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Reader Comments (58)

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:12AM hectik said

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If a game is good, people will stick to it. If people play the game and move to something else its called "freedom". If a game offers a free initial month, then that is the publishers decision. Also, if there where many of the so called "dedicated" gamers, then there would be no industry to speak of. Everyone would be playing one game without a need or wan't to change to another game by another company. The whole industry would be non existent. In reality, both parties are important in the industry in my opinion.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:20AM Tom in VA said

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The reason behind transience among MMO players is that there are very few games out there wherein you want to "take your shoes off and stay a while" (love them Beverley Hillbillies!).

Guild Wars, WoW, and (for a shorter time) LotRO were able to achieve this with me, but most other MMOs were just not interesting enough to hold my attention for very long.

Sadly, MMOs tend to be awfully shallow and uninvolving, which is why I spend more time in SPRPGs these days and only occasionally dabble in MMOs any more. I'm hoping GW2, SWTOR, and/or TSW can offer something new and substantive. We'll see.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:24AM Beau Hindman said

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@Tom in VA Strange. For me, it's the opposite. I skip around because MMOs are so interesting. After all, I can always return to the very interesting ones -- and I do. But that new world is always there for exploring, so I'm going to explore it.

Beau
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:28AM Shazzie said

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The only 'tourists' I think that might be troublesome are the ones at release. Many people try a new game just to check it out, and then leave to go back to their original game. In massive numbers, this can be a real problem for that new game. If that new game has to open extra servers to deal with the rush, and then has to wind up consolidating servers when the tourists go home, that's not a good start for the new game.

And I say this as somewhat of a tourist myself, though I often stick with my games for several months or a year or so before feeling the wanderlust itch.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:44AM hectik said

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@Shazzie
Perhaps I am naive, but I can't see how someone would stick to a game even though they tried a game that was more fun or just better overall. for example, there are allot of WoW players that want to try out new games because they are tired of WoW. I saw that allot during the Rift beta, but many of them wen't back to the game because Rift is, and lets be honest, very much like WoW. If a game comes out that is genuinely superior and has innovative features then people will stick to it. Your situation happened, I believe, to warhammer. But lets face it, that game was just broken.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:36AM Ocho said

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I definitely consider myself a transient, so this article explains me to a T. I've never been into raiding and the meta-game after max level has never really interested me. I find I like to explore in MMOs, and I seem to be of a rare variety. In a new mission or quest, or dungeon, I'll stop to read all the text, explore every crevice, and see all there is to see. So, I've been termed slow, with the MMO populace I encounter most often more interested in just getting through content as fast as possible and not stopping to read or think about anything... slow = bad. So I'm a transient. I'll go from game to game and explore at my own pace. As I said, no strict raiding night, but gaming to me is a something you do when you're done everything else, not something that takes a priority over reality. You need those overly dedicated gamers, though, in order to maintain and keep the big games going. I am just not one of them.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 1:09PM Luftwaffles said

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@Ocho

You're playstyle describes me exactly... although I do enjoy the occasional endgame content, I HATE HATE HATE having to rush to levelcap. I just don't wanna do it. I wanna explore the maps.. level my professions in tandem with my toon, do weird achievements, and so on. People say "you don't want MMO then.. you want SPrpg." Except I enjoy doing all of the above with actual people... :(

oh well.. back to tabletop games I suppose.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:42AM (Unverified) said

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I float between settling down and being a transient. I've been "faithful" to WoW and for long periods of time, but I've also settled in other games for months, and squeezed in a few other games as well. I'm not a raider or a hardcore anything, so once I hit level cap in a game and max out my crafting, I'm usually at a loss for things to do.

I also think it's good to try out other MMOs... you so easily get tunnel vision otherwise, and some of the indie developers really have some amazing games & ideas.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 9:53AM hectik said

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@(Unverified)
There isn't a game that has, yet at least, been able to surpass WoW in terms of success. Many will disagree with me, and start to nitpick things like the community and all the kids that play etc etc, but from a pure technological standpoint that game is great. It is no wonder why it manages to keep people in the game. However, you might consider yourself transient now, but if you found a game that was just more fun to play than WoW, would you still go back to WoW? Of course not, you simply go back to WoW, because you found those other games inferior. An MMO developer's job, is not only to create an enjoyable experience during leveling, but also an enjoyable experience once you reach the endgame. There is an upcoming MMO called "the secret world" that has no levels to speak of. If your problem is that you have nothing to do when you reach level cap then I suggest you keep an eye out for that one.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:13AM Beau Hindman said

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@hectik People might not return to a game for any number of reasons. They might go to a game that is lower "quality" or "inferior" (those are defined by the individual, of course) for any number of reasons, as well. Perhaps their friends moved on, or the community just isn't what it is?

Point being that there are numerous factors into defining what a "good" game is. Of course, you could have meant that by what you were saying, but I wanted to point out that many people leave what would be considered higher "quality" games for lower quality games all the time -- sometimes without really knowing why.

Beau
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 11:10AM (Unverified) said

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@hectik

What games offer isn't necessarily the driving force in getting someone to switch MMO's. For instance, it doesn't take much for a game to be better than WoW, as WoW is mediocre in most respects to current MMO's. What WoW has though is a large population that many of us have built connections with. So if a new game comes out and is superior to WoW in general gaming features (again not hard to do) you may want to make the switch but your best bud can't since his wife doesn't want to leave. In that case even if you enjoy the new game more, you enjoy your time with your friend even more than that so you end up staying. So a new game doesn't just have offer more enjoyment than WoW (or whatever), but has to offer more enjoyment than WoW and the loss of any social connections that you would have to break to go there.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:01AM Waxil said

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if you are playing the same game even an hour a day you will eventually run out of stuff to do. With mmos some people play 4+ hours a day . Eventually you're going to get tired of running/grinding the same stuff over and over.
All mmo transients do is say "look, some of us are willing to take our money elsewhere", which frankly is a good thing. If enough people did it maybe quality would go up and we'd have fun mmos rather than merely addictive-dopamine releasing timesinks.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:08AM Ryn said

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I'm a transient too, and proud of it! I love to explore new worlds, and that is what drives me to try different games. Sure, I have my "Home" games, but I'm not afraid of trying out a new game. The one thing I am afraid of is not trying something to find out that I would really like it. And I can confess that I have fallen into the trap of reading Rise and Shiny to see if a game warranted my attention, but I quickly realized that and had to look at things more objectively.

There seems to be a fascination with players to rush to the end and have all the faction toys and all the raid gear. I fell into that trap and then realized that I didn't want to spend 6 hours a week in Kara raiding (great instance though, just too long), and that it was not allowing me to do what I wanted to do which was to explore new worlds. I could care less about having a max level toon with all the highest level gear. All those players ask themselves the same thing at the end...Now what??

The current flavor of my time is Fallen Earth. Not advertising for the game, just saying. It's not for everyone. The FPS style of combat is a lot to get use to for me. I love exploring and scavenging in FE. But I am ENJOYING the journey, and for me thats what it's about for me. I stop to take in the sunset, which in FE are some of the best imo, and appreciate my surroundings, read the text, take it all in.

I recently had a revelation in the way I think about the games I play, and it came from a commenter here on Massively. It allowed me to look at things very differently, and now I enjoy gaming more than I ever have.

Great topic Beau. Thanks for bringing it up! My hats off to you. Since you have been here, I have really enjoyed what you have brought to the table.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:14AM Beau Hindman said

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@Ryn Thanks!

Beau
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:14AM Shirogetsune said

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I have no idea how many F2P MMO's I currently have installed, but I can say I regularly spend time in Aika Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Dynasty Warriors Online and Forsaken World/any other Perfect World Entertainment title.

Most of the time, the new games I try impress me. Not enough to keep coming back each day or week, but not so underwhelmed that it was an immediate un-install. This past month, I can only think of one game where I thought "This is horrible, it's so unoriginal and I can't see myself ever coming back here." (Kabod Online.)

I think I also fall in the minority of Free to Players though, as I've heard before "A large portion of the population plays for free whereas a small portion spends enormous amounts in the cash shop and keeps the game alive." I typically don't play completely for free, and I *never* spend more per month than I would on a typical subscription game. For me, Dynasty Warriors Online is an excellent game. So it's worth $10 the months I play it heavily. Aika Online is more $5-10, D&D is $10-$15 and the Perfect World titles all float from $5-15.

What I get from this though, that I don't get from a subscription game, is once I put my money down, it's there. There are a couple exceptions (God, Mabinogi, how I love and loathe you.) but I don't worry about being locked out of my characters or feel that guilt "I have to play this game this month because I just spent money on it." Take DDO... I recently spent a couple months away from the game but found I still had around $5 left in cash shop money. That's nice to see the money I, well, invested.. wasn't wasted because I didn't have the time or interest for a month of two to log in.

I know most people are happy with their one or two titles, but I can't help but feel like Beau is on to something. It's nice having a variety of games to play without that guilt/obligation of "Play me or your money is wasted!"

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:18AM Pingles said

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I am a transient who stuck to F2P for about a year before returning to WoW to explore Cataclysm.

Transience in F2Ps is even more common because of the varying attempts to finance a game through cash shops.

I left two F2Ps that could have become my mains if their cash shops hadn't been handled so poorly.

I still search for a game to call my home.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:19AM Elikal said

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For me as gamer, game hopping is just proof that games are not good enough. It's like wife hopping. If the woman/man of your life is good enough, you don't need to have 5 or 6. A good MMO is like a good relationship. It's just unsteady jumpers who ruin communities these days. A widespread trend everywhere. Heck even relationships are handled that way these days by many people. People jump from one to another, always thinking there might be an even better partner. And so with their MMOs. I just see that as a waste of time. I don't want people in "my MMO" who are here today and quickly leave for another MMO because of some shiny gimmick.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:24AM Jef Reahard said

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Read this article with great interest, as I'm also something of an MMO transient (mainly because I think most of the games suck though, not because I actually want to play them all, lol). While I agree with a lot of what was said, a couple of things stood out to me.

One, I didn't see a mention of the effect that large numbers of transients have on MMO communities. Sure it's great fun for people to game-hop, but where the individual gains, the community loses. I don't think anyone can argue (with a straight face anyway) that MMO communities are friendlier, more helpful, or in any way better than they were years ago when game-hopping wasn't the norm. In fact, I think most gamers will tell you that the MMORPG community has gotten noticeably meaner, more narcissistic, and more combative in recent years. I attribute this to a) more people playing and b) people not getting to know one another, the latter of which is a direct consequence of the transient lifestyle.

The other thing I have to disagree with doesn't really have to do with MMOs, but it's an important topic, and that's the assertion that renting is on equal footing with owning. Renting doesn't give you equity or tax breaks, both of which can build substantial wealth over time.

Overall great article though, and food for thought.

Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 10:49AM Shirogetsune said

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@Jef Reahard

I wouldn't blame MMO hoppers for the current state of the community. The increase of people playing? Heck yes. I've been in MMO land since EQ, and the first time I remember running into jerks en mass was World of Warcraft. Trade chat or Barrens chat, need I say more? Since then, it's carried over to other games, everything from subscription based to free to play. Smaller games have tighter communities and the jerks don't seem to be as vocal, but even something as old as City of Heroes is a war zone when it comes to the official forums. I recently left after describing some complains over their latest update and what it offered to people outside the raid mentality, which was met with "If you don't like it, LEAVE." For a game that's been bleeding subscriptions the past year or two, you think the community wouldn't be so quick to lash out at current players.

Since the MMO community exploded in population thanks to WoW, it's brought in the bad with the good. I once though trash talk was restricted to FPS and Arcade Fighters, but those traits have unfortunately found their place in our genre as well.
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Posted: Mar 23rd 2011 11:04AM Beau Hindman said

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@Shirogetsune Well..let's be honest. There were PLENTY of jerks and snobs back in '99. Anyone else play EQ?

The changing communities might have changed from what they were back then simply because other games didn't exist, or you couldn't run them on your rig. If we had always had the same number of games to choose from, would the communities always have been "nicer?"

Well, either way, they haven't always been nicer. More tolerant because they had to be occasionally? Sure.

Beau
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