Tovin over at Allakhazam paused to reflect on her own MMO anomie. For her, the problem is that none of the games released in the last year or that being released in the next couple months really light that fire. She muses on the fact that players relegated to casual schedules still have to slap down that same monthly fee, whether they use the time or not. And when she does actually get a moment to dive into a virtual world, their design seems to discourage casual social interaction. What's a gamer to do?
For my part, I think Tovin is just suffering from a gaming slump. I think we've all gone through it at some point; you look around you and just don't find anything of worth in the hobby that has engaged you for so long. Of course, in my experience, this is usually a reflection of one's own personal state of mind, and not the state of the industry. But in this case, I think Tovin might be onto something. It's rare these days to play a game that really encourages the social aspects of MMOs in gamers who can't go raiding or PvPing every night. Rare, but not impossible to find. Methinks Tovin would do well to look into Pirates of the Burning Sea, as it's the most social game I've seen in recent memory. Also, Pirates! Yarr!