Playing MMOs

I have a fairly addictive personality. Back when I was younger I used to drink three to four liters of soda every day. Yeah, it was a real problem that destroyed my teeth permanently. Well, weakened them, they’re still mostly there and the look normal, they’re just weak and I get cavities easily. It’s the same with sugar. I’m a notorious stress eater. The worse I feel mentally, the more candy I eat. I’ve been getting a lot better at both of these things. I drink about 1 liter of soda a day now, maybe 1.5 on a bad day. Obviously that’s still a lot, but at least it’s sugar free and about a third of what it used to be. I’ve also significantly lowered my sugar intake in general. It’s good I’ve been doing this because prices are through the roof.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. The reason I’m bringing it up in the first place is to show that I get addicted to things easily. It’s why I avoid things like drugs and alcohol. I’m not against them at all, I just worry I’d get addicted easily. One thing I’ve gotten addicted to, is the MMO Black Desert Online. It’s a korean MMO that launched in the west in 2016. It’s a very grindy game where there’s technically infinite levels and there’s lots of luck involved in upgrading your gear. To make a long story short, I’ve been playing this game for the better part of six years now. Let me be clear, I think it’s a great game that has a lot to it. But it also does a great job in keeping you invested. There’s bonuses that can expire, there’s an energy mechanic that refills but also caps out so you want to use it so you don’t stop regenerating it and there’s many activities you can do AFK, so it motivates you to leave the game running even when you’re not playing.

All of this brings me to my main problem with the game. I stopped enjoying playing it a while ago. I’m still playing it. I do this thing where I make spreadsheets, set goals for myself and want to make a certain amount of progress every day. I feel good about making this progress but on the flipside I also feel bad when I don’t make this progress. I know people who play the entire day and have it get in the way of the rest of their life, and that’s obviously a lot worse than my mild compulsive tendencies, but I do think it’s something that’s better addressed from time to time than fully ignored.

It’s very comforting to have something to work on. Especially when it comes to times like these, where life has kind of taken a standstill. Today I had an interview for an internship for September and it went really well. Soon I’ll be back to teaching and taking uni classes and hopefully getting my degree. This means less time for MMOs. Maybe it’s about time to fully retire the genre for me. It’s a kind of game I’ve come to love over the past two decades and that’ll always have a special place in my heart. But unlike some other people who play MMOs after they’re done with work, I know for a fact I simply don’t have the energy for it. The compulsive feeling to play it a little bit every day, just to get your daily stuff done, will slowly turn toxic for me. I’ll end up hating every second of playing it without being able to stop. I’m not the kind of person that can play any game casually, and sometimes that’s fine. I love trying to optimize my farm in Stardew Valley, or trying to play a hardcore run of Terrarria and dying over and over again to random traps because I don’t learn. I also loved having my cooking spreadsheets for this MMO and figuring out every step to making a high tier dish. But I no longer love logging in every day and working towards goals that don’t matter anyway. I think it’s time to admit it to myself as well.

My parents, mainly my mother, were always super worried I’d get addicted to video games. I wasn’t really allowed to play the pokemon games at all for this reason and even until my late teens I was only allowed on the computer for a certain amount of time each day. Even when I bought my own computer, this stayed for quite a while. It only fully went away after my parents got divorced. I don’t think that changed things for the worse for me. I don’t play games all day, I do other things like reading, writing and watching dubious amounts of anime. But I do think it’s important to keep in mind that doing too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Except when it comes to playing Stardew Valley. There’s no such thing as too much Stardew Valley. Thanks for reading. 

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