The MMO Love Affair

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Over at Snaffy’s Space, there’s a post up about “holdover” games. Seems like Snafzg is looking to move on to the next “primary” MMO and is looking for games to keep him going.

This really got me thinking about the whole idea that people who play MMOs are really in just a constant, cyclical relationship with them. Much like many a relationship that those among us who are socially well-adjusted have had (I know you’re out there!), playing MMOs seems to be a repeated process of puppy-dog love to crushing breakup. 

I’m one of those people who has finally broken the terrible cycle of falling for an MMO only to have it crush my hopes and dreams. Much like that person who’s “been around the block” a few times on the relationship bicycle, I’ve been there and done that, and nowadays, am much healthier dealing with MMOs.

Be sure to watch for these telltale stages of the MMO relationship, and you too can stop the vicious cycle and be a happier person for it!

Public Displays of Affection – you love your new MMO. You snuggle with it, have nice dreams about it, say nice things about it, and are generally very excited about it, especially since it seems to be reciprocating. Anticipation is high. Presents may be gotten.

Beta Blinders – you get into the MMO beta! Wonderment abounds as you explore the depths of your brand new obsession. Sure, the MMO might have a few blemishes and personality disorders here and there, but you chalk it up to something that you can deal with and that you can fix later (it’s beta, right?). Especially since the gameplay is great. If it wasn’t for the fact that the MMO performed well in the bedroom (where your computer might be) you might give it a second thought, but still – great game!

Release Raves – you meet your friends who are into other MMOs and introduce your new MMO to them. You talk endlessly about how it’s revolutionary and new and awesome and life-changing. Some may ditch their MMOs to give yours a spin (under your watchful eye of course). One person inevitably wonders about a flaw in the MMO. You will shun this person and typically beat them to a pulp on your forum or blog for daring to be so insulting, and your MMO just loves that.

-Months Later Doldrums – It’s been a while now with you and your MMO. You’ve gotten used to their awesomeness, but you’ve also discovered and learned about their flaws, too. They might even be moved in with you – which makes it difficult at times to overlook the fact that the things you discovered in beta are still there. Personality flaws, you say, and you soldier on. Furtive feelings clog your usual blog entries, and you find that you’re just not in the bedroom with your MMO as much as you’d like.

The Messy Breakup – Your MMO and you have an affectionate “love-hate” relationship. You argue constantly and your MMO sometimes just isn’t up to performing and you get frustrated. You spend more time in the living room with your consoles rather than in the bedroom with your MMO. Every post you write about your MMO is full of cynicism, barely-concealed hostility, and negative vibe – even if it doesn’t deserve it. Secret weeping to your friends along with a clutching of your usual Red Bulls reserved for play with your MMO may occur. Eventually, you dump the MMO, leaving you a shell of your former idealistic self. Months may be needed to recover, during which you may carry on a fling with old flame World of Warcraft.

I saw you go through this, Snaffy! Don’t go through it again.

So watch for these tell-tale signs, folks, and stop the madness before it starts! Have realistic expectations in your MMO relationships. Cut it off if it’s not going to your satisfaction. Be sensitive to your needs and what the MMO can deliver for you in the bedroom, on the computer you own. And most of all, be cool. Every MMO has its faults. No MMO is perfect and you’ll always discover that when you’re with one. The key is, to understand whether or not you can live with those flaws and enjoy and love it for what it is. If you can’t – there’s always other MMOs out there.

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