In the Meantime, Nothing Happens

April 24, 2009

Ok, so it may be the line that traditionally is used to summarise ‘Waiting for Godot’ (the play I saw on weds  night with Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow), but it struck another chord as I watched Estragon and Vladimir trade words while waiting for their Godot…

…and that’s that it also reminded me of:

a. us talking on teamspeak while going through any kind of grind

b. the wait from one MMO that grabbed you to the next

Between grinding and waiting for new content, MMOs have captured us enough to make us happy to go through these slower period. There’s something in there that we love so much that we keep coming back, over and over again. Sometimes through addiction, but increasingly I think it’s because MMOs offer a sociable gaming experience with changing challenges and moving goalposts. They offer characters that persist enough for us to relate to them and love them. And all of these things have so far not been served by single-player games. Maybe Mass Effect 2 and the Dragon Age franchise will change that, it certainly seems that’s something Bioware is keenly aware of – our desire to stick with the characters we’ve created and played.

Another back-and-forth struck me, in the play last night. Probably the most famous one in the entire play:

“Let’s go”

“We can’t”

“Why not?”

“We’re waiting for Godot”

It could pretty much be mapped onto the difficulty of leaving an MMO.

“Let’s quit WAR”

“We shouldn’t yet”

“Why not?”

“Land of the Dead is coming up”


“Let’s leave LotRO”

“We shouldn’t”

“Why not”

“Book 8 will be out in a couple of months, with a new raid”

In the nothing times, it’s a good thing that we can explore other worlds. It’s not cheating on a game you love, because the game is an entertainment channel for YOU. It owes you companionship and entertainment, nothing more. If it’s good, people will continue to play and return.

And one day, who knows, Godot might show up.


  1. Ouch, good point! How many times have I thought ‘Oh, maybe if I just wait for the next patch’ ….

  2. Great points, all of them! And great play 😉

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