8 MMO Boredom Cures
by Tyler Edwards, September 28, 2013
There comes a time when even the most exciting MMO ceases to be so thrilling. You've played through all the content that interests you, and the next update is still weeks or months away. At such times, logging in can start to feel like a chore, but it doesn't have to. By venturing off the beaten path or using a little creativity, you can find a bevy of new activities to stave off burnout. We here at WhatMMO have put together a list of some of the best ways to fight boredom in an MMO.
These days, a lot of MMO players are focused on efficiency, jumping from quest hub to quest hub in their dash to endgame. But if you play this way, you may have missed out on a lot of the game world. That can make exploration a good alternative if you're tired of more structured forms of content.
Some games offer more for explorers than others. Guild Wars 2 has content packed into virtually every corner of its zones, and sandbox games like EVE Online often make exploration a core part of the game. But even less explorer-friendly games often hide Easter eggs, loot, rare spawns, lore, or quests in out of the way corners of their worlds.
Exploration usually doesn't provide many tangible rewards, but sometimes, the thrill of riding over the horizon and seeing what's out there is reward enough.
If there's one thing all MMOs have in spades, it's stuff. Mountains and mountains of stuff. From armor, to weapons, to mounts, to pets, to toys and vanity items, MMOs are a collector's paradise.
If the usual MMO routine has grown old, you might consider collecting as an alternative. You could track down the most stylish pieces of gear to create the perfect look for your avatar. You could gather the rarest and most exotic mounts, creating a vast stable that will be the envy of all around you. You could amass vanity pets until you have enough to open your own petting zoo.
Some games have systems in place specifically to support collecting. Rift, for instance, offers a fairly extensive collecting mini-game that allows players to earn a number of rewards by hunting artifacts from throughout the game world. World of Warcraft's archaeology skill allows players to piece together artifacts from Azeroth's history, and The Secret World features snippets of lore hidden through the world.
If merely collecting items isn't enough to scratch your completionist itch, it's time to move to the harder stuff: achievements. Most MMOs will have an extensive list of achievements for players to earn, ranging from the insultingly easy to the mind bendingly hard.
You can tackle the most challenging of achievements, proving your skill and determination to all by defeating the most difficult encounters and lengthiest grinds. Or you could go for quantity over quality, vacuuming up every achievement you can lay your hands on. If you're really determined, you might do both.
Some achievements will offer nice rewards, such as mounts and titles, but if you're a true achievement hunter, you don't care about those. You live for the feeling of accomplishment as the little achievement notification pops up on your screen, and you require no other reward. You long for the day when you can lord over your fellow players from atop a mountain of achievement points and know that none have accomplished as much as you have.
Doing raids and dungeons with the appropriate number of players is for pansies. Real heroes slay those dragons all by themselves.
Of course, trying to solo current content will probably only end with you as a stain on the floor, unless you're brilliantly skilled. But soloing content that you out-level can be a very unique and interesting challenge.
Soloing dungeons and raids is different from just about any other activity in MMOs because the encounters were not originally designed for only one player to tackle. It requires a lot of out of the box thinking and good mastery of your class's entire toolkit.
The viability of soloing will depend on the game you play. Ideally, you want a game with a lot of outdated content and an emphasis on vertical progression. World of Warcraft is an ideal choice.
Soloing can also intersect with other ways to fight boredom. It's a great way to collect old gear and mounts, and you'll rack up plenty of achievements if you didn't take down those bosses while they were relevant.
Sometimes, you're not so much bored of a game as you are bored of a character. You can do the rotation in your sleep, you've progressed as far as you can for now, and your character just doesn't have the same appeal it used to.
In that case, the solution might be to make an alt and level up all over again. Playing a character of a different race, class, or even faction can make for a completely different experience. Being an assassin is a very different experience from being a priest.
Leveling an alt is an opportunity to check out areas and experiences you missed while leveling up the first time. It can expand your knowledge of a game's story by granting you a new perspective, and it can make you a better player by forcing you to develop new strategies. Even if you don't play your alt all the way to the level cap, it can be a great diversion from the usual grind.
3: Leveling challenges:
But for some people, just leveling an alt the traditional way isn't enough. You want more excitement, a greater challenge, or bigger bragging rights. If you're looking for a real mountain to climb, a leveling challenge might be for you.
Leveling challenges can take many forms. World of Warcraft players sometimes take part in the Ironman challenge, which dares players to reach level cap without dying, using gear with stats, picking talents, or getting help from other players.
Some players choose to eschew combat and level as a pacifist, gaining experience only from crafting or the handful of quests that don't require fighting. Some might jump to zones far above their level range and struggle to survive there. Others might try leveling a pet-based class without said pets, forcing them to find new and creative strategies.
But not all leveling challenges need be brutal or bizarre. For some, merely leveling on a server that allows open world PvP could be enough.
For all that most MMOs are also RPGs, roleplaying is an activity that seems to be ignored by a majority of players. It's definitely not something that will appeal to everyone, but for those who enjoy it, it can provide a near limitless source of entertainment.
Roleplaying is somewhere between a shared writing project and acting. You take on the personality of your character and act out storylines alongside fellow players.
Roleplaying can take any number of forms. It can simply be casual in character conversations in a hub city, or dungeon runs with in character groups, all the way up to intricate storylines played out over months and culminating in massive events.
Virtually every MMO has roleplayers, usually on dedicated servers, but some are better environments for roleplay than others. This is determined by both the strength of the role-playing community and the features of the game. For instance, a high degree of character customization is very helpful for roleplayers. A strong backstory for the game is also helpful.
The Secret World and Lord of the Rings Online are both games known to have thriving roleplay communities.
1: Greener pastures:
The sad truth is that there comes a point when there are no tricks or new ideas that can get you interested in playing your MMO of choice. You've seen it all and done it all, and there's no escape from your digital ennui.
In such a case, it may be time to move to a new game. Starting fresh in a new virtual world and learning an entirely new set of lore and game mechanics can reinvigorate your love of gaming.
It may feel sad to leave your old MMO home behind, but moving on to a new game doesn't mean giving up on the old one for good. You can always return to the previous one. Thanks to the rise of free to play and buy to play games, you can easily juggle several games at once.
Playing something else for a few weeks might even give you a new appreciation for your old game. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all.
If you're having trouble thinking of a new game to check out, you can always peruse our easy to read reviews right here on WhatMMO.