I read an interesting post on Massively today about Wildstar’s random factor and how it has chosen to structure its endgame. It struck a few chords with me. There may have even been a light bulb popping into existence over my head.
I realized a while ago that while I still spend most of my free time playing games, at least when I’m not reading, I am not as addicted to playing them as I used to be. I don’t watch much T.V. and set up DVR recordings for those things I do want to see. I still go through a lot of books. But after those free time pursuits are done, the rest of my free time is spent playing games. Considering how much time that represents, you’d think I would still consider myself addicted to them. But I’m not, and I don’t.
I’ve known a lot of people who let their obsession with past MMOs ruin their lives. I’ve known several who recognized that they were giving in to obsessive behaviors and made themselves walk away before their lives were completely ruined. The fact that marriages can be broken up and families can’t maintain the balance between someone who games a lot and healthy family ties is disturbing. I know how lucky I am that my hubby and I are so similar and thus tolerate and mirror each other’s obsessions.
Our nostalgia for “the old days” is tied up in the haze of obsessive and addictive behaviors. Games that require you to remain obsessed, where true mastery of their “elite” content requires a massive commitment, are either going to have to adapt to a population that has largely admitted to the realities of real life and walked away from their obsessions, or they are going to try and lure enough people into that lifestyle that the “hard core” mechanics work. I honestly don’t know enough about the player demographics to tell if Wildstar will succeed in “bringing back the old days” or not, but I suspect they won’t succeed with the “old” players like me. And there are plenty of other really popular games out there, that are not MMOs, that fill the obsessive niche for the truly competitive types.
I have no interest in Wildstar’s end game content. Without that goal to sustain me, none of the other systems in the game that ultimately culminate in preparing for end game content will attract me either. While I kind of miss the days when I allowed my MMO obsession freer reign, I also know that I started playing MMOs after the “gold old hard core” days that many people remember. I was never on “Evercrack.”
While I may have fond memories of WoW, I am past the time when my nostalgia will push me to change my play style. I’m grateful for MMOs that acknowledge and contribute to my change to a “casual” style. I am also not attracted to games that require a level of “hard core” commitment that I’m no longer willing to give. It has been quite a wake up call for me.
I am with you. I’d really like to go back to something closer to Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Dark Age of Camelot. Older MMOs get a bad rap for being hardcore, but they had a very casual way about it. UO, for example, lacked a real group limit or even dynamic, so it was more like doing a very dense zone of mobs with strangers/friends.
I don’t want to forsake depth and socialization for automation and matchmaking, but it would be nice if MMOs were designed from the ground up to either be scalable based on players present or drop raiding altogether for a lot more dungeons (of varying length and complexity)!
If you like the dense zone of mobs with strangers/friends, have you tried Rift or Defiance? They both cater to that dynamic quite well.
Unfortunately, they are also ultimately built to facilitate the end game gear treadmill, so your mileage may vary.
I haven’t Defiance, but the little Rift I played was really dull.