I’m still on MMO break, playing a lot of Team Fortress 2 and other single-player games, but I almost got caught by LoTRO this week. In years past, I think I would have succumbed to the lure of Middle Earth and re-subscribed to scratch my MMO itch, but I moved through my usual MMO attention stages much more rapidly than I used to. In fact, it was only about two days from “Boy, I’d like to run around Middle Earth again, there are some things that look like fun”, to “God, I’m tired just thinking about grinding levels”.
The first thing that got me thinking about LoTRO was Ethic’s post about farming in the Shire. I really enjoyed the crafting in LoTRO, and since that was one of the areas where WAR disappointed me, I felt the urge to dust off my hobbit (that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) and do some farming and cooking.
Then I stumbled across a Tom Chick post about buying a house in LoTRO, and it was the second step off the wagon. Housing was another thing I really missed in WAR. My favorite MMOs have had some combination of housing, good crafting, and meaningful player versus player combat. He said making money is easy, and I could afford a house, and I could craft…I was weakening…
The third thing that got me excited about LoTRO was the most recent Gamers With Jobs podcast, the January 28th episode. They were talking about Moria, and how much fun they were having, and how awesome the world looks, and I was pretty much ready to sign up right there. BUT…
Then the GWJ crew mentioned that they didn’t level up the characters they were playing. It seems Turbine gave them accounts with higher-level characters so they could check out the new content. Very smart of Turbine to do that, very cool that the GWJ guys get an opportunity to enjoy Moria. However, one of them mentioned that they wouldn’t want to have to level a character high enough to experience Moria. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it mentioned grinding and fetching sandwiches and killing things over and over…and I felt the wind go out of my sails. My MMO burnout returned in a rush.
I know that feeling, the “Oh my god, I’d rather do anything than level” feeling. I’ve felt it eventually in pretty much every MMO I’ve played, from EQ in ’99 through DAoC, SWG, WoW, LoTRO, and WAR. It used to take a long time for me to get to that point. There was enough that was new and exciting about the worlds I experienced to offset the level grinding. After grinding through so many games, though, I just can’t take the idea of doing more of it to get to 50 to check out Moria in LoTRO.
So, instead of months to burnout, I went from excitement about LoTRO to burnout in just a couple days. I think that’s a sign I’m not ready to return to MMOs yet. That feeling won’t last forever; I think a long break will serve me well, and I’ll be able to face MMOs without a feeling of fatigue. I was amused, though, to track my attention span, and see how quickly it went from focused to bored.