I am excited about Rift. Or at least, I was excited about it. I think I still am. We’ll see.
But Rift isn’t out for another month or so. After the last beta I found myself a bit adrift. I’d been playing Aion and was entertained by it, but I knew it wasn’t something I was going to play long-term so it started feeling a bit pointless. My renewed enthusiasm for WoW had wilted away. I thought about Guild Wars, Star Trek Online, Champions Online, LOTRO, EQ2, FF XIV… but in every case playing felt like a waste of time because I knew come Feb 24th I was headed to Rift.
So finally I decided to just take a break from MMOs. I do this from time to time. This time out I picked up The Witcher, a game I own on DVD but which I’d repurchased on Steam for $5 during the holiday sale. I’ve tried to play The Witcher several times but it never really stuck, but this time it has (so far). I think the Enhanced Version that Steam sells is more enhanced than my DVD version with all patches (including the ‘enhanced’ patch) or something. It just plays better for me now.
The funny thing about me and MMOs. When I start spending time away from them, they start to seem a little bit silly. I get progressively more dismissive about the genre the longer I’m away. I see arguments raging over builds or classes and I start feeling like people put an inordinate amount of somewhat negative energy into something that ought to be fun (negative from my point of view; I’m sure they’re not feeling it in the same way). The pinnacle of my “MMO withdrawal” is when I get to this obnoxious “holier than thou” place of sneering condescension towards anyone who is wasting their time playing an MMO when they could be enjoying other things like, oh, beer can collecting or shoe-lace repair.
Then invariably I wake up one morning with a burning desire to log into an MMO and my love for the genre re-ignites and I sheepishly resubscribe to something.
But until that happens I’m kind of bastard to be around, if you’re an MMO player. At least at this point I’m self-aware of the process.
Since Twitter is the place I most often talk about MMOs, I’ve stepped away from there too. I’ve been feeling frustrated with Twitter anyway; I felt like conversations kept devolving into rather pointless arguments that were ultimately caused by the 140 character limit. I’m still using Buzz and I have some automated tweets hitting Twitter, plus my daily ITworld post promotion. And I bop in now and then to make sure no one has @ed a tweet at me that I need to respond to. But time-on-site for Twitter has gone from probably 12 hours a day (I mean time a twitter client is open, not time I’m actively paying attention to it, of course) to maybe 12 minutes.
This has freed up a lot of time and in some ways life feels a lot more relaxed. I also accepted, without really thinking about it, the Goodreads.com “Reading Challenge” for the year. My goal is to read 30 books (2.5/month) which I thought was somewhat ambitious until I saw my friends setting goals of 100 or more! But for me 30 books is a reasonable challenge (I’m already behind) so I’ve been devoted some of this Twitter-freed time to reading.
I’ve also got some personal stuff going on with my mom being sick and my brother and I trying to figure out how we’re going to pay for her care, so that’s put a full stop on spending money on gaming. I already paid for Rift and I’ll still spend the cash for a 6-month sub (assuming I bounce back to being an MMO fan by then) but it has meant not being tempted by titles like DCUO and sales on single-player games. Resisting the temptation of buying a new MMO always feels pretty good; so often in the past my curiosity has driven me to purchase games I almost knew I wouldn’t like all that much. And actually looking at my huge backlog of unplayed or barely-played single player games makes me feel pretty silly about feeling a ‘need’ for new games (games that I know will be available for a fraction of their new cost in 4-6 months).
So that’s where I am right now. Playing The Witcher (and dabbling in other SP games), waiting for Rift and trying to decide what I’ll do there (the guild I had lined up is turning out to be not as good a fit as I’d thought it would) and staying away from Twitter and the too-frequent aggravation I allow it to cause me. And learning a lot about Power of Attorney, reverse mortgages, early withdrawal of life insurance and all the unpleasant ways that the health system you spend your life paying into will turn its back on you when you really need it.
I’ll be back my socializing self when I’ve gotten past this miserable bastard phase I’m going through.