WoW: The Ex-Girlfriend

I suspect that from now until the end of many of our lives, the spectre of World of Warcraft will be with us in some way, shape or form.  It’s not just the nostalgia, the “we were there back when” recollections, but the sheer saturated impact that it made, an impression on the couch that’ll never go away no matter how much you fluff up the cushion.

Come a month from now, I’ll be resolutely not buying a World of Warcraft product for the first time in my life.  Actually, “resolutely” isn’t even the right word for it, because that implies I’m over here steeling myself to stay strong.  The truth is that I don’t feel the pull any longer.  I thought I would, but every time I check, the emotional connection to  the game is gone.

I think the break-up is finally taking.

Of course, I’m not writing this to say that WoW sucks or that people are fools to get the expansion, because I really don’t believe that.  I think Blizzard’s doing the smart thing, even a bold thing with renovating the entire world, and I’m quite sure they’ll do just hunky dory because of it.  They’ll need it, since 2011 is going to feature a few powerful MMO rookies who are going to take a swing at the throne, and even with a makeover, WoW is still WoW.  It’s not a new game, even with the tweaks.

But what I am saying is that I always felt like my time with WoW constituted a pretty serious video game relationship of sorts, and when I left it — first in 2006, then in 2008 and earlier this year — it felt like a break-up.  Not that I was sobbing in a pillow or drunk dialing WoW at 3:30 in the morning suggesting that we get back together, but there are a few parallels.  Such as making up and giving it another try, only to realize that it wasn’t going to work because of the same reasons from the first time around.  Or such as competing feelings of love and hate that could make me sing praises about my time in the game one day, and loathing it and Blizzard for perceived stupidities the next.

As everyone who’s gone through a rough break-up after a long relationship knows, these things settle down with time.  With time, I have new gaming relationships — a great long-term ride with LOTRO, a recently-infused experience with Guild Wars, and a number of future titles that I’m eagerly awaiting.  I don’t need WoW to fill any void, because none exists.

So I look at WoW as it’s building up the press and hype for Cataclysm, and I just smile fondly, like someone who discovers a photograph of an ex buried in a drawer and takes a minute or two to remember the good times — and then remember why they moved on.

(But I do disagree with Spinks — I think that this year’s Blizzcon is a near waste of time, at least from an announcement perspective.  Blizzard’s the king of making a huge to-do out of very little, and this year they’re basically warming up the leftovers of last year and serving them up in hopes that everyone will chow down anyway.)

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12 thoughts on “WoW: The Ex-Girlfriend

  1. Next year Blizzcon will probably be worth going to. I figure by next year they may finally tease us with the new MMO.

    I just wonder how can you make a brand new MMO after the success of WoW. Do they keep most ideas, or do they totally change the MMO genre? Will the new MMO feel like WoW, or do they prove they can make a complete new game, and not be a WoW clone?

    I will be waiting, and watching to see if the new MMO lures me in, or if I feel it is the same.

  2. I’ve been feeling the pull of Cataclsym and I’m probably going to give in. Although, I can completely understand your perspective.

    I haven’t played WoW in over a year and a half. I know it’s the same game, but I want to try out the new content. I’m the type of player that likes to run through all the quests once and maybe play around a bit at max level. After that I call it a day and cancel my subscription.

    I’ve never understood the lure of hardcore raiding or grinding for small gains at max level. I’ll probably take my level 80 character to 85 and then make a new character to play levels 1-60. After that there’s nothing new, so I’ll move on.

    Then again, I haven’t completely made up my mind on the expansion. Maybe I’ll just skip it.

  3. I’m completely apathetic about Cataclysm. After leveling six characters to 80 and running in the hamster wheel that is WoW raiding, I’m done. There’s nothing Cataclysm offers that makes me want to go back. The last thing I really want to do in WoW is level yet another character, even if the old world content is different.

    I walked away a year ago, and although I was dragged back this summer, I only lasted a few days before dropping it again.

  4. *sheepishly* I’ve already pre-ordered, but for me the pull hasn’t subsided yet. There’s no way though I would tell anyone, “you’ve gotta get this”.

    MMO’s, like so many other things in life, are a personal choice, you either like one or you don’t. People that play what they want to play reguardless of the hype, always enjoy their games more. After all these are games and we’re supposed to enjoy them rightk?

  5. I have not played WoW for over 4.5 years, except for an attempt to check it out again about 4 years ago. Realized then that there was not really anything that kept me there, when the old guild on Horde side had broken up.

    I usually try out some old MMOs from time to time to see what has changed, but I have never felt an urge to do that with WoW for some reason, after that first fatal attempt.

  6. I know there are people who have a lot of fun playing WoW as it is, but from my “veteran” MMO player experience I will just repeat what I think and say for years already:

    We need a revolution of MMO game design, not a cataclysm that leads to nothing new, but more of the same old formula, probably shinier than ever, probably even more “casualized” for convenience.

    EQ was great at its time, and so was or is WoW. But the formula behind these games that unfortunately became almost synonymous with “MMORPG”, the neverending level and gear based progression based on a trinity of classes depending on each other, a system tried and true, is in my opinion a dead end of MMO design whose flaws are inherent to the system.

    Guild Wars 2 is in my opinion unfortunately not the answer – they went back a lot to cater to people used to this formula and only go ahead with tiny babysteps.
    I wonder if the result will please hardcore Guild Wars fans, so far it unfortunately reminds me more of a WoW derivate with a few Guild Wars ideas and business model, despite my in general positive anticipation of the game.

    @Wasdstomp one of the Blizzard Bigheads said on this very Blizzcon no announcement of the secret project / new game before 2012.

  7. I also parted ways with WoW after a good 4 year commitment. It was a great game, when it started out, and I’m sad that the route it went down wasn’t one that I fully agreed with. However, I can say that I’m glad to have left when I did. It gave me the basics to work with while attempting “relationships” with other MMO’s. :P

  8. I’m a casual/bad player, and I’m walking away from WoW. They appear to be regressing in Cata on making PvE content easier.

    Worse, they appear to be carefully hunting down and killing end game content that supports solo playing styles. LFD for 5 mans heroics will be a disaster, as will pugged raids. They’ve just altered the BG queuing algorithm to nerf solo queuing, even for unrated BGs.

    In Cata, you’ll have to really pretend to like your guild pseudo-friends if you want to get anywhere. And, those friends are going to have to be good, due to the harder content. Depending on people who ultimately ruin your game experience is not something I want to continue to pay for.

    Perhaps this means MMOs aren’t for me. The problem was, WoW *was* working for players like me, and now it won’t. Judging by the spike in activity when random LFD came out in 3.3, I don’t think I’m that atypical.

  9. I am thinking of whether I want to buy it or not. I rarely log in anymore and have kept myself to mainly LotRO and EQ2. I am curious about FFXIV, but will wait until they improve the controls a bit I think.

    I think the hardest part for many of us is to leave any friends we have made. And for me that includes a friend at work and my sister. They are completely uninterested in trying anything else. You talk about leaving a girlfriend, but what if you and that girlfriend had the same set of close friends?

    @Wasdstomp: I don’t think the problem is an MMO problem. Many MMO’s are not the same was WoW. If you mean the quest types, these are inherant to RPG’s as far back as the first nintendo. Also, while WoW complainers say they want something different than WoW, when it is handed to them, there are complaints when certain elements are not the same as WoW.

  10. Goblins and Gnome Priests are holding me back from dumping my lover. Or I would of been long gone by now…as in *DTMFA.

    *Note: Um…NSFW if anyone Googles that. :(

    Paul, I just wanted to note, that this was a big concern of mine as well. But speaking with my RP though casual focused guild, who have a number of players in Beta…they assure me content will not be that difficult. It’s just Blizz has switched back to single target focus as oppose to hearding mobs like in Wrath to AoE them down. It makes the game slower, but not really more difficult. Especially for us who’ve been around WoW sometime and are used to that single pull stratergy. If you know how to crowd control you’re good to go. Just saying…

  11. I don’t really care about wow anymore either, but I still play a few bgs per week. I no longer care about my gear or even my level, and its a lot more relaxing to play that way

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