Momentum is a surprisingly important, if somewhat nebulous, concept in an MMORPG.
At least it is important for me.
I tend to be about the advancement part of the game, something that tends to feed on itself. Successfully moving forward makes me want to continue moving forward. Thus momentum, of a sort.
And once lost, it can be difficult for me to regain.
I often have trouble getting back into an MMO from which I have taken a break. I return to find my characters sitting, ready to complete the tasks I have totally forgotten about over the intervening time, usually in an area that was new to me at the time which makes me feel lost, often in a game that has seen changes and updates since I last played.
At that point momentum can be hard to regain. I not only have to come to grips with where I left off and what has changed in the game, but also seemingly simple things like how to play my class.
And the game itself can make coming back harder or easier. Every class in EverQuest II, for example, has so many skills by level 30 that it can be very difficult to come to grips with playing your class if you have been away for a while. (WoW, on the other hand, has considerably fewer skills, but Blizzard has a habit completely changing how some of them work once or twice a year. Same issue, different method.)
Often I just end up creating a new character in order to get into the game and to get that all important momentum.
So part and parcel of SOE being down for almost two weeks was a complete loss of that momentum.
This problem was compounded by the fact that I seemed to gain some traction in Lord of the Rings Online very quickly thanks to the task system. It helped boost me out of an area where I had forgotten the landmarks and into a new zone. That alone helped me get momentum with my hunter.
So when SOE staged their unexpected (and certainly unforeseeable through any communication Sony put out) Saturday evening recovery, there was a question in my mind as to whether I would be able to get back in the saddle with the same enthusiasm for the game I had felt two weeks previous.
There did not seem to be anything in SOE’s welcome back incentives that resonated.
Yes, there was that extra 30 days of subscription time on top of being credited for every day they were down. (Which they rounded up to 15 days even though they were only down 13 by any reasonable reckoning.) That was a good thing. Thank you SOE.
And even Silver and Bronze accounts, which represents 3 of the 6 people in the group, got upgraded to Gold accounts for the next 30 days. That too was a nice touch.
But paying for a game does not always bestow enthusiasm. My last few months of EVE Online stand as an example.
They did launch the city festival. That really doesn’t do much for me, and I have to admit I thought that was something they were going to do anyway so was tough to count as an incentive. Yes, we got all the city festivals at once and a bunch of new stuff to buy, but it wasn’t like it wasn’t going to come to pass in any case.
I’m not sure what the “loot bonanza” is nor what the return of the original Aether races means to me. Maybe I should be excited about these two items, but somebody will have to explain why.
And even double experience is a bit dubious at this point. We are trying to keep the group together in levels, so extra experience is like free ice cream when you’re already full. Yes, EQII has options for the leveling too fast problem, with both the ability to turn of experience as well as being able to divert it into alternate advancement.
But Campell, my troubadour, already had the slider over to diver 100% of experience into AA. He is closing in on 40 AA points, which seems like a lot for a level 20 character.
No, it turned out that the hook to at least get me interested in getting back into the game was double guild experience.
As a single group guild (just six of us) some aspects of being in a guild can be quite beneficial. While we have stars in our eyes when thinking about getting a guild hall some day, the guild bank is a right now, useful item for the group to hand around items. While the initial size of the bank is small, it gets larger (it doubles in size) if we can just get the guild to level 10.
It gets bigger again at 20, and I seem to recall at guild level 15 we get access to certain status mounts and items, but 10 looks like an obtainable goal.
And it is that simple, obtainable goal that has gotten me back in the saddle in EQII. Gaff, Potshot, and I have started working on writs to get make this goal that benefits the whole group a reality.
Will that provide the momentum to get my head back in the game?
I cannot be sure, but it is a start.