MMOGs: A Satirical Guide to Discontent
Editor's note: This is a satirical series based on MMOs and the players who love them!
Lesson 1: Get rid of the fun
MMOGs do not exist to be fun. They are bitterly serious, scenes of frustration and the best places to finally let out your inner scoundrel. If you didn’t grasp this simple fact until now, I warmly and urgently recommend this guide to you. I show you the ultimate tips how to eventually waste your time in games without this bothersome fun!
A lot of you might have already felt this strange feeling once or twice while playing a MMOG: You are motivated, you enjoy even the gorgeously cheesy little animals, which are hopping around the scenery, you chat entertainingly with your group members and the virtual sunshine is conjuring a smile on your face. In short, you are having fun. Yes, I know, an atrocious thought! But don’t worry; with my help you will be able to throw overboard all this flower power stuff in a few simple steps. You will learn to not enjoy even your favorite game for one second longer anymore, to hate yourself and the whole community and finally, to descend to the long-desired vale of tears, so that the virtual world eventually becomes as annoying as the real one is already.
The right choice of game
Everything begins with the proper choice of game. This goes without saying, because for the perfect discontent it’s simply a must that you find regularly fault with the game you are wasting your time with. In order to know which criteria you should apply to select a game, let’s initially begin with a very rough classification. Nowadays the borders get blurred a little bit, because modern games tend to mix all concepts, but for a start let’s imagine a matrix with four elements. On one axis we have the properties of PvE-focused and PvP-focused and on the other we have Free2Play and subscription-based. All games can be roughly placed in this matrix. Just select for both dimensions the properties which annoy you most. Now you can look up for which games this combination is true and you already have narrowed down the possible selection a lot. Let’s take for example the following statement: “I don’t want to pay monthly fees and I hate to get ganked by higher level players all the time.” In such a case it would be absolutely preposterous to select a PvE-focused Free2Play game, whereas a PvP-focused subscription game would get you into rage mode so much quicker.
The truth is, however, that for a real pro the actual choice is basically not relevant after all, because for every aspect of a game there is something to nag about. But for being truthfully unhappy, it’s just so much easier if you wholeheartedly identify yourself with your points of criticism. Otherwise there remains a residual hazard that you like the game despite all resolutions and prejudices. Classical Free2Play-games (with a cash shop) are for example an easy prey for sticklers for justice, as you can always wonderfully complain about the exorbitant shop prices and that the world as a whole is unjust anyway because of the acquirable advantages. As you already see, the real whiz is distinguished by the ability, to not only focus on topic-relevant facts, but he or she instead can squeeze in the emotions of the entire weltschmerz. With subscription games the advantage is also perfectly obvious: Subscription fees are just another spawn of the damned capitalism, which found its way into the gaming branch. They are tying you to a game and restrict your personal freedom. Obviously all these arguments can be refined, but this approach is expendable, believe me.
The thing with PvE and PvP is not so easy, as many games are mixing these elements. But at least a certain focus is usually discernible. If you can’t stand to get attacked by other players, then a PvP-focused game is the right place for you. There is hardly anything better to complain about than the injustice of the nasty, egoistic other players. Also to make yourself unpopular these games are the ideal playground, but we will cover this in another lesson. If you on the other hand find nothing more boring than playing the dogsbody for NPCs, then you will get into top gear with all the grinding and farming, wrapped into dull quests of a PvE game. Admittedly, nowadays the proscribed asia grinders can hardly be called an insider tip anymore, but they are a perennial favorite when the aim is to complain about the stagnation of the genre and the unimaginativeness of the developers.
As you can see, already such a simple classification opens a lot of space for creativity. Keep in mind that we didn’t even touch topics like open word versus theme park, fantasy versus science fiction and many more. If you don’t want to rely on your gut feeling, I recommend you the following professional method: Identify around seven to ten issues, which annoy you the most about MMOGs. If you want, you can even weight them according to their annoyance-factor. These characteristics constitute the columns of a table. In the rows you list all the games which come in question. Now you can check for every game, if the respective characteristic does exist. You can do this as a simple checklist or in a more advanced version with assessing points to each category. The candidate with the most checks or points is the winner: This game fits the least of all to you and has the honor to be target of your tirades of hate for the time being.
The perfect mindset
Now that you finally have chosen your game, you can’t just immediately start to play. Hopefully you are aware of that. Researching and exploring was yesterday. Those who do such an awful thing run into the danger of getting pulled in by an unknown world and immersing into it. Do you already hear it? The alarm bells of fun are ringing shrill. No, no, there is nothing like meticulous preparation. If the game isn’t released yet, you should study three months in advance all trailers and preview interviews that exist. This way you will build up a magnificent illusory notion of that game, which can only lead to full disappointment. If the game on the other hand is already out, it’s always good to read first hundreds of other opinions about it. Thus you remove from yourself every impartiality and chance to experience the game in your own unique way. Instead you already know beforehand with which mindset you have to encounter the game. Self-fulfilling prophecies are just awesome!
This approach is not only on the emotional, but also on the contentual level a true success. Before you play a game you should already know exactly what to expect. Preferably, on paper you already know the so-called endgame inside out, so that the boredom sets in as fast as possible, but this is not imperative. Whereas it is mandatory that you know even before you begin playing how your character will look like on the maximum level. “The journey is the reward” might be a nice little saying of smart-assy pseudo-philosophes, but it has no place in the tough daily gaming routine, especially not in MMOGs. Therefore character building tools are unavoidable. Who wants to cheer about the happy surprise of an unexpected new skill after a level up? Exactly, nobody, and that’s why meticulous planning is inevitable.
True experts continue hereby consequently with the hostile attitude towards researching and exploring and hand in their brain even before they turn on the computer. To think about something on your own is so nineties, therefore just search for character guides from foreign players and apply them without further ado. This is the only way to ensure that the rise to the highest character level will be as dull as possible and will proceed without any surprise. Additionally this is superbly combinable with a lot of annoying questions to other players, but this is the topic of another lesson. For now I ask you to take in the insights of today and immediately try it out. Next time we will discuss the correct way of playing MMOGs. Together we can get rid of the fun!