Before we start, a little back story: I have been playing a variety of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) since 2004, some more than others, and have done everything from organized PvP, to progression raiding, to just casual solo play. Basically, I may not be the best MMO player in the world (not even close), but I have some extensive history with the genre.
But I think I’m done.
I haven’t played any MMORPG at all in weeks, which is rather surprising, because up to earlier this Autumn, I was playing something at least a few days a week. No “Lord of the Rings Online”. No “Rift”. Not even “Secret World Legends”. Speaking of SWL, I didn’t even log in once during their fabulous Halloween event this year!
So, why have I stopped playing MMORPGs? Well, for a lot of reasons, really. First of all, I don’t enjoy being nickel-and-dimed to death by microtransactions. I don’t like waiting around for months, and sometimes years, for content updates. I especially don’t like content updates, that would normally be free to paying subscribers and lifetime subs, being called a “mini expansion”, just so that company can charge everyone for it.
But aside from all of that, as you may already know, this year I’ve been playing a lot on my Nintendo Switch. It is a lot of fun to just jump on the Switch, play for hours on end, and in most cases, not be bothered for extra purchases or other players annoying me. Basically, my PC is pretty much now just a blogging and podcasting rig, and I do my gaming on the Switch now.
Finally, and this is probably the final nail in the coffin of my MMORPG career, would be my solo roleplaying. I’ve been doing a lot of solo tabletop roleplaying the last few months, and it has pretty much consumed all of the time I used to spend on MMORPGs. Since I have a rather extensive library of TTRPGs, collected over 40+ years in the hobby, I can play pretty much any sort of game I wish. Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror… Whatever genre I wish to play, I’ve got a game that will cover it. So since I have all of these experiences available to me, simply by breaking out some dice, pencils, paper, and a book or two off of the shelf, why bother logging into an MMORPG any longer?
Itching for some “Secret World Legends”? I can just play “Urban Shadows”, “Mythos World”, “Dresden Files”, or any number of other horror or Urban Fantasy TTRPGs.
Looking to enjoy some “Guild Wars 2”? Well, why not break out the “Dungeons & Dragons”, or one of the hundreds of other Fantasy TTRPGs?
Pining for some “Anarchy Online”? Try some “Uncharted Worlds”, or “d6 Space”, or plenty of other such games.
Finally, feeling the need to drop into Middle-Earth with some “Lord of the Rings Online”? Instead, I could play “Adventures in Middle-Earth”, or “The One Ring”, or – and more likely – I would just break out “Fellowship”, instead. It’s got everything I’d need to play a LOTR-themed game, with no pesky microtransactions or normally-free updates being sold to us as “Mini Expansions”.
So, my point is this: Why should I bother playing any MMORPG, ever again? The only reason I can see would be because I have invested quite a bit in these games over the years, and it seems like a waste to just walk away from all that. But then again, that is the “Sunk-Cost Fallacy”, and it is utter bullshit. Yes, I spent good money in those games, and in most of those cases, I had a lot of fun doing so. Did I get my money’s worth? Not always (“Champions Online” and “Star Trek Online”, I’m looking at you), but in most cases, I think I got enough value for my money. What is more important is this: Would I be having enough fun by playing these MMOs, to make it worth my time to go back?
I’m not sure I would.
Let’s look at the games I still have on my computer. “Rift” hasn’t had an update in years. Same with “Secret World Legends”, although both of those games are very willing to sell you microtransactions all day long. I still have “Guild Wars 2” installed, as well, but I just don’t have any fun with it anymore, so it certainly isn’t worth the time investment.
LOTRO isn’t on my computer any longer, and unless Standing Stone Games stops selling free content updates as “mini expansions”, I’ll never darken their virtual door again, despite the thousands of dollars I have spent on that game over the years.
Anyway, what’s the takeaway here? Well, I see it like this. I’m not certain that I’m done with MMORPGs for good, because who knows what the future might hold? But at the same time, I simply don’t have any interest in playing these games anymore, at least not right now. At least for the time being, I see myself as being more of a Console Peasant and Solo Tabletop Roleplayer now.