Play something that isn't your main game
I've got a stack of MMOs over here that are just begging to be played. Sometimes, as I've found out over the years, the best way to enjoy your favorite MMO is to step away from it and play another, very different MMO.
Back when I use to be addicted to both The Matrix Online and World of Warcraft, I would regularly step away from one game to go play another. Sure, I wouldn't be as awesome or amazing in this second MMO as I was in my main game, but playing a side MMO helped me really appreciate the features of my main one.
When I was really involved in The Matrix Online community, playing World of Warcraft helped me appreciate the awesome combat animations in The Matrix as well as the really involved MxO community. The "stand and spam" style of World of Warcraft made the wire-fu Matrix combat look great every time I logged in, and the haphazard community of World of Warcraft let me appreciate the neat community aspects of MxO.
When I was sucked into World of Warcraft, I would regularly play other MMOs for fun just to appreciate the well-crafted game design of World of Warcraft and the depth of the lore. I loved all of the great lore bits that I could run across in WoW, where I wouldn't find those great moments in other games (except Lord of the Rings Onine, but that's another story for later in the article.)
Play something that isn't like an MMO, but still might be
Sometimes what you need is a good game that pulls you away from the MMO tab-target grind. Any game that offers you different gameplay may just be what the doctor ordered to cleanse your MMO palette. Heck, the game might even still be an MMO -- the trick is to do something different than what you're use to.
For me, I went over and got sucked into MAG, Global Agenda, and Burnout Paradise. Now, MAG and Global Agenda are still MMOs of a sort, involving a "massive game" in their own ways. MAG was all about throwing legions of other players at you on one battlefield, while Global Agenda was a hit-and-run type of game that involved striking at the unguarded agencies with a skilled team of special agents. Plus, as an added bonus, MAG got me away from my computer chair for a while and into my living room -- a nice change of scenery for me.
However, both games embraced shooting, quick reaction skills, targeting, and a very different style of gameplay from World of Warcraft, Lord of the RIngs Online or other, more "traditional MMOs." It was really nice to sit down and play a truly different game for a while but still get the same sort of MMO experience. PlanetSide could easily fall into this category as well, or even a game like Dungeon Fighter Online.
As for Burnout Paradise, sometimes it was just nice to get away from people in general. When I wanted to go play a fun, single-person racing game, that was my game of choice. Even though I could take it online, I chose not to because I just didn't want to see other people for a while. By the time I had my fill of that game, I was itching to get back into a good MMO.
Play with your friends
Kyle's piece on burnout got onto this subject as well, but I feel it needs reiteration. I'm back on the MMO gamer path after my long stint of burnout, and the thing that really did it for me was finally being able to partner with someone else.
Currently my new love is Lord of the Rings Online (with a side of EverQuest II), where my roommate and I are tackling the epic questline together. It's really interesting and a whole bunch of fun being able to do the storyline together with someone else.
I've actually done something very similar with Final Fantasy XI when I created a static party of my friends. When we got 6 people together in the same room all playing the same MMO, it was less about playing a game and more about having fun. Sure, Final Fantasy XI is a grind, you can't really solo, yadda yadda yadda. Yet, when you play with a bunch of your friends, the storyline gets engaging, the quests are fun, and you really start to get pulled in. You really are participating in a multiplayer Final Fantasy game, which is really neat.
Anyway, I hate to leave it there, but that's all the room I have for this week. If you guys have some tips for combating or avoiding burnout, be sure to leave them below in the comments! And, as always, enjoy your weekend, may you get outside but still get some time for leveling and looting in.
Seraphina Brennan is the weekly writer of Anti-Aliased who will not get on your horse. When she's not writing here for Massively, she's rambling on her personal blog,The Experience Curve. If you want to message her, send her an e-mail at seraphina AT massively DOT com. You can also follow her on Twitter through Massively, or through her personal feed, @sera_brennan.