What makes you stay in your game?

I realized last week while looking through my budget, I am currently subscribed to four MMO's.   I started looking at my games and trying to make choices.  Holding onto four games is a little ridiculous, besides being a drain on my pocketbook. At the moment, I am subscribed to DDO, LOTRO, EQ2, and WOW.  That's a lot of games, and I can honestly say, I don't have that much time to play and give each game justice.

Since 2007, I've used Xfire to track my games, time played online, and to keep in touch with friends.  I swung by their website to look up the data and see what I am actually playing.

xfire time played
xfire time played

In peeking over my profile, it appears I spend wayyyy too much time gaming.  Xfire doesn't even keep track of my Wii, or Xbox.  Kinda scary when I think about it.  By the way, my total time online in computer games sits at 3,413 hours. O.M.G.

lh_ddo_community_play_weekend
lh_ddo_community_play_weekend

I've played DDO the most hours. 1,811.  That's a ton of time to invest in a game.  I've been visiting Stormreach since December of 2006.  That's four years of making friends, moving servers, joining guilds, leaving guilds and all the assorted drama that comes with an MMO.  What keeps dragging me back to DDO?

The biggest factor keeping me hooked into the game is  my static group.  Four of us have been together since the beginning 3 or so years ago when we were level one, didn't know each other and were playing character's in a whole new way.  Now we exchange Christmas cards, babies are  talking children, and our lives are intertwined by meeting once a week to blow off some steam and enjoy time together.

I have never left the game entirely, but I did stop playing actively on my home server for about a year.  My friends are what drug me back into game.

Generally, I play DDO when I am feeling chatty and social.  It's not a game I play solo.  I play with my guild or with my friends.  I don't PUG.  Pretty much that is a hard and fast rule.  I would rather short man a quest than run with people who may make the quest more work than fun.

DDO offers  Free to play options, has maintained the game for their subscribers and has an E-store.  It lacks Player housing, mounts and any kind of cross server chat amongst players.  There is little avatar customization offered in game, and it's limited to items bought in the E-store. Crafting is bulky and exceedingly limited.

It is rich with a grouping style that has continued to morph in mostly positive directions as changes have affected the game.  Recently added guild housing has ramped up this social aspect of the game, pretty much for the better.  The game also boasts a strong storyline, an active combat style and the best character build customization I have experienced in any MMO.

DDO stays on the list of games I am going to play in 2011.

LOTRO-logo1
LOTRO-logo1

Next up is LOTRO coming in with 558 hours.  I haven't actively played LOTRO since it went free to play in September of last year.  I've logged in a few times.  Mostly to pay for my beautiful deluxe hobbit hole house I lovingly decorated.  I have a guild mate who bugs me on facebook to log in and play.  I just haven't found a reason to stay more than moments online in ages.  Zeff has been playing a lot of LOTRO.  I have watched him and heard the music in the background as I am playing other things.  It has tempted me, but I haven't fully commited to playing again.

LOTRO has a free to play option, solid subscriber options, and an E-store.  It has guild housing, player housing, mounts, and good avatar customization.  You can add limited mods to the game with LUA scripting.  The game has a solid crafting system.  You can easily solo through the game,  but there are ways to group up and play with others.  I generally play LOTRO solo or as a duo with the hubby, but have grouped up with guild mates to run the tough dungeons.   Character builds are through a skill tree type set up, and therefore not terribly creative.  The four festival's are one of my favorite pastimes in Middle-Earth, and I gather up all the cosmetic items and fun frothy beverages with zeal!

The best aspect of this game is the storyline.  If you love Tolkien's world, please do yourself a favor and load this game.  The graphics are stellar, the music gripping and the the quest lines easy to follow and enjoy.  The combat style is a combined active and tiered gambit style.

If you have never played an MMO and are wondering where to start, I would really suggest this one.  The playerbase is almost as rabidly protective of the game as DDO's, and I have generally found them helpful and encouraging.

Still, I think LOTRO will need to be parred back to a free to play game this year.

925__580x299_destiny-of-velious
925__580x299_destiny-of-velious

EQ2 ran third with 281 hours.  I was amazed I had that many hours  considering I only started playing last fall.  I simply love the game.  I love the varied storyline's, avatar customizations, mounts, guild housing, player housing, good versus evil alignments, festival's, different mods you can add and the overall varied and spicy flavors this game has to offer.

If I can think of it, I can do it EQ2.

My first MMO experience was in Everquest years ago.  I have a lot of fond memories of that game, and I still have a friend or two hanging around I originally met in Norrath.  Playing Everquest 2 is like coming home.  While there are many new fangled things in EQ2, I can't help the feeling of familiarity with the lore of the game.

It offers free to play options on free to play servers, subscriber options on subscriber servers and a very limited E-store.   The crafting is fully functional and delicious.  Player housing is the most customized I have seen in any game to date.  It can be soloed, but offers grouping options.  The graphics are 7 years old, but continue to be updated.  It's not as pretty as LOTRO or even DDO, but it's still pretty enough.  There are many events in the game, covering all the holidays and then just some monthly city events and such dotting your time online.

I would not suggest this game to the first time MMO player.  It has a major learning curve.  The combat is a combo of gambits and action.  The character builds are cookie cutter, but the avatar options are awesome.

EQ2 stays on my list for games to play in 2011.

wowcataclsym
wowcataclsym

Lastly Wow with 54 hours.  I am really new to this game, and I am not sure I can give a full thumbs up or down.  I will say if it offered a free to play options, I would use that method.  It has a plethora of mounts, crafting, cosmetic pets and cross server chat.  It does not offer guild or player housing.  The grouping system for dungeon's is one of the smoothest I have ever seen.  The graphics are cartoonish, but livable.  It lacks any kind of character or avatar customization.

I have to be honest in saying I am only playing this game for a friend.  It's probably not something I am going to stick with.  It really doesn't offer me the things I have been looking for.

Maybe I simply haven't been playing it long enough to find the nuances.

It's staying on my play list for 2011 on a limited trial basis.  I fully expect by summer to be out from under it.

In looking at my games, I can say I have a pretty strong idea of what I like and what I don't.  I want to be able to customize my character whether it be in it's build or in it's overall appearance.  I really like housing, both guild and player based.  I like the fluffy festival's that add both some fun and a level of immersion to the reality of a MMO world moving in time and season.  I don't like to be pigeon holed into a cookie cutter unless there are other outlets for my creativity.

Most of all I like story.  This isn't a true surprise to me.  I am a voracious reader.  I like to follow characters to see where things will go, and one of my favorite play styles is a light role-play element in a game.  All of my character's have a back story, and I am rather disillusioned when their builds or looks are messed about with by the developers of a game.  Even in my MMO worlds, I am adverse to change.

I know there is a level of individualism even in our MMO worlds.  So what is it you look  for in a game?  What keeps bringing you back  hour after hour? What turns you off a game?  Let me know!

Game on!!!