I heard Michael Zenke talking to Julian Murdoch on one of his recent MMOG Nation podcasts, saying that he’s got MMO ADD and that he’s really only excited about MMO’s that aren’t out yet, and he hopes that he’s not let down when WAR comes out.
I understand his concern. Those of us who have played MMO’s since EQ (or earlier) tend to look toward the next great thing with anticipation, hoping to recapture the magic of our first forays into online worlds. In the recent past, for me at least, and it sounds like for Michael as well, the honeymoon period for a new game gets shorter and shorter. It’s not that the games are bad, at least not all of them. I still feel like LoTRO is the best MMO I haven’t really played. I just couldn’t muster the energy to level out of my 20’s in LoTRO. Age of Conan caused a massive “Meh” reaction. I’m in the WAR beta, and excited about the WAR release, but is that only because I can’t currently play it? Am I going to become bored with WAR once the time to actually play arrives? Will I switch toward anticipating the next big game?
I’m wondering about this, because I just signed up for the Jumpgate Evolution beta. Instead of putting time into Eve Online, I’m signing up to test a game that’s not even out yet. Instead of giving Vanguard a shot (one current MMO that I haven’t even peeked at, mostly because I think they should be giving out a free trial after their nightmarish launch), I’m playing Civ 4 and Team Fortress 2.
The WAR beta is in a non-testing period, which is good because it’s summertime and there are plenty of other things to be doing with my time. It also gives me time to re-evaluate exactly what I’m looking for in a game. During the MMOG Nation podcast linked above, Julian mentioned that he plays MMO’s because he’s an explorer. He enjoys traveling through new virtual worlds, and he gets excited about experiencing a new one. That’s pretty much how I’d describe myself as well. I’m not an end-game player (except DAoC, which had, for my money, the best end-game of any MMO), I’m not a dungeon raider, I’m not much for static groups. I’m an explorer, I’m a crafter, and I really enjoyed the shared PvP experiences of DAoC and Eve Online.
I guess I’m getting pretty specific about what I want from an MMO, and I think my patience is short with games that aren’t going to provide good gameplay experiences for my tastes. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, but I find myself wishing that there was a different type of MMO available, and quickly tossing aside those that don’t meet my desires. Perhaps that’s the WoW effect, simplifying things I didn’t want simplified (crafting, the economy, meaningful PvP, no housing). Whatever it is, I find myself looking forward, hoping for something breathtaking on the horizon, instead of enjoying what’s already available here and now. I might be fooling myself, or maybe I just need the industry to shake things up a bit.
Is anyone else doing this? Looking forward to future games, more than playing current games? Are you feeling blah about an MMO you’re currently subscribed to, just killing time until the next big thing arrives? Does Team Fortress 2 feel more satisfying than any MMO?