A Week Without WoW
It’s been a week now since I’ve last logged on to WoW. I don’t think this is some trend, nor do I think this will result in a huge break as it often does. Quite the opposite, in fact; I want to play WoW, but for the first time in a long, long time, my wife doesn’t.
I’m not entirely sure how to attribute her lack of interest (I had “what to attribute her lack of interest to,” but didn’t like that. What a wonderful word how is!). I know part of it is her sudden, obsessive (to use an inappropriate word) interest in League of Legends. My friend – pardon the expression – accused me of having a “hard on” for LoL, but if that’s the case, my wife must have taken 3 or 4 Viagra. In a few more metaphorical hours, she may need to seek medical attention.
Beyond that, though, I’m not sure what’s going on. Since it’s both our spring break week, we’ve got plenty of time to play a variety of games. She even brought up trying Portal 2, a “non-shooter shooter” that I’d tried to get her to play a year ago. I keep mentioning doing some leveling in WoW, but she keeps redirecting to other activities.
I wonder if the patch had something to do with it. We logged on once after the patch but weren’t terribly engaged. We checked out our Sunsong Ranch, looked at the elite pet battles, and logged off. We weren’t even remotely interested in doing the new dailies nor grinding thousands of dinos for a mount or pet.
I think that’s something that can be safely said about WoW: The more things change, the more they stay the same. If you’re happy with WoW, I think it does a great job maintaining that focus, that branding that’s built it into the giant it is. Sure, old timers complain about how it’s “changed,” but has it, really? Each change adds a “new” set of challenges, each new raid a “new” set of skills. Whereas once it was a challenge just to get a dungeon group, now it’s a challenge to get a dungeon group you can tolerate. Whereas once you had to mash your rotation in exactly the right order to maximize your performance, now you have to mash the WASD keys to move around in exactly the right pattern to survive. In the end, WoW’s done a ton of stuff right, but I’m not sure how much it’s done different.
I’ve been aware of this for a while – at least since two Christmases ago when I stopped raiding. Since then, I’ve been clearly and overtly a casual player, unsure whether I could get back into the raiding mindset. I think that may have just struck my wife. At first, it comes with a feeling of cognitive dissonance, or believing two opposing ideas at the same time: “I should be playing WoW,” and “I don’t want to play WoW.” Admittedly, those aren’t direct opposites, but to a loyal WoW player who logs 20 or so hours a week at minimum, they feel that way.
I’d argue it’s akin to losing a job that you held but didn’t love; you’re not completely lost and wandering, like a defrocked priest or, yes, a teacher who can’t find work, but still it’s a shock to the personality system. “I am a WoW player,” begins to be untrue, and with it, a part of your personality is suddenly missing.
Just last night, we watched the lastest Extra Credits, a PATV show which I’ve come to really respect. In it, intrinsic and extrinsic game play rewards were analyzed, and the show took a completely valid shot at WoW’s grindy design. I didn’t know this was coming; I hadn’t meant to sit her down and potentially reaffirm her burgeoning distrust of WoW, but there it was.
The funny thing is, I still want to play. I still want to level Stubborn and my DK, Liberated, on my friend’s new server. I can do one without her, but not the other. Perhaps it was a mistake to get her interested in LoL; she’s very competitive, and since LoL is a more level playing field than most of WoW PvP (though not completely so), I think she’s becoming addicted, to use another completely inappropriate word to describe her interest. I suppose we’ll have to see how this plays out.
Stubborn (and oddly on the other side of the WoW or no-WoW argument)