I do not like Massive Multiplayer Online games. There are several reasons for this, reasons that I shall now reveal.
Reason one: People. When wielding the protective powers of anonymity, humans give in to madness and corruption. All remnants of social inhibition evaporate. In a situation that requires immersion it is an impossibility. And MMO-games require much immersion. I (at least used to) play games for escapism. I want to become someone else: A great hero in a strange world. Space Rangers is the ultimate game for that purpose, since the world is coherent and functions like it should. In an MMO, there are hundreds of thousands of people running around, representing the entire spectrum of human psyche. Due to Sturgeon’s Law, it is not a pleasant thing. From Warcraft III I imagine Azeroth a typical high fantasy land with peasants, wars, nobles, wizards and dread monsters roaming around. But in World of Warcraft, Azeroth is a stupid place where a normal peasant population is dwarfed by idiotic “heroes” and the world operates with a warped MMO-logic. It breaks immersion like hammer breaks glass.
Reason two: Payment. I am an old-fashioned person. I want to pay for a game once. That way I shall own it forever, and I can play it whenever I want, be it now or six years into the future. MMO payment method, paying for game time, feels like shackles: I have paid for a few precious moments, and if I do not take full advantage of it I am an idiot who throws money away.
Reason three: Time. Civilization V finally showed me what I was afraid of: Losing time. I will never gain lost time back. I can always make more money, there are always more people, more games, but my time will some day run out, no matter what I do. I do not want to lose time to something as insubstantial as a MMO, for after analyzing the mechanics and dynamics of a game, playing it further gleans me nothing else but empty, insubstantial fun. While it is fun to have fun, it always comes back to haunt me later: How many pages could you have written with those hours sunk into the game? How many miniatures could you have sculpted? Painted? How many games would you have made?
Reason four: Preferences. I played Guild Wars once. It was free and the game worlds were instanced. The skill system was clever, but that was it. The combat was repetitive and dull by myself (and I did not want to accept others with me), the writing was typical for a video game (I do not remember a single detail of what happened) and everything else was just forgettable. Had it been turn-based tactical game, or had interesting storylines and dialogue, or had anything interesting going on for it, I might still be playing it. But simply put most MMO:s are uninteresting. Old Republic might be, for it has Bioware behind it, but it has the subscription payment method, which kills my desire to try it out.
I have no desire for social games where I can’t meet my co-players. As the famous quote goes, “You don’t know a person until you have played with him or her”.