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[Column] General: Why Do We Play MMOs?

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,585MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

There seem to be several common reasons why we play the games we love. In today's Fair Game, we take a look at the most common of those reasons and expound on each a bit. See if you agree with our choices before heading to the comments.

It’s a fair question, given all the time, money, effort and thought we put into playing MMOs, not to mention all the time, money, effort and thought companies put into making them. But it’s not an easy question. For people like me, with our bitter, black misanthropic hearts, it’s a downright difficult question.

So why do we play MMOs? Moreover, with all that’s involved in leveling on just one character, why do so many of us play several MMOs? Well, I’ve looked around me a bit and come up with a few possible answers to that.

Read more of Lisa Jonte's Fair Game: Why Do We Play MMOs?

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • SarykSaryk Tallulah, LAPosts: 476Member
    Exploring! Ability to play solo or join family quickly to accomplish something.
  • ArclanArclan Chicago, ILPosts: 1,494Member Uncommon
    Excellent question.  But I am susprised you listed Story first.  I think a player should create their own story.   For me, social and gameplay are akin to food and water; can't have one without the other.
     

    Luckily, i don't need you to like me to enjoy video games. -nariusseldon.
    In F2P I think it's more a case of the game's trying to play the player's. -laserit

  • bizoux86bizoux86 Bangor, PAPosts: 85Member

    Great question! It is funny that my hubby and I were talking about this just last night! He was saying that he thought he was getting tired of MMO's and because I play solo a lot of the time that I could be happy not playing MMO's as well.... I like MMO's though! hehe.

    I love that I can get everything I want to do in a game, within ONE game: questing, story, character progression, pvp, crafting/housing, and being able to group up with my friends to do dungeons, harder quests, old raids, etc...

    I think I will always love MMO's. I can get bored of the same old, same old from time to time. However, I always get drawn back in because I feel like I am missing something when I play only solo RPG games, or strategy games, or FPS's or whatever.....

  • Spectra1Spectra1 Talking Rock, GAPosts: 2Member Common
    Stress relief!  My job is stressful even on a good day.  At night I log on and kill things until my stress is gone.  This seems to relieve my stress and allows me to start the next business day refreshed.
  • I'm not sure why I play any more. MMO's are a shadow of their former selves for someone who started with UO and EQ. Oh the games are ok most of the time but the folks playing them are not.
  • funconfuncon Key West, FLPosts: 258Member
    I play to get lost in a fantasy world and get away from the real world
  • laseritlaserit Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,938Member Uncommon

    You know when I was a kid I use to play with toy swords with my friends.  We used to imagine we were in another world sort of like those Sinbad movies of old. Out in the bush we built forts and castles, slayed many a monster and fought in many a war.

     

    Sadly those are the yesterdays of yore.

     

    Luckily my lust for adventure and craving for the blood of my enemies reside in an MMO

    "If you make an ass out of yourself, there will always be someone to ride you." - Bruce Lee

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member

    All of those reasons, and more.

    You forgot:

    External affirmation (egoboo through competition).

    The collector and trophy-status drives.

    Winning the mini- (sometimes macro-) game of virtual wealth accumulation (I suppose that ties back into 'collector' again).

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • ariestearieste toronto, ONPosts: 3,308Member Common
    I play to be part of another (interesting) world.  It's that simple.

    "I’d rather work on something with great potential than on fulfilling a promise of mediocrity."

    - Raph Koster

    Tried: AO,EQ,EQ2,DAoC,SWG,AA,SB,HZ,CoX,PS,GA,TR,IV,GnH,EVE, PP,DnL,WAR,MxO,SWG,FE,VG,AoC,DDO,LoTRO,Rift,TOR,Aion,Tera,TSW,GW2,DCUO,CO,STO
    Favourites: AO,SWG,EVE,TR,LoTRO,TSW,EQ2
    Currently Playing: EQ2, Firefall

  • Originally posted by Icewhite

    All of those reasons, and more.

    You forgot:

    External affirmation (egoboo through competition).

    The collector and status drives.

    Winning the mini- (sometimes macro-) game of virtual wealth acquisition.

    Some of the reasons mmo's don't interest me any more.

  • IcewhiteIcewhite Elmhurst, ILPosts: 6,403Member
    Originally posted by jeddak

    Some of the reasons mmo's don't interest me any more.

    A declaration somewhat at odds with your current location.

    Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  • laseritlaserit Vancouver, BCPosts: 1,938Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jeddak
    I'm not sure why I play any more. MMO's are a shadow of their former selves for someone who started with UO and EQ. Oh the games are ok most of the time but the folks playing them are not.

    You nailed it

     

    It definitely was the community and not those games themselves that made them great. WoW's community was also awesome in the early days when everyone was learning everything.

    "If you make an ass out of yourself, there will always be someone to ride you." - Bruce Lee

  • JackdogJackdog Charleston, SCPosts: 6,344Member

    I am retired and have a lot of time on my hands. I play for a variety of reasons.

    social - my wife still works so my only company for most of the day are our 3 cats. Not very good company. My guild uses both Mumble and Vent so we do a lot of conversing about not only game issues but just general chit chat

    entertainment - I look at them as a living novel, beats the heck out of staring at a TV screen

    personal satisfaction - I enjoy setting goals for myself and meeting them. I realize most MMO accomplishments are just time sinks but still.....

    eye candy - always been fascinated by both technology and sci fi/ fantasy. MMO worlds give me both

     

    I miss DAoC

  • ray12kray12k riverside, CAPosts: 447Member
    I play for a challenge, A world that is not in your control. Where things evolve and I have to adapt. Hang out with friends, make goals and do are best to accomplish the goals we set.
  • TheLizardbonesTheLizardbones Arkham, VAPosts: 10,910Member


    Originally posted by laserit
    You know when I was a kid I use to play with toy swords with my friends.  We used to imagine we were in another world sort of like those Sinbad movies of old. Out in the bush we built forts and castles, slayed many a monster and fought in many a war. Sadly those are the yesterdays of yore. Luckily my lust for adventure and craving for the blood of my enemies reside in an MMO

    This sounds more right than not. :-)

    I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Sioux City, IAPosts: 3,828Member

    Your "Social Aspects" section pretty much nailed it for me.  Even the admittance that one does not group100%, 24/7.  But MMOs are the only gaming outlet that has that special grouping dynamic.

     

    The Dos Equis beer man pretty much nails it for me.  "I don't always look for groups when I play games.  But when I do, I play MMOs."

     

    It is not too dissimilar from living with another person.  You may not interact with them the whole time you are together, but knowing they are there if the desire hits one or the other makes all the difference. 

     

    Other players make the MMO gameworld come alive.  Static NPCs can only do so much with their limited AI, reacting only certain ways to a player.  Other human players can be random and/or spontaneous.  No NPC will ever utter the words, "Nice sword!  Where'd you get that?"

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • jmcdermottukjmcdermottuk LiverpoolPosts: 976Member Uncommon

    Given that most modern MMO's have you at the level cap in a week or 2, I don't find it any surprise that people play several. They're all F2P crap anyway.

     

    If you go back to EQ then yes, you took a lot of time and effort to level. But that's not the case any more.

     

    Personally I have no clue why most people play MMO's today as they all seem to be nothing more than single player RPG's with a network connection and about as much social interaction going on as a bucket of dead fish.

     

    There are some exceptions, but far too few and the sad thing is there's no sign of this improving any time soon.

  • VyntVynt Glendale, CAPosts: 632Member Uncommon

    I always played for progression. I like my character getting stronger, learning more. Customizing him. I think a lot of people play for that reason and didn't really see that here. I guess sense of accomplishment could be that, but not really.

    Same reason I played RPGs too.

  • KrematoryKrematory TVNPosts: 542Member Uncommon
    To pwn noobs!

    "EVE is likely the best MMORPG that you've never really understood or played" - Kyleran

  • RocknissRockniss Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,034Member
    I stopped playing and have been giving solo rpgs a shot. I thought that was the answer, but its not. I become bored very easily anymore. I thought maybe it was just mmo's, but no, I burn out quickly with solo rpgs too. I guess the spontaneous response from company is what lures me in. The games themselves all just feel the same, its the people that change and keep it interesting. I will skip from mmo to mmo just to explore, but I don't stray to far from my core group in WoW. The stuff we do usually has no in game reward, but its usually bizarre and interesting and that keeps me happy. Mmorpgs make it possible.
  • FangrimFangrim PrestonPosts: 589Member

    Personal story means nothing at all to me in an MMO,yeah right the 689 people stood next to me are getting the same 'you are the chosen one' crap said to them and is the main reason MMO's are dead to me,solo play.

    My reasons to play was to socialize and do things together that are not possible solo,and it isn't as simple as just that. What I more mean is the world needs to be "DANGEROUS" you can go off solo sure but death and the penalty of death has to sting.FFS give me a f***ing world to get immersed and feel danger in!

    I have given up on the idea I will ever play an MMORPG again :(

    Gnome Wankers two.After the events of 18/07/2015 i fucking hate anyone that has anything to do with skyforge
    image

  • Lord.BachusLord.Bachus Den HelderPosts: 9,064Member Uncommon
    Escape from the real world... Just setting my mind to another place helps me relax and forget about the busy life i lead..

    Best MMO experiences : EQ(PvE), DAoC(PvP), WoW(total package) LOTRO (worldfeel) GW2 (Artstyle and animations and worlddesign) SWTOR (Story immersion) TSW (story) ESO (character advancement)

  • KyleranKyleran Tampa, FLPosts: 19,981Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Arclan
    Excellent question.  But I am susprised you listed Story first.  I think a player should create their own story.   For me, social and gameplay are akin to food and water; can't have one without the other.
     

    Bingo.  I want to create my own story, along with the friends and enemies I make along the way. I don't much care for the in game story, it serves merely to set the mood for my adventure, but I don't really want to be too actively engaged in something scripted by the developers.

     

    In my day MMORPG's were so hard we fought our way through dungeons in the snow, uphill both ways.
    "I don't have one life, I have many lives" - Grunty
    Still currently "subscribed" to EVE, and only EVE!!!
    "This is the most intelligent, well qualified and articulate response to a post I have ever seen on these forums. It's a shame most people here won't have the attention span to read past the second line." - Anon

  • MysteryBMysteryB Midland, TXPosts: 288Member Uncommon
    Originally I played City of Heroes because I wanted to make my superhero...not anyone else's, an extent ion of who I would be if I were a superhero. Now I play MMOs to pass time...some fun to be had, and no point without socializing, but I miss the days when, at least in my mind, MMOs weren't all one genre...Ever quest was a mythical world with magic and unknown adventures, and City of Heroes was a world full of good and evil, where I was my dream self and could do great things. Now that it shut down I play MMOs hoping someday to recapture the magic I once felt, to play for 10 hours and accomplish almost nothing but still had a great time with my game friends. Hell once upon a time I had a game family I saw more than my real family, and it wasn't sad, it was awesome that I found people that made me laugh, smile and cry...and I didn't know what any of them looked like.

    Mystery Bounty

  • SpiiderSpiider BinzPosts: 474Member Uncommon
    Why do people take drugs, watch movies or do extreme sports? Correct, each one has his own different reason. Trying to answer this is like trying to find general meaning of life... and it aint 42.

    No fate but what we make, so make me a ham sandwich please.

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