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.