With the latest set of MMOs to hit the market (the STOs and the Allods, the Alganons and the Aikas), and the vague specifications we’ve been receiving concerning upcoming games (APB to be subscription-free, DCUO’s financial model up in the air, Vindictus’s F2P vs. Tera’s P2P), there has been a fair amount of discussion on the blogosphere about ideas of immersion, casual play, subscription vs. free-to-play, time commitments driving what you play, etc. etc.
All of these bloggers have made points I can agree with and relate to, and the realities of my life have caused me to make certain choices about the type and number of games that I play as well. I have realized, since moving on from Guild Wars and into the larger world of MMOs, a few things about the way I play and the time I use for play, and the more I recognize these things, the happier I feel I’ll be with the reality of the situation.
- As with many others, I feel the desire to play in an immersive virtual world, with a home to call my own, a profession with which to pay the bills, friends I can rely on, and a ready set of adventures upon which to embark at any given time.
- However, maintaining such an environment requires a commitment of time that I lack, and a regularity I am unable to adhere to.
- This fuels my determination to no longer continue to play subscription-fee games, with the possible exception of those which provide long-term or lifetime subscriptions at a discounted rate.
- Games such as Guild Wars, DDO, or STO provide manageable, discrete packages of content that can be completed within a certain time-frame without a long-term commitment; however, such content does fail to fill in the sense of “belonging” to a game world and fully interacting within it.
- Furthermore, the more convenient it is to solo such content, the more isolated I can become as a gamer and the fewer ties I feel to such a game, unless I am also playing with my better half.
- The result has been that I no longer seek or expect to find any one game that “scratches all itches;” that is, one Ultimate MMO that provides every single craving I have for a virtual world; if one did, I would be unable to fully engage with each of those spheres due to my real-life limitations.
- Instead, there are several games that each fulfill a particular niche in my range of interests, and provide a particular source of fun for the duration I am able to play.
- I am perfectly okay with that. It fits the way my life is today the way MUDding for hours on end fit my life in another age.
- Rather than lament the loss of one model (which is really the nostalgia for the responsibility-free, sleep-deprived life I led when I was 19 years old), I prefer to marvel at the model of gaming that I use today, which enables me to sample a variety of games the likes of which I could not have imagined a dozen years ago.