Monday, October 27, 2008

Jumbled Thoughts On Re-subscribing to an MMO

My first session in Lotro after resubscribing reminded me of many of the things I don't like about mmos. I spend most of the time travelling to the far North of Forochel in order to continue the epic quest line with book 13. At the same time I was trying to refresh my memory of what all the skills in my bar do along with the significance of various trait and gear selections. It was all somewhat tedious and at the same time left me feeling a bit inadequate knowing that I have probably fallen far behind my kinship buddies who have been raiding regularly since I left.

Things perked up a bit when I finally got stuck into a few quests. The server seems quite a bit quieter than it used to be but there were still a few calls for assistance in the "looking for a Fellowship" channel. I have always considered pick up groups to be one of the strong points of Lotro so I joined one to help a lower level player overcome a quest mob.

Grouping is a bit of a dilemma for me. Without a doubt the opportunity to play together with other people is the best thing about mmos. Yet this is the one element I find hardest to reconcile with the rest of my life. It is not the so much the time involved as the exclusivity required when you are playing with others. A single player game can be saved or put on hold whenever real life demands attention. A game involving other people cannot be paused so easily.

Exclusivity is a problem in another sense. Since quitting EVE at the end of August I have been enjoying quite a number of single player games: Two Worlds, Rainbow Six Vegas, Sacrifice, XIII, Crysis Warhead, Praetorians and Spore. If I get sucked back in to an mmo I just won't have time for such a varied gaming experience. I know some folk manage to juggle various mmos but I have never managed it. I tend to find an mmo not only consumes all my gaming time but can intrude on other areas of my life as well. Sometimes I think I spend as much time browsing fan sites as playing.

How to proceed? I am going to try and rejoin the game in a limited way. A big part of this involves saying no to stuff. No I don't need to do every quest from this zone. No I don't need to get a perfect set of traits. No I don't need to complete my raid armour set. Instead I will set a few achievable objectives and pursue those. Completing the book quests seems like a good start.

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