I remember, years ago, being an active citizen of Vana'diel: I was young; I wasn't dating anyone; I was bored a lot. That is, anyway, what I told myself. Truthfully, I loved it. It was a great game and a lot of fun. I played as a red mage/black mage (which is a pretty sweet combo for those of you who never played Final Fantasy XI), and I'd leveled and leveled and leveled until I arrived at the point where things started getting really hard. The hard didn't bother me, though; it was welcome, in fact. It was the time that came to be too much. I remember running from my home to a port in the desert to wait for a boat on which I would wait in the hold to take me to another port in another desert; there I would wait some more until I found a party with which I would sit around and wait some more for a very rare something (I think it was a banshee, or something that looked like a banshee) that we would take a long time to kill in the hopes that it would drop another very rare something and we could go our separate ways. Of course, it didn't drop it, so I waited some more. I remember having to out myself to my group after one of them went on and on and on about how "f--ing gay" it was to sit around and wait for this thing. The conversation went well in that a) he apologized, said he'd stop, and then we got into a fairly adult dialogue about homophobia in online gaming; and b) I was glad to hear I wasn't the only one who was sick and tired of sitting around and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I remember thinking "Man, I could be doing this in real life, with better graphics and close friends."
That was the beginning of the end.
I hung in until some time later when I realized that the waiting was a pattern in which I let myself get trapped. I'm not against online gaming by any means. I enjoy it a great deal, in fact, and I enjoyed most of my time with Final Fantasy XI and I experience pangs of nostalgia when I see dusty expansion packs sitting in sale bins. But with every every MMO I've ever played, I start feeling like enough is enough. I'm supposed to be playing the game with my thumbs, not twiddling them. I don't know how much of it is the fault of the game, and how much of it is my fault for getting TOTALLY INTO IT and then setting myself up for burn-out, but I'm too old to think that it's entirely one thing or the other.
This is the point, I dread to admit, I have reached with Minecraft.
Follow along, after the jump. (And even if you don't, check out Owen Pallett's "Hey Dad" for one of the most fantastic pieces of Super Mario Bros. 3 nostalgia that's ever been put to music.)
Don't get me wrong. I love Minecraft: I love the idea behind it; I love the game; I even love the people who make it (as much as one can love people whom one has never met and for whom one does not hold any actual significant love). I love that Minecraft is so incredibly flexible. I love that someone thought "No, really, let's make a game in which you can interact with absolutely everything" and then did it. I love that it's a small company, an upstart, that got this done. I look forward to everything Mojang makes in the future, and I am in no way absolutely, finally, forever done with Minecraft. But I've done what I wanted to do. The well has run dry.
Before I start sounding too defeatist: All this has happened before. Around this time last year I started getting bored of the game. All the digging an building started getting a bit old - and I'm not the only one I know to whom this has happened. There were more than a few members of Sigil/The Redfields who dropped out and came back months later - and early in 2011 I did indeed come back to Minecraft, finding a whole host of welcome surprises since I'd last updated the game, and starting this very series of articles. But I think it's time for me to recharge my batteries for a bit. I'll be keeping an eye on The Redfields to see how things are proceeding there and chat with friends, and I'll still be bringing you all the Minecraft-related news that's fit to print. But I've got to take a vacation from the game - much as, no matter how vastly I love Toronto, my genes have predetermined that I must leave it for a significant stretch of every winter. When I get back into it I'm sure I'll be eager to go all over again.
How about you guys? Anyone have a similar experience with your favourite MMO? I know for a fact I'm not the only one out there.