Burn out. It's something we all feel time to time, whether it's our work life, social life and even our gaming hobby. I've experienced it quite a bit in my worklife - before this gig I was a representative to the school district in my city for one of the largest music stores in the state. Going to every school week after week, year after year...it started to wear on me. What kept me sane during those years was the hope of someday getting this gig - working in games.
However, I find myself sufferring burn out in games themselves as well - moreso now that it's been my job for the past 8 years. My approach to games themselves has changed so dramatically that there are times where I can no longer just sit and enjoy one, rather I have to analyze and critique as I play. This contributes heavily to feeling burnt out after a while - especially in MMOs where I made my name for years.
Even before that, however, I found myself getting burnt out on games like Civilization IV, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria. Playing games for me back in the late '00s was my escape from my music gig. But even then I found myself feeling tired and every inch of ground my characters explored felt like a mile at times. I would close my eyes and see Civ IV's map sprawled across my eyelids. All my family wanted to play at one point was Modern Warfare 2, and even then just the Rust map. Everything I did, no matter the game, felt so repetitive and like a slog that I literally had to take a year off from video games.
In 2009 I decided that if I didn't take some time, I would ruin the hobby I grew up loving so much. So I said farewell to my Kinship in LotRO, packed away my Xbox 360 and stopped playing games after work. I took up cooking. I read more books than I can remember.
When I decided to start playing games again, I gave myself a rule: Only a few hours at night and I wouldn't play the same game for more than a week or so before switching games for a little bit. This is something I still do to this day, and some of my friends just can't understand it. I don't just play a single player RPG now all the way through - I'll play it for a few weeks, then go to something else and come back to it later. Meanwhile, a game like Assassin's Creed or The Witcher will be the only game they touch for months and be content. I can't do that any more.
It's the same with MMOs. I keep about five or six installed on my PC at any given time - LotRO, EVE, World of Warcraft, RuneScape (which I just started playing again after 15 years away) and Black Desert Online are installed right now - and I'll bounce between then instead of just staying in one game world for too long. I recently shelved EVE Online to go back to The Lord of the Rings Online in order to check out the new content released last week, but soon I'll jump back into Azeroth and continue prepping my Priest and Monk for Shadowlands.
I've found by limiting my time on a single game, I can avoid burn out better than I used to. I still feel burnt out at times, but that might be partially due to my job - like I said earlier, I can't just play a game any longer. So I'll still find myself taking breaks on weekends in order to provide some balance in my life. I wonder how I would feel if I didn't do this. Would I still be getting burnt out? Would I even be working in games right now? I don't know - but I'm glad I found a system that works for me so I can still enjoy my hobby - and job - without fearing that one day I'll just have to walk away from it again, maybe this time for good.
How about you? Have you ever experienced burnout in a a game - or gaming in general? What did you do to alleviate that feeling? Let us know in the comments below.