Two distinct threads have come together in my world to get me to think about gaming again. Firstly Pusing Up Roses' The Benefits and Detriments of Wish Fulfillment - Video Games (25 February 2017) and secondly Mr. Biffo's Playing Online Games is Sad and Tragic (22 March 2017). Now I had been thinking about the first for longer, as it has pre-dates the other and I got to consume both bits of media shortly after they were published. However I think they game together in a way which makes everything much more interesting.
So, then... what do I want in a game? I think there's two core parts of a game which appeal to me. A social part and a exploratory . The two things which I like a game which allow me to socialize, either with my friends in the cases of Diablo II or Heroes of the Storm or with-- and gawk if you like-- the computer as in Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon (Stardew Valley should be included as part of the Harvest Moon family here). The other thing I enjoy are games which allow me to explore such as The Elder Scrolls (Skyrim and Oblivion are the ones I am most familiar with) and more recently Breath of the Wild. That's not to say there are not other examples and that no examples overlap but I have selected games which, for both groups, my interest in them is primiarly because of the identified attribute.
What this means is that... I am not really interested in leaderboards or achievements for the most part. I have little desire to, as it is, git gud in the games I really enjoy. However, there is another end to this. I am actually very good at FPS-es. My lack of wanting to play them by myself is because I am good at them and have nothing to gain from the experience, really. Many games interest me so long as there is something which is new to me-- if not physical locataions then some kind of mechanic, scenario or idea needs to exist to be explored. This is why I find many games tedious and stop playing them once I have a handle on how they work. Once I have conceptually and in theory figured out how they work... that's enough for me, usually. Without a social or exploratory angle the game is a little mechanism to be toyed with only until it has been figred out.
I understand a lot of people are into the whole points thing-- hell they they try to "gamifiy" workplaces now. I find it all patronizing. Should it not be myself, as a human with agency over myself, who decides how well I have done? I always thought it should be. I always have set my own goals and decided how well I felt I did them. For a game-- or another player!-- to come along and tell me how I am doing is annoying. Not that I mind playing with strangers, mind, but I am happy to do better than last time even if I still suck.
I will end with why I stopped playing DOTA2. I usually played Warlock. If the carry was rude to me I would stop helping and start thwarting them. They didn't deserve to win and throwing the game to teach them some damn manners was more important to me. I can't recall what the game calls your sore-- MMR, maybe?-- but mine was always crap and I had no interest in moving up. I stopped playing because I simply was not motivated by points or virtual prizes to do well and the other players were rude. And online play when my friends were not playing with me had no appeal at all.