I sometimes catch myself wondering whether MMOs aren’t just some huge and complex experiment to determine a new universal constant scale based upon the amount of aggravation a person will accept before they leave an activity that is supposed to be considered entertainment.
I imagine it to be called the Shit to Quit ratio.
People in white lab coats set up various experiments where the subjects are tested over and over again against nonsensical, repetitive, frustrating or downright broken game mechanics until the breaking point is found and they quit the game in a torrent of rage and exasperation.
I think I’ve found my sweet spot on the scale with LotRO: there are several mechanics in that game that drive me almost to unsubscribe – a primary contender being random stuns that wrest control of my character away from me for any length of time – and yet I keep playing because those things are few and far enough between that they don’t quite drive me over the edge.
But only just.
Think of the benefits to society that we MMO players will provide if a Shit to Quit scale can be determined and a person’s place on it can be pinpointed accurately! Jobs could be matched to those people who will take crap from the boss without walking out the door; theme parks could be designed to make use of the absolute extremes of acceptable queue length without people leaving altogether; and movies could be made as short and repetitive as possible without audiences abandoning the cinema.
So remember, the next time you are feared uncontrollably into a pack of patrolling mobs during a dungeon run, or can’t run up the gentle incline of a slope, or have to fight your way through a bunch of pointless low XP, high HP mobs to get to a destination, you are doubtless secretly serving towards the advancement of humanity!