Thursday, 29 March 2012

Rust Never Sleeps

World of Warcraft has been a huge part of my life for the last 7 years, but for the last few weeks I have been asking myself why do I logon most nights?

With the plethora of information coming from Blizzard about the upcoming Mists of Pandaria expansion, shouldn't we all be very excited and the new and wonderful challenges that lie ahead. To be honest I have only skimmed through the available info and whilst I am interested in the plans, there is a general lack of excitement.

So what has changed in WoW that would make me so lethargic and disinterested? The answer lies in 7 years of playing, I have probably clocked up in the region of 1 year played, approximately 3 hours a night every night on average. I started playing before my son was born. In those early months of his life I was able to be near him as he slept and I could complete a few quests on the long slog up to Level 60.

7 Years is a long time in anybody's book, but what concerns me is the alternatives. For somebody who goes to work 10 hours including the commute 3 hours spent with the kids, 7 hours sleep. That  leaves the magical 4 hours personal time. The average person as traditionally filled this space with light entertainment, normally the television. Wikianswers give the figure 26-28 hours per week, the average American according to watches a staggering 34 hours per week. I have condensed my TV schedule down to about 4-5 hours depending on the seasons. Using TIVO I setup the series links watch all the programmes in 2 nights and I am then free to play WoW 5 nights a weeks.

So the question I ask myself is, "What do I fill my time with if I stop playing WoW?". The answer is obviously not television, I could fill a month or two watching some of the box sets that I never got round to watching, but then what? I have always been a computer gamer,

I can trace my gamer roots back to the home console in the mid 70's when many a happy hour was spent playing pong. From such humble beginnings I wasted my early teens and many a 10p filling the Taito machines to get my fix of Space Invaders. The 80's was a lull for me not having access to a computer, but all my friends did. The Atari console, the ZX Spectrum, and the Commodore 64 became my greatest desires, with terrible envy of all the people who could play as much as they wanted on these wonderful machines.

I obtained my first PC in 1992, a 2nd hand Amstrad x286 IBM clone, The operating system was DOS and was loaded via floppy disk. I didn't mind this inconvenience because I could now waste many hours playing Tetris. For such a simple game the addiction levels were phenomenal. Many nights I would sleep Tetris dreams with shapes dropping down and a trance like Bob making the moves. Even in my dreams I could still lose.

When I first started earning regular money, I invested in a DX4-100. If memory serves me right it came with 4MB Ram and a 40MB HDD. My game of choice was Civilisation. Many hours spent conquering the Zulus, Aztecs and the Russians. I remember a period off work with perforated eardrum were I could play solidly for 10-12 hours a day only stopping for the occasional bite to eat.

Other games came and went, Baldur's Gate, Medal of Honour, Football Manager and Age of Empires. Then 7 years ago I discovered there was no need to ever buy another computer game. I had previously played Warcraft I - III, and assumed that World of Warcraft was a continuation of the same game, little did I know. It was like Baldur's Gate but 50,000 times larger and it was full of people chattering away. I was even afraid to go to Stormwind and level 6 fearing that the city denizens would rip me to shreds and steal my 5 Silver pieces that I had carefully managed to acquire.

So if I stop playing WoW then what else is there? Would I really want to play another MMO? SWTOR is not my genre, Star Wars past me by as a child, and RIFT is just too damn similar to WoW. The answer is I don't honestly know what to do, so I keep logging into WoW because that is just a habit now. LFR is now the new LFG, with noobs and alts streaming through. The good people have all moved on and the LFR gets more difficult with every passing week. Nobody kills the adds any more, nobody stands huddled together to make it easy for the healers. AOE and blaming everybody else is the new norm. Most bloggers have already commented on the farce that is loot distribution, even Blizzard has said enough is enough and have redesigned the system for Mist of Pandaria, which involves individual looting options.

Do I find something else to do in game? or do I step back through the wardrobe into real life. I have never taken a break from the game so I might find it easier to take refuge in PvP, Achievements and Pet collection.

One thing is for sure "Its better to burn out than fade away".

1 comment:

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