28 February 2012

Fighting the Inevitable?

So I find myself back in the position of "transitional player" as I leave one major MMO and return to another one, but at the same time I have my eye on yet another game in the near future.  In evaluating my enthusiasm and interest in these games, I find myself wondering if I myself have changed as a player.  You have heard me talk before about how I prefer to be a "single game player."  I was for many years as a player in World of Warcraft.  But ever since leaving that game I have found myself utterly transient.  You have also heard me talk about how maybe the "era" of loyalty to a single game is over.  With the MMO marketplace becoming increasingly crowded with high quality games, a certain degree of "drift" is almost inevitable as players move from one game to the next.  So is my preference to play only a single game a thing of the past?  Am I just fighting the inevitable?  Would I be happier if I just embraced it and thought of myself as a more transient player?  I think so.

Part of this is obviously driven by industry trends, but part of it is personal as well.  When I was a WoW player, my real life circumstances permitted me the luxury of a significant amount of play time.  It was easy to set aside large blocks of time for organized activities.  Raiding was well within my means, even at a relatively high level.  I was never in a "server/world first" type guild as I am not that cutthroat of a personality, but many accomplishments were well within my reach.  In recent years this is no longer the case.  Changes in my work status and family circumstances render those large blocks of play time impossible to achieve.  So perhaps it makes sense to "bounce" from game to game seeing all the things that I am able to see on a casual basis, rather than dive 100% into a single game and attempt to keep myself on the "cutting edge."

So I'm taking a new approach to my MMO subscriptions and spending habits.  For one thing, I will not be using credit cards anymore to pay for MMO game time.  It is too easy for those fees to become "out of sight, out of mind," as they simply recur even though you quit the game months ago.  Instead I will stick to time cards or other "single use" methods to pay for game fees so as to avoid any potential recurring charges.  Now I already know this will not be a problem for some of the games I will be playing.  RIFT offers time cards, as does Star Wars: The Old Republic.  A snag may emerge with The Secret World however.  Funcom has yet to release any information about purchasing the game, subscription fees, or time cards.  Although one would imagine they will have the usual versions and fees, a little confirmation would be nice.  I have been looking to pre-order this one for a while now.

Right now my SW:TOR time will expire at the end of March, and as I said previously I have already decided not to renew.  I removed my credit card information from that account.  I also have purchased a RIFT time card and will be returning to Telara shortly.  Today I could barely convince myself to do some SW:TOR space missions.  That game lost its luster so fast.  I'll be posting my own version of an "exit survey" for SW:TOR a bit later in the week.  So sixty days of RIFT time will take me to the beginning of May.  At that point I will either buy another RIFT time card, or if anything really interesting has happened in SW:TOR, I will buy a time card for that and see what has changed.  A remote third possibility would be to give TERA a try, but the cost involved in that is discouraging to a short term time investment.  In any case, I will be devoting my time to TSW when it launches in mid-June.

What that means for the blog will hopefully be positive in the long run.  Instead of a high volume of posts on a single game, I can offer a more varied perspective on several at once, which I hope will be more interesting and engaging for my readers.  Hearing the same song can get tiring after a while, even if it is a good one.

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