It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person of the 21st century in possession of moderate fortune must be in want of a game that allows them to kill stuff. I, too, am fallen prey to the world of PC games, and there is one that always has me coming back for more: World of Warcraft.
But even though I’ve willingly been in thrall to this game for the better part of a decade now, it has me going round the bend at times. My relationship with WoW is a lot like those slightly dysfunctional on again, off again relationships of sitcoms: It’s the best expansion ever! It’s the worst expansion ever! There’s nothing to do! There’s so much to do! I love it! I hate it!I want to marry it! I want to hack my computer to pieces!
Ahem. Anyway, since I’m in a bit of a WoW rut again (and because I feel like this blog needs a new lil’ feature anyway) I thought I’d do a list of my personal, totally not biased reasons for coming thiiiiis close to quitting the thing entirely.
What I like to call End of Expansion Syndrome. At the end of every expansion you usually hit a point where there’s just nothing to do for you. All the story lines have been completed, all raids have been raided, all the loot has been farmed, technically you could still run heroic but your guild somehow disappeared to this other server called Real Life and it’s just no fun without them, because raid browser? Nah. Sure, you can still grind rep, or farm ALL the gold, or become an achievement whore, or run through old content, or level alts, or… but somehow you’re just not feeling it. Maybe you’re just supersaturated. Maybe there is something to this Real Life thing. Whatever the case, you’re ready for something new. Only the next expansion will take For.E.Ver. to finally arrive. And who knows how good that will be. So you sigh, close the game, and try something else for a bit, all the while ranting all over the internet that WoW just lost its touch.
2. Sometimes WoW just raids your motivation to death
If there is one thing you can always do in WoW, it’s raiding. Now, I’m not a big raider anymore. My raid heyday was way back when in Lichking and Cataclysm. Because raiding isn’t fun without a guild, and my guild somehow acquired social lives (they still won’t tell me where that dropped). And the guilds you only join for the express purpose of raiding, they’re usually those super raiderinos who are really uptight about the whole thing. (Or maybe that’s just my rotten luck, but I’m never joining a raid guild again, ever, as long as I live and my server breathes… or something.)
Aaaanyway, coming back from that tangent… Yes, you can always raid, even during EES, but that’s precisely the problem, because suddenly there is nothing to do but raiding. At any other point during the expansion you can log on, check your mail, do a little quest, and log off after an hour so you can still get some sleep to go to your boring job that pays your monthly WoW fee. However, when there’s nothing to do but raid, which takes considerably longer than an hour, even if you’re running for the fiftieth time… okay, if I get home by this time I can log on, say, half an hour later, but the raid starts at X time, and actually I wanted something fancier for dinner than Red Bull and leftover chips, but it’s my turn to take out the trash, so that leaves me approximately 24 min. until starting time, and… But what if Legolaslol (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) is late again, and we’ll have no way of knowing whether he comes five minutes later or an hour later, actually, maybe that leaves me enough time to order pizza, but what if we start before the delivery arrives, I can’t just answer the door in the middle of the boss fight, though I mean, maybe they could handle forty seconds without me, but wait, if we finish by 11 pm I can still order pizza then, but actually I should be in bed because I have to get up at 6 am…
And if you only raid on weekends, what do you do the rest of the week? Level alts? Get them gear? So they can raid? Eeeehhh…
3. Everything is too hard… or too easy
Over time it’s become abundantly clear that Blizzard doesn’t have a balance spec. Either you get epics, mounts, quests, and raids thrown at you until you cry for mercy, or you have to break your back, sell your soul, your grandma‘s soul, and toil away well into the small hours of the morning just to get a tiny little smidgen closer to… get gear so you can run heroic dungeons. Which then last four hours because suddenly you actually need a plan to defeat the first boss that’s a little more sophisticated than “hit the thing until it stops moving”. On one side you find yourself pampered and growing lazy, longing for a bit of challenge because damn, are you bored. On the other you feel an overwhelming urge to bite apart your keyboard. Whatever the case, however, history showed us that people bitched about it. Which brings us to our next point…
It is a widely known fact that people ruin everything. Be it the kind of crazy raid guild that expects you to be available every day 5 pm to midnight, or just the idiots swarming the Trade channel, sometimes you just have enough of the social aspect of the MMO and yearn for the loving embrace of something a little more quiet, a little more solitary, and a little more peaceful, like, dunno, Diablo. So you retire to a quiet life on your Halfhill farm or your WoD garrison, where you lock yourself in your mage tower and refuse to see anyone. You might even go so far as to exploit a software glitch to put a big sign on the outer wall saying, “Keep Out,
Humans Orcs I Don’t Care What You Are, Stay OUT!”
Not that I ever toyed with the idea or anything…
Lore is nice, lore is great, lore brings the game to life. Lore is also the most confusing shit ever, and not even the people writing it always have their facts straight, as evidenced by a little dwarf in a red shirt in Ironforge.
WoW, of course, has a lot of lore. There’s so much history in this entire thing you can read all the books and still need the Wiki page to somewhat stay on top of things. And woe betide you if you don’t, because when that happens it’s gonna fuck you up. Sometimes lore happens and suddenly the game is different. Blink, and Garrosh is your boss. Blink, and all the orcs are like, “Trolls go home!” Blink, and the old Tauren is dead. Blink, and Magni Bronzebeard is now a fashionable statue. Blink, and Theramore’s gone. Blink, and Jaina’s finally snapped. Blink, and there’s intrigue and treachery and murder and natural catastrophe (though that’s really rare and usually in some way or another dragon-related) and you sorta just missed it and now you’re just standing there like “Whuh? When did that happen? Who and what now?” And with your half-knowledge you stumble through your quests at the verge of tears because you want to know what’s going on but you know you can never read all those books because some of them? Are not all that well-written. And if you’re a literature buff, that will drive you batty. Exhibit A keeps typing.
6. You took away my dailies?!, or The Boredom of the Leisure Class
One of my main irks with Warlords of Draenor is the pitiable lack of daily quests. Ah, those were the days when you had a dozen factions, each providing you with a set of five or six dailies to complete, and you’d grind so hard your rep and gold would shoot right through the screen! But alas, no more. Now quest NPCs be like, kill those mofos over there until I say stop. Yeah, okay, you can collect some items, too. No, those are enough. No really, I’d rather you off some more orcish twits. Oh, you want some variety? Okay, go kill some Arakkoa mofos. Yeah, kill the entire world, I don’t care. Here’s your 1500 rep and a tip. Don’t spend it all at once.
No, you know, actually I’d rather be back in Pandaria flying on a kite watering fields even though 1) throwing pitchers of water from high up seems a very ineffective method of watering anything, 2) it rained last week, yesterday, and it’s literally raining right now. But that’s still more fun than breaking out the calculator and computing how many of every type of mob I have to kill to get a 100% on the progress bar.
7. The hell did you do to my Azeroth?!, or The Emotional Turmoil Of Change
I’ll be the first person to admit that I don’t like change. Some update changed something in my e-mail inbox recently and I almost screamed. So I’ll just come right out and say that I was not thrilled when Cataclysm was announced. You’re just going to destroy my world?! Rip apart my beloved Ashenvale?! Change all the start zones?! Destroy the dam in Loch Modan?! Flood Menethil?! How could youuuuuu!
So after the initial shock I did the sensitive thing: I took my mount and did a great screenshot tour through old Azeroth before it was changed forever. And when Cataclysm rolled around, well, I wasn’t happy, but I acclimatised. Slowly. Over time. I mean, I still cried every time I entered Ashenvale. Or the Barrens. Or Stormwind where the park used to be. Or…. But by the time EES hit I had had a lot of sessions with a very capable bereavement specialist who now enjoys a nice and quiet life on the Maldives, and I had gotten used to everything.
I’ll never forgive Blizzard for putting me through all this, though. You’re toying with my emotions here, man!
8. My other fandom just released an MMO
Sometimes, you have a nice, stable long-term relationship with a nice, reliable person, bit rough around the edges but hey, who’s perfect? You have your routines, you know each others’ quirks, you’re comfortable with each other. But then, one warm summer evening you’re at a friend’s party and someone enters the room. Tall. Dark. Handsome. And he whispers… “I have a spaceship.”
And it’s a whirlwind romance of new and exciting things and you’re floating on a pink cloud thinking, this is the best ever, nothing else will ever compare, I’m never going back.
This is more or less what happened to me when SWTOR happened. Oh my stars and garters, it was like an exhilarating but forbidden affair. It lasted about as long as one, too. I mean, I love Star Wars. I love spaceships. I love bounty hunters. Now there’s someone offering me a galaxy far, far away that contains all my heart’s spacey desires. It just happened! It was just that one time (for a stretch of a few months)! But it meant nothing to me, I swear!
9. The Real Life server called
This is actually a legit reason to quit any game: Suddenly, there’s stuff to do, and it can’t be solved with pyroblasts. There are not many things that can’t be solved with a good pyroblast, so you know this is serious. Maybe you got a job. Maybe you got a family. Maybe you ran out of money. In my case, I was finishing a degree programme and decided, as much fun as it was to kill stuff, I really should do something with my life. Something more productive. Something that ensure I will be able to pay the monthly fees in the future. And thus, with tears in my eyes (not really) I hung my mage’s staff on a wall (figuratively speaking), hugged all my pets (okay, I actually did that), and rode forth into the sunset, through the portal and rejoined the magical kingdom of Real World. The quests really sucked. Graphics were okay. Bit grey, though.
And that’s why, at diverse dates, I almost quit my beloved game for good. And if you want to know why I still haven’t you need to stay tuned, this may become a regular blog thing. Cheers.