Growing up is no fun. You take on responsibilities, you need to fend for yourself and free time becomes a luxury that isn’t as common as you’d perhaps like.
So in my spare time, I’ve got to think long and hard before committing to what I’ll actually do with myself. It’s a bare-knuckled face off between productivity and simple idleness. It’s the irksome question that gamer’s must face daily. So when I inevitably decide to pull those curtains together, power up my console and stick on my headset, do I really want a grinding MMORPG experience?
Sadly, the answer seems to be a resounding ‘no’ just lately.
More recently, I’ve desperately tried to get stuck into The Elder Scrolls Online. I’m a huge fan of the series, first experiencing the vibrant lands of Tamriel back in 2002 with The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind on my plucky Intel Pentium III PC. God, that hunk of junk was so good. I got it to play Age Of Mythology, and picked up Morrowind on a whim but together, these two games consumed my entire being. Obviously, I moved onto The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as soon as they were released.
Then, as if from nowhere and completely out of the blue… The Elder Scrolls Online.
I jizzed my pants the very moment The Elder Scrolls Online was announced. The very thought of playing a game of Skyrim’s quality with my buddies was a thought to behold. Even now, I get all flustered thinking of the prospect. It’s just such a shame that the end product didn’t deliver. At least not for me, I’m afraid.
My friends never picked it up, sharing a similar outlook on adulthood. We’ve all gotten older and they would rather play something else that is much easier to pickup and play. Venturing into the later levels of life means that different things take priority; meaning that our group gaming sessions are often put on hold. When we do manage to get our shit together and are all online at once, it’s never that long-lasting so rather than an MMORPG, we opt for something more competitive and quicker paced. Such as an FPS or racing game.
I gave the game a go. Like I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge fan of the series and it’s lore. Seriously, I know far more about the history of Tamriel than I do my own country’s. I definitely know more about the Septim dynasty than I do the House of Windsor. Personally though, I just couldn’t get into The Elder Scrolls Online. Right from the off, it was just a poignant grind. I’m used to the layout and workings of MMORPG’s but this time around, I just couldn’t be done with the aimless running from point to point. The player interaction seemed minimal, between NPC’s but particularly other players. They were just there, in the same world running around to the exact same places, doing the exact same thing. Everyone jumps too. It takes quite a lot away from the game, weirdly. Just as you’re taking the scenery and the atmosphere in, a group of players pass you by… hopping. As humorous as it is the first few times, it quickly grows old. It’s just really strange. I mean, I’m used to seeing it in World Of Warcraft, but it just seemed so out-of-place here in an Elder Scrolls game. Jumping is not my gripe here though, my issue with other players is that there’s very little communication. I’ve only played this on console and I’m confident that the lack of a keyboard is the source of the problem. Of course, I assume that the PC version has plenty of people chatting and the console ports are really missing out on that social aspect. The quests were drab too, telling you to go to a certain place, kill a certain creature, find a certain item or talk to a random person. Pretty easy stuff and nothing that I’m not used to in RPG’s in general, but it’s just boring. I lost all my interest pretty quickly. I say quickly, but it was still a good 10-15 hours I managed to plow into the game before uninstalling. Perhaps I didn’t give it enough time, but if it hasn’t gripped me within 10 hours, is it really worth it? I’d wager that it isn’t.
I’ve not always been this boring, I’ve had a lot of love for MMORPG’s in the past, the likes of World Of Warcraft and Runescape stick very fondly in the memory. I can happily play either of these two into the late hours of the night just on nostalgia alone. Like most, the world of Runescape is etched into my mind. Even 10 years on, I could easily find my way around the Kingdoms of Misthalin and Asgarnia, ‘clicking’ my way from Lumbridge to Varrock and then on to Falador with my eyes closed.
Working in IT, my typing speed is often commended and rightfully so. Unfortunatly, the simple fact is that explaining that I grew up on Runescape before the introduction of the Grand Exchange isn’t the most professional of thing’s to say… nor is it the coolest. Yes, it was a primitive time back before it’s introduction in November 2007, where quick fingers were key to financial success but I’m ashamed to say that my customers aren’t all that interested in my Runescape chat prowess.
There are some games I wish I’d played though, it just feels like it’s too late for me. I wish I’d got around to playing EVE Online, Guild Wars 2 and even Tera. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them, even now I’d like to give them a go but I reiterate my original point: growing up is no fun. I just don’t have the time that I once had and I cannot justify all of that time grinding out skills for very little to show for. I look back on my MMORPG career’s with huge fondness, but at the end of the day, other than an envious fire-making level of 98, what did I actually achieve during all those hours?
So have I outgrown MMORPG’s? Honestly, I hope not. But the time I have to set aside for them just isn’t at the level it was when I was younger. Long gone are the days where I could sit at my computer desk from 7:00am until 11:00pm picking flax over in Seers’ Village.