Aug 25, 2011

[Avoiding MMO Burnout]

At Massively: Justin Olivetti goes over his first experience with MMO burnout:
"[O]ne day, out of the blue, I realized I was sick of it. A cold trickle flowed down my spine as I couldn't conjure up any feelings of excitement, pleasure, or interest in this game. All of the accomplishments and achievements I had worked so hard to get became absolutely meaningless to me in the space of a couple minutes.

I logged out, canceled my account, and then fell into a several-day funk when I was thrashing about as I tried to figure out how to fill this now-gaping void in my free time. Slightly pathetic, yes, but no less real for it.

In retrospect, I see how I stacked the deck for such an enormous crash, and many years after it, I now have a much better handle on how to deal with burnout than I did back then. In today's Perfect Ten, I want to pass along my meager wisdom and experience about how to deal with this event... because it happens to most of us, sooner or later."
  I can relate to Justin (and many other MMO players') experience, because I've always been a bit of an obsessive personality, which can carries over into the games I play. It was my natural inclination to play a MMO for long stretches of time, wanting to see every bit of content I that I could as fast as possible. With World of Warcraft (my first MMO), I actually didn't experience burnout until toward the end of Burning Crusade, which was the first time I started actually trying other (lower profile) games like Ryzom and Horizons (now called Istaria). I realized that a high-pressure min/max grind was not what I enjoyed the most, and playing WoW that way was actually taking a game I enjoyed and making it a stressful chore. So I learned to play SLOWER, to take breaks, to not be afraid to do something 'inefficient' ingame for my own fun. Racing to cap is something I no longer care about in games, nor am I obsessed over having 6% less optimum dps or whatever. When I find a game I like, I don't want to ruin it for myself by losing sight of what I enjoy about it and turning it into a job.

  Taking a break from my 'main game' and trying others helped me (as a MMO newbie) discover my preferred game mechanics and playing style. I also got to try games with different concepts and types of content, as well as meet new friends. There's nothing more sad to me than reading rants from players who used to 'love' a game to pieces, until burnout turned all that passion into bitterness and boredom, since they can't bring themselves to STOP PLAYING and TRY DOING SOMETHING ELSE. For as much as some people deride 'casual' playing, in many situations of pre- or total burnout, trying that for a while (or permanently) is actually the only way to prevent ruining a game for yourself forever.

Related Reading: The More Alts, the More Burnout