Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is an effect that dominates our online play. Or it *can* influence it, at least. With so many MMOs out there — too many to play, nevermind to master — and their always-evolving, time-limited nature, there’s a fear that if you don’t get on board, you’ll miss out forever.
It makes me think back my first month of college. I would stay up so late every night and keep going out, because I had a fear that I would miss out on all of the fun that was going on with parties, events, clubs, etc. College was this sparkly awesome unknown thing to me at the time, so I wanted to gorge on it. But soon enough, I realized that sleep was pretty important and that you kind of settle into a more limited slice of activities, friendships, and interests (along with classes).
And it’s kind of this way with MMOs. I write professionally and personally about the wider field of MMORPGs because I love the genre as a whole, but I can only viably engage in one, two, or perhaps three MMOs at any given time. I can only be part of (usually) one guild per game. It’s a small slice.
But then FOMO comes calling with that sinister whisper that maybe another guild is even more fun or will connect harder. Maybe a different game, a different faction, a different class is where it’s at. It makes it hard to commit, unless you put on blinders or steel your nerve, because the temptation to jump somewhere else is strong.
Sometimes it’s pretty fun to give into that temptation — and inconsequential, pretty much, because these are just games. Doesn’t really matter in the long run if I stick with one or sample at the buffet.
I’ve been thinking of FOMO because out of all of the MMOs that drift around me, FFXIV has always been the one with the loudest siren’s call. I see many of my friends deeply enjoying the game and I acknowledge the regular content updates and general health of the game, and so I fear missing out. This is why I’ve jumped into FFXIV so many times, even though I struggle with parts of it that I like and parts I don’t.
But I know that the FOMO wave is going to crest later this year when the expansion comes out and everyone and their brother will be talking about FFXIV again. And perhaps, yeah, I’ll go back and see what there is to see. Because I’m always afraid of missing out on the party, you see.