Let’s face it. The grinding-based MMO is on its last leg (RIP in peace, Leeroy Jenkins.) While many people still play MMORPGs, the buzz that was once bringing in tons of new players is no longer alive. If we aren’t talking about World of Worldcraft, it’s difficult to understand what would make a fringe MMO with shrinking amounts of players worth the large time investment needed to play it. What’s the point, when no one is staying?
If you haven’t already spent years with these games or if you aren’t playing a newer online game with gameplay that is actually compelling during a single player experience, there isn’t much left to love about this genre. The model has gone free-to-play because players have realized how much of a waste of time it is to invest in something monthly that will likely soon die.
With the lack of guaranteed enjoyment because of a dwindling member base, it’s important to own the time you take to play these games and make sure you’re having fun. If you’re willing to be a little ridiculous and still want to play MMOs, then here’s a list for managing that experience.
1. Play a Role
Computer-fiction culture has swept roleplaying under the rug, to an extent. The ability to suspend disbelief, shut off ego, and really get into the lore of a game can be treated as pretty lame. However, actually immersing yourself into the identity of a character can be truly rewarding. In what other area of your life are you going to be allowed to behave like another person without being branded with words like “personality disorder” and “identity thief”?
2. Play with Friends
Still considering emotional investment, why not convince your friends to play with you? Why join a guild of strangers when you could play with people you know you already like. Have a good time with your buddies while you have a good time in the game and it will improve your friendships. If you have fun out of game then you will have fun in-game as well.
3. Avoid Toxic Players
Toxic players are a part of every game but its possible to limit how much they ruin your fun. If you have to mute someone who is being negative, do it. If you have to report spammers, report them. If that doesn’t work, immediately migrate. Find games and servers of those games where everyone wants to play the game the way you want to play before you’ve become too invested and have to suffer.
Don’t do it. If playing a game becomes a “grind” then you are literally working.
5. Start Your Own Guild
Don’t be a tool of the man, man. Make your own rules. There are major benefits to being a leader of a group that come in the form of cutting down on the suck and adding to fun. Craft your own guild experience by doing your own thing. Then stop doing that. Disband it when it’s reached the apex of greatness. Don’t be one of those “I remember when this guild meant something” people.
6. Don’t Buy Anything With Real Money
You know how you can buy a bonsai tree or other undeveloped plant and you can be pretty sure it will grow into something nice and be that way for a long time if you show it lots of love and attention? You bought it and you own it and it will grow in ways you can’t even imagine. Yeah, MMOs are nothing like that. When you pay-to-play, you’re investing actual money into something you don’t own and will probably never be great at unless you invest every free moment you have in it. Going even further, if you’re buying something in-game with real money that can be earned through saving up in-game money, you’re an awful person. What I’m trying to say is just buy a plant instead.
If the third tip didn’t work for you then simply become the thing you hate. If you’re taking a game very seriously, trolls are having more fun than you anyway, and fun is the goal here. When it comes to a game that might not be around for much longer, the goal is being comfortable playing the way you want to play. If it’s fun to bug people for a little while then go for it. Just remember: everything in moderation.
8. Document Your Time On YouTube
YouTube is a great tool for making games more fun. Why not record yourself leveling and edit together every time you make a kill? Or, you could take a picture of yourself every day while you play and put that in a video. Maybe you could try recording a how-to video. The possibilities are endless.
9. One At a Time
Don’t play more than one MMORPG at once. These games are a huge time commitment. You don’t have infinite amounts of time to devote to playing these demanding games. It’s a much better idea to choose one and immerse yourself as much as possible. Also, what if your friends from one game start blowing up your phone asking where you were all weekend and the truth is you spent it with another game? Things could get pretty sticky.
10. Just Stop Playing
Leave before playing is no longer enjoyable. Get the fun and run. At the end of the day, the model is designed in a way that expects you to either play them forever or stop playing them. So, if you aren’t having fun then stop playing.
And those are my top ten tips for having a good time with this genre. These tips can apply to those who have never played an MMO and die hard fans alike. The main idea here, and with any game, is not to take things too seriously. You should start these games recognizing that they use a format that is very much dependent on their popularity. It’s important to be aware of this so that you end your time with them filled with feelings of pleasure instead of bitterness and disappointment.