MMO Rehab

Almost seven months clean, yet the cravings still remain; the cruel temptress still whistles her tune and calls my name softly as it attempts to dig her unrelenting claws into my back.

I enjoy gaming across a wide variety of genres, be it sport, RPG and even music and rhythm games, but no other genre has a hold over me like the one MMO has, very few other games come remotely close to the amount of hours I pumped into those games, and looking back on my time played it does give off some quite scary statistics.

Playing an MMO is all well and good, but the real problem occurs when you attempt to put it down, to perhaps move onto pastures new.

The problem I have is that I become too attached to my characters, which unlike in most games I’ve hand crafted into who he is today. He’s a digital form of me (albeit slightly bluer and with two horns and a tail) running around slaying dragons and /flirting at hot blue aliens. We were a team, a dynamic duo if you will, it was like a not so camp version of Top Gun with me at the helm and him my wingman, and you know what, if I could I would play slow motion volleyball with him on a beach.

We did everything together, slayed dragons, defeated demons and even teamed up with other likeminded individuals to take down gods. After a while we were known as one of the best at what we do on our realm, but like all good storiesthey have to come to an end.

I’ve been free from MMO’s since July last year, and as such I’m about to hit my six month mark as being ‘clean’.Of course there’s been the odd blip every now and then, not to mention when a new release occurs it has left me just itching to try it but I’ve held fast and as time has gone on I’ve steadily managed to control the urges, just.

If you don't stop it, you'll go blind. I'll take my chances!

Moving on does have its own benefits though, sleeping at night and not in the day being just one. The main benefit is time, of which during my time playing World of Warcraft there wasn’t much left for anything else, gaming was just Warcraft and nothing else. I can’t count the number of massive titles that have been released that I’ve just watched sail me by, or all the multiplayer gaming sessions over Live I’ve put off because I had a raid that night. My gaming solely revolved around just one title and it’s that reason alone that probably signalled the end for me.

While not buying brand new games at full price every month did have its advantages, it was the little things I missed. Discussions on forums I visited were almost like they had been coded using an enigma machine as friends talked about the latest goings on in the recent AAA title to be released, while I stood all cross eyed at references that just left me baffled.

Since last summer, I’ve seen my gaming activity rejuvenated, even if it is a little PC centric. A string of quality games such as Batman, Dragon Age, Left 4 Dead 2 and Borderlands all have been enjoyed thoroughly, all of which no doubt I would have missed should I have still been residing in MMO land, I’m glad I didn’t.

There was also a back catalogue of games on offer (quite often at bargain prices too, which was great!) that I had missed on their release. Titles like Dawn of War 2, FUEL, Fallout 3, Civilization Colonization and The Orange Box were very much appreciated by my gaming diet.

The other knock on effect is that it’s also got me back in a creative mind set, I made my first short level for Half Life 2 back in December and with Unreal  and Left 4 Dead 2 levels also in production I couldn’t be happier.

I’m not only gaming more but I’m enjoying it profusely, variety as they say, is the spice of life.

But would I change it all? Would I give up on MMO’s for good? I honestly don’t think I would, even if it did jeopardise the rest of my gaming activities.There’s something about the genre that I don’t think I could leave behind. I would perhaps change my play style of them slightly, but give them up entirely? I don’t think so.

Of course all this could be for nothing and with Star Trek Online out next month, followed by the likes of DC Universe Online, Final Fantasy XIV, Jumpgate Evolution and Star Wars: The Old Republic it’s going to be quite a task trying not to give them a try. You also have to factor in the World of Warcraft Cataclysm which will no doubt be the saucy secretary sitting at her desk flashing her suspender belt in a suggestive manner of the year, so…very…tempting.

Last five articles by Ben



  1. Victor Victor says:

    I am a geek on the outside, looking in at all the fun that MMO players have. I know what my level of commitment is like to things that I enjoy and that has always scared me off, attempting to get started in MMOs. I always thought that my console addiction is verging on the ridiculous. Better not tempt fate and go for something that requires even MORE of a commitment. You have to produce a follow-up. I want to see whether MMOs have still got their hooks in you.

    Nice read, bro.

  2. Lorna Lorna says:

    I agree with Victor, I too would have my time sucked away if I stpped into these many wonderful seeming worlds. Sims 3 and other management type titles can be bad enough, as is a desire for 360 completion – an MMO would about finish me off! Great article…I bet you give in to the temptation though ;p

  3. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I could so easily lose my life to something like City Of Heroes. The first time I saw it in GAME I thought “oooh this looks good” and then I realised it was MMO and I put it back on the shelf immediately. Two reasons… the first is that I’m really a solo gamer, and the second is that I’d hate for people to become reliant on me in a gaming situation as I don’t want it to ever become a chore. There’s no point gaming if you feel dutybound to do so.

    I still think about it though… I imagine how damn cool my guy would be, what fantastic name I’d come up for him… or whether it’d even BE a male… because I could create some uber sexy fit woman that wanders around kicking butt and baring butt at the same time.

    Yes… all these things I avoid. For now ;) Excellent article sir :)

  4. Pete Pete says:

    I’m much the same as Lorna and Victor it seems lol I’ve managed to avoid the MMO genre for the most part and am happy with that right now! I spend too long on the PC as it is but I can slip away quietly as and when I need to :) WOW and the whole building a character and investing time and energy in it, building relationships with other characters and forging parties etc……. it would pretty much consume me I’m sure, especially given my love of RPG type play! ;)

  5. Kat says:

    Oo I’m another that’s wary they could lose a shedload of time to an MMO. I have my hands full enough with just 360 multiplayer games! Loved the article… and the slow-mo volleyball ;D

  6. James says:

    My only foray into the realm of the MMORPG was a two month stint with LoTR Online. I figured if I was going to spend hours and hours grinding my way around an entire continent it might as well be a world I had a vested interest in exploring. I invested about 30 hours, had some fun and enjoyed some instances, but I just don’t think I’m built for fetch quests and murdering animals in even numbers. I don’t feel any real character development occurs when playing these games, which is, to me, what an RPG should be all about. Instead, all I get is better gear and more experience. This is not enough to make me give up the number of hours which MMORPGs demand from players. I used to play MERP and D&D 3rd Edition back in the day (with dice and pencils and my imagination and sh*t), and whilst combat played a big part the focus was always on the adventure, the characters and the dialogue. And that is how it should be. Until MMORPGs start making me care about their universe and inhabitants, I think will be steering clear.

    Having said all that, SW:TOR is making me ever so slightly moist. ;)

  7. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I want to create a new genre of online gaming called MOO where you just wander around eating steak :)

  8. Pete Pete says:

    I’d play it :D

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