Author Archives: yogifyg

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.

Yogi

One Friendly Moment Towards a Better Server.

Recently a member (Branwyne) over at MMOvoices made a short video discussing the etiquette of players in LotRO.  It got the cogs of my rusted innards turning and thinking about community within MMOs yet again.

Community is one of the more important aspects of the MMO genre.  One might say the defining aspect.  Sure character progression and immersive story are great, but these are all things that we can tap into with single player titles.  We log into MMOs for the community.  Whether to smite them or aid them is entirely dependent on the individual… FOR THE HORDE!

Now while every server of every MMO has some form of community, not all are positive experiences for chuncks of the player base.  Flamming, griefing and general jack hattery could all be considered traits of a negative community.  If I’m visiting the local grocery to pick up some steaks (read: cooking quest) and some jerk in line slaps the food out of my hands or runs me down with a cart, chances are I won’t be back.  However one positive experience can go a long way.  Say I am not sure what is the best cut of steak (read: gear/skill/spec). The worker at the counter has an option to verbally backhand me with a fist full of, “OMG SO NOOB.”  They also have the chance to educate me on the ins and outs of what product will best suit the needs of my barbarian like appetite. Nothing huge.  They are not cooking the steak for me.  They are not delivering it to my grill.  Just giving me the knowledge to head in the right direction and get the best piece on it.

This same kinda of scenario is presented to us daily anytime we log into an MMO.  With the plethora of jerks, elitists, and twelve year old kids noob mongering the new player the process of a few nice gestures can really go a long way.  Whether it be educating the fresh high level toon with some tips, helping heal or buff the lower player in trouble, or otherwise just practicing being nice; these types of actions can have a huge impact on the community.

Think of it as a what comes around goes around or a Pay It Forward system.  Making one player’s day with one of these helpful actions or tips can mean helpful info for 5 more players down the road.  This really makes the community of games a better place.  Some of my best friends over the years have been made by starting with the desire to participate and help out other players.  Sure I could have called them noobs and moved on with my quests or instance grinds. In the end does that really make the server or game a more enjoyable place for any of us?

So with this in mind, why not take the little extra effort to make those newer or less knowledgeable characters a little more pro.  Show them what it means to participate and add to a community rather than slowly destroy it.

What are some of your positive experiences with MMO communities?

Thanks for reading.

Yogi

Science Fiction. Largely Unexplored?

Science Fiction is quite possible one of my favorite genres of games.  Don’t get me wrong, I love casting a large fireball or wielding a giant sword as much as the next elf. The industry seems to be flooded with the magical environments of fantasy though.  This isn’t bad, but it is making the sci-fi guy in me really crave a nice blaster, droid, and spaceship system.

I never played Star Wars Galaxies.  By the time I decided that pay to play systems were not the devil, SWG had already hit its peak and, according to the masses, been destroyed by Sony.  I also missed out on the era of Anarchy Online.  Once it went free to play, I tried it out for about five minutes.  I then had to go flush my eyes with water in hopes to alleviate the pain caused by the jagged polygon graphics.  EVE online is probably the best sci-fi based game I have played to date.  Although once I finished the tutorial and the industry quest line, I became lost in the vast area of space and large skill training times.

I’m curious why sci-fi has had such a hard time making a break out into the MMO industry.  What is it about the genre that causes most game developers to aim towards making a fantasy game rather than something in the far reaches of space? Is it the enormity of universe rather than just making one world? Or maybe its a class balanced system that forces them to rethink the Caster, Warrior, Rogue norm.    Sure we have titles like Star Trek Online and Global Agenda.  Global Agenda feels more like an expansive fps to me than an MMO.  STO is… well lets just say I’ve never really cared for Star Trek because I myself prefer the Star Wars universe.  (Its the phasers.  I cant stand beam oriented weapons even if they are scientifically more realistic).

Where are the games that allow us to explore far off solar systems, engage in combat (space ship and ground forces alike) and craft the very vessels we leave a planet with?  Has no one thought of the idea of having space to explore but the need to build your ship in order to see the content?  Perhaps players are just not willing to work for such experiences.  I for one would love to start out on a planet working months to create a vessel that allowed me to visit space and neighboring worlds.  The reward would be better than a surprise peach cobbler after a fantastic steak dinner. MMmm cobbler.

Maybe game companies see the dollar value of the fantasy genre and feel that it is a safer investment than sci-fi.  I think if a company put in the time to create an MMO that had you playing a character rather than just a ship, they could tap a seriously saturated fantasy market by providing  something the MMO world is desperately lacking.  There may be options out there that I have just not seen.  STO seems to have a mix of ground content with space content, but the story is set in a world that has a particular fan base and all the connotations (good or bad) that come with it.

Why do companies make great single player sci-fi games on a regular basis, but can’t seem to get it right or create something new for MMOs?  I’m befuddled by it.  Sci-Fi can be just as imaginative as any fantasy game.

Just give me one sci-fi game that creates an experience that isn’t pigeon holed into one element of the genre.  I don’t want to just fly in space.  I want to land and take on new worlds with groups of explorers.  I want to be able to colonize a space station or make a new space port on a distant planet.  Perhaps my desires are too specific and too large to realistically create.

What elements do you want to see in a Sci-fi MMO?  Why do you think this side of the industry is largely ignored by companies?  Id love to hear your thoughts on what would make you rethink playing an orc and wielding a staff.  Frankly for me, none of the games advertising this so far have come close to creating a world that has made me consider retiring from a life of fantasy.  How about you?

PS: Thanks again to Stargrace for letting me contribute to The Nomadic Gamer.  I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts and experiences with you all.

And as always,

Thanks for reading.

Yogi