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MMOs are Juvenile Games
I started playing Guild Wars 2 this weekend, a game that I’ve waited a very long time to play. Since Jr. High I haven’t really gotten completely engrossed in a good MMO. But after starting Guild Wars 2 I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a reason I haven’t been playing MMOs for so long.
It seems to me like the most important part of every MMO, the core mechanic, is the more time spent in game, the better. Video game knowledge and skill take second place to the sheer amount of hours logged by a player. Who always has the highest level? Who always has the best weapon? The rarest armor and the most skill points? It’s that person running next to you that’s played double the time that you have.
The point of video games is to have fun. Take Skyrim for instance. Players are encouraged to complete quest lines that they find interesting or will develop their character more. Wizards are encouraged to enter the Mages College because it offers them goods and services they wouldn’t otherwise get. But if that player would rather just raid dungeons and explore that’s ok, too. It’s because the point of Skyrim is to have fun and complete the game. It’s not to have the best loot or highest skill level.
The point of MMOs on the other had is competition and showing off. Having fun seems to turn into the monotonous process of getting the next best weapon or armor to show off to other players with. I have the urge to impress complete strangers. This is an urge that’s entirely non-existent when I play a single player game because I know no one is going to be looking in at my game. And if they did, I wouldn’t really care. It’s a world that’s sole purpose is for my enjoyment.
Showing off is fun and all, but frankly it’s a little juvenile. And because the competition isn’t based on skill, but instead on the amount of time you spend, it’s really more of a competition of time spent as opposed to a competition of skill. On Call of Duty over half the players that have more prestiges than me are actually much worse players. The only difference is I don’t play Call of Duty often, and they play every day.
Grownups don’t have time to compete with children and teenagers in these games. If you’re an adult you have more responsibilities than you did when you were 13. Jobs, college, children, bills, taxes, shopping, and the countless other activities that you’re required to do severely damage the amount of free time you have. And when amount of time played equals how good of a player you are you’re at a huge disadvantage. The only way to compete with the middle schoolers that have all the free time they want is by neglecting your other duties. But that of course, is juvenile.
Just because a game’s juvenile doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun. I still play Super Smash Bros. with my roommates all the time (arguably a very juvenile game). But this article is here to fix a common misconception. MMO players are usually considered the geekiest of the geeks. But It’s not geeks that are drawn to MMOs, it’s people that need to show off to other geeks. Whether it’s getting the most powerful weapon, or just the best looking one, the only way to do it in an MMO is playing more. And more. And more.