The idea struck me for this post while I was trying to go to sleep. I very almost had to get up out of bed and go jot something down, for worry that I’d forget it. I didn’t do that. So I guess we’ll see how I get on!

I remember the core of the idea at least. Over the years of gaming, there have been instances where I have played a particular genre so extensively that I burn out from it. Forever. I liken to it finding a song you like so very much that you thrash any remaining ounce of enjoyment out of it to a point where, almost without realising, you reach a point where upon you could happily go the rest of your life never hearing it again. The main difference here really only being one of timescale.

The first instance — yes, I really did mean plural. I’ve done this to myself at least three times — was with the RTS genre.

Burnin’ Down the RTS Genre

This is actually a shot of the remastered version of Command & Conquer — but this is basically how my brain remembers the game looking anyway in absence of a direct side-by-side.

C&C wasn’t my first ever RTS. That was Dune II. And still to this day I remember my amazement when I first encountered it. Nothing remotely similar had crossed my young-gamer path. Everything before had been orientated around a single character. Dune II was something else entirely.

But I call out C&C as it was the series I likely burnt myself out on the hardest. I played it extensively. All of them. Well.. Up until about Red Alert 2 anyway.

I played these things… A lot. Map editing. Multiplayer (local LAN connections with friends from time to time). Singleplayer. Every which way.

C&C took much of my time here, but then also Starcraft, Dune 2000, Warcraft 1 to 3. By the time Warcraft 3 rolled around though, the toll was starting to be felt. I really only played it for the custom game modes. Tower Defense maps (my first encounters with this concept, too!), RPGs and co-op party style games built into the really quite powerful editing tools of the game, and of course: Defense of the Ancients (DoTA).

From here it gets a little bit hazy. Like I mentioned with the analogue to music; it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain exactly when your feelings about something formerly so fervently loved shifts. For instance, after all this — I still played Supreme Commander. And that didn’t come out until 2007.

But I also remember not being into it nearly as much as I perhaps thought I should’ve been. I also didn’t play it for very long. Unlike C&C and even Warcraft where I played those games for months if not years, Supreme Commander lasted me perhaps a few weeks. I still enjoyed the experience, I think, and I wonder if Supreme Commander might still be the pinnacle of the genre… But… It wasn’t for me any more.

Apparently quite convincingly so, because it was the last RTS I was ever remotely excited about. Haven’t touched them except in passing ever since.

Moving Past MMO’s… Sort of.

Asheron’s Call — Looking onto a castle, now overrun by Skeletons after a Baron put on a cursed crown.

SDWeasel’s recent post on not ‘feeling it’ on MMO’s lately is part of what fed my late-night idea, I think.

It was a post I related to, having felt the same way for years now. But it is different when compared to the RTS situation. To the point where I wonder if it even truly fits into this post. You see; with MMO’s I still very much want to like them. At least from time to time I do. And at those times I’ll often try recapture some of what I once loved so much.

But I’m simply not sure it’s possible.

There is a certain degree of innocence lost that I can never recapture. I know too much now. I envy greatly those still yet to have their first experience with what an MMO can do and can be.

Like I noted in my comment back to SDWeasel, so little has changed in any fundamental way since the MMO concept was brought to life. Sure; we have better graphics. New design sensibilities. And personally I have very different game-style preferences relative to what I once had.

But for all that… It’s just the same old.

Promises of a virtual world, a place to occupy as a community, haven’t really ever eventuated. Our means of interacting with these play spaces haven’t really changed, either. VR is going through something of a resurgence at the moment after an aborted attempt at it for games in the 90’s. But it’s far from ubiquitous. Far from offering up the type of experiences that movies promise us.

So it’s hard to garner too much excitement for them any more. I haven’t abandoned them completely; but they’re no longer my be all and end all of gaming. I couldn’t put a year straight into a single MMO if I tried. Not as my main game at least. I’m not even sure I could do several months any more, and this from someone who spent years in Asheron’s Call.

Being truthful though — I’m not sure there are any games I can spend that sort of time in any more. My attention span for singular titles has certainly diminished. Finding a forever game now? Hah. Never.

I think I’m OK with that by and large; but it’s a fairly major shift in my gaming habits over the years and I can’t help but wonder what if anything it may mean.

It may only mean that I have a lot more disposable income now and far more options than I ever have before. Or it could be more. *shrug*

I think I’ll actually wrap this up now — but if you’re curious, the third genre that I burned myself out from was the Survival game genre. The likes of ARK, or Conan: Exiles. I looooved them for a time, there. Couldn’t stand to do another one now though. Nooooo thank-you!


This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!



Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

8 Comments

Bhagpuss · April 4, 2020 at 8:09 pm

I stand almost at the opposite end of the room from this. I tend not to go off things. Ever. Most of the books, music, comics, movies I liked as a child, an adolescent, a youg adult, in middle age, I still like now. There are exceptions, but they’re rare. I would really struggle to think of an example of a song I listened to so much that I never wanted to hear it again. Even now, thinking of songs I listened to that much just makes me want to go on YouTube and listen to them again.

Oddly, games are a little different. I can’t really imagine playing Jet Set Willy or Atic Atac again. That’s really much more to do with technology, though. When I played those games I yearned for them to look like the games we have now and when I discovered EverQuest I found the gameplay I’d been looking for in all those other games.

I’m as sure as I can be that I’ll play MMORPGs for the rest of my life. There’s a novelty factor, in that I do need a new imaginary world to draw me in for the excessive number of hours I used to spend in a dozen earlier iterations, but that’s almost the exact opposite of burning out on the genre itself.

The thing is, by and large, if I like something I like it forever. Time is a limited resource so new things push old things out but it’s not because I’ve lost any feeling I had for the old.

    Naithin · April 4, 2020 at 9:25 pm

    I will admit, I do somewhat envy your ability to hold onto things like that indefinitely. It is a quality I noticed in your ability to continue with the likes of GW2 for years upon years. Sure with ebbs and flows and moments of complaint — but that’s fairly natural with any long term relationship, I think!

    There are maybe a handful of songs I can hold onto in that way.

    Movies though… More of those.

    And books? Most of all. Now, I still very rarely will read a book more than once — but that’s mostly to do with just how many there are I want to get through. But there are some I can — and have! — read again and again and will never tire of.

    Books are perhaps the one realm where I possess the quality you speak of. I wonder why that is? Huh.

Rakuno · April 5, 2020 at 1:50 am

First of all, +1 for mentioning Dune II. That was my introduction to RTSes too and it blew my mind so much that it led to an obsession with Dune that wasn’t able to satisfy until many years later by reading the books. It was a well worth obsession too as the Dune series is are some of my favorites books. :)

As for MMOs, I am in the same boat. Not so much because I lament the promise of these great virtual worlds that early MMOs promised us as much as the genre is very stagnant. Even attempts to break the mold end up having trouble finding a large enough audience to sustain it, like The Secret World or end up giving in and adding elements of more traditional MMORPGs like Guild Wars 2.

I am at a point now that I don’t even bother keeping up with MMO news because I don’t believe there will be any new interesting MMO in the near future. And if my friends get interested into some new MMO I just can’t muster any enthusiasm for it. That is just how skeptic I am about MMOs nowadays.

Even me playing Final Fantasy XIV nowadays is kinda of an accident. I played 1.0 which held great promise but was marred by some serious flaws. Then tried the beta of 2.0, was heartbroken because it felt like just another generic MMO, left and only came back years later because a friend of mine was streaming and this time I liked what I saw. But even then there are times I take long breaks or wonder if I should quit it.

    Naithin · April 5, 2020 at 9:28 am

    First encounter with Dune II was similar for me. It was years later before I could get my hands on the books too. Heck, it was even a while before I could get my hands on the game.

    I saw it first while over at an acquaintances house (parents were friends, but I hardly knew the kids there at that point since they lived pretty far away).

    I didn’t even remember what it was called or know HOW to find it for quite some time. Haha.

    re: MMOs — yes to everything you’ve said. There was a time in my life I was quite an active follower in new MMOs. Never again. I just can’t. I used to play the forum game, the discuss in detail mechanics and wishes game, but no. I might look in from time to time, but I don’t have that kind of energy left for that level of investment. Or more to the point, I don’t have the fortitude to make that level of investment into a pre-release MMO only to be disappointed again. :P

Quin · April 5, 2020 at 1:58 am

I’m the same as Rakuno that I have given up on MMO news because it’s so pointless to get hyped over what is likely to be vaporware. I find my refuge in old MMOs – right now LOTRO, but always EQ in the background, and on occasion UO, SWG and DAOC. But you’re right Nait – it’s innocence lost. If I just could somehow wipe my MMO memory and be able to have the same wonder I had when first logging into UO over 20 years ago…

But ups for Dune 2 – great game. Also led me into C&C but probably moreso C&C: Red Alert.

    Naithin · April 5, 2020 at 10:40 am

    I think I played Red Alert more than any of the others too, actually. By a fair margin too. Certainly it was the one I spent the most amount of time in the map editor, although my creations in it were always fairly basic. One of my favourite creations for a skirmish map, for example, was the largest map size possible with two bars of land with an inland sea between them.

    Allowed for naval bombardment and sea crossings, and prevented one of my usual skirmish strategies of Telsa Coil creeping. Hehehe.

Nogamara · April 5, 2020 at 11:08 am

I don’t think I’ve ever burned myself out (for good) on a whole genre, but maybe I did and filed it under “not my kind of game anymore”, I really don’t know.

I think I haven’t played RTS games in a looong time. WarCraft II, Dune 2000!, Red Alert, WarCraft 3, Dark Reign, I think that was it. So mostly late 90s, early 00s. We stopped doing LAN parties and I stopped playing RTS games. Didn’t even buy SC2 or PA. But I had played those I mentioned a lot.

Same thing for shooters. I don’t think I played any game before WoW as much as I played Quake 2 (+mods), and Q1 and Q3A. A few others as well, but again, in the early 00s I stopped and I really didn’t play them for over 10 years. Then slowly I found fun in them again (Destiny 2, Borderlands 2+3, and I’d even count half of the gameplay of Mass Effect as more shooter than RPG because I only used a Rifles, no skills…

Also at times I stopped playing MMOs, but because I’ve always come back here I am certain it’s not burning out, but for the others? Food for thought, maybe my reasoning was wrong all the time, thanks for this post :)

    Naithin · April 5, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Oooh, Dark Reign! I remember that one too. And after this post I also remembered Rise of Nations, the RTS Civilisation. I loved that one to bits too, although still less fervently than C&C: Red Alert and its kin.

    Shooters certainly almost make my list here too. Sounds like a similar path to you. I played the everloving craaap out of Quake 1 (QuakeWorld online, Team Fortress mod more specifically) for quite a long time. I played in a clan competitively even, even though I only had dial-up internet at the time. lol.

    It was also for QuakeWorld that I ended up buying my first ever graphics card (an nVidia Voodoo card!) and being blown away wondering where all the pixels went. Haha.

    But while I wouldn’t put them in the same category as RTS and Survival games, they are somewhere close to the MMO side of things I think. I’ve bought and enjoyed Borderlands 3, and much more recently Doom Eternal — but there isn’t that same manic, years upon years of play and drive for improvement that used to be there.

    I’ll just kinda take them as they come for a bit of casual fun.

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