Back After A Break (Or: When The Game Stops Being Fun)

It’s been a while since I posted last, mostly because there hasn’t been a lot I really feel like saying. It turns out it helps me to take a break from posting every so often to clear my head. I hadn’t really considered this previously, because my breaks from this have coincided with fairly major life events, so it’s seemed reasonable to just stop posting for a while. This time, it was more burnout than anything.


While not posting, especially when I’ve had an unbroken string of posts for a while, there’s this weight of obligation, this feeling like I need to post something, need to write something, just to fill up space. It’s the same sense of feeling obligated to log into an MMO every day, just to “check in”. I hadn’t really connected the two before now.

Something I see a lot, and have talked to a lot of people about over the years, is burnout. It’s a huge issue in game development, and it’s a constant cycle in MMO raiding, two spheres where I’ve spent a lot of time. There’s a pervasive sense that you need to keep going, keep doing the Fun Thing, because if it’s not a Fun Thing, why did you spend so much time in it? It’s often compared to the business semi-equivalent, the concept of sunk costs, but I feel like it’s a poor comparison. Just because I’m not having fun with something *now* doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun *before*. We change, situations change, and it’s not (always) the game’s fault.

I haven’t logged into FFXIV in months now. I haven’t stopped liking that game; it’s still one of my favorite games, I just don’t feel like playing it right now. The most fun I have, the most invested I get in that game, is when there’s a nice big backlog of content to go through and get a bunch of story all at once. Getting the story in drips and drabs just gets me to lose the thread, especially when they come months apart. I’m excited about the next big thing they’re putting together, their procedurally-generated dungeon, and I’ll wait to play until that’s out and I have a bunch of stuff to catch up on.

Starting to post here again is kind of the same thing. I feel like I have things to say and comments to make, and I’ve played enough games in the interim to have more food for thought.

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