Do You Ever Feel You’re Spending Too Much Time Maintaining Your Virtual Life?

Have you ever felt that a sandbox MMO was just too real?

I know I have. Indeed, that’s basically the reason that I quit A Tale In The Desert, one of my favourite MMOs, but one that simply demands too hardcore a gaming lifestyle for me. So today, I was particularly interested to see I’m not the only person who has had this problem.

The Noob Raider outlines the reasons why he is quitting Wurm Online, a game he loves, in a really interesting post that sheds an interesting light on “frontier / crafting” MMOs –

“I should not be worrying about a computer game on my anniversary! I also turned 40 last year and have been experiencing all sorts of “omg what am I doing with my life?” type thoughts since. Then at some point yesterday whilst panicking about being 40, it dawned on me that I had less than 4 months to go before the next birthday! Where on earth has the last 8 months gone?

I have a history of game addiction and it can become fairly all-consuming but I thought I had it under control. Well I kinda did until I started playing Wurm. You see the problem with Wurm, online just about any other game, is that it requires daily maintenance for many things and it just so happens that the aspects that I most love about Wurm are those things that need the most looking after – animals, farming, cooking. If I don’t login for even a day, the animals run out of food, stomp the grass, crops that have been growing for days turn to weed, food rots in their barrels and everything just starts to decay.

Now if I could login for maybe 20 minutes and keep things ticking over then maybe it wouldn’t be a problem but it doesn’t quite work like that. When I login there is such a strong pull to do all the daily ‘chores’ such as tending to the farms, grooming the animals and so on that each session tends to be at least an hour. ”

TNR details a problem that I’m sure more than a few of us have had. In their quest for immersion, sandbox MMOs in particular tend toward the “maintenance problem”. In ATITD, the daily chores of feeding camels and sheep and maintaining my homestead started to become a serious problem when I had to travel for work. But I’ve equally seen these issues in WoW – notably in the great “Valor Point capping” debate of last year.

Have you found that an MMO’s maintainance was simply too much? And how did you deal with it?