I stopped playing Vanguard the day I wrote my previous blog post. I chose to partake in some other activities, and by the time my friends and I had an evening together to play, none of us cared anymore. Not even off newbie island, I didn't feel like investing more time into the game.
I always seem to reflect back and compare MMORPGs to FFXI. That game requires even more investment than Vanguard, and I've always warned people that the first 10 levels are the worst, since they are soloed. (With the addition of solo kill quests, I'm sure the first 20 levels are now awfully boring.) I played with friends, and the majority quit before level 5. Why did I put up FFXI? Was I naive? Did I illogically try to recuperate the sunk cost of the retail box?
Even World of Warcraft sucked me in, but later instantiations of it (AoC, LotRO, WAR, Aion) had no draw, no power over me. I paid for boxes for some of those games, yet didn't want to invest in them any further.
Do MMORPGs need to be shockingly different for me to want to play them? If that were the case, I would have fallen in love with EVE or Darkfall.
Maybe I need long-term goals. I remember wanting to be a Summoner/Dragoon in FFXI (which is completely ridiculous, but drove me to get over the investment hurdle). I was in love with Infernals ever since WarCraft 3--I played Undead for that very reason--and I played a Warlock in WoW just to have that ability.
I am curious if you remember your first long-term goal in your MMORPGs of choice. Was it a story arc, an ability, a feature? Do you find yourself running into brick walls after a few hours with a new MMORPG? Would seeing a cool looking sword or amazing spell effect persuade you to continue?