Stagnation Appreciation

Like I suspect many others, my guild has been fairly quiet over the holidays, with members spending  a good chunk of time away from the internet and with their families. Last week we finally got enough people together to organise a guild run again but we wanted to take it easy, so we ran Eternity Vault, Karagga's Palace and Explosive Conflict on story mode of all things.

And... I was kind of surprised by how much of a good time I'm still having with these operations. Sure, Eternity Vault seemed amazing to me when I ran it for the first time six years ago, but shouldn't I be tired of this stuff by now? When Bioware first announced their plans to scale all content, I wrote at length about my hopes and concerns about it, and the potential of getting tired of the same instances remaining relevant endgame forever was certainly one of my worries.

And yet, here I am and I'm still having fun. In fact, this week I also ran another group finder operation with random strangers (Karagga's Palace) and had a blast providing guidance to those who were unfamiliar with the content for one reason or another. There's just something extremely comfortable about doing something that you know very well with only minimal variation. It's kind of like knitting another scarf I guess. If you're an experienced knitter I mean.

The other night I decided that I really wanted to do something fresh and different, so I patched and fired up Elder Scrolls Online. Quite a few people in my wider social circle have been playing it as of late and most of them have been full of praise for it. I managed to gain two levels and it was... okay I guess. Nothing was wrong exactly, but part of me found the experience oddly overwhelming and exhausting. While looking for something in the UI, lots of windows kept popping up to tell me about this feature and that, and even though depth is a good thing, something that's supposed to intrigue and entice me, I just felt tired even thinking about having to learn and understand all these new systems.

Back to SWTOR it was.

Bhagpuss also wrote a post only a few days ago about how he's actually quite happy playing all the MMOs that already exist and not exactly dying for something new right here, right now. Like he says, maybe it's the season.

I kept thinking that for me, it's probably also a case of MMOs not just being different things to different people, but also different things to the same person at different times. When I first started playing World of Warcraft over ten years ago (yikes), my real life was in a somewhat awkward, uncertain and unsatisfying place. I relished the opportunity to escape into a virtual fantasy world full of adventure and systems that were a lot more straightforward than the real world (kill kobolds, level up - got it).

No, I haven't become one of those fabled "gamers with real lives" who barely have ten minutes of spare time to play each day, but I do have a full-time job right now and in the last few months in particular it's actually been quite engaging and I've had to learn a lot of new things. That takes brain power, and by the time I come home I'm not really looking to learn a whole new set of rules. I'd much rather have some comfort food that takes me through a well-practised and satisfying routine before going to bed.

That doesn't mean that I don't want new content of course - just that I'm still getting a lot of mileage out of the old stuff in the meantime. While I've been there and done that, right now I'm actually quite happy to be there and do it again.


  1. Yeah, I've got a ton of catching up to do on a whole bunch of games --and revisit some oldies-- but I'm at that stage of my life when I'm happy I can sneak in an extra hour's worth of sleep vs. getting in another flashpoint.

  2. Yes, although I definitely meant everything I said in that post, I'm very aware that I wrote it form the perspective of the busiest period of my working year, when I have the least free time and the least spare energy to do anything with the hours I do get. It's not surprising that old favorites that don't require much thought or analysis seem the most welcome at times like that.

    Historically, I have always had a lot more free time in the post-Christmas period, especially from February through April and you can see from the blog that those are the times when I tend to go actively seeking new MMOs to play and write about. There do, of course, have to be some new games out there worth finding...


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