Perfect Ten: Why I’m grateful to be an MMO gamer in 2023


To me, Thanksgiving is a much-needed reminder to acknowledge and express the gratitude we have for all that is right and good in our lives. It seems that it’s so easy to dwell on the negative, including hypothetical situations that may or may not come to pass, and overlook what is truly special and wonderful right in front of us.

Like water. Do you know, historically speaking, how blessed we are to have purified tap water on demand that won’t give us countless diseases? Great kings and queens of old didn’t have it so good. Also we have two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Take that, Silk Road!

Today I want to channel my gratitude toward MMORPGs. Maybe these will be relatable to you (and maybe not!), but here’s why I’m thankful to still be playing MMOs in 2023.

It’s relaxing

I’ve found that the older you get, the number of responsibilities and stresses don’t decrease. Instead, you get better (hopefully!) at handling them. Knowing one’s limitations and keeping a balanced life is important so that you don’t implode when one too many things gets piled on your back.

MMORPGs are one of my stress relief valves and have been through sleepless nights with babies, career changes, personal crises, and that mysteriously missing year from 2020 to 2021. Knowing that at the end of the day I get two hours to sit in quiet and play in virtual worlds is soothing, as I know that a lot of this stress will get bled off when I go on my silly little fantasy adventures.

It offers hype and anticipation

As long as I can remember, I’ve been the type of person who gets insanely excited about upcoming events. If our family was going on a vacation in two months, believe me that I’d be packed two months out and have a schedule drawn up of everything I wanted to accomplish.

The conveyor belt of MMORPGs offers this delicious array of anticipatory delights. New games, possible projects, expansions, quality-of-life improvements, resurrections… all trundling our way. I like getting excited for what’s coming, even if it won’t all live up to expectations. Some might, and some will absolutely surprise. So why not enjoy the period before it arrives too?

It offers stability

Nobody really likes change, especially change that uproots your comfortable routine and established understanding of how stuff works. But that kind of change happens every so often, and when it does, it really helps to have as many stable lines to grasp to help through the transition.

MMOs, even though they come and go and expand, are a stable force in my life. They’ve been present for me since 2003 — two decades now! — and haven’t diminished in popularity in my heart. I don’t idolize them, but I do appreciate them as a gamer. I don’t want to return to the pre-MMO days where I spent tons of money on random single-player titles in the hopes that these games would get me through a month or two. Now I have MMOs, and so I’m not flailing for gaming entertainment the way I once did.

It plugs me into amazing communities

While the classes, stories, and progression of MMOs all have their appeal, it’s the people that are at the heart and soul of this genre. I love diving into a game and feeling connected with others, gaming alongside of them and chatting with them about a variety of topics (always serious and substantial, of course). These games are part of my social life in a way that isn’t exhausting or pressuring for an introvert.

And if it wasn’t for MMOs, I wouldn’t have met so many great people — including the terrific readers here at Massively OP, my co-writers, my guildies, my podcast co-hosts, and my blogging buddies. That’s something that truly makes me grateful.

Looks nice enough.

It’s super-affordable

If you are a thrifty person, then you and I have much in common. Our family shops at thrift stores for clothes and music, has an uncanny sense for sales, and usually engages in entertainment that’s as free or discounted as possible. When it comes to MMOs, my thrifty nature is satisfied by how much I can get for little to nothing.

Thanks to buy-to-play, free-to-play, and long-term trials, there’s an insane amount of gaming fun to be had that doesn’t require regular payments. It’s not that I never spend money on these games, but when I do, it’s usually channeled toward content (like expansions or box purchases) that I’ll be able to enjoy for years afterward. On a given year, I probably spend less than $250 on MMOs, which makes it so much more affordable than a lot of other types of entertainment. And, push comes to shove, I could go an entire year without spending anything and have plenty of fun.

It’s constantly surprising

Part of the fun of being an MMO fan are all of the twists and turns that this industry takes. If you get a buzz off of drama, out-of-nowhere surprises, high highs and low lows, this is the genre for you. I’ve been helping to cover the news for MMORPGs since 2010, and it hasn’t gotten boring yet. There’s stuff that happens every year that nobody could’ve predicted, and that’s what keeps me stumbling into the newsroom every morning (the other is the threat that Bree will activate the subcutaneous bomb that all MOP employees are required to have implanted on our spine).

It provides a creative outlet

MMORPGs may not boast The Sims-level of personal customization, but there are many ways that we can express ourselves. I love to be able to tackle characters as long-term projects that include progression, fashion, player housing, and more. It’s a super-elaborate adult version of dollhouse — I’ll admit it! — but it’s a way to funnel imagination into a virtual vessel that can coalesce around a theme and then be shown off to others.

It makes a new year something to celebrate

Januarys are tough, man. There’s that whole post-holiday crash, the return to work, the darkest weeks of the year, and so little good that comes out in entertainment. The one silver lining that keeps me enthusiastic during the first month is the fact that all of these MMOs are revving up their big plans for the year, laying out roadmaps, and pointing to releases. January becomes a month to get pumped up to be an MMO player, for sure.


It provides continuity to the past and into the future

One needs to be cautious not to base too much of one’s own self-worth or foundation on MMOs, seeing as these are games that don’t offer any assurance as to their long-term quality or lifespan. That said, there is something to looking at MMOs as an ongoing hobby that connects us to our past, entertains us in the present, and plans for a future.

My life in 2023 is a lot different than it was in, say, 2004, but one of the longest strings of continuity for me has been my passion for MMORPGs. I still play games that I loved back then, still have characters that I rolled one or even two decades ago, and still get hyped about what’s on deck.

It’s something I can share with my kids

We all know that MMOs are social games, but those social bonds don’t only exist outside of our households. Games can be a bond that brings family members together, after all. I’ve found that certain MMOs have appealed to my various children, and when they get into one, it opens up a door for conversation and sharing that I adore. I may not know a lot about all of your Fortnites and Minecrafts, but by golly, I am a low-level expert in MMOs by now and can speak that language with the youths!

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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