Reviewing a game is hard. Reviewing an MMO is even harder.
This is something I've learned in my almost decade as a games critic writing for multiple sites over the years. Reviews tend to see me blasting through a single game, pouring countless hours into it and nothing else during the review period, and with how extensive a grind MMOs can be this is felt all the more keenly.
This is happening in New World right now. Since the MMO launched, I've really played nothing else. And yeah, normally when new MMOs release I would be grinding and exploring the world, albeit at a much slower pace. However, due to the nature of game reviews (and you should really read this great article in WaPo's Launcher vertical), the grind and rush to complete a game so a review can be filed can be draining on even the most experienced of critic - regardless of whether they are enjoying a game or not.
So this past weekend I took a small break and explored star systems in EVE Online, taking my Astero out for a spin among the stars. And it was a huge welcome change of pace.
EVE Online, a game known for its cutthroat community and stories that have filled volumes of books, is my casual MMO. I don't play this MMO as a hardened pirate looking to ruin the day of an unsuspecting capsuleer. I don't play EVE or influence the market as the Wolf on Jita 4-4. No, EVE is a game where oftentimes I find myself just undocking and exploring the stars, my Astero's probes uncovering the galaxy while music pumps through the speakers on my desk.
It's chill for me. Don't get me wrong, though, there is plenty of danger. I still know when I undock I likely could lose my ship. However, the change of pace this weekend from grinding town board quests and trying to find groups to run Depths with me to simply picking a bookmark on my map and exploring the space around it a bit more hit me in an incredibly relaxing way.
I know as new MMOs release, or new content releases for an old favorite, we can all tend to just blast through the content, rushing to hit endgame and "finally play the game" as Cartman puts it at the end of "Make Love, Not Warcraft." However, even without the constraints of a review, I find myself returning to games like EVE to keep myself from burning out. This is whether I'm playing an MMO or even a single player title.
So I got wondering: do you have a similar game you return to every so often to kind of "reset?" Is there an MMO out there that you play casually to recharge from a grind in another game to ensure you don't burn out of either? Let us know in the comments below.