Posted in General

Pining for an MMO home

There’s an apparent paradox of my current relationship with MMORPGs. There are just *so many* games to play that I could keep dabbling forever and not run out of new experiences to sample. Yet I’m also starting to feel starved for an MMO “home” to be at the center of my gaming life.

For me, at least, the notion of an MMO home is a title that fulfills these requirements:

  • Is still somewhat popular with active development happening
  • Gives me a rounded, robust MMO gaming experience with plenty of goals to pursue
  • Has me connected with a guild that is full of great friends and friendships
  • I can see playing for a lengthy stretch at a time

The full package, in other words. The whole enchilada.

In continuing to seek out the right balance in my gaming time, I am realizing that I need both that anchor of a home and the flexibility and variety of other, more casual experiences. Too much of the former leads to burnout. Too much of the latter leads to restlessness and dissatisfaction.

And over the past month or two, I just haven’t been gaming in a home. I think LOTRO felt like that during the summer and World of Warcraft for the most past last year, but my infatuation with certain other games (usually in the hopes of finding, re-finding, or establishing a home) hasn’t really worked out too well for the longer go.

So I’m taking a step back and evaluating. I don’t think that there are any new great options here for a main focus, but rather the usual suspects: WoW, LOTRO, RIFT, FFXIV, ESO, GW2, WildStar. More traditional MMORPGs with proven quality and quantity of content, games that I have enjoyed long-term (mostly) and could potentially plunk down some deeper roots. Also games that I have drifted away from at various points because of burnout, disappointing features, a lack of community connections, or a downturn in development.

Maybe I’m serially incapable of committing, but I don’t think so. I have had some really long stretches of game dedication in the past, and I’m OK with stepping away from them so that my excitement batteries for those particular titles can recharge. I just could use a more centralized game right now with satellite titles than a rotation of equal-but-equally-non-central games like I’m doing now.

The idea of an MMO home comes attached to focus, purpose, and a future. I hope I can find that soon, but I don’t know the best way of going about it.

I’d love to hear from you who have what you consider to be an MMO home. What game is it and why do you consider this your main game?

18 thoughts on “Pining for an MMO home

  1. I’d consider GW2 my “home”, but only because it’s so easy to drop into even after having been away for a while. I don’t have any connections there, really, which is kind of the only thing that would cause me to switch.

  2. I have in the past considered EQ2, WoW, Rift, and LOTRO real MMO homes for long stretches. Any of them possibly could be again, or other MMOs. The problem I have is that most of the people I knew and played with regularly have tired of the genre, and I am simply bad at meshing with new groups and remain forever the outsider. Only in EVE Online do I still have a regular group, but that game is so different that I want to play that AND a fantasy MMORPG. Ah well.

  3. I understand this feeling completely. Playing a MMO in years gone by meant settling down and finding a place to call home. Usually this meant connecting with just one game at a time… a thing of the past for sure now!

    Interestingly enough, I was much less inclined to join a guild and connect to people back when community felt much more like the driving force behind MMO games. It’s only been lately that I’ve settled down long-term with a guild and a game that keeps me satisfied.

    I’ve been subbed to FFXIV for 4 years straight now. I won’t say I always played ALL those months — I did have a lag during the summer and early fall of my first year (though I remained subbed). But despite my struggles to grasp where I want to stand in end-game, this is the one that’s held me longer, consistently, than any other MMO I’ve ever played. I love a lot of things about it, but really, leading our FC is probably the major reason I’m still here. That, and the fact that close friends are still not tired of the game yet. 🙂

    I do dabble in a few MMOs on the side, but FFXIV remains my “home.”

  4. WoW is my MMO home and has been since I began playing in 2012. I’m in a friends and family social guild, play just about daily, and always have a goal to work toward. On Saturday evenings, I play Rift with my husband, and I also play GW2 on occasion when I want scenery other than Azeroth. I hope you find an MMO to call home soon, Justin.

  5. I consider Star Trek Online my online home. It may only see a mission released every couple of months, but my love of working in the Foundry Editor definitely keeps me from wandering too far. I’ve made a lot of friends among the niche but very friendly Foundry community. I even got to meet some of them last year at Star Trek Las Vegas.

  6. I’m often in the same situation, switching out MMOs about every 4-5 weeks. Lately though I’ve been playing Rift and that’s been going on for about 3-4 months now which for me is long enough to consider a game “home.” I’ve only made it past the 2 month mark in 2 other games as far as I can remember— WoW and SWTOR.

    There are a handful of things that have kept me playing Rift for so long. One has been the large amount of content I’ve never seen in the game, having only just recently played through Storm Legion and Nightmare Tide expansions for the first time. Then secondly the class system has kept me from changing games. I like variety and few other games allow me to play one character but change up how I play in a significant way. And then lastly it just feels like home. That’s not very descriptive or helpful, I know, but it’s comforting to log in to that game world when I have time to play. I like the overall look and feel of the world and to the extent that I am able to follow, I enjoy the stories being told.

    In some ways though I think it feels like home because I’ve stayed rather than it felt like home and so I stayed. I’ve thought about playing other games but then I think to myself, “they are just the same game with a different skin, might as well keep making progress here,” or I remember something I dislike about the game that is tempting me to leave and so I stay. After a while of staying put regardless of the reason it became my home.

  7. I can name my MMO homes without having to think about it: EverQuest, EQ2, Vanguard and GW2. All of those are MMOs I’ve played not just for months at a stretch but for years. Often simultaneously. I would also include DAOC, WoW, Rift, LotRO and Wizard 101 as what you might call “holiday homes”. I played each of those as my main or only MMO for several months (six months each in the case of WoW and Rift, nine months in DAOC).

    These days my two homes are definitely GW2 and EQ2. I think I have logged into GW2 every single day since it launched in 2012 except when I was away from home with no computer access. I play EQ2 at least once or twice a week most weeks and every day for a few weeks whenever there’s an expansion or major content patch.

    EQ2, though, is the MMO home where I actually have a home. Several. My beserker’s house in Maj’Dul, my necro’s in Neriak, my other necro’s in Freeport.

    I think it’s odd that you’ve never played EQ2, Syp, because from everything I’ve read from you over the years it would seem to be the closest to your ideal MMO. Sadly, I think it would be too late for you to start now. The experience of trying to come to terms with such an immense, sprawling, unsorted warehouse of content would almost certainly be too daunting and/or frustrating to enjoy. Problem with almost all large, regularly updated MMOs of a certain age.

    I don’t think you’re going to find an MMO home out of any of the ones on your list, though. You keep trying and it keeps not happening. I think you just need to be patient until the right new MMO comes along, then immerse yourself in and commit yourself to it unreservedly. If that clicks you might get a good year or more before the ennui or the wanderlust sets in again.

  8. For me, a true MMO home is a world and setting that I deeply care about. The sort of thing where I’ll log in even when there’s nothing worth doing in the game, just because I love immersing myself in the world so much.

    My home was The Secret World. Now, well… yeah…

  9. Poor timing of this question for me. My years-long home has made so many choices that I do not like the past few months that I feel like I am being constructively evicted. I have found a potential replacement, but I have no guild there, so nothing really making it feel like a “home” yet.

    For you, Justin, if there is no obvious choice, then maybe you shouldn’t be trying to force it, otherwise you might end up feeling even more disgruntled when it doesn’t work out.

  10. I ended up going back to WoW, most time I’ve invested in an MMO so it’s my default ‘home’. My guild is dead in every MMO so it doesnt much matter where I go. I tend to go alone and WoW has a great system for finding a group when you’re in a guild that has 1-2 players online tops.

  11. For me, my MMO home is whatever I’ve designated as the primary game that I log into daily and will be committing the bulk of my time and attention to. It has varied sequentially – Guild Wars 1, City of Heroes, a period of shorter-term aimless meandering from Age of Conan to Aion, A Tale in the Desert several times and then squarely back into GW2.

    Part of it, I feel, is simply deciding that an MMO will be a primary game. You can’t build social connections without already deciding, subconsciously or otherwise, that you want to stick it out somewhere if not for the long term, then at least for the medium term.

    Another part of it is that the overall gameplay loops and long-term goals of the game should appeal to you in some way. Try as I might, I can’t stick with competitive-pvp-each-other to stake territory or climb higher on a leaderboard games. Running around with a gang of friends nightly or being able to be set back significantly through loss is just not for me, but for others who like the gameplay. I like cooperative games, games where you progress your account and are alt-supportive and solo-supportive, and am fine with nonpersistent equal playing field pvp in small doses.

    So narrow down the field to games which you like what they tell you to do, and then just pick one to commit to for a while.

    Play it, put in the footwork to find a guild, -attend- guild organized events (meeting people is about showing up long enough that they recognize your face/voice/nameplate), read up more deeply about various aspects, rinse and repeat.

    If you don’t like the game enough to find any of the above interesting, then there’s either something wrong with the game’s overall design that doesn’t click with you, or you’re at a point in your life that you don’t want to commit the time/focus necessary to build/cultivate an MMO home (maybe you actually have a RL home that you’re more committed to, fer instance) and that’s more than OK.

  12. I’m in a similar position, trying to rotate between various games. The one I’ve played the most of is LoTRO – 10 years spread out heavily in the SoA/MoM days and not as much recently. But I do still enjoy the game and am leveling some new chars.

    I too would like to narrow down to a “home”, and the top candidates are LoTRO, ESO, FF14. SWL is up there but falls a bit short because I don’t see myself doing the end game, due to the gear upgrade mechanism and grind involved to actually switch between archetypes. GW2 is up there but falls a bit short because I don’t like the combat.

    I’m considering trying FF14 again. I enjoyed the months I played, the game has all the other stuff (active dev, active playerbase, lots to do) with a class swapping mechanic that REALLY impresses me. I could see myself settling down to LoTRO and ESO, or LoTRO and FF14.

  13. For me it’s never been in question where my MMO home lies because for the longest time I didn’t even play any other games. It’s only in the past few years that I’ve been willing to take more than a cursory glance at “non-home” MMOs. From 2006 to 2012 I “lived” in WoW, and since then my home has been in SWTOR.

    It’s hard for anything to compete with my home because I love it as a package deal. When I play another game I might think “Oh, that’s neat, SWTOR could learn from that” about a certain aspect of the gameplay, but there will always be other things that don’t compare nearly as well in my mind.

    That and I tend to be heavily engaged with the game’s development and community, following all the developer updates, blogging about them, exchanging thoughts with other bloggers, running content with random strangers to see what the community is like etc. It’s hard to maintain that level of interest and connectivity with more than one game continuously I find.

  14. We’re at that nadir point now in WoW’s cycle, where the next expansion hasn’t (quite) been announced and all the major patches (we know about) have been released. So that gives me a window in my free time for considering a new home MMO until that next expansion comes around – not that I consider WoW my main MMO anymore (haven’t since Cataclysm), but this period represents time where I won’t be dragged back into WoW to play because of friends/relatives as they’re bored with it too.

    I’m considering giving EQ2, DDO or something else a more focused go for at least a few months in terms of making the effort to find a guild and playing on a more regular scheduled basis. Maybe it’s an autumnal thing, this desire for a warm-cosy ‘home game’ to settle into as the nights draw in?

  15. My MMO home was City of Heroes. I don’t know if it will ever be replaced. I enjoyed The Secret World as well, but the community there is different. There are 3 CoH successors in development that I plan on trying, but so far nothing has given me the sense of freedom and possibility and the warm community that I found there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s