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A General Malaise

March 25, 2011

Dear Reader,

So many people have recently been writing about their feelings towards WoW, and I’ve noticed that a lot of them share some similar attributes, myself included.  Others have categorized it, defined it, explained it, but no one, I feel, has put a hard name on it, yet, so that is seems like an anonymous, amorphous cloud floating around the Wowosphere.

But I know what it is.  I’ve felt it many times before.

It’s a general malaise.

It’s not  WoW that’s ill.  For each complaint about a feature that Blogger A has with WoW, Blogger B has an explanation that the feature is good or is no different than it was before.  Others have pinpointed lots of features that are irritating in WoW from being judged more, to disliking the difficulty, to disliking the new content, but no one thing really seems to be what’s bothering everybody.  It’s just that some of these features that have simply, suddenly been… worn out.

We keep looking for a cause in WoW for this feeling, a cause for the general malaise, and have been unable to pinpoint any particular one.  Perhaps, then, we should stop thinking of the malaise as a caused effect and begin thinking of it as the cause of effects instead.  In other words, consider that the malaise itself is not a symptom of a WoW disease, but that it is the disease.  We can stop, then, trying to diagnose WoW’s illness and instead start looking for a cure for the ill players out there.

What, then is the disease we’re suffering from, that I’m arguing has little to do with WoW?  It’s a sense of the future, of a need for change.  The itch we’re feeling is the same itch that drove us out of the caves for a better shelter, that convinced us to stop eating rocks and move on to more delectable fare.   It’s an end to contentment and gluttony.  We’ve simply had our share of WoW.

Once again, from Romeo and Juliet (I know, I’ll move on to a new piece of literature soon)

These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume: the sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite:
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.”

How many of us have truly loved WoW moderately?  Sure, there are levels of fanaticism that most of us have never reached, but even so, I know that I, who never missed work or made myself sick on WoW, still loved it more than just “moderately.”  We didn’t gobble all the honey right away, but we have had a slow, steady diet of it that is, finally, starting to make us sick.  We’ve made ourselves sick on WoW.

That known, how can we cure this illness?  Well, I’ve made a few last-ditch efforts, and I’m afraid, for me, they’ve all failed.  Maybe, though, some of these could help for you.

1: Try a new role – this is the “easiest” of the changes.  Respec, regear, redo the normals and heroics, and see every dungeon in a completely different light.  We have an excellent dps in our guild who’s now leveled a resto druid, and we find her in dungeons asking us, “What do I do?” on fights she’s destroyed as a dps.  She’s playing a whole new game and, thus, won’t get sick too soon.

2: Roll a new character – this takes a little more time, but leveling is very different from end-game raiding, so the very act of it, of seeing the new zones, having less buttons to push, remembering what it’s like to be vulnerable to normal mobs can revitalize your interest.

3: Transfer factions – this, either by paying or by rolling a new toon, can really open your eyes about what it’s like to be on the other side.  You’ll get all new quest lines, have a new perspective in battlegrounds, have new racials to play with, and any of these can help reawaken your interest in the game.

4: Transfer servers – here, again, you can pay or roll a new toon, but it can also revive your interest by entering what is, essentially, a parallel universe.  You’ll meet new people, ignore new trade trolls, relearn the economy, and get in good with a new guild, all of which are challenges that might keep your interest.

5: Take a planned break – this isn’t something within WoW, but knowing you’re going to come back, even setting  a specific time-frame to come back after, can help you let steam off by playing other games without the disorientation or desperation the idea of permanently leaving WoW can bring.

What can you do if you’ve done all of these things and they aren’t working?  Welcome to my world.  I’ve done every single one of these things, some of them multiple times.  If you’re in the same boat as me, then, honestly, I’m at a loss.

Becoming sick of WoW is like being on a boat with a small leak.  At first, you’re so busy doing other things you don’t notice: raiding, farming, heroics, hanging out in vent.  Here, at the beginning, you only feel the water around your ankles.  It’s slowing you down a bit, but not much; you’re aware of the problem, but it’s not a big deal yet, so you keep on playing.

Eventually the water reaches your waist.  You can clearly feel it slowing you down now, and you know something needs to be done, so you start bailing the water out.  Perhaps you’re lucky, and you can bail faster than the leak.  You seek other activities outside of WoW, make some of the changes mentioned above, but in the end, you’re not really fixing the problem, just dealing with the symptom.

Then the water reaches your neck, and… what?

Someone suggested that one of my fellow blogger’s malaise was caused due to her relationships having somewhat soured.  While I certainly won’t comment on her situation, I know that’s somewhat true for mine.  My wife and my buddies are still great to play with, but having moved servers into a new guild, I haven’t felt a very strong integration yet as I have in the past.  The guild isn’t doing anything wrong, per se, but I just don’t feel a part of it, and I don’t know whether that’s a “yet” statement or not.  Similarly, I don’t know if it’s something with the guild, or something fundamentally different in me.  I’m suspecting more and more the latter.

We’ll see, I suppose, but for now, I’ll just keep bailing, hoping for some rescue signal in the distance, wondering if I should have abandoned ship long ago.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (who will soon need a new bucket)

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2011 5:09 am

    Can we have Brave New World next? Of all the things I read in English class that one was my favourite. 😀 Although Pygmalion came close.

    Personally I think if you’re not having fun anymore, you shouldn’t try to enforce it but just take a break. It will come back all by it’s own.
    But I can’t really join this discussion because I’m not feeling any malaise about WoW, although that might be because of my recent switch from raiding to RPing.

  2. jamin1993 permalink
    March 27, 2011 8:08 am

    I wasn’t going to comment, but I actually felt that your words were really honest.

    Just take it as it comes. Try something else. Mean, there’s more out there than WoW!

    Nothing ever stays the same, change happens.

    Though it’s sad to see a player leave, or person should I say, sometimes it’s for the best.

    Keep writing (It helps)

    – Jamin

  3. March 28, 2011 11:43 am

    Aye I’ve seen this in some guildies. I’ve also experienced here and there. I think mine stemmed from frustration on the constant hot fixes and changes to how spells work for me as we were learning bosses too. I’ve taken breaks and it has helped. Nice blog 🙂

    • March 28, 2011 2:03 pm

      Thanks! Yeah, I’ve taken my share of breaks, too, but this time feels different. It’s probably not, though, and will pass.

  4. March 29, 2011 12:07 am

    It makes me so happy that there is at least one blogger who understands this feeling and can deal with it rationally.

    It just makes my head hurt that some of the bloggers I read have become so stuck on the fact that they’re not enjoying the game– as if the option to not play it didn’t exist.

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