Yes…this is a WoW post. I am sorry, but it was something I was thinking of earlier. I was trying to figure out what to do with my day, and when I do this, WoW is always one of the first options that comes to mind. However, only a fraction of the time do I actually logon, let alone stay on for any length of time. Lately when I sign onto WoW it’s just to do the daily Inscription cooldown. Then I quickly sign back out and do something else. This used to not be the case. I used to sign onto this game and stay on…for way too long, doing a variety of things, often on a variety of characters. So what the hell happened? Has the game gotten less fun? Has it changed so much that I no longer want to play it? Really none of that is the case, it is something a lot more subtle; the treadmill is lonely. Let’s talk more about this treadmill. Join me, won’t you?
WoW, despite being about the swords, sorcery and loot, is a social game. I know this term has come to be associated with the landfill of fucking terrible social media based games. Facebook unfortunately has taken a monopoly out on this term, and that is really a shame, as these games are almost universally bad, and more chores than games. I have enough chores to do, I don’t also need Facebook to present me with more. However I digress; I am not here to talk about those garbage games. At least not now.
So yeah, social game. While World of Warcraft is a totally competent game on its own merits, it is a game without end. While most video games have a termination point to its story, WoW is meant to continue going on, with the same base mechanics. Obviously there are 1-player games that stand the test of time very well and have people playing them decades after they come out, putting in tons of hours. However, the amount of time one will spend on such a game is still tiny compared to what the average WoW player would put in. Sometimes when I want to make myself my depressed I will hit the /played command on my main. Throughout this time though, I played this competent game, and had fun; but it was not so much the game that kept me coming back, it was the social aspect.
While going through the treadmill of leveling alt after alt, and going through the loot treadmill, I typically had a group of people in a guild, or chat channel to talk to, ease the grind through socializing. We also did a lot together; running dungeons, raids, dailies. While things were often done alone, it didn’t feel like it. I had that group, those people to constantly talk through, either through those chats, over ventrillo, it was great. It felt like the game was complete. All the elements set forth in front of me were coming together in that way that made WoW a staple of my life for years.
Unfortunately that’s not the case anymore. Those friends left WoW, went onto other things; either in the game world, or they got a life. Whatever. As a result, the game got a lot lonelier. Of course while playing I didn’t always have people around to talk to, but this was a totally different case for me. The game, despite its millions of players, felt like a ghost town. LFG was always a silent affair, and raiding was done in the idiotic LFR, where any talking was not worth seeing. This left me to climb these treadmills alone, no one to talk to as I collected 10 bear pelts. This changed how the game felt to me right down to its very core. Might as well have hacked out things like dungeons, so important to the core was this social function. It was since then I have waffled with playing WoW, leaving and coming back; but the game never feeling as truly complete as it once was.
That is not to say every day since that core group of friends left that this game has been nothing but lonely. I have joined other guilds, and met some nice people. However, nothing really clicks in the way that got me so into the game. I have felt no revival of my spirits in Azeroth, which as such is making it harder to log on. I have stopped tending the farm, I have tried switching mains; I have tried all the little tricks that get you back into the game. However, this was simply putting a band-aid on the gaping hole that appeared when the social perfection was taken away. Honestly I don’t know how much longer my subscription will be staying up for World of Warcraft. I know I keep on saying that, and going back on it; diving back in after a few weeks.
However, the excitement for the game as I keep coming back is dissipating quicker and quicker. It seems eventually that this will be truly hung up for me, despite my liking of what Mists of Pandaria has brought to the table. Unfortunately, no matter how much good Mists has brought to the table, that critical component is missing for me. As a result who knows how much longer I am willing to stay on that treadmill. I haven’t played now for about a week, and feel no compunction to throw myself back on. Maybe I have already stepped off, and just have not seen that yet.