Piggy backing a little bit on yesterday’s post, I started thinking about why I play MMORPGs and how my reasons have changed over the years. Â Back when I played The Realm (1996-1999) and EverQuest, I played for fun. Â It was something totally new and a pastime that gave me great enjoyment simply by being able to log in and play with hundreds of other people.
My motivations gradually changed over the years. Â Around the time of Dark Age of Camelot I started to play because of this transcendent sense of pride and duty. Â Still, it was about having fun.
When World of Warcraft came around, things for the entire industry changed. Â I know some of you are going to reply and say how no matter what you always play for fun, but hang in there and hear me out. Â WoW introduced MMOs to a younger generation of gamers who don’t play for “fun” or “realm pride” or any of Â that — they play to be the best. Â That’s why raiding is successful and the arena formula works for PvP: Deciding who is the best is almost black and white.
I think it goes beyond people simply preferring to slay big monsters over decorating houses. Â There’s no way to say you are the best if all you do is collect resources or make hot tubs out of baubles.
Back when I was a serious WoW player, getting server first kills of major bosses and leading some of the top raiding guilds, I played to be the best. Â I can look back and say from experience that the mindset exists and people fall into it without even realizing what they’re doing. Â One day you wake up and have this epiphany that what you’re doing isn’t fun.
I’m only closing in on 30 years old, but I get the sense already that I’m one of the older players. Â I still have plenty of free time, but my mindset has changed completely. Â I’m back in that “I play for fun” mentality. Â Everything I do is driven by asking myself, “Is this fun?” Â If it’s not, I stop. Â This helps me squeeze enjoyment out of some games, and stops me from playing others entirely.
That’s why I ask questions about what kind of activities are available to players at the max level. Â I want to know that I can do something other than raid for gear three hours every night of the week. Â I want to know that the game is designed to make the crafting, housing, PvP, exploring, gathering, etc., experiences just as fulfilling as the raiding. Â I want to know that there will be many ways for me to look for the ‘fun’ without being trapped by what people expect from every MMO.