On MMO Boredom

Before I get in to todays topic I need to remind everyone that they should be listening to my friend Bel’s podcast, especially this weeks because I got to come in as a guest host again (link).

Okay, so today’s topic is one I deal with every so often, and that is hitting the “end” of an MMO. What do you do when you reach the “end”? I know that in reality there is not really any ending to MMO’s. There are usually plenty of things to do such as dungeons, raids, and achievements, but what if none of those interest you? What keeps you playing a game that you feel there’s nothing left to do?

For me this usually comes up around the time that I reach max level in a game. In almost every game I get to that point where my interest starts to fade. I’ve done the raiding thing, and I’ve done the quest for better stats thing. I find these are only temporary fixes, and I’m starting to find that if I no longer feel like I’m enjoying myself then I don’t want to continue playing.

As I mentioned there was a time when I did the raiding thing which meant all of my non-raiding time was spent gathering materials to make enchants for the raid, or food buffs, or any other number of things like researching the bosses. This is fundamentally the reason I don’t ever really feel like raiding anymore. The “end game” content felt like it was a job. Getting online was no longer about me enjoying a game so I made the decision to stop playing. This also tend to apply to dungeons as well. I do enjoy doing dungeons, and I like the group of people I do them with, but my problem is that I don’t enjoy doing them over and over again to get the best gear. I like to do them to see the story, but after the first time it isn’t the same thing.

The first real thing that keeps me going in a game is achievements. Just about anyone I’ve ever played with has heard me talking about this. I love achievements, to me that is the best part of any MMO because it gives you something else to do besides killing monsters and being the pony express mail service. Achievements usually require some amount of effort and are generally fun to do. The only problem I tend to find with achievements is that it feels like an impossible task. There are always achievements that you can’t get, such as ones for raiding or pvp, both of which are things I don’t enjoy doing. I don’t mind them being there since plenty of people enjoy both of those things, I just don’t like it when a pvp achievement is a condition for some overall achievement. That just feels like I’m being forced in to content I have no interest in.  That being said, I still enjoy doing achievements because there are always new ones to do and they provide a nice alternative for more casual gamers.

The other thing that tends to keep me in a game is the people I play with. I’m sure I’ve stated previously that one thing I look for in a game is having people to play with, which for the last few years has been the same group of people. As a whole this group tends to shift from game to game as they come out and I enjoy running content with them when I can. I’ve only recently started to understand that the game I’m playing doesn’t matter so if I feel I’m done with a game this won’t keep me playing anymore. The people in the game still is a good reason for me to keep playing, but there is a limit to any game, especially one that you have to pay a monthly fee on.

Now, since the topic is MMO boredom I should also point out that I don’t make it to the “end” in every game anymore. There have been times that I get about halfway through the content before it starts feeling a bit stale and I play less and less. Another factor might be other games coming out that I’m interested in which draw me away from the PC gaming side for a little while. I feel like if it is that easy to be pulled away from a game, then I might not want to continue playing.

So I’m curious as to what keeps other people playing? Do you stick around for that end game content or achievements, or something else entirely?

On a side note related to my fitness post: Thanks for all the advice. I’m going to try cutting back on a few things, namely sugar and carbs. They won’t be gone completely, but I’m going to try to at least reduce them. This might just mean doing something simple like taking the bun off my sandwich or cutting back on sugary snacks, but small changes can have good results.


4 thoughts on “On MMO Boredom

  1. I used to stay in games for the endgame-raids. But the past few years I’ve gotten to easily bored with it, I guess because it feels like the same’ol’same ?! It’s like I’m doing the exactly same thing I did 8years ago. So ofc it’s gonna be boring.

    Sometimes I stay for achievement, but as you say, a lot of those are tied to raiding, A LOT of them and that sucks donkeys. I want those shiny achievements, but that means I have to raid 3 days a week to get them. I don’t have any game I love that much, that I would commit to that schedual anymore.

    I level up, I get to max level, and then I sit there, what to do next ? Dailys? ewww, raiding, meh I want to raid a bit but only when I feel like it, and that’s not always very welcoming.

    And after I saw what I had typed here, I guess I feel the exact same thing as you :P

    Community is a big factor tho, I sometimes stay longer then I should have when I have a good group of people around me.

    • Community is definitely one of the things I look for in an online game. I tend to get out of general chat immediately and I might not pay attention to guild chat, but being able to use voice chat is where I find it easiest to relax and feel like I’m not sitting in my office by myself playing a computer game.

  2. FFXIV has a pretty bad issue with endgame that exemplifies some of the pitfalls of trying to keep players chasing tangible, power-creeped rewards. While FFXIV is a really great themepark with more polish than anything but WoW, they’re in a nasty spot where their only system for endgame is literally bringing you a need dungeon and a new raid to grind. I’ve been away from FFXIV quite a bit recently and it’s because it feels like the only thing I can do in game is grind Tomes for gear that will be obsolete in three months anyway when the new patch hits. I spend so many hours running the same content over and over (and for each patch) that it’s tiring. I felt worn out and it was awful to feel like the only thing worth doing in-game is speedrunning the same dungeon 20 times to cap your weekly progression.

    Don’t get me wrong, as I’ll recommend FFXIV without a problem because there are hundreds of hours of great content and more coming at a breakneck pace.

    In the end, I avail my boredom by remembering that personal goals, achievements and gameplay are more important than having the biggest sword. I relax. I force myself to stop thinking in cold, “hardcore” numbers and remember that a world full of other people has infinitely more promise than even the most complex systems of mechanics.

    Getting back to TSW lately has renewed my hope that horizontal progression can be both meaningful and worthwhile. In that game they’re almost at a place where you’ll have options instead of paths at endgame. Their always-improving work to make their systems a “get out what you put in” has impressed me greatly. The Augment system (which I didn’t really play at release because of Nightmare Dungeon Burnout) is really growing on me because there is progress and upgrades available for any style of player: Hardcore players get the full, really difficult grind for the best Purple and Gold Augments. However, even if you don’t run dungeons and play for the story content you can get in there and start working your “common” Green Augments which really do add some needed power to the non-raider.

    In a more traditional themepark, once I hit the level cap I want a plethora of options. I want involved epic questlines for special gear or a crafting system that actually rewards crafting and isn’t just a way to create an economy. I want areas with tough mobs and cool rewards. I want cosmetics and houses and to feel like when I hop in a dungeon it’s because we want to go on an adventure and not because Boss #3 has a 1.7% chance to drop those pants you apparently “need”.

    But then again, I’m closer to the “hardcore” side than the more casual player. WoW’s LFR+Flex is the right idea to make raiding and dungeoneering more personal and more fun. Yet there’s a real big issue with WoW that the difficulty between casual and “hardcore” is so amazingly great that fewer and fewer players are hitting those epic, full raids and instead everyone is seeing the LFR versions where you can literally be a wet towel who takes damage and never dishes it out and no one either cares or can even tell that you’ve phoned it in. There’s no between, and that’s one reason I don’t play WoW anymore: there seems little room for the almost-hardcore player because it’s either boredom inducing easy-mode 10man normal raidguilds with “aspirations” of hitting those Heroic Raids but which never make the jump and disband a few months later.

    There’s something to be said of commitment. Raiding was a lot easier on the person when I was playing WoW-and-only-WoW amongst games that required an open ended commitment. Living and breathing Sunfury or Icecrown, for example, was a lot easier than trying to dedicate oneself to a game while also having an understandably wandering eye when it comes to the absolute ton of titles compared to a decade ago. Looking forward is a view that shows even more titles with even more diverse goals, aims and approaches.

    We’re gonna get buried in sand. Give it another few years and we’ll all be talking about how we want more structure and more progression. Maybe eventually we’ll realize that we all want worlds and not games, which is ironically the very place from where MUDs and MMOs sprung forth to begin with.

    Phew. That was a novel. Had more to say than I thought. I’ll probably clean this up and make it into a post of my own. Thanks for the unintentional prompt!

    • I enjoyed FFXIV quite a bit, but as you mentioned grinding for tomes for the best gear just didn’t work for me. This was a while back, probably within a couple months of release so there was no mention of a patch at the time, but that is always how MMO’s seem to go.

      You work your backside off getting the best gear and then a patch or expansion comes out and all your work was wasted.

      I think that factors in to what killed raiding for me. We would spend 2 days a week going through the raid in the off chance that gear would drop that we could use, and then the next expansion came out and you could get gear that was essentially better than what you just got in the raid.

      I do have mixed feeling about WoW’s LFR+Flex raiding system. I like that it allows me to raid if I want to, but like you said it takes a lot out of the mechanics so you don’t have to be as attentive as you had to be when doing a boss like Lich King. Now I understand the regular raiding system might still be a bit more challenging, but like I said I’m not much for a regular raiding schedule anymore, if I ever even feel like raiding.

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