community) then you are entirely reliant on the scripted content, i.e. you’re playing a sub-par RPG. It’s only by engaging, creating social bonds, forming friendships, joining in community events etc that you will get all that you can out of the game.

Thats it. If you choose a good game and engage with it, you won’t burnout, you’ll simply just run out of content / “complete it”.

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Tim Anderson

When something is your passion in life, it’s impossible to burnout. It makes up every part of your being; it’s part of who you are.

I love reading books. I’ve been reading books since around 1985. I’ve never burned out on reading books.

I love watching movies. I’ve been watching movies since around the same time frame. I’ve never burned out on watching movies.

I’ve been playing video games since around the same time. Etc. etc. etc.

EQ1, EQ2, LOTRO, SWTOR; these are the primary four MMORPGs that I cycle through on a regular basis. I never burn out on any of them; they simply cannot provide me enough content to play 100% in any single game. Therefore I simply go through each one’s latest expansion with friends and keep coming back around as long as they keep providing new content.

In between, I’ve dabbled in a few emu servers.

You only burn out if you aren’t really passionate about gaming or the game.

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Tim Johnson

I focus my gaming time around the idea that For an MMo, i am going to eventually get tired of playing it, especially after i hit any sort of Gear treadmill or Grindy part. So I play till i start feeling the Pangs of burnout, then step away. I don’t join raiding guilds that will tug at my sense of responsibility while also HARDCORE pushing the burn out with the literal weekly raid grind. depending on how hard the burn out is decides if i’m gonna focus on another MMO, Multiplayer game or a single player next.

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Zero_1_Zerum

I didn’t avoid burnout with LOTRO. I bought a bunch of expansions and DLC, started playing the “new” stuff, and after I realized how much of it was more of the same, quickly got so bored I quit.

I mainly play ESO now. That game has a similar approach with Expansions and DLC. But, I pace myself, when I beat a bit of content, I buy the next bit. So, if I get bored again, I won’t waste money.

As for avoiding burnout, I take breaks for a day or so between play sessions to play my beloved single player games. I still get a craving for new Elder Scrolls adventures, so I’ll pop into ESO and play through a few quests to satisfy it.

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ghostlight

I’ve actually been alternating/subing/unsubing each month to Secret World Legends and SWTOR. I’m in to my 4th month doing it and it seems to be working out well. For a while I was buying two month nonrenewing SWTOR subs, but often found that I would start to tire of it about 3-4 weeks into the two month sub. Now with SWTOR I buy the monthly plan then cancel it as soon as the transaction clears the bank. In any event I loath auto-rebilling.

As an aside, one of the beauties of the GW2 business model is since there is no sub, I can leave it for weeks totally guilt-free.

Specus
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Specus

Avoid burnout? No. I embrace it.

When I start a new MMO, I accept the fact that I won’t be there forever. I know there will come a time when things start to feel like they are bogging down, but that’s OK. There are a lot of good MMOs out there. I’d much rather jump ship before I reach burnout. This way, when I come back, I’ll still be able to enjoy the game again. If I try to push though the burnout, and fail, I may never want to come back to the game again.

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Vunak

Getting really burnt out on BDO currently. Its just I feel no real desire or reason to progress in a game that has no meaning behind the progression.

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ghostlight

Interesting you should say. There is much to like about BDO, but ultimately I left it because it was so very draining and felt like an unpaid part-time job.

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Kazdal

Have children >.<

Mordyjuice
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Mordyjuice

That doesn’t jibe with my extrinsic gaming style though.

Covynant001
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Covynant001

Too much P2W.

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Fervor Bliss

Audiobooks, After I learn an MMO certain things can be done with my hands with little thought. So will mainly listen to a book, while my hands collect prunes or something.

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IronSalamander8 .

I burn out a lot and not just on MMOs. Part of my Steam collection is so large! I don’t even burn through things very fast as I tend to kind of meander through unless friends push but MMOs are super easy for me to burn out on due to their nature.