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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

You Can Never Go Home Again

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday March 31 2010 at 6:20PM
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I’ve been playing a lot of Warhammer Online lately, among pretty much every other MMO I own or have an account for, but never one exclusively at the moment.  The last game I played as if it and I were in a committed relationship was WAR back when it first launched.  I played it and nothing else (not even single player experiences I don’t think) for nigh on six months.  I used to truly invest in each MMO purchase I made.  Since then I’ve bounced around like many of us do from betas to old games to new releases and back again, and I’ve come to this conclusion… I may never find a virtual home again.
I know a lot of the cynics would say that this is because none of these games are good enough to call home.  Or that the communities aren’t there to help us invest the way we used to in games like Ultima Online or Asheron’s Call.  But I’m not convinced that’s the case.  I’m not saying that the lack of vibrant and tight-knit communities isn’t part of the problem.  But I think there are a myriad of reasons I simply can’t stay in one virtual world for longer than a week at a time before needing to visit other locales.
Here are a few of the reasons for my recent MMO-ADD fits, and I’ll let you tell me if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms as well:
  • There are too many choices!  Granted a lot of the games on offer share quite a few similarities, but there are so many choices for what kind world I want to be a part of that I have a hard time picking just one.
  • Ennui.  Tying a bit into the first symptom, while there are a bevy of games for us to play they all do sometimes blend together.  It all creates this feeling of unrest and discontentment that leads me to the “Grass is Greener” train of thought and the next thing I know I find myself dropping a nearly level-capped character in one game to start anew in another.
  • Nothing will ever be as good as the first game you fall for.  My first love, as I professed a long time ago, is no longer running.  It was a faulty game, but I remember AC2 very fondly.  And while there are certainly games which play and perform miles ahead of Turbine’s forgotten son, I can’t help but miss it from time to time.
And as I’m writing this, I’m starting to think that this game-hopping isn’t such a bad thing.  I will always crave the days where I was tied deeply to my community and the game I played, and maybe someday a new game will inspire that type of devotion again.  But until that happens, I should probably stop complaining about the good ol’ days being gone, and instead be glad I have so many games to bounce between giving me the luxury to complain at all. 
And besides, I’m monogamous with my future bride.  I don’t have to be with my leisure activities.  At least not right now… I’m sowing my nerdy oats.  I just hope I don’t make any of these games pregnant… I don’t want no baby digital-daddy drama.
I apologize for that last sentence.  Someone in the office is blaring Maury Povich right now and it seeped into my stream of consciousness.
Khalathwyr writes:

I tend to think that it is possible to indeed go home again. It's a matter of developers making FEMA Trailers instead of Homes. It takes alot more thought, time and effort to make a virtual world as opposed to a virtual themepark. With publisher pressures, share holder pressure, "beat WoW numbers" pressure it's no surprise developers can't take the time to make a home versus a two person shelter tent.

There are some companies out there, all small, that show the desire to make Homes/worlds again but they just don't have the money. Adventurine, Star Vault, Icarus Studios are a couple starving for funds. CCP , while not so starving anymore, may be my best hope for a virtual world return with World of Darkness Online.

The fundamental thing about a Home/World in my view is that it allows you many avenues of gameplay that aren't combat. It allows you to build things in the world, stake out your own little piece, which vests you and helps in keeping you coming back.

Thu Apr 01 2010 6:42PM Report
microempres writes:

Warhammer Online is actually an interesting game with the Order of the Griffon (Order) and the Raven Host (Destruction)  vying for attention
Mon Apr 05 2010 12:12AM Report writes:
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