If I’m excited about something, even something new and shiny, what does it matter to anyone else? Why have some MMO players decided that it’s foolhardy to eagerly dive into a new game and be thrilled for it on the week/month of its release? Why is there pressure to temper this excitement with some sort of artificial cool, aloof observations about the track of each MMO that comes out?
This general feeling is not new in the blogosphere. For a while now there’s been a sort of under-the-covers movement to make hype, anticipation, and excitement over MMOs a shameful taboo. The unwritten statement is that if you’re a gamer who wants to be seen as credible, you need to view every launch through an extremely cynical lens and be a strict watchdog against falling for another MMO that will eventually leave you, hurt you, and make you even more bitter for the future.
I understand where this sentiment comes from. Part of it comes out of backlash from the veterans against the more excitable new crowd, but a lot of it stems from disappointing experiences. Some folks find themselves disillusioned when they discover that MMOs can’t hold their interest forever (which makes perfect sense, but still comes as a surprise to some) or when they finally burn out and rewrite history so that the previous months or years have been a total waste instead of a good time followed by an eventual falling out with a title. I think some of it may even come with this ridiculous notion that games can “win” or “lose” somehow, and if we jump on board before the final verdict is in, we’re opening ourselves up to a lot of hurt.
So if we’re going to boil MMO gamers down into three categories, you have the players who are in an MMO “home” and are content, you have the players who try other games for various lengths of time for the fun, and you have those that are pinning the greatest hope on a specific upcoming title as being The One that will be everything they want in an MMO and they’ll never need anything else again. I’ve always been in the first and second. Personally, I don’t think the “hopers” will ever find their dream MMO, because I think they’re often chasing something that won’t exist and they’ve never learned to be satisfied with anything they find.
I’m far more tired with negative opinions than I am with disappointing games. I’m weary of writing posts with all sorts of qualifying statements so that readers understand just how balanced and not-buying-into-any-hype I’m trying to be.
I’m excited about games. So what?
Really, what does it matter at all if I like a game on the first day? If I continually try new MMOs and am thrilled with many of them? Why is there this weird stigma that if we game-hop, we’re liable to get gamer STDs or something? It’s so disconnected with how the rest of the video game culture works that we come off looking like alien clowns trying to master a dance where we say we like games without showing that we like them too much because we don’t want the other kids to think less of us for it.
Is it bad to admit to an emotional response and connection to games? Isn’t this what makes gaming so great sometimes?
It’s 2012. We need to ditch this twisted, convoluted notion that MMOs can only be appreciated if they meet extremely stringent standards and a certain time limit has passed. We need to remember that these are just games. They can be enjoyed on day one or day whatever. They can and often are fun right out of the gate. The anticipation is part of what makes following these games awesome. Not every game is meant to last forever, and it’s okay if we play for just the first month or stick around or pop in and out.
What I’m saying is it doesn’t matter if I’m getting excited about these games, because at the very least, it only applies to me and I’m a big boy. I have survived leaving many MMOs and actually think fondly of many of them. I’m glad for my time in them. I love talking about them. At the most, my excitement pours out in this blog and may influence a few readers. But if I’m going to be an influence, I’d rather be seen as a person who urges people to like the games that are in this hobby we’re supposed to be enjoying than a person who covers MMOs but apparently just does so to warn everyone else away. Because of the STDs.