MMOs can really spoil you for single-player games

It's been quiet on here because I haven't been playing much, and as a consequence I haven't had a lot to say about my limited play time. On the plus side for me, this means that I've had time to do other things that I hadn't done in a while, such as play a single-player game, in this case Dragon Age II.

Without going into too much detail about it, I can say that I really enjoyed it. I was a bit wary of it at first because it had received some very mixed user reviews, but my worries were completely unfounded. I had a blast. I stayed up late several nights in a row just to play that little bit further. And when I finally completed it, I was happy to simply watch the credits roll by for a good ten minutes or so, just to allow the whole experience to sink in.

Even after I had finished my first playthrough, I still wasn't done. There were alternate progression paths to be explored! But more than anything, I felt an urge to connect with other people who had also enjoyed the game. I talked to friends who had played it, read reviews and sought out a bunch of forum threads that were discussing various aspects of the game. This was enjoyable for a while, but oddly enough it also diminished my desire to actually play again somewhat. I wanted to share my enthusiasm, but playing the game again effectively meant isolating myself.

At the end of the day, I can talk to other players about how they played the game all day long, but I can never actually meet their characters. We all play in our own little bubble worlds, and we can talk about how much fun it is but we can never actually interact while playing. And it's kind of scary just how much I miss the ability to share space.

Back before I got into WoW, The Sims 2 was my game of choice. I spent hours upon hours breeding funny-looking Sims, taking screenshots and making up stories. I was also a member of various communities and took part in a vivid exchange of ideas and information there. It was all I could have wanted from a game.

But then I started to play WoW and... in principle playing with my Sims was still as good as before, but I just could not stand playing completely on my own anymore, having to wait for the interaction to happen afterwards and on forums. In Dragon Age II I could briefly overcome this problem because I managed to really immerse myself in the story and wanted to see where it was going, no matter what. However, now that I know the ending I'm really longing for company again.

It's a bit of a shame because intellectually, I'm aware that single-player games can still offer great entertainment. And I would kind of like to play around with different settings and options. After having spent so much time playing an MMO however, the experience of just doing my own thing in my own lonely little world just feels a bit hollow these days.


  1. I, too, am like you. I was way into SIMs before finding WoW. I used to make houses/lots for downloads as well as music videos.

    Then WoW came along and my "static" games (as I call them) lost pretty much all their glory to me. I even purchased SIMs Medieval to try it...but lost interest in it after about two weeks.

    There's just something about being in an MMO (I also play Rift & SWG...and may try out SWotR) and seeing other people chat and run around, even if I don't talk to them. It's just nice knowing/seeing that they are there in case I do want to chat it up.

  2. On the other hand, the world of an MMO is supremely static, and the world of a single player game can sometimes literally be bent to your whim. The "dynamism" is different on each platform, and honestly, I prefer the dynamic worlds over the "dynamic people running through a static world" of a modern MMO.

  3. How do both DA I/II hold up to the Bioware old classics, Baldur's Gate I/II?

    I've been thinking about DA for a while, but I've never pulled the trigger.

  4. In the face of MMOs, only story-focused single player games seem to be able to survive. And they are fun but once ..

  5. @Thelandira: I got Sims Medieval too, and didn't really manage to get into it either. It kind of felt to me like it was trying to incorporate more RPG elements into the Sims, but the end result was neither here nor there: too restrictive for a pure Sims game, and not engaging enough for an RPG.

    @Tesh: What you call static, I call persistent. ;) I'd like to know when having a persistent world went from something that players consider a major feature to something that many call boring.

    @Redbeard: I wouldn't know as I never played those! I have a hunch that they are quite different though.

    @Nils: It's kind of weird, isn't it...

  6. @Shintar--

    They're set in the old AD&D/D&D world of Forgotten Realms --the same one of Neverwinter Nights-- and they followed the AD&D 2E rules. (Like how NWN followed D&D 3E some years later, and the current D&D Online the 4E rules.) They kind of set the standard for Bioware's storymaking capability.

    (Jeez, I feel old; the first game came out in 98!)

  7. @ Redbeard - if you liked Baldur's gate, you might enjoy Origins, but you probably won't enjoy DA2. you can actualy try a free DA2 demo, it gives you a pretty good idea of what the game is like.

    personally, I realized that I do prefer single player games after all. I love the flexibility they afford - the pause and save buttons. I stopped playing WoW again becasue without people? it really doesn't seem to stand on its own anymore. and people I used to play with, no longer play.