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The Biggest Challenge of Playing an MMORPG

We’re all going to have our different answers on this one. What do you think is the biggest challenge about playing an MMORPG? To really answer this question, we have to toss aside some of the obvious disqualifiers. The obvious answers that don’t count (but are indirectly valid) would relate to having an MMORPG even worth playing, having one that doesn’t fail after 3 months, etc. Assuming there is a game that’ll last for a while, what challenges do you face?

Challenges can revolve around many things:

  • Randomness – Sometimes the odds never go in your favor
  • Mechanical Difficulty – The struggle to overcome some in-game mechanics can be a hurdle
  • Social – Community, groups, guilds, people in general
  • Envy – Everyone always being better than you can be defeating
  • Time – Many people do not have the time to play MMORPGs anymore, or at least the ones that take serious time to ramp up and progress

In my opinion, the biggest challenge of any MMORPG is finding and keeping a group of like-minded players together. Over the past 20+ years of MMO gaming, I’ve had my share of long-lasting communities. I was the leader of one that ran for nearly 8 years strong. Life circumstances and a lack of games diffused that community significantly. The other 12+ years? I’ve wandered alone or been part of groups that last for only one game, or only a month here or there. Sometimes I’m with a group of people, but they aren’t really like me — they’re not likeminded and I don’t enjoy playing with them.

Along the same lines, there’s a huge element of community that’s entirely out of your control. As a player, finding the right server and even hoping the game itself as a whole fosters a sense of tight-knit player interactions is daunting. If the game itself doesn’t promote these things in a positive way, it makes the challenge of finding good people to play with — and having a reason to do so — all the more difficult.

Did I miss one of your biggest challenges when trying to play a MMORPG?

  • Misaligned says:

    From my experience a big issue is just the sheer number of available games to play. Back in the day there were fewer games so chances were my friends were all playing the same one.

    Over time with so many choices I’ve seen my group of friends disperse and spread out over many games. A lot of my gaming friends have also gravitated away from MMORPGs and now prefer BR and MOBAs.

    I also find it more difficult to form meaningful relationships/friendships with people in games these days since most of the game is designed to be played solo. I made more friends in 6 months on EverQuest on the Agnarr server than I have in the last several years of any other game. I’m no longer playing EQ but I still keep in touch with those friends on Discord and we plan to get back together for WoW Classic. The nature of EQ basically forces you to develop friendships and I think that’s a good thing.

    Another challenge for me these days is boredom. I’m tired of the exact same model in every single game. Go to quest hub with exclamation marks, do mindless quests, return to question marks, move to next hub, repeat until max level and then be forced into raiding. I’ve been doing this in every game since 2004. I’m going to do it again for WoW Classic but I’ve pretty much resigned myself to not play any MMOs until then.

    I also long for the days of servers where communities and rivalries formed before things shifted to cross-realm, queue systems, mega-servers, paid name changes, etc. Reputation used to mean something. Most of the time I’d rather the game just pair me with bots rather than random people because the bots would be less toxic. Nobody talks unless it’s to say something negative.

    But now I’m just rambling and longing for the good ol’ days.

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