I’m not sure if Belghast of Tales of the Aggronaut came up with the phrase “bouncing off” a game or if he borrowed it, but I heard it first from him so I’m giving him credit. It’s a great phrase so I’m also stealing it. When he says it, I imagine a game as a globe. You can hit the surface of the globe, pass through and immerse yourself in the world of the game, or you can bounce off the atmosphere and leave it behind. I assume that’s generally his meaning, though I never asked him.
Anyway, I just ‘bounced off’ MMOs again. I’ve been focusing pretty much exclusively on single player games for a while, but a couple of weeks ago Skyforge hit the PS4 and I decided to give it a go. I played casually for a week before getting bored, then moved on to trying other MMOs on the console. DCUO lasted a couple nights, then Neverwinter entertained for about a week, then I was back to Elder Scrolls Online for a few days, and now I’ve left the MMO planetary system and sailed off into space, only to splash back down into Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’s sweet, sweet single player bliss.
It was probably the shortest trip into the MMO-sphere that I’ve ever taken.
Now I live in my cozy little bubble so I’m probably completely off-base, but it seems to me like MMOs are losing traction and not just with me. Maybe it’s just my social media circles? I dunno. But folks who used to talk about playing MMOs now tend to talk about games like Overwatch instead. I think most of my MMO-loving friends still play their MMOs casually, but the genre just doesn’t seem to be as much of a focus as it used to. Maybe it’s just that no big new releases/expansions have hit recently? Just part of a cycle? What do you think, oh anonymous reader? You’re probably exposed to a broader cross-section of gamers than I am. I hope I’m wrong. I LOVE the idea of “virtual worlds” even if I’m not currently playing in one.
Indeed, I’m glad I’m out again. I tried to push my comfort boundaries this time. I PUGged in both Neverwinter and TESO, something I normally don’t do. And honestly both experiences were fine. I didn’t encounter any asshats or anything. But doing group stuff still kind of stresses me out, even when I’m having fun. I play games SLOW. I like to peek into every corner and potter about. In a group I have to move with the group and the pace always feels kind of frantic to me. Each night I PUGged I couldn’t get to sleep later that night, I was so wound up and stressed out. (I’m sure that would go away if I did it more.)
I know I can solo in my MMOs and go at my own pace but eventually you hit that wall where you really need group content to advance, OR you just start to feel like you’re missing out on the coolest content by not doing dungeons/instances.
It’s awesome that there are decent F2P MMOs on console now so when I do get the itch I can dive in for a few days/weeks/months. And though this last dive was brief, it was fairly deep. I spent about $20 on Zen for Neverwinter and signed up for a month of ESO Plus for $15, so my intent was to stick around. But in both cases I just suddenly didn’t want to log in.
There’s a lot of reasons I prefer single player games these days but right now as I’m writing this post the #1 reason is: they end. There’s a TON of games I want to play, but an MMO is forever (not literally but you know what I mean). Curiously, I used to prefer MMOs, even playing them solo, BECAUSE they had no end. So I’ve totally flip-flopped as far as that goes. Even though I’m enjoying Black Flag, I can’t wait to finish it because there’s like 4-5 other games I really want to get into.
SO many awesome games and there’s no sign that new great games are going to stop arriving any time soon. Remember when we use to have “gaming droughts” at certain parts of the year where we’d tackle our backlogs? That’s pretty much a thing of the past, eh? I guess maybe late-spring/early-summer is a little dry but otherwise we’re getting awesome games all year long.
I’m babbling, so I’ll quit for now. I have lots to say about Black Flag but I’ll wait until I’m finished. I know everyone is eager to hear my thoughts on a 4-year old game. LOL.