MMO burnout?

I’ve realised that I’m suffering from it now. There was a time 3 or 4 years ago, when I was solidly addicted to CoX, when I thought I’d never play a non-AAA single player game ever again, MMOs were just so much more fun.

But since losing that addiction to CoX, and casting around sundry other MMOs to get that feeling back, I’ve realised that I’m kind of over them. It’s a bit like some kind of drug - you need more and more of it to get less and less of the kick, and I just haven’t been getting the kick.

I have the occasional feeble month with EVE or CO or FE or LOTRO, but MMO hopping is just sad. You really need to be “on fire” with love for an MMO and play it for several month stretches at a time to really enjoy it, I now feel.

That’s not to say I think most of the MMOs out there are crap - most of the well-known ones are very, very good games. I’m objective enough to see that. But I just personally can’t get the hit anymore.

I have some hopes for SWTOR (played one of those 3 day betas) and Funcom’s The Secret World looks interesting. I’ve also got a vague interest in GW2, and am curious about Tim Cain’s MMO. But I no longer have any hope that I’ll recapture the magic.

Recently, I’ve been CRPG-ing for all I’m worth, mainly some old classics on GOG (BG, IWD, DD, ToEE, Arcanum), and pootling about with some more modern ones like Dragon Knight Saga, Risen and the Nehrim TC for Oblivion, and having a blast with them. But nary an MMO has passed my lips for a couple of months now.

Anyone else in the same boat?

I opened this thinking there was a Burnout MMO coming. ;)

For the past couple of years I’ve been in a gradual burnout cycle on WoW – I’ll play it for a few months, then cancel for many months more, then play a little more. I had a brief post-Cataclysm spike, getting a toon to 85 and doing some 5-man pugging, then just canceled again a few weeks ago. At the moment I have very little interest in playing, and I’m fine with that. I don’t like the way the addictive parts of my personality connect with MMOs, frankly, and I think I’m better off not playing them, so I sorta hope the burnout remains.

I think I’m in a similar boat. I hear the siren call of MMO’s, maybe an addiction to the rush of a new world, new possibilities etc…but then I get into them and realize its the same damn cheese-wheel.

Many have said MMO’s need to change the dynamics of how they work, because they all really do boil down to re-skins of Everquest.

That said, GW2 seems to be a strong effort of “Screw it, we are trying something new”. And experience with another upcoming title has taught me others are more about making single player RPG’s that have MMO elements in the periphery. That has me excited about the future.

I assiduously de-capitalized “burnout” especially to avoid that very misconception :)

This is, indeed, the truth. I’m pretty burned out on MMO’s in general. I’ve cancelled all of my MMO subs and doubt I’ll ever go back until someone comes out with a new MMO paradigm. I still play LOTRO now and then, but really only because it’s a AAA MMO that provides a huge portion of the world for free.

Vanguard is a good retirement home.

Me too!

You just described me. WoW was my first "real) mmo, after a month or two of having played CoH. It’ll take me quite a while to forget the amazement of running from the NE start to IF or my first time entering the molten core, or even seeing the ship in the deadmines. No MMO since then has recaptured that flame.

I’ll be “on fire” for the game for 1-2 months and will then go into burnout for 3-4… I’m currently considering (along with some guildies in the same boat) to resub a month or two for 4.2, but yeah…

Maybe it’s just that - maybe that’s all people in our position can expect from an MMO at this stage, just the excitement of the new world feeling, and then the shine wears off.

I think what’s changed for me is that I’ll no longer expect anything different any more. I’ll no longer expect to be addicted for a year or two, which is what I was searching for after CoX. If I no longer have that expectation, then having a few months of fun out of a game with a new world feeling should be ok. And if there’s any love affair beyond that, it’s just gravy.

As the poster said above, though, I’m also a bit more wary about the addiction factor now too. CoX sucked more time than I now think was healthy (and for a time, so did EVE, Vanguard and LOTRO when I first played them).

That’s actually an interesting point. If an MMO gives us a good month or two of playtime, that’s still more value, per dollar, than any game genre out there.

If I pay $60 for L.A. Noire, I got 35+ hours outta it. Loved it, but that’s it. If I pay $60 for Rift, I get maybe one/two months before I burn out…that’s gotta be close to 100+ hours.

So it’s kinda a good problem to have as a gamer?

I’ve been playing MMOs for a looooong time, and I think I finally hit real burnout. It started during Lich King, and came and went. I think it’s really here for real now, I can’t work up any enthusiasm for Wow or even Rift, and none of the MMOs coming out remotely interest me.

I’ve tried that a few times. I do consider Vanguard to be probably the best PvE MMO out there, despite its general bugginess and unfinishedness in places. That feeling of a single huge world is really hard to beat.

But I think part of the problem is that MMOs are social games. If I’m going to be yomping solo around Telon, I might as well be yomping around in a good single player CRPG. The best time to play an MMO is when the MMO itself is popular, that’s when you really get the true MMO hit. That’s also partly why Darkfall and MO haven’t done it for me either, despite their more classic designs - they’re just as much ghost towns as some of the other MMOs-in-decline.

Yes, I could join a guild, but again part of the problem with me and MMOs is that I’ve never had a regular schedule and time to commit beforehand to guild events. Big, anonymous guilds are a waste of time, and small guilds, while much more fun, get embarrassing when you make friends, then come back a few months later, be friends again, then disappear again (this has happened to me a few times in EVE, AoC and LOTRO).

I think that’s why CoX was, for me, a perhaps never-to-be-repeated experience, because its emphasis on PUG-ing, the ease of PUG-ing, and the PUG-ing culture in that game in its heyday, was great for me. It was a casual’s game in which, unusually, you could be a casual player and also a social player; whereas most MMO designers seem to equate “casual” with “solo”. I hardly ever played solo, yet was never a part of any SG until I made one myself towards the end of my 3 year stint, for fun, just to try out base building (I’m proud to stay my SG still going strong under other management - brought a tear to my eye to see the old base when I logged into CoX for old times’ sake a few months ago ;) ).

Yeah it’s good for us - but one wonders whether, if developers and publishers cottoned on to a pattern like this with players, they’d be bothered to make MMOs! They want retention and long haul commitment from players, don’t they?

People who are burnt out on MMOs play League of Legends.

At which point they start devoting as much time to it as they did with their MMO!

MMOs still have so much unrealized potential, but until they move away from aggro management gameplay, its burnout for me. I just can’t do it anymore, and its been like that for years now.

I’d love to become a LoL player but it seems completely impenetrable to a newbie. Are there any good guides anywhere?

The problem is that all current generation MMOS have very similar mechanics. They all have WoW-Like game mechanics. Its the game mechanics that you are burnt out on. Its while the shiny wears off so quickly on any new MMO. At first the content seems different, but then after a while you see through this so-called “new” surface and find yourself starring at the same tired old game once again.

I am sure MMOs could be fun again if people start making them with vastly different mechanics. I am hoping people are noticing this and that MMOs of tomorrow are not looking at WoW and saying, “We want to do something like that!”. They should be saying, “We want to do something completely different than that!” Not just content.

Let me make an analogy. If a game like WoW is cake, then content represents the kind of cake it is. A round cake lemon cake vs square carrot cake vs multi-tier wedding cake.

Game mechanics on the other hand defines the substance of the thing such as Cake vs Pie vs Ice cream vs Candy bars.

WoW has been many kinds of cake and very good cake. Many other MMOs represent different kinds of cake we have all eaten. The fundamental problem is that we are sick of cake. Any new MMOs still trying to entice us with cake will fail. What we need is some apple pie with a side of vanilla ice cream.

My MMO experience goes all the way back to Meridian 59. I was in the beta for that and loved the whole concept, and that started me down the long road of UO, then EQ (which was probably my worst as far as level of addiction and time devoted), then Asheron’s Call, then EQ again, then Horizons, then EQ2, and finally LOTRO (with a few lesser titles scattered in for good measure).

It was with LOTRO that my love for the genre finally ended. It’s not that I don’t think LOTRO is a fantastic game, it really is the most engaging MMO out there right now if you are at all or ever were a fan of Lord of the Rings (books or movies). It’s simply that I began to see just how much of my time and energy the games were taking up, even when I played “casually”. Honestly I have no choice but to play casually anymore with a family and a job and a life, so the choice became “Do I spend the maybe 10-12 hours per week I have to indulge in my hobby playing the same game (MMO) week in and week out, or do I forsake the online and go back to single player gaming?” The answer was as obvious as the backlog on my shelves.

I miss it. I miss what others in the thread have mentioned, the sense of wonder at new worlds and new locations within them. I miss the social aspect of MMOs, some of the most fun I’ve ever had playing games has been with people online in games like Everquest and LOTRO. What I don’t miss is the grind, the sense that no matter how different the game world may feel, how many friends are online with me, it’s still a series of tasks to get from point A to point B with the only real reward being the chance to see what point C might look like.

Since I stopped playing LOTRO again sometime last year I’ve played a lot of single player games and enjoyed every moment of it. There hasn’t been a “new” MMO that’s even tempted me, probably because I realize now what the real cost behind them is. I will admit though, Guild Wars 2 might get a look from me, but only because I was able to take Guild Wars and make it a once-per-week thing with a group of friends, kind of like a D&D session we all played together. If GW2 allows me to do that again, it’ll have me as a customer, if not…

I’d also kill for an updated version of Sony’s Planetside. I know it’s not technically an MMO, but it is the most fun online I’ve ever had consistantly with a game.

Why isn’t it “technically” an MMO?