Autorun in MMOs has ruined every other game for me

The humble autorun. A simple yet effective tool in any MMO’s kit, allowing players to automatically walk, run or fly forward without having to hold down any keys. While it’s occasionally crept into other games, autorun by and large remains within the MMO bubble.

Having played Final Fantasy 14 (opens in new tab)almost daily for the last 12 months, autorun has become an integral part of how I navigate across maps. It’s a wonderful respite, an opportunity to partake in small side tasks: hydrating, reading messages, eating food—hell, I could even write this article while traveling from A to B (I’m not, promise). The more time passed, the more I came to utterly rely on this feature without ever really noticing how dependent I’d become. It was only once I emerged from the MMO cave to play a different goddamn game for once that it hit home: holy crap, I cannot play games without autorun anymore.

Twice in the last month it’s become clear how much autorun has ruined other games for me. The first was when I jumped into the Overwatch 2 beta. I favor heroes like Zenyatta, who are fun as hell but have awful mobility. With a decent stretch of land between spawn and the fight, it’s the perfect hands-off moment to have a quick swig of water or reply to that Discord DM I forgot about three hours ago. Except if I do either of those things, I stop moving. I am held hostage by my W key and mouse, forced to maneuver my floating robot to the point with my own two hands. Since when did videogames become so damn interactive?

(Image credit: Square Enix)

The second time (perhaps the moment I realized I desperately need to touch grass) was when I jumped into a Minecraft server with my pals. I have the building progress of a soggy bagel, much preferring to palm off the creative work onto someone else and zone out with some strip mining. It soothes my brain smacking ore veins, and there’s a lovely serotonin boost every time those experience orbs make the cute twinkly sound. It also requires a lot of walking. Heading down to the depths of the mine and sprinting down my endlessly carved-out corridors is a pain in the ass. It’s something I would usually automate so I could free up my hands for other things. Though once again, I realized my favorite feature was sorely missing.

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