Confessions of an MMO Polygamist
I have a problem. It’s not a serious addiction, in fact its much the opposite of an addiction. I can’t commit.
If the subject of my problem were a woman I’d be the very picture of a man who wouldn’t commit – frequent hot dates with a possibility of long term relationships are tossed to the side in search of the next shiny object or attractive game setting. I dawdle between games like a child with free run of a candy store and no oversight. I just can’t seem to find that special game to break me of my wanderlust.
Now you might not think this a serious problem, I mean after all, who doesn’t play multiple games? But my issue goes beyond rotating pastimes to keep from losing interest. I have a staple game I play – Guild Wars – mostly because its free and doesn’t require a huge commitment of time or energy to hop into any of its settings and grind out a few missions or quests. Guild Wars is like the partner who dislikes your wandering habits but lets you come home whenever you feel like it because it knows it’ll always get what it can while you’re around.
I’ve had so many trysts with other MMO games that I can hardly recall them all. Some are still strong and popular while others have burnt out and gone away. I’ve spent hours playing these games and in many cases never looked back once I’d wandered on. The Matrix couldn’t keep me. I grew bored with the Galaxy Far, Far, Away. Norrath is a distant land I visited in my youth but I’ve no interest in returning to.
Azeroth is a frequent hangout but I seem to go through periods of love and hate with that place. I’ve toyed with playing since the world opened up and I’ve yet to stay long enough to get even one toon to the advanced level of 60 or more. I’ve joined guilds and tried to break myself of the wandering habit but no social group has been strong enough to persuade me either. It can’t hold my interest long enough.
Middle-Earth is one of the places I’ve been spending my time more and more lately but even then I find myself wondering what is going on in the Caribbean that could hold my interest, or whether London has managed to get that damned Hellgate closed. I’ve bounced from game to game in search of the one thing that would grab me and not let go but I’ve yet to find it.
Cloning myself in Tabula Rasa might have been fun for a bit, but it couldn’t fight off the ennui of grinding and grinding, collecting various animal parts and fighting off invaders on the roads between military encampments. Even my time as a Dungeon Runner and explorer of Mythos couldn’t keep me excited as I fought for the next better shiny piece of loot. Flying from building to building while attempting to take over Paragon city didn’t excite me too long either.
I’m not sure what it is I search for. I’m not afraid of commitment but I think I fear boredom. I like to believe I wander because I want to taste the variety of life before I am forced to settle down on one or more games like a responsible person does. Responsible sounds dull to me. Scheduling my life around Guild Raids and applying for credits at the guild bank to buy this year’s latest elite set. A life of simple MMO domestication, a nice house in the The Shire.. It all sounds so pedestrian to me.
I know I’ll have to settle down eventually. Being a wanderer is expensive. While I can shift the monthly payments between games it’s hard to imagine what my transaction history must look like from any forensic accountants at these various game companies. I flitter in, renew for a month or two and then I’m gone again. Maybe it doesn’t matter for them, after all they’re still getting my money from time to time.
Am I the only one like this? What could possibly make me stay with one game, one setting and one social group? They say the first step to overcoming a problem is to recognize and define it. I’ve done that now. Maybe this will be the first step on the road to recovery.. oh. Look, Age of Conan, Stargate Worlds and Jumpgate Evolution are all coming out this year. Maybe everyone else is strange for liking just one game or style of MMO. Maybe I’m not in the wrong, despite so many people and their seeming addictions to games like World of Warcraft. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.