I’ve been doing some thinking over the past day or so. You see, when I was playing WAR every day, or every other day, I wouldn’t really miss it when I wasn’t able to play. It’s strange though, I haven’t played any more than usual but today I do miss it.

It’s not the result of any changes they’ve made. Or any they plan to make. I think that, more than anything, I’ve just gotten used to popping into a virtual world when there’s nothing else to keep me occupied. You see, as I sit here now, the Today show is on TV, but I’m not watching it. I have a kitten on my lap and a grown cat on the living room floor, but I’m not going out of my way to wake them from their naps to play. Hell, to be honest, I’ve been toying around on the internet reading about the game because I can’t play it (servers are down).

It’s nothing new, I’ve done that for a long time now. But it all serves as a reminder for what MMOs represent in my life.

Like any game, an MMO is a diversion. It’s an escape from the more boring aspects of real life and a window into the extraordinary. There are times when I make plans to log on the game a good time in advance. And do you know what happens? I start to look forward to that time coming, even though I may not be planning on doing anything great while I’m on.

I believe that it’s because, for a short time, I know that I’ll be stepping into another world. I’ll be living the life of my character, trying to see things through their eyes and becoming immersed in the gameplay. Even though my character won’t make any huge impact on the game, I still feel like I’m a citizen in whatever universe I’m playing in. And that feeling is largely because of the MMO aspect of play.

So, to me, playing an MMO means being part of a community. I don’t like everyone I play with. I don’t like everything I see or can do. But those same rules apply to real life as well. I think that this realization is indicative of what the real draw to an MMO is: it’s deeper than a standard single player game. You never know what’s going to happen when you log on. You don’t know who you’ll meet or what kind of experience you’ll walk away with. Will you finally be able to PuG that instance? Will your guild take part in an epic battle? Will you finally get that long elusive drop? Will you make your sales at auction? All of that is based on the fact that MMOs are persistent worlds instead of levels and that they’re populated with living, breathing, inhabitants.

I’ve mentioned in the past that Warhammer can do better but, even though it took a while and I don’t know if this feeling will continue, here and now, I do miss Warhammer Online.