Years ago when I started playing MMORPG game(s), really there were not many options. Today there are so many options of choices of games one can pick and choose from. For me, I really love all things MMO(RPG) related, it is so nice to see so much out there! I am so happy this genre has grown and flourished. Often I go back because I miss a certain game or I want to check out an update. What keeps you coming back? What can stop you from coming back? That's something I wanted to touch on with today's post.
This week I've made a return to EverQuest 2. There are two reasons I took a longish break from this game. The first being that Dire really isn't that big on it, he detests the combat, where I find it rather relaxing. It wasn't anything about the game that kept me away, actually the opposite, EQ2 is a game that caters more so to players like myself. It offers housing, player made dungeons, duo/solo dungeons, lots of fluff and has a great community to boot. Having my duo partner drift off is another reason I drifted away, though I am willing to still play it by myself because I truly enjoy the game.
The biggest reason that pushed me away was gating. Specifically- the need for 280 AA points to move past level 90. I couldn't stomach doing old content, I was sitting at 230 and they were coming in slowly with my low playtime. Instead of holding people back because they might pose a problem to raiding and end game content with low AA amounts, maybe gate how many AA points are needed to access certain content? Just a thought. What brought me back was the expansion offered a boost (two claim items for two characters) to 280 AA points. It honestly felt like a waste, in a way, to use this when I was that close, but I just wanted to get into the new content. So, now I can merrily level through the new content. I'm not interested in seeing raid content, I only am interested in seeing new content at my own pace. I'm glad SOE took a hard look and let some of us move on past the point that held us back. I don't know if I would have come back at all, honestly. Call me lazy but I only have so much time in the day and I don't want it to feel like a never ending grind when I do play. It really pained me and I hated the choice that forced me away.
So that would be the biggest thing holding me back to return to a game- Holding me back from new content until I complete a mountain of required points. You can gate me from raids or instances but taking part of a new expansion that I am of level for? No thanks.
World of Warcraft, so easy to jump back into. I think we all know the level of polish here, that is certainly a thing that we can appreciate. Ease of access, such as LFD, LFR, these tools make it so easy to come back and join into the game after a break. With the fast pace of updates there is always much to look forward to. The requirements of a machine are low and the game looks decent at many settings, which is refreshing from all these snazzy new games that put so much into looks but not always content.
Back in Cataclysm though, the game had a much different feel, a far cry from how things were in the previous expansion. The ease of moving up had come to a screeching halt. Change up how a game completely feels in progression and I'm not happy, add in a 'shaky' community and there is a good chance I will move on. By shaky community I mean the train wreck that LFD can sometimes be due to players abusing others.
I'd say the things that do keep me coming back now are the ease of catching up and joining in. Updates on a regular, rather fast paced, basis (finally), the fact that it runs smoothly, combat is fluid (unless you play a stinky druid, haha), and the world feels alive with other players. But, I've played very heavily since release, I've played through each expansion, raided in all but one, gone through change after change with all my characters. If I were a returning player that might be a bit daunting, but the game does make things more streamlined for returning players. Plus, we have content headed to us soon that will help with learning roles. I'm wondering if that will be much of a boon or a novelty? Would it entice you to return?
EverQuest, a game I've played for the last thirteen years, one I will always hold dear- This one is sometimes a bit overwhelming to return to. Not necessarily hard to get back into, especially with mercs. I think the mercenaries (much like in EQ2) were a big reason I came back from a long stretch of not playing. They made things easier, such as certain classes can solo (molo) now, where it was much, much harder years ago. They make learning the game a bit easier. This game was scary as hell back in the day. One of the few that still get my heart pounding. It was often merciless to a newbie as myself. Today it is much easier to pick up the game and go.
However, returning I sometimes forget where to go. All these new zones don't have such an impact on me or the flair and memories that the older zones seem to hold. I miss the game but I miss those old places. The new zones are interesting and fun but they don't feel alive like those older ones do. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. I'd surely play on a more lenient server that had only classic (around 60 or 65 levels nothing more than that) content but more modern aspects of the game added, because I wouldn't honestly want to return to the 1999, 2000 era. Not enough time in my day for that. I also don't appreciate progression servers, once we hit a certain point they lose all magic for me. I would love to return to those old places with them feeling alive but more modernized, and more reason to utilize the content. However, I don't think SOE will ever make a truly classic feeling server, but that would be something IMO that would call to a lot of old vets. When a game grows so much, sometimes we cling to and crave for what we knew so well.
Heck, I still crave those original zones in WoW, I miss those old zones, I tire of Pandaria. Things like pet collecting/battles and archaeology give me good reason to return, which is nice, comforting in a way.
People. That can be a huge factor for a lot of players. Returning to play with friends. It has caused me to return to games or stick to games than I might have left, if they were not there. Like WoW, I can't seem to let go of it because it is where Dire is. Plus, I still feel a pull to play, for whatever perverse reason that is, I have no clue sometimes, heh.
I think something else that pulls me back and really makes me long for in any game- Dynamic type events such as those in Guild Wars 2 and Rift. That and the way we can tag mobs and help others. Things like not fighting over nodes, being able to revive other players so that they can help us defeat the big bad, the more the merrier! I miss those things, while they are rather new I think they are a huge boon to cooperative game play. I'd like to see more dynamic and cooperative content instead of more of the same a.k.a raiding. That would bring me running back to many games.
So how about you? What is the biggest thing that can pull you back into a game today. With SO many choices out there it can often be overwhelming to decide which to play or return to. Currently I have four subscriptions going, I love it but I need to thin it down, I cannot keep up! I was thinking today which I want to settle with. What keeps me there, what would push me away? Well obviously something brought me back to each and every one of them. It is hard to settle down sometimes. I am like a kid in a candy store, grabbing everything, eyes bigger than my stomach.
What stops you from returning to a game? Would it be age, changes you didn't like? Just too many newer games with flashy new mechanics perhaps? I'm curious to know!