MMO Gaming Contentment: Learning to Be Still
You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will-
Learn to be still
“Learn to Be Still” – The Eagles
Last night, in FFXIV, I logged in to find my newest veteran rewards waiting for me. This was my 540 day, Rank 8 reward including the fun Wind-Up Gilgamesh and the Hildibrand portrait (which promptly went up in my house’s front room). I want to note that I pay for my FFXIV sub by the month, so these aren’t vet rewards that are pre-gifted for a 3 month subscription.
The idea that I have actually stuck with a (subbed) MMO for 18 months (plus the first free month?) is really, really unusual for me. I tend to be a restless game-hopper, especially in the age of F2P games that all struggle to earn your initial interest… and some that trap you through whatever means of guilt and obligation (“I’ve spent too much on this game to stop playing now, even if I’m not enjoying it”).
But lately, I’m learning to be still, dedicating myself to focusing on one game. I find that I’m enjoying the game all the more.
I’m not going to say that I spent all 18 months completely dedicated to FFXIV, however. Last year was a tantalizing run with many new games that all sought to win the MMO community over. First there was ESO and WildStar. I participated in the beta of both games, and even though I had peer pressure to play ESO in particular, I passed on both of them. Mostly because I was already playing a sub game (FFXIV), and I couldn’t see myself paying another monthly fee.
This seemed to work to my advantage – I don’t feel like even if I’d tried to get into either of them that they would have stuck with me for whatever reason. I like some of the elements they offered, but as a whole package, I didn’t find them as pleasing as FFXIV was as a sub game.
Then there came ArcheAge. Oh, how I really wanted to love the sandbox ArcheAge was offering, and spent a LOT of time (and some money) trying to make it work for me. I even overlooked a lot of weak elements (story) and features that didn’t appeal to me (open world PvP). It was far from my ideal game, but I tried to enjoy it for what it was.
Sadly, what it ended up being was a massive cash grab full of bots and exploits. So, after a few months into the game, I parted ways. I’ll note that I didn’t leave because I was bored, didn’t have stuff to do, or lacked interest – this was purely a game that I can’t support due to the poor management and shady monetization methods. I don’t regret that choice one bit and have no desire to return to that world.
Other co-op games (Starbound and 7 Days to Die) also captured my interest, and a good amount of time. But I’m not counting non MMOs in this article. So there! :p
Learning to Be Still
I didn’t make too many resolutions this year, but the one that I did (and was quite serious about) was narrowing down the number of MMOs that I’m playing. I decided to focus on FFXIV, in particular, and get caught up on the end game content. I also resolved to pick up the foundations of our Free Company and rebuild it with folks who have similar interests and goals.
As mid-March comes slowly upon us, I can honestly say that I’ve made a strong amount of progress for my characters and our FC. These things have not been easy for me – I’ve had to face a lot of my own self-created worries that prevented me from achieving… and understanding what I really could achieve. So, again, FFXIV has been an experience of self-growth in many ways.
And while I feel a little scattered on what I should focus on within the game – is having too much to do in an MMO really something to be sad about? (I think not!) – I’ve felt much more content overall to make FFXIV my home. I’ve got so much to work on with the Heavensward expansion on the horizon. So much, in fact, that I’ve hardly even paid attention to other ripples in the MMO pond lately.
The GW2 expansion? I’m happy for the folks who really want this, but it doesn’t excite me at all. I mean, Heavensward has flying dragons and griffon mounts… who needs limited hang gliders that you have to work up masteries to fly?
Crowfall? Best of luck to the dev team and folks who are excited for this. It sounds like it has a lot of neat concepts, but the competitive nature that the game is built around isn’t my thing, so I don’t see myself playing it.
ESO going B2P? Happy for the folks who will enjoy it, and who are looking forward to trying it again. Something about the design and feel didn’t mesh with me before, and I doubt it’ll pull me in now. I’m not going to swear off trying it, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
So, what’s your method of MMO gaming? Do you need a game rotation to keep you from getting burned out? Or do you enjoy the depth of sticking with a particular game over a long period of time?
Learn to Be Still by The Eagles