The Vicious Pattern of MMO Rise and Fall
It’s been eerily slow here for a few days while I finish up my last midterm exam. This last exam is 100 multiple choice questions comprised of random facts from the textbook. In a competitive university environment, every student is cramming their faces into their books to absorb every last ounce of detail they possibly can before going to the testing center where they will regurgitate and immediately forget all that they have crammed. Unfortunately, that means I have to do the same thing to stay above the curve. By tonight I should be all done.
I see that some of my posts have been linked all over the internet lately. My reasons for quitting SWTOR has been passed around mmorpg.com, Gamefaqs, several dozen guild sites with people saying “this random guy I found says it best”, the official SWTOR forums, official forums for other games sneering at SWTOR, and blogs dissecting what I saw to either praise or disprove it all. As a blogger, I’m nothing but pleased at how something I said has been shared so many places despite some of the criticism.
My most recent post below this one, about wanting to choose excitement over cynicism, has drawn almost nothing but complete praise. People have linked it almost as much as as topic mentioned above and I’ve certainly found a second wind to keep me wanting to be excited about games. The biggest criticism I received was still those who want to latch onto ME personally as someone who follows a pattern (and also those wanting to drum up traffic by playing devil’s advocate or mocking me. It happens.).
Those thinking it’s purely me with this problem say “Keen follows a pattern” (or something like that).
Skepticism -> Excitement / Hype -> Decline -> (and some say I “hate” at this point)
Very, very true. I do following that pattern. Oh, and so do 99% of you. (Note: This only applies to MMO’s. Any other game and I’ll straight up like it or not. There is a reason for that, and you already know about it.)
A new MMO is on the horizon. I’m skeptical. I find a few things that make me think “You know, maybe this is worth trying.” I try it, I have some fun, but I reach the max level and quickly realize there is no future but a gear grind (SWTOR) or the game has huge design flaws (WAR) and I would rather go play a different game.
That isn’t unique to me; 99% of you are doing the exact same thing in MMO’s. Why? Because developers are making the same games over and over. Maybe it’s my fault for getting on the same ride every time, and I’ll accept responsibility for that. This is not a problem with me, or you, this is a problem with the games. We don’t do this with games like Reckoning, Skyrim, or Call of Duty. We’ll play those for 100 +hours and set them aside having had our fill.
MMO’s have this insidious way of hiding their true nature from players, providing two or even three different games within a game. World of Warcraft has the leveling game, the BG/arena game, and the end-game raiding game. If you bought WoW and thought that what you were playing when leveling up was the same game you’d have at level 85 then you’re in for a shock because it completely changes. This is what happens to me every new game. I think, surely it won’t happen again. Then it does.
“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” You may criticize me for giving something a try, but that is my nature. I want to experience every MMO because MMO gaming is a hobby and a passion. I also want to write about as many games as possible. If I don’t try them, I have absolutely no business writing about them. If I write absolutely nothing pre-launch, I’m 1) Ignoring my own feelings and 2) denying potential readers access to those feelings. That’s what this blog is about: Putting what Keen and Graev think and feel about games on virtual paper.
So I ask that before you criticize me for following the pattern of this roller coaster we call MMO gaming, you think about whether or not you yourself have stopped playing the same games I have stopped playing. If you’re one of the few sitting back playing Darkfall (which actually I might start doing again… I’ll talk later on that… *nervously looks around*) and never stopped because that’s your game, then you have all the right to criticize ALL of us who are bouncing game to game. If you’re trying everything like me, and experiencing failure after failure, then I ask you to identify with the problem, not stand back and pretend like you’re not in the middle of it with me.
I’m worried about those who DON’T follow the pattern at this point. They are the weird ones. 😉