My friend Rakuno spoke some wise words in his latest post:
In the MMORPG side [as compared to single-player games, red.] things are more complicated. You see, to me the fun with a MMORPG is dependent on two factors: the game itself and the people I play it with. If one of the two is lacking I quickly lose my desire to play it. Usually what happens is that the first one will become the problem for me. The game just loses its magic, becoming dull and uninteresting. Then I just keep playing because of the people I met there and eventually even that isn't enough to compensate for the game's faults.
When I read this, it struck me that he had hit the nail on its head, and I realized that this was exactly what happened to me in LotRO. I had always thought that I would stay in Middle-earth forever, so much in love was I with the game, my first MMO, when it was launched in 2007.
Over the last couple of years, I started to become increasingly annoyed by the extreme marketing strategies of Turbine with its Store. Then I started to lose interest in the repetitive nature of the quests and the increased grind needed to gear up your character the best. At this point, I was just logging in to raid with my kinship and didn't do anything else. Eventually, the new raids didn't turn out to be much fun and our raiding group somehow lost the lust to decipher the new challenges. We've now arrived at the end of the quote.
The social factor of MMOs is both amazing and terrible. I love to have fun with friends in-game, but I hate dragging myself into a game I don't enjoy anymore as much as I hate not doing so and feeling bad about not being there for my friends. There is no easy solution. An MMO you used to love is like an ex-boyfriend: its pretty tough to find the right relationship.
I don't want to part with virtual Middle-earth totally, so I log in to the game each Saturday morning, when most MMO players are still in bed. No obligations or anything. Just me, Tiger and our horses in a world to discover.