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The Casual Life by Wintyre Fraust

An older, casual player's perspective on MMOG's in general and GW2 in particular.

Author: Meleagar

MMOG-Hopping? - or - Commitment to a character and community?

Posted by Meleagar Sunday July 29 2012 at 8:24AM
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Reading various forums, I've noticed a large number of players that "MMOG-hop"; they play a couple of months in one MMOG, then go to another, sometimes going back to a previous one if some new content interests them or if they just feel nostalgic.  Many if not most of the MMOG-hopping crowd give the impression that it takes them a couple of months to max out at least one character (sometimes more) and burn through the whole game, in the linear sense.  They often say that the price of the box is good for about 2 months of entertainment, which is a good deal.  To them, this is the new reality of MMOG playing, where MMOGs are like any other game they play.

Let me admit that, in the first place, it probably takes me a couple of months of playing just to get a decent understanding of the fundamentals of an MMOG - keyboard, user interface, shortcut keys, movement, combat options. In a couple of months of play I might have a fairly decent understanding of the basics of one class; I might also understand the basics of crafting and the basic game mechanics.  This is because of two things; first, I'm older and don't absorb and retain skills and information near as fast as I used to; and second, if you add up all the video game time I play in a week, you might end up with 15 hours. I just don't spend enough time playing games to learn the mechanics of a new game very often.

Which brings me to MMOGs in general and GW2 in particular; I can't imagine playing a new MMOG every couple of months. For me, that's just about the time I'm starting to feel comfortable, where I'm spending more time enjoying the view rather than figuring out how to operate the avatar.  In a couple of months I might be familiar enough with one character's home area to be able to navigate it without always checking the map.

Also, how do you give up a character and community after two months?  I guess I'm just from a different school of MMORPGers, where investing time in your character and world formed an attachment to it. It was difficult giving up my Everquest character, and then my WoW character, and the social attachments there, because I had carefully crafted very specific characters that I really enjoyed, and I had crafted a place for myself in those communities.  Also, I enjoyed the company of the people I encountered in those games, be they friend or foe.  Such familiarity and sense of community was really one of the best things about having a "toon" in an MMORPG, IMO.

How the heck do you develop that if you're MMOG-hopping every couple of months? I don't think you can. I think you have to see MMOGs as simply big online games you happen to play with other people as you burn a path towards "beating" it, and not as an MMORPG that you develop a character within, or else you couldn't just drop it like a boring toy to move on to the next "something shiny".

It seems to me that GW2 is deliberately designed to re-ignite that old-school MMORPG commitment and appeal to those that want to craft characters and develop a place in a community, rather than those that are just going to burn through it in a couple of months and move on to the next "something shiny". I hope Anet stays true to that commitment.