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[Column] General: When Your MMO Makes You MM-Motionsick

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 17,077MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Ever had one of those way-too-real moments in gaming when the motion makes your stomach turn? We take a look at how to combat those real life symptoms in our virtual worlds in today's Fair Game. Read on and then tell us about your favorite remedies in the comments.

Dizziness, nausea, vomiting… No, I’m not talking about the after-dinner pyrotechnics courtesy of the local greasy spoon; I’m talking about what often happens after just a few minutes of game time in your favorite MMO.

What it is:

Oh, you know the drill. You fire up a game, maybe it’s new, maybe it’s an old favorite that’s just had a major patch. Within minutes you feel just a little bit off. A few minutes after that, you’re salivating more than normal. Pretty soon you can hardly look at the screen.

Read more of Lisa Jonte's Fair Game: When Your MMO Makes You MM-Motionsick.


Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom



  • SnarlingWolfSnarlingWolf Thereiam, ARPosts: 2,697Member
    When your MMO makes you motion sick. What is signs you're getting old, Alex. 
  • hardiconhardicon jackson, MSPosts: 358Member

    Pretty serious issue for a lot of players, myself included.  I have to stay away from most flight games, warthunder, world of warplanes, most space flight type games.  They all start making me feel like I am going to puke.  In real life airplanes, boats on choppy water etc. do the same.  Even going to a movie if the camera pans out real far and is moving over land I start to feel the same way.  The only time I have ever come close to actually being sick was on a cruise one time before I realized I had this problem but it is still not a great feeling.  Its also not about age as Ive been this way for years, I used to not even play video games when I was younger because of this, now if I just stay away from 1st person view video games I am generally fine.



  • VolgoreVolgore Posts: 2,263Member Uncommon

    I have a friend who back then couldn't play any game running on the Half Life 2 engine without getting serious headache.

  • moosecatlolmoosecatlol Boring, TXPosts: 1,217Member Uncommon

    (Taken from the wiki)

    Motion sickness can be divided into three categories:

    1. Motion sickness caused by motion that is felt but not seen
    2. Motion sickness caused by motion that is seen but not felt
    3. Motion sickness caused when both systems detect motion but they do not correspond.
    There's not much you can do, and very rarely will any developers go out of there way to adjust or redesign their game for the extreme few. As noted by the current state of gaming.
  • ReizlaReizla AlkmaarPosts: 3,335Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by SnarlingWolf
    When your MMO makes you motion sick. What is signs you're getting old, Alex. 

    Not really... Some engines might trigger ill effects on people.

    Personally I'm not having motion sickness form any game, though motion blur might cause some unease with me (I turn it off by default). But some games do give me a massive headache. Have had it with the early releases of Aion, but the later releases give me a lot less headache.

    AsRock 990FX Extreme3
    AMD Phenom II 1090T ~3.2Ghz
    GEiL 16Gb DDR3 1600Mhz
    ASUS GTX970 3x HD monitor 1920x1080

  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member Uncommon

    The problem is not age. I could not play console games when I was in my 20's - motion sickness. Tried several more times over the years with no luck. Same thing with fps games - I get sicker than a dog.  I lasted in Tera about 15 minutes.

    I tried meds but found the cure is worse than the disease (at least if you are working full time!). 

    I was really concerned about GW2 but have no problems with that game. I REALLY want Wildstar but looking at the action combat I hope that I will be ok with that.

  • HighMarshalHighMarshal Huntsville, ALPosts: 290Member Uncommon
    I had to stop playing Defiance due to the motion. I would turn it off, but nothing would make it off. I even tried re-installing the game. I never heard from the support ticket I put in, so I stopped playing.
  • orbitxoorbitxo fort lauderdale, FLPosts: 1,435Member Uncommon

    i thank gearbox for teaching me to play fps.

    i always hated them but because i wanted to play borderlands2 so badly i ended up learning to play it and now i ve played dead island, and metro!

    no more dizziness!


    i still sometimes sneak in my third person mod...

  • WizardryWizardry Ontario, CanadaPosts: 8,643Member Uncommon

    I have done a lot of reading on this subject because i have had the problems but only over the last few years.

    First of all there are people who say that too much lighting can actually make your eyes tired causing strain which leads one thing to another.I have found various systems from both too much lighting and not enough.I believe when the eyes get weak or tired and you strain it causes a lot of the problem.

    There are also a lot of other tests /reports that talk about sitting in a chair for long causes poor circulation,usually can be tested with finger pressure into the front of the shin,if it does not bounce back,then you have circulation problems.

    There is also a lot of theories based on the size of the artery going into the back of the eye,which some doctors say will lead to a lot of problems if too narrow.

    I also find that if you are too intense and does not have to be a game,can be simply surfing or watching a movie,you tend to not be relaxed and your breathing and again circulations suffers.

    Also very inconsistent/poor frame rates will support the problem.

    These are all related to why you used to always see Epilepsy warnings if staring at a PC screen too long.You need to remember that usually you are too close to the PC screen,as compared to watching your TV from maybe 10' away.

    I would say it is not something that should happen within minutes but over an hour or more.If you find the symptoms right early then there were probably other factors causing those same conditions,perhaps already sitting in a chair too long prior.

    Bottom line is those ads about being active are no joke,you need proper circulation and exercise helps with that.

    Samoan Diamond

  • BaowoulfBaowoulf Bellevue, NEPosts: 18Member

    Never had any motion sickness here or allegeries for that matter. So for symptoms all I have to go on is what other people say. But I think I did hear about people who would get headaches with certain games or movies and stuff. Bad ones too.


    Only thing I know for sure is that at least on mythbusters I think ginger pills or something similar helped Adam for quiet a while at least with seasickness.


    I wonder if even the old thing of spinning in a chair would give someone with motion sickness nauesa or some of those carnival rides as well. If we can spend millions of dollars to give women a bra that lifts and separates and guys boner pills why can't they have a pill for this :(

  • ZoeMcCloskeyZoeMcCloskey Phoenix, AZPosts: 1,167Member Uncommon

    I can't play FPS games.  I am fine with World of Tanks since you spend as much time zoomed out as in and the pace is slower.  I have had some trouble with more recent TPS games that require a lot of zooming in and are very frantic paced, single player games though.

    For MMOs I can't think of any that has hit me often but not saying they aren't out there.  But as people are pointing out, age has not a damn thing to do with motion sickness from games, haha. 

  • jpnzjpnz SydneyPosts: 3,529Member

    Simulation sickness (motion sickness due to playing video games)


    The USAF knew about it back in the 1970s when 20% of pilots doing simulation training complained about motion sickness.

    These are military guys so motion sickness has nothing to do with 'general healthiness', esp pilots.


    Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Series lamented the fact he couldn't play Half Life2 because of simulation sickess.


    There are a few adjustments you can make if you suffer from this though;

    Turn Motion Blur OFF

    Increase the camera view distance of your character (switch to 3rd person if the game allows it, e.g. Skyrim)

    Turn 'bobbling head while running' OFF

    Turn camera sway motion OFF

    Make sure game is 'smooth' (not just talking about frame rates here)

    Gdemami -
    Informing people about your thoughts and impressions is not a review, it's a blog.

  • FollowthislogicFollowthislogic Philadelphia, PAPosts: 11Member
    I had to quit playing wildstar because of this issue.
  • AhnogAhnog Keller, TXPosts: 231Member Uncommon
    The new gate jump animation on EVE disoriented me the first few times. I got used to it and it passed.


    Hokey religions are no replacement for a good blaster at your side.

  • arctarusarctarus nilPosts: 2,570Member Uncommon
    Only Mmo that cause me to have this issue is gw2, try every methods to tweet the game to no avail.

    RIP Orc Choppa

  • ReklawReklaw Am.Posts: 6,485Member Uncommon
    Of course the following is pure based on my own experiance. But each time when I near the end of what my system can handle on max setting, where games become more demanding I do get motion sickness. But everytime I upgrade my system again and play the same games it doesn't give me motion sickness.
  • thamighty213thamighty213 NewcastlePosts: 1,630Member

    Once upon a time I was a totally awesome FPS player major tournament wins under my belt and kicked the crap out of some of the guys who went onto become industry names,  then the dreaded motion sickness hit,  its not just triggered by games for me but pretty much a consistent through my daily life.   Months of failed efforts to control it resulted in a MRI which actually found mine was being caused by misfires in the brain rather than the usual eye/ear relationship,  as the misfires where simialr to what was seen in epilepsy but in my case a total different symptom we treat it with low dose anti epileptics.

    This allowed me to get by in my life without issues and whilst slowing me that milisecond to no longer be the very best got me gaming again,  it was because of this that I retired form FPS for a very long period (almost a decade) and came to the MMO scene starting with SWG.  Returned to FPS last year with BF3 where I can compete but its rare I'm ever top of the leaderboards etc but hey I'm a 34 year old with 2 kids a wife a dog a job a life I doubt even in my prime with those commitments I could play at my 96-2001 level.

  • MLecl0001MLecl0001 Saint Paul, MNPosts: 153Member
    The only game I got motion sickness from was from Half life 1 and 2.  I do not know why but playing for more than 30 minutes would cause me to get severely ill.  Some how I pushed through that and finished 1, but never really felt like getting into 2 because of it.  I still do not know the reason why those 2 games are the only ones to ever make me queesy from playing.

    Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  • khelluskhellus tulsa, OKPosts: 25Member

    What a lot of people do not know is that a lot of motion sickness in video games can be fixed by finding the correct FoV (Field of View) for you. If you have a game you know does not cause you to get sick find out what its Horizontal and Vertical field of view are. Then hopefully you can adjust the field of view in a game to those settings.

    Planetside 2 for me is one of two games out right now that cause me some small discomfort due to the FoV, and unfortunately I can only adjust the HFoV, while I know its the VFoV that I have issue with.

    One of the guys working on occulus rift goes into great detail about the effects of FoV in an panel and that is one of the bigger hurdles I am pretty sure they are working to overcome at the moment.

  • usuckmmorpgcomusuckmmorpgcom c, KYPosts: 1,348Member
    I used to get motion sickness while playing fullscreen on one of my 27" monitors. Now I just run games at 2048x1152 in a window and the desktop area around the game pretty much stopped the motion sickness. Sometimes you just need a static spot as a visual reference.
  • DracondisDracondis Reston, VAPosts: 177Member Uncommon
    It isn't just PC or MMOs, either.  Last night, my housemate, who is a huge console gamer, had his friend over and we sat down to play his new Rayman Legends on the Wii-U.  They gave me the GamePad because I suck at platformers, but I'm great at support.  The intro movie on the small screen in my hands...  OMG.  I was almost sick all over it, and I don't suffer from this sort of thing normally.  Anyway, it can sneak up on you, too.
  • oranredleaforanredleaf Waukegan, ILPosts: 3Member
    Originally posted by grimgryphon
    I used to get motion sickness while playing fullscreen on one of my 27" monitors. Now I just run games at 2048x1152 in a window and the desktop area around the game pretty much stopped the motion sickness. Sometimes you just need a static spot as a visual reference.

    Right now I'm doing Wizard101 MMORPG and admit that the "swirling" around during the fighting/duels can get dizzying. Two things that have helped for me is to just look away for a while as the other "players" ("live" or computer) do their thing. Also like the poster above, I find using a smaller screen or window helps a lot. If I can keep a stable "frame" around the moving image to visually lock on to it helps. I've found I generally prefer smaller monitors (and TV's) for most anything I do, I'm not a fan of wide-screen movies in theaters for the same reasons too. I've been setting Wizard101 to *not* use full screen so there is a border.  I also have pretty rotten vision anyway and the soda-bottle lenses probably contribute to my problems.


    Another aside. It could also depend a bit on the type of screen you use. I still tend toward the old CRT style monitors when I can find them, as I've discovered some of the newer LCD screens can give me a "double vision" effect. Messing with various settings (like already alluded to) may make a difference.

  • AngztAngzt berlinPosts: 230Member
    to those of you WITH that problem, check if there is a FoV option somewhere, and set it to a lower rate ^^

    "believe me, mike.. i calculated the odds of this working against the odds that i was doing something incredibly stupid… and i did it anyway!"

  • ZongoZongo PArisPosts: 18Member

    to my opinion Lisa Jonte is missing the most important part of the technical solution to get rid of that problem : Just as angzt just said, players that been sick playing HL2 and some other 3D games (and that fixed that problem)... knows it's mostly about FoV.

    If you look at it, you'll probably discover that 3D games that make you sick use a diffrent value of FoV than thet games that don't (but i don't remember if you got to try setting a smaller or a larger value. Sorry.. it's been a long time ago).

    Try to find a way to set it (in normal settings, console, or .ini/inf maybe)... and maybe you'll get rid of this trouble this way.

  • eritheerithe Olympia Fields, ILPosts: 8Member

    Thank you for this article : )  I really needed some of those links.


    There are a ton of games I simply cannot play because of motion sickness.  First person shooters are out and Minecraft is Very Difficult.  FFXIV is hard in a couple of areas (particularly one of the desert regions where a lovely heat effect causes everything to shimmer and have an outline that moves. @.@))

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