Why “Quit” an MMO?

I just finished up the last few lines on this week’s article for Lagwar (it’s a good one, too, if I do say so myself – link incoming soon) and, as I re-read, I noticed mentioning how I “quit” Darkfall, once in the past. I don’t understand why we use that word. Does anyone really “quit” a game, anymore?

I may be stating the obvious here, but I think “quitting” an MMO is just silly. We shouldn’t say it. Quitting implies some kind of charred ending, like you left on bad terms. You quit drinking. You quit smoking and gambling. You quit adopting red haired children just to make them watch the “ginger” episode of South Park. But, unless you’re addicted, why exactly would you need to “quit” an MMO?

Then there’s the question of what quitting actually means. In my article, I talk about it in reference to a long break. Yet, here I am playing it again. I don’t feel guilty. I didn’t relapse on Darkfall. No giving in to temptation here. It looked like fun, so I’m playing again. Did I really quit, was there any permanence like when we quit other things in life? No, not at all. If I intended to “quit” Darkfall, then I failed.

I find it interesting that so many players claim to quit their MMO. Without fail, and with WoW especially, those players will probably be back. They obviously didn’t quit, but some part of them must have felt better for telling themselves that. Does this imply guilt for continuing to play? The lack of “I’m baaaack” posts seems to say yes. Players quit and then silently creep back to the tap that made them bitter in the first place.

But, why should players have to “quit” anything? Isn’t that a little silly? We’re talking about games here. It’s unique to the multiplayer experience, too. I never remember anyone saying they were quitting Tetris. Players have had hours and hours of fun with single player games, but you don’t hear them say they’re quitting. They simply move on. They put the game they’re bored with to the side and play something else. There’s no bitterness there; it was fun while it lasted. Maybe someday down the line they’ll pop it back in and play it again. They wouldn’t even need to sneak back and hope no one found out.

So, my personal pledge is to get rid of this idea of “quitting” an MMO. I might get tired of a game. I might even get bitter and fed up with a game. But, I’m not going to quit. I’m going to put it to the side and keep it as an option. I’m a gamer, options are what make life exciting. As a gamer, playing more makes me smarter. I know games and I know myself. It’s an education.

It’s time we recognize that quitting is an illusion. It’s something we tell ourselves to feel better about giving up the everything we’ve accomplished in the games we leave. As gamers, it’s not about quitting so much as experiencing. We leave one game to try another and, if we want, we can always go home again.

Gamers don’t quit, they take breaks. Sometimes those breaks are long. But, I won’t invalidate all the fun I had because it was time to move on. When I leave WoW, it might be for a year or more. When I go back, I’ll do it all over again. I’ll do it because it’s a game and that’s how it’s meant to be played. Games aren’t about starting and quitting. They’re about playing. Playing is never a commitment. It’s about living in the moment and having a bit of fun while you can. Why would you ever want to give that up with an “I Quit” post?

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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