I’m a simple man, with simple needs. I lead a simple life, and don’t really strive for more than I really need. But there is one place, in which I splurge, and that is with my entertainment. I enjoy music, tabletop roleplaying games, and – of course – videogames. I have previously documented on this page my adoration for TTRPGs, so I really won’t go into that here today. As for music, I have a vast collection, built up over the decades, and saved digitally, because I literally don’t have the room for it in my house.
But then there is video games. I like video games, be they Retro console games, or modern games (especially Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games). But I also try to keep things simple, when it comes to video games, and keep things casual. But above all else, I try to focus on games that aren’t a pain in the ass to play.
That’s why I play “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” literally every single day. It just works, and it is always there to provide some fun and relaxation, especially after an anxiety-filled night at work (my job is not physically difficult, but it can be extremely stressful).
I keep coming back to games like ACNH, time and again, because they just work, and they don’t ruin my day, like so many other games can. Take “New World”, for example. This is one game that I really wanted to like, but simply can’t get into anymore, because you never know what you are going to get, when you log in… assuming that you actually can log in to the game on a given day, that is.
But “New World” is only a recent example of games that I wanted to explore, but found to be wanting. “World of Warcraft” is actually the biggest culprit, when it comes to MMORPGs that I supported for many years, but eventually failed me. A lack of support for Roleplayers that borders on disdain for the community, “Casual Support” that boils down to “Do Daily Quests or PUG Raid”, period. Blizzard literally doesn’t care about any players outside of endgame Raiders, despite 99% of their playerbase not wanting to do Raiding, and that ultimately drove me away from the game, after years of supporting it.
Is it any wonder, then, that people flock to games like “Animal Crossing”? A game that is simple, yet has complexity and challenge, for those who seek that. A game that is fun, but not stressful… unless that is what you are looking for. A game that is always there, free from Griefers, ready to give you a casual experience that won’t ruin your day, like so many other video games will.
At this point, I have to wonder whether I will play another MMORPG ever again, to be honest. I really have no need to do so, especially when I can replace the exploration and crafting aspects of “New World” with the same in “Animal Crossing”… without the stress of dying or pressure to level up and get involved with the Player vs Player folly that covers for the games’ utter lack of endgame content.
No, I’m not bitter. Not really.
But it isn’t just “Animal Crossing”, although I admit that is my game of choice right now. My Steam library is full of computer games that are a blast to play, offer varying levels of challenge (so I can choose one that fits what I am looking for, on any given day), and aren’t subject to the whims of some MMORPG company’s fickle authentication servers or update schedule. Likewise, I have plenty of games on my Switch, not to mention retro games on my Raspberry Pi 4, which can be played whenever I wish. hell, I even have many of those same retro games on a few different handheld gaming devices, so even if the power were to go out, I have options for entertainment!
Maybe I’m too old, though?
Maybe I’ve just ‘aged out’ of games like WoW, New World, and the like?
No, I don’t think so. In fact, there is reason to believe that MMORPGs are moving more towards my style of gaming, and away from the ultra-competitive style of MMOs of the past. “Palia”, for example, is an MMORPG that looks to fit exactly what I, and many others, are looking for in such games: Relaxation and Community. There are of course others coming down the pike in this style, but I’m really looking forward to “Palia” in particular, because it appears to be “Animal Crossing”/”Starview Valley”, just in MMORPG form.
In short: Right. Up. My. Alley.
In short, part deux: Right. Up. The. Alley. Of. Many. Many. Other. Players. As. Well.
Should “Palia” and other such casual MMOs take off, Blizzard will cram in a small ultra-casual minigame into WoW, to try to emulate those games, much like it did with the Farm that tried to rip off “Plants vs Zombies” many years ago… but it won’t work in the long term. People have gotten wise to Blizzard’s bullshit, to be honest. They all know that WoW is never going to be a game that truly embraces Roleplayers, Casuals, or Solo players, even if these are the majority of their playerbase. Whatever Blizzard tries to cram into WoW to be a “Palia-killer” will be basically a huge insult to the casual community, and quickly forgotten, another one-expansion wonder (see Garrisons).
Anyway, as I write this, it is just after 5am. Daily reset in ACNH just happened, time to seek out my Money Tree spot, find my Message-in-a-Bottle, and arrange to move a Resident and do a construction project. I’m in the middle of an island-wide revamp, you see. Very busy, lots to do, see you later.