It’s been a long, long week and all I want to is kick back with a cup of tea and kill something. My poor little neglected mage is making big soulful eyes at me and I cave, log in, and… and now what?
Okay, so… admittedly, my Warlords of Draenor enthusiasm faded with the speed of a raid boss nerf after every .1 patch update. And we started out so well! New world, check. New enemies, check. Housing, oh my god, finally, check. New pets, check. (What? There’s no such thing as too many pets.) And then the honeymoon stage ended and I was faced with the terrible reality of relationships and MMOs alike: bae ain’t what it used to be.
Maybe it’s not you, Blizzard, maybe it’s me. After all, I’ve been playing since BC. I’ve seen the best of times. I’ve seen the worst of times. You had me go from “What the hell, pandas?!” to “Fuck yeah, pandas!”, and we had such great times, but… times change. People change. Games change. You know what, maybe it’s you after all.
1. I’m more emotionally attached to my characters than is healthy.
Toons are people, too! Somehow, over the years, they accumulated so much personality it’s kind of hard to believe I wasn’t put in a mental institution yet. Or on an RP server. (No, seriously, why don’t I RP? Oh, right, no one can deal with my humour. Or my troll priest’s Jamaican accent.) They all have their own idiosyncrasies and background stories
and fanfiction and funny little quirks, not to mention the heavily varied contents of their inventory. (So. Much. Stuff. I still carry around some quest items from long-forgotten and now non-existent BC era quests that my noob self was just too stupid to complete.) Like, my Human mage is very much the hero type, while my Forsaken warlock has a bit of a mischievous streak and is absolutely devoted to her little felhunter. (What? Felhunters are cute, shut up.) Then there’s the Nightelf boomkin who is trying to unify society’s pressure on Elves to look sexy and feminine with her love for RAW MOONFIRE POWER which only comes in the shape of a big fat owl with antlers (it’s a tough life).
…yeah, I may have a problem.
2. Dora the Explorer Syndrome
There are roughly 27 GB worth of screenshots on my hard drive. No matter the content, Blizzard always makes good landscapes. I’m a WoW landscape nerd. I’m also into discovering shit. I’m one of those weirdos that enjoys running literally around continents. The first thing I did when Cataclysm was announced was a last screenshot tour through my belovéd Azeroth. It was then that I discovered – dun dun DUUUUNNN – the original Quel’Thalas which got scratched and replaced by Eversong Forest in BC. You can’t go there anymore because since Cata there’s an invisible wall because gods forbid you see the three and a half Nightelves ruins. Okay, so it was a little anti-climatic in hindsight, but hey, I discovered something! Also, where they put Uldum now, pre-Cata there used to be a tiny Tauren village with a gigantic peace pipe. Also, did you know that at a certain point in Pandaria there’s a flying ghost turtle just chilling and if you wave at it, it’s accompanying you for a bit? Also also, if you go to Outlands Nagrand and fly up just over Throne of the Elements, there is a hut containing a troll woman and lots of children. And bubbling soup cauldrons. Dun dun DUUUUUNNN!
Also also also, there’s something weird going on in Stratholme.
3. Who’s gonna feed all my widdle pets?!
I can’t have pets in real life. So to (over-) compensate I own over 700 pets in WoW. I can’t help it! They’re so cute! They have big eyes and big paws and cute deadly fangs! I’m still waiting for Blizzard to install a cuddle feature because goddamnit! You can’t just give me a cutie like this and then tell me I can’t hug it:
I may or may not have been caught hugging my screen more times than I’m comfortable admitting.
Look at it! It’s a corgi made of lava! Isn’t this the cutest thing to ever drag it’s fiery butt across the floor?
And I feel bad for them, because there’s so many of them I always feel like I’m neglecting one or the other. I also have clear favourites. I’m such a bad pet mom. Luckily they don’t actually need feeding.
4. There’s always something to do… even if it’s ridiculously work-intensive.
It’s not like there is literally nothing to do in WoD. You can grind rep for about a dozen factions. You can earn the achievement that allows you to use your long neglected flying mounts again. You can be all about your base (all about that base, ’bout that base, more missions! I’m all about that base, ’bout that base, more buildings!) and optimize everything and command your subordinates around all commander-y. You can earn what feels like 752 achievements in dungeons and raids alone. However, everything takes time. So much time. So much damn time I can see people debating with themselves whether or not to quit their jobs and move into a hovel near a coffee shop for the free wifi so they can do alllll those things that theoretically could be done.
What am I doing? Waiting for pet battle quests that I like doing so I can buy moar pets! Oh, and fishing. Lots o’ fishing.
5. Bring on the NPCs!
Not only am I too emotionally involved with my own characters, I’m also too into NPCs. I love Our Lady of the Forsaken and if anything happens to her in the upcoming expansion a rather large delivery of very smelly lutefisk may or may not materialise outside of Blizzard HQ. Better yet, in their air conditioning vents. I’m even more into Jaina since she snapped and went crazy on the Horde’s asses in Dalaran. I will absolutely never forgive Blizzard for moving Tirion Fordring and his horse out of Plaguelands, I liked visiting the guy on his little defunct farm! Then there’s all my furry panda friends in Halfhill, yes, I still go there. Sometimes I even do daily quests for them because well, we have so much history! Yes, I’ll water your fields. Yes, even though it is literally raining right now. And it has literally rained yesterday. For old times sake. (Also, there’s a guy called Gai Lan and I just found out that that’s actually a kind of broccoli. I may or may not have laughed for five minutes straight.)
6. “Stuck with you”
Okay, admittedly not a great reason to keep a relationship going, but… we’ve been together so long now, WoW and me! Like… we got the same phone number, all the same friends, the same address, you know, it’s just what happens when you’re together a really long time, the fire just slowly fizzles out, not least because the mage fire skill tree has a long history of getting nerfed and it’s supremely annoying each time. Like, what am I supposed to do, spec frost or – shudder – arcane?! Thankfully, with the higher gear towards the end of each expansion the problem usually drifts away on its own, but still.
7. World Events
I don’t care if I’ve done Brewfest a thousand times in my lifetime. I don’t even care that they removed virtually all the drinking quests (though they were fun, fuck you, P-12 rating!) and the only beer you get to pelt the attacking Dark Iron clan with is now alcohol free. I’ll be there every day, delivering kegs for tokens just so I can buy a grill. Or a flag. Or… sigh… a pet. You bet I’ll be flying around on a broomstick come Hallow’s End with my little Feline Familiar by my side, landing only to wade ankle deep through the candy buckets. I’ll be there next Winter Veil in my garish sweater singing traditional Winter Veil songs while wearing fuzzy warm socks and a winter hat and placing cushions all over Iron Forge so I have somewhere comfy to sit while I own my fellow players with my unbeatable little racing car. I mean, how do you spend your holidays?
8. The concept of it all
World of Warcraft is generally an amalgam of Earth’s most popular myths, taking bits and pieces from all over the world and mashing them up into entirely new things. For example, Night Elves are a mix of Chinese culture and the mythological amazons, Humans and Forsaken are general Central European, while Dwarves are a fun mix of Scottish and Norse culture. Likewise, some expansions are more on the nose about their origins. Northrend is very clearly inspired by Scandinavian and Canadian landscapes, and Scandinavian and Norse mythology. Pandaria is inspired by a number of Asian landscapes and mythologies, and some references are more obvious than others. And Blizzard just goes and ties them all together by the narratives of the Old Gods, the Titans, and the almost weekly demon invasions. I think this is part of what makes the game so great, the fact that you have something familiar and recognizable, but also something new. Humans generally like to hear the same story told over and over again only differently (think of romcoms or superhero movies, it’s the same damn thing with different names and different misunderstandings, but essentially it’s always the same), and Blizzard has a knack for that.
9. How else would I spend my weekends? Going outside? Among people?!
The flame wars in the trade chat are already more social interaction than I need or want. And you expect me to brace the same endless tirades in the real world? Where I’m required to wear pants or any article of clothing?! And were problems are not solved by wanton destruction of mine enemies?! Sounds like hell to me. In that case, I might as well play Diablo.
And that’s my own, personal, totally not biased reasons for still spending too much time playing this stupid time-consuming game. What are your excuses?