A while ago, I wrote about a phenomenon called "MMO Burnout," a common thing that is triggered when people push too hard in a video game for too long. They crash and burn, and the fun and entertainment derived from the activity is basically drained away, requiring massive amounts of time off to refuel that -- if, ever, that does. Burnout can have a permanent effect and drive people away from a game fully. Our good friend and member in great standing Lukip was most likely a victim of this and just up and disappeared one day. We've lost innumerable members due to burnout.
What keeps a lot of people playing a social game like an MMO is basically an online version of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, for those my age). You want to be around and play with people and not feel like you're being left behind or missing important activities or interactions. After all, you never know when Ranked is gonna pop, am I right?
I can't stop anyone from being too dedicated to an online platform, but I can at least explain techniques I use to mitigate and defend against burnout. I can't espouse enough that self-reflection and introspection play a big part in this. The first big thing is to prevent a video game from becoming or feeling like a job. It's great to have goals, but it's an MMO -- there are no deadlines (barring conquest if that's your thing); you can always pick up where you left off. There's been plenty ot Tuesdays when I still needed one more HM flashpoint or one more warzone win; it just meant I could get them done early that week and go do other things on other characters. Maybe that's just me being the eternal optimist in things, but I'm not going to be heartbroken I'm out 300 warzone commendations, and I can't fathom any adult somehow being emotionally disturbed by that. We're all pretty level-headed here, and despite what Kil'rok may feel, I'm not a prophetic font of wisdom.
However, let's hypothetically disregard everything I've written above, as is anyone's right to do so. I'm not anyone's boss here; I'm just the guy whom was thrust the position and whose charge is to be responsible for keeping things together. That doesn't give me any magical power over any human being in the world, and I'm under no delusion that I have any right to circumvent the free will of others. So let's disregard all of that: "Fuck you Raz, TOR is Life, TOR is Love; I need a ranked set a week ago, so we're gonna go hard. YOU JUST MAD I'M DOIN' ME BETTER THAN YOU'RE DOIN' YOU!" Enough straw in that scarecrow? Let's roll with this. Fine. SWTOR is a job to you. You've fabricated deadlines to imagined self-goals. Okay. Now, realize that even in a salaried position, you still have weekends off. So even if you do go hard for 8 hours a day in your employed position, as is standard, you still get two and a half days which you're not working; every single week (sometimes more with holidays). So, if you're going to treat SWTOR as a job, don't forget the weekend period in which you log off and decompress from your hobby.
It is a hobby. Video games are a hobby. Let's not kid ourselves. We're not wearing tracksuits with patches of corporate sponsors like some elite South Korean Starcraft Team or Swedish Call of Duty tournament player. As with any hobby, we've picked it up because we derive entertainment and amusement from it and it allows us to decompress from the stresses of every day life with a fantastical bout of escapism for a few hours of leisure. That's what it's there for, and keeping your hobbies healthy is a hard thing for many people. Indulge at times, but always be aware of your personal responsibilities to your life. Video games are not a lifestyle; no hobby should substitute for your personal lifestyle. That's a sign of mental illness; try to help people you see slipping into this broken state. MMORPGs can help your social skills, not replace them. If you need an excuse to go out, I've got a mobile game called Ingress you can download that'll give you quests to visit places in your town via GPS. I have tricks to make people into functional human beings. No one is immune.
If you're feeling the burnout come on, or you think you need help from pulling away, you have digital resources available in terms of myself, your fellow guildmates, and your family. Speak up, be it publically or privately -- whatever it is to be your comfort -- and let's find an amicable solution to your ills. That goes with anything, not just video game stuff. Sometimes letting off a little steam from your mental/emotional vent is cathartic enough. We're here for you.