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Community Spotlight: Do You Feel Sad When Returning to an MMOG?

Posted by MikeB Thursday November 12 2009 at 3:22PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on a discussion started by user Varny that poses the question: “Does it sadden any of you when you return to an old mmorpg?” Varny had this to say on the subject:

“I mean for me mmorpgs hold such special nostalgic memories of the past and how everything used to be better. Like returning to your home town when you were a child and how summers always seemed warmer and brighter when you were a kid. For me mmorpgs give me that same feeling from the ones I was fond of.

I play a SWG and at the time it launched I was 17 or 18 and going through that time in your life when you experience a lot of thing for the first time and have that first heart breaking G/F lol. So like a Song that you used to love and can't play anymore because of her, I also put games to parts of my life that were meaningful. When I try to go back to them, not only am I pissed off that the developer ruined them but I can never like them again due the nostalgia of my past making me wish I could go back”

I know how you feel! I recently returned to The Matrix Online to say my good-byes a few weeks before the game was set to close and all accounts were set as active. I zoned into the Mara hardline, which for the few of you out there who actually played MXO know as the central hub of the game, and seeing almost no one around. I recall kvetching about the fact we had a huge awesome Megacity to explore and yet half the server would all clog up Mara hardline and hang out there. Seeing no one around was a real shocker and definitely made me feel nostalgic, if not a bit sad, as well.

On the other hand, it can be heart-warming at times when you return to an old game. I suppose it all depends on the state the game is in. Varny mentions Star Wars Galaxies in his post, and like anyone’s first MMOG, Star Wars Galaxies has a special place in my heart. I left, like many after the NGE fiasco, but I have returned on multiple occasions to see how things were. Until recently most of those returns were quite depressing. I played on Starsider which was one of the three most active servers at launch, and I recall logging in and finding the place essentially a ghost town with my entire friends list empty with no one on. That didn’t evoke such a pleasant feeling.

Recently, however, I returned to Star Wars Galaxies this summer and for whatever reason over the past few years a large part of the remaining SWG community had all consolidated on my home server, Starsider, and the place was jumping like it was launch day all over again. I was actually happy that some of the things that previously annoyed me had returned, simply because they reminded me of better days in the game. Things like long sprawling lines for buffs being a good example, or the poplocking Wookiee in Mos Eisley starport hawking his wares, who I guarantee you is still there at this moment.

User Finbar offers his eloquent, if somewhat amusing, response on the subject:

“I would't say sad. Sad is a word I use for stronger more important emotions. However I know what you are talking about. There is a certain forlorn silence that is felt when you play an older game. The same feeling that you get when you entre an abandoned building, or when you finally finish a long series of books (eg: Song of Ice and Fire, or whatever). It's a muted sense of loss or a gentle haunting perse. For me this feeling is a classic trademark of a well realized story or environment. So no your not alone in this; you will find me and many others walking the lonely halls of the worlds of yesterday musing at things come to pass.”

User Balthor’s response echoes a number of others in the discussion who never really get the opportunity to feel sad, as they don’t return at all once they’re gone:

“I won't go back to a MMO that I have left. If I stoped playing and quit, it was for a good reason. It's like if I break up with an annoying GF, I'm not going to take her back ... she's still annoying.”
I guess I can see your point! Though some of us do reignite old flames!

So, do you too feel sad when you return to an old MMOG? Let us know in the comments!