The Mating Habits of Bloggers

_42064554_irwin_getty400It’s the oddest times that I miss Steve Irwin.  Tonight, for instance, as I’m tracking the continual weirdness that is a host of MMO bloggers returning to games three, four, five-plus years old instead of the brand-new shinies out there.  Steve Irwin would do it proud, I think, if he did a special on those not-so-elusive bloggers and their odd game mating habits.  “Crikey!  There’s one re-subbing right now…”

What’s up with this?  Ysharros is checking out EverQuest 2… Hudson’s on a big City of Heroes kick… Werit’s in DDO.. Snafzg is exploring the depths of space in EVE Online… Arbitrary’s in Vanguard… even Tipa has infused life back into the original 1999 Everquest with a nostalgia guild.  And, oh yeah, I’ve re-upped with LOTRO after a year-and-a-half absence.  I’m hardly alone in this.  So what gives?  Is it just a blogger thing, or an indication of trends of the larger MMO community?

I have a few theories.  Of course I do.  Endless ego, thy name is Syp.

  1. We’re disillusioned with the current new crop of games – I’m not saying that every game in 2008 was a complete bust or that all gamers are just ticked off beyond belief at them, but the hard crash when the game hype is over is as predictable as the media launching another investigation as to how video games create serial murderers.  People wanted the very best, set their standards high — perhaps too high — and are let down.  There’s only so much self-consolation you can do before you need to take a breather and try something else out for a while.  Darkfall, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, even WoW’s new expansion… they’ve all seen this malaise hit.
  2. We’re rediscovering the joys of an older yet more mature, polished title – Older titles might be lacking in cutting edge innovation and photorealistic graphics, but they have years’ worth of a head start on newer titles when it comes to additional content, bug squashing and player testing.  The hype train has long left these titles, so what you get is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you SOE.
  3. We’re returning to old loves – I can’t quit you, [name of massively multiplayer online role-playing game]!  I won’t be so crass to call these pity dates, but fond memories of favorite MMOs die hard, even if you know you had a good reason for leaving in the first place.  The thought process is: maybe this time it’ll be different.  Maybe enough has changed.
  4. We’re saps for peer pressure – I don’t think bloggers are any more trendsetters than other folks, but we certainly do bounce off each other a lot.  Someone’s checking out CoH… gee, that sounds fun… wow they got me excited… *resubscribed*!
  5. We’re becoming chronic game hoppers – MMO gaming is becoming less monogomous and more promiscuous, at least in terms of our sampling of them.  As I said in a previous article, I don’t see it as a bad thing to move around to different titles to avoid burnout and digest a more balanced gaming diet.
  6. We’re looking for something to tide us over – There’s a new game on the horizon, one that has us chomping at the bit to play.  Except, darn it, we can’t!  Stupid linear time, with all your restrictions!  So if we can’t make the future come faster, at least we can turn to the past for a little creature comforts to keep our mind off the waiting.
  7. We’re addicted to “newness” – There’s really nothing like unpacking and setting up a brand-new computer, and I feel the same for the first steps into a brand-new MMO.  Older titles can certainly be “brand-new” if we’ve never played them before, and it’s refreshing to start over with a new character, leaving that end game grind behind for the time being.

Bio Break: when you’re too chicken to stand on just one theory, use the shotgun method!  Something’s gotta get through!

13 thoughts on “The Mating Habits of Bloggers

  1. arbitrary April 19, 2009 / 12:37 pm

    For me, it’s that my ‘fixed’ group is restless at the moment and we’re looking for group content… and new (to us) MMOs are great for that.

  2. Ardua April 19, 2009 / 1:21 pm

    We’re all wee prairie dogs. Popping up and looking around.

    Personally Im finding the concept of an FPS game really attractive game for a reason I cant define.
    Maybe I’ll play Renegade…

  3. Longasc April 19, 2009 / 3:04 pm

    You forgot: 8. Addicts in desperate need for a fix?

    Really, I think this is the main reason.

  4. Werit April 19, 2009 / 3:32 pm

    I just like some variety 🙂

  5. Ysharros April 19, 2009 / 6:53 pm

    8. Some of us don’t have beta invites to certain games coming out later this year. 😉

  6. Kash April 19, 2009 / 7:47 pm

    I read a lot of blogs and I really do think its mainly 5 & 7.

    I also think the act of blogging itself tends to bring out the negative as you are always looking for something to write about and negative pops into the forefront faster/easier.

  7. Eyeball April 19, 2009 / 9:08 pm

    Returning to old loves happens so much in MMO’s. People seem to only remember the fun times they had, and once they go back they remember why they left it in the first place. It is no different than getting back with an old girlfriend….a week or two later the honeymoon stage is over again and you ask yourself why you went back.

  8. Mike Darga April 20, 2009 / 3:33 am

    I think on some level your old loves never really leave you.

    I find this a lot with my coworkers when we get in design debates about how something should be done. I can listen to the way someone wants to solve a problem, say “Your first MMO was UO, wasn’t it?” and laugh when they get all uncomfortable: “…yeah, why?”

    That one game we really dove into and played for years is hard to shake.

    Mike
    mikedarga.blogspot.com

  9. openedge1 April 20, 2009 / 7:36 am

    And then I go an opposite direction, and stick with my current NEW game…lol.
    I was into this game hopping bit, and always going back to an older title also as nothing could compare.
    But, I think the old games have gotten …”old”, and I would prefer a change.
    There was enough variation in AoC for example, that it has ruined me going back to the slow mo global cooldown games of my past.

    Too bad 2009 looks like the worst year to change also..

    So, I will stick with one game, AND it is one of the latest games..

    I like being different!

  10. koljarn April 20, 2009 / 2:17 pm

    Note the common thread between the 2008 games that you mentioned – Darkfall, AoC, WAR, and WotLK. Every one of them are fantasy games. I like elves, dwarfs, dragons, and the like as much as the next RPG player, but there are limits. Is there some sort of creative vortex which sucks up all the MMO ideas except for the standard fantasy tropes?

    I’ll probably play Champions Online when it gets released, simply for the fact that it is not yet another fantasy MMO. Until then, I guess I’ll slog along in WAR, when I can muster the determination to log in.

  11. moxie April 20, 2009 / 2:18 pm

    Good list. Everybody’s reasons will be different, for me it’s 3 and 5. While I’m currently a player of the MMO-that-shall-not-be-named, after a stretch of several months of playing sometimes burnout sets in and you just need a break, be it for doing things in real life or in a different game.

    Sometimes it’s also just curiosity, to see what the newest ideas are. I’m glad that I tried WAR because I got to see Public Quests (but then I was reminded that I’m not a fan of PvP). I’m glad that I returned to LotRO for a while to check out the new housing and such (but then I remembered that the graphics/brown-and-gray zones/group quests drove me nuts). I resubbed to CoH for a short time because I had an awesome character idea (but then remembered what a grind it was to level cap). So yes, while I have my favored MMO, it doesn’t stop me from doing short stints in others out of curiosity/nostalgia.

    In the end, play what’s fun. If a game ceases to be fun, try another one. 🙂

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