How MMORPGs and their play-time rise and fall

There’s a really interesting discussion bouncing around the general/cross-game MMORPG sphere at the moment – in the post-WoW era, how long is it normal to play a game for?

It all started when Keen of Keen and Graev followed up on his post about excitement with a discussion of the pattern of rise and fall he’s seen again and again in MMOs

“A new MMO is on the horizon. I’m skeptical. I find a few things that make me think “You know, maybe this is worth trying.” I try it, I have some fun, but I reach the max level and quickly realize there is no future but a gear grind (SWTOR) or the game has huge design flaws (WAR) and I would rather go play a different game.”

Several bloggers picked up on this point. Tobold asked his readers how long they normally played an MMO for , sparking a really interesting discussion:

“If we start measuring how long a MMORPG keeps us interested in weeks instead of months, there is barely any more difference left between a MMORPG and an offline single-player game. And there simply aren’t enough big MMORPGs coming out each year to keep playing MMORPGs all the time if you go through each game in less than 2 months.”

And meanwhile, Syncaine jumped in with an interesting discussion of the various facets of personal MMO lifespan

“Experience is also a factor, both with MMOs and blogging itself. When you are new to MMOs/blogging, everything seems fresh and new to you, and you truly believe you are sharing revolutionary ideas/thoughts, and you sorta believe the devs because hey, why would they lie? As you progress towards bittervet gamer/blogger, and go through multiple releases that fail to not only live up to expectations, but outright lie about features/goals, you stop trusting words/hype and consider anything pre-beta as a maybe (or in the case of Rift, even beyond).”

And meanwhile, over at Bio Break, Syp’s trying something rather different – adapting the Pomodoro productivity technique to gaming. Yes, in an effort to enjoy several MMORPGs at once, he’s playing them in half-hour time slots, and so far seems to be rather enjoying it:

“Not every night is divided up like this, either. Sometimes I give myself permission just to focus on a single game if I’m feeling the urge to do so. But more often than not, the revolving method comes into play, and it sort of feels more natural to do so — it’s how I used to play console games, swapping cartridges every so often during longer sessions. Time should bow to the player, not the other way around, right?”

How long do you think is normal for your play time in an MMO?