The land of lost content: Lum on the lifecycle of the MMO player

*coff* Is anyone still here? (I love you all!)  I thought I’d catch the Blaugust train before it completely left the station.

This is Lum’s masterful summary of the lifecycle of an MMO player. He’s just looking at the cycle in one MMO, not the part where you try to repeat the experience fruitlessly a few times and then wander off to find some other hobby.


collared dove

XL. Into my heart on air that kills

INTO my heart on air that kills

  From yon far country blows:

What are those blue remembered hills,

  What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,

  I see it shining plain,

The happy highways where I went

  And cannot come again.


Listening to Welcome to Nightvale.

17 thoughts on “The land of lost content: Lum on the lifecycle of the MMO player

  1. holy crap you are still alive

    Welcome back!

    On the note of what Lum is saying: I’m pretty sure WoW devs have said before that they’re fine with people coming back for a couple of months when a new patch comes out and then when they’re done unsubscribing until the next patch.

    But then it is not really Blizzard that needs help making a successful MMO.

    • I did wander off to other games, TV, and had a more demanding role at work which basically took up a lot more headspace. But a lot of it was just me feeling tired of MMOs, not really knowing why (other than the usual) and needing a break. It was never final enough to write a ‘This is THE END’ post.

      One of the big headspace changes for me is that I’m not sure I really care so much about being in a guild any more. I’ve had amazing experiences in guilds and met some great people, some of whom I know I will stay in touch with, but these days I’m more likely to just play with a handful of people I know or on my own.

      I think there may be a few things I want to say about gaming now after I’ve had a bit more time to think about it though 🙂 Is blogging still a thing?

  2. Spiiiiiiiiiiiiiinks! You’re alive!

    I very much would welcome more of your thoughts on gaming as a whole. I’ve missed your blog greatly! I’ve also moved away from playing MMOs myself as well. Though I still dabble here and there I’ve not been in a guild for ages either.

    I look forwards to more posts in the future.

  3. It’s a good presentation – although in my opinion the more poigniant point was made about 1/2 way through.

    “the fun that comes from when you buy a cat $100 worth of toys and she plays with the box instead. It’s OK if the cat plays with the box. It’s OK if players find their own fun.”

    *THIS* – So far after playing many MMO’s through the years this fact is what has caused me to loose interest in most of them. I seem to be the cat – I tend to find odd things that work and make the game *really* fun for me – but for some reason the Devs decide that it’s a bad style of play and next thing you know the box is taken away and I’m left with a pretty empty feeling.

    Everything doesn’t have to be perfectly balanced. Everything doesn’t have to be ‘on the rails’ – if some of your players find something cool they have fun with – *let them* – biggest example of that actually happening in practice – (the only one I can think of honestly) would be the music in LoTRO – where a little subsystem that didn’t have much thought put into it got lots of dev attention when they found out people *really* liked it. To me that’s awesome – not every box needs attention – but it sure is nice to see a dev notice you playing with the box and go ‘hey I can give you stuff to help with the box playing’ instead of getting upset that you perfered the box instead of the ball of catnip.

    P.S. Welcome back 🙂

    • Indeed, THAT was the money quote.

      In fact, looking at e.g. WoW, Devs trying to seduce, cajole, threaten and/or push players to play with the 100$ dollar toys (Raiding, and the quest for joyless ‘efficiency’/cookie cuttering that comes with it) when they’re happily playing with the box and using their own imagination (other playstyles, like Fishing and twinking) is probably one of the main things that pushed people away (Cata’s infamous ‘Raid or Die’ mantra, seemingly slated to return in force with WoD).

      Now, with e.g. F2P pushing people to play with your toys may make some sense (after all, no toys, no money) but with a sub game it really doesn’t, as your main income stems from their sub money (augemented with extra crap they buy in the game store) which they’ll give more off as long as they’re happy.

      Add in that ‘Those Who Play With The Box’ are generally low in maintainance cost (especially compared to Content Locusts) as they generally just want to be able to play in peace with already-existing content, and it seems that it’s 99% ego at work with telling players ‘you are not having fun, we decide what you think fun is’.

  4. Blimey, uncanny foresight from Housman a century ago, land of lost content indeed. Took a quick peek into SWTOR the other day now they’ve added strongholds and remembered the happy highways of good old Crusading days… Nothing’s really grabbing me MMO-wise at the moment, but I’m sure the wheel will turn.

  5. Pingback: A return to LoTRO | Sandson's Organic Chickens

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