Posted by: innerfire | November 15, 2006

How Not to Burn Out

Once again, props to a View From the Top. It explains nicely the perpetual grind toward new dungeons, new tiers, and new “final goals”, which leads to burnout in end-game raiders. Why do you think entire raiding guilds disappear? Why do people who play heavily suddenly leave? Welcome to burn out.

All games have certain things in common: they require people, motor activity (to interact with the game/others), stimulation (either through competition, which is the most common, or other factors) and a goal. You have to be working toward something, whether you realize it or not. In soccer, the goal is to score more points than the other team. In chess, the goal is to take the opposing player’s king. In MTG, the goal is to reduce the opponent’s life points to 0. I Spy tries to baffle other players. A game may never end: it could be called on account of rain, teams may tie, or the goal isn’t the “end”.

Warcraft is a game which never ends. By design, there are multiple goals to achieve, but none of them “end” the game. There is no FMV when you defeat Kel’Thuzad saying you’ve beaten the Scourge once and for all, end of World of Warcraft I, insert World of Warcraft II to defeat Sargeras. There will never be an end to Warcraft. But many people constantly strive toward new goals to validate their gaming experience, and the time consumed without rewards (or with rewards overshadowed: You may have cleared BWL, but now there’s Naxxramas, and soon Hellfire Citadel, Karazhan, etc).

And that time consumed without “real” worthwhile rewards leads to burnout. So, as someone who burnt out, I will show you how not to burn out, something especially important when you first begin raiding, or when you’ve been doing it for a long time.

You may not think it’ll happen to you. But preventative measures never hurt anyone.

  1. Don’t treat level 60 like a goal. For me, as someone who has raided, RPed, and has multiple alternates, nothing really fascinates me as much as low level instancing and quests. Once you hit 60, there are basically no quests to do that’re worth your time. Enjoy them while you can, because once you hit 60, you are essentially grinding mobs for loot with 39 other players.
    1. Instead, make smaller, achievable goals for yourself: Reach level 30. Do PvP and master flag capping for Warsong Gulch. Acquire rare recipes while questing. Get your herbalism up to the max. These small, achievable goals will give you rewards that keep you going.
    2. Do this even once you’re level 60.
  2. Don’t ever, ever play 7 days a week. In fact, you shouldn’t play for more than 4-5 days a week, just like a job. Take off at least one weekend day and one day in the middle of the week. Never play for more than 6 hours in a day. Even that may seem like a lot, but many raiding guilds require at least 4 hours devoted to each raid (and more if your group is just starting out) plus the time required to get money for repairs, potions, etc.
  3. Always have alternates. Keep a low level alt for PvP, to take out frustration on people in WSG or whatever. Keep another for just leveling and exploring the world: I explored the world on my first character, but I’m continually finding new places that’re just breathtaking, like the waterfall, at the end of the river between Azshara and Ashenvale. Alternates keep you from getting bored of your class, and help give you an insight into what other classes do.
  4. Build a core group of friends wherever you go. It may seem silly, but people I’ve met through Warcraft have become some of my closest friends, even when they live across the country from me. Always keep a close circle of friends, people you know you can trust: you may need to rant about your GM, or the raid leader, or just something you’re pissed off about. In raiding guilds especially, those core groups of friends are the ones willing to help you grind faction and do instances that would otherwise be “beneath” them. Just be a good and true friend, and you’ll have the emotional support everyone needs.
  5. Play other games. Whether they’re other MMOs or not, just play other games. Have something else to do if you’re not absolutely busy on Warcraft, or if you’re frustrated with something in the game. I actually remove myself from the computer completely when I’m upset over anything, because I realize that while it’s just a game, the people behind those sprites do have feelings. I go off and play Playstation games, since I never really finish any, they’re all still good. :D
  6. If you feel you just can’t take it anymore, then don’t. Don’t keep playing if you are burnt out, because you’ll start to become bitter, and take it out on the people who do care about you. I burnt out and went to play DDO, which is an awesome game, but there isn’t enough content yet to hold my attention. But it was what I needed to get interested in Warcraft again. Go out for a month, two months, or even forever, and do something else.
  7. Always, always put family and real life friends before the game. Online friends may be great, but they can’t hug you when you’re depressed, and they can’t take you to a hospital when you get sick. REAL LIFE COMES FIRST.
  8. Exercise. This may not be directly related to the game, but people who exercise regularly are happier (because their bodies produce more endorphins) as well as being better fit: When you sit for 4-6 hours a day, you need to get out and exercise. If you are shy (like me) of exercising in public, try Yoga Today. They offer free, 1-hour yoga sessions with an easy and advanced level in the same video, and different routines every day.


  1. Glad you found the article from Soul Kerfuffle interesting too…!

  2. Yeah, I linked to it before, but it was just so good I felt I should give it more shine time.

  3. I love all of your points on not “how to burn out” it may seem silly but you’d think that “dont play for more then 6 hours in a day” is common knowledge (not only does it probably hurt your head) but Im betting alot of ppl play WoW and other MMORPG’s for over 10 hours x.x..And exercise!!!! boy everyone needs to do that :D some people just dont realize…

    good blog btw! keep it up :)

  4. Personally, I never use more than one life on this if I understand this correclty. I just wonder why so many do not understand how this is. I guess that is the beauty of it all. Good post though!!

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