I got into the MMO game (no pun intended) a little over two years ago with World of Warcraft. I was one of those people who scoffed at the idea of paying a monthly fee to play a game. I’d tried Guild Wars but couldn’t really get “hooked”. When a friend finally convinced me to try the 10-day trial of WoW, I was immediately taken.

Since then, it’s been my main game. Along with that, I’ve gone through the typical burn out followed by a sometimes-begrudging return. Call me cliché. WAR pulled me away for the longest and even allowed me to justify playing two MMOs at once. Hell, it gave me voice. Times have changed though; I no longer have the time to fully enjoy a game like WoW. I can progress, sure. But the more I try to invest my limited time into the game, the more I am reminded of how limited my game experience truly is.

So, I dabbled in greener pastures. Vanguard, while very fun, presents the same issues as WoW for me, albeit with a greater sense of adventure and exploration. Now, I’m trying out LotRO again, giving it the fair shot it was previously denied, and am enjoying it. No matter where I go though, there’s always something missing.

What’s missing is that feeling of accomplishment, of time and effort, and of simply being “home”. They say we can never regain that initial sense of awe and wonder we felt when we played our first MMO. It’s the syndrome of the Rose Colored Glasses; our nostalgia will outweigh our experience. So, be it WoW or any other game, many of us find it difficult to pull up roots, start somewhere new, and stick with it.

Is it possible for a game to satisfy us the way many have aspired to? I don’t think so. No game will ever be like the first we truly enjoyed. That’s not to say we won’t have lots of fun in new games. But, our desire to constantly seek out the new and exciting, that which blesses the gaming industry with a ravenous audience ready to consume their new titles, is perhaps our greatest curse. A cyclical feeling of wanting, be it small or large, that drives us to farther shores.

Much of our nostalgia can be attributed to years of our younger youth. The outlook of the teenager is far different from that of the near-30 or even the mid-20. They say people completely change over every seven years. For those who have been in the gaming scene for some time, we are no longer who we were when we discovered our hobby. How does that color our perceptions? For better or worse, time has passed and so to our youthful sense of naiveté.

Though this post may seem somewhat melancholy, it really shouldn’t be. If you think back, many of our experiences seem more wondrous through the lens of time. For our hobby in particular, it provides a stream emotion. Think about it, our sense of wanting, our nostalgia, drives us to look forward and to hope. Each new title represents a new opportunity. This is why we pay so much attention, read the latest gaming news, keep up to date with the blogs, and keep our ears to the street. It’s hope, it’s chance, it’s postivity, it’s passion, and it’s all from hope.

I read a quote about fishing the other day, (on a gaming blog, I forgot which), that summed up its appeal nicely. Fishing is a past time that elicits repeated bursts of hope. Isn’t that similar to what we see in so many forward looking posts,  commenters, and editorial sites? I like that. It’s not that we’re unsatisfied. It’s that we enjoy hoping. That, all by itself, is part of the essence of humanity.

So don’t stop. On that same token, don’t forget to stop. Keep hoping and looking ahead. But remember to have fun in whatever game you choose to play. Look at the good, recognize that which needs improvement.

This realization is brought to you by the newly casual. I just turned up the graphics and admired the roses.