The Five Stages of MMO Grief
By Daniel Ball
Anyone who has yanked the metaphorical World of Warcraft needle out of their veins after so long has, whether they know it or not, gone through the 5 stages of MMO grief. It a hard process, that for sure. It never easy to give up something so beloved. But it for your own good! It may not be World of Warcraft; it may be Aion, or even Runescape. Whatever the case, the process is the same, and it goes like this:
Stage 1 —œ Denial
‘Don’t die on me damn it!’
The first stage. You log in, you’ve got top-tier gear, each and every raid bores you to tears, you win all your PvP matches, and, to put it simply, there nothing left to do. But there has to be! There always something to do! Don’t die on me, game. Live, damn it! Live!
No matter how much you deny it, the game is truly dead. There nothing more for you to gain, and you’re really not having fun anymore, but still, in your desperate hysteria, you keep playing.
Maybe I can reroll! You think. But the character screen is simply a museum of top level, fully decked out characters of every race and class imaginable. You’ve truly done it all, but you can’t let it die. The game has a hold over you and won’t let your mind rest. It still good damn it!
Stage 2 —œ Anger
‘Who made this piece of crap?’
Finally, after fighting yourself, you give up. What a stupid game. What were the developers thinking? It their own stupid fault for making endgame so boring. The level cap is way too low.
You blame the developers for making such a horrendous game. You spent all your precious time devoted to this? But, it not your fault. No, it the game fault. It so poorly designed right? There nothing to do, and it infuriates that they haven’t balanced the classes right. What an unplayable piece of crap. It makes you so mad that you paid these developers so much money and they’ve ruined and made stagnant your once beautiful, fun game. How dare they? Doesn’t it just make you want to punch an Orc!
Stage 3 —œ Bargaining
But, wait. Maybe you’ve been looking at it the wrong way. Maybe the classes are balanced and you’ve just been frustrated. It still good.
The anger gone and you’ve made peace in your mind about the game. It really not that bad a game, maybe I should reroll just one last time, I’m sure there must be something to do. There has to be. The developers did spend a lot of time on the game, after all. All those patches really helped. Hey, yeah, maybe the game is great! Come back to me, my sweet, sweet MMO. I’ll never blame you again, I’m sorry!
Stage 4 —œ Depression
‘All that time —œ for nothing!’
And so you go back, you reroll, you do some more PvP with characters you fully decked out months ago. Then it hits you. Damn. I was overzealous. It is a pile of crap still.
Why, oh why did you spend so long playing? It was all for nothing and you’ll never get that time back. You’re saddened. The potential the game had is totally dead now. Nothing bringing it back from the grave of your hard drive. You might as well write a eulogy for it and solemnly delete it once and for all. Your characters are the walking dead, standing lifeless at the character screen, never to be used again. Such wasted potential! They’re truly dead, and there nothing you can do. You shed a single mana-filled tear; you exclaim OOM and you exit the client for the last time.
Stage 5 —œ Acceptance
‘We had a good run, old friend.’
A year passes of not playing; you’ve finally quit. You now see your past experience through objective, experienced eyes. It was never anyone fault.
Truth is, you had fun. You reflect on the good times, the raids (and the subsequent arguments over loot), the wipes, the friends and parties that came and went, and you feel all warm and fuzzy, though not totally void of melancholy.
Wasn’t it fun? Wasn’t it a great experience? It sure was.
And you wouldn’t trade it in for the world. Sure, it long gone now, buried somewhere on the hard drive, unpatched and lonely. Sometimes, in your daily computer use, you see it; the simple icon, sitting there, inviting you to click it just once more. But, you just look, and you smile.
We’re done, old friend.
And you move on, content with how things turned out.
Until the expansion!
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