Friday, February 6, 2015

To WoW or not to WoW

So I started playing WoW again. I had decided somewhere in november, actually just after the release of Warlords of Draenor, that I was going to make a come back come the new year. My bf was sceptical, worried that I might get sucked in when I don't really have that much time to put into playing anymore. I was worried as well, not that I might neglect my daily chores but that I'd neglect other games. Because that was the one issue I always had with WoW - it was all or nothing with that game. Every other game had to step back. So when I finally took the step to quit, a process that in itself took several months for me to actually go through with from first thoughts to cancellation of account, it was sad but also somewhat relieving. I would finally have time to play other games.If I felt that WoW ever made me miss out on anything, it would be that. It was worth it of course, I regret very few things about WoW. Some harsh words said on occasion perhaps, but not the time invested.

When I heard that the new expansion was everything everyone had hoped for (albeit the launch was a shamble as always) and a bit more, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to jump back in. I knew of course that all the things that had made me quit in the first place were still a factor. The fact that I don't have time to raid, the fact that most people I used to play with don't anymore or that I don't really have contact with them anymore. But I thought I had come to a point where I could go in and not need those things anymore. Turns out I was right and wrong.

I remember back when I started playing WoW, it was definitely the social aspect that got me hooked. I got interested because the game is very well designed and extremely rewarding to play, but what made me stay for 8 years and countless hours (seriously) were the people and the interaction - the good and even the bad times. Early on I didn't have those things yet, I was just another scrub questing around I recall playing for an hour or so and feeling like I was done, like I was bored and wanted to do something else. In my heyday I could literally play all day and not be bored because there was always something to do with someone. This "someone" was the key, I realize now. Even if I did random dungeons on lowbie alts with strangers, it was still the interaction with the group I enjoyed. I loved tanking or healing, because making the party run smoothly was the whole challenge to me. Even if we never said a word to eachother (which rarely happened, I loved to chatter), the silent actions of people spoke plenty.

With changes, streamlining and simplifying many things a lot of the challenge for me disappeared. As I've said many times before, I never felt like these changes made WoW a bad game, but we've grown apart. When I saw other social aspects around me going away as well I felt like WoW had turned into just another game to me - and as such one I had spent way too much time on. It was time to move on and try other things.

But I missed it terribly. The olden golden days of raiding, sure. All the fun in guild chat, of course. But mostly just running around in Tirisfal Glades and listening to the ambient music. Swimming in the waters outside of Stranglethorn Vale and killing pirates. Questing in Howling Fjord. I miss Shimmering Flats, Desolace, Duskwood, Blasted Lands, Zul'drak, Barrens and almost every other place in the game (Borean Tundra not so much). I wanted to go back and reminisce about old times the same way you go back to where you grew up as a kid and think about all the fun you had running around in the fields, forests and playgrounds. Although I don't need those things anymore, I want to go back and remember what it was like. For this, WoW is still brilliant, although I am a bit sad that Cataclysm had to change so much of Azeroth.

In every other aspect however, WoW has failed to draw me in. I can see how the Garrison is addictive, and sending your followers on missions is definitely fun. Questing is still an entertaining past-time, but I still feel instancing is too easy to be very rewarding. Raiding, even LFR is still something I just don't have time with, and frankly the thought of LFR (which is the only raiding option for me) doesn't attract me at all. The fact that WoW doesn't make it easy for you to just up and leave at any moment makes it further difficult for me to find a good time to play. They've made a couple of changes to the game that I find quite neat though, like the rare mobs you can find around the map and the way you get loot in instances. I can see what everyone loves so much about it, but somehow I just feel like I am part of it anymore. It reminds me of when I tried other MMOs while playing WoW. Be it Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, Warhammer Online - I always felt like I was a visitor. WoW was home, I knew that place inside and out. Every other game was like going on vacation - at first you were excited about all the new things and how they did things differently, but I always ended up missing my own bed to sleep in. To me I get that same feeling of being a stranger when playing WoW now. Like I don't really belong.

Now I am torn between two places - the one that wants to leave and the one that wants to stay. Now I log in maybe every third day, send some followers on a mission, do some quests, maybe an instance if I have time (with 30 min queue time that is rarely so). I don't feel like I need WoW as a game. But I do feel like I need WoW as a memory. I still want to be able to log in just to be able to walk around areas and relax. I need WoW as a place to visit. There is no other game I can do that in.  Does that warrant the monthly fee though? I haven't decided yet.


  1. In my last year of playing WoW, I found myself more and more drawn to the old BC and Wrath areas, and less to the Cata and Mists zones. It got to the point where I spent most of my logged in time in Hellfire Peninsula or Netherstorm, just hanging around and keeping the Horde gankers at bay.

    Your post hit on that feeling of being a visitor, hanging around the old places that I used to go to and love, but not feeling quite like a part of the current state of WoW. I can relate to that immensely; if I go back and resub, it won't be to check out Warlords but to enjoy the old areas again. I'm sure that Blizz will happily take my money, but my lack of interest in the latest expac would be something they'd not expect.

    1. My thoughts exactly, I bet by now the game has gone on for so long the group of "veterans" like us that are more interested in the old content is getting quite big. I always toyed with the idea of playing on a Vanilla/BC/Wotlk server, if Blizzard would ever offer such an option. I am sure I would try it out, but in the end memories are maybe best left as that.

  2. "which is the only raiding option for me"

    Why exactly can't you find PUGs for normal raiding (basically the same as Naxx 10/ICC 10) using the new tool? And just drop out if needed if something comes up? The raid itself is flexible and scales based on the number of people.

    1. I had heard about the new tool but wasn't sure how it worked. I could probably give that a shot, thanks for the tip!

    2. You open it, search for groups, and hit apply to try to join groups. Leader can invite you if they choose.

      To be honest, you're going to have a rougher time trying to find PUGs at this point since people will generally want people who already have at least some experience and some gear, so be prepared to be persistent. Can also try to sign up for events at -- generally you'd want to sign up a day or two in advance but depending on your weekly schedule you can find different groups each week. And just cancel if something changes before the raid starts.

      I don't know your personal situation and why you think you can't raid, but I will say that it really doesn't require much time. I clear Mythic in about 8-9 hours of raiding per week. I also lead a casual/alt/member normal clear on Wednesdays at 9 CST -- not sure if you're currently a goblin or a dwarf but if you're the latter you could show up to that whenever you're able to make it.

      And, like I said, the raids generally scale between 10 and 25 -- so if you have a group of 20 and then suddenly need to jet, it won't cause massive issues.

    3. When I stopped guild-raiding it was because I couldn't stick to a raid schedule due to work. This is still a problem. The possibility to jump in on a raid when I know I have a free evening would obviously counter that pretty neatly.

      Other than that I still have a young child that can wake up anytime and need my attention. Mostly it's only 10-15 minutes I need to walk away, but few people want to wait for someone that amount of time mid-raid, let alone mid-combat. I'd never ask that of any raid group.

      At the moment that means that I might get a group, have to leave when I need to go away for a little while and then redo the process. I might get a boss done, I might get a raid done, or nothing at all. I think my overall issue is that I don't think it's worth the hassle. Maybe I'm making it into a bigger problem than it is, Blizzard has definitely made a lot of changes to cater to the casual player - I just miss the good old raiding with friends, and the random groups could never really replace that for me.

  3. Zinn

    It's nice to see you are back in WoW, if even for a little while. I have to say that if you like the interaction with others, the garrisons have almost completely gotten away from that (besides trade chat that is). With a trading post and the primal trader, you can almost not have to leave your garrison at all and still level up (through mining/herbing/invasions) you character and your professions and not have to even see another person. Not that I am a very group oriented person, but I used to greatly enjoy chatting with guildies when I was on. Now they are mostly gone and the new people (to me, not necessarily the game) hardly ever chat at all. I find it quite lonely now and have also cut back somewhat on my gaming time. I am finding that the garrisons eat up a lot of time, especially with alts coming into and through WoD, you have your missions to run (but I just don't really have a reason to do them), you have the mine and herb garden (for yet another stack of mats you don't really need), and work orders to do (again mostly for mats you don't really need anymore).

    I find the thing I enjoy the most is just leveling alts through older zones, once they get into Mists or Warlords, I just loose interest in them.

    Anyway, sorry about the buzzkill, glad you are back and hope you find something to enjoy while you're back.

    1. You sum up my feelings pretty nicely. I understand Blizzards decision to make people more and more self-reliant, in itself it doesn't have to be a bad thing and maybe it's just the course an MMO has to take when it's been on the market for as long as WoW has. I just feel it's not really for me, or at least at this point it's not. If I am going to put time into a game just for the games sake, it probably won't be one I've already spent more than 8 years of my life with. I've got such a backlog of games that I want to try out and I've already done everything you can do solo in WoW so many times!

      I might not have given the game a fair chance, probably playing it quite reclusively, but I really did feel like the social aspect is something you have to go out of your way to find right now. In all fairness, I don't really have that much time to invest in a social network in WoW anyway.