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Monday, September 5, 2011

Burned out on burnout.

While I was away taking a much needed week off (I just set my PI on automatic and let it run *grin* ,) I read that 00sage00 is leaving EVE for good. He primarily sited burnout as the reason. I wish him the best in school, etc.

But his farewell triggered an old, and I will say an unpleasant, feeling in me. It's a puzzle I've not been able to solve since I started playing MMORPs long, long ago. Ultima Online ago to be exact.

Why do people let themselves burnout?

Seriously, I don't get it. I'd understand if they say it no longer pleased them to play. That happened to me in Star Wars Galaxy. I could understand if they had an issue with the other players. In World of Warcraft, I got fed up with all the immaturity.

Yet I've seen people quit time and time again and claim burnout. Are they hiding their true reasons for leaving? I just don't know. I have to take their word at face value. But if I were honest with myself, and I must be, people leaving the game citing burnout is one of the biggest reasons I fly solo. I guess I've got abandonment syndrome or some such. I'll try and explain.

Ultima Online was a griefer's paradise. No gate camp in EVE ever came close or can come close to the grief camping that happened in UO. For the younger crowd, let me explain. Whenever you died, your "ghost" had to make it back to a specific spot to re-spawn. These spots were well known and there was no 20 second rule in the beginning. The griefers were always waiting. The minute you materialized, BANG, you were dead again. Rinse, lather and repeat. Then there were the city camps. They weren't nearly as bad as spawn camps but cities were the only place to get outfitted. If you escaped the one camp, there was always the other waiting.

The only lone-wolf in UO was a perma-ghost. To protect myself, I joined Crusaders of the Realms. I had many, many excellent adventures with them. When UO ceased to meet our needs, we went to Dark Age of Camelot and then to Asheron's Call. I made many friends and eventually became the Historian and maintained our web site.

But there was a down side not easily seen until it was too late. Friends departed permanently. My mentor, Jackwar, even left and I was sure he was forever. He seemed so steady and balanced. They almost to a person claimed burnout. It made little sense to me. I'd played as long as they. I'd played as often as they. Yet in the end, they all left and I remained.

It was a most melancholy experience to "stand" alone in what was once the bustling virtual center of guild activity. Virtual echos down empty halls are demoralizing. You eventually leave but only after the good memories metastasize into malignancy. It is an unpleasant condition and probably permanent.

Now I fly alone. I will never disappoint myself. I play when I can. I work when I must. I have other interests that help me stay balanced. Perhaps that is the key to it all. Don't let it become the only thing you do.

I can't say with certainty that happened to all those others, but I believe it did. We played long and we played often. They burned out because they were not balanced. We talk about work-life balance. Don't forget game-life balance too.

Fly careful.

OOC: I went to Glacier National Park for a hiking vacation. It was WAY better than any game... I'm just saying.

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