5 Reasons I Don't Play MMORPGs Anymore

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There has been a rule floating around the self-help community since 1993. It states that 10,000 hours of practice can make you an expert in any endeavor.

I have no idea whether this is true or not, but it's safe to say I could have a decent golf career had I spent my time doing that instead of playing one of the 20 odd MMORPGs I've dabbled in. 

Unfortunately, at some point, those MMOs lost their charm for me. I still pick them back up as their developers release expansions -- and I always look forward to those around the corner -- but it's been several years since I logged any daily playtime. 

At first, I thought it was me. I thought, "I'm too busy," or "I have to focus on other things." But just like when that line is given in any other break up -- it's actually always them. These are the five reasons I don't play MMORPGs anymore.

Fast Travel in MMORPGs

This one is clearly debatable given your play style, but fast travel took a lot of the magic out of otherwise great MMORPGs ... at least for me.  

I can remember a conversation I had over five years ago with a fellow Elder Scrolls fan. He told me he thought it was a huge mistake that Skyrim was including fast travel, and that it was enough of a problem that he would likely not bother picking it up.  

I vehemently defended fast travel options that day. I used flying mounts in WoW to state my case. I talked about how I loved them, and that there was nothing wrong with making a game less tedious and more convenient. 

But, like a thorn in my side, his argument has followed me through the years. He was right. I was wrong. That's a gross thing to admit, but fast travel clearly shrinks the size and wonder of the game world.

There should be a healthy balance between realistic fast travel like airships and flight points, and the player's access to it. Providing it in abundance just encourages players to skip the majority of a game's content. 

MMORPG Group Finders

Another product of convenience, and also one that should be included in some way, shape, or form, is the group finder. 

The whole hecking point of an MMO is to play with other people. I have no idea why developers are constantly taking away any reason to.

Actually, I do know why: it's because we keep saying that we want it. It is irritating to communicate with other people when we're trying to just get some tasks completed, but how else are you supposed to get to know the people on your server outside of your guild?

I'm sure there's a smarter way to implement these systems without removing them. Taking them out completely would just mess everything up, but having a system that requires absolutely no communication is even worse.  

 

Cash Shops and MMORPGs

This problem is as obvious as the solution is unclear. 

There is absolutely no reason for developers to stop scraping together their best content and dumping it into their cash shops. Clearly, the initial burst of money they make doing it outweighs their drop in players. 

I like to pretend I'm going to make some kind of moral stand when I start a game with a cash shop. It doesn't take long until I'm justifying $5 on that sick tiger mount -- $5 I could have just spent somewhere else. $5 I could have spent on something more meaningful. 

Combat in MMORPGs

Don't we wish all MMORPG combat looked like this promo shot of Guild Wars 2

There is a reason the majority of combat shots MMORPGs use to promote themselves are all zoomed in, with no UI and at some clutch point that probably took the developers forever to set up. 

I appreciate how complex MMORPG fights can get, and I don't want the genre to lose that. Player roles, raid strategy and crowd control all make MMORPGs special, so if new games are going to try and introduce new combat systems -- I hope that they will keep these things in mind. 

It's also worth mentioning that technical restrictions hold back how fanciful the combat could be in most games. Mechanics will always need to be simpler when a server has to register them for thousands of people. 

I do think that the next generation can do better. Looking at you, Camelot Unchained.  

Questing

This monster is probably the most cited reason for leaving an MMORPG. Fetch and kill quests can only be reformatted so many times until you are so sick of doing them you'd rather grind your way to max level. 

Shout out to all the games that are trying to work around this stale progression model. Experience for crafting, achievements and skillful combat chains can all be used to substitute questing for those of us that are having trouble doing much more of it. 

I am not alone in leaving MMORPGs and developers have noticed. The biggest by far, World of Warcraft, capped off at 12 million subscribers at the height of Cataclysm (five years ago) and dwindled to 5 million up until Legion's launch. We don't have any numbers for how well Legion is performing, but it's pretty unlikely it will ignite a lasting recovery. 

The good news is that the horizon looks promising for some changes to the genre. In fact, given a few years, these old as dirt issues might be gone completely. 

Which MMORPGs do you still play? Do you have other issues that I missed? Would you rather they just stay like they are?

Published Feb. 18th 2017

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I am a professional freelance writer, bartender and JTP Mentor based in Atlanta, GA. I spend my days creating copy for hardwood floor companies or writing SEO driven blogs for call centers. I spend my nights trying to hear drunk orders over loud music. I spend my time in between writing for...more »

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