Now this one sort of occurred to me as I read a friend's post about leaving. He said he went out, did some stuff and felt better than he had.
It made me think. See, once upon a time, MUSHing was a glorious alternative to the free and wild craziness of chat RPs. I didn't have many folks locally I could tabletop with. So let's hit the internet! And hit it we did. Oh, the wonders that could be had! Myriads of games with scads of theme to choose from. I could go nearly anywhere and find something that suited me.
I think that MU* took a bit hit with the advent of WoW. It was hard to compete with graphics and stuff, even if people didn't really go to RP. WoW's just mindless, addictive fun. While thankfully, a South Park episode inspired us to not be such metaphorical neckbeards... well. It still took a good chunk of the userbase out. Even today, I still see people in MU* chatting about WoW. Granted, I tend to consider WoW a mindkiller and don't really keep it on when there's stuff I need to write/keep attention on.
Over time, log ins dropped. People stopped coming to RP. A lot of us are getting older, having kids, graduating, hitting grad school... We just don't /have/ hours upon hours of free time anymore. I might have a couple of hours, study, couple more hours and so on. Folks left because it is honestly tough to MUSH when you don't have a lot of free time. Much like MMOs, it's a time sink. But does it offer the same amount of award for my time? Some days, it feels like all I get is things to snark at, be snarked by and generally deal with idiots.
Getting scenes together feels a lot harder than it did before. People rarely venture out of their clique. Plot is rarely run by staff anymore. I guess it's the new thing to mostly rely on player run plots. Nostalgia factors in too, I suspect. I took my stint away for studying/wow. The medium itself has a lot of issues versus say, a chat, forum or tabletop.
And unfortunately, the number of games has dropped. Hard. The pool of players has shrunk. These days it feels like the same old shit. Gone are the days you could just jump ship and go elsewhere if you ran into a bad group/staff/whatever.
It's hard not to get emotionally invested when you spend hours on something I think. Sadly, a lot of the people left just... feel really emotionally toxic. The worst part is I don't think many of them do it deliberately. Then on places like WoD games, you have to jump hurdles and all but write an essay to raise your character's stats or whatever. While one or two games are still free spends, egads. I don't want to write an essay on why my character deserves to be slightly better at lobbing a fireball and the nature of fireballs to buy a skill.
So you combine toxic people, time and emotional investment and... I dunno. While I like a couple of the games I'm on, it feels like some days I'm happier just not logging in. Maybe I've grown past the hobby, no longer able to look past a lot of what I did. Maybe I went back looking for something that just wasn't there anymore.
It's not to bash the medium. I made a lot of friends through these games. I'm grateful for a lot of the fun I had.
But some days, I wonder where that fun went.