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General: Blog Spotlight: Stop and Smell the Roses

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member Common

This week, Laura Genender looks at what can happen when players don't take the time to enjoy their MMORPG and burn out.

One of the great aspects of an MMORPG community is finding and relating to similar people. In the real world, we are confined (mostly) to our town, city, college, workplace, etc. to meet people – with the internet we can find people with similar interests, goals, and ideas through games, guilds and forums. This week on the blogs I found a kindred soul in user Interl0per.

Interl0per’s new blog Entering Pod deals with his casual gamer experience in EVE Online and other MMOs. Interl0per tells his story starting in the twilight days of SWG, where a carefree, fun-lovin’ Rebel Scout got the idea in his head to go train up pistol skills. From there, Interl0per stopped having fun and started having jobs. Said Interl0per, “Even before the NGE, after that day, the game never really seemed the same for me.”
Things changed for Interl0per though about a year and a half ago, when a google search brought him to – and EVE Online. “After browsing reviews, forums, and game sites, I wound up downloading EVE Online - not the trial, I bought the game sight unseen based on its appearances.”

Read it all here.


Jon Wood
Managing Editor


  • tigris67tigris67 New York, NYPosts: 1,783Member Uncommon

    I can relate to this article.  At the moment I am playing DAOC. I've started in a new realm and have just been basically running around, using the teleporters and horses to see all the new areas of the kingdom. Its exhilarating, running from town to town, to forest and desert looking at all the sights and slowly completing each quest. Then I got to a certain spot where I realized the mobs were giving tons of exp per kill. I stayed there and grinded for 4 levels and realized that afterwards I was having much less fun not completing quests or socializing/exploring. Thats when I realized its best to take these types of games slow and have fun.

    Hi! My name is paper. Nerf scissors, rock is fine.
    MMORPG = Mostly Men Online Roleplaying Girls

  • katriellkatriell UTC-8Posts: 989Member Uncommon

    Excellent blog post. :)

    An anecdote arising from a similar outlook, although I haven't had much of the problem of actually running through the achieving-boredom cycle:
    As an ESAK, I love to roleplay, explore, craft, socialise, etc. Sometimes, however, my dedication to roleplaying leads me inexorably into uncomfortable situations of having to grind in order to allow my characters to meet their goals. xD

    In memory of Laura "Taera" Genender. Passed away on August 13, 2008.

  • Interl0perInterl0per Midwest City, OKPosts: 27Member

    Wow, I'm honored that Laura chose my lark to spotlight :).  I think part of the delay in experiencing EVE as a personally satisfying game has come from the corp/guild pressure that Laura references near the end of her article influencing me to try to roll characters for certain roles.  It's not that corpmates are a bad influence, it's more a matter of matching my taste in gameplay to the culture and activities of my chosen corporation.  That's why I've so far resisted joining a player corp with my current character; I want to develop a 'feel' for my character and preferences among the various choices present in EVE, then I can make an informed choice as to where to apply and hopefully find a corp that increases my enjoyment of the game.

  • Interl0perInterl0per Midwest City, OKPosts: 27Member
    Originally posted by katriell

    Excellent blog post. :)
    An anecdote arising from a similar outlook, although I haven't had much of the problem of actually running through the achieving-boredom cycle:

    As an ESAK, I love to roleplay, explore, craft, socialise, etc. Sometimes, however, my dedication to roleplaying leads me inexorably into uncomfortable situations of having to grind in order to allow my characters to meet their goals. xD

    That was the exact situation that led to my early grinding experience with pistols in SWG (IIRC, my Bartle score is similar to yours if not precisely the same :))  EVE almost perfectly counters that tendency by locking you into skill training time that can't be changed by gameplay choices.  For me at least, this leads to an interesting balancing act of self-determination (in selecting skills to train) and allowing my character's development to be influenced by the 'natural laws' of the game world.  Since I find the EVE universe fascinating, it's a dance I find quite entertaining :)

  • SonofSethSonofSeth ZagrebPosts: 1,884Member Uncommon

    Is it realy so hard to make a game where it's the thing you are doing to get somewhere as much fun as the thing you are working for?


  • TaeraTaera Community Manager Austin, TXPosts: 1,078Member
    Originally posted by SonofSeth

    Is it realy so hard to make a game where it's the thing you are doing to get somewhere as much fun as the thing you are working for?

    In my opinion, anything can be done in excess; when you kill monsters you have fun, but when you force yourself to keep killing monsters to get a special item or a new level, it becomes work.

    Laura "Taera" Genender
    Community Manager

  • AlienovrlordAlienovrlord San Antonio, TXPosts: 1,525Member

    The article brings up an important point.  Games should be fun, not jobs.

    In that respect, all those truly casual players out there who never touch Forums like this or worry about min/max-ing or never bother reading player guides and just enjoy what they are doing with no concern about the consequences - they are all better gamers than most everyone here.

    They are better gamers because they never forget that is it a game, not a job. 


    Originally posted by SonofSeth

    Is it realy so hard to make a game where it's the thing you are doing to get somewhere as much fun as the thing you are working for?

    Evidently yes, for MMORPGs it is that hard.  Other games don't seem to have any problem making themelves fun, but MMORPGs have UO's and EQ's legacy of tedious, timesink grinding to thank for the ingrained concept  that reward should only be the result of punishment and the only point to game, rather than making FUN the point to the game.

    The problem is that many developers still fall into same trap described in the article but they convince themselves that getting people to pay a subscription for an online job is what it takes for 'challenging and fun' gameplay. 

    This is changing, but it will happen slowly.   Someday we might actually have MMORPGs that remember they are games, not jobs.

  • gedecegedece Villa AdelinaPosts: 24Member

    I've always looked with amazement the way some people played the games I played. For example, some people would say "this game starts at level 30" and would grind their lives off to reach it. I, on the other hand, always took the aproach of having fun, and disconecting when I didn't. So, the game stays fresh for a real long time, and you develop a bond with your character more intense.


  • gatebuzzgatebuzz St Louis, MOPosts: 16Member

    I play "The Matrix Online" (MxO) and people think I'm mad - I'll go off and explore the MegaCity. I will look for interesting locations to capture screenshots. For a while I was writing fan-fiction based in the world of MxO, and decided to scout out locations for the story. I would post chapters from the story on my faction's (err, guild's) website and other folk would capture screenshots to illustrate key descriptive passages.

    I've taken the XP grinding at an amazingly slow rate, playing only a few hours a week, tops. Who cares that other people are reaching the level cap before me? I want to experience the ongoing story in the community I find myself in. I am 80% of the way to the level cap and feel far less jaded with MxO and with MMOs in general when compared with other people I know.

    I am a monogamous gamer - I play one game to the exclusion of all others - and I keep playing while that game remains "fun" (and what a horribly subjective term that is!). Thanks for the blog post, you've helped me pin down a piece of my own thinking with more clarity here!

    [CENTER][SIZE="3"][B][COLOR="DeepSkyBlue"][FONT="Tahoma"]TSW[/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR="Sienna"][FONT="Georgia"]. fm[/FONT][/COLOR][/B][/SIZE] - Giving Voice to The Secret World. [][/CENTER]

  • LucifrankLucifrank Brooklyn, NYPosts: 355Member

    Great article. I bet 90% of longtime MMORPGers have been in your shoes. I became so burnt out, I took a little vacation from the genre for the past year. I'll be returning to MMORPGs next month, and hope I can always keep the lessons I've learned about work vs. play in mind so I too "stop to smell the roses."

  • JK-KanosiJK-Kanosi Seaside, CAPosts: 1,357Member

    I started MMORPG gaming with DAoC in 2002. Those who have played the game know how particular people can be about having the perfect build. I was never that type of person and was more interested in the journey than the destination. I loved DAoC because it had a lot of classes and races to choose from and because it was fun to group with other people to explore and kill things. DAoC did a good job bye allowing a person to experience all aspects of the game at all levels. You can PvP the whole time from 1-50 and never have to kill a critter if you don't want to. A person is given the choice what to do in DAoC. Unfortunately, the community I knew is long gone and has been replaced with a lot less desirable crowd. Everything now is about rushing to lvl 50, getting maxed out, having the perfect build and etc. It isn't just DAoC either. Practically every MMORPG is like that now. Even EvE, which boasts a real time skill system requires a endless ISK grind in order to finance the fun parts of the game.

    I found my salvation in Guild Wars. I bought the game at release, but was turned off by the instancing and immature community. After hearing about Guild Wars 2 coming out in the next year, I decided to give GW another try. Especially since I have no other MMORPG to play and haven't experience the good story GW has to offer that I keep hearing about. Needless to say that I am very impressed with Guild Wars. While the PvP aspect of the game can be competitive, requiring you to grind some for the best gear, the PvE/story aspect is not grindy at all. I've focused on the story and have found my stay in Guild Wars pleasant. I just hit lvl 20 today and am only 1/2-3/4 of the way through the story. The game is all about the story. Items, money, and gear come naturally as you are completing side quests and the main story. I like others don't think of GW as your traditional MMORPG, but suprising enough you actually have all the opportunities in the world to adventure with a group. Instancing just made it more enjoyable, since you don't suffer from kill stealers, campers, and those who run trains of mobs over you to kill you.

    PvP is also fun. It requires skill and people are evenly matched with numbers. The only bad part of PvP is that you need to get the best gear in order to compete with some of the best guilds out there. After all, who PvP's to lose?

    Anyhow, Guild Wars is a great game whose mechanics make it enjoyable for people who like to stop and smell the roses. As for traditional MMORPG's, LoTRO has made a step in the right direction with instance story telling. To bad they ruined the game with mind numbing grinding quests to flesh out the rest of the game.

    MMORPG's w/ Max level characters: DAoC, SWG, & WoW

    Currently Playing: WAR
    Preferred Playstyle: Roleplay/adventurous, in a sandbox game.

  • entrails_770entrails_770 staffordPosts: 19Member

    Im so like that the longest i managed was 5 years on uo which was along time ago..after that the longest ive managed is 4 months inc beta on vanguard..currently have a lifetime to lotr(bored),tabula rasa(cant connect)

    and station access which has eq/eq2/planet/matrix/vg/swg subs..havent played vg for abit and eq and eq i get bored of about lvl30 ...the other 2 i havent reinstalled since my last played and bored of lol

    And pretty much every other one..waiting for pirates but am kinda enjoying tabula rasa when i can get in which is rare:(

    Am getting tempted to try eve i must admit :)



  • _Seeker_Seeker MelbournePosts: 175Member

    [quote]They are better gamers because they never forget that is it a game, not a job[/quote]

    - Alienovrlord 

    I dont think they are better. I just think they are different gamers.

    I believe it has to do with the way games are structured. Remember its a Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Some people are content with completing quests and following the story, which is much like a singleplayer experience. If you get into a small group for instances it could be called co-op mode. I personally dont want to pay money for a big SP game.

    The reason why i end up quiting (the same as mentioned in this article) is because there is a great big barrier that i must pass to get to the part of the game i actually want. The Massively Multiplayer experience. That barrier could be many things but it is usually a skill or level system.

    Some games do not even have a Massively Multiplayer experience. Whats Multiplayer? Think of your favourite FPS. Now name me a game that is like that only Massive. To tell you the truth i dont even think that an MMOG is actually possible.

    Sure many will claim that they are but i havent played a game yet that gives me the experience i am after.


  • devil40000devil40000 Lebanon, TXPosts: 1Member


     Sheesh, tell me about it.  The first corp I joined in EVE was basically a newbie sweatshop that fed the pockets of  one rich merchant .  The second was somewhat worse, because there was great pressure to jump directly into No-Sec space regardless of your ability to survive there.. 

     The alliance that I'm with now, Electus Matari; is -faaaaar- more easy going..  Its more like a social club than anything else.. Even with 3 wars running, it's just a laid back experience, with some light sarcasm on the side. 

     Hey.. when ( if ) you ever decide to join a corp, come to Minmatar United Freedom Front.. we're one of those silly roleplay corps that care more about goofing off than beating the entire world.  It makes the game easy. And you don't even have to RP really, just grunt in response to questions and everyone's happy.  =)

     Except for Evanda, she's a total work-a-holic, but that's another story.....

    Carcosa Hali

     p.s.  If you want easy ISK, just start salvaging the NPC wreckage... It's like a never-ending stream of gold .

  • Interl0perInterl0per Midwest City, OKPosts: 27Member

    Funny you should mention salvaging, I was just thinking last night I should train it and quit letting all those beautiful empty wrecks go to waste ;p.  I'll look you guys up sometime sounds like a good bunch, thanks for the info!

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