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The Digital Continuum: The trouble with sticking to MMOs

Kyle Horner

I get to these points where not a single MMO will stick with me any longer than roughly one month -- sometimes less. That wasn't always the case, though. There was a time when I could play a single MMO nearly every day for three or four months before getting tired of it. And a lot of my friends are in the same boat, trying to regularly play an MMO but mostly faltering.

This isn't new to me. In fact, I've been here before and I know how to get out of the viciously boring cycle. This week's The Digital Continuum is all about renewing the luster to your MMO experience, and maybe a little more.

Batteries not included

So what's the problem? It's too easy to just say, "Well, none of these new games are as good as the older ones." Aside from ringing false, that statement is a bit of a whitewash of the overall problem, which is: We're worried that, frankly, we're getting tired of playing MMOs. It happens to the best of us, but like I said, there's a solution to this problem. At least, a solution for people with enough will to make it work.

"We're worried that, frankly, we're getting tired of playing MMOs."

I've been playing MMOs almost as long as I've been playing just about every other kind of videogame. During that time, I've seen the way we play games evolve. Platformers have found new ways to challenge us. RPGs are expanding into massive space dramas and more. Shooters have branched off into offline story epics and eternally progressing online struggles. (Hello Half Life 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.) Meanwhile, the slow burn of new features in MMOs has caused them to lose their wondrous "bleeding edge gaming" luster for a lot of us.

I can certainly understand if you were to disagree with me. Chances are good that you've only been playing these games for a few years, or perhaps you -- like myself plenty of times in the past -- are simply lying to yourself. But, humor me, and suppose you take a break from MMOs. Maybe you could read some more books, write/draw some more or even do some tabletop gaming to fill that social gaming habit craving. Just imagine stepping away from playing or even thinking about an MMO for one or two months. When you come back, chances are you'll probably feel acutely more excited than you used to logging into a (new or old) game of your choice.

Much like the digital world version of rested state, our real-life rest level from MMO playing takes a while to make a significant difference. Allowing oneself to want to play an MMO requires some substantial time, but it helps when you're also waiting for a brand new expansion pack; It's like a double-experience weekend three months after you quit playing City of Heroes. In this case, patience isn't just a virtue: it's a strategy.

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