I realised recently, in a moment of peculiar clarity, that I’m gradually losing my MMO libido. I suppose it could be due to my age; I’m getting to that time in life where the body starts to slow down, realises that it can’t carry on at such a pace and determines to stop expending energy on activities that, at a younger age, seemed the very essence of life itself. Of course, being male, I can’t help but entertain a small burning sphere of panic in my stomach that it’s simply because I’ve been MMOing too much, that I’ve spent too much energy locked away in my bedroom furiously MMOing by myself at a young age, and then MMOing at every opportunity with others as soon as I was able.
I just don’t seem to have the raging passion for it these days. When I was younger, all I could think about was MMOing. I’d be sat in class at school and thinking about MMOing; I was desperate, a slave to my passions, so much so that I’d invent ways of sneaking out of class, finding a quiet spot somewhere, and knocking out a quick few levels, before slinking back into class. Then I’d spend the rest of the lesson worrying that everyone knew that, actually, I hadn’t been to see the nurse, and that they had (in that typical irrational teenage nightmare) all spontaneously developed the ability to read my mind, and thus knew precisely what I’d really been up to.
Maths class was always the most difficult because that’s when Mrs Fotheringby taught us. I couldn’t stop thinking about what Mrs Fotheringby would look like in a chainmail bikini, and my mind would run riot with images of her crushing orc heads between her thighs, and then admiring my wizard’s staff and asking if she could hold it for a little while. I’d often dream about going delving around in dank dungeons with her, and wake up in the night all hot and tangled-up in sweaty sheets to find that I’d logged-in and dinged a level, and I wasn’t really sure how.
It’s not that I don’t like MMOing these days, quite the contrary, it’s just that I can take it or leave it now. The passion I once had, which seemed to burn like wildfire throughout my body and enflame my very soul such that I thought I would go mad from it, has gradually dwindled to a more manageable pile of embers which can sometimes be fanned back into a flame, but mostly just gently smoulder and keep me from getting entirely cold on the whole idea. It seems to be a slow Decline over Time, a subtle DoT, the main effect of which appears to be a measured draining of my desire for MMOing.
For example, I find that I still quite enjoy watching other people play MMOs, and that when I do, it sometimes gets me in the mood to play too; but I’ve also noticed that I have many more evenings these days where I consider playing an MMO, and in the end decide to just snuggle-up, with a nice hot chocolate on the bedside table and a good book in my hands.
I’ve even tried new things in MMOs in order to spice things up a bit. I once attempted to explore my masochistic side by trying some PvP, but I quickly found that repeated butt-whippings and tea-baggings at the hands of strangers really didn’t do it for me. Well, that’s not strictly true: when you have a really good PvP MMOing it’s hard to go back to just MMOing the standard way, by yourself or with others, but such experiences are unfortunately rare, and most people in the PvP MMO scene seem to be in it simply for the abuse they can inflict on others. I bought myself a new toy a while ago too, thinking that perhaps experimenting with new ways of playing might help to spice things up a bit, and to my credit I’ve stuck with it all this while, even though it felt very strange at first and gave me cramp on numerous occasions, usually right when I was in the middle of dinging a level, which is awkward and uncomfortable and generally ruins all the effort that has gone into building up to the ding.
I would like to reiterate that I don’t have problems with MMOing, you understand, there’s no searching through patent circulars and risking links on spam emails to purchase for myself a pill that will allow me to log-in. No, my ability to log-in is unaffected, but I just find that once I’m in, I don’t have quite the drive to get to the next ding that I used to. I suppose one advantage is that it takes me a lot longer to ding these days, thus the anticipation is greater, and sometimes it can take me several tries before I ding; as a young man I could ding several times a night, but those experiences were often rushed and fumbled, and rarely resulted in any satisfaction, they were invariably empty and hollow, and merely fanned my desire to ding again, and quickly, because this time it would be more meaningful. Better experience.
In parallel with this decline in MMO libido I find that I am not so instantly smitten with the next good-looking MMO that comes along, but generally find myself wanting to stay with those that I’ve known for some time. I can still appreciate an attractive MMO with the best of them of course, but I rarely find myself slavering after it, or furiously writing lengthy prose about its every perfect detail apparent to my eyes, in a vain attempt to exorcise the demons of my passion. I find myself preferring a slightly more classical look to my MMOs, what others might now call old fashioned, and it makes me cringe to witness those that were once beauties desperately, and to my mind futilely, trying to reinvent themselves in order to compete with the younger generation. Some have aged gracefully and are as desirable to old-timers like myself as they were when we were all younger, but others have become monstrous parodies of their former selves, amorphous blobs of ill-advised and unwarranted invasive surgeries – ineffective attempts to chase after and retain the glory of their youth.
Am I worried about the decline in my MMO libido? Not really, no. If I’m honest I sometimes look wistfully at the younger generation who are still revelling in their newfound passions, and where their desires and enthusiasm seem as boundless and mysterious to them as a new-found dungeon entrance, waiting agape for someone to thrust forth and explore its darkening depths; but as I said before, I’m still able to enjoy regular MMOing, it’s just that I do so at a different pace than I used to. But no matter how much I slow down, and no matter how much my MMO libido declines, I don’t in all honesty think that I’ll ever entirely lose the urge to get myself logged-in and grind away for an hour or two, in order to experience another glorious ding.