If there’s a game that you absolutely, positively can’t walk away from given a good enough reason, then you might be in the throes of an actual addiction. I feel that it’s a good inner test of priorities if I am able to disengage and walk away from whatever MMO I’m playing at the moment if the situation requires. Shows that I’m the master of the game, not that it is the master of me.
So the decision to close down my World of Warcraft account due to last week’s #boycottBlizzard movement and head on to different online pastures wasn’t as painful as I might have assumed. Maybe it was even time to put that game down for a while and explore elsewhere, especially considering how many other games have made a play for my interest.
I put the question out to Twitter about possible replacement games, just out of curiosity for what people might say, and I got the following responses:
- Caravan Stories
- LOTRO (which I am playing)
- Astellia Online
- EverQuest II
- Star Trek Online
- Guild Wars 2
The latter two have been on my mind lately, and so I dipped into both of them this past week, as well as geared up for some serious ArcheAge unchained. I’ll talk about all of that next week, but right now I wanted to write about what it’s like to mothball an MMO that you weren’t burning out of but decided to leave for another reason entirely.
It’s strange, because it requires a mental shift as well as a schedule change. I’m not obsessed about my games, but I am interested in them and do think about what I want to accomplish in them when I get to the last couple hours of my day. Suddenly removing WoW from that equation felt strange, especially as I was working on a few different projects in that. But again, it wasn’t painful or even that much of a sacrifice.
It even felt kind of heady to have the freedom to explore elsewhere. I’ve sometimes thought about doing a monthly rotation where there’s a new game every month, but really, I have that option now and I don’t want to pin myself down.
What I sometimes need is the motivation to get out of my MMO comfort zones and routine. That motivation can come from extraordinary circumstances, like this boycott, but more often than not I’m lured by others talking about a game, significant developments in the game itself (business model shift, relaunches, expansions), and long-simmering curiosity.
It’s like this in real life, too, when I’ve gotten too deep into my sacred routine to where I need the occasional prod to jump off the rails and do something different, something not scheduled. I don’t need to ruin my routine, but I need flexibility and a mentality that is open to something different that day so that I don’t get stale and rigid.
We’ll see where all this goes this month, but for now, I’m going to walk down some other paths with my hands in my pockets and a whistle on my lips.