The days of my general gaming addiction are over; I no longer have the time to jump from game to game, and when I do sit down to play something, I need it to engross me quickly and easily, and I need to see progress in order to stick with it, else I’ll feel like I’m wasting my time. Perhaps this is why I’m a fan of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games (MMORPGs), and why I occasionally entertain the idea of returning to World of Warcraft (WoW); the things I hated about the game don’t immediately come to mind, but when they do, the desire to embrace WoW a second time instantly fades. Nonetheless, the itch to play another MMORPG is still with me, and until a decent title comes our way, it likely won’t subside soon. When the time does come, I expect to be prepared, because my time playing WoW taught me a number of lessons that prepared me for my next MMORPG venture. What follows is four decisions to stick with that will make my next foray into MMORPGs much less headache-inducing.
The class decision.
Next time around, I’m choosing a class I want to play regardless of outside influence. Certain classes may become the flavor of the month, and these classes may find it harder to find accepting groups at times, but in the end, the class I enjoy playing is the one I’ll ultimately play best. Enough with choosing a class because my friends want an ideal group and they already called dibs on certain classes; the server is full of players who need people to group with, and chances are, keeping my rate of leveling consistent with that of my real-life friends is temporary. Besides, they’ll just switch classes eventually anyway. And, while I quite enjoy hybrid classes, I’ll probably roll a class where I don’t need multiple sets of gear, can spec however I want and not suck when doing anything outside that spec, and don’t need to play contrary to my preferred style of play when I’m in a large group.
The guild decision.
The point of a guild isn’t to make communication easy among a group of friends, it’s to enable a group of people to organize and become better players so they can tackle a variety of encounters (many of which are large-scale). Knowing this, I will never again join a small guild of real-life friends, because such guilds are packed with drama, don’t grow, and ultimately are a pain to manage. For the same reason, attempting to take charge of a guild, from any aspect, is an administrative burden I intend to stay away from. When choosing a guild, I will consider only those tolerant of casual players, have a fair raiding system, and intend to support both questing and player-versus-player gameplay. Chances are, I will only join an already-established guild, or a gamer group with a history of forming stable, supporting guilds in other MMORPGs.
The single-character decision.
I don’t have the time to juggle characters whenever a friend decides to pick up a new MMORPG or re-roll a character. Once I’ve taken the time to explore the classes available and have found one I’m happy with, I’m sticking with it. Unless I’m at end-game and my play-time exceeds what my guild is capable of tackling, there’s no way I’m touching a second character, especially given the huge amount of repetition when it comes to leveling up all over again. Far more joy is gained from making one character the absolute best it can be, than trying to gear up multiple characters and balance one’s social life accordingly.
The roleplaying decision.
Let’s face it, as much as I want it, roleplaying in an MMORPG, for the time being, is too primitive and rare to make a significant effort to go after. MMORPGs, for the foreseeable future, are linear affairs where players aren’t capable of affecting the world in a meaningful, lasting way. While player economies evolve, crafting, NPCs, and related factors need to grow significantly before major developers acknowledge the need and demand for better emotes, chat interfaces, and related UI improvements. Until then, we deal with griefers the old-fashioned way: PKing them.