I don’t think it would be accurate to describe my relationship with WoW as “love/hate” since, while I’ve groused about it from time to time, I generally regard it as a solid experience. My chief complaint about it has been that its utter dominance of the marketplace has led to stagnation within the hobby, and that’s not so much WoW or Blizzard’s fault as it is the fault of other developers who shamelessly ape it, often while missing several of the points that led to WoW’s success.
Wow is also – and I’m being honest here – the only MMO that I haven’t gotten bored with after a couple of months. In some cases I have managed to struggle through periods of burnout to emerge with a new enthusiasm for some other game, like EVE or Vanguard, but more often I unsubscribe, to come back to some game I like and respect after months or even years. Then the same thing happens again.
It’s different with WoW. I can effortlessly step back into it regardless of the time spent away, and keep logging in regularly, and I only left it when I had to, because of money or time. There are several reasons for this, related to the quality of the game, but there are also social reasons – the quality of the guild I run with, for example. Most importantly, there’s Mrs. Ardwulf – having her to play with is a tremendous boost to the already high quality of the WoW experience. She’s also pretty much up for rejoining whenever I am. So there’s a support structure I have in place in WoW that I don’t have in any other game, save maybe LotRO.
Which is good, because I plan to resubscribe some time in the next couple of weeks. The client’s already installed and updated.
I’d been very excited about the coming Cataclysm while playing last summer, scouring YouTube for leaked footage and reading MMOChampion incessantly. It would have been nice (and a first) to get in on the ground floor of an expansion, instead of waiting for it to go stale midway through the cycle. Plus, unlike previous expansions, I wasn’t going to need a level cap character (although I have one now) to get into the new content – Cataclysm added to the leveling game as well.
Now… well, I’m not right on the leading edge of things, but I wasn’t going to stay there longer than mere days anyway. And I don’t have an insurmountable gulf of levels to overcome between me and the new endgame. Checking in with my guild, they’re still working their way through the three Cataclysm raids, and have not completed any of them yet. Some folks are still leveling from 80-85 – mostly alts, admittedly. But that’s still great for me, and it’s a good time to come back. What had me most excited, though, was the huge change made to the old world. Since I still have 8 (!) characters adventuring in it.
My excitement tapered off due to scheduling and money issues that led to me unsubscribing toward the end of the summer, plus the inevitable blowback from sustained high expectations, and none of that really cleared up until recently. But now I’m looking to head back in. Expect further bulletins on this.