Quitting live service games is like trying to dump a friend


I need to quit at least one live service game. In fact, I probably need to quit at least three. I seem to roll through life just picking up these massive time sinks, and I never seem to be able to shake them free. The comforting familiarity, the FOMO, the time I've already invested in them—I've got plenty of excuses lined up. Cutting even one of them out of my life is like trying to dump a friend. 

Many live service games have fallen by the wayside before, but usually because they're replaced by something newer and better; but lately I've just been piling them on and forgetting to shed the dead weight. And now they all suffer because of my divided attention. How can I get all of Bungie's 30th Anniversary seals in Destiny 2 when I'm trying to enjoy Warframe's New War or catch up to my crew in Guild Wars 2? Why do I need to sleep? 

Guild Wars 2 is an old friend I've recently reconnected with, and now I can't figure out why we parted ways in the first place. They're chill but adventurous, my other mates love them, and it feels like there's no end to the fun activities they keep recommending. I'd missed out, but it's been a blast getting to know them again, and seeing how they've changed since we last hung out. This one's definitely a keeper. 

(Image credit: ArenaNet)

It's competing with another MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. This is another old friend, but one that's always been around. We bonded over a love of space operas and epic storytelling years ago and discovered we were a lot alike. Now we probably know each other too well, settling into a less-than-exciting routine, but that's no reason to kick a mate to the curb—especially when there's unfinished business and a new expansion that promises to revitalise things.

The comforting familiarity, the FOMO, the time I’ve already invested in them—I’ve got plenty of excuses lined up.

My love for classic sci-fi cannot be contained by one game, however, which is why I recently got back in touch with my old pal Star Trek Online. With new and returning Star Trek shows on the horizon, I was eager to reconnect, and now we're flitting all over the galaxy in our flashy ship, deftly handling diplomatic crises as effortlessly as any space battle. Like anyone who has to try and parse the different timelines, dimensions and constantly evolving lore of Trek, my buddy STO can sometimes be a bit of a mess, but their passion for Star Trek and love of blowing up gorgeous spaceships makes them a friend I want to keep around. 

Warframe's also an old friend I've recently reconnected with. I never know what's going on in its life, and our conversations usually end with me being baffled, but it's impossible to spend time with them and not feel energised. They're perpetually in motion, always hurtling to the next adventure or reinventing themselves, bringing me out of my shell by suggesting something new every time we hang out. Most of my other mates find them too high-maintenance, but that's their loss. 

(Image credit: EA)

Forza Horizon 5 is a new friend, but an exciting one. Holidays to Mexico, fast cars, non-stop parties—they know how to have a laugh. And everyone needs a mate that's always there to lift them up when they're feeling down, something Forza has mastered. When we're hanging out, I can't help but be infected by their optimism. I'm a life-long cynic, so this should be an anathema to me, but instead Forza brings out a new side in me, where I'm all about fun and don't care if I come in last in a race because I've maybe had a few drinks and can't avoid the magnetic appeal of racing barriers.  

How can I get all of Bungie’s 30th Anniversary seals in Destiny 2 when I’m trying to enjoy Warframe’s New War or catch up to my crew in Guild Wars 2? Why do I need to sleep?

Speaking of tearing through Mexico, I've got a whole crew of outdoorsy pals now. Valheim, Grounded, and new additions to the group like Icarus and Project Zomboid. Not all survival games are live service deals, but they're certainly adjacent. They're a demanding bunch, too, always putting me to work and promising me the rewards will be worth it (usually a lie). It's kinda like when I was wee and my dad said it would be worth climbing up Table Mountain; we got to the top, the sun was starting to go down, and we immediately went back down again. How do I keep being tricked like this? But sometimes it is worth it, and then I forget all about the many betrayals. They're not all equal in my friend rankings, of course, and some will inevitably drift away, replaced by new outdoorsy buds, but I'll always have the crew.

Destiny 2 really emphasises the extent of my inability to cut these games out of my life. I don't really like Destiny 2. It's a muddled, confusing mess that's atrocious at preparing new or lapsed players, and everything that's even slightly cool is bogged down in an infinite grind. It's the friend I'm only really mates with because of my other friends, and because sometimes they're really good at finding cool bars and restaurants, so everyone puts up with their long, meandering stories and their attempts to make themselves seem more mysterious and aloof than they really are.

(Image credit: Bungie)

I've quit Destiny 2 at least three times before, but I keep coming back. The shooting, my god… it's so good. When I'm not playing Destiny 2, I'm thinking about how good those guns feel. It's probably bad for me. 

Whenever I consider breaking up with any of them, I can't stop thinking about the good times, the silly anecdotes, the drunken evenings full of ribaldry, and what a shame it would be if that came to an end. And I look at my calendar, and the fun activities we've been planning—how can I let them down? 

I'm trapped, probably because I'm too nice of a guy. Yes, that's it, I'm too wonderful to stop playing these games. It's not a character flaw; it's a positive, completely healthy trait. So if you want to find me, I'll probably be hanging out with one of this lot. I'm too old to change my ways anyway. 

Frederick Catcher

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