Is there any point to playing an MMO “once in a while?”

As I’ve expressed in the past, in an ideal world where I had all the time to game I wanted in addition to everything else in my life, I would most likely be playing (and blogging about) a lot more things. I’ve tried to figure out ways to maximize my limited time, and to an extent, that has helped. But there’s a huge wall when it comes to the idea of logging into an MMO that I do kind of want to play — but I don’t have the time to do it more than once in a while.

The thought process goes like this:

  • “Oh, I haven’t played or would like to play GAME X! Maybe I should log in tonight…?”
  • “Maybe. But what’s the point if you’re not really getting into it? What can you get out of just one or two sessions here or there?”
  • “I… could get some personal enjoyment. Maybe a blog post. That’s something.”
  • “But no real progression. No social connections. And without some level of dedication, you most likely won’t be coming back. So you’re really just wasting that time that could be spent progressing and having fun in a game that you play regularly.”
  • “I guess you’re right. Back to FAMILIAR GAME Y it is!”

It’s an even more brutal thought process if the game in particular has a low population (like Fallen Earth) or a very uncertain future (like WildStar). Some games, if I’ve progressed in them far enough or have an episodic rollout, are easier to use as “once in a while” MMOs.

It’s an even more grindingly brutal thought process if the MMO in question is one that I haven’t played before and will need to learn and get acquainted with. I really should make a rule that if I try out a new game, I commit to doing it three nights in a row so I’m not tempted to jet off to an old favorite where I can just log in and play without taxing my comfort zone any.

I’ve thought about streaming as a way to break through this mental zone. If I’m directly entertaining others and sharing my experiences, it might make flitting about to different titles personally appealing. The focus and goal wouldn’t be on progression, it would be on the moment-to-moment experience and social aspect.

Of course, I have no idea if I’d be a good streamer or what that entails or if that would just eat up more time I don’t have. I’m going to be settling into a new schedule, and there is a possibility that I won’t be as crunched for time as much as I used to be once I get through this transition.

What do you think? Is there any point to playing an MMO once in a while?

11 thoughts on “Is there any point to playing an MMO “once in a while?”

  1. I don’t really do much with MMOs, because I know that my personal tipping point of “too much time” is an insanely sharp drop off in to doing nothing else, but I’ve had this same frustration with single player games. In trying to broaden my horizons, I’ve come to two conclusions.
    1) I need to let myself be okay with trying something out, getting a night or two out of it, and then moving on.
    2) If you do have that drive to be an entertainer, streaming is an excellent way to make those trials of new games more unique and memorable.

  2. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing an MMO only sporadically. However, if you only find yourself wanting to log in once in a while, I think that may be a sign you’re not really enjoying it that much.

  3. I think you’re overthinking it. You should do whatever you feel like doing. We’re not talking aout deciding to buy a house or change your job or even having your hair dyed or getting a tattoo. What video game you might play on a whim is a decision on a par with whether to order Fanta or Coke at a pavement cafe or whether to go for a walk or take a relaxing bath.

    If you find yourself in a tizzy over whther to do it or not you probably shouldn’t bother. It’s not that big a deal to get worked up over even to a minimal degree.

  4. Does “once in a while” mean playing for a day or two every now and then? Or for a few weeks or more every now and then?

    The latter I find can be worthwhile, bit the former seems to be mostly pointless

    If you haven’t been there for some time, reacquanting youself with what you were doing, how the class works etc take a good deal of time, Plus if you’re like me you’ll probably have a number of boring chores to deal with as well, like sorting out the bursting-at-the-seams inventory. With all that, a day or two occasionally doesn’t feel satisfying at all.

  5. I have been thinking the same thing lately. I play WoW, and this expansion I have made a goal to play the entire expansion without breaking for more than a few weeks. I don’t plan to raid, but I do like Myhtic+ dungeons and I have a group that has the same time constraints and considers the M+ dungeons a lighter version of raiding.

    I do find it hard to keep up with a lot of MMO’s though, the fact that you need to log in and make progression in a game is the reason I really don’t see how I can keep up.

    I love Guildwars 2 for this reason, I can not log in for months (aside from the random log in to get the living story season for free) and then log in and not feel like I’m behind.

    Games like Borderlands (all of them) and Skyrim are my games that I can leave for year at a time and just come back to them like it was yesterday.

    I don’t see playing an MMO for a few days every few months (unless its to do some story stuff like in your post about TSW Legends) as a thing. It’s really not worth it, especially if it requires a monthly sub.

  6. I’ve found that if I’m playing an MMO sporadically its because I like the concept of what its doing but cant find anything to hook me, usually the social aspect. You can make almost any game enjoyable with friends to play with, and thats a pretty big hurdle for me most of the time.

  7. I think the thought process in the bullet points is correct. Play one MMO until you find it “complete” or “bad” and shelf it (at least until next expansion)

  8. After playing EverQuest about 3-4 hours a night seven days a week twenty years ago I could never play any game regularly again!
    I tend to pick up something and play it heavily for a couple of weeks and then drift away to come back in a couple months. The only online game I play anymore is STO. I hadn’t played it more than once or twice in the last year to come back for the ‘Victory is Life’ expansion and the Risa summer festival and I’ve been playing a couple days a week for the last two months. We’ll see how long I last till I burn out this time.

  9. Why not play the games when you feel like it. You may log in just to help a friend out with something or for guild stuff when you may not really feel like it. If you are streaming and hope to make income, you need to be on regular and build a following so you are going to be playing sometimes not because you want to but because it is your job. It is not a bad career and some make millions at the top. I think however playing an MMO just once in a while is fine just don’t feel you have to log other than the reasons above.

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