Jul 30, 2014

[Why I'm Not Talking About What I'm Playing]

  In recent months I've had trouble drumming up the effort to bother posting my views on the games I've been playing. Since its release last year, I've been really enjoying Final Fantasy XIV, but it seems most MMO bloggers never gave it much of a glance, or simply dipped a toe in and moved on to Wildstar or hopped on the ArcheAge hype train. Perhaps the majority of players of FFXIV, as producer Yoshi-P has claimed, are new to the genre after all.

  For many MMO oldtimers (who seem to be the majority of bloggers), it just didn't have the hooks that they've been looking for. Personally, a MMO's lore/world building and dungeon/raid encounters are the dealbreakers for my own investment in it and FFXIV has excelled in those aspects. Even the small 8-man endgame raid size has just fit so well into my playstyle that I'm just not interested in looking around for a game to jump to later. My style of MMO monogamy is the sort that sticks with what I'm happy with instead of constantly shopping for something 'better' in the future. I feel that having that sort of attitude sabotages long term commitment to any game, yet also seems to be endemic among many MMO players.

  It took about one year before I started to get disillusioned with GW2's Living Story format, but my interest in FFXIV has been relatively stable since its release. Perhaps because I made the effort to plug into various Linkshell and Free Company communities in FFXIV that meshed with my playstyle, I've maintained a core community of folks that I enjoy playing and talking with, which as many MMO vets will tell you is the backbone of having roots in any game long term. It's also something that takes a lot more effort to achieve, since modern MMOs do not really force people to form significant social bonds (another thing MMO vets often complain about).

  It just seems pointless for me to wax on about the eloquence of the game's localization, or complement the art direction and character design and music, the fun boss mechanics, the classic Final Fantasy homages, or any of the other systems that I'm sure are pretty irrelevant to people with no interest in the game, or who love the game but don't read MMO blogs.

 Maybe I'm just getting old, but I care more about investing in and playing the games I'm enjoying rather than writing about them for others anymore. Perhaps it's just a sign my blogging is finally at an end, after all these years.


Bhagpuss said...

That's an interesting way of looking at it. Pretty much the reverse of mine, though.

I was a writer long before I ever played a video game. Before there were video games, in fact. I always wanted to write about the things I enjoyed at least as much as I wanted to enjoy the things themselves. I wrote about music, comics, books, movies and now it's games. I can easily imagine not gaming any more but not writing? That's never going to happen.

I would also have to contend quite vigorously with the contention that any MMO vet would tell you that maintaining "a core community of folks that I enjoy playing and talking with...is the backbone of having roots in any game long term". I'm an MMO vet and that has literally nothing whatsoever to do with why I've played certain MMOs for years at a time.

I play MMOs to spend time with my characters not with other players. My characters are real to me in a way few other players ever have been. So long as I have even one character in a given MMO that I feel a bond with, my roots in that MMO are ineradicable. Characters are permanent. Characters are real. Other players are ships in the night.

As for whether people would be interested in reading your thoughts on FFXIV - of course they would. I read blogs about plenty of MMOs I don't play and probably will never play. In some ways that's actually more interesting than reading about ones I know well. Of course, if you don't enjoy writing about the games your playing that's another matter entirely but don't for a moment stop because you don't think there's an audience.

Pai said...

I can't play a MMO where I'm not attached to my characters. Above any other aspect, Character creation and class options have to work for me first for me to even try a game. I generally spend an inordinate amount of time in character creation...

I've had this blog a long time; maybe I've just moved past wanting to write about games as much as I want to play them. It seems every period of inactivity with my blog is longer and longer.