MMO burnout. It’s a thing that every MMO gamer has gone through multiple times. Whether it’s specific to a single game or just general malaise at the genre entire, it’s kind of a regular cycle. Especially for those of us who play to raise stats and progress for hours on end over the course of months, like a nerdy flagellation in offering to Gary Gygax.
So it is with myself and Final Fantasy XIV, and I wanted to babble on about why it’s happened and ideas on how to fix it.
Of course, “fix it” infers that there’s something broken with me, and that’s the first hurdle to overcome; burnout on MMOs is a pretty natural behavior as near as I can tell. With as many folks I know who love MMORPGs that experience peaks and valleys of interest, I consider that disinterest in a game is par for the course. It’s not really something that can be completely combated by player or developer. It just is.
However, my instance of burnout feels a lot more prolonged than it has before. When it comes to Final Fantasy XIV, I’m usually very upbeat about the game and energized to play, especially on the cusp of a new expansion and the launch of a new major content patch. However, week by week I find the news about what’s new and what’s next isn’t really exciting to me anymore.
Reading over that, it sounds a whole lot like I’m some sort of spoiled rich kid, surrounded by high-tech toys but bored to tears. That’s the second obstacle to knock down; understanding that even if it’s a first-world problem, it’s still no less relevant.
With those matters out of the way, I tend to look at the source of my frustration and pinpoint it. In my case, generally I’m unhappy with my character in XIV. Worse yet, working towards an entirely new class is a misery and rolling an alt is even worse. Both of those stem from a lengthy grind and walls of quests and dungeons that I’m not keen on doing again and again.
Now that I’ve targeted the problem, I can perhaps think of a solution and weigh pros and cons. XIV sells Fantasia potions, which let me completely change my character’s race and gender, and I can buy a name change easily enough. These options might be the sort of thing that would re-energize me for roleplay and general gameplay as well. The problem with that is any sort of connections my character has with other characters is then nullified, which strikes me as a bit rude to those players.
I’ve also been playing a lot of entirely different games, as my writing has no doubt been a testament to, in order to perhaps see if distance will make the heart grow fonder. This has been an exercise that’s happened for about a month now and I still can’t bring myself to fire up the XIV launcher.
Another solution I’ve been mulling over is trying other MMOs entirely. This has been a bit helpful, but not as energizing as I would have hoped. Admittedly, I could perhaps put forth more effort – I’ve enrolled with some friendly folks in WildStar but haven’t logged in to say hello – but then the word “effort” weighs on me. Gaming shouldn’t feel like effort unless you’re an eSports competitor.
In the end I have to follow my mood as well as these plans of my brain. Maybe the EU Fan Fest will have some announcement that will spark my interest. Maybe I’ll miss my Roegadyn and her brash, loud and not-so-subtle violent charms. Or maybe I’m too old for this shit.
Whatever the case may be, I hope to get the problem sorted soon. I just wanted to say…for anyone reading this that’s gassed out on MMOs: it’s okay. Truly. I hope that these ideas have been a little helpful, but I ultimately am here to empathize.
Enjoy gaming, whatever shape it takes. ❤