Missing out

/plugs back in Bio Break’s necrofusion core

coreAnd we’re back!  It was an interesting week for me, being away from home on a mission trip, living in a high school full of zany teenagers, and hydroplaning across Ohio highways.  As I’ve said before, I think it’s really good to unplug from constant internet/entertainment access every so often, whether it be a day or a week.  It kind of re-centers you while making you appreciate the things you often take for granted.

I didn’t have a lot of time to even think about MMOs this past week other than one recurring thought: I’m missing out.  It wasn’t an addictive craving — “I need my MMOs or I’m going to freak out!” — but a wistful twinge every now and then.  I had friends starting up a RIFT guild that I had to wait until I got back to join.  The Secret World started its anniversary event.  Even Guild Wars 2 was teasing me with an exciting article about the upcoming upgrade to the achievement system.

Feeling like I was missing out on some game time made me ponder how much of our play habits are sometimes influenced by this.  How many games do we try out because our friends or a blogger that we like are playing and gushing about it?  We don’t want to miss out on the fun!  It’s not just games, even; we’re socially wired to want to migrate to where the action is, where our friends are, where special events are taking place.

I know that for me, the desire to not want to miss out on the fun is a major (although not the only) motivating factor for what games I play.  I probably wouldn’t have gone back to RIFT if F2P and the resulting tsunami of returning/new players didn’t happen.  And I’m glad it did and that it attracted me, because I’m absolutely rocking Telara right now.

But there’s a down side to this, which is that it can lead to discontent and gamer ADD behavior.  I can’t be in every MMO that anyone recommends, because there’s not enough hours in the day to do so even if I didn’t have any responsibilities.  I have a running list of about a dozen or so titles in my head that I’d love to play if I could, but I can’t and therefore have to live with that feeling of missing out.

I think the nature of MMOs makes this worse, because you can’t exactly shelve MMOs to play at a later date the way you can stock up a reading pile, a Netflix queue, or whatnot.  Sure, the MMO might be there in a year, but it might not, too.  Even if it is, the friends who you wanted to play with might have moved on.  Or the game might be old news and populated by only a handful of souls.  Or too much might change and render what you wanted to experience fresh — content updates, holidays, special events — obsolete.

So we do the best we can.  Some of us resolve to focus on a single game, stay on top of the new updates, and be content with that.  Some of us try to balance several MMOs.  Some of us game hop.  Some just go with the social flow.  I can’t say any of it is the best or worst.  It’s just what works for you.

For me, one of the reasons I love writing news for Massively and reading blogs is that it helps me to stay on top of developments and live vicariously through others’ words when I don’t have time to try those titles myself.

Do you ever feel like you’re missing out?  How do you handle it?

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3 thoughts on “Missing out

  1. Welcome back Syp. I just posted a comment at KTR that relates to this, funnily enough. I differentiate very clearly between wanting to log into an MMO because of something exciting that I’d like to experience and feeling I *have* to log in or I’ll miss out. The former is an unalloyed pleasure, the latter is poor mental health.

    At the moment I’m beginning to worry that, after fifteen or so years of not really understanding the potential of the machine, MMO developers are just beginning to understand which levers to pull. It’s apparently a phenomenon common to new media and new genres. We may have passed the age of discovery and entered the age of exploitation.

  2. I sometimes feel like I’m missing out, but often that just deters me from investing any further in a game. Just this past weekend, I started to try do the STO “project” that awards the Risian Corvette starship during the Midsummer festival. But it requires logging into the game faithfully for about 25 days over the course of the festival. I decided the ship is not worth the time investment. What initially are some fun activities, quickly become very grindy. I’ll miss out on the corvette, especially if they don’t offer it for a price in the item shop. But in the end, they only have people playing who are obsessive. To contrast that, I spent about 7 hours yesterday trying to obtain glowing green eyes for my Dragon alt in TSW. And I’ll keep doing it, time allowing, until I do, or the event ends. But I’m playing TSW anyway; unlike STO, which I am currently only dabbling in.

  3. I always feel like I’m missing something. There’s too much awesomeness in this world for me to get to everything I’m interested in. So it goes. I just have to appreciate the moments I do get.

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