Wednesday, March 7, 2007

MMO Fatigue... Is There a Cure?

One of my favorite bloggers, Tobold, has recently been showing some frustration with the fan-favorite MMO, World of Warcraft. I have to say, I'm right there with him. It's been nigh two and a half years since I started playing WoW, and for a while now I've been suffering from the titular "MMO Fatigue". I'm sick of the game... I don't want to log in... and yet for the past 6 months I've been feeling this way, I keep resubscribing, trying to play, trying to love it once more... but I can't.

I bought the expansion on opening night like the rest of the world, and my fervor and zest for exploring the Outland lasted only as long as it took me to realize I was still just a casual player with nothing to look forward to at 70 except waiting for the level cap to be raised to 80. I'm not a fan of raiding, been there tried it, enjoyed it once or twice, but I prefer small group content.

There is a TON of small group content in the Burning Crusade, but I'm not excited about it anymore. Why? Because I've quickly realized that it's the same as small group content in Vanilla WoW: fun, but with rewards on the lowest end of the totem pole. I love doing the dungeons but it's hard to feel motivated to complete them more than once when you know that you're missing out on the best gear (WoW's only real form of progression at the level cap) by not raiding or PvP-ing. I'd be fine without the good weapons and armor, if only there was a better form of character progression at the maximum level... which in WoW doesn't exist as of this writing.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm sick of WoW... finally. I still have very strong ties to the game, as it was the 1st MMO I truly went full-steam into (not just for a couple of months before leaving), but I think my time with it is done. It really did open up the genre to a lot of people who never even considered it, and it's certainly a high-quality crafted game. One of the best I've played for all intents and purposes, on both consoles and PC... but it's no longer for me.

I also have the feeling many folk like me are realizing it's not for them anymore. The game is more and more shifting into old EQ territory... for the "vocal minority, and less for the non-vocal majority" or something of that nature as Tobold put it. And the more they go into that mentality, the more I feel like I'm being told by Blizzard to GTFO.

I'll wrap this up. I'm sick of WoW, fatigued by the grind, I don't think there is a cure, and I'm now looking forward with cautious optimism at Lord of the Rings Online. Similar mechanics of gameplay to WoW and a host of other classic MMOs, but with a real focus on story, casual play, and equal paths of all kinds to the best of the game. I only hope all that it looks like it will be, it really will be.

AC was and still is friendly to all manner of folks, AC2 was as well, and DDO is more and more. Turbine's the 1st company to cater to casual people with real lives that come before their MMO lives, and I hope that stays true with LotRO... keep Tigole and the like far away from Middle-Earth please. I don't want to be making a post like this in another 2 years for my favorite fantasy setting turned MMO.

Am I alone here? Is anyone else feeling the same way about the 800 pound gorilla that is WoW?


Anonymous said...

I still got some friends playing WoW. Every time i talk with them about WoW, i'm thinking about resubscribing. But then I think about the things that made me quit, like the grinding, the "brick-wall insatances", the fact that there's no end.

I don't know how LOTRO will turn out with the end of the epic storyline but i almost wish that there will be a sense of accomplishment and the " carrot-on-a-stick" end-game will stop.


Bildo said...

I know exactly what you mean, Axel. I'm hoping that Turbine's commitment to updating content on a very regular basis continues with LotRO. Jeff Steefel has stated in a warcry chat (no link, but it's one of the most recent ones) that they have plans for the 1st content upgrade around the 30 days after launch date, and then regularly thereafter.

That gives me hope, remembering AC1 and even currently DDO, that lots of content will be incumbant to the game, especially if it's a moderate success or higher.

potshot said...

Same feeling. I have a new lowbie group so we're not doing BC, but I keep ducking in with my 60+s on an old server to mess around in hopes of finding the new old fun again.

Few and far between and a little depressing. The rain of new green gear that's better than old blue gear (and crafted gear as well) takes a good deal of the wind out of my sails. Grind on.

Add the ridiculous "how to get to hyjal" charts that are floating around the net and an adjustable difficulty level and it starts feeling a lot less like an MMO.

Not sure if its WoW-fatigue or LotRO newness, but I'm enjoying Eriador a lot more than Outland right now. Maybe that will change when my lowbie group leaps through the DP, but I'm not holding my breath.

yunk said...

I think Blizzard is really trying, so many new 5 man instances and solo content, and their press release yesterday about more small group content (with one new raid). But of course, the problem is like you said, they could add all the small group content they want, but if the raids always give better gear, then there's no point to doing that small group content since you can't compete in pvp, crafting, or any aspect of the game. Do it once or twice for fun then what?

WoW has no end game besides raiding, or vent-based pvp teams that refuse to fight pre-mades. I had hopes for the Arena but the small quick fights aren't very interesting. If they made crafting viable, or allowed more player customization, there'd be something to do.

Anyways, LOTRO is fun, crafting is not what it could be but more fun than WoW crafting. I have more hope the end game will be better, but you know what? Even if it isn't, at least if LOTRO is fun for 2 years until I find something else, then I'll consider it a success and fun.