6 Ways Living in an MMO Would Suck

by Tyler Edwards, November 21, 2012

Be honest: At some point, you've fantasized about what it would be like to become your MMO character and live in the virtual world full time. No need to be ashamed; we've all done it. You have a bad day, and you think how much better it would to roam the fields as Pwnster the warrior, beholden to no one. But would it really be all that great? When you think about it, there are a lot of ways living in a game world wouldn't be all that fun. In fact, it would downright suck.

challenge mode

6: How are you going to carry that?

MMO gear tends to be somewhat less than realistic. This is fine in a game; realistic armor would look pretty boring. But if these virtual worlds suddenly became real, you would quickly come to regret your fondness for mountainous armor and weapons as tall as you are.

Swords are heavy things at the best of times. Imagine trying to fight with a sword that weighs as much as you do. You'd be lucky to lift it, let alone swing it. You'd probably end up selling it for scrap and replacing it with a nice, trusty, manageable pointed stick.

And imagine the posture problems that would result from walking around in shoulder pads as big as your entire torso and helms large enough to support a small town. You think you have back troubles now? You'd just better hope to God your game of choice includes in game chiropractors.

Unless of course you play a female character, in which case you will probably be burdened by nothing but a tiny chain mail bikini. Which at least wouldn't weigh as much, but then you start running into problems every time you want to fight, survive cold weather, or not be horribly sunburned. Also, chain mail chafes. Just sayin'.

the secret world environment

5: Nobody can solve their own problems:

Let's face it; NPCs are insanely needy. None of them have any initiative. They don't fight their own battles, they can't harvest their own bear asses, and they certainly can't carry their own messages. Freeloaders, all of them.

This is all more or less fine in a game setting, if a bit ridiculous at times. After all, their quests are a crucial source of experience and good way to nice, shiny gear. Entire games can be made or broken based on whether or not they have enough questing content for you to level with.

But if you actually lived in the universe of your MMO, these tasks for your local NPCs would rapidly become a lot more troublesome. A game can be shut off when you tire of quests, but if you lived there, you would be set upon at all hours by countless villagers begging you for their aid, like an army of soulless exclamation headed zombies. There would be no escape.

"I need eighteen boar hooves!"

"Please save my sister from the demons!"

"My bum's itchy!"

You could try training them to solve their own problems, but that would take a long time, even assuming the guy who can't collect his own hooves could be taught anything useful. In the end, you'd have to start subcontracting your quests out to other adventurers just to get some sleep.


4: It's the Wild West:

MMOs - and online communities in general - tend to have a reputation for being ripe with trolling and bad behavior. Anonymity and a lack of significant consequences to one's actions combine to create a culture where anything goes and fellow players all too often become nothing more than potential victims.

In a game, this is annoying. We play MMOs to relax, not to be ganked, trolled, insulted, and harassed by fourteen year olds with self-esteem issues. Nothing can ruin your play like some other player deciding to do everything in their power to make your life miserable just because they can.

But if you actually lived in the game, these troglodytes would be much, much more unpleasant. Imagine how someone stealing your loot would feel when you genuinely need the new armor to survive. Imagine what life would be like when everyone around is a troll or a newb, and there's no real world to retreat to, no way to escape from the madness.

Not to mention how painful PvP griefers would be when experienced firsthand. Getting ganked and tea bagged by an assassin is pretty humiliating in a game, but if you were living it for real, it would be on a whole other level of awful.

nerf bat headache

3: Don't nerf me, bro:

Nerfs. They're inevitable, and we all dread them. To a hardcore raider or competitive PvP fan, a nerf to one's character can be downright crippling, forcing one to change classes or even abandon the game altogether. Even casual players still feel the sting of being hit by the nerfbat; it's simply never fun to have your character decrease in power because of the seemingly arbitrary decision of a few developers.

But still, you can always roll a new character, change builds, or just learn to adapt. Having your character nerfed is unpleasant, but you can roll with the punches and press on.

It would not be so easy to shrug off a nerf when you - not some avatar of yourself - are the one being nerfed. There's no way to roll a new you. You can do nothing but endure it.

What would a nerf feel like? Would you feel yourself getting weaker, the strength draining out of you? Would you see your muscles shrink before your eyes? Would your vision blur as your accuracy is decreased?

However it plays out, it doesn't seem liked it'd be a very fun thing to experience.


2: Server maintenance:

Unless you're lucky enough to always have something else to do at those times, server maintenance for an MMO is always a source of annoyance. The more reasonable among us accept it as a necessary evil, while others blow a gasket and flip out like drunken soccer fans after a controversial match.

Whether you view maintenance as a minor irritant or a major issue, it would be a thousand times worse if you lived in the MMO world as it shut down. It would be like some terrible apocalypse, the entire world vanishing like smoke and everything you know disappearing into a black void. And instead of just living through it once, it would be something you would need to suffer through every week.

Having your entire reality go down for maintenance every once in a while would definitely be a very special kind of Hell. You would know it's coming and be powerless to prevent it every time.

Of course, it's also possible that the world doesn't go away during maintenance. Perhaps the NPCs all break into music and dance and have a wild party while no one is looking. That would be pretty awesome, but somehow, that seems improbable.


1: It's dangerous:

When you think about it, your average MMO world is absurdly dangerous. There are rampaging dragons, demonic hordes, armies of the undead hungry for the blood of the living, tentacled monsters from below, and every other horror the human mind can dream up. As soon as one threat is defeated, another pops up, creating an unending parade of death and destruction.

There are no safe places. Even relatively secure areas like low level zones are still drowning in threats. There are wolves, bears, spiders, and other aggressive wildlife. There are bandits and cultists and zombies and invading armies andů

This is all well and good in the context of a game. We need something to murder for our XP points, after all.

But when you think about it, actually living in a world like this would be nothing but an unending nightmare. You'd be lucky to make it through your first week without being horribly killed by something.

Of course, this is an MMO world, so you'd probably just respawn before too long, but you have to figure that death must really hurt. And resurrection sickness is probably like the worst hangover ever.

So you'd just end up getting endlessly slaughtered by a menagerie of fantastical fiends, developing the world's worst case of posttraumatic stress disorder until you start weeping uncontrollably any time a cloud passes in front of the sun because you're worried it might be another dragon attack.