Remember all those blog posts about grouping vs soloing and how those of us who soloed in MMOs should “go play a single player game”?
Well, I finally did that. Not by choice, but due to a lingering injury that made playing PC games painful. And at first it really sucked. I was really hooked on Fallen Earth at the time and ached to play it (pun intended) but just couldn’t manage more than 10 minutes before my arm felt like it was on fire.
So I turned to my consoles for solace, and played some pretty fun games. Need For Speed: Shift, Demon’s Souls, Brutal Legends, Uncharted 2 and Borderlands. And somewhere in the middle of all that, I stopped missing MMOs; or at least, the missing eased somewhat.
And what happened next was interesting. I started to notice how much MMO players complain about MMOs. I’m not talking about a scientific poll or anything, but it seems like MMO players are a lot unhappier with their games than non-MMO players are. I find myself thinking “Why are you playing this game if it is making you so unhappy?” fairly often now, even while acknowledging that I was the same way, and probably will be again someday.
I don’t want to come across like the alcoholic who gets all holier-than-thou once he stops drinking, but it is peculiar. I guess it has a lot to do with the amount of time invested. When you’ve established a ‘home’ in an MMO and you have friends there, the benefit of your social network outweighs the detriment of the aspects of the game that bug you. Meanwhile the non-MMOers have significantly fewer ties to any given game (and often, thanks to Friend lists and social networking, they can take their friends with them to the next game without a lot of hassle).
I can’t decide if this social connection to a specific game is ‘good’ or not (though I’m pretty sure I’m in no position to make that determination for anyone but myself). I will tell you that being a non-MMO gamer is a helluva lot more expensive than being an MMO gamer!
What’s strangest of all is this lure of re-labeling myself ‘MMO gamer’ just to be ‘part of the group’ again. Even though I was one of those anti-social soloers, I did feel part of the uber-group that is the MMO playing community. I kind of miss feeling passionately about the cost of a retcon in Champions Online or the problem of Radiance in LOTRO or whether the scarecrows are working right in Fallen Earth…
Maybe that’s why I still have my accounts active. I’m not ready to cut that final string yet.