Perfect Ten: The 10 stages of returning to an old favorite MMO


In my illustrious career of sitting on my butt and mashing the 1-4 buttons over and over, I’ve returned to many MMOs like an addicted boomerang. I learned early on never to say those immortal words of, “I quit and I’m never coming back! This is it!” because that was only setting myself up for major pie in the face later. Better to return with a head held high than to slink through the doors of the account page, hoping that nobody sees me.

We return to MMOs a lot, don’t we? There are so many reasons we do it, and they’re mostly boring, so I’m not interested in talking about them here. But what I do want to chart is the progression I’ve seen in myself and others as we’ve come back to an old MMO flame.

I’ve identified 10 stages (well, 11 really) that the returning gamer goes through, and in the interest of cheap and scandalous journalism, I want to be the first to write the defining document of this significant process.


1. Curiosity

“Huh, a new expansion is coming out for World of Manatees? Wow, that’s a game I haven’t thought of in years. I wonder if it’s still any good? I mean, it must be, if they’re still releasing expansions for it. I barely remember why I quit. Was it the PvP? Maybe that’s better now. Oh what the heck, I don’t have anything better to do today — sign me back up!”

2. Euphoria

“Oh man, this is so great! It’s all coming back to me: the music, the authentic manatee sounds, the detailed seaweed crafting, everything! Is it… is it three in the morning already? Oh well, I can call in sick tomorrow, for I have epic deeds to accomplish tonight!”

3. Confusion

“Huh… I guess I don’t remember everything. Like all of these buttons. What do they do? And why is the user interface different? And how dare the game developers add 16 patches since last time! That’s a lot of reading to do, and we sea cows don’t read; we graze content! Man, I guess I need to head to the forums and do some reading up.”

4. Determination

“Or I could just throw it all away and reroll a new class, learn it all again from the ground up! I heard the Dugong race is pretty awesome; I should give that a try. I’m going to do it right this time, all from scratch. And thus, Murdertee is born!”

5. Exhilaration

“OH MY STARS THIS IS THE GREATEST GAME THAT EVER WAS, IS, OR SHALL BE! Who needs those newer games? This baby has all the oomph that I need! I need to go write a long and enthusiastic post on my blog about all of this! It’s a discovery that is easily on par with discovering a vaccine for polio and the formula to New Coke!”

6. Loneliness

“And yet, there is a hollow in my soul. I am but adrift in the social scene, for my old guild disbanded and/or was cut to shreds by speedboat propellers. I used to be the person who knew everyone, and now I’m just a faceless schlub in the crowd. Will… will anyone hold my flipper?”

7. Regret

“I can’t believe I was gone for so long. I could have had a max level character three times over by now! Now I’m behind the curve and I’ll never catch up. Everyone else is enjoying the expansion, and here I am slowly swimming through the opening bay, fighting level 2 jellyfish. What a waste of time that wedding and subsequent honeymoon was!”

8. Immersion

“No use crying over spilled oil slicks; it’s time to roll up my flippers and get to work. I’ve got the game up on my main computer, some theory crafting going on with my laptop, and enough dollar tacos to sustain me through a marathon session. I will catch up — I will!”

9. Recollection

“Crap, they didn’t fix this bug yet? And I totally forgot how primitive this is in comparison to Platypus Online. That game had area looting, while I have to paddle over and slowly digest the loot here. Ugh, I’m starting to remember why I threw that snit back in 2015 and tossed my computer out of a fourth-story window, allegedly maiming several schoolchildren. Some things are better forgotten, methinks.”

10. Second heartbreak — or newfound love

“Here we are, game, as naked as the day we were born. We know each of the other’s virtues and flaws, the pimples and moles, the good habits and the bad. There are no secrets between us, just the raw truth. Are you something I can live with again, or shall I cast you off and be done with you for good this time? I will need to think on this, but in the meanwhile I have a raid. Let’s get cracking!”

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at or with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”

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World of Manatee:
A Massively Multiplayer open-world game where you take collective revenge on humanity for environmental damages.

Play as 3 unique classes: Grazer (collects seaweed to heal and buff the party), Dazer (bedazzle evil humanoid children with sheer cuteness to cc and debuff enemies), and Phasor (Vector your own body into man-made machinery and become the ultimate dps weighted weapon of wrath)

Expect a fan-made demake later this year.


Oh, the huge manatees.

(someone had to)

Bryan Correll


World of Manatees is a joke now, the devs are out of touch. I’ve moved on to Porpoises Unchained for an MMO that respects my time.


I’d have said 14 steps:
1) boredom (with whatever you’re doing now)
2) piqued interest in ‘that old game’
3) dull 30 mins watching the download bar pull 54 gigs down (or 174 gigs if you want high-res textures!)
4) watch as it tries to install DirectX9
5) trying to remember your password, and then, recover your account
6) trying in vain to remember which damned server all your characters were on, and eventually grudgingly just logging into each of them until you find it again.
7) glee and nostalgia at loading up that comfortable old character
8) I have no idea what all these buttons do
9) busily look up on the internet what’s the current meta build, since at least 3 of the patches since you last played completely re-set your talents.
10) sigh as you realize that your 200 slot bank and 74 slots of bags have a net total of 8 open spaces. You have no idea what you were doing, what you were working on, if it’s even still relevant.
11) strongly consider just dumping everything and starting over, but remembering you did have some really rare precious stuff, but you can’t remember for the life of you what you were planning to do with it.
12) roll up a new toon to try to get the hang of the game again
(3 days later)
13) you finally feel ready to play your main again; you walk out and just want to warm up a little against the first mob you find….which then smashes you into the ground as you still don’t really know what all those buttons do.
14) reconsider if this has all really been worth the effort

Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Whoa, Justin, #10. Too much information!!! 😱😱😱

Good news, SEAL CITIZEN just funded! It should launch as the most crowdfunded game ever–in 2 to 3 decades!


The better news: You can buy an exclusive Leopard Seal race, for only slightly less than it would cost to actually own a live leopard seal! (But slightly more than you’d pay to own your own house.)

Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago

Hold on, that’s a *concept* Leopard Seal. You get a picture and brochure of a leopard seal until the actual leopard seal is shipped. 👍🤣

Hikari Kenzaki

Whale: Killer releases Evolution expansion where the characters grow legs and walk on land. Bugs with the new expansion make even devout believers doubt Darwin.

Kickstarter Donor
Ken from Chicago