Learning to let go

Two months later, I’m no longer playing Age of Conan or Star Wars Galaxies. Several months ago, I posted on the RPG.net forum asking for advice on what MMORPG to try. I was bored, and posted a list of the MMORPGs I had played and decided I didn’t like. It was very lengthy, being at least two dozen entries long.

One of the replies I received was something to the effect of “you obviously don’t enjoy MMOs, so quit trying and find something else.” At the time, I brushed it off as a snide remark.

Now, though, after playing World of Warcraft again for the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize there was some truth in that statement. It wasn’t that I don’t enjoy MMORPGs, but rather, that I wasn’t playing them for the right reasons.

I was trying MMO after MMO in an attempt to recover the same feeling I had when I first played Star Wars: Galaxies. I erroneously believed that if I could just find an MMO with a good feature set that closely matched SWG’s, I would relive those days.

Now, though, I’m playing WoW and actually enjoying it. Why? Because I’m doing the two things I haven’t done since the Old Days of SWG – I’m A) talking and questing with other players because of a shared interest, and B) I’m judging WoW on its own merits, rather than compared to any other game. Specifically, I’m enjoying just questing and not worrying about grinding to maximum level.

Now, my acquisition of Spore two days ago has eaten significantly into my free time. It’s a fantastic game, and everything I’d hoped for when I first learned about it two years ago. Not since Galaxies had I had so much anticipation for a game. However, despite this, it’s so different from MMORPGs or FPSes – both intensely multiplayer experiences – that I doubt I’ll play it as anything more than an occasional curiosity.

At the end of the day, it seems that what I really want out of an MMO is to have fun with others. Ironic, that.