Post-EQOA thoughts (essay)

Along with most of this blog’s visitors, I’ve been thinking about what game to go to after EQOA has been officially terminated. It’s been a month and I’m still looking. To be honest, I haven’t played an MMO since June 2011, so it’s not like a game is a crucial hobby.

Recently, my roommate and I have played Halo Reach. And as bad of a game as it is, it’s one of the few multiplayer games that are low-cost and we can play on the same screen. We play for maybe an hour or two, once or twice a week, and it’s enough to get my fix of video games. But in the back of my head I’m always thinking about a return to some sort of MMORPG.

As players, we log onto an MMO to communicate with others, better our characters, and accomplish feats of greatness. Yet the death of EQOA put everything into perspective. At least better than before. Essentially, the feats are pointless. The game ends and no one cares if your character ruled the virtual world. So we’re left with two main attractions from a game: communicating with others and bettering out characters. I’ll throw one more thing in here and that’s that an MMO offers instant rewards, whether via quest or kill.

Where can you communicate with others, better yourself, and get rewarded, though maybe not with armor or spells? When an MMO is broken down to its simplest attractions, it’s hard to justify spending time on it. What I’m trying to say is that what continues to stop me from finding an MMO is the entire idea of an MMORPG is a bit redundant. Mass-multiplayer online role-playing game. Take out the “online” and that should sound pretty familiar. It’s called life. What’s a better role to play than yourself? Plus when this RPG ends, you’re actually dead. So you’re never left wondering, what if?

I said that an MMORPG seems redundant and what I mean by that is we’re already playing an RPG every day. Why do I need to pay or spend any bit of time to play another?

A lot of folks will claim that it’s an “escape” or that it’s “entertainment” no different than a movie or television. To those people I have to wonder just how bad life is, or just how bad you’ve made your life into. What are you escaping from? When I think of escaping from something through entertainment, I think of a girl sitting in her pajamas with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s while watching The Notebook because her boyfriend just broke up with her. She’s in pain and looking for an emotional escape to take her mind off of her loss. For most people, this is temporary. She moves on soon afterward and finds other boyfriends and new adventures.

I would argue that most MMO players start out this way. We are in a rut, whether mental or social in our life, and we opt for an MMORPG for this escape. However unlike the girl, we don’t quickly recover in the real world. Instead, the MMORPG doesn’t just quench that thirst for escape, it becomes the thirst. It becomes the rut. The whole situation reminds me of the Fat Bastard line in Austin Powers, “I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat.” MMO’s becomes a comfort cycle. At the end of the day, an MMORPG is never going to challenge you to improve yourself as a human. Not like real-life experiences can. If that statement punches you in the face and you’re offended by it, then it’s probably dead-on accurate.

So, a month after EQOA has been shut down, I’ve come to a new understanding of my simple desire to play. Why is it when I’m feeling bored, lonely, or tired that I want to play EQOA? Yet when I feel busy, happy, and successful in life, it never crosses my mind? I’ve found a new MM-RPG and it sucks a lot of the time. It can be boring, upsetting, and downright painful. But that’s okay. It’s part of this game. And I’d much rather take a shot winning at this one than any online version. And if I lose? So what? I’ll try again tomorrow. As I said earlier, the only way this game ends is in a casket. And by that point, I doubt I’ll give a rip if I didn’t succeed. At least I’d go down swinging my fists rather than a virtual sword.

Happy Sunday folks. Time to go outside.

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About Stonee

EQOA blogger
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12 Responses to Post-EQOA thoughts (essay)

  1. Thrazor says:

    While you do make some excellent points I feel like I have to disagree on one in particular. EQOA was my first MMO and it was hardly an escape from reality. I only happened upon the game because if you bought it where I lived it came with a free network adapter. I decided to try the game out and the more I learned about it the more excited I became.

    I was only about thirteen years old at the time. I had plenty of friends (and eventually I chose to game over playing outside) and did pretty well in school. I’ve tried multiple MMOs from Anarchy Online to WoW and even EQ PC. None of them delighted me more than EQOA and still to this day I find myself hesitant to join any other MMO worlds. Not just because EQOA is gone, but because I feel like I don’t have time to sink into them/have better things to do.

    However, there are two upcoming MMOs that I have an eye on. One is The Secret World (PC) where you pay the flat fee of $50 for the game and can enjoy online play free of charge (something I wish EQOA had done). It looks interesting because it’s set in modern times, yet it has all manner of creatures and weapons and it also has massive PvP.

    Another game is Undead Lab’s Class 4 which is still in production. It’s basically a zombie MMO where you either work with others to survive or destroy one another in an open world overrun with the undead. The nice thing is that this game will be console based. Prior to the release of Class 4 is the 2 player game called Class 3. According to Undead Labs, Class 3 is basically a 2 player open world game that sort of prologues the MMO version.

    I do have to agree on the value of MMORPGs. I think this is something I noticed early on before the servers closed. It was probably what lead me to want to quit EQOA in the first place back when I sold my first account. It wasn’t that the game was boring, it was the feeling I wasn’t getting anywhere in life. I was about 17 years old with nothing to prove. EQOA had practically ruined my teenage years because I’d dropped out of high school in order to play games all of the time. It wasn’t the games’ fault necessarily, I just had an addictive personality at the time. I think that’s what hurt the most about the game closing down. I’ll never get all of the time back that I spent playing and in the end the game just closed down without a second thought. All those years for virtually nothing.

    But another problem was that I didn’t enjoy the “now” time. I always looked forward to hitting level 60 and getting CMs instead of focusing on the present and just enjoying the game (like I did when I first started out). I think if you can just enjoy it for the entertainment value then there should be nothing to regret. When we turn the game into work (grinding for CMs or camping a mob for hours to get one item) then that’s when the game loses its value. That’s why I always think about the beginning. When I was a new adventurer who needed help on easy quests. Exploring. That’s why I enjoyed EQOA.

    • Stonee says:

      Sup Thraz! I started EQOA when I was 15 and I definitely would agree that I sank my high school years into Tunaria. This post more spawns from when I was looking over Runescape and how much it has changed. I spent about a year on that game when it was released. Something just blew up to where I realized how ridiculous MMO’s can become when people commit themselves to hours a day of game play.

      • Thrazor says:

        Yeah I know what you mean. I tried Runescape but never got into it like my friends did. I don’t think I could ever sink in the time to play an MMO like I did with EQOA as a kid. Unfortunately it’s difficult for me to play any game for a lengthy time these days.

  2. BoomstickSaint says:

    When I started playing EQOA I was already 22. I spent high school playing hockey, skateboarding and just plain hanging out with friends. When I first played EQOA I was playing with my real life friends, it was just another way for us to “hang” when we couldn’t actually get together. During this time I made a promise to myself that if anyone ever wanted to hang out in the real world I would drop EQOA and head out the door. I was still skateboarding, playing hockey, playing shows as a bassist in a crappy punk band and having all night bonfires nearly every weekend over the summers.

    All in all I don’t thinkthe game hindered my real life in any way. I have a house and a family and 2 bachelors degrees. If there was ever anything that held me back, it has been myself.

    • Stonee says:

      Agreed. I do want to make it clear that I’m not blaming the game or any game. I think the mistake people tend to make goes along with what you said, though this isn’t directed at you in particular. “If anyone ever wanted to hang out in the real world I would drop EQOA and head out the door.” The problem here is that it’s reactive to friends rather than proactive. As I said, that’s not directed at you Wreck, but it frustrates me to hear people claim that they have nothing else to do when in reality, they just haven’t gone out and looked for it. I know people who will play video games and just wait for an invite from others. Yet if that invite doesn’t come, they complain about their lonely lives. So their excuse becomes “well no one wanted to hang out, I need something to fill the time.”

      • BoomstickSaint says:

        You’re right that is a reactive approach. I guess I didn’t really specify, but I really meant it to be when I was just laying around at home and being lazy. I have never been one to not seek out someone to hang with if I’m bored, but sometimes I just get too lazy to actively search for things to do; those are usually the times I end up playing video games these days. really those times I was referring to.

  3. Cut creator says:

    I think people play for various reasons. True when I’m bored I think about playing EQOA but that fits in line with a progression of things I like to do. I go down the list of things I like to do at any given time. Whatever is doable and is highest on the list gets done. For a time my life did suck but even when I turned it around EQOA was on the list and was enjoyable. I’m married. If it’s ten pm and I’m up there are not alot of acceptable options. I don’t watch tv unless it’s sports. I may or may not have a book I’d or game I’d like to finish. Pour up a cocktail and play online with friends. That’s acceptable behavior that I enjoy. No DWI. No worried wife. Most decisions I make in game can’t do permanent damage to my family or my ability to provide for them. And I get to socialize from the safety of home. Whatever that makes me i’ll be that.

  4. Falkrinn says:

    I agree that mmo’s can waste your life away. That is why I often took breaks for a month or so at a time when I started to get too wrapped up in them. Especially if you have an addictive personality I would be careful playing these types of games. However, if you can play them casually for a few hours a couple nights a week then I would say it is a great form of entertainment. I definately struggled with sinking too many hours into EQOA at times. It’s not really the MMO imo its the player that chooses to sink that much of his life into a game. It can be done with any video game really if you play it non stop. So if or when i pick up another MMO I will definately set time limits to what I’m doing. Moderation is key and it can be one of the best forms of entertainment there is just dont over do it.

  5. animaa says:

    I’ll be honest i pissed alot of time away on MMOs in my life more then id like to admit but even still i do not regret it, i played whenever i had time when i was younger because i enjoyed the feeling of doing an activity with other people that all loved the same thing… the game. People would talk about the game and real life that’s what gaming was for me, Ive met life long friends in MMOs that i will never forget, It really boils down to the social aspect in the old MMOs that made me not care that I would waste 6-7 hours a day on a game, Now days I can’t play any game for 6-7 hours a day even if I have the time, simply because games have become anti-social, I vividly remember not being able to go somewhere in EQ or FFXI without running into someone that I knew or had done an event with at some point, In these new MMOs I can run around for 2-3 hours and not talk to no body and I just crave some sort of social interaction which usually ends in shutting the MMO down and hunting down a few people in real life to hang with. That’s really what made me put so much time into the game, I could talk with people from my house and quit whenever I wanted to do something else, so really is a MMO any different than any other hobby or sitting around having a few beers with your buds, your really not doing anything productive and our beer nights usually last 6-7 hours any way.
    That’s kinda all over the place but in reality for me it wasn’t the game that took over my life it was the social interaction with people that were just enjoying the same thing as me, really my life hasn’t changed much, the activities are different but the principals are still the same, I spend damn near all of my free time at the track or in the garage with friends drinking beer and working on our cars, when I am waiting for parts or the weekend track day I would like to game but I cant stand not talking to people for even a couple days, when working on my car alone it feels the same as the old days on MMOs in the middle of the night and no one is on to interact with, I can only enjoy something so much without talking to people who enjoy the same thing.
    So like I said before is a MMO really anything more then a hobby?

  6. Twink says:

    All of you have shared good insight..truth from your own experiences that we never hear or read about when video games come under the spotlight for being detrimental.

    Reality is that video games are an extension of anti-social behavior in most people’s cases. The game enables them to achieve basic needs or desires, such as success, social interaction, progressive achievements and etc; without the need to leave the creature comforts of their home.

    Someone before said the word ‘moderation.’ Like all things in life, without it, things turn for the worst.
    MMORPG abuse or playing without moderation benefits no one and certainly has only served to cheapen our society.

    If you feel your someone that does enough activities away from computer – in a day to day sense – then don’t bother justifying to yourself or anyone else why you play games, or for how long.
    But if at any point you find yourself consistently losing sleep, gaining increased stress and/or spending time on forums arguing with strangers about virtual property, then you need to stop before it’s too late.

    Here’s a toast to EQOA being one of the best MMORPG experiences ever.
    I am extremely glad that even though I quit years ago, I was able to emulate it on my computer and connect. I got to see some of my old characters one last time.

    The best medicine is to not think about it, or else like all things lost, the absence itself it will consume you.

    Farewell Tunaria .

    -Twink

  7. Psychokillaz says:

    A lot of us from CLW play DCUO on the PS3. We have a league and are kicking ass. Hit me up at PSN Tampa_Black

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