I don’t want the title of this post to be misleading — it’s going to have nothing to do with drama in MMOs. It’s just a private label that I apply in my life when it comes to consuming various forms of entertainment: The Drama Effect.
For me, it goes like this. Entertainment — books, movies, TV, and games — lands on a spectrum. One side tends to offer meatier fare, but it’s also more serious, more emotionally involving, and more difficult to get into. I call this the Drama Effect because while I usually get a lot more out of dramatic films, it takes a lot of motivation to get me to watch one. There’s like this up-front emotional barrier that requires me to steel myself for heavier, thicker content to come. And since I’m often coming to entertainment to relax, I find myself shying away from stuff exuding the Drama Effect and gravitating toward lighter, more positive, or shorter fare.
It’s why my TV viewings these days are almost exclusively 20-minute cartoons and sitcoms. Yes, I know Daredevil and True Detective would be totally worthwhile to watch, but I get exhausted doing that and would rather crash at the end of the day watching Arrested Development or Futurama.
Books, since they require a hefty time investment, usually contain a cutoff point where I evaluate whether or not I’m going to keep reading due to my enjoyment of the story so far and how it’s emotionally resonating with me.
And then there are games — most specifically MMOs. These land on the spectrum too, and the Drama Effect is part of what keeps me from logging into Game A instead of Game B on most nights. World of Warcraft is popcorn gaming; I can turn my mind off for most of it, enjoy the pretty colors, and eat those breadcrumb quests up. Yum yum. The Secret World is almost opposite of that, and as much as I truly love that game, it takes a bit of a running start to get me to log into it when I’m selecting titles on any given evening.
Oh, when I’m in the game I usually am very happy to be there, but it’s that up-front emotional barrier. TSW requires more thought, offers tougher combat, and has themes that aren’t always comfortable or uplifting. Getting through missions in that game can sometimes feel like finishing short marathons.
I was just thinking about that last night as I closed out a record-short five minute TSW session when I knew I wanted to write up a post on that game this week. But I wasn’t feeling it — I just wanted the popcorn gaming to help relax. And so it went.