10 Reasons Why I Don’t Play MMOs Anymore
Around 15-20 years ago, I used to be really big into games. Multiplayer games in particular. No, not World of Warcraft or Counter-Strike. Actually, they weren't games with the latest graphics or any graphics at all. I played text based games commonly referred to as MUDs or Multi-User Dungeons.
It may be hard to believe, but those text games were powerfully addictive and nearly ruined my life completely. To fully analyze why I fell into them so hard in the first place would require me to write an entire book, and I don't feel like doing that. At a certain point I got an epiphany that I was wasting time and effort in a fake life and actively made my real life worse in the process.
That said, these are the reasons why I don't play MMOs anymore
1. None of My Old Friends Play Anymore
As you might imagine, playing a text game simply isn't as fun as a graphical one. Sure, you may encounter arguments that people still read books despite the fact movies exist. The point is here and probably many graphical multiplayer games, the community is way more addictive than the game itself.
I've made friends, enemies, and many acquaintances, but over time nearly everyone stopped playing for one reason or another. If I hop onto a game I played nearly 15 years ago, I won't see any names I once recognized assuming the game hasn't shut down completely.
2. Friendships Formed in the Game Faded Over Time When We No Longer Had the Game in Common
When I first stopped playing MUDs, I would keep in contact with people I met in the game. Over time however, we had less and less to talk about as we both stopped playing and eventually stopped talking completely.
3. It Would Take Ages for Me to Learn or Relearn a Game’s Mechanics and Meta
Even if I had the itch to get back into the games I used to play or pick up a new game, I would have to spend many hours learning or relearning all of a game's commands, skills, and world map (navigating a game is particularly tricky when you have to draw your own map or keep a mental image in your head). In particular, if I wanted to get into Player vs Player combat, I'd have to intimately learn the combat mechanics and keep myself up to date with the latest meta strategies.
4. Assuming I Can Get Into a Game and Become Part of the Community, There Is a Lot of Potential for Drama
If I decided to get into a new game or back into an old one, made new friends, and became proficient in the game's systems, I'd still have to watch out for drama between players lest I get swept up in them myself. The angst, grudges, betrayals, and general complications easily rival anything you can find in a trashy soap opera. I have enough problems in my life without taking on the stress of someone in another state or even country who I'll never meet in person.
5. A Mud Has Taken Over My Life Before and I’m Worse off for It Even Now. It Can Definitely Happen Again if I Let It.
There was a time where my life had so little meaning that I worried more about my city being raided in a game than anything going on in my personal life. I am not so naive to believe this won't happen again if I do get into another game.
6. Looking Back, My Time Would’ve Been Better Spent Doing Nothing Instead
Had I used the time I spent on these games on walking, sleeping, or just trying to be comfortable without outside stimulation, I likely would be much better off today. Thinking of how differently my life would be if I did the bare minimum to work on myself during this period makes me want to weep.
7. Even if I’m Lost in Real Life, I Need to Find Purpose in the Real World, Not a Simulated World That Can Be Shut Off at Any Time
Some people may argue that the Earth we live in is just a simulation itself. Even if that's true, my body and mind exist in this reality as far as I can tell. No matter how much you love an online game, the day will come where the game is either too unpopular or too unprofitable for the owners to justify the continued expense of hosting it on a server.
What will you have left after the game goes offline permanently? Fading memories and regrets of time wasted.
8. It Was Like Working the Equivalent of a Full-Time Job for No Income
More specifically, it was like working the equivalent of a full-time job for no pay, minuscule (if any) transferable skills, that you can't even put on a resume. I guess you could try it, but don't be surprised if putting "Guild Master of the Order of The Druids" on your CV doesn't get you any interviews at a Fortune 500 company.
9. As My Characters Grew Stronger, I Grew Weaker
It's a funny thing really. So much blood, sweat, and tears went into making my characters more powerful and renowned in their simulated worlds while I only grew out of shape, unhealthy, and unhappier in the process. Even while I was playing, I knew in the back of my head that I would eventually grow tired of these characters and these worlds. Yet I wasn't aware of the full weight of these actions until they started to threaten my actual well-being.
I eventually stopped because I realized I was going to die if I continued with this systemic habit. I realized my worth as a human being was more than a few bits on a server that would shut down one day.
10. When I Die, I Don’t Want to Be Remembered as ”Guy Who Really Liked Computer Games”
What do I want to be remembered as? I guess by the time I die it won't really matter since I won't be awake for my funeral, if I'm not just unceremoniously thrown into the morgue or get vaporized in an atomic explosion. I wish I could write something inspiring and motivational here, but that would seem inauthentic. I suppose I'd at least like be remembered for who I was and what I created and not just what media I consumed.