Last night, while smashing the crap out of wargs, barghests, and wights in Fornost and the surrounding area I came to a sudden realization.
You know those Bartle tests? The MMO-Personality tests that help you categorize why you play these infernal games? If you're clueless as to what I'm talking about, click dis linky. When you've taken the Bartle test, come back and read the rest. :)
Anyway, I always used to think I was ESAK (Explorer, Socializer, Acheiver, Killer). But that's just what I wanted myself to be I think. In the Bartle questionaires, I always answered the answers that I felt were more in-line of my idealized version of my playstyle. I was lying to myself, and it was having an effect on my enjoyment of these games.
You see, whenever I play an MMO, there are 2 things I'm primarily focused on: Killing things, and completing quests. Those are the activities I like to do the most in an online game. I have to face that. And I accept that... I just never realized it before last night.
I used to think I enjoyed hanging out with others online a lot more than I actually do (I like to chat and occasionally group up, but for the most part I'm a solo-er), and that I love to explore the worlds and get lost in them (I do, but it's not a reason for me to actually play MMOs). I do like these aspects of online games, indeed if I didn't I'd just stick to offline action games.
It's just that primarily, what I'm in Azeroth, Norrath, Middle-earth or whatever online world for is to kill baddies (and sometimes players), gain levels and accomplish other goals.
It's the same way at work for me. Give me a quota or a deadline, and I'll work my ass off. Give me a stack of papers and tell me to "take my time" and I'll spend my days writing long blog posts *wink*. That's my explanation for the "Achiever" side of me anyway. I like to have goals, and there are so many in these games, that's why I keep coming back for more.
The "Killer" part of me sits slightly above the "Acheiver". I can't help it. I like battle. I play melee damage dealers in most games... for this very reason. It's as close to real fights as I can get without picking a brawl in a bar or signing up for Karate class at the local gym. I like the fights, even if they're just button-mashing exercises. What's the primary means of accomplishing the goals in an online game? That's right... killing. Now you see my point.
I do like to explore. I do like to socialize. I'm guild chatterbox most days, and I love to group when the mood does strike me. But more than anyting... I like killing, and I like completing goals.
When a game doesn't satisfy one of the primary urges of my gameplay, I tend to lose interest and leave said game. I did with WoW because the goals were way out of my reach and/or were unattainable because of my playstyle (I loathe raiding and rep grinds). I was finding myself at odds with LotRO because I was playing it for all the wrong reasons. Now, I know what I want from it and those days I do log in, I know I'll have a much better time knowing what I'm there to do.
I feel liberated by this discovery. I can stop trying to figure out what a game wants from me, and instead focus on the important parts... fun. :)