Why do you play MMOs?

Originally, I played MMOs because I enjoy playing RPG/Fantasy style video games. The first interactive game I played was a text based MUD (multi-user dungeon) and I loved it! I got to play with people from all over the world. It engaged my imagination and let me socialize. This was a win-win for me. Later, my first MMO was Everquest. Ray and I started playing it together. Since he and I played console games together, in addition to the MUD, this was a natural progression in gaming for us. I liked the teamwork aspect, as well as the social aspect. There was something fun about exploring the world and accomplishing things. We played Everquest for about 6 years. The next MMO that I heavily invested in was World of Warcraft (though I played in almost every major MMO beta between Everquest & WoW). I also played it for around 6 years. This time, Ray and Dave and I played it together. We ended up raiding, which meant we spent a LOT of time with anywhere from 7 (for 10 man raiding) to 22 (for 25 man raiding) other people. But we eventually started spending at least 3 hours or more a night on WoW, which cut into every other aspect of our lives! I actually feel that by the end of it, it was pretty negative for me, so I was glad when I quit back in March of this year.

I’m not sure if 6 years is the limit for me for one game, or if I’ll even play another MMO ‘seriously’ again. Ray is in the Star Wars beta right now, and I love the look of the game, as does Dave, but I don’t know that I want to get sucked into another world. While I love the social aspect, playing with my friends, etc. I hate the time sink! To get anywhere, you’ve got to put in hours upon hours to level up, get gear, craft, etc.

After thinking about it, I sort of wish that MMOs would create an ‘easy mode’ server, where you could play the game on easy, with minimal time commitment. It should be excluded from any of the ‘World First’ events, etc. so that the ‘hardcore’ players don’t feel threatened by it. However, I think it would allow those of us who want to devote minimal time and effort to an MMO to enjoy it.

I feel like I never have enough time these days, as there are so many different things I want to do:
blogging, writing, playing with my makeup, playing with Phaedra, spending time face to face with friends, reading, music, etc
and there are so many things I have to do:
work, clean house, other chores
that I can’t justify investing the time into an MMO the way I used to. While I still love the potential social aspect, I think I experience more quality social interactions on Twitter, Facebook, my blog, email and face to face these days.

What about you? Why do you (or did you) play MMOs? What do you get out of them?