Last month I resubscribed to FFXIV because a lot of folks in my timeline were playing and I couldn’t really figure out why I wasn’t playing. All of these folks that I know and trust were enjoying themselves, and I don’t dislike FFXIV, so I might be able to make a go of it this time, riding the wave while it’s high.
That lasted about a month. I cancelled my sub a few days short of renewal because while I was kinda enjoying it, I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s an MMO, with all that implies in the post World of Warcraft world we live in.
But what if it just was FFXIV, and not MMOs as a whole, despite what I had been thinking? Everyone in my TL was going on about how exciting New World was, with server lists and release times and who’s going to which server with with group. It’s fun to be a part of something, and while I kept telling myself that no, my MMO days are more or less over, I gave in an pre-ordered the game late last week. I decided to give it a real try, since it’s been a while since I’ve been part of an MMO launch, and maybe this time I would get in on the ground floor with a group of people rather than go it alone, and that would be the magic sauce that will re-awaken my dormant love the genre.
This afternoon I asked for a refund on the purchase. That has since cascaded into a whole lot of decisions that have made me rethink my future online.
Earlier today I elected to register with a well known gaming group that were going into New World. I’ve know about this group for a long time, and they seem to have a good reputation of being friendly and inclusive. I figured that if they’ve been around since the early 2000’s then they must be doing something right. I filled out the app, got a form letter with some details, completed my profile, and joined the Discord to…one “hello”. This was followed by a few other folks joining, all of who received some level of fanfare, slaps on the back, a round of “good to meet you!” and “welcome to the group!”.
I quit the server and marked my website account for deletion. I then decided to cancel my game pre-order because part of my interest was in finding a group to help bolster my interest in playing these kinds of games again. The tepid response I received with this group is basically the exact same level of disinterest I have always received in the past when trying to join groups of people I didn’t know, which has, over time, solidified my desire to not be a joiner.
This then led to a decision that I had been mulling over for some time. I had fallen prey to the hype of my timeline once again, not that anyone but me is to blame for giving in to peer pressure. It’s been easy to believe that folks in my TL are friends who have my best interests in mind, even when they aren’t thinking specifically of me, but I’ve always felt that these are people I can trust and that we have a lot in common; if this is something they like, then it should be something I like.
What’s been happening, recently, is that I’ve been feeling a very strong and palpable disconnect from many people that I follow. They say that one of the side-effects of social media is FOMO — fear of missing out — which is something that my previous paragraphs have alluded to. Social media is also often blamed for causing people to measure themselves by the successes of other people. Putting these things together — wanting to be on the hype train, following people who seem to enjoy enormous success where I struggle, — and my apparent and ongoing disinterest in MMOs and gaming possibly in general, I locked my Twitter account and force-unfollowed a large number of people who were following me.
I don’t know if this was a good move or not. I didn’t unfollow anyone out of malice; I did find a bunch of people who were following me that I didn’t know were following me, and a bunch of accounts that I didn’t even know. Those were easy to block, but I also unfollowed a lot of folks that I have been following for years and with whom I’d say I had a good or at least OK relationship with. On some level, I feel very bad about this, but on another level I cannot apologize for doing whatever I need to do in order to normalize this ongoing sense of disconnect I have from some members of my community and the interests that they represent.
I’m not really sure how this is going to play with the folks who have seen the advert, or who may end up reading this. I just want folks to know that this isn’t a beef with anyone. Sometimes we all have to make difficult decisions in order to secure our own best interest.