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.


Posted on May 4, 2010, in General and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I like to mix up my games and sometimes take breaks from gaming all together. I have a lot of games I like to play for a month or so then I shelf them and move on to a new one. I only play MMOs so it is a lot of account work, but it keeps me having fun

  2. I know that feeling all to well. A one point in a game I usually start raiding with a small group of people, just for fun, not too serious about loot and raid-progression. Just friends having a fun time one or two evenings a week. Then it gets bigger and bigger and though I really only want to be “one of the raiders” I end up with responsibilities, because I just can’t say no.
    When the first problems arise, I, being the harmony-loving person I am, start to mediate to keep everyone happy and suddenly I’m the go-to-guy. That happens every time. But that is not what I wanted in the first place. I just wanted to have some fun. I play games to relax.
    I like helping people. In EQ2 some of my best memories are of some events I did for new guildmembers to show them around in Norrath and the fun we had on these journeys. And I certainly don’t mind helping with various problems. But at this point logging in usually means a lot of work. Staying away for even a day makes me feel as if I somehow neglect my duties. I hate that feeling!
    And all this leads to me taking a break from MMO-gaming eventually, because there comes the day, when I just can’t take it anymore. I guess you could call it a burnout.
    I’m on such a break right now and while I really enjoy playing only single-player games (mostly RPGs), I KNOW that I will be back to EQ2 or some other MMO in the near future. I just really need to find a way to keep some kind of balance, that works for me.

  3. Thanks for the comments! It really is a balance and not one that is always easily attained. When you get to the point where you are considered a helpful member in a guild, there is some responsibility bestowed upon you, be it raid healing or just the go-to helper for lowbies. This can give us the feeling of having to log in. Ive learned in my time within MMOs that this can be an incredible boost to our own self esteem and egos. Sure it is a lot of fun filling these rolls and being known by a group of players for reliability in a role, but it always comes at the expense of enjoying myself. I noticed that days where raids were formed and I was more into harvesting or questing, there was a backlash when I told members I was not going on the raid. Especially if no other healer could be found as a replacement.

    We should all be able to choose how we spend our game time, yet there is this expectation that if you can do it, you better. For me that pressure makes the game more of a job than something I enjoy. This has caused me to let any guild I join know that I will not be told I have to raid when I am not up for it. Likewise, I am no longer in hardcore raiding guilds or even desired for some ‘casual’ raiding guilds. I don’t see as much end game content as I used to, but the lack of expectations and set schedules for my time in in game has made the games more enjoyable.

    Its a balance that requires some sacrifice at times. For me, enjoyment has become my priority. While I may not see the latest boss from an expansion, I still feel like I am seeing more content than the majority of players. And having more fun too.

  4. Also don’t forget that you are replaceable. Humbling thought that I had a hard time believing. Even if you are the main tank, Healer, or DPS cannon, if your guild is committed, you will be replaced. Not logging in for a day or week will not destroy the game for other players. It will not make the guild crumble and fall apart. Its ridiculous for us as individuals to think that all other players will cease to enjoy themselves or eventually progress without us. Not only is it a selfish way of thinking (I have been prone to this same mentality many times so don’t take this offensively) but at the point you log in to make other people enjoy a game, you yourself have lost the joy of playing. If your guild does happen to disband because of your absence, well the guild had more issues than lack of your presence.

    This isn’t directed to any one commenter or player. Just something I forgot to mention that I think a lot of players seem to forget. I know I have several times.

    • Yes, very true. I just have to get this into my head. I’m really my own enemy in this.

      btw: keep up the good work, yogi (and all the other Nomadic Gamers, of course)! 🙂

  5. Thanks Olphas. I try my best 🙂

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