I’ve been assembling notes in preparation for a series of posts on why I can’t seem to quit playing World of Warcraft. I have three pages at this point, and those are just notes, not actual thought out essays. I look at the file and think, damn, where do I start….. there’s just so much here.
I will note that I’ve decided to assume at least basic familiarity with the games and companies I’m talking about. If you’ve never heard of, much less played, Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, or Neverwinter Nights, this post won’t make the first damn bit of sense to you. I’m creating a breakdown of several games for those who aren’t already familiar. That’s going to be a rather long series of posts, and will take some time to complete. In the meanwhile, if you know what I’m talking about, proceed! If not, well–proceed anyway, but at your own risk. 🙂
I’ll start at what was the beginning for me: Blizzard’s Hearthstone. I really like card games, and I was a huge Magic: The Gathering geek for a while. Hearthstone, which feels a bit like MTG Lite, caught my attention immediately. I played it endlessly for months. I mean total addiction mode, up half the night, madly excited about finding a Legendary in a card pack. I even went looking to see if they’d converted MTG to an internet game, and indeed they had–but on trying it out, in comparison to Hearthstone it felt laggy, unwieldy, and flat out boring. I couldn’t understand why I’d ever liked it in the first place. Hearthstone was so obviously superior: fast, with great animations, goofy card text, incredible play style flexibility and options, endless promotional boosts–and free, don’t forget free.
At the same time, a lot of folks on my Twitter and Facebook feed were talking about World of Warcraft, a game also produced by Blizzard. I realized that Hearthstone was, in fact, a card game based on WoW–don’t laugh at me, I can be dead slow on the uptake sometimes–and the temptation began. Because if Hearthstone was so fun, and WoW looked like a big sprawling RPG (potentially even better than Neverwinter Nights)… well….
I’ll pause here to note that I had never played a MMORPG before. I always chose the offline version of a game and played solo. That was partially financial, because I hadn’t had an internet access plan that would allow for a brute of a game like WoW, and partially–well, I’ve already said games are an addiction for me. I didn’t want to risk the rabbit hole.
I first tried to load it to my iPad. Yes, I was that ignorant.
I side-eyed the game for several more days before giving in and installing it on my computer. In a proper romance story, I would say I immediately fell in love and the rest is history. This being real life, I’ll admit that I absolutely hated WoW for about the first two weeks. It was confusing and complicated and there were all these people running around acting so completely confident. There were more options and buttons and bars and beeps and boops than I’d ever seen on a game before. It was worse than the days of trying to teach myself a 3D animation-building program without help. I struggled just to understand the camera settings, let alone trade chat or joining a group. I had no clue about key bindings, action bars, oh gods, dozens of things. It is, honestly, a freaking beast of a game with a zillion options.
I kept going because I’m stubborn, and because friends I trust told me that my reaction was normal, to just ignore anything that didn’t need to be understood right that moment. So it took me weeks to take a chance on joining a quest group, months to figure out key binding, years (yes, you can laugh at me here) to realize details such as, for example, enchantments could be cast on scrolls for later use, instead of having to be cast on the same items over and over in order to build skill points. I mentioned I’m slow sometimes. It just honestly never flagged in my head.
I still only use about a quarter of the fancy shit that WoW offers. Macros still confuse me a bit, and I prefer solo play over group, especially with dungeons. I don’t see the point of a lot of what other players are fighting over; I have zero interest in raids or PvP combat or–
Well. If you already play WoW, you’re doing one of three things right now: rolling your eyes at me, leaving to find someone more Authentically Geeky, or nodding along enthusiastically and saying talk about what’s good in the game now, please!
Okay. First two subsets: hush. Last subset: WELCOME TO MY WORLD.
This post is for you.
What I really love about WoW, the reasons I can’t quit playing:
The side quests, especially those tied to profession skills like fishing, herbalism, tailoring, and so on. I’ve created new characters (“alts”) just to explore questlines among different professions.
The professions themselves. Both gathering and crafting sides are fantastic fun. I’ve created a team of characters, in fact, who farm and craft for one another–basically a mini guild. Why would I want to join a guild, when I can do all the stuff myself?
I’m going to pause here and note that I have been in several guilds, and three of my characters are still in a guild–on the Horde side–and I’m well aware that guilds can be fun. I’m only in that Horde guild because one of my IRL friends invited me in. I almost never take advantage of any of the perks. I just use the guild to keep in touch with my friend more easily.
I’m also going to pause–in fact, stop–at this point because I’ve just realized that discussing what I love about WoW is going to take up an entire post all on its own, if not several. Please post comments about which aspects of WoW you particularly love, and I’ll try to address those points in my next post.
REMEMBER: I have a first time commenter approval policy. Your comment will take around 24 hours to show up, depending on when I have time to check my email. Once you’ve cleared that first comment block, future comments will appear instantly. 😀
Now I’m off to the next bit of writing for the day–whatever I decide that’s going to be. I might just freewrite for half an hour, I haven’t done that in a while.
Go be creative and have fun today! Because why the hell not. 🙂