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Behind the Curtain: Just when I thought I was out

Craig Withers

It's funny the things that can suck you right back in, just when you thought you were out.

I've been feeling pretty burned out with World of Warcraft over the last couple of weeks, and I wasn't enjoying the feeling at all. There was a brief interlude where the Argent Tournament piqued my curiosity, so I grabbed the PTR downloader to give that a try. That lasted all of about an hour, when I realised just how long it would take me to download the files. I'm not sure if I should blame BT for my frequently crappy connection speed, or Blizzard because they can't seem to create a decent downloader. It doesn't matter really, as I can QQ about both equally.

Then it hit me – burn out didn't need to be a bad thing. In a shocking turn of events, I decided to actually listen to our readers' advice, and spend some time with other MMO, and maybe try a change of pace.

I considered a sandbox game, for a complete change of pace. Second Life and Entropia Universe are the two which jumped immediately to mind, but I ruled them out fairly quickly. While the sandbox is a fun place to play for some people, I find myself craving a structure and story to my gaming. So, I found myself looking around the MMO-verse for alternate worlds to play in.

Star Wars Galaxies was the first one to pop into my head. I have a long, colourful history with Star Wars; from VHS cassettes worn out from over-use, to all-night cinema sessions to watch the original trilogy back-to-back, to thinking up exciting ways to kill my friends in our sadly-defunct Star Wars RPG campaign. To be honest though, even though it was some time ago that I last tried it, I'm still kind of disenfranchised with the game, and I'm not really feeling like playing it again.

I can pinpoint the exact moment I felt the old familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach, the one that told me I was excited about gaming, about MMOs, about one MMO in particular. I was driving home from work, listening to the latest D6 Generation podcast (big shout out to the tabletop massive) and someone, probably Raef, mentioned Lord of the Rings Online. That was all it took.

I've mentioned before that I'd considered LotROMichael has spoken highly of it in the past on our Massively Speaking podcast, and like a lot of gamers, I've got a large amount of time invested in the Tolkien universe. As luck would have it, Turbine have a ten-day trial offer just now, so I grabbed the downloader post-haste, and I'm waiting for the download to complete as we speak. Or type. Or read. Or absorb the information directly though quasi-sentient, 4-dimensional thought crystals at some point in the future as part of your Ancient History homework. In which case, hello! How did the Zombie Apocalypse go?

With the new Volume II: Book 7 content set to roll out updates to some of the starting content, it seems that now may be an ideal time to give LotRO a try. It's strange; in all of the discussions I've had with friends and colleagues, about MMOs, LotRO frequently seems to get short shrift, and I've never understood why. That may seem a little hypocritical, considering I've been putting off trying it since it was released, but it's true nevertheless.

So, not so much a change of pace, as a change of scenery. The game look svery promising, and I'm psyched to have found something that's pulled me back in to the genre. Now I find myself wondering how other players have dealt with burnout.

I know I asked a similar question a couple of weeks ago, but that was more about avoiding burnout. Assume for a moment that you have indeed burned out – how do you get out of it? Did you? Have you given up playing, but still keep up on what's happening in the genre? Did you manage to find another game that brought you back in?

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