It’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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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*!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!