At our Ars Magica game Sunday night, I mentioned that I was playing WoW again to a couple of the guys who are off playing EVE, WAR and Darkfall. They made faces.
I can appreciate that WoW is old hat for many, particularly those who explored a similar game years before in EQ2. I am aware that WoW has a number of failings, from the immaturity of its player base to the lack of features that are increasingly becoming standard even in new MMOs, let alone mature titles. And I can empathize with frustration at the glacial slowness with which WoW is expanded and improved.
It’s now getting to be about two months since I resubscribed to WoW. I have not been playing every day, but most days I put at least an hour or two in, and sometimes more – sometimes significantly more in the case of long weekends. I show no sign of stopping, and WoW-fatigue has been fleeting and swiftly banished when I take my seat at the computer. Honestly, most games do not last for seven weeks for me, save for a couple of runs at EVE or EQ2 when I was trying to confine myself to them.
I’m trying to pin down the reasons for that without neccessarily commiting myself to “sticking with WoW for the long run,” however long the run turns out to be, or trying to convince myself that WoW is the unblemished paragon of MMOs. Based on past experience, I could burn out on WoW tomorrow and drop it cold. I have gotten bored with WoW before, after all.
Part of the reason is most assuredly that Mrs. Ardwulf is playing alongside me. We don’t actually adventure together every night we play, but we do most nights, and with a variety of alts, ensuring that neither of us really has an opportunity to get bored.
It also helps that we were able to jump right in to an established, personable guild on an RP server. Say what you want about RP servers and the people on them, but I’ve found that in every single game that has them the community is stronger on those servers than elsewhere. WoW on any server retains its share and more of nimrods and juveniles, of course, but on Kirin Tor there’s less of them.
Part of the reason is progress. I no longer feel stuck near the bottom of a long grind, no longer cut off by a wall of levels from the fun stuff happening toward the top of the hill. Although I am not at the summit just yet, I’m close enough to see it in the distance, and even close enough to start getting in on the fun.
Part of the reason, conversely, is a change in my own attitude. I’ve found myself more willing to lean back and relax and enjoy the game and the world rather than being focused on goals or levels. I still have those, to be sure (only 170 more gold to go for that flying mount,) and I have made fabulous progress on multiple characters in the last seven weeks, but I’ve also taken the time to poke around and explore, to craft and chat and do instances and sightsee. Ironically, it was not WoW but Vanguard that initially sold me on the value of these things.
Yeah, WoW’s not a perfect game. We all know that. For any given game element you can probably name another game or three that handles it better than WoW does. But WoW is good enough. I think I’ve lost interest in arguing the merits and faults of various MMOs – with the possible exception of making fun of WAR for being the Turd of 2008, but my heart’s not really in that. When at the end of the day I realize that I’ve had fun and will continue to do so, that’s really the important thing.