The MMO player who didn’t play MMOs

It’s 6:30 a.m.  Still a little too early to be up, but when the kids are running around trying to actively destroy the house, one has no choice but to get up with them.

The author makes breakfast for everyone, takes a shower, gets dressed, and then plops down in front of the computer for some early morning writing. But writing isn’t all he does, because he needs to log into RIFT first to collect his daily gift, see what his minions brought him during the night, and send out minions on fresh missions.

A post gets started, but now the author is going through his morning list of MMOs with determination. WildStar is next up, because the garden needs to be picked and planted, crafting mats need to be harvested, and a daily reward collected. Then it’s Guild Wars 2, because one must keep marching toward the big goal at the end of 30 total logins. LOTRO? Hobbit presents. Devilian? Collect a daily reward and send out friend gifts to everyone on the list, hoping to get some back in return. Marvel Heroes? Why, it’s two login gifts today! Star Trek Online? Need to keep those duty officers busy and not dawdling.

It could get even worse, the author realizes. A half-hour has gone by and he’s done nothing but log in and out of games. He thanks his lucky stars that he’s not part of the World of Warcraft garrison system, because that could tack on another 10 minutes easy. It’s not that it’s fun in the least to keep logging into games first thing, but free presents is free presents — and missing out hits that psychological bummer spot that mentally chafes.

It’s disappointing that most of this couldn’t be done automatically or via mobile app, but that’s not the point of free presents and daily systems, is it? The author knows that it’s shameless incentive to get players to log in and hopefully keep them there (and perhaps tempt them to spend more money). It’s that age-old trade-off of time vs. reward, even in small stints like these.

And so every morning repeats itself. Log in, log out. Wax on, wax off.

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9 thoughts on “The MMO player who didn’t play MMOs

  1. James December 10, 2015 / 9:07 am

    Entirety the reason why I play so few MMOs anymore. I just don’t have the time to do this. More power to you for it!

  2. Rowan December 10, 2015 / 9:18 am

    Scooter and I were just talking last night—early this morning, actually—about daily logins and monthly patron/subscription rewards. She didn’t like the idea of logging in and basically leveling up and entire character without ever actaully playing (GW2). Y’know, this may be the beginning of a post of my own…

  3. Jeromai December 10, 2015 / 9:40 am

    I only have one MMO on my plate, and I’m starting to ask myself the same question.

    Log in, collect daily log-in reward, harvest home instance nodes, hit two guild halls to harvest those nodes, charge quartz crystal, craft time-gated Ascended materials that I have surplus resources for, finish two fractal dailies to collect fractal pages for a months-long collection, do three of the easiest dailies to collect rewards and 10AP…

    …look up and realize that at least an hour has passed and briefly wonder if it’s worth starting to play the game (except that would involve figuring out what I really need to do next instead of busywork) or if I should just log out and quit now.

  4. Wilhelm Arcturus December 10, 2015 / 9:50 am

    This sort of things tends to hook me for a bit. I like a bit of routine in my life as a foundation. And I can hold out for ages at times. I logged into Need For Speed: World every day for six months to do a quick event because after 180 days you got a special edition car. Inevitably it bounces back on me though. Getting that car was pretty much the last thing I ever did in NFSW. The event/bonus/present becomes a reason not to log on. The rewards cannot ever be really valuable, which ends up making just logging on for that feel pointless.

    I dropped my WoW subscription back in June because, with garrisons, the game had become a daily present event on a grand scale. With five level 100s, I was doing nothing but daily garrison tending. It was that, raid, or level up another character so I could have another garrison.

    I’m good with this sort of thing for a limited holiday event or the like. But greeting players at every daily logon with some piece of tat quickly becomes no incentive at all for me.

  5. bhagpuss December 10, 2015 / 11:44 am

    This is a real personality issue. I am very comfortable with leaving free stuff on the table so none of these schemes work as incentives for me. Indeed in most cases the free stuff just piles up in banks and is never used at all.

    On the other hand the older I get the more I find I really like just following instructions. I am kind of over coming up with my own entertainment. After a long day at work I really enjoy logging in to a list of simple exercises to complete. I do dailies on three accounts in GW2 every day and it’s something I enjoy every time.

    The bit I don’t like is the actual logging in. That’s a pain.

  6. pkudude99 December 10, 2015 / 11:56 am

    My only MMO is FFXIV right now, and I log in daily for my Vanu Vanu beast tribe quests and then the daily hunt logs. This serves the dual purpose of leveling my alt-jobs up and getting me the currency I need to upgrade my gear on my main job, so…. works out very well for me. Usually only takes about 45 minutes, and I always have the option of guild events, running dungeons, hitting up the Diadem, a raid, a primal fight, etc.

    I honestly don’t care about daily rewards, so the fact that other games (some of which I even still have installed) have them isn’t enough to make me log in just to get them. I log in to play, not to get a daily reward.

  7. pkudude99 December 10, 2015 / 1:29 pm

    FWIW, I used to log in for the dailies, and felt it important to do so. But then invariably Real Life would interfere at some point and I’d miss a day or 7, and when I’d go back I’d realize that it wasn’t actually important after all. A simple break in the cycle, and that was it. I cared when doing it, broke the cycle, then didn’t care when I tried to resume it, so I stopped doing it.

  8. Sylow December 11, 2015 / 3:55 am

    I guess I am just too jaded by now. Currently the only daily reward I pick up almost daily is GW2, which I also currently play. Anything which is not on my “currently played” list is being ignored. My time is too valuable to me to invest it into MMOs which I currently don’t play and thus are likely to not play any more.

  9. Tesh December 11, 2015 / 5:55 pm

    Tangentially, this works for mobile games, too, especially those with stamina systems. As in, I’ve found myself with a handful of games that I rotate through daily, playing until they put the stamina-brakes on, picking up the little daily presents, never really engaging much with any one of them.

    I deleted Terra Battle last week after just losing interest. I had completed the storyline, built up a Z-class character that was satisfyingly powerful… and it just felt like the game was a chore, so poof, it’s all gone now. I’ll probably do the same to Pokemon Shuffle after my kids lose interest in it, as I’ve almost played it out and it’s just habit at this point.

    It’s an interesting way to play and keep an eye on a variety of games, but it’s not nearly as satisfying as the days when I’d devote myself to, say, Final Fantasy IX and only play that every day for a few months. This sort of “game grazing” is better for my time-constrained schedule these days, to be sure, but I do miss really digging into a game.

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