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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Post Blizzcon Storytime - Finding Enjoyment

It's been roughly six weeks since I showed any activity here on the blog.  I needed a break from all things WoW.  I had cancelled my sub, but re-upped before I ran out of time.  I do that when I don't login for a couple weeks, but I've never had a sub lapse between all my accounts since I started playing.

I went silent for awhile, then Blizzcon happened.  I re-upped, re-rolled, and bought a virtual ticket after Blizzcon had ended (as crazy as it sounds!).  I'm excited about the new expansion Warlords of Draenor.  I'm excited about Garrisons.  I'm excited to so many folks on twitter and on streams that are honestly excited about the game.

Those of you who've followed me for awhile know that, in addition to being a blunt, elitist jerk of goldmaking, I've also had a bit where I was a grumpy curmudgeon about all things Blizzard / WoW.  So, all this may seem rash.  You may expect that by Christmas-time, I'll be back here or on the show ribbing on Blizzard for one thing or another.  And I've thought about that disparity of attitudes, too.

Two years ago, when Mists of Pandaria was first announced, and details started flowing, I snatched an Annual Pass and went to work preparing.  Eight scribes, seven alchemists, full professions coverage over my three accounts.  At launch I was shuffling 500 stacks of ore almost daily.  Gold was great, and I was one of the top-geared toons overall on my server for the first month.

But the month before MoP is when things started going south for me.  I was the the raid lead for my guild on US-Emerald Dream.  We weren't super-serious, but we had fun and made decent progress.  My GM and his girlfriend (co-GM) were our Main Tank and Main Healer, respectively.  They played well at their class, and I was friends with my GM - I honestly can call Alex a friend - I'd have helped him out in real life and chilled with him if there weren't 1500 miles between us.  But, the month before MoP, he & our co-GM started one of those long, drawn-out breakups.  He didn't see it coming and took it hard.  He told me he might quit the game.

Understand that these two dated IRL - they were together outside the game and lived in the same city.  Seeing her online everyday and not being able to do things together - even in game - it hurt him.  Seeing the uncertainty on two key spots of my roster was hard.  I'd worked to get us ready to roll out of the gate, and there was nothing I could do for either the raid or for my friend.  Subbing in for these guys would have been tough in the beginning - and you know you gotta bring em in when they're available - it's the GM - your friend.  So then you have to sit the sub and deal with whatever drama ensues.

I saw the handwriting on the wall.  I've read this story before, and there is no happy ending.  He took a few weeks, but Alex inevitably quit wow, passed GM to an officer, and went out in an RP event in Trade District with 7 guilds and hundreds in attendance - it was a big deal.  And WoW was honestly never the same for me after that.  Rather than patch my raid group together or butcher the second group for mine, I stepped down and found another guild to run with.  I needed to take a break from organizing and leading and wanted to just be a raider.

It started out okay - my brother and I were the first 90s in our new guild.  The GM seemed like a good guy.  But eventually, raids were running 4 days a week on an impromptu schedule and I was missing raids I didn't know about and getting dissed on for it.  Which sucks because my biggest concern that I addressed clearly with the new GM before joining was about the schedule.  It didn't take long before I chucked the deuces and gquit.  That guild eventually fell apart.

I fell back on running Arenas with friends, but rogues weren't in a good place in 5.0 & 5.1, and when I found some to run with on my rDruid and got geared, one of my buds decided to go Holy over Ret for 3s, and eventually xferred off server before I could gear Feral.  I never was able to catch up.  I xferred to Tichondrius to raid with some older buds, but that guild fell apart over the Christmas break only a few weeks after I got there.

Nothing was working out, and I got pretty bitter about it.  I started doing other things - playing EvE Online for a few months before hitting a wall of lifers that I just couldn't make friends with.  The annual pass I had so enthusiastically signed up for not even 12 months prior became the only thing keeping me subbed.  Eventually, I came back to WoW and started a long goldmaking project rolling on a dozen or more servers.  Turned out to be a lot to keep up with - especially when I changed jobs and life got a lot busier.  The rest brings us to now.

I've said before on The Consortium forums that WoW is an amazing social game.  But, as a solo game, it's slightly below par.  I believe that now more than ever.  When that social element started slipping away from me, WoW just wasn't fun.  And all my attempts to enjoy WoW again have been chasing after getting back to those good old days when all my friends and I would do all sorts of cool stuff together.  But nothing is ever as constant as change - our schedules changed, the game changed, we changed, and some of us don't even play anymore.

That's life - not to sound trite, but it's a fact.  A lot of folks in this game have issues with something about it.  For some, it's game changes; for others, it's people.  In a game this large and a playerbase this enormous, you will find all kinds - the good, the bad, the ugly.  The trolls, the cool folks, the cancer.  When you run into the zero-fun stuff a lot, it doesn't really make you wanna log in.  As we've learned with each expansion and Blizzcon - good stuff comes, and it goes.  So does bad stuff.

The challenge is to be able to enjoy the good and leave the bad alone.  And, tying in to what I said earlier, the best part of the game is the social aspect of it - I feel without that, the good is just okay, and the bad is utter garbage.  But that slips away just like the OP-ness of rogues with each new round of patch notes.  People move on.  And so to continue to enjoy the game, and not become a bitter old solo goldmaker lamenting the good old days via whispers with former guildmates years later - you've gotta find new folks to enjoy the game with, and focus on the good stuff. 

There's a lot lined up for WoD - and there are sure to be plenty of folks who are more critical than excited.  But if just being on Twitter around Blizzcon showed me anything - it's how much excitement comes from playing the game with others who are excited about it.  That's the real key to enjoying the game - from a guy who's been on both sides of it all.  Hope to have some more podcasts episodes for you guys and some more blog posts in the coming weeks.  And if you any of guys ever find yourselves on US-Moon Guard (Alliance) - shoot me a message on Twitter - I'm looking for new friends here :)

2 comments:

  1. Well sir, I'm a sometimes poster on the Consortium, an occasional blogger, a half-decent gold theorist when it takes my fancy, a former guild leader and raider, and inveterate soloist/experimenter, and I play on Silver Hand and Sentinels atm. If you're looking for a Battletag friend, I would be tickled pink to chat. Shoot me an email (you can find the address in my "About" section) and I would pleased to exchange BNet IDs.

    Cheers,
    Eccentrica

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  2. I was in a very similar situation to yours in the earlier part of this year, and can't agree more that WoW is simply a bit dull without friends. That said, I'm glad I stuck it out and kept pushing and searching. Got a good thing going on now.

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