I find that momentum is a very important aspect to playing an MMO for a prolong length of time, and it’s also very difficult to maintain, especially when RL forces a break. It’s also something that is equally influenced by both game design and player action. If you are playing an MMO that is overall less than great, even the most motivated groups will have a tough time keeping their momentum. On the other side of the coin, even a great game might fade for you if you don’t have a social backing to keep you going. Throw in the wildcard of a different title drawing away your attention, perhaps instantly breaking whatever momentum you had, and staying with any one title for a long time seems like a rather difficult or unlikely occurrence.
I bring this up because I’ve been playing Darkfall since its EU release, back in early 2009. When the NA server opened, Inquisition did not transfer over immediately, yet even with that I continued to play the game and enjoyed it. Inq came back, then left again, and still I continued, joining up with Blood down on Ruby. I now find myself in an odd spot, where day to day I’ve not found my rhythm with the game since returning from vacation, yet being more excited about the game than ever before due to both the upcoming changes and also in-game events (the return of TheMercs and the overall shifting of power with the relative decline of Zealots).
Other factors include my two good friends going on DF hiatus, playing the very enjoyable League of Legends with Inq, and Blood being somewhat less active then when I originally joined. To top it all off, the majority of my character development is more or less done, and while there are still plenty of skills I could improve, none of them are really ‘key’ skills I’m dying to reach.
Those negatives are offset by the fact that PvP in Darkfall has really never been better thanks to the most recent patch, and that I’ve yet to really experience more than a few major battles since that update. I was looking forward to last night as a siege was going to be dropped, but unfortunately that ended up not happening.
From my current perspective, I need some long-term goals added to the game, something to slowly work on during the downtime between PvP encounters or clan events. EVE is full of such possibilities, which no doubt partly explains not only its continued growth, but also its ability to retain players for such extended amounts of time. I’m hoping the soon-to-arrive expansion brings at least something like this, and I don’t doubt the next expansion will give everyone plenty of new things to do. At the same time, I know that if I make a solid effort to get myself back in the mix of things, the natural social momentum will start up and give me reason to log in on a consistent basis, and perhaps a major siege will be just the catalyst I need to jump back in.
Chuck-o-the-day: Chuck Norris owns the other half of the mask from Phantom of the Opera.