We have all been there with subscription MMORPGs, where we go to unsubscribe and after a mild guilt trip, the cancellation screen asks us to provide feedback as to why we are leaving. I’m sometimes tempted to click on the other button and write in “alien invasion in progress” just to give some bored marketing intern a laugh.
But it’s not always that simple, is it?
The reasons why I quit your MMORPG are as varied and nuanced as a history class’ coverage of the War of the Roses. Some of these factors a studio can address, and some it cannot. In the two decades I’ve been playing these games, I’ve gone through out every reason why I have quit — at least for now.
Because it just wasn’t clicking with me
I’ll always use FFXIV as the prime example of an MMO that has my dream set of features — and yet I found unsatisfying due to its aesthetics and gameplay flow. Sometimes a game doesn’t click with you, no matter how much you’d like it to, and when that happens all you can do is wish it luck and walk away so that you don’t end up resenting it for not being better.
Because I couldn’t get plugged into the community
I’ve long ago recognized that one of the biggest make-or-break points for staying in an MMO is whether or not I find a welcoming, friendly, and active guild. That’s not always as easy as you might think, and I feel like I’m racing against the clock to find a good community within a month of (re)entering an MMO. Past that, I know I’m much less likely to stay around due to feeling isolated and unsupported.
Because I was getting burned out
Hey! Your game was too successful in getting me to stick around, and as such, I’ve gorged on it endlessly for a good while now. Burnout was inevitable because I was dumb and didn’t take a break or diversify my gaming portfolio. One day I’ll log in and feel my heart sink to consider spending another minute in your game. It’s time to leave.
Because I wasn’t getting my money’s worth
Admittedly, this used to be more of an issue back in the day where subscriptions reigned supreme. Today, I only encounter this with games like World of Warcraft, where I have to continually judge if I’m getting my money’s worth out of a recurring sub. If I’m only logging in, say, once a week for a half-hearted hour or so of play, then no, I’m not going to keep dumping $15 into the coffers of the studio.
Because another game lured me away
As a blogger, journalist, and gamer, I’ve always got my eyes on games around me, practically daring them to woo me in to playing them. Sometimes that happens, and when it does, I’ll have to decide if I’m going to hit the pause button on the game I’m currently playing in favor of a different experience. I think that a lot of us want to be courted and swept away, all romantic-like, with an MMO that makes us forget all the others.
Because you stopped offering me compelling high-level content
There’s only so long that I’m going to be spinning my wheels at the level cap when the options you offer are either hardcore raiding, detestable PvP encounters, or incremental reputation grinds. If I’m not getting new zones to explore, new stories to experience, and new ways to progress, then I am out of there.
Because there wasn’t a good reason to reroll
I’ll even go one step further in trying to stay by rerolling my character and going through the leveling experience again. I love this journey, but I’m only going to do it if there’s a good enough reason to go on it again. That means that there needs to be a different path to take, an interesting class to try out, or a twist on server rules that I haven’t previously encountered.
Because I hit a wall and got frustrated
Nobody likes feeling frustrated in a game, especially when there are no cheat codes or guides to help you get around a particular block. If your MMO slams a wall in front of me that I can’t finesse or batter my way through, then sooner or later I’m going to call it quits. In a similar vein, if your game is too complex and obtuse to the newcomer, I’m only going to spend so much time trying to figure it out before returning to familiar lands where I don’t feel like such a doofus.
Because I felt like there was no way to catch up
I’m no stranger to starting out in MMOs that have been out a good long while and built up a mountain of content, but there’s a tipping point between when catching up seems like something that can be humanly done and when it’s simply impossible. If I’m going to have to spend the better part of a year just trying to get within spitting distance of a bulk of the community, then I don’t have as much incentive to keep on going, do I?
Because you kicked me out of it
I would keep playing your game, but for whatever reason, you decided that you were going to close up shop and shut down forever. Because I’m not going to let you burn me first, I’m going to quit you so that you can feel the mighty sting of my single rejection in a largely symbolic gesture! Take that, studio that is laying off anyone who would care that Justin is leaving.