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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Why Do Players Leave MMOs?

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161 posts found

Elite Member

Joined: 2/12/12
Posts: 1499

1/22/14 1:00:03 PM#121

Most exit points for me lately boil down to the same thing: The feeling of "been there, done that... already played that game before, just with a different name and skin". A few "new" gimmicks might be enough to pique my interest at first. However, once the novelty of those things falls away, what I'm left with is the actual game I'll be playing for the next (ideally) several years. If *that* isn't enough to keep me interested, then I'm gone.


So, to wrap up most exit points for me lately? "Game is too derivative. Stop playing "me-too", and try to actually stand out, rather than blend in".


The most significant exit event for me was with FFXI. I'd played the game loyally for almost 8 years and would still be playing it, except for SE having a serious "derp" moment, losing complete sight of what made their "most profitable game" successful in the first place (hint: it wasn't playing "me-too", like everyone else around them), and deciding to try and hop on the "casual-friendly and more casual" bandwagon, thus undermining and un-doing what they'd spent the better part of a decade creating and building. FFXI's undoing was called Abyssea, it was the dumbest thing they could have done with that game (they even admitted screwing up with it later), and they have never been able to recover. It was my "exit event" from that game. I tried going back.. but it's just too different.


They tried to right the ship with their last expansion. Sadly, all they succeeded in was further demonstrating that they'd lost the plot and forgotten what made XI their most successful and most profitable MMO in the first place


Apprentice Member

Joined: 5/20/10
Posts: 316

1/22/14 1:42:37 PM#122

I lefft Wow because of the raids and the attitude of the players who did them.


I left Eve Online because of the constant pvp and blob warfare. i really like Eve Online but after a while it all becomes very much the same. Get in a pvp fleet and wait at a gate. Or get in a fleet and sit in a pos for a few hours until people are ready to take a system.

I am looking forward to Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous though and hope they can be something different than Eve Online.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/20/14
Posts: 15

1/22/14 1:50:28 PM#123

Next time you are to troll community, go pro :)

There are subjective people who think many games are good, becouse they personally like them, there are the ones who are paid to say and or promote games with their keys and stuff.

None of them will ever know how to put it, nor come to senses, what that specific game is lacking, becouse they are blinded by urge to play, be part of something.



"Thank your for your feedback, we will look into that matter."  Like players matter at all :)

Gaming industry is bombarding community with bad, uncomplete, no content/stability software and only 1% of games live up to their expectations.

wake up, either play the right game, or go on with your life and wait for it to come to you



Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/20/14
Posts: 15

1/22/14 2:01:27 PM#124

                                                                 FOR COMMUNITY

AS a consolation i think that YOUR mmo, the one that suits you is comming.

Black Desert, Archeage, Everquest Next as FTP or Wildstar /Star Citizen/ESO etc

You will prolly find yourself here, thats as close as it can get to a good mmo these days,

so good luck to you all ;)


Elite Member

Joined: 8/13/09
Posts: 6563

"It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver". - Niccolo Machiavelli

1/22/14 3:20:14 PM#125

There are 2 reasons why I leave MMOs:


1)  When all I have left to do is boring repetitive chores to feel that my character is progressing (which it is not).


2) When I get to the point where I cannot advance my character without paying real money. I dont mind paying for cosmetic or boosts, but if I have to pay to progress or pay for content that is not an expansion I happily leave and uninstall. NOTE: DLC content in mmos the way TSW and DCUO do it is OK with me because it is completely new content that would be part of paid expansion in other games, not locking common content behind paywall. I dont buy Swtors DLC because they lock character progression behind the paywall.


Advanced Member

Joined: 3/14/05
Posts: 148

1/22/14 5:16:50 PM#126
Originally posted by WereLlama

I am goal orientated so when I cannot make measurable progress with my character, I leave.

So for a game to keep me for a long period of time, I imagine it would need to always have lots of room for growth.  Not sure if that is possible without daily fixed time caps on progress.



This is the biggest reason for me, and measurable growth in reasonable time is key. If I have to grind for 60 hours for a .001% increase in performance where I used to get 1% an hour, I'm gone. There comes a time when the reward from leveling and playing the game isn't enjoyable enough compared to the effort.


It should also be noted, that the reward is not just an increase in character performance, but to be able to explore new content that was previously unreachable due to not being strong enough.


Elite Member

Joined: 6/13/07
Posts: 1342

1/22/14 5:27:18 PM#127

I mostly leave MMOs when they are callously closed down by NCSoft.  Which is why they'll never see my money again.


Reasons that I don't stick with MMOs are things like bad interfaces.   The worse the interface, the better the game has to be to make me stay.  Non invertable mouse is pretty much an instant delete sign.    I am not going to retrain my reflexs for your one game, sorry.  Non-choice pvp is also a no go button, unless it absolutely fits the world and game design.  And even then....   Bad world design is another thing that wears down my interest.  Sadly, lots of MMOs, even the old classics, have rather poorly written universes and campaign settings.  Poor character customization is yet another.  

If you are holding out for the perfect game, the only game you play will be the waiting one.


Novice Member

Joined: 8/17/11
Posts: 159

1/22/14 7:32:34 PM#128

i leave an MMO when i get bored of the world

i don't escape to an MMO to do the same thing i do in real life ("grind" for money/gear/lvls)


Advanced Member

Joined: 11/09/13
Posts: 7

1/22/14 9:09:54 PM#129


General decline in gameplay due to lag, bugs, and 'thin' content.  (I mention this because I think it's rare that a great game you love suddenly experiences an 'exit event'.)

Final straw: class revamp that completely did away with the class I had enjoyed and played for years without so much as a single survey from Turbine as to what players wanted in a revamp.  It was that class in name only afterward.  I left after 6 plus years of regular play.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/02/12
Posts: 317

1/22/14 9:13:35 PM#130
 Easy. I payed a lot of money on Everquest.  Now, it is a totally different game

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/16/13
Posts: 16

1/22/14 9:34:55 PM#131

                                                  A GOOD MIX OF PVE/PVP

I am an older player. I leave for various reasons which are situational to the game. I enjoy a good mix of a battlefield/zonecarebear pvp (death doesn't mean you get looted and come back as a ghost with nothing- that sucks to me) and pve. I enjoy hanging with a guild and attempting to do a pve raid here and there but my game has to have a mix that's enjoyable or the game is dumped.


I haven't seen an enjoyable yet frustrating game as dark age of Camelot in years. The "thing" was the enemy class that attacked you had a mix of 2 or 3 of your realms classes in 1, and you had that in a class of yours but in a tank/ranged/etc.


 Games these days cut and paste a "healer", "tank", "Mdps", "ranged" without a small imbalance from one realm to the other.

Dark Age did this the best but also fkd up too cause they didn't react very quickly to some of the pvp HUGE imbalances, i.e. banshees screaming thru tower walls, animst poping out shrooms in a courtyard and going afk while they kill everything or even some of the imbalances from Warhammer Online.

It was a lot of fun in the beginning and figuring out that a Magus mechanics were made slightly different in another named class of the enemies.

                                                 DEV REACTION TIME

Those 2 games were simply the devs didn't react to balance in a timely manner and I chose to not wait (after investing 6 years into daoc) another 1+ years on games that had become aged.

                                                  CUSTOMER SUPPORT

The other reason I leave is IF the customer support really sucks! (FFXIV *cough*) then Ill drop em even quicker. I have waited 16 days for a return on an item swap and counting. I feel that's bad business on their part. If you disagree that's fine, but in the end, Im making a payment to them (sub)  and if I feel they lack early in the life of the game of cust support it wont get any better as time goes on.


Novice Member

Joined: 9/19/12
Posts: 32

1/23/14 5:22:49 AM#132
+1 fantasyfreak112

For me , i stop play mmo from months beacuse i have life and friends

Addicted to mmo will make u stay front screen long time

Not healthy and will affect baddly to your life

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/18/11
Posts: 1199

1/23/14 8:01:59 AM#133

Heh, this article isn't about "why" you quit.

It is about "how" you need to quit.

If you want the genera to get better, start filling out the surveys when you leave.



Advanced Member

Joined: 11/10/05
Posts: 5629

1/23/14 9:53:11 AM#134

In regards to the more outspoken mmo "vets", most of them seem to not really play mmos. Rather, they tolerate them, always looking for the last straw. Sometimes its a patch that "breaks" a must have feature on their list. Or its an overall design that they just can't take anymore. Then its off to the forums to let everyone know why this game fails.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 8/18/13
Posts: 73

Stuck in the desert as I look for the promised land of MMOs, or at least a nice oasis to sit at.

1/23/14 11:13:06 AM#135

I mean no disrespect to Mr. Miller, but I think that the reason why players quit MMORPGs has been made clear. Quite simply, they get bored. Specifically:

  • There are no variations in gameplay. You kill in the same way for the same purposes, over and over again.
  • The in-game world is completely static in nature. NPCs stand there lifelessly, every area is sectioned off for specific quests and those quests only, and the same enemies keep respawning in the same areas, even after you exit the area in question. Plus, the in-game world lacks any weather, ecosystems, and interactive detail in general.
  • Rare spawns are actually quite common and predictable.
  • Everyone is the same. Everyone has easy access to the same things, except beyond artificially drawn lines which are meant to keep people like raiders feeling like special snowflakes.
  • Character progression in PvE activities boils down to farming the exact same bosses, enemies, and/or currency in the same way over and over again.
  • PvP means nothing. You fight in contained instances which reset. Or, you fight over in-world objectives which have no practical value to the player.
  • The community there is a community in concept only. There is no reason for them to bond as comrades, so other people merely serve as a distraction and/or annoyances.
  • There's no existing alternatives to these problems, except things like FFA PvP, hardcore sandbox games, and so on. And many people do not like these alternatives as well, even though they are valid parts of the niche MMORPG market.
I could go on, but you get the point and this list is boring. /Getting mentally sleepy.
Frankly, sitting around and naming the same problems over and over again is not productive. What we need to do is sit down and invest the time in thinking about solutions. In fact, why not have a pinned thread in The Pub at which is dedicated to brainstorming new ideas for the developers out there?

Waiting for: Citadel of Sorcery. Along the way, The Elder Scrolls Online (when it is F2P).

Keeping an eye on: (whatever is going on here).


Novice Member

Joined: 11/07/08
Posts: 13

1/23/14 11:18:47 AM#136
When content is just grinding and  dungeons next to impossible due to mechanics and lag.  Left FFXIV at the end game due to this and the promotion of guild housing and all the features including recipes for it and then priced so NO one could buy one.  The company crapped in their own nest.  Stupid business move.

Novice Member

Joined: 8/26/10
Posts: 169

1/23/14 1:39:16 PM#137

It's an interesting topic for an article, surely one that puts a dent into all the negativity surrounding the "I'm leaving this game" posts on official forums—people being so defensive when their preferred game of the month is criticised, granted heavily but nevertheless subjectively (i.e., to each one's own tastes). Even the sempiternal "this game sucks, period" has its value, so to speak, as it is an opinion among others. One terribly lacking in wording and substance, for sure, yet an opinion nevertheless, that all games will receive from at least someone; the problem being when too many 'someones' express such an opinion. That former customers won't even use a word to explain why a game is horrible means that, in their mind, anyone trying it would immediately know without needing further discourse. It's peremptory an opinion, incredibly harsh and borderline useless to improve the product, yet it says something.

Now, to the point of the article. The idea of the "exit event" is interesting I think, for a couple of reasons: 1) it's probably great for polishing, but… 2) focusing too much on these "events" themselves (single, identified moments in time) is probably much too narrow a vision for a whole game design. 

I'll try to avoid a wall of text.

1) Kind of obvious, identifying most of these "exit events" is equivalent to assessing which parts (features, moments, etc.) of the game are bumps and lumps, rough patches, the proverbial roughness that breaks 'immersion', the fourth wall, suddenly prompting you to remember that this is a game you're playing and there's a whole world out there. The less you make that realisation when playing, the smoother the experience is, the less you'll even think of leaving to do something else. Less chances of hitting that straw that could break the camel's back.

Taken like that, the "exit event" identification and use as information seems a valuable method. I don't think it helps much more than that though; it could even give false perceptions of the how's and why's of players behaviours, because it's terribly limited in scope.

2a) Indeed we're, at this point, awfully ignorant of what weighs on that particular camel's back in the first place. How that particular game is designed and how pieces of it interact together (or fail to do so). Sure, "crafting [may be] too tedious", "combat [may be] boring", and so on and so forth: but these are all relative aspects. You'd find a game A with a much tedious yet incredibly exciting crafting system, whereas in game B crafting could be much simpler yet bland thus totally boring. There's no universal measure of such elements of a whole (what is crafting? what is a 'good' combat system? is there only one answer to these questions?); only against the whole can you truly judge what's worth and what's subpar for your particular game, and beyond that compared to the industry in general—but remember not all games have identical design goals and approaches.

That's another way of saying that a game, or a movie, an album, a book—anything fictional and/or crafted, really—needs a vision, a grander scheme, a global direction that unifies elements and maintains their inner and outer coherence. That thing by which a maker can craft a whole object that bears coherence—making isn't just assembling parts; and cloned parts can resonate much differently when implemented into a different whole.

What you see, much too often in MMO design, is that everything is made (and thought of) so separately that the whole is more of a patchwork than a well-oiled mechanic. Each time the player goes from one aspect to the next (say, stops fighting to craft something), how everything ties into everything else will suddenly make the whole experience seem coherent, enough that you'd be willing to suspend disbelief a bit longer. 

2b) And then there's an even bigger picture. What is the last game you've been playing consistently (several times a week, for hours), across many weeks, possibly even a year? I bet it hasn't happened much often in your gamer's life, and the few instances were probably with an MMO. This genre has such a retention power, compared to many other games (notably because: no definite end), that we sometimes fail to remember that any game (as any movie, book, etc.) will be put down at some point in his owner's life, because: other things exist. 

No one questions why someone stopped playing Mass Effect X or Civilization Y, but with MMO's? "Oh really, you stopped? Why? What happened?"… as if there needed to be a reason entirely alien to the player itself; as if there needed to be problem, a negative event, something which explains why said player left—because, obviously, it couldn't just be another one of these players playing a game and then moving on to another game!… Really? :-)

I think we misinterpret the general pace (and subsequent retention patterns) of MMO's compared to other genres, particularly single-player games; and that this flawed approach of a fantasised "second life", or whatever exaggerated notion we surrounded virtual worlds with back in their beginnings, is what's driving a flawed analysis of what are nevertheless perfectly normal and rational consumer behaviours with any piece of media.

The perception we have of it also pertains to the business premise of the genre though, as since its beginnings, its very existence is subjected to a steady influx of income—permanent worlds, servers, need to be financed to keep on running. MMO's, as of today, are still pushing the boundaries of computing resources (including networks) on a more regular basis than other genres. Running an MMO, simply put, is sailing through risk constantly. This need to extract money from customers constantly, whether through subs or micro-transactions, is shaping the genre itself, as the retention factor is of prime importance. 

Once you bought FIFA or Mariokart, EA or Nintendo doesn't care that you play it on a daily basis for months on end. You bought it, it should be enough for them that you've had enough fun to justify buying the next iteration. But MMO's don't really shape like that—iterations are more 'expansion packs' and 'patches', etc. They need you on several days a week, several weeks a month, several months a year (approx. 3 months/year is a sweet spot many MMO publishers only dream of). 

The very business of MMO's revolves on a reciprocal tension from developers to players: the former need the latter to stay in the game, the latter needs the former to stay at it (making new content). The deal is thus quite simple, money for content, but in a much more intricate way (monthly basis) than in most other genres (once-per-iteration basis). This leads to changes in the very design of MMO's, sometimes innocuously, sometimes breaking the very integrity of the product (because: abusive time sinks, real-money translating to power unbalance in-game, etc). A strong argument in favour of subs versus cash shops, though subs come with expectations that seem impossible to fulfil these days, except for the best 2 or 3 titles—WoW, Rift come to mind, but how many failed at a subs model?

So to the question "why do players leave MMOs", I think the article is right in simply saying, basically "bad games" (or too many rough patches), or at least not good enough to hold players indefinitely. However this is just one reason, and probably not the most factoring. In the larger picture, I think the answer really is "other games". Better, newer, where your friends are at… Players will always leave MMO's, just as they always leave game X, Y or Z. Just as they don't read the same book, watch the same movie, or listen to the same album over and over again all their life. 

The idea of rough patches, "exit events”, is interesting for in-depth analysis, of course; but beyond that, marketing metrics and vaguely theoretical takes (let's call these simple empirical observations), it doesn't say much and doesn't really help. Would you make a better album if you took Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" or Radiohead's "OK Computer" and identified, metrics and polls helping, the "exit events", and tried to rework these?… It may help you when using parts of these albums (for background video music, various events, etc.), as you would probably use the 'best' parts and leave the "exit events". It's subjective, but metrics will give you a fair assumption of what most people react to positively and negatively. But does it help you make a good album? Probably not, unless yours is very much flawed to begin with (or incomplete, alpha stages etc). Then again, MMO's are cutting-edge video games, so maybe we're more in a time when WoW is Elvis Presley and we still have to go through the 60's and 70's to find more working formulas to rock online.

Great times ahead, I personally side with such optimism, especially considering unlike music, video games are still very much in their infancy. Yet even at that happy point, when we can hope to see released a few 'outstandingly great' MMO's every year or two, players will still hop from one to the next. Probably more so then than now. There's so much more involved in making these decisions that does not even pertain to games themselves that it would be much too optimistic to hope you can understand a player's behaviour simply by looking at, let alone only in, a particular game—or particular genre, media, anything.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/05/11
Posts: 720

"Kill me, my man kills you, that's how you lose."

1/23/14 1:46:19 PM#138

I leave because they are too similar to WoW-elf-are in that you are rewarded for trivial tasks such as going AFK or logging off the game.


I do not enjoy progressing my character but not playing it.

"I see they watchin' me and takin' notes on my moves, Run up on me it's all I want I ain't got nothin' to lose."


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/15/13
Posts: 154

"The man that knows something knows that he knows nothing at all." -E. Badu

1/23/14 2:20:59 PM#139

Very nice post.

For me, I tend to leave MMO's and not come back when I have sunk in enough time/money to realize that the game I am playing is not the game that I had thought it would be- endgame content or not.  Here's a list of MMO's I have left, and their various reasons.

Tera- Got it day one, and got bored with it a week later.  It was just SO.... banal to me.  The combat was sort of interesting, but everything else (including the Loli's) were just... no... to me.  Also, I had cute hair for my avatar, but EVERY OUTFIT I FOUND put it up in a ponytail.  WTF?

DCUO- Great game in terms of combat.   Horrible games in terms of being Batman's lackey.  You never get to speak with Batman face to face, because why should he deal with his lackey's directly?  The only memorable thing in DC for me was running around the PvP version of the world- one of the only MMO's where I actually enjoyed the PvP.  Meeting up with random people and going on a city-wide crime-busting spree was pretty sweet- one of the best memories in MMO's I have.  The story, however... no me gusta. 

Free Realms-  Yes, I gave it a shot.  I figured it would be a perfect way to break MMO monotony by having a casual MMO to play on the backside.  Not so.  Boring, easy minigames that only further added to the monotony.

AND last, but certainly not least-

Anarchy Online-  I loved the idea of it.  I loved that it was old, and was still around.  I loved that it seemed you could build your character however you wanted.  However, after a couple of months, and joining an Org that was dedicated to helping new players, the "honeymoon phase was over", as it were.  Not only are you locked specifically to the class you choose (though you can still alot points to other stats available to other classes, which only mess you up more if you do), I found the politics of humans still involved.  We had a member that joined the Org because they played for a while, and was happy to see an Org dedicated to the cause.  However, this player did nothing but bitch and moan about AO and FC, and how they just didn't care.  The Org leader tried to keep them in check a few times, but when it came time to buy our Org city, we were literally sucking up to this person because of their cash, instead of taking the time to earn the cash and learn the in's and out's of the economy.  Also, we would go out on raids with the lower levels sitting behind doing, literally, nothing while the higher levels handled everything to get us Exp.  It was literally log in, sit back, level up.  We never did quest missions, never went around the world... it was a mess.  I don't think I'd go back, even if they **finally** add the new Graphics Engine to it.  Why add a new engine if you're never going to develop meaningful content for it?

Loves: SMITE, WildStar, Project Zomboid, PSO2, DCUO,

Worst Online Communities: WoW/WoD(the OG MMO Trolls), DayZ/WarZ, SMITE/LoL/DOTA, EVE Online, APB

"I’m ready for
All the comparisons
I think it’s dumb and it’s embarrassing
I’m switching off
No longer listening
I’ve had enough of persecution and conditioning
Maybe it’s instinct- We’re only animal"
- Lily Allen, Sheezus


Apprentice Member

Joined: 6/01/13
Posts: 3

1/23/14 9:56:53 PM#140

Let's see, I stopped playing DCUO after a few days because I just couldn't get into the feel of it. The combat felt clunky and i just felt disoriented.

STO: Played for a while, but when it became clear there was little point in doing anything short of the three most popular end-game TFs (Or possibly resource farming. Litterally farming. For those who don't know, you can take your thrice-decorated rear admiral and go mining! On an asteroid! For crystals!), my interest waned. Didn't help that support classes were neutered into uselessness.

City of Heroes: One day the servers shut down and they haven't been up since. =(

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