I am writing this so that I can help out all those gamers who seem to have lost that "spark" that makes MMO's so fun. I am tired of explaining it thread-by-thread, so I am going to write this article and point those lost souls to it.
First, let me introduce myself. I am Apoca, sometimes known as ApocaRUFF, Apoca Ailen, or ApocaWSX (tho no longer). In some games I am known as Unknown, UnknownA, or Psychopath. I am a nobody, and you will never have heard of me. I have a Youtube channel where I upload shitty game play videos that rarely get over 200 views. So, in short, I am no expert.
Now, if you are reading this, you've probably said to yourself, "Gee, why can't I enjoy any games anymore?" or "I can't play games longer than a couple of weeks at most!" or something similar.
This is a normal stage in the life of a completely normal MMO gamer. Every game seems crappy, the same stuff repacked and re-skinned. Nothing can catch your interest for long, even the newest and greatest games that you've been hyped on for months. No matter how you try, you just can't stand to grind out a character, or get to deep in to any game.
There is a definite and clear reason for this. And, as I said, it's a problem that all normal MMO gamers go through. The answer is simply; Social Contact. That's right. The reason you can't enjoy that game you've been waiting months to play is because you have no one to play it with.
Oh sure, you might have some random guys to talked to on a forum to play with. But you don't really have someone. You need something closer, more tight-knit. You need friends!
Now I'm not saying you need to go out and find some SOB at the local game store to hold your dick while you play WoW. No. What I'm suggesting is you need a guild. Or a clan. Or an Outfit. Or a community. Whatever you want to call it. You need an organization that offers tight-knit friendships that will span across more than one game. You need a Ventrilo, or a TS, or a Mumble, or even Skype, that you can get on every time you want to game and catch up with your guildies, who you can talk about the game with, about your life, about that new game you wan to get. Anything.
Unfortunately, most MMO Gamers don't realize that they lack this. They go through game after game, wondering why they can't stand to play anything. And they get burnt out and they stop gaming all together. It's a horrible experience that I myself have gone through.
I have found memories of Star Wars Galaxies. For years after I quit, I thought the reason I loved it so much, and was able to play for hours a day, was because it was an amazing game. It took me until I had reached the deepest pits of (gaming) despair that I finally realized what it was that made that game so much better than any other I had played.
I realized that it was my guild that made the game fun. More specifically, the friends I made within that guild, and because of that guild. Sure, SWG was a fantastic game in its own right, but I sure as hell wouldn't have played it if I hadn't had Tolme or Haylee to talk to everyday. Or Awackire to play the quirky older brother. Wings to play the older mom who was a bit wacky. Or Zelona and Anderon, two of the oldest gamers I've ever met, to hold us together.
Unfortunately, Zelona passed away. And the game lost it's sparkle. My friends slowly started to drift apart. For a while we were crushed and it seemed to be falling apart, but the guild pulled thru and continues to exist. The guild continued on, but what made my guild my guild had disappeared when Zelona died, Andy (Zelona's Husband) quit, Wing's had to leave for her own reasons, Awockire for school... Even though RUFF lived, it had died as I knew it.
And thus began my journey that lasted several painful years. I drifted from game to game, some free to play, some pay to play. Occasionally I would join up with a guild in a game, and I would be able to play it a bit longer than I did others, but it always lost it's interest to me. It got to the point that I just couldn't bring myself to download anything.
Then, one day, I found Mortal Online and I joined a new guild. A real one. With a real website, a TS/Mumble, a history, members who actually cared about their guild. My gaming addiction revived itself and manifested itself in Mortal. I played for hours a day, working to improve myself and my guild. I played almost everyday, working alongside my guild mates. I made new friends within. And when one of us got a bit tired of Mortal, we would go play another game together.
And when Mortal got to the point that it was to much of a chore to play (due to incomplete features and bugs), some of switched to a new game to play together. This time it was Wurm. We played for hours a day and accomplished a lot. We attracted more of our members to join us and we had fun.
But like all good things, my guild came to an end, once more. Due to internal drama, we unfortunately did a combination disbanding and splitting. We reformed in to three different guilds, all of which are dead currently. And once again I am drifting from game to game, trying to find something to keep my interest.
There is one thing that is different this time around, though. I had years of experience in gaming to guide me to what I had to do to have fun in games once more. That's right. I had to join a new guild. No, not a shitty guild that I randomly got invited to in a crappy game. A real guild, that I looked for myself, carefully chosen. A guild with a history. With a decent website. With structure and active members. And I did. I found one and I am currently again enjoying gaming.
And if this guild falls apart, I know what I will do.
Now, you may be asking yourself, "Why the hell did you just explain your whole gaming history to me?" Or you could be saying, "Cool story bro." Or maybe you're thinking, "TL;DR" (in which case you can GTFO).
Well, the answer is: I told you it so you can hopefully see where your problem lies. You lack that tight-knit family of friends that a proper guild provides. That feeling of wonder and excitement that you get from playing a game with friends. Your problem is the same one that almost every MMO gamers goes through, including myself.
Now, you may have noticed that I am pretty horny for guilds. But I assure you, it's for good reason. In case you lack reading comprehension, let me repeat myself as to the benefits of a guild:
- Friends to play with
- tight-knit family feelings
- A sense of camaraderie that makes any game exciting
- Goals that go beyond just yourself
The list goes on, but I'll leave it there.
So, what you need to do to be able to enjoy MMO's again is join a guild. Well, will just any guild do? Nope. It has to be a real, proper guild.
How do you tell a proper guild from a scrub guild? There's really no way to be sure, but I will give you a check list to help you out in finding one.
- You seek it, not it seeking you. (This does not mean that you should disregard any guild that invites you to join it, but don't just blindly join. Do research first.)
- It has a history. If a guild is over a few years old, chances are it will be there to stay for a few more. There are guilds out there that are over a decade old. Most of these old guilds have evolved in to a community. Which is a guild that has gotten to the point where it can support playing multiple games.
- Active members. Doesn't matter if there's 3 active members or 50. As long as it has people that you enjoy playing with.
- It's not to big. If your guild has 500 members, guess what? It's doing it wrong.
- Fits your play-style. If you had PvP, don't join a PvP focused guild. If you want a laid-back group, don't join the ambitious guild with goals. Pretty simple, really.
- Not full of *** holes. If you're the kind of person who enjoys calling people racial slurs, griefing, or generally being immature, you're not ready yet.
- Guild leader is over 40. Or at least acts like he is. Simple as that. An 18 year old USUALLY wont be mature enough (even if he seems so)
- Avoid "No drama" guilds like the plague. Not because drama is good, but because they are the type of guilds that get the most drama. "Yeah, we're a no drama guild" -next week- "Yeah, we're disbanding because Miss Jenny stopped talking to the leader and started flirting with our second-in-command. Then, it turns out, Jenny was actually a dude and he got in to our Co-Leads account and stole our guild bank." It shows complete and total ignorance and lack of experience if they try to claim, "No drama".
This checklist is by no means perfect. There's stuff on there that doesn't always apply, and there's stuff not on there that probably often does. The real things you want to use is your head. Think. Research. Think some more. Don't just be a tool. Don't just be a sheep. Join a real guild.
I hope this helps some of you out. If not, get over it and move on.
TL;DR: Get a guild.