I’ve talked a lot about how I tend to move between different MMOs; I have my favorites, but that doesn’t stop me from an occasional several-week diversion in something else or something new. Sometimes this pays off (as in WAR) and sometimes not (as in AoC and the first few cracks at EQ2.) Some people are probably happy with this type of approach, but for me it’s been somewhat frustrating.
Part of what causes the issue is that I see things to like in so many games. Easy play in WoW, the open world in Vanguard, the depth in EVE, the Hyborian lore in Age of Conan, the quality and variety of questing in EQ2… I’m very upbeat about a lot of games, and that deeply affects the tone and focus (or lack thereof) of this blog.
It occurs to me that if I would pick a favorite game or two and decide to hate everything else, this would not be an issue.
I used to be like this back in… oh, the early 90s or so, with tabletop RPGs. I favored Rolemaster, a fairly complex fantasy alternative well out of the mainstream, and regarded D&D (it was AD&D 2nd Edition at the time) not only as a piece of crap game, but considered that anyone who actually liked it was obviously naive, if not actually mentally deficient in some way. I was pretty strident about it, too; remember UseNet and its legendary flamewars? I was deeply entrenched in the D&D bashing culture of that time and place. I had a number of other favorite targets as well. I was what we would call today a hater of games other than my narrow range of favorites.
This is obviously a very juvenile way to approach things, and indeed I grew out of it in the intervening years. Nowadays I look for things to like instead of things to complain about, and can understand that if somebody likes a game that I don’t care for, it’s probably because they have a legitimate viewpoint and not because of some congenital deficiency. Not that I never complain about anything, of course, but this outlook colors my commentary. As much as I’ve bitched about WoW, for example, it’s always been from the perspective of somebody who really does like the game and wants to see it improve and succeed.
But partially, at least, because of this, I do find stuff to like in many different titles, and thus I am continually tempted by them. Really, the issue is that there are too many good games out there, not too many bad ones. Sticking with just one game would give me an opportunity I have not yet had; to focus on it and actually become good at it – and I’m not talking about character progression here. I used to be like this with Rolemaster – I knew the game cold, and if I didn’t remember a specific rule, I knew exactly where to find it.
My permanent departure from WoW has me thinking about this. I would rather not, at this stage in my life, become the kind of malevolent little asshole that I was fifteen years ago – the internet has enough of those, thank you very much. So don’t expect me to accept that cost just to narrow the range of games that I play. Oh, I’ll still try to do so, and the elimination of one distraction is a step in the right direction, but leaving WoW isn’t going to change my basic outlook.
Now if I could only find something to permanently unsell me on EQ2 and Vanguard…