You need a break from your own “fun?”

January 18, 2009

I’ve recently gotten back into World of Warcraft after a recent haitus with the game, and it feels good to be back.  My guild missed me, the officers missed me, and it was good to just be back in Azeroth.  But after getting back in touch with everyone, I found a few holes in the list.  I asked around to find out where some of my other friends were, and what I got was pretty similar to what I had been doing.

“Oh, he/she is going on a hiatus for a little bit.”

It was when I heard this that it hit me.  Why the heck do we need to take breaks from our MMOs?  A game is something fun and relaxing.  Something we want to play because we enjoy it.  If that was the case, then why do we feel that we need to take “vacations” from them?

Personally, I think we’re taking our fun too seriously — and yes, that’s possible.  You can see it every time a raid comes up, you can see it whenever a new guild drama forum post pops up.  People find reasons to hate one another, even if their united objective is just having fun.  Can’t do the boss in one go?  Blame someone else!  Cause drama!  Loot that you needed dropped and you lost a perfectly legitimate random roll?  Tell him he’s an asshole because he somehow concentrated so hard at his keyboard that he not only caused himself an aneurism, he also forced Blizzard’s random program to make him roll a 89 and you a 2.

This is something I probably concentrate on too much, but fun is suppose to be fun.  This is usually the point where I would say something intelligent like, “Now if you changed the loot system around and perhaps minimized the rewards in favor of promoting storyline design…” and then wish for the best, but you and I know that’s sadly not going to work.  Some people are still gonna rush to whatever the max level is, or try to complete all of your content in 4 nanoseconds faster than their next door neighbor so they can prove to all of the women on the internet (all 6 of them) that they are the leetest (word looks stupid without the 3s, doesn’t it?) hunk of manhood there is in “World of Online Game X.”  All because technically, that’s what a game is about… beating someone else.  It wasn’t originally about the fun — it was about besting someone else.

But I like to think that we’ve evolved the concept of a game past that.  To something more than just that.  To something that we enjoy doing and don’t need to take breaks from…

So please, next time you’re on that raid or in that group… try to relax and enjoy yourself.  You might find that the game might be… fun?


  1. I know this is old as crap but I just read it so I’m just gonna comment.

    We do take it too seriously. I know I do. We’ve got to take breaks because we start focusing on fantasy land more than real life.

    Also, as a pioneer of the original 1337/l33t phenomenon, I’d like to say that it healthily advanced to leet sometime ago. For me, seeing it with the 3’s just tells me that someone is still a newb and hasn’t progressed their leetness very much. 😀

  2. I think it’s more of a “familiarity breeds contempt” thing. Too much of a good thing can still burn you out, especially if you’re an intensely enthusiastic player when you do play.

    I left City of Heroes, Lord of the Rings Online, and Age of Conan all for this reason. They are three of my favorite MMORPGs ever, and I would recommend the first two to anyone looking for a well-made MMORPG. AoC I’d recommend for sheer fun-factor, with some caveats.

    So why leave? Because I’d played intensely for weeks and months on end — overkill, without ever intending it. I just love my good MMOs fiercely and appetitively.

    When I “hit the wall”, I quit for a while. This enables me to go back later and still appreciate all that’s good.

  3. I’ve been playing MMOs since Ultima Online in 1997. By 1998/99, l33+ speak as it was known that had already begun. Technically speaking though, it existed even earlier during the MUD days.

    More to the point of this article, I just have to say that WoW appeals more to human nature than any other game. Why? 1) No loss of items, 2) Death causes little to no damage, 3) Pepper it with some “uber magic items” and you have a deadly mixture to create obsession dashed with competition.

    WoW, and it’s true for any MMO mostly, creates a false reality in which an elite tier of society is actually achievable for once. It’s within grasp, all somoene has to do is grab it. So, it sucks its players into this world so they can finally feel like they’re part of an upper echelon, or something else that satisfies those basic human desires to be wanted, needed, and important.

    That being said, I agree with you that MMOs should be played for fun rather than some kind of obsessive achievement. I’ve played WoW a grand total of about 5 months since its release. I bought it on release day, and come back to it once in a great while to see the changes they’ve made (to clear the air, I’ve been an Eve player since 2004).

    The problem with players of WoW, and games of its ilk, is that it is concentrated mostly around levels of skill and devotion to a cause. That cause is namely prestige for the guild, and performing one’s role perfectly. This in turn causes newly inducted persons into the fold to identify with those values in order to achieve respect within their “tribe”, so to speak, or guild. Thus the disease of taking fun to seriously continues, and not because that’s what people truly want, but that’s what tribal society demands. It demands to be better than the next tribe, it demands to acquire the most resources, and it demands complete compliance and devotion. No one can stop it, even though they may wish it so, because it is the collective hive mind of human players at work. It’s a deadly trap that some recover from, and others do not.

    I only understand this because I have been through probably two dozens MMOs in 12 years. Casual gaming is a difficult art to master. Just learning to have fun with it, in essence, alienates one from the hive I believe.

    Have fun!

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