Massively Overthinking: If you lost your account in your main MMORPG, would you start over?


The other day, MOP’s Justin came into our work chat understandably nervous because he couldn’t log into his Lord of the Rings Online account; it was giving a cryptic message saying our logins and passwords were wrong. It turned out to be Just SSG Things and unplanned server downtime, but for that brief minute, we contemplated what we’d do if we’d been hacked and had to decide whether to give up or start over.

We’d have to factor in the gameplay, how far we’d gotten, how easy the game made it to reroll, possible booster effects, veteran rewards, even how much money we’d sunk into expansions and upgrades. I suspect it comes down to the game. So of course, now we have to Overthink it.

Consider your top three MMORPGs. If your accounts vanished tomorrow, would you start over? What would you do first, and what would you do differently?

Andy McAdams: Uff, I don’t actually know. I’d probably go back and start over in all three, but they’d never be as good as they once were. I don’t think I would want to dedicate the time in World of Warcraft to get my account back to where it was with mogs, mounts, achieves. For Final Fantasy XIV and Guild Wars 2, I think I would, and I don’t have the same amount of time dedicated to Elder Scrolls Online, so it would probably be more of a shrug and start over thing.

My older accounts (some of which are nearing drinking age in the US) have so many iterations of me as a gamer wrapped up in them; it would be hard to recreate the feeling and vibe of them.

Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): LOTRO: I’d start over. I’d be sad to lose my names and all my crafting alts, but as a themepark – and a themepark where boosters are easily gotten – it’d be easy to just start over and run the journey again. I’d probably roll on a more populated server this time too.

SWG Legends: I’ve now done the full multi-year “start from nothing and build a crafting empire” twice in my lifetime, not even counting the time I started over in SWGemu, and I… just don’t think I have it in me to do it again. Maybe in another few years, but I think I’d press pause. I love the game, but I just don’t have that kind of time or patience right now, not to do it a third time, knowing what it takes, how much of a person goes into it. I’d like to think I could play as a non-crafter, but I doubt it. (This one is especially funny to me because during live, I used to start new characters on other servers just to see how much I could accomplish solo without help. I can’t fathom doing that now.)

City of Heroes: This one’s easy. I start over in City of Heroes all the time, and I suppose we all did it just five years back. I have and would start again. I’ll probably start again next week! It’s singularly suited to be light on resources and flexible from casual to hardcore. I love it so much.

Carlo Lacsina (@UltraMudkipEX, YouTube, Twitch): If I lost my accounts, I’d probably straight up quit the game. Too much heartbreak, and this especially applies to my GW2, FFXIV, and GW1 accounts. There are simply too many irreplaceable items in there. For example, my GW1 account has a random helmet that none of my characters can wear because it was a helmet a friend once randomly traded me for no other reason. I kept it as a reminder, and yeah I still have it.

Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): I have restarted in my main game of Final Fantasy XIV before, so it wouldn’t be that big a deal at least from a mechanical standpoint (just gotta buy a story skip and level skip). That said, with as much history, roleplay story, and personal connections as I’ve made over the years, that would really pout a whole bucket of cold water over the entire thing – possibly enough to make me stop playing. All the same, though, I would probably stick with re-rolling my character because I love her very much.

Colin Henry (@ChaosConstant): There would definitely be a mourning period when I wouldn’t want to put in all the work to rebuild my account, but I’m sure that, sooner or later, I would miss it and come back. The cost of re-buying everything would be super painful to me, much more than the time spent, as playing is at least some degree of fun. At least old content tends to go on sale for cheap, I suppose.

Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Yeah I probably would. I have a weird thing for starting fresh in MMOs — sometimes all the way down to a fresh account or starting on a special server — and so while the loss of these characters would be significant, they wouldn’t turn me away from the games or the genre itself. At the end of the day, MMOs are an experience and a relaxing hobby to enjoy, but I’m not so tied to my characters that it would be devastating to lose them. Just really, really annoying to lose a lot of progress, unlocks, and accomplishments.

MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Absotively, posilutely not! Sorry, but if a main MMO — or one I put really any significant amount of heart and time into — were to vanish, I would definitely not return.

Case in point: Fallen Earth. For some reason, I became locked out of my account and could not return. That was the end of the game for me. My final desire to return was permanently squashed when another future attempt to reclaim it failed again. Think about it, though: If losing housing that I spent my time obtaining and developing turns me off from returning to a character who is still active and has (at least some of) her belongings, why in tarnation would I go back in a game where I lost the character, too?!

I have a very close friend who just last year had his since-beta LOTRO account hacked, and even with all of the correct original information, Standing Stone has not returned it — even with the obscene amount of money he has spent on it — to him. Having lived through that heartbreak vicariously, I know without a doubt that if I lost my virtual stuff, I can’t handle it. There is absolutely no game that is good enough to overcome having characters I loved stripped away from me.

The only exception to that was my DDO account. Though I had it in beta, someone somehow got ahold of it, and guess what? Even using my original info, I couldn’t get it back. But since I had ditched the game after less than a month of little play (I was not impressed back at launch), I had no connection to that character all those years later when I started streaming holidays with friends. Even then, I did not make a new account for a long while and only did so when starting the D&D nights with a group for Stream Team. Now, if that account were to disappear, so would my playing of DDO.

Sam Kash (@thesamkash): Oh, it would be tough, but I don’t think I’d go back – to any of them. HP Magic Awakened would get a huge thumbs down. I’d definitely be bummed because a part of my morning routine is knocking out those dailies on my phone while I make coffee and eat breakfast. Everything else is also ancient history.

Except, maybe, Guild Wars 2 has a chance, when I think about it. I have such history with it that there’s a small but unlikely chance I log in and just pick up at the Icebrood Saga (where I fell off years ago). The game makes it easy to hit level cap, and then it’s basically all even. And I’m not someone who repeats story content anywaym so I could just skip all that I’ve done. Minus mounts. So that could be a sticking point. You kind of need mounts these days. All I’m saying is there’s a chance.

Tyler Edwards (blog): New World I would probably start over. Losing my houses and cash shop purchases would definitely suck, but I enjoy the game enough to stick with it. Might take a few months off before starting a new character, though.

WoW… I don’t know. I’m pretty on the fence about continuing with it even without losing my account, and the years of investment in my characters is a large part of the appeal these days.

Every week, join the Massively OP staff for Massively Overthinking column, a multi-writer roundtable in which we discuss the MMO industry topics du jour – and then invite you to join the fray in the comments. Overthinking it is literally the whole point. Your turn!
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