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MMO Hopping, My New MO

June 28, 2012

There were many reactions this morning to the Guild Wars 2 release date of August 28, 2012. Wanna know mine?

It was, WHY OH WHY MMO GODS MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!

Granted, I’m pleased as pie that I’ll be playing GW2 in about two months, but at the same time I can’t seem to help but feel a rising panic in me, knowing I still have so many goals to meet so many games, but so little time. This news…is going to lead to some rearranging of those goals. I know that when GW2 comes around, I’ll probably be dropping everything else for a while, and who knows when I’ll get back to them?

My plans to play The Secret World, for instance. That’s still a go, but in one fell swoop, the news of GW2’s release date has altered the status of the game from “something I’ll enjoy in tandem with Star Wars: The Old Republic” to “a placeholder until GW2 comes out.”

I’m not kidding, I actually felt quite bad about thinking that.  Oh, but why deny it? I’ve long given up on the notion that I can stay with an MMO for the long haul. No longer do I look at an upcoming MMO and think about its lasting appeal and what that means to me for the long-term. I even have doubts about GW2. After all, the way I’ve been going through games in the last couple of years, that viewpoint has become irrelevant. In these times, a few months with a game is considered a good run.

This is tentative, but here’s what my MMO life will probably look like for the rest of the year and beyond: TSW, GW2, Rift: Storm Legion expansion and possibly World of Warcraft: Mists of Panderia expansion. And I wouldn’t be the least surprised if others are in a similar boat, have similar plans. Can’t just expect people to stick with one MMO anymore, and I don’t even know if we ever did. It may have been the case when the choices were limited, but if you’re like me, you’ll only have the time and energy to invest into one or at most two MMOs at any given time. And yet, at the same time, you’ll still want to experience everything great that’s out there.

There in lies the dilemma. In recent years, we’ve seen so many new MMOs, it feels like there’s one or two popping up every day. The playing field has become saturated, but for them all to co-exist and thrive they will each need a certain threshold of players. The problem is, I think while the MMO playerbase has grown, it has not grown anywhere near fast enough to keep up with the rate the new games are being pumped into the market. Obviously, we can’t play all these games at the same time. The result is a chunk of the population that goes from game to game, leaving a game once the new car smell has worn off to check out the next big thing.

Yep, that’s me right there.

I accept that I’ll always be a little bit of a game hopper, as much as I want to find an MMO I can stick with for a good long time. I was never really that good at juggling games, and even before I’ve ever only been able to maintain a presence in at the very most two MMOs before my activity in one soon eclipses that in the other.

20 comments

  1. I have MMO-hopping fatigue. Partly it is from trying to hold a guild together during some game hopping, not fun… Partly it is from getting tired of worrying about the long term viability of games. Partly it is worry that they will all start to look the same to me. Mostly it is the hype cycle and the game bashing that seems to accompany it as the natives get restless, blame the wrong things for their restlessness, and pump a lot of negativity into atmosphere. I’m glad that you have admitted that it is just your game style and gaming preferences, not horrible flaws in the games you play, that drives you to try new things. For me, I’m trying to ignore all the bright shiny stuff for a while and stay focused on one game, hoping I’m in some kind of majority but knowing that I’m probably not. I think you have the right of it.


    • You’re right there, it’s not the flaws in the games that make me stop playing. In fact, it’s the very opposite. There are too many GOOD games out there, and my time is sadly limited. I never say never though, and I’m always open to going back to a game, just my activity levels may vary a little.

      The other factor is my friends — the main appeal of MMOs is the social aspect, I love being in game with the people I know. Often, a bunch of us want to play a new game so we do it together.


  2. I’m going to play TSW for 2 months and drop it until it goes F2P. Then I’ll have 2 great MMOs with 0 sub fee


  3. I stuck with Star Wars Galaxies for nearly its entire run, so I’ll do the same with TOR. Also, I have a lifetime with STO, so I’m good there and it’s so unique compared to every other MMO out there. I own a majority of the content in LOTRO (yay cash shop). Honestly, I’ll be happy to try out a new game here and there, but in the end, I think I’ve found my core of online games for now.

    At least until the new XCOM game comes out on October 9th. Then I’ll disappear for a while. :D


    • I don’t know what I’m going to do with my TOR sub. I’ll probably maintain it, for my game to always go back to, just like WoW used to fill that spot. I also have a great guild there, as long as that community continues to thrive, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere. My activity will probably just ebb and flow sporadically.


  4. Ha. I don’t mean any offense with what’s about to follow, so bear with it a bit until it finishes.

    On one hand, you are exactly the type of customer that MMO companies do not want: your upfront acknowledgment that you will not make a long term commitment must be like ice in the blood. It’s a statement that the business plan of the sub game, which depends on long term commitment, has failed with you even before the game has released. They must shake in their boots with fear that investors will read blogs like this one.

    On the other hand, their games seem designed to make long term commitment uninteresting and MMO tourism rewarding, so good for you for encouraging that design to fail.

    But now I do mean a bit of offense, just a bit of snark, with the following that references an argument we had here once upon a time: your upfront decision to be a tourist despite that the success of these games requires long term commitments is an upfront decision to not care whether the game succeeds or fails, which, if wanting a game to fail is the equivalent of wanting people to lose their jobs as you have claimed, means by your own reasoning you must coldly not care about those jobs and families.

    /bows


    • No offense taken, and fair enough. In a perfect world, I’d love to play all the games I love, but as much as I like to support all the devs’ jobs and families, I’ve got my own to see to first. Players’ time and money are limited. Obviously.

      Also I said above, the reason I game hop isn’t because of flaws in a game, it’s because there are too many damn good games. Yeah, devs hate people like me, but that also motivates them to be innovative or think up another business model until they find their sweet spot. Free market and capitalism, baby. It’s a system that makes people strive for more.

      Your last remark completely lost me, though. After all, if I didn’t want to play different games, and refrained completely even though I was interested, that’s $0 from me going to the companies and their staff. Even if I just played for a short time, the box price and a few months sub is still surely is better than ZERO, no? Also, I don’t even know if I really recall the original discussion.


    • I would say there’s a huge difference between wanting to play a game for only a short period of time and wanting the game to fail or not caring oif it succeeds or fails. Gamers, like everyone else, have limited resources. Just I personally wouldn’t eat a Whopper doesn’t mean I want Burger King to fail and those people to lose their jobs. Luckily, in the case of Burger King, there are those that do devote their resources to eating Whoppers. Just as, hopefully, game developers find that sweet spot where they are profitable, whether I personally play the game or or not.

      I am very interested in playing TSW ( and GW2) but I need to wait a month or so before I have the resources to commit to the game.


      • This. There is a WORLD of difference. Good analogy, and also, now I remember the discussion! :P

        Finding the resources to commit to games is the jist of it, isn’t it? Hope to see you inTSW, two months to get the most out of it for me, and then a break until the time is right to return again. That’s generally been my pattern.


      • I agree with you to some extent. However, fast food makes for a bad analogy — our (I include myself) terrible dietary habits as a culture means a ridiculous number of individual Burger Kings and competitors can coexist. off the top of my head, I’m drawing a blank, but a better analogy would involve a business where opening a competitor thins the customer pool enough to have a negative impact on the one you prefer.

        Ultimately, my point here was not what I truly believed, just me having a bit of fun with MMOGC’s own logic. It is simply not true that wanting a game to fail makes one a bad person who wants to people to lose their jobs. In fact, for some, whether or not people will lose their jobs simply doesn’t seem relevant — and in the end, that is a risk the employees chose to take. Given that it is a finite world with an even smaller number of MMO players, given the very content of this post, it’s a given that the success of one product effects the success of another.

        Think personality. If you’re familiar with Meyers-Briggs, specifically recall the Thinking vs. Feeling dimension. A Thinker will not, at all, include “people will lose their jobs” in an evaluation of why she would like a game to fail. That might seem callous to a Feeler but reasoning otherwise will seem bluntly irrational to a Thinker. Neither way of being is better than the other. They are simply different. Do not judge the value of someone because their mind works differently than yours — broad generalizations never come close to the truth.


      • “..whether or not people will lose their jobs simply doesn’t seem relevant…”

        I can agree with that. Though I’m confused, because I don’t recall suggesting anything like “people who want games to fail also must mean that they want everyone involved with it to lose their jobs”. though it’s important to note the latter is sadly almost always a result of the former. Regardless if it leads to people losing their jobs or not, just hearing someone maliciously say they want to see a good thing fail makes me wonder why they have such a negative outlook on things in life. That’s all.


      • I also think that your point about MB thinker and feelers is flawed, partly because I am a thinker myself, and can appreciate all the ramifications of a statement like “I hope that game fails.” Of course, we are all on a multi-axis MB continuum so maybe I hav a little feeler in me, too. Hoping a game a fails because it has features you think (feel) are leading the genre into decay seems pretty feely to me. Much more than simply saying, “I like or don’t like this game enough to conitinue playing.” Not that you’ve ever said you hope a game fails, have you? :)


  5. Yep, I hear ya MMOGC. I don’t even really expect permanency from my games anymore, just good rides.

    As for my later this year plan, I expect to continue playing TERA where I enjoy my duties as an officer in a very nice light RP guild, skipping over TSW for now, and grabbing GW2 for my side-game.

    Otherwise I’m very involved in my other gaming love, which is being a beta tester. Currently I’m testing TSW, FireFall, Torchlight 2 and Path of Exile.

    It keeps me pretty busy!


  6. I’m guilty of MMO hopping – really guilty. I fall in love with the people and the game, but I always seem to fall out of love with the game after 6 months of die hard, do nothing else, gaming. Then I feel guilty for not having fun anymore so I play a little longer, and eventually I just stop altogether until something bigger and better comes along. I’ve been drooling over GW2 for years now and really really really want to play it for the long haul. I’m sick of leaving everything from one game only to start over in a new shiny one. But honestly – I think my play style is just that I enjoy MMO hopping. Thanks for not making it seem like such a horrible, evil thing.


    • If there were no other games out there to distract me, I think I’d be able to stick with a game for a while. That’s how I stuck with WoW so long, I think. There were other MMOs then, just none that really interested me. Then a couple years ago the market exploded and suddenly everything looked so good and tempting. I’ve been game hopping ever since.


  7. I’ve been saying for a long time that a MMO that keeps me entertained for so long as three months is a rare exception. I’ve played tons over the years, and maybe one game in four I try reaches that mark (even getting me past the first free month or the two week trial is a feat, honestly).

    If MMO commentators would stop expecting every new MMO they try to be their life-long love, I suspect we’d see a lot less negativity in the blogosphere. If MMO developers/ publishers/ investors would realize that 100-500K steady subs is actually the target they should be shooting for (not f-ing WoW numbers) and budget accordingly, we’d see a lot fewer spectacular financial failures and likely more innovation besides.


    • That’s true…and I wish people would stop calling games that don’t have those WoW numbers “failures”. And I do prefer to be flexible, and even if I don’t make a game my “permanent” home I know in my heart I can always return and pick up where I left off. Those you describe often set themselves up for disappointment when their game doesn’t live up to their expectations. I’ve seen that happen quite a few times.


  8. [...] MMO Gamer Chick writes about how her MMO playing pattern has shifted from sticking to one game for a long run to “MMO hopping.” I think while the MMO playerbase has grown, it has not grown anywhere near fast enough to keep up with the rate the new games are being pumped into the market. Obviously, we can’t play all these games at the same time. The result is a chunk of the population that goes from game to game, leaving a game once the new car smell has worn off to check out the next big thing. [...]



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