Project-oriented vs. footloose and fancy-free

I would never describe myself as a goal-oriented person, because that makes me feel like it’s only the destination that matters, but I would say that I’m very much project-oriented.  It’s taken me a long time to realize that my interest and energy in something is directly proportional to whether I have a clear-cut project defined in that.  I need steps.  I need structure.  I need a finish line.

When it comes to MMOs, if I lack a “project” to do in a particular game, my interest in it usually diminishes.  Many of the times where I’ve come close (or past) to the point of burnout is when I’m merely logging in and aimlessly doing stuff with no greater purpose in mind.  Yet I’ve witnessed my interest rekindle in a title when I identify and get excited about a specific project.  Maybe that’s why I like to roll alts a lot: Each alt presents a clear project to accomplish from scratch.  Endgame characters for me typically lack interesting projects because it’s either a choice between hardcore grinding or… nothing.

Case in point: Over the past month or so, I was feeling very lackluster about LOTRO.  I just had nothing specific to shoot for.  My Captain was at the cap and waiting for Rohan, and I didn’t want to start up new alts.  Without a project, my enthusiasm waned.  But a few days ago I resolved to get everything fully in shape for Rohan and make sure that my Cappy’s virtues were up to spec (as well as starting to work on reshaping my Lore-master), and suddenly I got excited to log in once more.

In RIFT, I’m lacking a major project.  I know I’ve identified several things I could be doing on this blog, but I haven’t settled strongly on any of them.  Raise up an alt?  Pursue crafting?  Get rich?  Gear up?  Achievement hunt?  I don’t know.  I like to pour myself into a project fully, but it’s got to be something that has a finish line and a tempting enough reward.

Guild Wars 2 may be totally okay with me logging in and wandering around all footloose and fancy-free, but I had to have a project.  Actually, right now I have three: To get my main to 80 (I’m 50 at the moment), to earn money so I can unlock account options that I want, and to hit 100% world completion.  I’m not so insane as to add “get a legendary weapon” to that, because I have a life and want to keep it as such.

The Secret World is great to experience as is, but I’ve needed a project in there as well.  Right now it’s identifying a better build for my character and working on gaining the SP/AP needed to flesh it out.  A friend showed me a really cool hammer/shotgun build that’s versatile against single and multiple mobs, has ranged and melee options, and boasts some powerful DPS while having a good element of survivalism to it.  But that’s going to take me a while, because there are a few expensive skills to purchase.

One thing I have to be on the lookout for is taking on too many projects.  I only have the attention span and enthusiasm for a handful, whether it be in my personal, professional, or gaming life, and I need to allocate those carefully.  I’m all psyched about Pirate101 coming this month, but I think I’ll be shunning the title for the time being to keep my attention fixated on these four games.

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6 thoughts on “Project-oriented vs. footloose and fancy-free

  1. Taking this post together with yesterday’s, I must ask in all seriousness, do you play MMOs with other people? Do you have a regular group? Do you belong to a guild? Do you have friends you run around with? Or are MMOs purely a solo endeavor for you?

    Not a troll, but a serious, “How does Syp play MMOs?” question to help put context around what you write.

  2. I do, but I’d say my average ratio is spent about 90:10 solo-grouping. I’m always part of a guild in my MMOs, because I do prize that connection and mutual help. Some guilds I’m part of are more active in terms of events. I think our cabal in TSW is also putting together a regular grouping night starting next week.

    For the most part, my play sessions are too erratic to allow me to spend a lot of time doing very structured activities. I’m all for casual grouping and the occasional dungeon run if opportunity presents.

    My wife and I also play GW2 together when we have time alone from the kids.

  3. I don’t know how you do it. I can only focus on one MMO at a time as they tend to consume most of my waking thought. Having to keep all those ability tool bars in my head at once would mean I’d spend the first 15 minutes just finding my feet.

  4. This post and Ardwulf’s on going back to Eve popped up in my reader together and I’d just finished writing a comment over there. I could have cut and pasted it here where it would have been just as appropriate but fortunately I read it back before I hit the button and realized that it made me sound like more of a lunatic than usual so I didn’t post it there or here.

    The gist, though, is that I don’t really have goals anywhere else in life, never have, never wanted them, never missed them and therefore having them in MMOs doesn’t really do anything for me. I just like to potter along in life and in MMOs, react to what happens, take things as they come.

    I do, like you, have projects but I am never bothered about completing them and often (usually) forget I am doing them. I very rarely get bored, never have, and I’m very easily amused so MMOs are ideal for me. I can usually log in and find something to do that holds my attention even in an MMO I’ve played for hundreds, possibly thousands of hours before. It doesn’t need to be anything new, either. If I enjoyed it the last 50 times chances are I’ll enjoy this time, too.

    That said, I do occasionally suffer ennui with an MMO. It’s possible to chew the flavor out of anything if you mumble it around long enough. Fortunately, with the vast array of choice available now that’s easily rectified with a quick trip to desktop and the selection of an alternative icon. It’s amazing how the flavor floods back when you revisit a title after a break, too.

    Not that Wilhelm asked me, but my regular grouping days are long behind me now, as are my guild-joining days. I did plenty of both up until around 2006-7 but since then I much prefer to do my own thing. Having a partner who plays makes a huge difference of course. My balance is probably something like 50% solo, 40% duo 10% group although it does vary by game. Mrs Bhagpuss and I also make our own guild in every game we play that allows it and we often end up inviting a select group of like-minded individuals as we run into them. Rarely runs to more than half a dozen members but it makes for good conversation and the occasional dungeon run.

  5. I hit a similar “no project” wall in TSE a couple of weeks ago. I *had* a project going, but due to some bugs a mission couldn’t be completed and an exploration location couldn’t be “found.” And since that mission completion bug meant I couldn’t get the mission achievement I wanted, it meant I didn’t other with the other unfinished missions either. Plus the missions were mostly in Egypt, which for some reason isn’t an area that I care for.

    But the bugs are fixed, new missions are released, and I hit a new burst of interest in the past week or so. Joined a cabal to help me get into dungeon runs more easily, and a couple of friends started playing more so I’m back in the starter areas to help them out too.

    I think any game goes through peaks and valleys of interest. For me, I’m not really an MMO tourist, though, so I tend to stick through the valleys until something piques my interest again. At least until the next game I’m interested in comes along. . . . .

  6. I like to have specific things to work on too. For LOTRO, my next “project” will be to get crafting up to Westfold Master on all my alts, and get a few stacks of food, potions, scrolls, and other consumables made for each of them so they can get out there and level up. Sometimes it’s things like getting explorer deeds done in areas I’ve outleveled, or just going through storage to try to free up space. Maybe that springs from a sense of wanting to make good use of the time I’m spending in the game.

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