Friday, August 3, 2007

Leaving WOW, Part 3

More soul-searching on my reasons for leaving WOW (part 1, part 2). The last post was about guild drama and split. The reasons I'll look at today are somewhat related. That is, they are direct results of trying to be a raider when I'm a casual, small-group player at heart.

Raiding requirements
This reason for leaving WOW is more like two in one. First, the time requirements to be a successful raider. Second, the raid attunements.

1) Being a successful raider means being online at specific times and a certain number of hours per week. Plus you need time to farm for mats, grind faction, work on attunements, and so forth. I'm a casual player and the time requirement was a deal breaker for me. I could commit to two maybe three evenings per week. I felt pressure from the guild leadership to play more and more.

2) Do you remember the original raid attunement chart for TBC? Remember how ugly and complex it looked? That was a lively topic on my guild's forum. The info we had before the expansion was raiding would become more accessible. Perfect. Great idea. As a casual player, I was happy with that rumor. Unfortunately, that raid attunement chart dashed my hopes. Blizzard basically flushed the idea of "casual raiding" down the toilet. I'm glad to hear they're fixing it now, but too late for me.

Play conflicted with RL
When I joined the raiding guild, I had to play at certain times on certain days. Before raiding, I played when I had nothing better to do in the evenings. If Avril saw a good movie starting on HBO, I could hearthstone and log out and we would watch it together. I couldn't do that part way through a Molten Core raid. Not an ingredient for happiness. It got to the point where I'd skip hanging out with RL friends week after week. I (mostly) stuck to my gaming guidelines, but I was playing more than I should and more than I wanted. I was getting burnt out, and I was missing out on a lot of life.

Obsessed with leveling fast
My first six months in WOW were spent wandering. One night after getting my mount I just wandered. I admired the beautiful scenery. Talk about inefficient use of time. Man, I miss that.

After joining the raiding guild, I was focused on leveling up my priest alt as quickly as possible. We needed more healers. So I started caring more about XP instead of enjoying the game. I bounced between zones, collecting quests, and then going to Thottbot to take the guesswork out of leveling. I started tracking my progress, recording percentage of level gained per play session.

This focus on leveling quickly turned into an obsessive bad habit. I started doing this with all my low level alts. When I dabbled with a few new Alliance characters, I was obsessed with leveling instead of enjoying the zones and quests. This was all new content (for me) but I was blazing past it as quickly as possible.

Inevitably I started feeling like logging into WOW was a job regardless if it was raiding or playing an alt. I play games to have fun. And I wasn't having fun any more.

If I renew my WOW subscription, I will have to be on my guard not to slip into old, bad habits like this one. My friend at work suggested I avoid logging out in inns so I don't get rested XP, which results in a slower progression. I'd be less likely to have this problem if I started a new MMO because the content would be completely new.

Man, reading through all that I sound like a whiner. Boo hoo. Poor me. I can't be a raider. Honestly, I'm glad to understand that now. I wish I'd gotten the clue back in November '06.

Next up is the conclusion to the mini series.


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