I do history for a living, so i'm incapable of discussing anything without laying out the backstory first. When i wrote the first part i was thinking less gamer biography and more thoughts about things i was experiencing differently coming back to the game after so long - but since that is a comparative exercise...
Wait, where was I?
Oh, yeah, Skyrim!
Just today I read a post somewhere else where somebody said they were enjoying Fallout 76 more than Fallout 3 or 4 because they "didn't have time for all that single-player nonsense". That is not a problem I ever had. I'm often playing games specifically to escape other people, so big single-player open-world games have always been my jam (that and turn-based strategy - the amount of time I've spent playing the various interations of Civilization is a bit daunting). All of this is to say other parts of the gamer-verse were able to call to me.
There was also something that happened at about the end of my first year in STO (but not actually in STO) that played a big role in my wandering away for a long time. I started playing SWTOR and enjoyed it. Much like STO, I was having more fun at that point doing solo stuff than anything about it being an MMO (frankly, I just wanted to play KOTOR III). Still, I was trying to find my multi-player groove. I found some cool people, and some not-so-cool people.
One evening, after a particularly brutal day, I logged on to SWTOR and wound up playing a multi-player pve thing with guys I didn't know. When we teamed up, I went out of my way to let them know I was pretty new and very much still learning. We fought through the last boss fight and I was unceremoniously dumped from the group before it resolved. I never quite got how the loot system worked then and I evidently had done something to anger the guy who formed the team. My efforts to find out what were met with foul-mouthed abuse. I sat there feeling angry and embarrassed and started thinking "I actually have a life where I do real things. Why the hell would I ever subject myself to this?"
I logged off, the next day I uninstalled the game, and that was that. For the next several years, every time I thought about playing any MMO, that night popped back into my head and I thought, "Too much of a hassle".
I never uninstalled STO, though (and I'd already bought a lifetime subscription). That chevron just sat there on my desktop staring at me for the next few years.
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