Modern Warfare - Warzone

I have a love/hate relationship with seasonal content in video games. On one hand, it is super cool to earn exclusive loot and participate in community events (which do seem to have an overall positive effect on game communities). On the other hand, grinding through several seasons of content at once can be grueling and stressful, turning what’s supposed to be an entertaining pastime into a chore or a cause of anxiety.

Not long ago, I was committed to taking seasonal content very seriously, and I found myself getting more and more stressed out by it. “I need the Level 39 nautical-themed skin for my jellybean dude in Fall Guys,” I told myself. “And all this Red Dead Online stuff is only here for a short while. But Warzone also has a ton of stuff, and I just paid $10 to buy into it. Plus, there’s the Genshin Impact Battle Pass to think about…”

The thing is, it never stops. There will be seasonal content coming out for as long as this content model proves viable. It’s likely the floor will drop out of this model eventually, but for now, it seems like implementing seasonal content is a pretty sure shot for game studios.

I’m a completionist by nature. Whenever there are goodies to get in a video game, I want them all. And that makes battle-pass-style content very stressful for me.

But I was somehow able to convince myself that this stuff doesn’t matter. I never did earn the Level 39 nautical skin in Fall Guys, and to be honest, I haven’t gone back to the game since Season 2 began. That has nothing to do with my disappointment over the content that I missed; I just hit a point where logging into Fall Guys was starting to feel like a chore, so I stopped.

I actually bought into Season 5 of Warzone, and only ended up progressing maybe seven levels. I just wasn’t all that interested in what they had on offer. Even though I’d recklessly dropped a Hamilton on the Battle Pass, I was able to prevent myself from committing to the Sunk Cost Fallacy and grind out 93 more miserable Battle Pass levels.

Red Dead Online - Halloween

But Red Dead Online, for whatever reason, continues to be compelling for me (even when it ends up being a complete disaster). While I do log in every single day to keep my challenge streak alive, I also find myself being drawn into that game world time after time. There are periods where I find myself losing interest, for sure, but then something clicks and I’m sucked right back in.

There are too many video games in this world (and that’s not a bad thing). I will never play every game that I want to play. And that means that I should only play games for as long as they continue to bring me joy, not until I’ve unlocked every last doodad. I’ve found that I enjoy video games a lot more if I can just ignore the temptation to follow every last dangling carrot, to play on my own terms rather than the terms that a development studio is trying to set for me.

Still, the temptation to log in just to score some limited-time loot continues to be a strong one for me. But right now, I’m enjoying the games I want to enjoy, and much of the simple joy of walking around in a well-designed game world is returning.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x