This last point has always fascinated me the most. I have several hobbies and interests, and I don't read forums or websites about every one of them. But one thing I certainly don't do is spend time reading about topics that hold no interest for me.
I imagine that most non-MMO-playing gamers who read this site do so because they once loved an MMO and are looking for a replacement experience, or they're intrigued by the thought of living in a virtual world with hundreds or thousands of other real people but just haven't found the one that's best for them.
I'll certainly admit that MMOs lend themselves to that type of situation more than most other games because the time investment can be enormous. Playing an MMO is much more than just jumping into a simple single-player or co-op game for a bit of action before dinner. You live and breathe the virtual worlds that surround an MMO. For that reason, it's especially hurtful when an MMO closes down or doesn't turn out to fit the hype that got you interested in the first place.
I understand that, and I can relate to that. But see, here's the thing: If you hate the idea of an MMO, can't stand the people who play MMOs, and spend most of your free time putting down every new MMO on the market, you might actually not like MMOs.
And hey, that's OK.
A few years ago, everyone was throwing the MMO label onto upcoming games. It was a buzzword used to promote sales and attract every gamer to the genre who was looking to hit the next big trend. But we're at a point now when the term is losing traction, allowing it to actually mean what it should mean. If you want to play a 5-on-5 battle arena, you play a MOBA. If you want to join a lobby and earn XBL achievements, you play a co-op game. But if you want to immerse yourself in a virtual world surrounded by other people, then an MMO can be your thing.
And I get that our console-gaming peers see us as the geekiest of the geeks. That's a lot of pressure for someone just looking to dabble in some gaming fun here and there, and you may not be up for that. Maybe you're just not ready to come out of the virtual closet and let your family know that you prefer the company of other high elf wizards.
I hate this game!
On the other end of the spectrum, there are those of you who are playing an MMO while hating it the whole time. I submit to you that you're probably just doing it wrong. I'm guilty of soloing quite a bit, but I can say that I prefer playing with a group and communicating over voice chat. Solo MMO play is a necessary evil when you play at odd hours or your friends aren't on, so that's a different topic. But if you avoid people at all costs, you're missing out on a huge part of what makes an MMO an MMO: other people.
Or maybe you're playing the most popular MMO because it's all you know. Might I suggest a look at our game list? Most MMOs these days have a low barrier of entry with either a free-to-play business model or a trial period to check the game out and see if it's something you'd like to make into your next favorite MMO.
No matter what reason you have for not liking MMOs, I think it's safe to say that most of us understand to some degree. But what we don't understand is why you don't simply move on. If it's MMOs in general that bother you, it's OK to go play something else, even if it's just temporary. We'll be here waiting with open arms if you decide to come back.
Everyone has opinions, and The Soapbox is how we indulge ours. Join the Massively writers every Tuesday as we take turns atop our very own soapbox to deliver unfettered editorials a bit outside our normal purviews and not necessarily shared by Massively as a whole. Think we're spot on -- or out of our minds? Let us know in the comments!