Dousing the Flames of Burnout.
It happens to the most dedicated of us all. The dreaded Burnout. One day questing, raiding, or pvp is the most fun you have ever had. The next, it’s a drudge of irritation that reminds you of that 2:30 feeling at work. Even with the most interesting of content to explore and experience, long exposure to any single game can test every gnome’s metal. As a former long time WoW junkie, I ran into this burnout at least six or seven times. Each time ending my subscription only to be picked up a few weeks later.
So how do we keep from getting to the point where we hate the games we love? Beau Hindman at SpouseAggro , spoke once to me about reminding yourself that these games are about fun. Beau plays pretty much every F2P mmo under the digital sun, yet he still manages to enjoy himself most of the time. I can’t say all the time but honestly thats what it seems like. I think a lot of players, myself included, forget that we started playing in these worlds because they were a lot of fun. Perhaps we become so used to them that they start to seem mundane and part of the everyday. These worlds are huge though. No one player has seen everything a game has to offer. There is so much more to do and see than the end games or just getting there as fast as possible. Sometimes taking a look back at the areas you looked over the first time through can give you a new and refreshing perspective on an old favorite. Nomadic Gamer’s own Stargrace often writes about the EQ2 content she revisits on her blog at MMOquests. Now there is a player that has seen a lot of a game’s content over a lot of characters. Yet almost everyday she makes a post about something she’s doing that is fun and interesting within the world. So while the first step is reminding yourself that the game is fun, the next has to be revisiting the parts of the game that make it fun for you. Try some of those old instances or if that sounds too easy, maybe make an effort to see some of that older content on an alt. These are huge worlds we log into, there is more to see than just Dalaran, Ironforge, and Orgrimmar. So go explore!
Another helpful way to avoid the burnout is mixing up your games. When you play the same thing day in and day out, its bound to lose its luster. One of the reasons I came back to WoW so often, was because these breaks helped remind me why I loved the game. They don’t need to be weeks or months long like mine. Just the process of taking a day off and exploring another digital universe or even the real world (if you are brave enough!) can really go a long ways towards making a game fun. I mentioned this on my blog’s post today. Chris from GamebyNight has talked about how freeing it can be to avoid subscriptions that lock you down to any one game. He’s not saying don’t sub to the games you like. By all means pay for what you like to play. However I agree with him in that not assuming next month I will be playing the same game, goes a long ways to keeping the time I am in game enjoyable. Its funny how waiting to resub each month limits the time on your account, yet can make you feel less committed. I no longer feel pressured to have to play a game next month unless I am having fun and really want to log in. If it isnt enjoyable, why keep paying for it?
To further elaborate on the last paragraph, taking time away from games in general is one of the most effective ways to keep those favorite MMOs fun. I have weeks where I use all my spare time to play video games. Yet when I look back on the most fun moments I ever had in an MMO, it wasn’t during these cram sessions. It was the days of play after a few days away. (kinda catchy. Look out Parapa the Rappa.) I play guitar, love to read, am a huge news junky, runner, and occasionally I enjoy going for hikes and doing some rock climbing. These extra activities are definitely second to my passion for gaming, but without them I think my passion would fade. Adding variety to your life really helps making your grinds feel like less of a grind. Even if you are not the most active of individuals, mix up your week with some movies or friends. I promise you the breaks will make your game a lot more fun.
All of these things are a huge help. Remember what a game is supposed to be. As the great LOLcat would say, If you find that you are playing it too much and that the content is becoming something that you dread, Ur dewin it rong!
Mix it up, take a break, and for heaven’s sake, Keep it Fun!
Thanks for reading.