Dysfunctional Patterns of Playing

Belghast noted the other day how he is in a slump with Rift and EQ2. He’s logging in, but then stands around without anything to do. Something we all probably have had happening before. I remember doing that a lot in WoW when I was still raiding. I still wanted to pay on off-nights, but I realized that there wasn’t much to do, so I just idled around in Orgrimmar. It’s a dysfunctional pattern of playing: overestimating the fun I’ll have before I log in, which ends in disappointment. To me, this either happens when there is nothing to do, or when there are lots of things, but I’m paralyzed deciding which one to follow.

The opposite thing has happened to me with FFXIV lately. Instead of logging in and then being disappointed, I postpone logging in because I don’t know what to do; but when I do log in, I suddenly start a flurry of activities. In this case, I’m underestimating my fun. It’s a bit weird, but it has happened to me with a couple of games: when I have too many choices, the decision paralysis makes me end up not playing the game as much. It’s in realistic danger of being tossed to the wayside, replaced by a new game which lays out the way in a more obvious manner.

I’ll have to watch how I play FFXIV if I want to have sustainable fun in it (which I do). Otherwise, the game might end up in the sad bucket that TSW is in. I played the game for about two months from release, to about mid-Transylvania. Then I went on vacation, and when I came back I couldn’t decide what to do: which abilities to take? Which build to play? I postponed playing it more and more, until I had to accept I had stopped playing the game altogether. In the terms of this post, I stopped estimating my fun completely. For a year, I’ve been toying with the thought of trying it out again, but with every month, it gets harder to get back, if only because there are so many weapons to grind and stuff to do: where to start?

3 thoughts on “Dysfunctional Patterns of Playing

  1. It’s funny you would call it “dysfunctional”. I did the same a lot in WoW on off-nights (off raiding) and to me it just seemed strong proof of how much of a ‘second home’ this MMO had become – a habit that was a natural part of my daily routine. I guess one can eye that with worry but I don’t really, I had a great time hanging in WoW. :) it was those nights when I got to chat loads with the people I usually only knew from the raidleader’s perspective. it was a different kind of fun.

    That said, I do understand the feeling of inaccurate expectations; I can’t log back into WoW nowadays because by now I know better. without my buddies around, it’s just never gonna be the same.

    1. Maybe “dysfunctional” is a bit on the harsh side, because of the connotations, like dysfunctional families where everything goes down the drain. It’s just that in a perfect (virtual) world, I would have something to do, while, at least towards the end of my WoW time, I didn’t really feel like I had. I do remember doing things like farming clouds or the elemental plateau during TBC on off-nights, or running dungeons, but by the time Cata rolled around, that was more or less over.

      It just struck me that these days, I sometimes have the opposite problem: I almost need to force myself to have fun. Maybe that’s because I haven’t felt the same pull towards a game like I do with FFXIV (for reasons I can’t pin down myself) in a long time, and my mind got disillusioned in that time, and is trying to convince me that I can’t be having fun. ;)

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